Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Beat Covers ComicsPRO 2010

The annual ComicsPRO meeting is going on down in Memphis with retail issues being discussed and several publisher presentations, and retailer/reporter Matt Price has been reporting his heart out from the show. ComicsPRO is an organization for some of the more forward looking comics retailers in the country, and the meeting is a chance for publishers to make presentations and new ideas to get a thorough kicking around. Among the news bites:

• Keynote speaker Robert Kirkman talked about the digital wave

Kirkman said even though his titles “Invincible” and “The Walking Dead” are available online via the comiXology comics iPhone app, sales of the printed editions have not changed. In fact, he said, printed comics sales have increased. “We have this dedicated fan base,” Kirkman said, who will continue to seek out the print product. Digital comics, Kirkman said, will be best used to seek out the next generation of readers.

• President Joe Field offered his take on things

Top Cow’s 2010 plans

Oct. 2 will be the next 24 Hour Comics Day

Astro City is going monthly

• Undoubtedly, the story that will get the most play, however, is a speech by newly-installed DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim lee which announces their plan for DC to be #1 in the direct market

Source: The Beat

AICN Previews Darkness #83

Writer: Phil Hester
Art: Michael Broussard
Publisher: Top Cow
In stores this week!

Don't forget to pick up Darkness #83 in stores this week!

Source: AICN

Philadelphia Daily News: You could get hooked on 'Demonic'

Like the other books in this year's Top Cow "Pilot Season," writer extraordinaire Robert Kirkman summed up an idea with a one-word title and and developed it from there with artist - and Top Cow founder - Marc Silvestri.

This month's word is "Demonic" and you can sum it up with another one - awesome!

"Demonic" is about a good man - simply revealed as Scott - blessed with great power; only readers soon learn it is truly a curse.

Seems the demon who gives him his powers is truly evil (demons are funny that way), so evil that he tells Scott he will set him free if he simply kills his wife and young daughter - preferably in horrible and painful ways.

Naturally, Scott keeps refusing. So he has to kill plenty of criminals to make up for the two "pure souls" he keeps denying the demon.

Read the rest of the review here.

Source: Philly.com

iFanboy's A Taste of Comics #4 - San Francisco

The boys are back after surviving Seattle and the Emerald City Comic Con, C.B. Cebulski, Filip Sablik and Ron Richards return to the podcast to discuss their meals in Seattle. On the comics side it's a Marvel episode as Ron is loving revisiting Avengers Forever while C.B. was surprised to have enjoyed Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers as much as he did, while Filip is loving the art on Avengers: Initative. And now with WonderCon and San Francisco on the horizon, Ron shares some of his favorite restaurant spots while Filip and C.B. are already plotting their meals.

Listen to the podcast here.

Source: iFanboy

Newsarama: Filip Sablik in "Information Overload?"

We live in an age where unparalleled information is at our fingertips. Not only things like the news or reference material, but information about our friends and even people we don’t actually know.

How many of us start our workday by checking our favorite news or pop culture sites like Newsarama or skimming our RSS feeds in our favorite browsers? Or find ourselves checking up on our Facebook friends’ statuses on our iPhones while standing in line for a cup of coffee? Or checking-in at an exciting new restaurant and tweeting what we’re having for dinner? Okay, maybe that last one is just me.

I admit I’m an information junkie. Part of it is job-related; I need to keep up with the latest in comic news and industry happenings. Another aspect is just part of my ever growing need for feeling connected and informed. I check Twitter after my morning run and sometimes beforehand. I run through a dozen or so RSS feeds with my cup of coffee. I update my status while watching TV in the evening. Yep, I have a problem.

Read the rest of Filip's post here.

Source: Blog@Newsarama

Nerdage: Top 5 Marc Silvestri Book Runs

Happy birthday to Top Cow’s Marc Silvestri! Silvestri has proven his management skills with his quality team at Top Cow. But before that, he was a celebrated penciler for Marvel and DC. As one of the Image Comics founders, he created Cyberforce and co-created Witchblade and the Darkness. To celebrate, Silvestri’s birthday. I’m counting down my favorite 5 of his comic-book runs.

1. Wolverine 31-50, 52-53, 55-57

My favorite of his work is his 1990s run on “Wolverine” with Larry Hama. Silvestri, as shown here, can get a lot of characters on a cover and still clearly delineate what’s happening. His Wolverine was bestial yet honorable, and I enjoyed the storytelling throughout.

2. The Darkness 0-7

With Garth Ennis (“Preacher”), Silvestri creates Top Cow’s most-famous anti-hero, and, with Witchblade, the core of their supernatural comics. Silvestri was a great artist to create mob hitman Jackie Estacado’s dark world.

Find out who rounds out the rest of the list here.

Source: Nerdage

Monday, March 29, 2010

What The Con: WonderCon is This Weekend, Herders

What up Herders!

Just wanted to remind you all that WonderCon is this weekend, April 2-4.

The Cow will be up in San Fran joining our friends at Image at their booth.

Stop by and say hey.

And fyi, if you buy your tickets online now, you save money rather than buying at the door!


CBR Exclusive Preview: Impaler #5

This fresh, new take on the vampire mythos from International Horror Guild-nominated writer William Harms concludes with an oversized issue!

Vampires have taken over the East coast of the United States. The few survivors are stranded where they have taken refuge while those watching on the news have abandoned their homes in a bid to outrun the vampire swarm. Now the vampires are marching West and nothing can stop them. The only thing standing in their way is Vlad Tepes, the historical Dracula, and the suicidal homicide detective Victor Dailey. But when events take a turn for the worst, will Victor be able to take up Vlad's mantle as Vampire Hunter?

See the rest of the preview pages here.

