Friday, September 24, 2010

Newsarama: Filip Sablik in "Back the New" or "Fighting Cynicism"

It’s Autumn again. Where did 2010 go, friends? Seriously it seems like only yesterday I was playing video poker at the Hard Rock Café Casino to finish out 2009. I swear it was only minutes ago I was finalizing plans for San Diego Comic-Con and feeling the cold sweat inducing panic of hard printing deadlines rushing headlong at my deer-in-the-headlights expression.

Autumn 2010 means cooler weather (for you poor suckers who live in four seasons), mid-term elections, the return of pumpkin as the flavor-du-jour on everything from your latte to your ice cream, and a new crop of TV pilots hoping for at least one good season in the sun. For us at Top Cow it also means its time for a new crop of Pilot Season comics.

This year we have five different new concepts by five unique creative teams. A mix of season pros and wet-behind-the-ears newcomers fighting for your attention and trying to create something you haven’t seen before. So much of the comics released in recent years have been about nostalgia. I get it. Nostalgia is a warm blanket, a comforting hot cup of cocoa. It reminds us of better, bygone days in troubled times. We know what we’re going to get and what to expect. But I’m here to challenge you take a chance on the new. Stretch past your comfort zone and reach to discover a different genre or an undiscovered creator.

Read more about Pilot Season 2010 from Filip here.
Source: Newsarama

CBR Reviews Velocity #2

“Velocity” #2 showcases the eponymous heroine’s abilities and problem-solving abilities as she’s left with the task of saving herself and her Cyberforce teammates from a deadly virus in under an hour. It’s a fun, breezy read with gorgeous art.

Read the full review here.
Source: CBR

Newsarama's Best Shots Advance Review: Pilot Season: 39 Minutes #1

With movies such as Takers, The Town, and The Hurt Locker gaining praise and big box office numbers (the latter took home a Best Picture Oscar), it's no surprise that crime/military dramas would start making a comeback of sorts in comics. In this year's Pilot Season, there is such a book that incorporates that type of story, and it's not too shabby. 39 Minutes tells the story of former military commander John Clayton, who is incarcerated for bogus charges, and his former team that has currently gone rogue and in the middle of a crime spree.

For those of you looking for something without capes, I'd recommend 39 Minutes. While it's not perfect, it's still a hearty read.

Read the full review here.
Source: Newsarama

Guerrilla Geek Exclusive: Top Cow Holiday 2010 Special Cover

Our friends over at Guerrilla Geek has the exclusive sneak peek of the Top Cow Holiday Special by Phil Smith and Alina Urusov.

Head on over to Guerrilla Geek
to check out the full cover and to read the solicit text.

Source: Guerrilla Geek

Techland Panel of the Week: Velocity #2

What panel did Techland chose for their Panel of the Week? Head on over to Techland to find out.

Velocity #2
Have I already mentioned that Ken Rocafort draws one hell of a comic book page? I have? I won't shut the hell up about it? Fair enough. But this two page spread featured thirty two individual background panels while the foreground shot has our hero taking down no less then six hunter killers. It's so good I had to scan the seam and I hate doing that.

Source: Techland

Broken Frontier Exclusive: Witchblade #144 (15th Anniversary Issue) Cover

Top Cow has given BF an exclusive look at the covers to Witchblade #144, which is the 15th Anniversary issue!

Read more about Witchblade #144 here.
Source: Broken Frontier

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comic Attack Exclusive Preview: Tracker #5

The good people over at Top Cow have given us this exclusive preview of Tracker #5, the final issue of the series, which comes out next Wednesday! Tracker is written by Jonathan Lincoln with art by Abhishek Malsuni. The cover artist is Francis Tsai. The solicit info for this issue reads as follows:

“The first property from Top Cow and Heroes and Villains Entertainment comes to a pulse-pounding conclusion! FBI tracker Alex O’Roark finally comes face-to-face and claw-to-claw with his maker – the serial killer Herod! But will Alex be able to control his animalistic instincts long enough to extract the sample of Herod’s blood to end his own suffering?”

Per the norm of Top Cow books, the art in this series is vibrant; from the pencils to the coloring, it just looks great! So what’s going down here in this preview? Essentially Alex’s girlfriend, Tory, has apparently been murdered by the ever elusive perpetrator, Herod. Alex has been hunting Herod since he killed a bunch of people on the blue line in issue #1, and he soon learns it’s because Herod needs to feed on Lupine blood in order to survive. Oh yeah- Herod and Alex are both werewolves! Now Alex is faced with a tough question- is he willing to lose the woman he loves in order to kill the man he hates?

See the full preview here.

