Top Cow began it's panel with new announcements for the company Saturday afternoon at the packed New York Comic Con. The room may have been slightly less crowded than other panels earlier in the day, the room was still full of undoubtedly excited Top Cow fans. Among the panel's participants were "Witchblade" writer Ron Marz, artist Phil Hester, Top Cow editor Matt Hawkins, and the writers of "The Freshman," Seth Green and Hugh Sterbakov. The panel announced new titles, their summer cross-over event "Broken Trinity" and the potential for a sequel to The Darkness video game.
The first new title announced was "The Core," the story of a marine who travels to the center of the universe where he meets a variety of alien races. Beyond the science fiction element, Matt Hawkins indicated that the title may also serve "as allegory for the world today."
Hawkins also announced the return of Troy Hickman, who worked with Top Cow on the critically acclaimed "Common Grounds," with the upcoming title "Twilight Guardian." The third title announced was from another Top Cow veteran, Jay Faerber, who wrote "Noble Causes" and "Strike Force." Faerber's new work is called "Urban Myths," a story described by Hawkins as "greek mythology meets a pulp detective novel." "Urban Myths" follows Jack Medusa, the son of Medusa, as he attempts to solve a murder in New Athens.
Ron Marz then unveiled art and story points from his upcoming issues of "Witchblade." These issues reunite Marz with his artistic collaborator from "Witchblade: First Born" which, as Marz puts it, "was us just getting our feet wet." "What we're giving you guys every month is a fully painted comic," Marz continued. "I don't think anyone else is doing that." Ron Marz also said that the plan was for he and his artist to work from issue #116 through issue #150. "Unless one of us dies," he added to laughs from the audience and panel.
In an effort to promote #116, Top Cow was also giving out the issue free during the con as well as posting a digital copy on their MySpace page. "Issue 116 is written so that if you've never read a Witchblade comic, you can understand it. You don't have to have read" Final Crisis." You don't have to have read Skrull stories from fifteen years ago." In addition, Marz and Hawkins reminded fans to look for the "Witchblade Free Comic Book Day" issue on May 3rd. The issue serves as a prelude to Top Cow's major summer event: Broken Trinity.
"How many of you like big, epic stories?" Hawkins asked the crowd to applause. "Now how many of you like paying two hundred dollars to read those epic stories?" He continued, promising that Broken Trinity would not be such an event. So what is this new summer event actually about? "Well, First Born was about Sarah Perezzi giving birth to her child," Marz said. "Broken Trinity is about the opposite. Someone major in the Top Cow Universe is going to die."
The panel then premiered images from the new one-shot featuring characters from Seth Green's "The Freshmen." "'The Freshmen' is about a group of college kids that get super-powers that are border-line useless," Green explained, in between making fun of both himself and the other panelists. The new one-shot serves as a bridge between the second and third series. Green explained that the new issue focuses on the character Charles, AKA Green Thumb, a vegan who gains the power to talk to plants. In the previous two series, Charles has developed something of a co-dependant relationship with his plant Suzie and in the new one-shot this relationship comes to an explosive resolution.
In other news for "The Freshmen" title, Clay Moore has sculpted a bust of "The Puppeteer" character from the series and Top Cow is printing a new Volume 1 hardcover. "Put it next to your 'Dark Knight Returns' hardcover," Seth joked. "And I'll even sign it for you. Frank Miller isn't going to do that. Klaus Janson isn't - I asked him."
The panel then showed slides from the new "Wanted" feature film, while Seth Green did Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary. "What you don't know is she has a significant B.O. problem," he said of an arms up action pose of Angelina Jolie.
Hawkins then reminded fans that a hardcover edition of Mark Millar's "Wanted" is soon to come out. "Just stick it right next to your Freshmen hardcover," Seth reminded.
The panel then gave promotional information on the new issues for "The Darkness," in which the main character, Jackie, ends up running his own South American country. "And I can't announce that there's going to be another game but…," Hawkins said, referencing a potential sequel to this year's console release based on "The Darkness" comic, then nodded, indicating chances of a sequel were likely.
Finally, Hawkins closed by reminding the audience that Top Cow still had many active film and television properties in development, including: "Witchblade," "Rising Stars," and "Wanted." "We want your ten dollars," he said with a smile.
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