As long as comic book movies continue to diversify, superhero fatigue will never take hold.
In the early ’90s, while Marvel and DC Comics struggled with the departure of their superstar artists and the formation of Image, Valiant Comics entered the scene to offer yet another avenue for fans to spend their dollars. The publisher’s strategy was to cannibalize the tried and true concepts that supported the big two companies for decades and revitalize them for a more extreme era. Snap into a slim jim!
The thought was that anything Marvel could do, Valiant could do better. Do you like The Punisher? Meet Bloodshot. Daredevil is rad, but Ninjak is radder. The Uncanny X-Men ruled the playgrounds, but Harbinger was adult-serious and elevated the terror of mutation to DEFCON one. Valiant Comics was determined to ride the wave of the booming speculative market and grab all this new attention that was flooding local comic book stores.
The bubble burst, and Valiant went with it.
But now they’re back! In 2005, a gang of entrepreneurs purchased the label and reformed the company in yet another attempt to absorb the newfound popularity of superhero cinema. They hired a variety of hip comic book creators to dust the cobwebs off their characters and get them ready for primetime. Ten years beyond the relaunch, we’re still waiting for Valiant’s first silver screen entry.
Back in January, Vin Diesel promised to bring Bloodshot before cameras. Now, according to Deadline, a popular spinoff character from Harbinger is gearing up for development. Faith, the first plus-sized superhero, is a master of levitation. Not only can she fly, but she can float objects and people within her “companion field.” While other ’90s heroes spent most of their panel space brooding on the misery of their existence, Faith tackled adventure with an aggressively positive disposition. That alone made her an incredible breath of fresh air.
The character discovered an intense fanbase a few years back and was finally granted her own solo series. In 2016, that title was named Best Comic by Nerdist, Vox, Uproxx, and Barnes & Noble. She has arrived.
The current series is written by Jody Houser with art by Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage. Faith has fled from the Harbinger Foundation to the bright lights of Los Angeles and is masking herself in a life similar to Clark Kent. With her days preoccupied in reporting the news, Faith takes to the skies at night to right the wrongs she can’t bear to detail on the job.
Sony Pictures has partnered with Valient Entertainment and is pushing full-steam ahead in the superhero business. They’ve got their Spider-Verse in one pocket, and Faith in the other. They’re hoping this life-affirmative addition to the scene will satisfy the needs of those looking for something a little different.
Studios have been promising a more female-driven field in the genre for years. Wonder Woman kicked down the door last year, and Captain Marvel is looking to slay next summer. We’ve been told that Black Widow is coming and that more than 50% of the MCU will soon be populated by women. However, we’re tired of waiting for these promises to get fulfilled.
A Faith film would go a long way in easing superhero cinema fatigue. Not only would it diversify regarding gender, but also body type. Few of us are the skinny sticks we see on TV. If the landscape refuses to evolve to representation, the ground will fall out. As they did in the n’90s, teenage boy fantasies have run their course.