WW Chicago: Right Cross - ChrisCross talks "Velocity"

Last year, Top Cow held their first annual Pilot Season competition, in which a series of one-shots by top industry talent, featuring under-utilized Top Cow characters, competed for chance for a full-blown series in 2008. The top two vote-getters were "Pilot Season: Cyblade" and "Pilot Season: Velocity." At WizardWorld Chicago this weekend, it was announced that writer Joe Casey will be joined on the upcoming "Velocity" series by artist ChrisCross. CBR News caught up with ChrisCross, who brought us up to speed.

Some time ago, ChrisCross' friend Joseph Illidge had put the artist in touch with Top Cow editor Rob Levin. Ever since, Levin has been looking for a project for ChrisCross, pitching the artist several project ideas, but it was "Velocity" that jumped out at him. Due to outstanding commitments to Humanoids Publishing, ChrisCross had narrowly missed an opportunity to work with Joe Casey on "Earth's Mightiest Heroes II" back in 2006, and when ChrisCross was first offered "Velocity," it looked like history was going to repeat itself. "At the time, I was bogged down with Big City Comics' 'Tainted' mini-series, and I couldn't jump on anything right then without the power of Madrox the Multiple Man," ChrisCross said. "But something finally fell my way and I managed to convince Rob not to let anyone else get that book."

"As soon as I let Casey know that I was down to do the project, we screamed like blonds on 'The Hill,'" ChrisCross continued. "Then we calmed down just enough to talk about how cool it would be to work with one another finally and make the project special. And Rob [Levin] shook his pom-poms too."

ChrisCross said he was not familiar with the "Cyberforce" speedster before landing the gig on the new series, so his learning curve was decidedly steep. "I had to get a copy of the 'Velocity' one-shot to catch up to what I think Casey had in mind," ChrisCross said. "I haven't gotten a script yet, so I'm clueless as to how the spirit of the book will be. I guess I'm just going to have to wing it, go in with whatever fresh history that Casey will come up with and spend lots of time re-imagining a lot of the villains from time to time."

ChrisCross has also re-imagined Velocity herself, which he said has as much to do with Casey's influence as it does with his own. "I retooled her hair and her uniform a bit, and gave her some real shoes for running," ChrisCross said. "I don't know how Flash was able to run that fast in those hideous boots. Now, Velocity, her sneaks are fierce, girlfriend!"

Since ChrisCross has yet to see a script for "Velocity," he wasn't able to shed much light on the plot for the new series. "But I'm mentally preparing myself," ChrisCross said. "Because if Casey is writing anything like his run on 'WildCATS,' I need to be ready. I'm sure it's going to be a doozy. He's going to be pushing me, and I'm going to push his writing."

"I'm just trying to get my mind pliable enough to amp up the dynamics for the gig," ChrisCross continued. "Watching tons of movies, anime, and coming up with ways to add something different to my work so it doesn't look altogether the same as the last gig." ChrisCross said he needs to keep his work fresh, both for the benefit of himself and the audience.

It's still too early to speak to his collaboration with Casey, but ChrisCross has had a few preliminary discussions with the writer, and believes he and Casey are definitely on the same wavelength. ChrisCross told CBR News that "this project had to happen," because both creators are such big fans of the other's work. "I think we have a lot to create in the coming years," ChrisCross said, with a wink and a nudge to Joe Casey.

In addition to preparing for "Velocity," ChrisCross is finishing up his Humanoids commitments, and developing some creator-owned work of his own. The first issue of "Velocity" is scheduled for release this November.

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