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Top Cow Productions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Top Cow Productions
Parent companyImage Comics
FounderMarc Silvestri
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationLos Angeles
Key peopleMarc Silvestri
Matt Hawkins
Fiction genresSuperhero fiction, science fiction, horror fiction
Official websitetopcow.com

Top Cow Productions is an American comics publisher, an imprint of Image Comics. It was founded by Marc Silvestri in 1992.


Top Cow President Matt Hawkins (left) speaking with fans (right) at the Image Comics booth at the 2012 New York Comic Con.

During the early years of Image Comics, founder Marc Silvestri shared a studio with Jim Lee. In this studio, he created his first creator-owned comic book, Cyberforce, as part of Image's initial line-up.[1] After setting up his own studio, Top Cow Productions, he expanded into other comics, launching Codename: Strykeforce, a new Cyberforce series and various spin-offs.

Top Cow attracted several professionals including artist Brandon Peterson, writer Garth Ennis and former Marvel staffer David Wohl. The company also helped launch the careers of various writers and artists, such as Christina Z,[2] Joe Benitez, Michael Turner and David Finch. Benitez, Turner and Finch have since worked for DC and Marvel Comics.

In 1996, Top Cow briefly parted ways with Image during a power struggle with Image associate Rob Liefeld. Liefeld left the company shortly after Top Cow's departure, and Top Cow returned to the partnership.[3] At the same time, Top Cow was moving more into the fantasy genre with new properties Witchblade and The Darkness. Thanks to the success of Witchblade, Top Cow was able to expand, adding new titles to its lineup including The Darkness, Magdalena, Aphrodite IX, and others. Silvestri was heavily involved in training and developing new talent through the studio and Top Cow was known for a time for its "house style" (standardized elements of illustration across multiple titles produced by Top Cow), though former publisher Filip Sablik has argued that the company never truly had a house style.[4][5]

In addition to its company-owned properties, Top Cow has worked with creators to develop creator-owned properties. These properties have included Michael Turner's Fathom (which eventually ended up at Aspen Comics), and Joe's Comics, created exclusively for J. Michael Straczynski, which included Rising Stars and Midnight Nation.[citation needed] Top Cow is also known for bringing Tomb Raider's Lara Croft to comics.[citation needed]

In 2006, Top Cow made a business agreement with Marvel Comics to publish crossovers such as Darkness/Wolverine and Witchblade/Punisher.[6] As part of this agreement, several Top Cow artists also provided art chores on various Marvel series.[7] Tyler Kirkham worked on Phoenix: Warsong and New Avengers/Transformers; Mike Choi worked on X-23: Target X; and Silvestri himself worked on X-Men: Messiah Complex. At the 2007 San Diego Comic Con, an announcement was made by Marvel Comics extending the deal into 2008.[8]

At the 2007 New York Comic Con Top Cow announced that they would be one of the first major comics publishers to offer online distribution, through a partnership with IGN. The initial titles offered included Tomb Raider, The Darkness, and Witchblade, at $1.99 per issue.[9][10] They also announced a deal with Zannel to license their comics as mobile comics.[11]

In 2022, Top Cow Productions reprinted the early issues of Cyberforce for the first time since 1994 in a 30th anniversary commemorative hardcover edition[12] The project was funded through Kickstarter, and the commemorative edition was exclusively available through the platform.[12] The book collected Cyberforce #0, Tin Men of War #1-4, WildCATS #5-7, Cyberforce volume 2 #1-13, Origins #1 (Cyblade) and #2 (Stryker), and Cyberforce Annual #1.[13] Later in the same year the book was reprinted in a trade paperback with the same contents.

In 2024, the company announced a new Witchblade series written by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Giuseppe Cafaro.[14]


Media adaptations[edit]

The Darkness[edit]


In December 2004, Dimension Films paid an undisclosed six-figure sum to develop a movie based on the comic, possibly for release in 2008.[citation needed] The film was pitched as a movie similar to The Crow, which was also produced by Dimension. There have been no further developments.

Video games[edit]

In March 2005, The Darkness was licensed by Majesco Entertainment for a console game to be developed by Starbreeze Studios. 2K Games later obtained the rights to the game, and a first-person shooter adapation was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console systems on June 25, 2007 in the United States. In the EU, the game was released for Xbox 360 on June 29, 2007, and for PS3 on July 20 of the same year.[citation needed]

To promote the video game, a five-issue mini-series was released, with each issue chronicled a chapter of the game. In June 2007, the mini-series was collected into a trade paperback.[15]

In February 2012, a sequel to the video game, entitled The Darkness II, was released for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The script for the game was written by comic book writer Paul Jenkins, who previously worked on The Darkness comic series. Unlike the first game, the graphics for The Darkness II were developed using a cel-shading technique, emulating the aesthetic of its graphic novel namesake.[16] The game received positive reviews from critics.[17]


Television series[edit]

Following a pilot film in August 2000, the cable network TNT premiered a television series based on the comic book series in 2001.[citation needed] The series was directed by Ralph Hemecker and written by Marc Silvestri and J.D. Zeik. Yancy Butler starred as Sara Pezzini. Although critically acclaimed and popular with audiences, it was canceled in September 2002.[18] The cancellation was announced as a production decision, but there was widespread speculation that the true reason for its cancellation was Butler's alcohol addiction; Butler was ordered to enter rehab for alcohol addiction a year later, after being arrested for wandering intoxicated amidst traffic.[19]

