For those following the Top Cow books, you know there are some big changes in the air. With the story in ARTIFACTS coming to a close, everything will change. Yes, we've heard that before but with the Top Cow Universe, they are completely serious.
In the Top Cow Universe, there are 13 Artifacts with the Witchblade and Darkness being two of them. Over the past few years, we've been learning more and more about them as each has been revealed. Separately they guide the fate of the universe and if brought together, they will bring about the end of the universe.
ARTIFACTS #12 is on sale December 28, 2011 and will bring about the end of the story and...the universe? ARTIFACTS #13 is on sale January 4, 2012 and will offer an end and resolution to the story.
To get the bottom of all this, we spoke with Filip Sablik, Publisher of Top Cow. He described Top Cow Rebirth as an opportunity to refresh all the books. Next year marks the 20th Anniversary of Top Cow but that's not why this move is being made. The stories in the Top Cow comics happen organically and this rebirth happened to coincide with the anniversary. Plans for ARTIFACTS actually began over two years ago and Ron Marz has been hinting about the prophecy for over five years. After Broken Trinity ended in 2009, they wanted to step away from Darkness and Witchblade.
ARTIFACTS becomes an ongoing after issue 13. Everything will make sense after reading that issue. Readers that don't know anything about the Top Cow Universe can pick up the series and see the ongoing stories of where things are headed. Witchblade and Darkness will be making appearances.
There's going to be a definite jump and hopefully that will be part of the fun for readers, uncovering the mystery of what happened, why everything is the way it is as the characters figure it out.
Most of the characters are unaware of the changes. Readers will be in the same position as Sara Pezzini or Tom Judge and wonder, "What's going on?"
The obvious comparison before reading will be that Top Cow is simply trying to follow what DC Comics did with 'The New 52.' Reboot an entire universe for the sake of shaking things up.
That clearly is not the case. For starters, the plan for the rebirth began before DC made their announcements.
Everything that has happened before has still happened. Things are just different now. It's kind of our version of 'It's a Wonderful Life.' If you change one or two seemingly minor things, that you think would only affect one person's life, then you begin to see how those ripple affects go out. It can actually have real drastic, sometimes really damaging effects. Very quickly the readers will know what the changes are. A better comparison would be what Marvel did with One More Day/Brand New Day. The changes are very much story-driven.
One of our goals is to make sure people that have been supportive of the books feel like we're not turning our backs on them in favor of the ever elusive new fans. We are hoping new fans pick up these books but at the same time, we're being respectful of all this great history.
This week we saw WITCHBLADE #150 which marked the end of Ron Marz's seven year run. The next issue, written by Tim Seeley, is on sale January 4, 2012, the same day as ARTIFACTS #13.
Having read issue #151, I can say that things will indeed be different. There is a jump between issues 150 and 151. 151 will be a good jumping on point. And that's the point of the rebirth.
The important thing to take away from all of this is that there is a clear reason why the entire universe is changing. The fact that existing events still happened and still matter is great for new and old readers.
Those that have been enjoying the comics won't be thrown aside for the sake of a 'new jumping on point.' New readers can begin reading but there isn't anything holding them back should they wish to read the older issues.
There's never been a better time to be reading Top Cow Comics.