Source: CBR

Pendragon's Post Reviews The Darkness: Origins Vol. 1

The Darkness is one of those characters that I feel like I know something about, even though I've never picked up a Darkness book. With all of the reading I do about comics, that happens to me all the time. When I found out there was a book about the character's origins, I decided it was something I needed to read. Though this is not normally my cup of tea in art style or in story, I'm glad I took the time to read it. Garth Ennis and Marc Silvestri have put together an epic origin story that is a good jumping on point for anyone who is curious about this indie icon.

For the uninitiated, here's the basic info you need to know about the Darkness: Jackie Estacado, on his 21st birthday, learns that he has inherited dark powers from his father. These powers allow him to do pretty much whatever he wants, as long as he gives in to the darkness that holds them. Jackie is a mob hitman and a playboy. His new powers help him with the first part. The second? Well, that's another story. The curse of having his new powers is that if he conceives a child, he will die, passing along the power to the child. Oh yeah, and there's Angelus--the light being determined to destroy the Darkness in the hopes of ruling with light, law and love (for her, of course).

This book was definitely something that should be on a required reading list for anyone interested in comics. If you're like me and it's not something you'd normally pick up, I encourage you to give it a try.

Read the full review here.

Source: Pendragon's Post

GeekWeek: LongBox Goes Live!

Public Beta began today on Longbox, the comic book digital release platform that everyone has been talking about for what feels like a year...or maybe it was longer. Good news: The wait was worth it!

Dubbed "The Itunes of Comics," Longbox is pretty much exactly that-- while poising itself to be the platform to beat.

Go getcher Longbox: http://longboxdigital.com/now.html

There are a few free comics for you to test out, including Josh Fiakov and Kody Chamberlain's Punks, Man-of-Awesome: Ron Marz's Witchblade, and Wanted (which, if you haven't read is very different from the film version)--

Read the full coverage here.

Source: GeekWeek

Twitter Report: Ron Marz's Words of Wisdom

Parting Wisdom for the Day:

@ronmarz Magic is tough to pull off in comics. Heroes need limitations so they can face viable threats, and be in real danger.
-Ron Marz, Writer ("Green Lantern," "Witchblade")

Source: MTV Splashpage

Sunny Jhanna: Witchblade #134

Issue #134 guest stars Aphrodite IV, who looks great in that black suit Stjepan Sejic drew her in. Aphrodite IV had already been seen in Witchblade a few moths ago, and this time she is back with a vengeance. This issue is the first part of the Almost Human story arc, which seems to revolve around Aphrodite IV. As Sara tries to determine who she is, more and more information is revealed, and different elements from the old Top Cow universe are brought back in a neat an interesting way along with some newer characters, such as Argent from Hunter/Killer. More on this soon!

Source: Sunny Jhanna

Friday, March 26, 2010

Newsarama: Ron Marz and Cully Hamner Present: Hourman

Well, circa 1993 anyway.

Over at Ron Marz’s blog, you’ll definitely find a blast from the past when he talks about an Hourman pitch he wanted to do with artist Cully Hamner.

Read the full coverage here.

Source: Newsarama

CBR: Top Cow Announces WonderCon Plans

Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that they will be joining Image Comics at WonderCon 2010. The three-day event will open to the public on Friday afternoon, April 2nd and run through Sunday, April 4th, at the Moscone Center South. Fans are encouraged to stop by the Image Comics booth (#407) to meet their favorite creators and shop for limited edition convention exclusives as well as their favorite Top Cow comics.

Among the creators appearing at the booth will be pencilers Michael Broussard (The Darkness, Artifacts), Nelson Blake II (Pilot Season: Murderer, Magdalena), Sheldon Mitchell (Pilot Season: Stealth, Witchblade Annual) and inker Rick Basaldua (Witchblade Annual). Stop by the Image Comics (#407) booth for signing times.

WonderCon 2010 kicks off at noon on Friday, April 2nd and runs to 7PM. The convention will be open Saturday, April 3rd from 10AM to 7PM and Sunday, April 4th from 10AM to 5PM

Source: CBR

Nerdage: Top Cow at ComicsPRO: Ambitious Scope for Artifacts

Artifacts, kicking off on Free Comic Book Day, will bring together the 13 mystical artifacts that guide the fate of mankind in the Top Cow Universe.

And when those are brought together, “something really, really bad happens,” said Top Cow’s publisher Filip Sablik.

The 13-issue series written by Ron Marz “is by far the most ambitious thing I’ve ever attempted on the publishing end,” Sablik said.

It will reveal how various pieces of the Top Cow universe fit together, and should be appealing to Top Cow’s long-term fans, Sablik said. But the company also is making it new-reader friendly, with a Free Comic Book Day book aimed at introducing the characters of the Top Cow universe.

The 13 issue series will be broken into 4-issue arcs, with the first arc drawn by Michael Broussard. There will be a second and third arc of four issues with separate artistic teams, and the final 13th issue will be “something special,” said Sablik.

The book will feature a variety of variant cover incentives, as well as an incentive across the series for a set of exclusive playing cards.

Read the full article here.

Source: NewsOK's Nerdage

Gamecola Reviews The Darkness Game

Even now, almost three years removed from its release date, The Darkness is a beautiful game. But graphics aren’t everything, so how does it fair overall?

The Darkness is a first-person adventure, although it focuses heavily on shooting. I choose to classify it as an adventure game because its emphasis is less on individual levels and more on larger locations within a game world. It feels rather realistic at times, to the point where ”unparalleled realism” is a suitable descriptor.

I won’t go into much more detail—if you’re after a game that makes you think, and makes you kill mafioso, it’s the best shooter your money can buy. Moving on, briskly now!

Feeling like a high-definition Metroid Prime, The Darkness has just the right amount of combat, cutscene, conversation, and exploration. It feels rough around the edges but is impressive throughout—if Starbreeze keeps this up, they might make their way to the top of my “Favourite Game Developers” list.

