Top Cow’s most devoted fans showed up this Saturday for the Top Cow panel at Wizard World Philly, where the Cow touted its new “Pilot Season” line of books featuring a launching of several new concepts to see what survives in the market, as well as their upcoming summer event “Broken Trinity.” The panel featured Mel Caylo, senior VP of Marketing, writer Ron Marz, artist Nelson Blake and Editorial VP Rob Levin.
The panelists jumped right in with previews of the new “Pilot Season” titles. Each new title, they announced, can be voted on through Top Cow’s website. “But we’d prefer that you buy them all before you vote,” Caylo said with a smile. “Informed voting is always best.”
The first title was “Alibi,” a returning title from the previous year’s “Pilot Season.” “Alibi” was created by Top Cow CEO Matt Hawkins and is being released in late June.
Another book created by Top Cow CEO Hawkins is “Lady Pendragon.” The book was originally published for Image, “but it’s getting a new life here in pilot season,” Caylo said. The story is about a novelist named Jennifer Drake who pulls a sword from a stone in modern times. “There’s a lot of destiny at play,” Levin said of the title. “It takes place in the near future so things kind of go crazy once magic gets back into the world.” Reflecting this promise, the preview image featured jets battling knights riding dragons in the modern world.
The next book in the presentation was “Genius,” written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman, the creators of the Top Cow series “Highway Men.” “Genius” is the story of a girl who declares war on the social problems of her neighborhood. “And the art is awesome,” Levin said. “It’s going to knock some socks off.”
“The Core” is a title by Jonathan Hickman, the author of Pax Romana. The story centers on a marine who travels to the center of the universe where he meets a variety of alien races. This is followed by “Twilight Guardian” by Troy Hickman (no relation to “The Core” scribe mentioned above). The concept for “Twilight Guardian” began as a story in “The Pathetic Club” and was resurrected for Top Cow’s “Pilot Season.” “Troy is one of those guys who gets to the heart of characters, even when they’re doing very mundane things,” Levin said.
Another Top Cow Veteran, Jay Faerber, the writer of “Noble Causes” and “Strike Force,” returns to the company with his title “Urban Myths.” “Urban Myths” follows Jack Medusa, the son of Medusa from Greek Mythology, as he attempts to solve a murder in New Athens. “It’s like ‘Clash of the Titans’ meets ‘Chinatown’,” Levin said. “It’s like watching an animated movie – it’s so slick and pretty that it makes me cry.”
In addition to its “Pilot Season” line, Top Cow was eager to promote their new summer event, “Broken Trinity.” Top Cow’s last major summer event, “Witchblade: First Born,” was about the birth of Sarah Pezzini’s child. The panel continued the hinting of the last few months that “Broken Trinity” is that series’ opposite number. “Someone in the Top Cow Universe will die,” Caylo said.
Arguably the central character of the Top Cow universe, Sarah Pezzini will be playing an important role in “Broken Trinity.” “I’ve been writing Witchblade for about forty issues now,” Marz said of the character. “I didn’t grow up thinking that my life would be complete doing Witchblade, but I’m still writing it and I’m having a ball.”
Marz reiterated his promise of recent months to stay on “Witchblade” until issue #150. He was also willing to speculate on why he is drawn to writing “Witchblade.” “I think the reason I’m enjoying it is because I told them up front, ‘I’m not going to write stories that are excuses for her clothes to fall off’.” “Broken Trinity #1” begins in July.
Marz also unveiled a new creator-owned project for Top Cow: “Dragon Prince.” “It’s different for me and different for Top Cow in that it’s an all-ages book,” Marz said. The story is about a child who is the last descendant of a dragon. “As you might suspect, there’s a dragon in it. There’s a prince. They happen to be the same person.”
Ron Marz felt that his book was excellent for children but quick to point out that he didn’t write it for children specifically. “As someone with a twelve year old, I know you can’t write down to kids,” he said. “They smell that stuff a mile away.”
The panel also spoke to the new Top Cow movie properties. One fan expressed dissatisfaction with the “Wanted” movie differing from the original comic. “A lot of fan reaction has been negative because it’s not guys running around in spandex,” Marz said, in response to the fan’s complaint. “It’s the same story. It’s the same balls to the wall action. Let’s not get our panties in a bunch because there’s no super-villains.”
Caylo addressed the next major Top Cow film property, the recently announced “Witchblade” film. Caylo said the studio is hoping for a release next year and that this process can move forward once the script has been finalized. He also displayed the preview image released as a teaser for the film. “This is not any name actress,” Caylo warned of the image. “There’s been a lot of speculation as to who this looks like, but no one has been cast yet.
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