1993: Too Many Comics?

According to the research at Comichron.com, 1993 was the biggest year for the comic book industry in history. As a result, comic books from publishers in 1993 are still among the most common to be found in collections, comic shops, and comic convention boxes even 25+ years later.

(bagged)
(unbagged)

The highest selling books of 1993 were the “Return of the Supermen” books from DC and then Turok #1 from Valiant as the 6th highest for the year. The Adventures of Superman #500 “white bag” Collector’s Edition was the highest selling book of 1993. It is believed that nearly 4,000,000 copies of this book were printed. More than 2,000,000 copies each are estimated for Adventures of Superman #501, Action Comics #687, Superman #78, and Superman: Man of Steel #22.

Although the Superman books were the most ordered for 1993, many who reflect on the industry crash point to Turok #1 as a turning point for the industry.

It is believed that 1,750,000 copies of Turok #1 were printed. The number of actual Turok fans was significantly lower than the number of Turok speculators hoping that Turok #1 would follow the increases in prices seen for many of the hard to find Pre-Unity Valiant issues from 1991-92. Instead, Turok #1 remained available and was discounted at most comic shops soon after its release. The Deathmate crossover of 1993 was produced by Valiant and Image, and it also contributed to the number of unsold copies of books.

Grouping the Valiant comics 1991-1996 in three-month intervals and averaging the estimated print runs across all titles, it’s easy to see the rise and fall of Valiant in the industry with 1993 at the peak.

There are around 80,000,000 Valiant comic books in print from 1991-1996,
over 800 different Valiant comic books. More than half have 1993 dates.

2,750,000 copies (54 books) are Pre-Unity books from 1991 to mid-1992 – 3%
2,550,000 copies (23 books, 18 regular, 5 variants) are Unity books from mid-1992 – 3%
3,000,000 copies (30 books) are post-Unity books from late-1992 – 3.5%
41,100,000 copies (176 books) are from 1993 – 51%
21,900,000 copies (231 books) are from 1994 – 27%
9,250,000 copies (234 books) are from 1995 – 11.5%
1,000,000 copies (60 books) are from 1996 – 1%

Very few Valiant collectors stuck with the books through the end of the series. Looking back 20+ years later, Valiant collectors tend to focus on the early issues with some interest in the final issues due to low numbers printed. Of course, with only 800 different issues for the Valiant Universe 1991-1996, there are collectors who want them all. Here’s a checklist compiled back in 2008 for the ValiantFans.com website.

Valiant Comics from 1993 were the highest numbers printed, and are usually among the easiest Valiant Comics to locate for collecting, however, Gold Editions for Valiant Comics in 1993 were limited to 5,000 copies each with no cover price, gold enhancements to the title, and a gold Valiant box on the top left. 1993 Gold Editions include Turok #1 Gold, Magnus #21 Gold, Rai #9 Gold, Second Life of Dr. Mirage #1 Gold, and X-O Manowar #0 Gold.

As far as important issues go, the Valiant Universe was introduced to Ninjak in 1993, with his first appearances in Bloodshot #6 and Bloodshot #7.

These two books introducing Ninjak should be comparable in value to the first appearances of other Valiant title characters, however, the high number of copies produced has kept the values modest relative to other (earlier) Valiant first appearance comics.

Similar to the Bloodshot #6 and #7 introduction of Ninjak, the first appearance of Ivar the Timewalker occurred in Archer & Armstrong #8 and Eternal Warrior #8. Those two books are actually just one book, which can be flipped to show each cover. Collectors often purchased two copies of the (same) book, so that they could keep one with their Archer & Armstrong collection, and file another with their Eternal Warrior comics.

The takeaway from this post is new collectors of Valiant Comics might consider 1993 to be early Valiant issues, being so close to 1991-1992 Pre-Unity Valiant, but 1993 books are actually the most common issues found in any collection of 1990s comics. Collections from the 1990s often have a vast majority of their books from 1993, including collections of 1990s Marvel, DC, and Image. As a result, collectors should look at all their options for purchasing the most common issues efficiently, otherwise those who overpay for 1993 issues today could face the same disappointment as those who overpaid for 1993 issues in 1993.

