Interview With Gregg Katzman – Valiant’s Marketing Manager Talks the BLOODSHOT Movie, the SHADOW MAN Remaster, and More
Comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment has a whole lot going on besides comics. Sure, they have the whole Year of Heroes comic book initiative happening with new series debuts like Doctor Tomorrow, Quantum & Woody, and plenty more to come, but there’s also the recently released Bloodshot movie and announced SHADOW MAN Remastered video game. With so much going on at Valiant, we sat down for an interview with Gregg Katzman, Valiant’s Marketing Manager, about those happenings and what’s next for the publisher.
Outright Geekery: We’re certainly living in a historical moment in time. First off, how are you and everyone else at Valiant feeling and dealing with the global Pandemic? How is the company dealing with the disruptions to the industry?
Gregg Katzman: Valiant has been putting the health and safety of its employees above everything else. Thankfully, we all have the ability to work from home, so we’re operating at 100% and keeping in constant communication with each other. As for the industry, what we’re facing right now is an unprecedented set of circumstances. The entire team has been taking steps to adapt to this rapidly changing landscape.
In Marketing, we know how challenging this time is for everyone, so we’re providing free PDFs every single day so people have some free entertainment. These aren’t just single issues either, we’re giving away entire trades. We’re also discussing several other things that I can’t reveal yet. Right now, we need to do everything we can to help people through this difficult time. The Sales team is in daily communication with retailers to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to support them. Retailers are the backbone of this industry.
Nothing is more important right now than making sure retailers are supported while also looking out for the health and safety of all comic fans and creators.
OG: Bloodshot is out, it’s not been the ideal release, things have certainly changed with a digital VOD release announced, everyone knows how much work and passion went into this movie, what are the thoughts and feelings around Valiant with the way everything developed?
GK: Everyone at Valiant is absolutely blown away that Bloodshot is the #1 worldwide movie. We have nothing but love and appreciation for everyone involved in making the movie, as well as all of the previous Valiant staff and creators who contributed to Bloodshot’s story and the creation of this film. Obviously, this is a HUGE moment for Bloodshot’s co-creators Kevin VanHook, Bob Layton, and Don Perlin! I’ve been lucky enough to speak with those guys are they’re all amazing. Now that the first Valiant movie is out there, there’s some exciting stuff on the horizon, but let’s save those details for another time… What I can say is that our parent company, DMG Entertainment, has been super ambitious about the Valiant Universe and has their eye on some characters in particular…
Nothing ever succeeds without support from the fans, though. The dedication, energy, and passion that Valiant fans have shown for the first Valiant movie ever is absolutely surreal. Seeing all of the pictures of those fans going to the theaters and sharing their honest thoughts of the movie has been such a joy. Now that Bloodshot is hitting digital on March 24th, we can’t wait for people to check it out for the first time or rewatch it all over again. This is a tremendous opportunity for comic book movie fans to step into the Valiant Universe. If anyone is reading this and they haven’t checked out a Valiant comic yet, go here to read THE VALIANT, an awesome event that features Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, and more – for free.
OG: Yes, it’s early, but do you think we’ll see a Bloodshot sequel? What’s the current outlook on spinoffs or new films? Is Faith still in the works? I know everyone here wants to see an Eternal Warrior streaming series in the worst kind of way.
GK: As much as I’d love to talk about this, it really isn’t my place to reveal news about films that are in development. What I can say I’ve personally asked Dan Mintz (Chairman and CEO of Valiant Entertainment) who his favorite Valiant character is and he had a lot of good things to say about the Immortal Brothers…
As someone who was a Valiant fan before joining the company, this is such a thrilling time to be part of the team.
OG: News dropped this week about the Shadow Man video game being remastered. How did that idea develop in-house?
GK: This has been in the works for a while now, and we can all thank Russell Brown, Ed Casey, Oliver Taylor, DMG Entertainment, and our friends at Nightdive Studios for making this happen. As someone who joined the company as a Valiant fan first and foremost, keeping my mouth shut about this stuff has been such a challenge. Anyway, when it comes to bringing back classics, Nightdive Studios has a tremendous reputation. In fact, they’re behind the Doom 64 preorder bonus that everyone gets with Doom Eternal!
OG: Nightdive Studios is working on the Shadow Man remaster, what attracted the team to that studio, and can you tell us anything more about the project?
GK: Nightdive Studios is legitimately enthusiastic about bringing classics back and it’s been a real pleasure working with them. More info will be revealed in due time…
OG: You guys are also working with Blowfish Studios for some new game projects. Same question, why Blowfish, what can you tell us about those projects, and who’s next in terms of 3rd party studios for Valiant projects? Are there plans to establish an internal development studio or to continue to partner with other companies?
GK: What I can tell you is that I’ve seen character models and read some very detailed documents about the first game. I can’t give away more details or other collaborations we have in the works, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes right now. This first console game from Blowfish Studios is unlike anything that has been released before that features these characters… that’s all I can say.
OG: The comic universe is shared, in that context, will there be a Valiant Game Universe? Are there a certain character(s) that you want to make central to establishing a video game franchise?
GK: A game featuring the entire universe would be a dream come true, but I’ve gotta plead the fifth here.
OG: Is there a particular gaming genre that you believe would complement Valiant’s stable of characters the best?
GK: The sky really is the limit because each character really does embrace a different genre. Whether it’s an action-RPG, third-person, first-person, or even a real-time strategy game, the opportunity to play as these characters is so exciting. I’m really looking forward to you guys learning more about the projects that are being developed.
OG: With all of these projects in other mediums, will Valiant continue to be focused on comics, and how will the source material feed into these other projects in terms of cross-promotion and the like? Are we talking in-book digital redemption codes for games, stories crossing over between mediums, all of the above?
GK: Comics are and always will be the primary focus at Valiant Entertainment. After all, without the comics, none of these other projects would exist. Our expansion beyond the panels has only just begun, and every step will be a collaborative experience that will always aim to make sure fans of a video game, movie, or another project also have easy access to the relevant source material and other reading recommendations. For Bloodshot, Sony has been a phenomenal partner during the entire process. I mean, one of the movie posters has a code on it that people can scan to get a free Bloodshot comic! As far as I know, that has never been done before.
OG: Right now you have a Bloodshot promotion with Hot Topic, what other licensing/promotions do you have in the works for merchandise? Do you ever think we will see Valiant Funko Pops?
GK: There are some really cool announcements being worked on. I can’t spoil them yet, but there are some fun plans for action figures, apparel, and more. We would love to have Funko Pop figures of Valiant characters! Nothing is set in stone at the moment but never say never…
OG: Finally, what else does VE have planned for the TV, movie, and gaming screen, or anything else?
GK: I can only say the news that is already out there: Sony is releasing Bloodshot digitally on March 24th; Paramount is developing Harbinger; Nightdiv
Question for this interview were provided by the Outright Geekery staff.