Witchblade ran for two 12–episode seasons on TNT. The first episode aired on June 12, 2001, and the last episode aired on August 26, 2002. On April 1, 2008, Warner Home Video announced a long-anticipated DVD release. Witchblade: The Complete Series — a seven-disc collectors set including the original made-for-TV movie, all 23 episodes of the series, and special features — was released July 29, 2008.[20]


In January 2017, NBC announced that it would be developing a Witchblade reboot, with Carol Mendelsohn and Caroline Dries serving as executive producers.[21]

Film adaptation[edit]

An American superhero film based on the series was announced in 2008.[22] The film was to be directed by Michael Rymer, who directed the 2002 film Queen of the Damned and several episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and was to be written by Everett De Roche.[23]

The film was one of the two being produced and financed back-to-back by Platinum Studios, IDG Films and Relativity Media.[citation needed] The film was to be produced by Arclight's Gary Hamilton and Nigel Odell, Platinum Studios' Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and Steve Squillante of Havenwood Media. Top Cow's Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins were to be executive producers with Platinum Studios' Rich Marincic and Greenberg Group's Randy Greenberg. Filming was announced to begin in September 2008, with China and Australia among the possible locations being considered for filming.[24][25] Megan Fox was approached for the role of Sara Pezzini at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.[citation needed]

The film's website and teaser poster were released in May 2008,[22] but the project was later cancelled.[citation needed]

Anime series[edit]

In 2004 Japanese animation studio GONZO announced an anime version of Witchblade, with a subsequent manga adaptation. The anime version is considered controversial by some, because GONZO has announced that the main character of the anime is of Japanese ethnicity but is not Itagaki, one of the previous bearers of the Witchblade.[citation needed] Instead the main character is a new character named Masane. Although this series centers around all new characters and tells a new story not contained in the source material, it is set in the same continuity as the comic book.[26] The anime series began broadcast during April 2006 and ran for 24 episodes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Overstreet, Robert M. (1996). The Overstreet comic book price guide : books from 1897-present included : catalogue & evaluation guide-- illustrated (26th ed.). New York: Avon Books. pp. A-50. ISBN 0-380-78778-4. OCLC 34703954.
  2. ^ "Christina Z", Wikipedia, 2022-12-11, retrieved 2023-01-17
  3. ^ Dean, Michael (25 October 2000). "The Image Story Part Two: The Honeymoon". The Comics Journal. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. ^ Tung, Tommy (2004-03-05). "A background artist steps forward in the comic book industry". UCLA Asia Pacific Center. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  5. ^ Yanes, Nicholas (2009-04-08). "Filip Sablik On The Evolution of Top Cow Comics". SciFi Pulse. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  6. ^ Jordan, Justin (2006-06-04). "Top Cow Surprises Fans @ WW Philly". The Verge. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  7. ^ "List of Marvel Cinematic Universe television series", Wikipedia, 2023-01-14, retrieved 2023-01-17
  8. ^ George, Richard (2007-07-27). "SDCC 07: Cup O' Joe Report". IGN. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  9. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2007-03-28). "IGN launches online digital comics shop". The Beat. Retrieved 2023-05-21.
  10. ^ Schleicher, Stephen (2007-03-28). "Download Comics (legally)". Major Spoilers. Retrieved 2023-05-21.
  11. ^ Powers, Kevin (14 September 2007). "BAM! KAPOW! BOOM! Zannel And Top Cow Team Up To Fight Mobile Boredom". Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  12. ^ a b Avila, Mike (2021-11-18). "Exclusive: Artist Marc Silvestri Looks Back On Cyberforce's 30TH Anniversary". Syfy. Retrieved 2023-05-22.
  13. ^ Johnson, Rich (2021-12-14). "Four Big Hardcovers From Image Comics For 30th Anniversary In 2022". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2023-05-22.
  14. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2024-04-19). "Witchblade is back!". The Beat. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  15. ^ The Darkness: Levels at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  16. ^ "Review: The Darkness II". Destructoid. Retrieved 2023-01-10.
  17. ^ "The Darkness 2 review: Shooting bullets off a list". Engadget. Retrieved 2023-01-10.
  18. ^ Grossberg, Joss (5 September 2002). "Witchblade Sliced by TNT". E! Online. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  19. ^ Grossberg, Joss (24 November 2003). "Witchblade Star Ordered to Rehab". E! Online. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Witchblade DVD news: Announcement for Witchblade - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2008-01-04. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  21. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 20, 2017). "'Witchblade' Reboot From Carol Mendelsohn, Caroline Dries Set at NBC". The Hollywood Reporter. Valence Media. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  22. ^ a b PBADMIN (2008-05-27). "Witchblade Teaser Poster and Site Revealed". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  23. ^ MrDisgusting (4 June 2008). "'Witchblade' Director and Writer Revealed!". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  24. ^ Pamela McClintock (2005-12-12). "Pic trio wields 'Witchblade'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  25. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-05-11). "'Witchblade' sharpened for bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  26. ^ "Top Cow Announces Witchblade Manga in 2007". Anime News Network. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2017-03-19.

External links[edit]