Collecting Bloodshot – 1990s Valiant

The first major motion picture from the Valiant Universe is Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel, to be released February 21, 2020. Collectors first discovering Valiant as a result of the movie announcement may be looking for information about collecting the appearances of Bloodshot.

Bloodshot was created in 1992, first appearing on the final page of Eternal Warrior #4.


Eternal Warrior #4, November 1992
About 100,000 copies

Bloodshot appeared later the same month throughout the Rai #0 story about him, “The Blood of Heroes”, for his first full appearance in comics.


Rai #0, November 1992
About 150,000 copies


NOTE: Many copies of the Rai #0 cover “smeared” some of the black ink, causing Valiant to test a different type of cover to eliminate the “smearing” effect. As a result, about 130,000 copies have a Matte cover and about 20,000 have a Glossy cover. These types were not distributed as a variant of any kind. An unintentional difference shows that the Glossy cover is usually shorter on the front right edge, clearly showing the colors of the first page. Only a small amount of the first page can be seen on the Matte edition. Before about 2015, the market was essentially the same for all copies of Rai #0. Since that time, the Glossy edition has shown a premium in the market due to the lower number of copies, particularly when identified as “Glossy edition” on CGC professionally graded labels.


Matte, about 130,000 copies | Glossy, about 20,000 copies

Bloodshot’s first clear cover appearance occurred on Eternal Warrior #5 dated December 1992 around 100,000 copies.


The first comic book in history from any publisher to feature chromium was Bloodshot #1, dated February 1993 and released the same day as the Superman #75. The orders for Bloodshot #1 were very large, with almost a million (850,000 copies) produced, and it can usually be purchased for around the original cover price ($3.50) even more than 25 years later. While it is usually considered one of the most common books of the 1990s it was actually the 13th most ordered book for 1992, behind a dozen other books by Marvel, DC, and Image.



Bloodshot #0 was released in early 1994 with a full chromium cover, available as a regular edition ($3.50 cover price) and a limited gold edition (no cover price).


Bloodshot #0 Regular edition
about 300,000 copies

Bloodshot #0 Gold edition
5,000 copies

The most valuable Bloodshot comic books from the 1990s are copies of the Bloodshot #0 Platinum edition, which was not an official release from Valiant. Fewer than 30 copies have been identified. It is believed that this version was created by either purposefully omitting the gold layer, possibly as a test run, or by continuing to print copies of the gold edition when the material for the gold layer was empty. NOTE: The identification of a Bloodshot #0 Platinum edition, sometimes called a Platinum Printing Error, requires that there is no cover price on the book. There are many errors known for Bloodshot #0, such misaligned covers, missing color covers, and strange coloring, however, any error edition of Bloodshot #0 with a $3.50 cover price is a regular edition error. Special errors for Bloodshot #0 have a missing cover price.


Copies of CGC 9.8 Bloodshot #0 Platinum have sold as high as $5,500 in 2008 with more recent sales in 2016 and 2017 around $3,000 each.

One exception to the rule about $3.50 cover price is known. A single copy of Bloodshot #0 Gold edition with both a gold Bloodshot title on the cover and a $3.50 cover price has been identified. The price box in the upper left is pink and it is possible that the book is either a Gold edition printing error, or it was produced to test the gold Bloodshot title ink prior to the full production of Gold editions. The key difference for this book is the gold Bloodshot title on the cover. All other known errors have silver/platinum coloring for the word Bloodshot on the cover. Whether it is a Bloodshot #0 Gold edition prototype or a Gold edition printing error, the single known copy of the book is also referenced as “Bloodshot #0 Pink”.


This book sold in December 2016 for $5,150.

Comic books from any age or publisher which may be valued above $1,000 generally sell at higher prices when the authenticity and condition has been certified by a third party such as CGC (Comics Guaranty Company).


Many 1990s comic books were autographed at conventions or for sale by retailers with various types of certificates of authenticity, and few of these for Valiant comics are well-received in the back issue market. The exception is the Valiant Validated Signature Series for a few issues in 1994, which were official products from Valiant Comics.


