Shooter is no longer editor-in-chief at Marvel. The fallout wasn't pretty and he's basically become a pariah in the business. He dabbles in some freelance work before deciding to make a concerted effort to buy Marvel.
Things are looking pretty good for Shooter and his partners. The purchase looks to be going their way. When the dust settles, Shooter's team has lost out to Ron Perelman's Andrews Group. What to do with all this money? Start a new comic company.
Unfortunately, Shooter's partners and financial backers didn't share the same super-heroes vision that Shooter did. Valiant originally produced comics with characters licensed from Nintendo and the WWF. Hardly making a blip on the financial radar, the group finally decides to give super-heroes a try.
Licensing some old Gold Key characters, Shooter begins development of the Valiant Universe. Magnus the Robot Fighter is their first regular series followed a few months later by Solar, Man of the Atom. Harbinger and X-O Manowar debuted a few months after that and the universe really starts to take shape.
Sales were not record-setting by any means. The other partners were growing more and more concerned as time and money slipped away. Shooter convinced the team to keep going. His plan to incorporate the Unity crossover into the universe coming to fruition.
By the time Unity hits stores, Valiant has 8 regular series in publication. Each series carries two chapters of the Unity crossover. Couple that with the two bookends Unity 0 and Unity 1 and you have 18 chapters of arguably the greatest crossover ever told.
Sales are truly now record-setting. Valiant is swimming in publicity and more importantly money. Valiant and Shooter are winning industry awards and blazing a trail for the future of comics books. Meanwhile, the other partners are seeing an opportunity to sell and make a quick profit.
Valiant's first super-hero book was published in May 1991. Unity was published in August and September of 1992. By 1993, Shooter had been forced out. After Shooter's departure, the remaining partners continued to build upon Shooter's creations, but many fans will tell you that the books began to slowly deteriorate.
By the end of 1996, Valiant was in shambles. Acclaim purchased Valiant and relaunched the line in early 1997 under the name Acclaim Comics Valiant Heroes. This relaunch ran until late 1998. Another relaunch was attemped in early 1999 and by the time 2000 rolled around, Acclaim had had enough. The head honchos at Acclaim brought Shooter back into the mix to try and fix all the continuity and sagging sales problems. Shooter was to write a six-issue mini-series titled Unity 2000. Issues 1 through 3 were published before Acclaim decided to put a stop to everything. The entire six-issue Unity 2000 plot is available in a pdf for download.
The collector's consensus divides Valiant into two sections. The first is Valiant Heroes 1 (VH1) which includes everything published from 1991-1996. After the Acclaim purchase, everything from 1997-2000 is lumped into Valiant Heroes 2 (VH2.) VH1 itself is divided along the Unity crossover into a pre-Unity and post-Unity section.
This site is only going to focus on the years 1991 and 1992 because that was the only point in time that Valiant was truly Shooter's universe.