Written by: Ron Bricker
Due to a seating error, half of the panel started out without a table or microphones, which provided for plenty of moving around when anyone needed to talk. On the panel was Rob Levine (VP Editorial), Ron Marz (Witchblade), Matt Hawkins (President), Micheal Broussard (Darkness), Stjepan Šejić (Witchblade), Hugh Sterbakov(Freshmen), Marc Bernadin (Genius) and Jonathan Hale Fialkov (Alibi) with Phil Hester(Darkness) and Seth Green (Freshmen) arriving a bit late. While Hester didn’t have any good excuse, Seth Green apparently sat in the front of an Avatar panel, which no one told him, before he realized it was the wrong room. Top Cow’s publisher, Phillip Sablik, introduced the panel to a mostly full room and immediately started off with the latest Wanted trailer.
Once that was finished, Sablik got right into the current Pilot Season. For those that don’t know, Pilot Season is a series of #1s that get voted on to see which one gets to become a full ongoing series. Last years season focused on older Top Cow franchises, while this years is a batch of original ideas. Each book was shown off with some concept and internal art of the book to give the audience a feel of it. First up was Alibi which focuses on an assassin that can pull off any job with always having a perfect alibi (get it?) for where he was at the time. Genuis was the next book up and follows the idea that there is one great military mind in each generation. That person is just a natural tactician. But what happens if that great mind is a 16 year old girl living in South Central LA and decides to secede from the Union. Both of those books are due out in June. Lady Pendragon, written by Matt Hawkinds, follows the story of a sword found on Mars that unleashes magic back into the world when it is used by the Lady Pendragon. Lady Pendragon is due out in May. The last three didn’t have representatives on the panel, but they included: The Core, a sci-fi book written by fan-favorite Jonathan Hickman and with art by Madame Mirage artist, Kenneth Rocafort; Twilight Guardian about a girl that decides to patrol her suburban neighborhood; and Urban Myths, written by Jay Faerber (Dynamo 5), which mashes Greek Mythology with pulp.
Ron Marz then got up to speak about Witchblade and announced the he and artist Sejic would be on the book from #116-150 with no fill-ins. While he was talking there was a slide show of covers going by with one looking like Aphrodite IX and Sara Pezzini. Sablik asked Ron is it was Aphrodite IX and Ron said he thought it looked more like Aphrodite IV. Ron then went on to pimp the fact that the entire book, covers and interiors, are all fully painted pieces of art.
To show their commitment to getting books out on time, Sablik said that Matt Hawkins began a new policy that for every late book, Hawkins will give $500 of his own money to the Hero Initiative and for every full month of on time books, he would give $1000. So in a way, the Hero Initiative suffers if every book comes out on time which caused a bit of confusion among some of the panel.
Sablik then spoke briefly about Broken Trinity (Top Cow’s summer event) with Ron stating that the entire event will consist of 3 main issues and 3 tie-ins, bringing the total issues to 6. It will all be kicked off by a Free Comic Book Day preview issue and they promise at least one major death by the end of the series.
Seth Green and Hugh briefly spoke about the Freshmen Summer Special which pits the team against a giant plan that is one of the member’s sort of creepy girlfriend wannabe.
When the Darkness was brought up next, Matt Hawkins jumped in to eliminate my question for the panel by saying that while he couldn’t officially announce anything about a sequel to the Darkness videogame, a wink and a nod pretty much confirmed that a sequel is in the works.
Phil Hester then spoke about how they have stories planned out until at least issue #36 and the current "Empire" arc will end with issue #4 and send Jackie back to the US. He also said that a new major villain will be showing up within the next year.
Up next were some creator owned projects, the first being Dragon Prince from Ron Marz. He said that it originally started out at Dark Horse, but found its way to Top Cow. It was summed up with the idea that it’s a modern day fantasy crossing Ancient Chinese history with a modern day setting. And yes, there will be dragons. Star Fall, from writer/artist Randy Queen was announced. Not much was said aside from some beautiful preview art. Randy apparently takes some time to put out a book so it won’t be solicited until its completely finished so it isn’t expected until sometime next year.
Then there was some more time for a Q & A session.
When asked about other movies, Hawkins said that there are more in the works, but that there was nothing solid enough to announce yet.
In terms of other games, Hawkins said that Witchblade is the next franchise that is actively being worked on with Hunter/Killer likely to be the next game, with possibly a new comic in 2009.
The whole of the Top Cow universe is planned out through 2009.
Ron Marz will be writing a Magdelina book when he gets some time to do it, but a one-shot is on the way.
Phil Hester provided layouts for Broken Trinity and is working on a Daredevil/Magdelina crossover.
Inferno will be brought back next year with a collection of the original first 12 issues. Hawkins didn’t like the last 6 to bother collecting them.
Sadly, there is nothing to discuss in terms of a Necromancer book, but there are hopes that they will soon.
And then the angry people for the next panel, barged in, ending the Top Cow Editorial panel for NY Comiccon.