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Creator / Top Cow Productions

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Top Cow Productions is a comic book company and partner studio of Image Comics. Marc Silvestri founded it, after publishing first volume of his creator-owned comic book Cyberforce in 1992. From there he started to expand by publishing various spin-offs to Cyberforce, like Codename:Strykeforce. The company helped launch the careers of various writers and artists, such as Christina Z., Joe Benitez, Michael Turner and David Finch. In November 1995 company launched Witchblade, which become their biggest success, spawning several more comics, like The Darkness and Aphrodite IX. In addition to their own comic titles, Top Cow assisted a bunch of other writers and artists, like helping to established J. Michael Straczynski's own studio "Joe Comics" and publishing his first titles under their imprint and publishing first volume of Michael Turner's Fathom. Later on, due to a conflict between Michael Turner and Top Cow, Top Cow lost their rights to Fathom comic series and Michael Turner went on to create his own comic book company "Aspen Comics".

Top Cow also made a business agreement with different companies in the past, allowing them to use their licensed characters, like Batman and Wolverine, in various canonical (Devil's Reign, JLA/Cyberforce and Batman/Darkness) and non-canonical (Painkiller Jane vs The Darkness and Witchblade/Punisher for example) crossovers. Top Cow were also known for creating Tomb Raider comic book series, bringing Lara Croft to comic book format for the first time. Also in 2008 Top Cow started co-imprinting some titles with production company "Heroes and Villains Entertainment", producing titles, which supposed to serve as the source material for future films, tv series and games.

Comics published by Top Cow Production:

Relevant tropes:

  • Darker and Edgier: As mentioned above, due to being essentially a subdivision of "Image Comics" at the time, Top Cow was one of the lead imitators of "Image Comics", with a lot of violence and gore.
  • Continuity Reboot: Top Cow has rebooted their universe twice, first time with Crisis Crossover story called "Artifacts".
  • Genre Roulette: Top Cow did not restricting itself to purely superhero genre. Outside of their primary titles, Top Cow publish fantasy, sci-fi and comedy.
  • Long-Runners:
    • Witchblade, which ran for twenty straight years from 1995 to 2015, is the most clear example. In December 2017 it got relaunched.
    • The Darkness is another example. It ran from 1996 to 2014, with relaunching expected in 2019.
    • Cyberforce is a less clear example. Although the ongoing series was short, "Cyberforce" continued through a lot of miniseries' and spin-offs, like "Velocity", "Cyblade" and two reboots.
  • Masquerade: The various magical and superpowered creatures go out of their way to avoid public attention, to the point where the general public is completely unaware.
  • Masquerade Paradox: The general public is unaware of superpowered figures such as the Witchblade or The Darkness. For latter, it is justifiable: Jackie Estecado is a member of the mafia and holds to the code of omerta, keeping silent about his (usually criminal) activities. However, the holder of the Witchblade, Sara Pezzini, is a cop, and her magical adversaries often pose a great danger to the public and her fellow officers. Why she keeps such dangers a secret is a question that has yet to be answered.
  • Shared Universe: They set up one from their first comic series Cyberforce. It includes Witchblade, The Darkness, Weapon Zero and several others of their superhero titles. They've since rebooted their universe twice, first being the Rebirth project. After the in-company crossover Artifacts, the original Top Cow universe was destroyed, with Jackie Estacado recreating it, with a few changes, like Sara Pezzini (protagonist of Witchblade) being a private detective instead of a police officer. Second was their relaunching project, where they relaunched titles like Witchblade, The Darkness and Cyberforce again, with Witchblade and The Darkness having different protagonists and Cyberforce telling a new version of origin of the team.