If you have not yet played The Darkness, the question is just this: why? Today, drop the Big Mac and pick up The Darkness. Just as filling, you may find.

Overall score: 7

Read the full game review here.

Source: Gamecola

Twitter Report: Halo Tournaments and What Makes Writers Worthy of Hate

Epic conversations for the ages consumed the Twitter Report feed today, as Tony Harris and Ron Marz pondered what makes writers worthy of hate, P.J. Holden and Tony Lee discussed what makes creators "professionals" and Jamie McKelvie wondered if "Final Fantasy XIII" is actually an RPG.

If you're mind hasn't been blown by the time you've finished pondering these subjects yourself, check out out Ben Templesmith's connection to "The Pacific," who cleans up at TopCow "Halo" tournaments and how Mike Norton draws Tawky Tawny.

Writers pt. 1
: @TONYFINGHARRIS Ya know what I hate? Well, lots of things, but I really hate writers who think they are Jeezus. You are their Art-Monkey. Nope.....
-Tony Harris, Artist ("Ex Machina," "War Heroes")

Writers pt. 2: @ronmarz @TONYFINGHARRIS Writers who only want an art monkey are dumbasses. You guys make us look good if we let you do what you do.
-Ron Marz, Writer ("Green Lantern," "Witchblade")

@RickBas9 Halo nights at @TopCow are always the best!! Great times watching the other team cry like little girls XD
-Rick Basaldua, Inker ("Witchblade/Devi," "Hunter-Killer")

Source: MTV Splashpage

Graze Anatomy: The Rocafort Files

Above we have another illustration rendered by Kenneth. Featuring the Red Lantern Atrocitus, the image is the latest addition to the files.

Above we have posted an illustration of Hawkeye from the Avengers.

Source: The Rocafort Files

Sneak Peek: Albany Comic Con Magdalena #1 Variant Cover

As promised, here are Terry Austin’s inks over Matthew Dow Smith’s pencils for the Albany Comic Con Magdalena #1 variant cover. (Click on the images for hi-res versions)

Read more about "Uncle Terry" here.

Source: Ron Marz

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Industry News: Comic publishers sketchy on digital future

When Ethan Peacock moved to Vancouver from Edmonton nine years ago, he found that none of the local comic-book stores carried all the titles he sought.

“I was continually getting my stuff shipped from Edmonton every month or so, or I’d visit frequently and pick it up then,” the owner of Elfsar Comics & Toys told the Georgia Straight during an interview at his Yaletown shop. “Then it popped into my head to open a store of my very own.”

Distribution has always been a challenge for book and magazine publishers, and comics publishers in particular, since they serve smaller, niche audiences. And it’s something publishers are looking to digital comics and digital distribution to address.

“One of the things that digital distribution makes available is that someone in Eastern Europe can download the authentic English version of Witchblade and read it on their computer, where they might not have that available,” Filip Sablik, publisher of Top Cow Productions—which publishes Witchblade, Madame Mirage, and other titles—explained by phone from his office in Los Angeles.

Read the full article here.

Source: Straight.com

CraveOnline Reviews Darkness #83

The Darkness #83 is a rare breed of comic in that it’s a talker issue; an issue driven solely by plot with little to no action involved but still manages to be completely fascinating. The story here is so crisp, the dialog so spot on that it didn’t even dawn on me how dialog heavy and action light the issue was. I’ll be honest: I only have a working knowledge of the world of Darkness so I came to this issue almost as a newbie. At no point was I confused as to what was going on and by the issues end I became obsessed with digging deeper into this universe. Darkness #83 is that good and like I said, there’s not much action to be had in it.

The praise on achieving such a rare thing starts with writer Phil Hester who just nails every panel like it meant his job. So many comic book authors write for every other panel, or only give their all on the pages that “count”. Hester apparently wants to take the road less traveled by completely constructing a solid story using every square inch of space on the page. There isn’t a dialog balloon wasted or a bit of extraneous information. Hester has a lean and economical style that’s essential to keeping a plot heavy issue interesting. As I said, I’m just a casual Darkness observer and Hester totally hooked me by the end of the issue.

Read the full review here.

Source: CraveOnline

Flames Rising Reviews Witchblade #134

A new three-part arc is launching on Witchblade, featuring the assassin who (apparently) attacked Sara Pezzini earlier in the series: Aphrodite IV. The green-haired, probably mechanical assassin is hunting a fleeing scientist for a shadowy organization, and after a witness sees her get shot by a space ship that then disappears, Special Cases is called in to investigate. Sara and Gleason hit a lot of dead ends with their attempts to figure out either the weaponry or where their quarry may have gone until Sara recalls a mysterious contact: Argent. After a chatty phone call in which much is revealed (except for Argent’s real identity), Sara decides to go solo and investigate on some leads without calling to let Gleason know where she’s headed.

Issue #134 doesn’t have the same kind of draw that the first issue of “War of the Witchblades” had, possibly because it’s just not as large an event in the universe. The three-part arc is mostly a guest-star showcase, I suspect, but there are really nice things about this issue worth mentioning. First: Sara Pezzini is back in jeans. She’s wearing street clothes and acting like a cop rather than being fully immersed in the power of the Witchblade (until her solo mission near the end of the issue). The panel work and art by Sejic is, as usual, superior, and Marz provides him with good material for showing not only action, but emotion. Sara and Gleason are recovering from the set-backs their relationship suffered when Sara was overwhelmed by Darkness, and it’s great to see a smile on Sara’s face in some panels. There’s also a wonderful moment at the precinct where Sara flips off a chatty parrot that they haven’t gotten around to getting rid of.

Read the full review here.

