Top Cow recently kicked off its Pilot Season initiative with Jason Aaron's "Pilot Season: Ripclaw" #1, the first of six one-shots Image Comics is publishing over the next couple of months, spotlighting underused Top Cow characters. Later, fans will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite installments, and the winning characters will get new ongoing series. In the second part of our Pilot Season coverage, CBR News sat down with Joe Casey about his contribution, "Pilot Season: Velocity" #1.
Velocity (aka Carin Taylor) first appeared in Marc Silvestri's "Cyberforce" back in the mid '90s when Image began. She and the rest of her Cyberforce teammates received cybernetic implants from the dubious corporation, Cyberdata. In Carin's case, the implants granted her superhuman speed.
Writer Joe Casey has had a long history with the character. "When I was first trying to break in to writing comics professionally, Top Cow was actually the closest comic book company to where I lived, so I actually pitched a few things to them," Casey told CBR News. "One of those was a Velocity story. Probably because she was the closest thing to a traditional superhero that Top Cow had, it just seemed like a character I could contribute something to."
Casey didn't have any luck selling those early pitches, but now, ten years later, the established writer is finally getting to tell his Velocity story. "Only this time, it's being drawn by Kevin Maguire," Casey said. "Closure can be a sweet thing, indeed. "
Casey has known Top Cow's Matt Hawkins for a number of years now, but it was only about a year ago that the two started talking about the writer doing some work for Top Cow. " Then the concept of Pilot Season came up and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity," Casey said. "I knew I didn't want to write the same type of book that Top Cow was known for. It's just not my style. So, the whole Pilot Season idea is designed to bring new voices to Top Cow and I was happy to take part in it."
Casey didn't want to give away too much of the story, but he did drop a few hints. "I can tell you this much: In this story, we'll see what happens when superheroes try to date civilians. We'll also see Velocity become an unwilling pawn in a mad revenge scheme. And, of course, there's all sorts of super-speed gags that would make the late, great John Broome proud."
Despite the fact that Velocity has a long history in the Top Cow universe, Casey promises that readers need know very little of that continuity to be able to follow his story. " All the reader has to know is that she's a speedster superhero with a cybernetic implant," Casey said. "But we get that across in the first few pages and get right into the action. This story is all about having some classic superhero fun." Additionally, none of her former teammates will be showing up in "Pilot Season: Velocity" #1. "This one is all-Velocity, all the time."
Since not all of the Pilot Season books are guaranteed to get their own ongoing series, each individual issue is designed to be a stand-alone story. "But in terms of general approach, the style of Velocity story we're telling, that could certainly continue if we win the grand prize," Casey said.
Casey's primary strategy for winning fans' favor is crafting a compelling story. "I tend to front-load these things as best I can," the writer said. "I wrote the hell out of this thing and made sure we had, in my opinion, the best artist of the bunch. I don't think you can do better than Kevin Maguire on art."
Indeed, Casey fought long and hard to get the artist for "Pilot Season: Velocity" #1. Casey and Maguire worked together once before, on a fill-in issue of "Gen 13" eight years ago. "I did everything I could short of human sacrifice to get Maguire on this thing," Casey said. "I'm such a huge fan of his art. I think I was halfway through the script when he finally signed on, but I'd been writing it for him the entire time. And maybe in another eight years, we'll get to work together again."
Pilot Season isn't the only thing on Casey's horizon. "There's 'Godland,' ongoing from Image Comics --trust me, it's still ongoing," Casey joked. Early next year, Casey is releasing two new original graphic novels through Image, "Krash Bastards" and "Nixon's Pals." He'll also be helming January's "Youngblood" re-launch with artist Derec Donovan. September marks the release of the first of six issues of Casey's "Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin," which features art by Eric Canete. "And there's another top secret Marvel project on the horizon, too, one I feel like I've been working toward for most of my career."
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