Pilot Season Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Top Cow offering ‘Genius’ ‘zero issue’ for free on comiXology


With Genius #1, by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson, going on sale Wednesday, Top Cow Productions is offering the “zero issue” — the 2008 Pilot Season one-shot — for free on comiXology.

Arriving weekly throughout August, the five-issue miniseries follows teenager Destiny Ajaye, the greatest military mind of her generation, who unites the gangs of South Central Los Angeles and secedes three square blocks of her neighborhood from the United States. Continue Reading »

Top Cow extends voting for Pilot Season due to website crash

Last weekend I posted about Top Cow’s website crashing in the final days of voting for this year’s Pilot Season prospects, and today we have the good news that the publisher is back online and extending voting through the end of the year. In a press release, Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik explained that the site was simply overwhelmed with more votes than the publisher anticipated.

“The number and velocity of votes completely exceeded our expectations, and this is the sort of high class problem you don’t mind solving,” Sablik explained. “All of us at Top Cow are eager to see which Pilot Season competitor emerges victorious.”

According to the press release, TopCow.com has been restored and moved over to a more substantial server with increased capacity for traffic. The first round of voting has been extended through Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific, with the top four vote-getters going on to a second round, and the top two from that to go to a final round. Stay tuned for more news on the contest as it develops.

Top Cow launches Pilot Season voting — and site crashes! (UPDATED)

Voting for Top Cow’s annual Pilot Season line of books is coming down the finish line, and from what happened earlier today we could be in for a photo finish. Checking TopCow.com this morning reveals that the site is down due to exceeding their bandwidth. The virtual voting booth is set to close on Sunday, Dec. 18, but with this delay in voting we might be seeing an extension of polling hours.

Assuming the window for voting re-opens, people will have a chance to vote for one of seven books released this year in Top Cow’s unique event.This year’s line-up was its most diverse yet in terms of story and creators, spanning sci-fi to dramatic with even some comedic moments. The seven titles are The Test, The Beauty, City of Refuge, Fleshdigger, Theory of Everything, Misdirection, Anonymous and Seraph.

Robot 6 reached out to Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik for comment, but have not heard back at the time of publication.

UPDATE: On Monday, Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik contacted Robot 6 to explain TopCow.com’s website crashing.

“Topcow.com did go down to due to our bandwidth being exceeded several times in the last week,” Sablik explains. “We’ve increased our bandwidth several times with our current host, but the intensity of voting activity exceeded even our increased bandwidth capabilities. We are currently in the process of migrating topcow.com to a new server which should provide a more stable solution to the problem. We should have an update on when the site will be back up shortly and once the site is live, we will be extending the first round of voting to compensate for the time the lost.”

Although Top Cow hasn’t revealed just how many votes it’s received yet, during the inaugural 2007 Pilot Season, they received 4.1 million votes.

“It’s just another example of how Pilot Season really engages comic fans and we’re thrilled at the passion fans are demonstrating trying to get their favorite Pilot Season title into the top 4 spots for the second round of voting. Even if it has caused some technical difficulties!”

Robot 6 will update you when TopCow.com comes back online and voting resumes.

Comics A.M. | The Power Within creators land on Out’s ‘Out 100′ list

Charles Christensen and Mark Brill

Creators | Out magazine has included writer Charles “Zan” Christensen and artist Mark Brill in its 17th annual “Out 100″ list highlighting the 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of the year. Christensen and Brill are the creators of The Power Within, an anti-bullying comic book published by Northwest Press. “Inspired, or rather upset, by Tyler Clementi’s tragic death last year, the pair set out to create an empowering story of an eighth-grader picked on for being gay,” the magazine writes. Northwest Press has distributed over 700 free copies of the book to more than 50 gay-straight alliances, schools, churches, community centers and other youth organizations. [Out]

Creators | Uncanny X-Men writer Kieron Gillen considers the accessibility of the relaunched comic in light of reviews he’s read around the web, particularly the fact that some people were thrown by the X-Men living in San Francisco: “Of course, I can see the reason why it’s thrown the people … they know the X-Men live in a mansion in Westchester. That they’re not living in Westchester is the problem. It’s not about giving the information to read the story that’s there. It’s about correcting pre-existing assumptions. In other words, it’s not a problem about being accessible to new readers – because a genuinely new reader would accept the fact the X-Men live on Utopia in the same way that they except that Bilbo lives in the Shire – but rather a problem with the readers being old readers. They feel lost not because of the story on the page, but the gap between the old story in their heads and the story on the page, and wanting to know what connects the two.” [Kieron Gillen]