Source: Flames Rising

Omnicomic: Top Cow at WonderCon

While we here on the East Coast (here in Boston specifically) are lucky to have three conventions in successive weekends (PAX East this weekend, Anime Boston next week and Boston Comic-Con in two weeks), the west coast seems to have a neverending parade of conventions. Take next weekend for instance, when WonderCon descends upon the Moscone Center South in San Francisco for three days (April 2-4). At the show will be some of the requisite publishers, including Top Cow, who has seen fit to make sure you know which both they'll be at and who they're bringing.

Top Cow is sharing a booth with Image Comics (Booth #407), and the following talent will be available: Michael Broussard, Nelson Blake II, Sheldon Mitchell and inker Rick Basaldua. Also at the show will be the expected limited edition exclusives, Top Cow comics and general debauchery and hoopla that come with a convention.

Full press release available here.

Source: Omnicomic

Word Balloon: Top Cow's Worlds Collide with Filip Sablik

Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik is here to discuss The Darkness, Witchblade, new books like Angelus, Broken Trinity:Pandora’s Box, and everything that leads to this summer’s TC event Artifacts with Word Balloon's John Siuntres.

Plus Robert Kirkman & Marc Silvestri’s pilot season , and Top Cow’s future in the digital market.

Listen and download the podcast here.

Source: Word Balloon

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Comics Continuum Lists Top Cow's June Issues

Written by Ron Marz, art and cover by Stjepan Sejic.

Sibling rivalry! Julie Pezzini has led a rough life, including a stint in prison. But that's nothing compared to being the sister of an NYPD Detective who also happens to wield a powerful mystic weapon. Even Sara and the Witchblade might not be enough to keep Julie safe in Sara's world of supernatural threats!

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on June 9.


Written by Ron Marz, art and cover by Stjepan Sejic.

The Artifacts lead-in series concludes! The final battle for the mantle of the Angelus reaches its climax as Dani Baptiste takes on a foe who knows her every weakness, inside and out. Will Dani have to sacrifice everything dear to her, even her humanity, to survive?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on June 16.


Written by Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill, art by Alessandro Vitti, cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

The Artifacts lead-in series reaches its penultimate issue! The End of Days has come! When Elias and his Disciples of Adam unleash the dark power of Pandora's Box, a terrifying villain is let loose upon the Earth. Will Glori and Finn rise to stop Armageddon, or will their compulsion to destroy each other doom millions of innocent lives?

32 pages, $3.99, in stores on June 23.


Written by Phil Hester, art by Sheldon Mitchell, cover by Rafael Albuquerque

"Alkonost," part 2 of 2! In the hunt for The Sovereign Jackie and crew strike a deal with an insane Russian mobster and collector of the occult, but his supernatural enforcer wants to add a Darkness wielder to the collection. What is The Alkonost and how does it control even The Darkness itself?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on June 30.


Written by Ron Marz, art and cover by Kenneth Rocafort.

The Pilot Season winner is back! As the members of Cyberforce lay dying from a fatal techno-virus, their only hope for survival is their teammate Velocity. Carin Taylor has never been more in need of her super-speed as the races around the globe, trying to find and cure her teammates before the same virus kills her.

32 pages, $3.99, in stores on June 30.


Written by Phil Hester, art by Michael Broussard and Jorge Lucas, cover by Michael Broussard/

Now for a limited time, fans can show off both their allegiance to The Darkness and their great fashion sense at a bargain price! This exclusive pack includes both The Darkness Accursed Volume 1 and Volume 2 trade paperbacks (a $15 value!) along with a coupon to redeem one of two Iron Fist designer t-shirts (a $25 value!), mailed directly to the home.

Trade paperback/shirt pack, $34.99, in stores on June 2.


Written by Ron Marz, art by Mike Choi, cover by Stjepan Sejic.

Now for a limited time, fans can show off both their allegiance to Witchblade and their great fashion sense at a bargain price! This exclusive pack includes both Witchblade Volume 1 and Volume 2 trade paperbacks (a $20 value!) along with a coupon to redeem one of two Iron Fist designer t-shirts (a $35 value!), mailed directly to the fan's home.

Trade paperback/shirt pack, $45.99, in stores on June 2.


Written by Rick Loverd, art by Jeremy Haun, cover by Dale Keown.

Produced by Milo Ventimiglia and DiVide Pictures! The lives of Aaron and Farris, two young and completely different men, are turned upside down when they discover an animalistic and uncontrollable rage living inside them. Meanwhile, two mysterious organizations seek them out for their newfound strength and power for their own purposes. But what good is strength and power when you can't tell friend from foe?

176 pages, $14.99, in stores on June 16.

See the covers for the rest of the solicits here.

Source: Comics Continuum

MTV Splashpage Talks Wanted 2 With Mark Millar

One thing's for sure: if/when "Wanted 2" hits theaters, Angelina Jolie will not be taking a shot at rising from the dead.

MTV News caught up with "Wanted" co-creator Mark Millar at the South By Southwest Film Festival to get his thoughts on how the "Wanted 2" story and its fraternity of assassins will move forward without Jolie's character, and why the answer could lie in the introduction of other fraternities around the world.

"They killed off the most recognizable character, but I thought it was great to do that," Millar told MTV News. "It was so ballsy to kill off the one person you didn't expect to die."

"What they're talking about is just moving on with the story and doing it properly," he said. "Just bringing in another cool character as this world opens up with all the different fraternities out there all across the world. This could change at any moment, but the last I heard two weeks ago, was that was the plan moving forward."

Read the full article here.

Source: MTV Splashpage

Nerdage: ComicsPRO Annual Members Meeting Nears

Representatives from several top comics publishers will meet with comic-book retailers this week at the ComicsPRO annual members’ meeting in Memphis, Tenn. Representatives from DC Comics, Image, Top Cow, Boom! Studios and more will meet with retailers to discuss concerns and ideas.

