In the early 90s everybody and their mother were starting a superhero universe. There were some real standouts - I quite liked the Malibu and Impact Comics lines - but the gold standard was Valiant Comics. Jim Shooter, a guy who was apparently an asshole but who guided Marvel through a great period in the 1980s, launched this line using a bunch of old Gold Key Comics characters like Magnus, Robot Fighter and Solar, Man of the Atom. But for me the highlights were the original titles - Harbinger, a riff on the X-Men, X-O Manowar, who was Conan in the Iron Man armor and The Eternal Warrior, an immortal fighter who took part in all the great battles of history - that made Valiant truly special.
The most special of all these books was Archer & Armstrong. It was absolutely unique, had a totally wonderful tone and was never quite as appreciated as I thought it should be. It was a mismatched buddy comic - Archer was a monk who had complete control over his body and was an absolute expert with a bow and arrow, while Armstrong was the brother of the Eternal Warrior, but he squandered his immortality as a drunken goof. They make a terrible team, but that's what also makes them so much fun. The title was an adventure book, with lots of comedy along the way.
Valiant came back a couple of years ago; I must admit that my budget hasn't allowed me to keep up with their titles, but I keep hearing great things. And now they're branching out into movies - Valiant has commissioned a script for an Archer & Armstrong feature, and it happens to be written by a friend of mine, BenDavid Grabinski. I know BenDavid pretty well, and I think his style and outlook is exactly correct for this movie - he gets the idea of fun, he gets what makes buddy movies work, and he's been around long enough to know how to write a script. BenDavid's one of those guys who has been writing for a long time, but little that he's written has seen the light of day (he has done some directing you've seen, including the great short Cost of Living). Archer & Armstrong seems like an exciting opportunity for him.
The Sean Daniel Company is producing; they're the folks behind The Mummy and Best Man Holiday. Valiant is apparently retaining a lot of control, in the might Marvel Studios tradition, and that's only a good thing. I'm also sure they're looking to a larger cinematic universe - I wouldn't be surprised to find Gilly, aka the Eternal Warrior getting name-dropped in this film (I actually have no idea if he is. BenDavid won't tell me shit).
I never would have guessed we'd get the Valiant Universe onscreen! I'm pretty excited, and I hope we eventually end up with an X-O Manowar movie - that one just seems like it's begging to be adapted.