Top Cow Productions – Cyberforce on Webtoons

Cyberforce #1 Cover.

Cyberforce #1 Cover.

Cyberforce has been a part of Top Cow Productions since the beginning and in 2012 it was relaunched as part of Top Cow’s Rebirth. A new series, a new continuity which acted as the present day prequel to Top Cow’s Aphrodite IX.

This makes Cyberforce essential reading if you are going to be taking part in the next Top Cow Talent Hunt.

The series has already been released as two Trade Paperbacks but it has now been made available for free in a new format on Webtoons;

New installments are released every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

So, if you’re entering the upcoming Top Cow Talent Hunt (or perhaps just like free comics) then why not go and take a read?

Strip – War Games

Artwork from 'Interpretations' which appeared in FutureQuake #23.

Artwork from ‘Interpretations’ which appeared in FutureQuake #23.

Afternoon folks, today I’m sharing with you another early and previously unpublished strip which is titled ‘War Games’. It is written by me and the artwork is by Elvis Gonz.

Like the previous strip I posted, this is also a science fiction tale with a twist ending.

I hope you have fun reading.

'War Games' Page One.

‘War Games’ Page One.

'War Games' Page Two.

‘War Games’ Page Two.

'War Games' Page Three.

‘War Games’ Page Three.

'War Games' Page Four.

‘War Games’ Page Four.

'War Games' Page Five.

‘War Games’ Page Five.

Strip – Born To Serve

A Tivian from the comic book 'Conqueror' by Paul Penna and Kean Kennedy.

A Tivian from the comic book ‘Conqueror’ by Paul Penna and Kean Kennedy.

When the writing winners and runners-up were announced for the 2014 – 2015 Top Cow Talent Hunt, Matt Hawkins revealed that it had been incredibly hard just to pick two winners and two runners-up. So hard in fact, that they had to pick a third runner-up.

Apparently the top forty scripts were all of a professional quality.

This lead to a lot of aspiring writers wondering if they had made it into that top forty. I told one fellow writer not to worry about it, because I could assure him that my scripts had not been in the top forty in previous years.

We all grow and mature over time. Our writing gets better.

And to illustrate that, I have chosen to feature here on my blog a previously unpublished comic book strip called ‘Born to Serve’ by myself and Marion Cromb.

Hopefully you won’t regard it as being terrible, in fact I still think it has some charm, but as you will be able to see I still had a long way to go as a writer.

Even if the strip isn’t perfect, I hope it makes an enjoyable read for everyone.

Born to Serve Page One.

Born to Serve Page One.

Born to Serve Page Two.

Born to Serve Page Two.

Born to Serve Page Three.

Born to Serve Page Three.

So folks, practice makes perfect. Keep writing and keep improving.

Oni Press Open Submissions

Oni Press Logo.

Oni Press Logo.

Earlier this year another mainstream publisher opened their doors to new writers and artists. The publisher? Oni Press. For the months of May and June, new and established talent alike could pitch as part of Oni Press’ open submissions.

Writers could pitch with or without artists. Pitches needed to include; a logline, a one-page synopsis/overview, a three to five page outline and a sample comic script including two scene which had to be at least eight page long.

You can find the submissions guidelines here;

Admirably, special attention was given to diversity with Oni Press looking for creators who identified as female, persons of colour or LGBTQ individuals. Diversity was also encouraged in regards to story.

Things which Oni Press did not want to see were; superheroes, supernatural noir, zombies, vampires, gritty detective stories, rape, sexual abuse, prose or poetry.

Although that didn’t stop people from trying to submit those stories, as evidenced in the comments section of this article;

When submitting to a publisher it is wise to look at what kind of stories they do publish. For an example, take a look at the previews Oni Press revealed at Comic Con International in San Diego;

Competition was tough and Oni Press received far more submissions than they anticipated. Their promise to get back to people within a month was extended to two months, and they are still working to respond to some people.

But, with an amazing opportunity such as this, I think the overwhelming response Oni Press received is hardly surprising and they are to be commended on their efforts.