The meeting begins with a meet-and-greet Wednesday night, followed by a DC Comics-sponsored day of programming on Thursday. Friday features more presentations and discussion sessions with all publishers, and the meeting wraps up with a breakfast presentation and closing statements on Saturday.

ComicsPRO, the largest organization of direct-market retailers, will honor individuals who help bring comic books to market on Friday night with the first ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.

Robert Kirkman, creator of “The Walking Dead” and Image Comics partner, is the meeting’s keynote speaker, scheduled to speak on Friday. Image Comics, the industry’s third-largest publisher, is making its only retailer-focused appearance of 2010 at the ComicsPRO meeting.

ComicsPRO has more than 140 members comprising more than 180 storefronts in 36 states and six Canadian provinces. Stay tuned to Nerdage throughout the week for live updates from the ComicsPRO meeting.

Source: NewsOK

Battlemouth Reviews Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box #1

Following in the footprints of countless publishers before them, Artifacts promises to be Top Cow’s most ambitious undertaking to date and will weave together story lines from a number of Top Cow titles, including Witchblade, The Darkness, Angelus and Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box. It has been known that thirteen mystical Artifacts guide the fate of the Top Cow Universe. For years, it’s been said that the meeting of all 13 artifacts would bring upon mankind’s destruction. The series will begin with a mysterious figure who seeks to put Armageddon into motion.

The Artifacts journey begins now, with Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box #1. In Top Cow’s most recent book, Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill, seek to set our journey underway.

In this first issue, we are introduced to Glorianna Silver, wielder of the ember stone, one of the 13 artifacts. As well as Michael Finnegan, small time criminal and new wielder of the Glacier stone, another of the 13 artifacts. The two are prophesied to fight each other, but in the process threaten to upset the delicate balance of the Trinity. The Trinity, of course, is The Angelus, The Darkness, and The Witchblade.

Read the full review here.

Source: Battlemouth

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Frontier Previews The Darkness Origins Volume 1 TPB

Top Cow provided a preview of The Darkness Origins Volume 1 trade paperback, which will arrive in stores this Wednesday, March 24.

The Darkness Origins Volume 1 Trade Paperback
(W) Garth Ennis (A) Marc Silvestri (Cov) Marc Silvestri

Mafia hitman Jackie Estacado was both blessed and cursed on his 21st birthday when he inherited the power of The Darkness, an elemental force that allows those who wield it access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the demons who dwell there. Forces for good in the world rise up to oppose Jackie and what his gift represents, but in this story… they are the bad guys.

The sold out origin story by Garth Ennis (Punisher, Preacher) and Marc Silvestri (X-Men: Messiah Complex) is presented here as part of the brand new redesigned “Origins” trade paperback line. This volume collects The Darkness Volume 1 #1-6 along with a cover gallery.

Full Color 176 pages $12.99 trade paperback

Read the first issue for free here.

Source: Broken Frontier

Video Animer Reviews Witchblade the Anime Series

To start off my anime reviews I have decided to go with one of my favorite newer animes from the past couple of years.

Witchblade was based off of an American Comic Book unlike most animes which base themselves off of a manga series. There was also a television series in the U.S. by the same name. However the anime series is not based off of the original characters in the comic, but is placed in the future with a new blade wielder.

But this is not just a battle anime. It is filled with deep emotional connections, since the reason she fights is for her daughter. This anime is filled with emotions and has a bunch of laughter as well. You can really feel a deep connections with all the characters and had me in tears at the end.

The style of this anime is just beautiful as well. However some of the drawings are a bit racy. The dvd is unedited, but some parts had to be covered up when it was aired. However there is no obscene images, just a lot of skin.

Read the full review here.

Source: Video Animer

Previews Interviews Ron Marz about FCBD 2010 and Artifacts

The longtime writer of Top Cow's Witchblade, Ron Marz has also been behind its most recent, best-selling event comics, including Broken Trinity and First Born. This summer, the scribe shakes things up in the Top Cow Universe again with his Artifacts storyline.

For Free Comic Book Day, Silver sponsor Top Cow gives readers a taste of things to come with Artifacts: First Look, and Marz recently gave Freecomicbookday.com insight into the FCBD, the greater storyline it's tied to, and much more in an exclusive interview.

: Set your project up for those that might not know much about it. What can we expect to see in terms of story and art?

Marz: This year’s FCBD offering is a lead-in to the Artifacts storyline, which is the biggest series Top Cow has ever done. Artifacts #1 debuts in July, so the FCBD book introduces the main concepts and characters that will appear in the series. The issue is written by me, with art by my Witchblade partner, Stjepan Sejic. The point-of-view character in the issue is Aphrodite IV, who will play a large role in Artifacts, especially issue #1. The FCBD issue will also contain interviews and text pieces about Artifacts.

Read the full interview here.

Source: Previews

Project Fanboy Reviews Darkness #83

In The Darkness #83 Jackie Estacado bearer of "The Darkness" squares off against a squad of tanks and that's just a tidbit of the action and fun within these pages.

Beyond the action, however, Phil Hester continues to make The Darkness a great read and find new things to do with the character even after 80 issues. In this issue his great pacing and storytelling allows him to finish of his "hunting party" arc while continue his larger overarching story of Jackie and crews battle to destroy his enemy The Sovereign. While its full of action and fun and demons comically begging Jackie to be put in the battle, the real centerpiece of the comic is the character interaction between Jackie and Major White. Through a simple conversation at the end of the book Hester is able to really dig in a little deeper and reveal a little more about both of these damaged souls.

Hester's script is expertly executed by the art team which has the fantastic Michael Broussard on pencil duty.