Bloodshot #0 was included in the V.V.S.S. program, and 2,500 copies of the regular edition were signed and issued certificates of authenticity from Valiant.


The 1993-1996 Bloodshot series ran for 51 issues, with the #0 variants, a Yearbook, and a Last Stand Special ($5.95 cover price). The popularity of all comic books in 1993-1994 was followed by a fast decline in 1995-1996. Two collectible Bloodshot regular (non-variant) issues with low print estimates are the Bloodshot Last Stand and Bloodshot #51 final issue.


Bloodshot Last Stand
$5.95 Special, March 1996
About 10,000 to 12,000 copies

Bloodshot #51
final issue, August 1996
About 9,000 copies

Valiant attempted a newsstand sales program in 1995-1996 for some titles, including Bloodshot. Some collectors have sought both the Direct Sales and the Newsstand Sales versions of Valiant comics. Comic book shops received the (common) Direct Sales editions while grocery stores, gas stations, or traditional bookstores received (uncommon) Newsstand Sales. Condition is usually a problem with Newsstand Sales since the books were often handled roughly or produced with lower quality paper. It is unclear which types of non-comic stores received Valiant titles, how well they sold, or how many Newsstand books were returned. Valiant comics with both types reflect Newsstand barcodes in less than 5% of books on the back issue market, perhaps much less.

1995-1996 Bloodshot issues #30, #31, and #32 have $2.50 price variants for Newsstand Sales and issues #33 through #48 also have Newsstand Sales.

Gold Key characters in the Valiant Universe

The original Valiant Universe of the 1990s included three characters with previous publication history under Gold Key in the 1960s. Magnus, Solar, and Turok, were re-introduced as Valiant title characters in the 1990s, though they were licensed from Western Publishing at the time. The earliest of these “Gold Key 3” was Turok, Son of Stone, first appearing in 1954 from Dell Comics. Dell and Gold Key were both owned by Western Publishing, and the majority of comics for the “Gold Key 3” were published by Gold Key beginning in the early 1960s.


Turok was published as Four Color #596 (Turok #1), shown above, then as Four Color #656 (Turok #2) and Turok, Son of Stone #3 – #130 for Dell Comics, followed by Gold Key and Whitman, ending in 1982.

Solar, Man of the Atom in the Valiant Universe was first published by Gold Key as Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 dated October 1962. It may surprise collectors to discover that Dr. Solar was introduced in the same year as both Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, and Dr. Solar was earlier than other popular Marvel characters of the 1960s such as Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and Daredevil.


Doctor Solar continued from issue #1, shown above, until issue #31 in 1982 from Whitman.

Magnus, Robot Fighter was the first licensed character to appear in the Valiant Universe in 1991, but it was the third of the “Gold Key 3” to be introduced as Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD #1, dated February 1963.


Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD continued from issue #1, shown above, until issue #46 in 1977.

Although collectors may consider the “Gold Key 3” to have been integral to the original Valiant Universe of the 1990s, the three characters were always licensed properties which were not original Valiant creations. Each of the three characters was re-imagined again for comics published by Acclaim Comics after Valiant ended in 1996, and the Acclaim Comics lines ended in 1998 with only Turok continuing sporadic publication until 2002 to coincide with video game releases from Acclaim.

Following the Valiant and Acclaim licensing of the “Gold Key 3”, the three characters have been brought back by at least two other publishers since the year 2010, which have been unrelated to any Valiant stories past or present.

The Valiant Universe re-started in 2012 and published monthly has established a new Valiant Universe without the “Gold Key 3” which has lasted longer than either the original Valiant Universe of the 1990s or the Acclaim lines of Valiant Heroes comics.

A Guided Tour of Pre-Unity VALIANT, May 1991 to July 1992

The VALIANT UNIVERSE began in the early 1990s with a revival of the 1963 Gold Key title Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD.Gold Key
May 1991
The first comic in the Valiant Universe was Magnus Robot Fighter #1, with a cover date of May 1991.
Valiant
September 1991Gold Key


Valiant

Another Gold Key character Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom from 1962 was reimagined in Solar, Man of the Atom #1 for September 1991.
The first original Valiant universe character was Rai, first appearing on the flipside of Magnus #5 as a Rai #1 mini-series cover.

