Led by Top Cow and Image Comics founder Marc Silvestri and Top Cow president Matt Hawkins, the publisher detailed several of its upcoming series and plans at San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, including the launch of new imprint Top Cow Discover, which will crowdfund projects for newcomers to the medium.
Joining Silvestri and Hawkins on stage were writers Marc Bernardin ("Genius"), Ron Marz ("Witchblade'), editor and colorist Betsy Gonia, Richard Brown from Evergreen Studios and singer/writer Emily Lazar from the musical act "September Mourning."
Top Cow Discover will be entirely fanbacked and fundraised to help new creators get their projects off the ground. The Top Cow team expects to have the imprint fully up and running soon. "You guys out there who have a comic book and don't know how to do it, well do it for you," said Silvestri. The imprint is currently open for submissions. Top Cow will also open their talent hunt soon with details to be announced in September 2014 with the contest closing in February 2015.
The imprint will kick off with the two projects: "The Tithe," which Silvestri describes as a cross between the films "Heat" and "The Town," except they rob churches; and a series of sketches from Silvestri called "The Daily Gorb."
"Its all about finding love and looking forward to it," said Silvestri. The sketches are little note pad drawings that Silvestri leaves at home for his wife, who then adds captions. "Something you can share with your loved ones because you're too damned lazy to do it yourself," he joked.
Discover will rely on social media for fundraising, but Top Cow's "September Mourning" titles will be a truly multimedia, multiplatform experience. Lazar will release an album through Virgin with lyrics that tie into the narrative of the comic. "There's this constant epic battle between fate and humanity and she's caught right in the middle of it," said Lazar of the lead character. The central figure in the comic is a drawn rendering of Lazar in her stage makeup. The first issue will be available for free to both retailers and consumers.
Marc Bernardin described "Genius" as having a very specific concept: "every generation gets its military genius -- what if our military generation was born in South Central LA and decides to secede three blocks?" said Bernardin. A free preview is currently available online.
Top Cow also displayed pages and a preview of Larime Taylor's "A Voice in the Dark," the first trade of which is now on stands. In the series, a college student resists her instinct to kill until circumstances at her university drag her into violent circumstances. "A young woman who is starting college and also becoming a serial killer," said Taylor. "The first arc is about how she falls off the wagon and does kill again." The second arc starts in September.
In February, Top Cow launches the new "Magdalena" arc by Ron Marz. "Magdalena was the character I wanted to write more than 10 years ago when Top Cow first asked me to write for them," he said. "The story will be pushed more in the direction of really cool monsters and things that go bump in the night."
Hawkins discussed Top Cow's Sci-Fi tie-in series "Tales of Honor," based on the novels by David Weber. He promised more "realistic" space battles than what you might see at the multiplex. The second arc begins in January.
New series coming from Top Cow include "American Legends," which has Lewis and Clark plots and Davy Crockett stories; "Chronicles of Hate," a new fantasy graphic novel from an author Silvestri discovered online (The novel is a "great epic adventure, unusual great main character" according to Hawkins); and just in time for Halloween, "Cutter" by Robert Knapton, which focuses on the story of woman who comes back to avenge her past, violently.
Next year marks the 20th Anniversary of "Witchblade." A new arc will soon reintroduce Sarah Pezzini to the Witchblade. The title will also feature a crossover with "The Darkness." (Silvestri announced separately that he is still involved in the film development of that title.)
Also due soon is "Cyber Force" #10. "There is a connection that runs directly into the crossover, 'Aphrodite IX' and 'Cyber Force,' stuff that's connected 100 years apart," said Hawkins.