Comic book universes have become a huge part of our movie ecosystem, with franchises like Marvel and DC dominating the big screen. One of the latest publishers to try to get into that domain is Valiant Entertainment, the indie comics imprint with titles like Bloodshot, Faith, Quantum and Woody, and X-O Manowar. Valiant's biggest foray yet into the superhero movie world happened earlier this year, when Bloodshot was released in theaters just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and made an early jump to Video on Demand just a matter of days later. While Bloodshot might not have received the ideal response, it sounds like Valiant boss Dan Mintz has a unique outlook on the whole ordeal -- and what it could mean for Valiant's future big-screen films.
"One of my jobs is to take what took Marvel 20 years and compress that down," Mintz explained to Deadline. "That’s in defining who you are — more importantly who you’re not — and really, really hammering on that differentiation. I see Bloodshot as our Blade. It certainly isn’t Iron Man — [Kevin] Feige got in there and connected it [to a universe] and that really delivered that value to the fans."
"I think we’re able to develop and bring that next level of character that people really want now," Mintz continued. "I think Hollywood really gets comic books wrong. I think what it is after doing this for a couple of beats, they get fooled by the format. They look at it and they say it’s a bunch of drawings with some little people talking in bubbles. What they don’t realize is that comic books are the serials of our time. They are the gangster films and westerns, but with one defining difference. They are the anchor of pop culture. So the stories are as diverse and as layered as any group of stories. It’s not the format, it is the evolution of story, and I believe that Valiant is an evolution of storytelling in a comic book."
That comparison to Blade is certainly interesting, as the 1998 film is unconnected from the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (and is expected to be rebooted in the coming years), but was arguably legitimized Marvel's roster of characters in the world of films -- something that Mintz was quick to argue.
"Marvel’s first film was Howard the Duck and their second movie was David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury," Mintz added. "Around that time, Tim Burton was developing the first cinematic Batman. So if you and I were sitting there back then, I think we would say, “Put a fork in Marvel, they are a joke. DC is the future.” All I’m saying is, don’t put too many nails in that coffin because there’s a lot of things that are happening. It’s about the right time. When you look at it, the turning point for Marvel really was Blade."
With multiple Valiant properties currently in development for feature films, including Harbinger, Faith, and Shadowman, it will be interesting to see what the future does end up holding for the franchise's cinematic universe.