By Filip Sablik, Publisher of Top Cow Productions, Inc.
It’s been so long since I’ve written one of these blog entries it’s embarrassing. Really, really embarrassing. My apologies to my readers. Mom, I know you’ve been waiting to see what I’d write next. So, let’s move on to that, shall we?
Preconceptions. We all have them; even those of us who claim to be open minded can’t help but have biases. Like how all guys over 6’4” should be able to dunk a basketball or how old people are bad drivers or how Glee kids are dorks.
There are a couple of preconceptions that I’ve been fighting since arriving here at Top Cow three years ago. The problem with preconceptions is that once you get saddled with one, they’re a real pain to get rid of. Kind of like a bad rash.
My hope is not to convince all of you reading this that the preconception is not true, but to put up my point of view on the topic, so in moving forward, when this allegation comes up again I can just paste a handy dandy hyperlink to this post. I mean, I figure it’s the internet, if we can’t have a civil discourse here – what’s the point, right?
The preconception at hand is that Top Cow only publishes “T and A” comics. I’m going to assume I don’t need to define “T and A” for you, gentle reader. If you need to, go ahead and do a quick internet search to bring yourself up to speed.
I’m going to lay my proverbial cards on the table and set up a few ground rules for this conversation. I, personally, as well as the crew at Top Cow, do not think there’s anything wrong with utilizing some sex appeal to sell entertainment. Movies do it, television does it, magazines do it, novels do it, and so on. It works on both sexes and it can help sell copies, tickets, or whatever you happen to be marketing at the time. Shirtless Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds got my wife to Wolverine on opening night and I’m sure slow motion shots of Megan Fox sold more than a handful of tickets to Transformers 2 this summer.
Top Cow does intentionally place sexy artwork on our convention variant covers. We recognize there’s a part of our audience that digs them and we’d be bad business people for not giving our fanbase what they want. These covers are put out in a limited release and are primarily sold directly to fans at conventions. Our standard covers tend to reflect the interiors of the comics much more, both in tone and as narrative pieces.
I don’t believe that sexy art and intelligent stories are mutually exclusive. My favorite example in our library is Paul Dini and Kenneth Rocafort’s Madame Mirage, which showcases both a fantastic story and beautiful, sexy art.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I’m going to wrap up by showing off some recent Top Cow covers (above), which appeared in comic shops in the last 6 months and contrast them with some covers from our pals at Marvel Comics and DC Comics (below). Now, before you get riled up, I’m not accusing either company of anything. The only purpose of showing off the cover images is to point out that these two companies (which are not saddled with the preconception of putting out “T and A” books) do occasionally use sex appeal to sell a comic. And most of these examples are probably smart, fun reads too.
I hear on a weekly basis from people who had preconceptions of what Witchblade, or other titles we put out, was like and had those preconceptions turned on their head. If you doubt me, just head over to www.topcow.com. We have a bunch of completely free comics you can check out and judge for yourself.
Next time: There is No House Style.
Filip Sablik is the Publisher of Top Cow Productions, Inc. He’s been in the business for eight years and just officially entered his thirties. Occasionally, he does a bit of writing and drawing. He loves comics.
Top Cow Productions, Inc. was founded by Marc Silvestri, co-founder of Image Comics. Top Cow currently publishes its line of comic books in 21 languages in over 55 different countries. The company has launched 20 franchises (18 original and two licensed) in the industry’s Top 10, seven at #1, a feat accomplished by no other publisher in the last two decades.