EXCLUSIVE: Top Cow Talent Hunt 2018 Winners Revealed

The fifth Top Cow Talent Hunt has come to a close, and CBR has the first details on the winners in each category.

This year, the first-place winner in the artist competition is Italian freelance illustrator Cecilia Lo Valvo, with New Orleans-based Jesse Elliot in second place. Minnesota-based writer Levi Fleming won the writing competition, with Stephanie Phillips, who recently successfully Kickstarted women's hockey graphic novel Kicking Ice, in second place.

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“Helping the next round of talent get exposure in the industry is very gratifying,” Top Cow President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Hawkins said in a statement. “There are so many people working in the industry that got their start at Top Cow that it makes me very proud. We'll continue to offer newcomers an opportunity that's very hard to come by.”

Ryan Cady, who has written Magdalena and Warframe for Top Cow and worked as an editor for the Marc Silvestri-founded Image Comics partner studio, served as a judge for this year's Talent Hunt.

"The Talent Hunt works, and I'm grateful for the part I can play in building up each new generation of artists and writers," Cady said in a statement. "These creators deserve a chance to boost their careers and show off their talent, and in an industry that can otherwise seem pretty intimidating, Top Cow provides that chance."

This past year's Talent Hunt was a two-stage competition, with applicants -- open to creators who had not yet been published by a major comics publisher -- able to submit their work to Top Cow from June 1 to Aug. 15 of last year. Candidates then received a paragraph of feedback from the publisher by Oct. 15, and had until Dec. 15 to submit a revised entry based on the feedback. Both writer and artist submissions were to be set in Top Cow's "Edenverse," with stories in the world of Postal, The Tithe, Samaritan, Eden's Fall or Think Tank. Artists submitted five pages from either Postal #9 or Postal #16.

Illustrations from the winner and runner-up of the artist competition follow below.

Cecilia Lo Valvo:

Jesse Elliot:

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