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. CBR News caught up with Troy Hickman to talk about his contribution to Pilot Season 2008, "Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian," on sale now.
"Twilight Guardian is a woman who suffers from OCD, exacerbated by traumatic events in her life, and because of it she feels compelled to patrol her nine-block neighborhood each night," Hickman told CBR News. "The book is about what her nocturnal life is like, and about the folks she encounters." Twilight Guardian is a distinctly different kind of superhero, and her enemies promise to be just as distinctive. If Twilight Guardian ever crosses path with a supervillain, "they're going to be the kind of supervillains who would exist in TG's universe, and, baby, that ain't Dr. Doom or the Purple Piledriver."
Unlike most of this year's contenders, "Twilight Guardian" did have a life before Pilot Season: the titular character appeared in two minicomics Hickman produced in the early '90s, "Tales of the Pathetic Club" #2 and "Twilight Guardian" #1. After successfully bringing Hickman's Holey Crullers scripts to fruition in the series "Common Grounds," Top Cow was quick to scour more of Hickman's early work for potential new projects, and Twilight Guardian fit the bill. "Eventually I think everything I've ever written is going to be brought back," Hickman said. "I'm set for life!"
Hickman said that "Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" is an amalgam of the character's two previous appearances, but will also feature new material. "It's really an entirely new creature, though," Hickman said, who wants to make sure the "two or three people who read her mini-comics feel like they're getting their money's worth!"
Top Cow VP of Editorial Rob Levin first approached Hickman about including "Twilight Guardian" in Pilot Season 2008, but Hickman suspects it was President Matt Hawkins who first put the bee in Levin's bonnet. "Literally," Hickman added. "The Top Cow offices are a strange place."
The goal of the Pilot Season one-shots is to whet the audience's appetite for a full series, so with "Twilight Guardian," Hickman set out to "give the readers a taste of TG's world that would hopefully leave them interested in seeing more."
"Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" takes place in its own distinct continuity from the Top Cow Universe. "Twilight Guardian has to live in a world of her own, and boy, does she!" Hickman said. "If you juxtapose her against people who can lift Mount Rushmore and fry an egg in their palm, it largely changes what she's all about."
In "Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian," Hickman has set up "elements from which to springboard into a series." That said, the writer insists the issue can be read and enjoyed in and of itself. "As is probably apparent from my 'Common Grounds' stories, I'm very fond of superhero stories, and stories in general, that are self-contained," Hickman said. "I think it has become something of a lost art in mainstream comics, but I'm glad to see that some folks are trying to bring it back."
"Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" is being penciled by Reza of Imaginary Friend Studios, and Hickman couldn't be happier with his collaborator. "I've really been happy with the artwork, especially the way the night becomes almost a character unto itself," Hickman said. "And TG looks perfect. She's not a glamazon superheroine with dueling casaba melons under her spandex, but rather an actual flesh-and-blood woman, just like you'd meet in line at the DMV!"
"Twilight Guardian" is "not as linear as a lot of more traditional comics," and Hickman said this could give readers the mistaken impression that "nothing happens" in the issue. "Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" hit stands last week, and Hickman says he's read reviews on both sides of the spectrum. "The reviews I've seen so far have gone all the way from, 'This is one of the best new comics I've seen in a long time,' to, 'Hickman? Let's burn down his house and devour his flaming children!" Hickman says "Twilight Guardian" is definitely a slow burn, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in emotional resonance. A series like this needs "more issues to develop the characters and story," and Hickman hopes he gets the chance to explore Twilight Guardian further.
Hickman is willing to do "just about anything" to promote "Twilight Guardian" in the Pilot Season competition. "I'll invite readers to read the bumps on my head," Hickman said. "I'll sing karaoke at your high school prom. I'll take on Jay Faerber in a Caribbean Strap Match. Whatever it takes."
As to the chances of "Twilight Guardian" emerging from the Pilot Season competition victorious? "Maybe if a meteor strikes down the entirety of my distinguished competition," Hickman said. "Freak astronomical occurrences, don't fail me now!"
"Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" is on stands now, and keep up to date on Pilot Season 2008 at http://www.myspace.com/pilotseason.
Read a five page preview of "Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian" right here on CBR.
Now discuss this story in CBR's Image Comics forum.