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Sunday, August 7, 2005

WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO: TOP COW PANEL

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Top Cow editor-in-chief Jim McLauchlin unveiled Jay Anacleto's cover to Witchblade #92, the title's 10th anniversary issue, at Top Cow's panel at Wizard World Chicago on Saturday.

In the 48-page issue, due in November, Ron Marz will tell the definitive origin of the Witchblade. More than a dozen artists are involved, including Chris Bachalo, Eric Basaldua, Keu Cha, Mike Choi, Darwyn Cooke, Terry Dodson, Francis Manapul, Rodolfo Migliari, George Perez, Brandon Peterson, Luke Ross, Bart Sears and Marc Silvestri.

McLauchlin said Marz has tailored parts of the stories to fit artists' strengths. For instance, Cooke's segement is set during World War II and Dodson's segment involves a savage jungle girl.

"It's really coming together nicely," McLauchlin said.

In other news from the panel:

* Troy Hickman is writing City of Heroes #4-6 -- "He has a beautiful human take on everything he does," McLauchlin said -- and then Dan Jurgens will write City of Heroes #5-7. Migliari continues to provide covers.

* McLauchlin said that Freshman will take more a dramatical turn with #4 while still maintaining the series' humor.

* Warren Ellis' four-issue mini-series, Down, starts in November. It's the story of Deanna Ransome, an undercover cop who is assigned to infiltrate a drug ring and bring down its head, who himself was a former undercover cop assigned to infiltrate the drug ring.

Tony Harris provides the art and cover for the first issue; Cully Hamner is doing the art for the final three issues.

* Magdalena will return in a four-issue series next year, written by Marz and fully painted by Cha. McLauchlin said that, due to the nature of the art, the series probably won't be ready until the second half of 2006.

* Hunter-Killer will feature special guest cover artists, with Jim Lee on #7 and John Cassaday on #8. McLauchlin said that Silvestri will be doing a cover for Lee's relaunched Wildcats.

* Necromancer #1 hits stands on Wednesday and the book's writer, Joshua Ortega, and artist, Francis Manapul talked about the title at the panel.

Necromancer is the story of Abigail van Alstine, a stunning, smart 17-year-old high school student who has a knack for "The Way" -- a natural talent for sorcery. She has a connection to the Enlightened mage known as Locke and the Dark Age demon called Mali.

"I pretty much have it plotted out through #45," Ortega said. "It does have a beginning, middled and end. It does have these six-issue chapters. One of the things Francis told me he liked is that she goes through changes. She's not a static character."

Manapul, who originally turned down the assignment, said his goal was to make Necromancer look unlike any Top Cow comic. "I'm trying to trim off the fat and rely on basic story-telling," he said.

Look for a preview of Necromancer #1 on Monday here in The Continuum.



E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com



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