Top Cow Talent Hunt 2017 is Announced


Top Cow Productions is a partner studio in Image Comics.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that I was a Writing Runner-Up in the Top Cow Talent Hunt 2014 – 2015.

There was some doubt as to whether the Top Cow Talent Hunt might return, and if it did, if it might not be for a couple of years.

Well, we can now put those doubts to rest. Matt Hawkins just announced via Twitter that there will be a Top Cow Talent Hunt 2017.

Here is the link;

The titles featured in this Talent Hunt are going to be Think Tank, Tithe and Postal.

The exact rules won’t be revealed until the Summer when the Talent Hunt is officially announced during the San Diego Comic Con.

But, if you’re an aspiring writer or artist, this gives you time to prepare.

Go, research those titles, so when the Talent Hunt does begin, you have an advantage.

Preparation doesn’t guarantee success, but it does help.

It helped me.

Alterna Comics – IF Anthology

Alterna Comics

Alterna Comics

Greetings all. If you haven’t heard, submissions are now open for the IF Anthology which is published by Alterna Comics.

Each year the IF Anthology has a different theme. The first time around it was science fiction. Last year it was superheroes. This year the theme is CRIME.

The book only accepts completed submissions. That means art and lettering. The format is black and white/grayscale and the book is going to be aimed at mature readers.

You may submit a maximum of sixteen pages, although you are free to submit less.

The job is unpaid but creators will be compensated with copies of the anthology.

You can find details on the Alterna Comics website here;

There is a soft deadline of May 1st, 2017 and potential revisions can be made after this.

The hard deadline is June 1st, 2017.


The Thought Bubble Comic Book Festival takes place from the 1st to the 6th of November.

The Thought Bubble Comic Book Festival takes place from the 1st to the 6th of November.

Okay, it’s been a little while since I’ve updated the blog, so I thought I’d check in and fill you all in on my experience at this year’s Thought Bubble Comic Con which took place in Leeds on the 5th and 6th of November.

First, I’d like to say that I had a wonderful experience. I got to meet Dave Evans who edits FutureQuake Press which I’ve written for in the past and I got to hangout with Mark Abnett who wrote the Hit-Girl story from the Millarworld Annual 2016.

I got to meet other aspiring writers too, which is always the best thing about attending Comic Cons.

But, of course, one of the main reasons I attended Thought Bubble this year is because 2000AD was holding an open pitching session for writer to present ideas for Future Shocks (four page science fiction stories with twist endings).

So, how did it go? Did I win? Did I at least get to pitch.

Well, the panel was at 12 noon so I made sure to arrive about an hour early to queue. I was speaking to another aspiring writer later in the evening who said he really wanted to pitch but didn’t get the chance to.

The fact of the matter is, if you want to break into the comic book industry, you need to go above and beyond. Go that extra mile. It doesn’t guarantee you success, but it increases your chances.

There were around thirty or forty people who attended the panel. I think about seven people got to pitch their ideas. It was first come, first served.

If you’re an aspiring writer and you’re attending an event like that, turn up early. Yeah, you might miss out on being first to walk around the Comic Con or some other fun comic book panels but that’s not why you’re there. You want to be a comic book professional.

That’s my advice to you.

I was there an hour early, first in the queue and I was first on stage to pitch my idea.

And yeah, it was terrifying. I’m not the kinda person who is comfortable getting up on stage in front of an audience. But, becoming a professional comic book writer means everything to me, so I did what I had to.

My pitch was not picked, I didn’t win. Even when you do everything you can, the odds are always against you. And there were a couple of things I could’ve done better.

I think I oversimplified my pitch. We had a time limit, so I boiled it down to the core idea, but because I didn’t provide additional information, it made my story seem simpler than it was.

I now know not to do that next year.

There also wasn’t enough set up, which is something which could’ve been easily remedied, so I didn’t take that as a big criticism.

The fact is, someone pitched an idea that was better than mine. And, well done to them.

I think I kinda forgot that as far as any of the judges were concerned, we were all amateurs. When I entered the Top Cow Talent Hunt and nabbed a Runners-Up spot, I was judged on my ability to write. That was impossible to do here.

If I was pitching to someone who knew my ability to write, then they’d likely know that I was merely streamlining my pitch. I didn’t take into account that wouldn’t happen here. I oversimplified my plot and that made my plot appear simple.

That was a major mistake on my part.

I will be back next year (provided I don’t break in at 2000AD through their conventional submissions process), you only fail at this when you give up.

I also took the opportunity to speak to editor Matt Smith at the 2000AD booth afterward and give him my business card. If you want to break into comics as a writer, it’s important to make a impression.

Whether I made a good impression or not, I’m not entirely sure. I’d used up all my courage getting up on that stage. I think I may have babbled a little bit. I was very conscious that another writer had just introduced himself before me, and I didn’t want to take up more of Mr. Smith’s valuable time.

I should’ve been calmer. But, you live, you learn.

And as I said, I’m not going to give up, if I have my way, I’ll be first up on that stage next year too.

Tomb World

Hallowscream #8

Hallowscream #8

If you haven’t had a chance to take a look yet, Hallowscream #8 has been released online.

