TADDEO MAKES A GO AT VALIANT
He tried for the CrossGen Universe, and now, word has come that John Taddeo has had the terms and conditions of his initial offer accepted by the trustee of the Acclaim estate to purchase the rights to the characters of the Valiant Universe.
The auction is currently set for mid-April.
Newsarama readers will recall that former Marvel Marketing Manager and former Tekno Comics staffer John Taddeo popped up most recently in September of last year when he made the initial bid ($500,000) for the assets of CrossGen Entertainment after it had filed for bankruptcy. Taddeo was a “stalking horse” in the bidding process with CrossGen, that is, it was hoped his bid would induce other parties to make their own bids for the CrossGen properties.
Ultimately, Taddeo was outbid, with Disney (through its subsidiary Cal Publishing, Inc.) winning the auction, and purchasing the assets of the company for $1 million.
Acclaim, meanwhile, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in early September of 2004, citing debts of more than $100 million. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires the bankrupt party to liquidate all of its assets. An auction of the company’s physical assets (furnishings, videogames, office equipment, etc) was held in early December of last year.
Acclaim purchased Voyager Communications, Inc., the parent company of Valiant in June of 1994, with hopes to develop the characters and series into a line of successful multi-media properties, first moving them to videogames. Market conditions essentially tanked shortly after the purchase, with Valiant titles taking massive hit, and virtually all being cancelled.
In 1996, Acclaim relaunched a handful of the Valiant characters under the Acclaim Comics Valiant Heroes moniker (aka Valiant Heroes 2 or VH2, the second being a rather unfortunate nickname, as it brought about images of the adult contemporary music channel, VH1), but by the end of 1998, seeing orders drop, Acclaim suspended its comic book line. It resurfaced briefly in 1999 with two titles as well as Unity 2000, which was to jump-start the line again, but in the end, only three of the announced six issues of Unity 2000 were published.
By 2002, Acclaim had relinquished the rights to Magnus, Robot Fighter, Turok and Solar, Man of the Atom to Western Publishing (now controlled by Classic Media) (which has since licensed Magnus to Dark Horse and iBooks), but retained ownership of the remainder of the Valiant characters, including Rai, Ninjak, Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Dr. Mirage, Eternal Warrior, Quantum and Woody, and others. Obtaining the copyrights to the properties will allow the winning bidder not only to resume exploitation of the characters in various media, but also allow for collection and publication of the original stories.
While Taddeo has remained behind the scenes since leaving the larger scope of comics, but as first reported in last Monday’s Lying in the Gutters, Taddeo is currently making plans to re-enter comics with his Assassination Entertainment.
Currently, the company’s major push is on its superhero title, Zoom Suit, written by Taddeo, with art by Bob Layton, Bart Sears, Billy Tucci, Billy Dallas Patton and Gene Colon. Along with the comic, a 70-minute Zoom Suit animated feature is being created for release in 2006. A 10-minute animated preview for the Zoom Suit. feature can be found at the company’s web site: www.assassinationentertainment.com.
Also, as previously reported, Taddeo, through Assassination Entertainment plans to release the comic series, America: Superpower, based on an idea originally owned by CrossGen Entertainment – and then called American Power.
Originally, the series was to have been written by Chuck Dixon, and illustrated by Greg Land, with a first issue to debut at 2004’s Free Comic Book Day. The comic caused a storm of controversy, mostly readers who found the company’s original cover (an obvious throwback to comic book covers of the World War II era) and solicitation information for the debut issue somewhat…nationocentric. The solicitation read:
Superstar artist Greg Land and master of action Chuck Dixon unleash America's new living weapons in the war against terror! They bomb civilians, hurt innocents, and spread fear. But those that have chosen to inflict pain will reap what they've sown! Now, the world's modern monsters will face a new, devastating and living arsenal! Supported by the technology, muscle and brainpower of the U.S. Armed Forces, the next stage in human evolution will scour the globe and deliver justice! Lock and load for high-stakes, high-explosive military action as the enhanced soldiers code-named Ivictus and Scapel
The new version of the series is to be written by New York Times best-selling author, Steve (Meg, Goliath) Alten, and will be illustrated by Alitha (Iron Man, Marvel Age Fantastic Four) Peter Palmiotti.
No release dates are set yet for either title.