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In Praise Of Jim Valentino As He's In Hospital With Pneumonia

Jim Valentino, 71 year old co-founder of Image Comics, has been in the hospital recently, suffering with pneumonia.

Jim Valentino, 71 year old co-founder of Image Comics and creator of normalman, Shadowhawk and Touch Of Silver has been in the hospital recently, suffering with pneumonia. We'd like to wish him well from Bleeding Cool but also celebrate much of what he has acheived in his long career in comics. Certainly longer than anyone else at Image.

His early creator-owned work, including with Dave Sim, set the tone for what would come in the nineties and made him the man with teh experience in doing this sort of thing when Image Comics were being set up.

The Daily LITG, 28th October 2019, Happy Birthday Jim Valentino
Jim Valentino by Luigi Novi

But he wouldn't have been in the room with the other Image founders if it wasn't for his Guardians of the Galaxy comic at Marvel Comics which revived the property at an unlikely time and made it a hit. Donny Cates recently revisited much of it for his Cosmic Ghost Rider run. Long before Arakko, Guardians of the Galaxy had the Marvel mutants populating a planet ruled by Wolverine's daughter Rancor – thirteen years before there was an X-23 as well. While his issue with Rob Liefeld with What If… Wolverine Was an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D? was picked up by Mark Millar too.

People who owe a good chunk of their careers in comics to Jim Valentino include Image Comics President Eric Stephenson, Walking Dead/Invincible co-creator and Image partner Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Josh Williamson, Charles Soule, Kurtis Wiebe, Jimmie Robinson, Juan Ferreyra, Riley Rossmo and more, who all got their starts on his Shadowline imprint of comic books, and he has continued to hunt for new talent. We once made a bet to see if I could make Charles Soule's 27 comic book a "hot item" on eBay. I won. And Soule has never let me forget it.

Valentino also got me to smarten myself up at comic conventions. Asking me why jeans and a T-shirt was the only choice when I could suit up. I couldn't argue with that, at next year's San Diego Comic Con I did as much and sold my first comic book to Dark Horse while standing in line at Ralph's. I will still throw on a jacket or a proper shirt, and note that it always makes a difference at a place I never thought it would.

Jim Valentino also brought Alan Moore back to mainstream superhero comics with 1963, which then led to Supreme when Valentino was Extreme Studios EIC, which also led to The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, his run on WildCATS, Tom String, Promethea, Top Ten and more, as part of America's Best Comics.

Other titles he greenlit at Image Comics include Kirkman's The Walking Dead and Invincible, but also Brian Bendis and Michael Oeming's Powers, Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo's Tellos, Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows, John Romita Jr's The Gray Area, Warren Ellis and Chris Weston's Ministry Of Space, and everything that followed. Famously Valentino input into Invincible, according to Kirkman, was that he reveal that Omni-Man was the villain sooner, as opposed to in issue #25 as originally intended.

He is still publishing books through Image Comics, still finding new talent, still creating fresh new takes. But at a time when he may be feeling vulnerable, I wanted to show the man a little love from us all.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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