Want to get into comics?  Then the Top Cow Talent Hunt is for you.  Want to keep your favourite comics but are scared of change? Well, you better prepare yourself…  In August of this year, comic book publisher Top Cow Productions, Inc. announced that from 31st August to 31 December, they were on the search for two unpublished writers and two unpublished artists.  The indie community went wild over the news and Top Cow’s Talent Hunt Rules sent the internet ablaze.  The basics:

Applicants could choose any character from a list of seven.  These included:

  • Tom Judge (the Rapture)
  • Glorianna Silver (the Ember Stone)
  • Michael Finnegan (the Glacier Stone)
  • Sabine (Wheel of Shadows)
  • Ian Nottingham (Blood Sword)
  • Ji-Xi (13th Artifact)
  • And the mysterious Pandora’s Box Wielder
Some readers who have missed a few issues may be a tad confused as to who some of these folks are.  Not surprising really.  In fact, the characters that can be included in submission are all relatively new.  For writers and artists, this is a dream come true.  A real chance to make your own mark on the Top Cow Universe and play around with the characters like little, freshly carved puppets.  But, what will the fans think of these new names working on the Artifacts series?

For some readers, the thought of new and unpublished (a stipulation of the rules and regulations, if you’ve had a comic published elsewhere, you’re out) artists and writers having a bash at the Top Cow Universe will be a rather daunting one.  Top Cow fans are pretty dedicated and the idea that some newbie could screw up your favourite character is a terrifying prospect.  However, Mark Silvestri and Matt Hawkins – the guys with the Top Cow world in the palms of their hands – have covered this issue.  By using only these fresh characters (and the rules are very firm on this detail), what Silvestri and Hawkins are guaranteeing the regular readers is that the mainstays of the canon – Jackie Estacado (The Darkness) and Sara Pezzini (Witchblade) – are still safe.

With 7 new characters for wannabe writers and artists to mold and shape, and the stars of the Artifacts world destined to remain untouched, the Top Cow Talent Hunt should be a winner for all involved.  Entrants get to write established characters without upsetting the equilibrium created in the comics, while fans can continue to read “The Darkness” and “Witchblade” and dip into the work of new writers and artists at the same time.

As you’ll read in  the Top Cow Talent Hunt rules (linked above), Hawkins writes that “…at some point someone gave us a chance.  Now we’re looking to do the same for a few people.”  And this is what it’s exactly about.  New writers and artists need to be given a chance for a big break.  Very few comic book publishers have open calls like this.  More often than not, an artist or writer just needs a lucky moment of being in the right place at the right time.  Instead of leaving things up to chance, Hawkins and Silvestri are opening up their doors in the search for 4 gifted – not just lucky! – individuals and, as readers, we should embrace this opportunity wholeheartedly and show some support to whomever these 4 people should be.

The Artifacts series has given the Top Cow Universe a shake.  It has wisely been called a “Rebirth” rather than a “reboot”.  And I can think of no better time than now for some new talent to fit in alongside those titans such as Ron Marz, Stephen Sejic or indeed, Hawkins and Silvestri.

It is a good time to be a Top Cow fan, and once the Talent Hunt has searched out 4 brand new names, things are only going to get better.