Friends of the Cow: Silvestri / Benitez / Montiel Judge New Comic Idol Contest

From our friends over at Riot Shell:

Silvestri / Benitez / Montiel JUDGE NEW COMIC IDOL CONTEST


When first starting Riot Shell and Comic Idol Online, creators Adrian Nicita & Vince Panuccio set out to create a platform for new talent and an exciting means of seeing this new talent go farther and farther as time progresses. To this day the two still has the following to say: "I was amazed at the amount of entries we kept on receiving, be it the Page Contests or the Color Contest. I am humbled by this attention and at times completely stunned by the quality some people came up with."

Adrian & Vince also noticed that the voting by title of fans alone, was not delivering the goal they set out for them self's, namely having Adrian's character Riot Shell be presented in the best way possible. So in order to optimize the contest and its results they explained: "We wanted to be both true to ourselves as well as to the voters and the artists, so I decided to make the contest even more professional and indeed I asked a Jury Of Professionals to have the final say about the contributed artwork. We are pleased to announce our 3 judges
1. Marc Silvestri comic book legendary Artist & Top Cow Owner
2. Joe Benitez Aspen / Dc Artist
3. Martin Möntiel - Riot Shell #0 / Zenscope
The decision will be made by the Jury in November.

Adrian Nicita is very happy to have the contribution of comic-pro's to help his endeavor: "I cannot wait to see the next pieces of art for the third page of the first chapter come in and to have a Jury set in place to even professionalize Comic Idol Online more... well... that is something that just makes me feel good!!"

To get the ball rolling we have just released the page 3 script which is available at written by Julian Lawler ( broken tree comics / Arcana Comics/ Koniwaves Studio )

We at Comic Idol Online hope that more and more artists rise to the occasion in times to come, as it promises to be one hell of a Riot!

For more information: Broken Frontier

Monday, September 20, 2010

Newsarama's Writer's Workshop: Bryan Edward Hill & Rob Levin Double Header

Ready for a Writer's Workshop double-header?

Because Bryan Edward Hill and Rob Levin are living proof that two heads can be better than one, as they've been juggling mythology and international intrigue with their Top Cow book Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box, the latest issue having been released this week.

Yet how does this dynamic duo work their magic? We sat down with Hill and Levin to discuss how they navigate characterization, plotting and the sheer challenge of filling in the blank page.

Newsarama: Guys, first and foremost, can you tell us a little bit about how each of you got into the world of writing? What made you guys decide that writing was the career for you?

Bryan Edward Hill: For me, it was very personal. My father died when I was a kid and that same week I read an issue of BATMAN. Obviously, I had a profound connection with Bruce Wayne. His anger. His loss. How he as a character turned that energy into something empowering.

I was given so much from those stories. Fiction can heal in a way nothing else can. When I started thinking about a career, I realized that I wanted to be part of that tradition. There’s a beautiful democracy in writing. It’s a blank piece of paper and a pen. In Hemingway’s hands that’s THE SUN ALSO RISES. In Frank Miller's hands that’s SIN CITY. In Brian Azzarello’s hands that’s 100 BULLETS. Once you start walking into that legacy, it’s very hard to not get passionate and obsessed.

That being said, if Great Britain would have given me citizenship I probably would have just joined MI6, drank martinis and caught mega villains for Her Majesty.

Rob Levin: I think there's some old writer cliche about "you're a writer because you don't know how to be anything else." While admitting that makes me feel somewhat useless, there's some truth to it. I've always been drawn to stories. When you connect with a fictional experience and it feels like something that's made about or for you, there are few experiences that special or that resonant.

A lot of my writing, though escapist, is really about trying to create that experience for the reader. I'm trying to forge a connection, and that's the reason I write. As for what got me there... I can't trace it to any one moment or experience. But when in doubt I always blame "Ghostbusters."

Read the full interview here.
Source: Newsarama

Newsarama: Top Cow Pits The Darkness Against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Described by Top Cow as “the darkest tale of the Darkness yet”, the recently debuted miniseries The Darkness: Four Horsemen takes supernatural mob boss Jackie Estacado on a dark path where he meets up with four bikers who have an even bleaker outlook than he does. These four bikers come out of the Pacific coast desert after years MIA, and have returned with dark powers making them a modern-day reincarnation of the biblical Horsemen of Revelations. Forget the TV show Sons of Anarchy, these guys live up to that title literally.

The Darkness: Four Horsemen comes from the mind of storyteller David Hine. Hine is well-known for his penchant for horror with works on Spawn and Batman: Arkham Asylum, and his take on the Darkness and his new quartet of adversaries is quite eye-opening; each of the horsemen have a particular attribute, such as War or Pestilence, one that they bring out as soon as they put their kickstands down in a small western town. And out of nowhere just like the Demon Riders comes the series’ artist, Jeff Wamester. Wamester is a relatively new face on the comics scene, having just completed the Oni series Frenemy of the State... but his work on The Darkness: Four Horsemen, complimented by colorist Felix Serrano, shows a new face that’ll be one to reckon with in years to come.

