On January 26th, Valiant Entertainment announced a wide new swath of international publishing partners bringing their comics to an impressive array of of new markets. Valiant has never made a secret of their goal to have international scope, and their partnership with DMG Entertainment, a Beijing-based company, for making their films and bringing them to a global market has been a clear indication of that goal.
With no fewer than 10 new markets added, including Pakistan, China, India, Brazil, Korea, Spain, Japan, and Russia, their new reach will be enviable. What does this mean to the American market? Firstly, it’s quite possible that it will turn more international attention toward American comics in general, and readers in the countries where Valiant books will now be appearing on shelves and digital platforms may be more willing to try out non-Big Two comics that crop up. It’s a potential inroad toward a more global market, or rather the USA joining a global market more fully, since many countries are already more engaged in a global comics market than we are.
Secondly, and a more immediately practical observation, is that publishing Valiant comics in these new territories will put books on the shelves ahead of the international release of their new films, and possibly even in time to watch their upcoming webisodes online featuring Valiant characters. While that seems like a no-brainer for publishers–to make comics available at the same time their films are getting maximum attention in theaters–it’s a plan that publishers haven’t always managed to time properly, with brand new comic readers going into shops to find trades are sold out or simply not available widely. Which is a massive missed opportunity for recruiting new comics readers or simply exposing current readers to new reading options.
But lastly, when you look at the big picture of the films being made by Valiant Entertainment, and their relationship to the key characters being published in Valiant’s comics–the fact that Valiant have set up this film-comics relationship internationally and on a large scale establishes precedent for other companies to follow. Mid-sized publishers may be inspired to use international resources wisely and tap into the formula companies like Marvel have followed, even if they have a less gargantuan budget than Marvel.
In all of these cases, the addition of a number of new international publishing partners for Valiant just reminds us of possibility–that focusing solely on the American market may only entrench a myopic vision of comics and even exclude possibilities that could bring increased vitality to the American market as well.