Hallowscream is a small press online anthology book, so it’s free to read.

You can find all the issues of Hallowscream here;

And of course, this year Hallowscream contains ‘Tomb World’ by myself and Dave Peloe. Here’s a preview;

'Tomb World' Preview

‘Tomb World’ Preview

So, why not head over to the Back From The Depths website and check it out?




Here it is. Solicited at last.

CYBERFORCE: ARTIFACTS #0 featuring an eight page story by yours truly. This is, understandably, a very exciting time for me.

There are many comic book fans out there, who like me, dream about breaking into the comic book industry. To write some of the iconic characters which we’ve grown up reading. And now, at last, I’ve had that chance.

You can find Image Comics Solicitations for December 2016 here;

Here is the page featuring CYBERFORCE: ARTIFACTS #0;


Preview Page

There’s my name. Paul Penna. That is truly incredible.

There is proof right there that if you dream big enough and try hard enough, that you really can succeed.

There is even some text for my story; Someone is dealing in Protocol tech, and it’s up to APHRODITE IV to stop them dead.

I was paired with the brilliantly talented Jim Towe as my artist, so I encourage you to pick the story up even if it’s just to marvel at his artwork.

The book is out on the 28th of December.

If you want a digital copy of CYBERFORCE: ARTIFACTS #0 then it is now up for pre-order on Comixology;

2000AD at Thought Bubble

The Thought Bubble Comic Book Festival takes place from the 1st to the 6th of November.

The Thought Bubble Comic Book Festival takes place from the 1st to the 6th of November.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, 2000AD reopened their submissions on the 12th of September 2016.

You can now submit a Future Shock; a four page sci-fi story with a twist ending, to the folk who publish Judge Dredd.

Submissions guidelines can be found here;

But that isn’t your only chance to work for 2000AD. If you are a resident of the UK, then you’ll want to head to the Thought Bubble Comic Con which is held in Leeds each year. The main Con will take place on Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th of November this year.

Starting last year, 2000AD have been holding open pitching sessions for writers. You will have two minutes to pitch an idea for a Future Shock to 2000AD‘s top minds.

You can find out more information here;

Are you up to the challenge?

Millarworld Talent Search 2017 Annual


Millarworld is the personal imprint of writer; Mark Millar.

For the second year running Mark Millar has opened the gates to newcomers to work on some of his most famous creations.

Yes, the Millarworld Talent Search is back. You too can write such characters as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl.

You can find the rules for writers here; and artists here;

The characters which you can use have changed from last year.

This year you can write a…

  • KICK-ASS and HIT-GIRL story set during volumes 1 to 3 (5 pages)
  • EMPRESS story set on Earth when Dane was acting as her bodyguard (5 pages)
  • NEMESIS story set during the first volume (4 pages)
  • HUCK simple story set during issue #1 before his gifts were known to the public (5 pages)
  • SUPERCROOKS story set any time (4 pages)
  • SUPERIOR story which can also be set at any time (5 pages)

Just as last year, you can only make a single entry, so pick wisely.

Submissions should be made to and must include the relevant paperwork which you can find at the link I have provided.

The deadline is the 30th of November 2016.

The stories will be printed as part of a Millarworld Annual which will be released in 2017.

So, get writing, and good luck.

Jim Towe Is Drawing Youngblood

'Youngblood' as drawn by Jim Towe

Youngblood as drawn by Jim Towe

Youngblood was the flagship title of Image Comics and debuted in their own ongoing series in 1992. They were created by Rob Liefeld (best know as the creator of Deadpool) and over the years have been relaunched on a number of occasions.

Well, Youngblood returns next year with a new creative team. Rob Liefeld is working with the excellent writer Chad Bowers, but the artist is a relative newcomer.

Jim Towe was selected as the new artist of Youngblood because of the fan art (featured above) which he posted on Twitter.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Jim Towe is a very talented fellow.

Jim was also one of the Artist Runners-Up in the Top Cow Talent Hunt and I consider myself very lucky to have been paired with him on an eight page short strip featuring one of Top Cow’s recurring characters.

There can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who has seen Jim’s artwork that he is destined for great things. He clearly love the medium, like so many of us, he is a fan, and in the best possible way.

You can find an article about the new Youngblood series here;

I hope all of you will be picking up the new Youngblood series in 2017, and of course my short that I worked on with Jim will be out before the end of the year (you’ll have to excuse the shameless self promotion).

I can say that Jim was truly a pleasure to work with.

You can follow Jim on Twitter here;




Hallowscream! is an online anthology in it’s eighth year. It’s available for download, but you can also get physical copies from

The anthology features scary stories, although nothing graphic or adult in nature.

Completed strips are preferred , but writers and artists can also contact the anthology separately and be teamed up.

Strips can be 1 to 7 pages in length.

The anthology is entirely non-profit.

Full submissions guidelines can be found here;

The deadline for text and script submissions is Sunday the 31st of July.  For artwork, it is Monday the 17th of October and completed strips must be submitted no later than Monday the 24th of October.

Good luck, folks.