We spoke with the team about the mini-series and the appeal of these biblically-based villains.

Newsarama: This miniseries boils down to a showdown between Jackie and four bikers – I've seen the Darkness take down whole groups of men, so what makes these bikers so fearsome, David?

David Hine: These are not ordinary bikers. The Demon Riders were last seen back in the sixties when they ripped off Lucio Franchetti in a drug deal gone bad. They disappeared into the desert and weren’t seen again until they turn up almost forty years later on the road to Ginsberg, California. They’re riding the same bikes, wearing the same clothes and they haven’t aged a day. Once they start mixing with the citizens, serious weirdness starts to happen. Anyone who has the slightest physical contact with one of the Riders, is doomed to a rapid and horrifying death. A normally placid teenager goes apeshit crazy and stabs a storeowner to death. A guy eating out in his local Tex Mex takes the invitation ‘All you can eat!’ a little too seriously. Hookers instantly develop terminal symptoms of every venereal disease known to man. You get the idea.

I don’t think it’s giving too much away to tell you that it turns out these four bikers have somehow become the human hosts for Famine, Pestilence, War and Death, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

See the full interview here.
Source: Newsarama

UGO Exclusive First Look at Magdalena #4 Cover

UGO's got a first look at the next cover of Top Cow's hot comic, Magdalena!

Magdalena #4

Story: Ron Marz
Art: Nelson Blake II
Cover: Ryan Sook
32 pages / FC / $3.99

Patience, the latest in a long line of The Magdalena, bearer of the Spear of Destiny, and Kristof, her mentor and Knight of Malta, continue to race around Europe hunting a demonic cult intent on bringing about the era of the Anti-Christ. With Patience doubting whether she will be able to fulfill her duty or not, the Church moves to ensure that their servant will do its will... even if that servant is not Patience.

See the cover in all its glory here.
Source: UGO

CBR Exclusive Preview: Darkness #86

The Darkness #86

Story by: Phil Hester
Art by: Sheldon Mitchell
Cover by: Rafael Albuquerque
Publisher: Top Cow Productions
Cover Price: $2.99

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?

Top Cow Pit artist Sheldon Mitchell (Pilot Season: Stealth) joins regular writer Phil Hester (Gen13, The Anchor) for a sinister two-part story. Featuring a cover by Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire)!

See the full preview here.
Source: CBR

Guerrilla Geek Reviews Pilot Season: 39 Minutes #1

Kicking off Pilot Season 2010 is Pilot Season: 39 Minutes #1, set for release on 22 September. This title was created and written by William Harms (Impaler), and debuts up-and-coming artist Jerry Lando, along with a cover by Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire). Its premise is the classic heist story, but turned on its head. Inspired in part by the 1997 robbery of the North Hollywood Bank of America, Harms wanted to take the idea of a skilled team of criminals and set them to robbing banks in small, isolated towns. However, in writing, the story has evolved into a more complex tale of betrayal and sacrifice.

Read the full review here.
Source: Guerrilla Geek

Techland's Panel of the Week: Magdalena #3

Magdalena #3
This is turning into a detective story as our Magdalena checks on leads and inevitably fights a demon. Well, it's a detective story or an episode of Power Rangers. So far in all three issues of this series there's been the same inevitability of monster as there is an any episode of the Japanese live action children's show. It's just that Nelson Blake II draws such great looking monsters.

Read more here.
Source: Techland

CBR: Artifacts #1 Goes to Third Printing

Top Cow Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that the first issue from their mega-event series, Artifacts, has sold out for a second time at Diamond and will head back to the printers for a third printing to meet demand, a first in Top Cow history.

The dynamic pairing of writer Ron Marz (Witchblade) with the art team of Michael Broussard (The Darkness), Rick Basaldua (The Darkness), Sal Regla (Magdalena) and Sunny Gho of IFS (Velocity) delivers one of the most accessible and engaging event series to date.

”The rapid sales velocity on Artifacts #1 has been incredibly gratifying and a testament to the fantastic work that the entire creative team of Ron Marz, Michael Broussard, Rick Basaldua, Sal Regla, and Sunny Gho have been doing,” commented Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik, “We’ve never gone to a third printing, but this is our biggest event to date and we want our retail partners to know that we are fully behind it.”

Read the full release here.
Source: CBR

Newsarama Exclusive Preview: Pilot Season: 39 Minutes #1

Pilot Season: 39 Minutes #1
(w) William Harms (a) Jerry Lando (cov) Rafael Albuquerque

Pilot Season Begins Anew as a 5-Week Event in 2010!

Robbing a bank is easy — it’s the getaway that’s hard. The bank’s surrounded by police officers, alarms are blaring, customers and employees are screaming, and the streets are blocked off. So what’s the solution?

