CCI: Top Cow Bares It All Friday

Top Cow Productions shared sneak previews of several upcoming projects from anime to comics to statues and even t-shirt at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday.

Starting with a clip from the upcoming "Witchblade" anime, the panel discussed how well received the series has been in Japan, generating ratings far above expectations.

"Witchblade is actually the first American property to be treated as an authentic property in Japan," said Top Cow President Matt Hawkins.

Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri had nothing but good things to say about the upcoming dubbed release for North America.

"The voice acting is amazing," Silvestri said. "Until you actually see the translated version, you really don't appreciate how gritty the story is."

Top Cow will be providing the cover art for all six DVDs of the American release.

The discussion moved on to "Freshmen," described by co-creator Hugh Sterbakov as "kinda like 'Revenge of the Nerds' meets 'X-Men.'" and "the greatest comic book of all time."

Moving back to the subject of comics, panel attendees got a look at some of the art in the upcoming "First Born" crossover story line from Stjepan Sejic. Written by "Witchblade" writer Ron Marz, the three-issue story will hit shelves in August.

"It's three issues. It's an easily understandable story. If you've never read an issue of Witchblade, you can pick it up."

Seth Green, Sterbakov's partner in "Freshmen," couldn't be at the panel due to his filming schedule, but did leave a video apology to everybody that missed him. Green promised to make it back to San Diego on Saturday for a signing.

In more "Freshmen" related news, Top Cow will be partnering with Clayburn Moore to make a line of busts featuring characters from the series, starting with "The Puppeteer." Panel attendees got to see a first hand look at the bust still in production.

Top Cow's "Pilot Season" will air begin in August. Described as "American Idol for comics," "Pilot Season" will take Top Cow characters without titles and give six of them a chance to gain their own monthly book. The six contestants are Ripclaw, Cyblade, Velocity, The Necromancer, Angelus, and Aphrodite IX. Voting for the books will begin next year.

With anime, television, and comics covered, video games were the next topic of discussion. Specifically, "The Darkness." Trailers of the game showing both the cinematic sequences and game play action were shown.

The panelists all said how happy they were with the work Starbreeze Studios had done with the game.

"We don't want any partners that are going to damage our properties that we hold so dear," said Silvestri.

On the movie front it was announced that the live action adaptation of "Wanted" was finished shooting. Starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film is set to release in March.

Before ending the panel with some giveaways, Top Cow had one final announcement. After sharing news on anime, comics, statues, television, video games, and movies, Top Cow announced that they will be partnering with Thunder Creek to produce a new Web site called TopCowGear.com which will allow users to purchase customized t-shirts.

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