The plan was originally for Oni Press to do this two months on and then two months off, however with the response being so massive, they have had to revise this.

However, they have promised that they will open submissions again, although it will be no earlier than 2018.

So, writers, watch this space. For when Oni Press does open submissions again, it is not an opportunity which you will want to miss.

Top Cow Talent Hunt

Top Cow Productions is a partner studio in Image Comics.

Top Cow Productions is a partner studio in Image Comics.

The company which offers the best chance (and I admit, I’m biased, because they have given me my chance) to break into the industry are Top Cow Productions – which are, themselves, a partner studio within Image Comics.

Beginning in 2012 and continuing annually every year since, Top Cow have been running a Talent Hunt for both writers are artists. The winners get a full length story published (previously showcased within the pages of Artifacts), while the runners-up get to work on a six to eight page backup strip.

You mush use the previously established characters of Top Cows shared universe. In years gone by, this has meant characters from Witchblade, The Darkness and Artifacts. In the previous Talent Hunt (2014 – 2015) this was opened up to include the characters from Cyber Force and Aphrodite IX.

The focus of the upcoming Talent Hunt will be the characters from the Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation corner of the Top Cow universe, although the Artifacts themselves still feature in this far future setting.

The Top Cow Talent Hunt is due to begin on September 15th  this year.

However, Top Cow are mixing things up by providing an early deadline of January 15th where people are able to submit and receive some feedback on their submission, so they might improve it.

The final deadline will be on May 15th.

For the Talent Hunt, writers are required to complete a full twenty-two page script. If they are successfully chosen as the winner, this is the story that will be published. As a runner-up, they will be asked to complete a new backup comic strip.

The article about Top Cow’s latest Talent Hunt can be found here;

Everything you need to begin is actually already here. So, if you are so inclined, you can get a head start on the competition.

Matt Hawkins has indicated on Facebook that the Talent Hunt will not be running next year, or the year after, so this could very well be your last chance to break into the industry via the Talent Hunt (at least for a while).

I fully encourage every writer out there who hopes to break into comics, to take part.

For research I would suggest picking up the Aphrodite IX hardcover. It truly is a resource that you cannot afford to be without. There are also the two trade paperbacks of Cyber Force which offer interesting background information on the world of Aphrodite IX.

The title currently being released by Top Cow that you should be picking up is the IXth Generation. A trade paperback collecting the early issues of the IXth Generation has now been released.

There are also one shots connected to the IXth Generation that you can find in comic book stores. There are; IXth Generation Hidden Files #1, Athena IX #1, Artemis IX #1, Apollo IX #1 and Poseidon IX #1.

It is my hope to run a series of articles during the Talent Hunt which should provide useful research for anyone who intends to enter.

So, get to work, writers. This is an opportunity that should not be missed.


New writers for 2000AD are required to write 'Future Shocks'.

New writers for 2000AD are required to write ‘Future Shocks’.

Breaking into writing professionally. That is the dream for a lot of us. But many companies like Marvel or DC Comics do not allow direct writing submissions. You are simply required to go out, create your own stuff and be discovered.

However, that is not true of all comic book companies.

Here, in the UK, is a publisher called Rebellion who publish a magazine called 2000AD. I’m sure a lot of you will be familiar with 2000AD’s most famous character – Judge Dredd.

2000AD is rare, in that it does open up submissions to writers (and artists) each year, the date you can submit this year?

September 14th.

So, what will you be submitting? Well, 2000AD’s submissions policy is very specific. They require you to write Future Shocks which are stories that are self-contained, set in the science fiction genre, four pages in length and have a twist ending.

The twist is the tricky bit. If you want to write for 2000AD, then you’re going to have to come up with something truly surprising.

Here is the outline for 2000AD’s submissions, along with script examples that can be downloaded –

If you’re looking for examples of Future Shocks, then pick up a copy of 2000AD, they are a regular feature. Alternatively, 2000AD has put out two collections of Future Shocks. They are The Best of Tharg’s Future Shocks and The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks.

So, my fellow writers, get reading and get submitting.

Good luck.