Kill everyone in town.

Created and written by William Harms (Impaler) and debuting up-and-coming artist Jerry Lando along with a cover by Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire), 39 Minutes turns the heist story on its head.

32 Pages Full Color Pilot Issue $3.99

See the full preview here.
Source: Newsarama

Newsarama's Best Shots Review: Angelus #5

This mini-series has excelled in showcasing Dani as a stand-alone kind of character and out of Sara Pezzini's shadow. The action is terrific, the dialog is clever and crisp and the art is beyond superb. Anyway we can get this into an ongoing, Top Cow?

Read the full review here.
Source: Newsarama

Things From Another World: Ron Marz, Nelson Blake II & Ryan Sook Talk About Magdalena

Top Cow’s Magdalena series follows a line of female warriors who can see into the human heart and give them the chance to redeem themselves–or feel the wrath of her Spear of Destiny! Descended from Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, the Magdalena is the protector of the Catholic Church and defender of the innocent!

Although the character of Magdalena has been around since 1998, her ongoing series, starring the newest Magdalena, Patience, just debuted this year. We recently had the chance to speak with her creative team, writer Ron Marz, artist Nelson Blake II, and cover artist Ryan Sook, and pick their brains about Magdalena’s past, present, and future! Hi guys, thanks for telling us more about Magdalena! Ron, can you catch our readers up on the history of Magdalena?

Ron Marz: There’s a Magdalena selected in each generation, a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. So each Magdalena literally has the blood of Christ running through her veins. The line of Magdalenas has served as the Catholic Church’s monster hunters and enforcers for more than a thousand years. It’s not a job that engenders a long life expectancy, unfortunately. Patience is the current Magdalena, but issue #1 seemed to hint there’s someone else waiting in the wings.

Read the full interview here.
Source: Things From Another World

Newsarama's Best Shots Advance Review: Magdalena #3

Nelson Blake II's use of sharp angles keeps the story at a nice pace as well as engages the reader. Showing how Magdalena moved around the building a la Batman, was a change of pace and I just wonder how easy it was to creep around with that armor on. Blake's action shots are drawn beautifully with a high impact feel. When somebody is shot, stabbed, or punched, you can sense the impact he was going for. His demonic designs are creative and feel they impose an actual threat, without them being over done. Sal Regla's inking style compliments Blake's pencils exceedingly well. The first six pages of Mags prowling around is evident of that. Dave McCaig's colors are brilliant as always. The use of reds and yellows is still dominant, but he has a chance to work with blues and purples.

Read the full review here.
Source: Newsarama

CBR Exclusive Preview: Velocity #2

Ron Marz
Kenneth Rocafort
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. The issue continues the inaugural creative union of writer Ron Marz (Witchblade, Angelus) and artist Kenneth Rocafort (Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer).

See the full preview here.
Source: CBR

Broken Frontier Exclusive Preview: Witchblade #138

Top Cow offered BF an exclusive preview to Witchblade #138, coming to stores this week, September 22, 2010.

Witchblade #138
(W) Ron Marz
(A) Stjepan Sejic
(Cov) Stjepan Sejic

The Witchblade has borne many wielders in many eras, perhaps even in other realms. Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic tell a fantasy tale of epic proportions as only they can. And the connection to Sara Pezzini may surprise even the most devoted fan!

Full Color, 32 pages,
$2.99, ongoing series

See the full preview here.
Source: Broken Frontier

Newsarama: Artist Urosov Explores the Process of Witchblade One-Shot

To what lengths would you go to protect them if you found out your family was in danger? What if you were locked away – behind bars – and unable to get involved? What if you could make a deal for someone else to protect them?

That’s just what William Hicks does in August’s Witchblade: Due Process one-shot from Top Cow. After being wrongly put away, he makes a deal with someone on the inside to protect his defenseless family on the outside. But as it turns out, the man he made a deal with is no man at all but a demon. Sara Pezzini, the bearer of the mystical artifact Witchblade, is brought into this as one of the arresting officers who put this innocent man behind bars years ago. A rookie at the time with deep suspicions that he was innocent, Sara has carried around the guilt and now she sees an opportunity to somehow make things right.

With Witchblade: Due Process now on shelves, we talked with the enterprising Canadian artist about the book and she gave us several behind-the-scenes sketches for the book.

Newsarama: For this book you had to design up essentially all of the characters except for Sara Pezzini. How was it establishing the characters of William and the others?

Alina Urusov: I did have a description of William, and I was given free reign with virtually everyone else save for Sara, so I just designed them according to what made sense to me, like William's shirt was plain because there would be no time to draw plaid, and his daughter had a big fuzzy ponytail because that is similar to the research photos I found of mixed race girls. So research did help, because I like to incorporate as much real details as I can.

Read the full interview here.
Source: Newsarama