"Rising Stars" & Lionel Zerb Haunt Top Cow in April, 2005

Official Press Release

Top Cow Productions will release Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead April of 2005, with writer Fiona Avery (Amazing Fantasy, Amazing Spider-Man) and penciler Staz Johnson (Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus). Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead is a spin-off to the much acclaimed Rising Stars series by J. Michael Straczynski, and concentrates on the largely overlooked story of Lionel Zerb who until now, was always considered a freak in the Rising Stars universe.

As a direct conduit to the dead, Lionel Zerb helps as a Ghost Interpreter, helping people deal with hauntings and other "spirit" cases. But one day, Zerb stumbles upon a force greater than he ever expected, and is forced to confront an ancient spiritual power that brings him closer to an understanding about the mysteries of the universe, and near his own death.

"I hope to give some play to the world of Lionel Zerb, which feels like a whole universe unto itself, set within the greater Rising Stars world," says writer Fiona Avery. "Lionel's gift, the ability to speak with the dead, has been a great opportunity to explore a facet of myth that has always haunted readers; from Ebenezer Scrooge's ghosts of Christmas to The Sixth Sense".

"Fiona Avery has a great 'voice' for the Rising Stars characters, and Lionel Zerb is one of the most interesting and complex of the bunch. Just as a reader, I'm very much looking forward to this series," says Top Cow editor in chief, Jim McLauchlin.

Top Cow was founded in December of 1992 and currently publishes its line of comic books in 21 languages in over 55 different countries. The company has launched 20 franchises (18 original and 2 licensed) in the industry's Top 10, seven at #1, a feat accomplished by no other publisher in the last two decades. Its flagship franchise Witchblade was TNT's #1 original film of 2000. Virtually all of Top Cow's other properties are in development as feature films, live action television, animation or video games. Top Cow has also successfully licensed and merchandised its franchises into toys, statues, clothing, lithographs, puppets, posters, magnets, shot glasses, lighters, lunch pails, wall scrolls, mouse pads, die cast cars, calendars, Christmas ornaments, Halloween masks, trading cards, standees, video games and role playing games.

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