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Valiant Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – U

If we’re talking Valiant and the letter U, there’s really only one thing this could be.

Unity

Unity was one of the most ambitious crossovers in modern comics, and the fact that Jim Shooter actually plotted the entire thing was a huge factor in it turning out so well (DC did a similar thing when Grant Morrison plotted out DC One Million, making that crossover turn out well, also).

The plot behind Unity was that this evil woman named Erica Pierce was trying to recreate the reality she wanted.

That was the plot, but the basic concept was “How do we get all of the Valiant Comics of the time into one cohesive universe?” That’s more difficult than you think when you consider that the styles of the books are drastically different and some of the books are set in the future!

However, Shooter not only did it – he did it well, and the end result was a cohesive universe that Shooter used to launch brand-new titles in late 1992, making Valiant as hot as it would ever be as a company. In late 1992, right off the popularity of Unity, Valiant released Bloodshot #1 with a special cover, and it was the biggest book Valiant had had at that point, we’re talking like 800,000 copies or something nuts like that.

Valiant was an 18 part storyline. The first part was in Unity #0, which was a free giveaway and the final part was in Unity #1.

It was done in two months (the first month opened with the launch of two new titles, Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong).

In one last neat idea, Shooter had the first month’s covers all drawn by Frank Miller, so that they could all form one large image…

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The second month, he did the same, only with Walt Simonson.

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You don’t get much better than having Frank Miller and Walt Simonson draw all your books’ covers for two months for your biggest project to date!

And boy, did it work.

Unity 2000…well…that’s a different story…

11 Comments

If this was Marvel, I’d be upset Unus the Untouchable didn’t get a shout-out. If DC, then ‘umberto Ramos, my Cockney cousin’s favorite Impulse artist. But this is well wroth cheering, even without the letter-a-day convention.

I remember that I hadn’t read any Valiant books but read about the free Unity #0 in (I believe) Comic Shop News. So I went to the comic store to get this cool sounding book (previously I had been strictly a Marvel kid) and they told me I needed to commit to buying all 18 parts of the crossover sight unseen to get the free #0. I was like 14 years old at the time with a paper route and these books were very expensive for me compared to the $1.50 at most Marvels were going for. Anyways, I agreed to buy the future issues and they turned out to be so good I never regretted it but, thinking back, what an idiot move that was of the comic book store to pull on a new reader and loyal customer.

Unity was basically the perfect crossover.

I was recently able to find some Unity stuff on the super-cheap, which was very awesome. From the covers to the structure to the general feeling of the crossover, it was truly astounding. The Big Two would do well to dissect this one and see what makes it work in order to avoid losing readers to “big event fatigue”.

Unity was pretty awesome. Everyone got to fight dinosaurs and robots – how can you go wrong? And it was neat that all the books maintained their tone – Magnus, Solar, and Eternal Warrior were doing heroic stuff, but Archer & Armstrong and the Harbinger kids spent most of the time running away and hiding.

And Frank Miller and Walt Simonson covers? Awesome. I don’t think I knew much about those guys when I was reading this, but I knew they were cool, particularly the Miller ones.

Easily one of of the better crossovers ever. And it did impact the Valiant Universe. Well, the future Valiant Universe, anyway.

I was recently able to find some Unity stuff on the super-cheap, which was very awesome. From the covers to the structure to the general feeling of the crossover, it was truly astounding. The Big Two would do well to dissect this one and see what makes it work in order to avoid losing readers to “big event fatigue”.

I think both DC and Marvel do understand that the fewer cooks in the kitchen, the stronger the crossover – they just have so many titles, it’s almost impossible.

Coordinating eight titles? Very difficult, but not impossible.

Coordinating thirty titles? Maybe impossible, although, as noted, Morrison came the closest.

Speaking of uncoordinated crossovers, remember Our World at War? Where Dixon and PAD just used their tie-ins for whatever they felt like. :)

And it was neat that all the books maintained their tone – Magnus, Solar, and Eternal Warrior were doing heroic stuff, but Archer & Armstrong and the Harbinger kids spent most of the time running away and hiding.

Yeah, Shooter was good at highlighting characterizations like that.

Early Valiant was so well-thought out.

Almost as ill-thought-out late Valiant was.

I remember that I hadn’t read any Valiant books but read about the free Unity #0 in (I believe) Comic Shop News. So I went to the comic store to get this cool sounding book (previously I had been strictly a Marvel kid) and they told me I needed to commit to buying all 18 parts of the crossover sight unseen to get the free #0. I was like 14 years old at the time with a paper route and these books were very expensive for me compared to the $1.50 at most Marvels were going for. Anyways, I agreed to buy the future issues and they turned out to be so good I never regretted it but, thinking back, what an idiot move that was of the comic book store to pull on a new reader and loyal customer.

Yeah, that is a pretty ballsy move they did. But back in the early 90s, I guess comic stores were cocky due to high comic sales due to the speculator market.

Marvel & DC haven’t even done a great job with smaller-scale crossovers. The Janus Directive was a pretty decent storyline running through Checkmate and Suicide Squad, but it also involved Firestorm and Captain Atom – the Firstorm issue had nothing to do with the story other than a phone call at the very end saying “Hey, those guys need help!”, and the Captain Atom issue was set after the whole thing was done and one of the characters was on vacation.

Oh man, yeah, I can’t believe how annoyed I was when I read the Janus Directive. It was like, “Seriously? SERIOUSLY?”

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