Read the full review here.

Source: Project Fanboy

Comic Geek Speak Talks Top Cow's May Releases

With the help of Brad Milyo from the Half Hour Wasted cast, the Comic Geek Speak team look at March Previews for books shipping in May, including Velocity and other Top Cow books.

Listen and download the podcast here.

Source: Comic Geek Speak

Nfamous Gamers Reviews Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #5

Two of Top Cow’s greatest super teams continue to go after the allegiance of CyberData and Morningstar to stop them from unleashing a new technological nano-virus from creating genetic mutants all over the world. With the horrifying plan now being enacted, what will the teams do to stop the virus from spreading and who will make the sacrifice necessary to ensure victory for the good guys?

Concluding the action packed series, the survivors of both teams face off against an empowered Morningstar as they struggle to save humanity from the terrifying effects of the virus. But when one former teammate goes traitor, the shit hits the fan fast. Ellis loses control of his powers as Damper turns off the control he had on him and Velocity is infected with the virus as well. Ballistic is forced to take down her sister, Ellis goes after Morningstar despite his condition, and Network and Damper pay the price for their roles in the entire matter. In the end, none of the teams is left unscathed and a couple switch sides afterwards.

Mark Waid delivers another pulse pounding action story. Again, not as deeply thought out as some of his better materials, but still worth a pick up if you want some action this week. Fast paced and full of punch, it is a fitting end to the mini-series.

Read the full review here.

Source: Nfamous Gamers

Comic Addiction Reviews Darkness #83

The Comic Addiction's Joe David Soliz reviews Darkness #83:

Can I just say that I do not like starting in the middle of story arcs? And can I also say that Top Cow does an incredible job of alleviating my fear of starting in the middle of story arcs? Much like the Witchblade #135 review I did, I’m coming to The Darkness in the middle of a story arc; a very short story arc, but in the middle none the less.

Now unlike Witchblade, I have never read a single comic with The Darkness in it. Much like Witchblade, I was already away from Top Cow when this character was first introduced. However, with Witchblade I actually got to read several issues about her before I read #135. But I come to this Darkness issue completely cold. And I couldn’t have picked a better issue to do it.

Again, Top Cow wows me with their simple tactic of using a “Previously on…” section to open up their books. Why do other companies neglect the simple brilliance of this? Anyway, thanks to this (and also props to Chris Partin for filling me in on the details of issue #82 as well) I felt I could go into this issue without any problems. And how does my introduction to The Darkness begin? With an awesome action scene! I want so much to spoil exactly what happens but I promised above that I wouldn’t. Let’s just say that I get to see just how tough Jackie Estacado really is by seeing a bit of his weakness. Kind of an oxymoron I know, but it spoke volumes to me about this character. Plus, I love the humor that his little Darklings have in the middle of all this.

Read the full review here.

Source: Comic Addiction

CBR: Jorge Molina Talks Urban Myths and more

CBR's Timothy Callahan sits down to talk with penciller Jorge Molina:

Tim Callahan: Let's start off with a bit of background - you've done a bit of comic book work here and there, and you've been working at Marvel for a little while, but where did you get your start? What was your first comics work? Where do you think your best work has shown up so far?

Jorge Molina
: Well, after high school I was leaning toward studying graphic design here in Mexico and planning to stay here. I always had a passion for drawing comic characters and creating ones of my own, but I never thought I could make a living out of it. Then my mom - yes, I'm a mama's boy - found some universities more related to my comic love. I went to visit the Joe Kubert art school, but I wasn't very convinced of the whole place, and I thought New Jersey was kind of depressing for me. So after that, I jumped to Canada and visited a couple of colleges where they had animation courses. Finally I ended on Seneca College to study 2D and 3D animation.

It wasn't specifically comics, but it was definitely closer to comics compared to lame graphic design (not that graphic designers are lame, it just wasn't for me). And I thought "what's the harm, the more I know the better," so I got to keep my passion of making comics but adding influences from what I was learning from animation.

Then, as a result of my career, along those years I got surrounded by very talented people, classmates, roommates, teachers, everyone was somewhat related to the industry. So they showed me this thing called "networking." At first it started as a hobby, all my classmates had pages on Deviantart, CG society, etc., so I decided to open my own too and share my work. At this point, I really had no idea this would open job opportunities in the future. After some time, I started to get freelance work by these websites. I remember my first gig was coloring a book for Joe Kelly and drawn by Ben Roman. I was thrilled - I was working with one of the greatest writers on the comic book industry! After that, one of my teachers hooked me into working with Udon comics, so then I started to get various freelance jobs.

Then I relocated to sunny Mexico and I got to work with DC for a short time, and do some videogames concepts on the side. Then I jumped into Top Cow, where I worked on a pilot named "Urban Myths," which was one of the most exiting tittles I worked on. Jay Faeber, the writer, created this beautiful idea and characters, and I got so much artistic freedom, because not only did I design the characters myself, but also did all the artwork from pencils, inks, and colors. From there I got a short story with Image and right after that, the big event: Comic-Con! There I got interviewed by Marvel, and that's how I got started with them. Now it's been a year with them and it has really been a great experience. I've had the luck of working with very talented people.

I just wish I had more arms and the day had more hours to take on more projects - don't you wish the day had, like, 48 hours instead of 24?

Read the full interview here.

Source: CBR

Quarter Bin Reviews Darkness #83

It’s been a while, but Jackie Estacado returns to comic shops this week in The Darkness #83. Check out Quarter Bin's thoughts on the latest chapter in the battle against the Sovereign.

