I've been a steady reader of the Top Cow Universe titles since they rebooted their books a few months back. Instead of starting with new number one issues, their world was quite literally remade, creating a great jumping on point for new readers. Matt Hawkins, the president and COO of Top Cow Productions, helmed the panel at the New York Comic Con discussing what's in store for these titles going into the next year. Joining Hawkins was David Hine and Jeremy Haun, the creative team behind The Darkness, Ron Marz, the writer of Artifacts, and Tim Seeley, the writer of Witchblade.
After some technical difficulties that resulted in Hawkins playing a video and pointing his mic at his laptop to get sound, the panel began. There's an animated series in the works with MTV for September Mourning. I don't fully understand this project. It looks like there's a musician component. Hine wrote the comic, but there's no artist yet.
There's going to be a spinoff series from the main Artifacts comic. This will also be written by Marz and illustrated by Nelson Blake II. There's no title yet, but it will deal with the Magdalena and Tom Judge. Marz threw out the title of "Judging Magdalena", which seems like as good a title as any.
On the Witchblade front, there are apparently some big announcements coming soon, but not a lot they could talk about. Some covers for new issues were shown, including one with Sara Pezzini in a baseball uniform. Seeley explained that they'd be dealing with the curse of the Cubs, but they couldn't put any logos on the book without getting sued.
The three main titles -- Witchblade, The Darkness, and Artifacts -- will have their first crossover soon, entitled Progeny. It will deal with the fact that in this remade universe Sara is no longer a mother. Before Jackie Estacado worked his magic, Hope was his daughter with Sara. That's not the case in this new world. That is going to be one uncomfortable episode of Maury Povich.
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Not much was mentioned about The Darkness outside of a recap of the current storyline. Hawkins sees this title as possibly the best that they're currently publishing and for good reason. It's been a great book so far and I've really been enjoying where it's going.
Artifacts has become the catch-all for everything that's not going on in Witchblade or The Darkness. It had started out as an event book, but they kept it going to continue picking up these other stories. It's been working out well, especially with the Rebirth line establishing some new continuity. There was some well-earned praise for artist Stjepan Sejic. He apparently lives in a mansion out in Europe and makes more money working for Top Cow than the leader of his country. He works very quickly and does everything digitally. Unfortunately for him, this means that he doesn't have original work that he can sell to fans at conventions like NYCC.
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The Darkness has been optioned for a feature film. Len Wiseman (Underworld) was attached at one point. There's a screenwriter working on it. Hawkins explained that right now he has 17 different projects in various stages of development, including film, TV, and video games. Of those, he hopes that maybe one of them will see the light of day. It's an unfortunate fact of the business.
There was a lot of Q&A about the Top Cow Talent Hunt, in which the company will select two writers and two artists to work on an upcoming Artifacts spin-off title. If you're interested, you can check out its website to submit your work.
This panel was very relaxed, but not on life support like the Vertigo panel. It's clear that Top Cow has found a great niche with its titles. The talent involved realizes what they do well and what place they have in the industry. They just want you to check out some cool comics. There are several places online where you can read some of the Top Cow Rebirth issues for free. Once you check them out, you're going to want to read more. I can attest to that.
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