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; http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/exclusive-top-cow-talent-hunt-to-return-with-a-few-changes-to-the-competition
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.