It’s been two and a half months since the last issue of The Darkness, which left Jackie Estacado staring down a few tanks as his crew tried to make their escape with another incarnation of the Sovereign in tow. In this issue, we see the outcome of both parties, with the events of Jackie’s time in South America being revisited as well. After the last few issues, which have had a much lighter tone thanks to the return of Jackie’s Darklings, we are reminded of the horrible things Estacado has done, and the figurative demons he has to live with in addition to real ones.

This issue ends Michael Broussard’s run on The Darkness, but he was able to draw plenty of action-packed panels that will make readers miss him. I’m really curious to see what direction the artwork of this series will take under a different artist, since I’ve gotten so used to Broussard’s style.

Phil Hester has written another nicely-paced, action-filled issue, though at this point I’m anxious for the Sovereign storyline to wrap up because I’m looking forward to the other events going on in the Top Cow universe in coming months, which I assume Jackie Estacado will be a big part of. It appears that we’re quickly heading towards a big climax and things could get ugly, but I can’t wait to see how Jackie finally resolves things.

The Darkness #83 will be in comic shops on Wednesday, March 24.

Source: Quarter Bin

Monday, March 22, 2010

Major Spoilers Previews The Darkness #83

Top Cow sent Major Spoilers a sneak peek of The Darkness #83 that arrives in stores on March 24, 2010. Take the jump to see what happens when Jackie is captured by an old enemy.

The Darkness #83
(W) Phil Hester (A) Michael Broussard (Cov) Dennis Calero

“The Hunting Party”, Part 2 of 2!
Jackie Estacado, the current bearer of the Darkness, often takes advantage of the fact that his enemies don’t know the extent of his powers or his weakness to light. Captured by an old enemy Jackie will have to rely on his wits alone to survive. Meanwhile, Jackie’s crew must deal with the Sovereign without their powerful boss to back them up!

Featuring a cover by Dennis Calero (X-Men Noir, Dark Tower).

See the preview pages here.

Source: The Darkness #83

Sunny Jhanna Reviews Witchblade #133

My Witchblade issues had been piling up for the last three months, and I couldn't wait to get back to reading this outstanding series. I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to the book when Ron Marz leaves, so I hope he never, ever stops writing this book. If I see him in San Diego this year, I mean to beg him to stay forever.

At any rate, issue 133 is the conclusion to the two-part The Bridge story, and it doesn't end like I thought it would. As usual, Marz had a neat twist ready, and I don't know about you guys, but I did not see it coming at all.

Needless to say, Stjepan Sejic does a wonderful job illustrating the book, and I really liked his depiction of the troll under the bridge. As with Marz, I hope Sejic never leaves Witchblade, and even though I know never is a long time, a man can dream, can't he?

Source: Sunny Jhanna

PLAYBACK:stl Reviews The Crazies #1-4

Released in late February, The Crazies film is a present day take on the old 1973 George A. Romero horror movie of the same name, a story where townsfolk are infected with a disease that causes them to violently kill one another. With this four-issue miniseries, Top Cow Studios offers up four unique, standalone stories that serve up a smart, concise narrative set within the movie’s world. The first three issues each focus solely on one character's descent into madness, while the fourth issue highlights the experiences of a zombie-killing vigilante threesome.

The first issue focuses on the degradation, loss and ultimate demise surrounding a poor pig farmer, Jon Buran and Chris DiBari’s artwork rounding out the quick tale with an elegant flourish whileauthor Ivan Brandon’s script moves the story along at a nice clip.

The last issue is my favorite of the four in regards to art: Rahsan Ekedal’s coloring and layouts are great, moving the story along so nicely you forget you’re just reading a comic. And while Joshua Hale Fialkov’s vigilante plotline is systematic (read: systematic, not cheap), Ekedal’s artistic choices pull the story together.

Read the full review here.

Source: PLAYBACK:stl

Comic News: Rush Is On to Be First in iPad Apps

The Darkness on the Panelfly app

It can be difficult to write software for a gadget without being able to touch it. But that has not stopped developers from rushing to create applications for the Apple iPad.

For small start-ups and big Internet and media companies alike, the iPad, and tablet computers in general, beckon as the next wide open technology frontier.

For many of them, getting apps onto the iPad will be a challenge, at least at first. Apple has provided only a few companies with iPads on which to design and test their software before the device’s release on April 3.

The rest have had to make do with software running on a Mac that mimics the iPad, a disadvantage when dealing with a device that Apple is pitching as a new way of interacting with media.

Read the full article here.

Source: New York Times

Comic Geek Speak Talks Emerald City ComiCon 2010 with Publisher Filip Sablik

Comic Geek Speak's latest podcast recaps Emerald City ComiCon 2010.

Here are some clips from their first trip out to Seattle's Emerald City Comicon including chats with Top Cow's Filip Sablik, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, Shon Bury and Doug Mahnke. Enjoy! (42:55)

You can listen and download the podcast here.

Source: Comic Geek Speak

Battlemouth Reviews The Darkness #83

Jackie is the bearer of an ageless curse called the Darkness. This is an ancient unholy power that allows its user to create anything they desire, even sentient beings, but anything they make will crumble to dust in the light. The Darkness is quite deadly, allowing the user to call forth darkling minions to aid them, and even survive gunshots. The power can also be used to maul and feed on people. This power is is frighteningly powerful, however, it can only function in the dark.

Phil Hester’s been the writer for the current volume of The Darkness (starting at #65 using legacy numbering). He’s been taking Jackie on a much different journey than the previous Mafia-based stories, reviving and rejuvenating the series. Jackie is being explored as never before, really fleshing out the character and making him more understandable. Unlike the previous two volumes, which had a rather two-dimensional quality to them, the current volume is more engaging and I would put it on a par with Preacher.

