ECCC 2008: Top Cow Panel

The emphasis of Saturday’s Top Cow Comics panel at the Emerald City ComiCon was on their Pilot Season Project, though other series were promoted along with one or two surprising announcements.

Publisher Filip Sablik started the panel by screening a trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the Top Cow series “Wanted,” starring Angelina Jolie and James MacAvoy. Due to some technical difficulties, there was no sound accompaniment to the trailer, so Sablik quickly shifted his focus to the 2008 Pilot Season, a testing ground of sorts for new series that proved to be highly successful last year. The winners of last year’s contest are expected to start publishing in the fall.

Six self-contained issues will be coming out soon for this year's contest, with readers given the chance to vote on which one-shots should be promoted into ongoing series. This year, readers will be able to utilize an all-new voting interface on Myspace.com to select the winners. The prospective series’ are “Alibi,” “Genius,” “Lady Pendragon,” “Twilight Guardian,” “Urban Myths,” and “The Core.”

“Alibi” will be an espionage story starring the world’s best assassin, and “Genius” is a story from the writers of the Wildstorm series “The Highwaymen” that asks: what if this generation’s strategic military genius was a young black gang member in Compton?

Perhaps less controversial are “Lady Pendragon,” a fantasy story reviving the old Image Comics property, and “The Core,” a sci-fi political thriller from Jonathan Hickman, writer of the acclaimed series “The Nightly News.” Rounding out the line-up is “Urban Myths,” a Jay Faerber-written story that combines elements of noir detective fiction and Greek mythology, and “Twilight Guardian,” which follows a woman who decides to police her neighborhood as a real-life superhero.

“I don’t think you’ll find a more diverse group of comics anywhere,” Sablik said.

Sitting next to Sablik was artist Eric Basaldua, the penciller on the crossover miniseries “Witchblade/Devi” Top Cow is publishing with with Virgin Comics. Basaldua said that he has an upcoming gig working in the Ultimate Marvel universe, but he could not reveal what it was. A fan asked if he’d be drawing a lot of “webs,” to which Basaldua replied, “No” (ruling out the possibility that he’ll be drawing “Ultimate Spider-Man”).

Of Top Cow’s big summer event - “Broken Trinity” - Sablik said that “somebody important dies” and that a new, powerful artifact, along with a new character to wield that artifact, would be introduced into the Top Cow lore. “Broken Trinity” writer Ron Marz has a new series “Dragon Prince” coming out in the fall, as well as another creator-owned project that Sablik was staying tight-lipped about.

One thing he did let slip (by way of an explicit non-denial, wink included) is that a new video game featuring the Darkness is in the works since the last one was so successful. Additionally, there will be a “big” announcement about a Top Cow movie property early next week.

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