Are you sick of superhero movies yet? Do you think you will be in the next decade? Valiant Entertainment sure hopes not, because they’ve teamed up with DMG Entertainment to create yet another shared-universe superhero movie franchise.
DMG Entertainment has announced it’s funneled a good deal of money – eight figures’ worth, to be more precise – into helping Valiant develop a cinematic universe for its stable of characters and franchises, which includes Bloodshot, Quantum & Woody, Dr. Mirage and others. According to a press release, the two companies have announced their bold intentions to create the “largest independent superhero universe,” which will hopefully encompass both film and television. In other words, get ready for Ninjak and Bloodshot to attempt to muscle in on territory thus far dominated by your Avengers and your Batmans and your Daredevils and your Spider-Men.
The deal will also entail a big push to establish a market for the characters in China, where DMG is based. That push will include toys, online gaming, animation and Chinese-language publishing based on Valiant licenses.
The move is hardly surprising, considering both the continued popularity (and massive profitability) of movies based on Marvel and DC properties and the fact that, in the realm of comics, Valiant is in the midst of a bit of a creative and commercial renaissance since the company relaunched its comics line in 2012. Before that, the company closed its doors – many thought for good – in 2004, as the company never quite recovered from the mid-90s speculator bubble burst, which saw comics sales drop dramatically after people realized their issues of Superman and Spider-Man would never be worth enough to send little Jimmy to college. That crash crippled the comics industry for a while, with specialty stores closing nationwide and smaller publishers folding or getting bought out by bigger companies – even Marvel wasn’t immune, as the comics giant was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1996. Back then, it was hard to imagine comics would ever again have the cultural relevance they currently enjoy.
Again, it’s no surprise there’s interest in bringing characters like Ninjak and X-O Manowar to the big screen (or television), but the question now is how much of a good thing is too much. The superhero movie market is getting fairly crowded, and it’s an open question whether lesser-known franchises like Archer & Armstrong and Shadowman can hope to compete with household names like Superman, Batman and the Avengers – which couldn’t reasonably said of them even at the height of their ’90s popularity. Then again, before 2008, Iron Man was hardly a household name with non-comics fans, so it’s anyone’s guess. Maybe people will line up for X-O Manowar in 2020 (or whenever) and go crazy about the ancient warrior wearing sentient space armor. Who knows?