Rai is the earliest original Valiant character included in the current Valiant universe.

=flipbook=

October 1991
November 1991Solar #3 introduced Toyo Harada and the Harbinger Foundation.
December 1991Magnus #7 showed the first X-O Commando armor, worn by the first Spider-Alien shown with four fingers on each hand. X-O Commando armor is a lower class than the X-O Manowar armor.
January 1992Harbinger #1 was the first original Valiant universe title, introducing five teen Harbinger renegades: Peter, Kris, Faith, Charlene (Flamingo), and Torque.
February 1992X-O Manowar #1 followed as the second original Valiant title with the first appearance of Aric of Dacia and the first appearance of the X-O Manowar armor.
March 1992Rai #1 was the third regular series Valiant title, following the Rai four issue mini-series published as the flipside of Magnus #5-#8.

May 1992Shadowman #1 presented Jack Boniface as Shadowman, the same month as his brief appearance as a jazz musican in X-O Manowar #4.
Magnus #12 re-introduced Turok, first appearing in Four Color #596 from Dell Publishing in 1954.

Harbinger #6 included the death of Torque, one of the renegade teenagers.
Harbinger #1 through #6 include coupons for Harbinger #0 Pink edition.


Solar #10 introduced the Eternal Warrior (Gilad) and Geomancers Buck and Geoff McHenry.
Solar #10 had a second printing six months later.
The solid black cover is embossed, and the second printing has Roman numeral II on the cover.



June 1992
July 1992Archer & Armstrong #0 is the first issue and the first appearance of Obadiah Archer and Armstrong (Aram Anni-Padda). A gold edition of 5,000 copies was also released as the earliest dated Valiant retailer premium.



Valiant comics with cover dates through July 1992 are Pre-Unity Valiant, indicating their publication prior to the Unity crossover storyline. A complete set of Pre-Unity Valiant comics is 54 books.

In alphabetical order:
Archer & Armstrong #0
Harbinger #1 – #7
Magnus #1 – #14
Rai #1 – #5
Shadowman #1 – #3
Solar, Man of the Atom #1 – #11
Vintage Magnus #1 – #4
X-O Manowar #1 – #6

Harbinger #1 – #6 and Magnus #1 – #8 included coupons for sendaway books (Harbinger #0 and Magnus #0), so those books often have the coupons cut out of the interior. Without the coupons, the books are considered damaged and are less valuable than intact copies.
The 51 comics shown above were released prior to the Unity storyline beginning with Valiant comics dated August 1992. Three additional limited edition books were written prior to Unity, but were released later with special distribution. These three are usually included in the Pre-Unity list of 54 comics.

Magnus #0 exists with and without a trading card insert. The trading card was included in the sendaway edition of Magnus #0 and the retailer edition of Magnus #0 does not contain the trading card. The version including the trading card has higher average sale prices.

Harbinger #0 was reprinted later with a different cover featuring dark blue clouds and the title “HARBINGER” written in red. Despite also stating “1992” on the cover, the blue clouds version is a more common reprint from mid-1993 and not a Pre-Unity comic. The original 1992 Harbinger #0 sendaway edition has pink clouds and the title “HARBINGER” written in blue on the cover.

The only difference between Archer & Armstrong #0 (regular edition) and Archer & Armstrong #0 Gold edition is the upper left information box on the front cover with the gold background.

    

A quick-reference printable page for 1991-1992 first appearances is available.

QUICK LINK: The Valiant 1991-2002 comics are listed on a single page here.
QUICK LINK: The Valiant 2012-present comics are listed on a single page here.

Welcome to Valiant101.com!

This website is intended to provide basic information to collectors of Valiant Comics, particularly the original Valiant Universe published in the 1990s.

The first thing to know is that VALIANT was originally spelled with all capital letters, according to VALIANT founder Jim Shooter. References to VALIANT usually indicate the earliest Valiant Comics of the 1990s, but the all-caps VALIANT spelling is generally avoided by collectors online in the “Internet Age” since all-caps usually indicates shouting, or an acronym, rather than a brand name style.