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Food or Comics? | Point One, Silver Star, Tezuka and more

Point One

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d first get the third issue of my favorite New 52 title, Batwoman #3 (DC, $2.99). Seriously, J.H. Williams III is hitting a home run on every outing here when it comes to my tastes. Although the writing isn’t up to the level of Greg Rucka’s time on the book, it’s close and only bound to get better. Next up I’d get Point One #1 (Marvel, $5.99). I think this format–an extra-size preview book for what’s coming next–is an interesting experiment, and I’m intrigued most by the Nova story, but also interested to see what the others do. Third would be Uncanny X-Force #17 (Marvel, $3.99), to get the one-two punch of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Iceman as a bad guy? I dig this.

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Food or Comics? | Heaping helpings of Kirby, Manara, X-Men and more

Wolverine and the X-Men #1

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d be a judicious comics buyer and pick the top four out of over 20 titles I’d want this week. DC/Vertigo makes it slightly easier by making the new Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso joint Spaceman #1 only $1. This dollar price point for first issues combined with the $9.99 price point they sometimes do for the first volume of comic trade paperbacks surely gets a lot of traction. Next up I’d get Jason Aaron’s new era of the X-Men in Wolverine & X-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99) with Chris Bachalo. I’d also get my regular pulls of DMZ #70 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and The Walking Dead #90 (Image, $2.99) and last–but first in my stack to read-–would be Secret Avengers #18 (Marvel, $3.99). I hear some Ellis guy is writing it, but the big draw for me is artist David Aja. His Iron Fist run is one of my top favs in comics in the past ten years, and he’s a titan in my book.

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Food or Comics? | Hark! A Snarked!

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Hark! A Vagrant

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d spend several musty dollars on Fear Agent #31 (Dark Horse, $3.50). This penultimate issue has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to see Remender and Moore enlist Mike Hawthorne to help get these final issues done – big fan of all three of them! Next up would be two of DC’s New 52; Action Comics #2 (DC, $3.99) and Swamp Thing (DC, $2.99); I admit that I feel weird not being more excited about Morrison’s run than I am, but somehow the first Action Comics wasn’t as gripping as the first All-Star Superman … and it’s not the art. For the last pick, I’d get X-Men: Schism #5 (Marvel, $3.99). It got off to a slow start, but Jason Aaron’s an expert at nailing his landings, and I’m intrigued to see how it all goes down.

If I had $30, I’d start off with a pair of number ones – Pilot Season: Test #1 (Image/Top Cow, $3.99) and Roger Langridge’s Snarked #1 (BOOM! Studios, $3.99). Pilot Season has always been a must-buy for me; sometimes the concepts don’t live up to the promise, but they still have a good track record. I just wish more ended up as ongoing series. Next up I’d get the long-running Invincible #83 (Image, $2.99); seriously, this hits all my itches harkening back to my younger comic-reading days. Last up I would get Animal Man #2 (DC, $2.99); I love what Lemire and Foreman started here; I just wish there were more of it!

If I found some extra cash, I would double-back for Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant (D+Q, $19.95). This reads like a literary nut’s comic strip, and I love every bit of it. For some reason it reminds me of Gary Larson’s The Far Side but in a very modern way.

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Looking back at Top Cow’s previous Pilot Season contenders

One of the most innovative concepts coming out of American comic companies in recent memory has been Top Cow’s Pilot Season. Every year for five years, Top Cow has released a slate of one-shots that are voted on by fans for the possibility of getting a longer limited series down the road. Originally centered around company-owned concepts, after the first year the company expanded to include creator-owned concepts from names like Robert Kirkman, Marc Silvestri, Jonathan Hickman, Joshua Hale Fialkov and others. And with the full announcement of 2011’s titles, I thought we should look back on the previous herds of titles and where they’re at today.

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Top Cow’s third pilot season to feature Kirkman/Silvestri creations

On G4’s Attack of the Show yesterday, Blair Butler announced that Top Cow’s bringing back their Pilot Season competition, where they throw five comics into the octagon and let them battle it out (via fan voting) to see which two will go on to become mini-series. The twist this time around is that all five of them will be co-created by Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri, as detailed in this video:

No word on when the third Pilot Season competition starts. Last year’s winners were Twilight Guardian by writer Troy Hickman and artist Reza, and Genius by writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman and artist Afua Richardson.

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