Top Cow's second annual Pilot Season initiative consists of six one-shots by top industry creators featuring new or under-utilized Top Cow characters. After all six issues have hit stands, fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Pilot Season installments at the Pilot Season MySpace page, and the top two vote-getters will be awarded their own series. In our continuing coverage of Pilot Season '08, CBR News spoke to one of last year's winners, writer Joshua Hale Fialokov, about "Pilot Season: Alibi," a brand-new spy thriller featuring pencils by Jeremy Haun.
"Alibi" tells the story of the world's greatest assassin who is never called to task for his crimes. Until now. "When we start out, he's finally been caught and we find out how he's been doing it and how he's going to get away with it one more time," Fialkov said. "It's a real world spy book with some kick ass action, and a little bit of comedy to keep things moving."
Last year, Fialkov penned "Pilot Season: Cyblade," which ranked among the top two vote-getters in the first annual Pilot Season competition. "I struck up a great relationship with [editor] Rob [Levin] and the rest of the gang over at Top Cow," Fialkov said. "'Alibi' was a concept they'd been developing in house, and I think after Rob and I had a long talk about how much I loved spy stuff and lamented how little there is out there now, he sent over the basic concept. I loved it, and saw a huge amount of potential in the concept, so I pitched up my version and the rest is history. I'm really just psyched at the opportunity."
Fialkov said that "Cyblade" and "Alibi" are two completely different types of projects. "On something like 'Cyblade,' I got a chance to find what I related to with the existing character, and use that to help bridge the gap between what was written before and where I thought something interesting could be done," Fialkov explained. "With 'Alibi,' the whole world is open to you, and that gives the opportunity to make something much more personal and really use your own voice." On the other hand, Fialkov said working with an established character like Cyblade allowed him to "dive right into the fun" without having to devote much time to setup.
Fialkov told CBR News that plans for this year's "Cyblade" series continue apace. As much as he enjoyed writing "Pilot Season: Cyblade," Fialkov admitted the first issue of the series has a very different tone than the rest of the run. "The pilot issue, for me, was sort of a necessary evil in a lot of ways," Fialkov said. "It's the big action blast that leads into the heavier emotional stuff of the rest of the series. It's really just the story of two people with a deep connection, and a common enemy." That said, the writer promised the slow build of the new series will build to an action-packed finish. Artist Rick Mays, who lent his talents to "Pilot Season: Cyblade," is hard at work on the new series. "I'm immensely proud of the book, and I think that people are going to be surprised by it."
For the purposes of the pilot issue of "Alibi," the series is set in its own separate continuity from the regular Top Cow universe, but if Fialkov walks way a winner for the second year in a row, the writer said that folding the world of alibi into the Top Cow universe is not outside the realm of possibility.
As far as Fialkov is concerned, comics is a serial medium, and as such, he's chosen to end both of his contributions to pilot season on cliffhangers, fully realizing that whether or not he gets the opportunity to resolve them is up to the voters. "While comics should always have a self-contained arc in every issue, what keeps you coming back (and, in this case, coming out to vote) is a kickass cliffhanger," Fialkov said. "I think this one's a jaw dropper."
Even though Fialkov emerged victorious last year, the writer is anything but cocky. "Winning once is great, winning it twice falls somewhere between destiny and the beginning of some tragic hubris," the writer remarked. "It makes me feel like a character from an Aeschylus play. This year group of guys are simply amazing, and being in such great company reminds me just why I love this job so much."
"Pilot Season: Alibi" is on sale this week.
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