The Hunting Party reunites Hester with penciller Michael Broussard. Not only does Broussard provide a good job of human faces and detail, but he excels in his representation of the Darkness powers and fight scenes. I really enjoy his interpretation of Jackie in full power, and I love his Darklings – the detail that Broussard builds into them is truly delightful. His art is nice and clean, yet has enough complexity to provide a good modicum of reality.

I’ve been a fan of The Darkness series since I played the video game, and subsequently discovered the comics. Like Batman, Jackie finds his power in the dark (albeit more literally) and has to walk a fine line to avoid being consumed by it. His is a tale of the darkness in which he must live, and the darkness in his soul. I enjoy these comics immensely, and sincerely hope Phil Hester will be staying behind the steering wheel for a while longer.

Read the full review here.

Source: Battlemouth

Nfamous Gamers Reviews Darkness #83

Title:The Darkness
Issue: #83, The Hunting Party, Part II
Company:Top Cow/Image
Writer:Phil Hester
Covers:Dennis Calero (Cover A) and Whilce Portachio and Arif Prianto (Cover B)
Interiors:Michael Broussard (P), Rick Basaldua (I), and Arif Prianto (C)
Available: March 17, 2010

Jackie Estacado is surrounded after a botched mission to find and destroy another artifact left by the Sovereign while his team makes their way to the rendezvous point without him. Outnumbered and outgunned, Jackie falls to the US military and ends up in the hands of someone with whom he has crossed paths before, and someone who wants a little payback for something Jackie took. As Jackie is dealing with his ordeal, his team is confronted by the very man they are helping Jackie destroy and are left to deal with him and his considerable power on their own. Can Jackie make it out of US government hands alive knowing they want his “armor” for themselves? And can his team be trusted to do Jackie right, or will they be more victims of the ancient evil they are fighting?

The Darkness continues to be one of the best books out there right now in terms of consistency. The writing is always straight forward and pleasing. It is complicated, but not overly so that you can’t just pick up and issue and go. And the art is always a pleasure to look at in this book, though this is Michael Broussard’s last issue on the title. His art and line work are beautiful to look at, especially when coupled with Rick Basaldua’s inks and Arif Prianto’s coloring. As for the story itself, Phil Hester delivers another action packed issue once again. These factors combined continue to make The Darkness a must read month after month.

Story: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Source: Nfamous Gamers

Comic Attack: Michael Broussard kickin' off Artifacts!

More news from the Top Cow camp after the teaser image we received days ago, which had many fans scratching their heads or giving Top Cow the “wag of the finger.” The reveal of the first artist kickin’ off the 13-part Artifacts event is none other than Michael Broussard! So check out the official press release from Top Cow for more!

Michael Broussard is one of my favorite Top Cow artists, and I’m sure I’m not the only fan excited to hear that he’s on this project!

Read the full press release here.

Source: Comic Attack

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Multiversity Comics: Michael Broussard To Draw Upcoming Top Cow Artifacts

A couple days ago we posted a teaser entitled "Hope Is Lost", which was arguably the creepiest viral marketing idea ever (considering we had to take a moment to make sure an actual child wasn't missing). Not much was said beyond that, but today a new press release from the good folks at Top Cow arrived in our inboxes, and we can now share more!

The upcoming event Artifacts, which begins on Free Comic Book Day, deals with fallout of several minis going on right now in the Top Cow Universe. It'll show us what has happened after Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box and Angelus, as well as connect Witchblade and the Darkness. The whole thing will be written by everyone's favorite Ron Marz, and today Top Cow has released a press released announcing that Michael Broussard will be the artist of the book.

It's looking pretty good right now, although I don't have much more information than this. Be sure to click behind the cut for the full press release!

Read the full press release here.

Source: Multiversity Comics

Graze Anatomy: The Rocafort Files

Well, we have come to the fourth and final post of our "Kenneth for Haiti" illustrations. The final illustration was rendered for Justin, and it showcases Steve Rogers as Captain America -- Kenneth and I would like to thank Justin, and everyone who made our fundraiser such an overwhelming success. Words can not express how honored we both are, by not only your support, but the interests and support of all of Kenneth's fans -- you all are AWESOME!

Source: The Rocafort Files

Media Verso Reviews The Darkness Game

The Darkness is a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 exclusive first person shooter video game that fell under radar. It was one of those game that was completely lost due to all the BioShock madness and based on the comic book the Top Cow. Ironically enough, 2K games (the same game company responsible for The Darkness) made both The Chronicles of Riddick and BioShock. The storyline of The Darkness transpires in New York, and it is about a youthful 21 year old Mafia gang member named Jackie Estacado. He ascertains that his own Mafia (led by Uncle Paulie) is attempting to murder him; moreover, Uncle Paulie sends out a hit on Jackie and his girlfriend Jenny because Uncle Paulie believes that Jackie has stabbed him in the back. Jackie evades death and begins his journey for vengeance. Deceitful plot twists will no doubt keep players interested in the storyline from start to finish. The gameplay in the Darkness is a first person shooter with a twist. The twist being that the protagonist is possessed with this malicious voice named The Darkness. It is not merely a voice; furthermore, The Darkness is capable of controlling over Jackie’s body. These demonic capabilities will give him the chance to accomplish extraordinary feats that a mundane human could not perform.

Any video game with a map will appease those (like me) with no sense of direction. The multiplayer is present but is not as engrossing as the single player campaign. Graphically, The Darkness is remarkable. I really felt like I was in New York when as I was playing the game. The little things like graffiti and street lights give The Big Apple an authentic feel. Unfortunately, you cannot really explore every part of New York. You are coerced into following a linear pathway during the game. What really sells The Darkness is the presentation entailing the music and the voice acting. Although the animations are not as phenomenal as Heavenly Sword, I enjoyed watching the dialogue between characters.

Overall, The Darkness is a unique game as soon as the opening scenes begins.

Read the review in full here.

Source: Media Verso