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Top Cow Productions put the power back in the hands of the readers by letting them vote on six one-shot “pilot” issue comics. Each issue involved in the competition would be a stand alone story, with plot seeds for further issues if need be. Voting takes place through the publisher’s Pilot Season MySpace page, the title with the most votes goes on to become an ongoing series. The format of the initiative has changed since its inception, evolving with each year, however the voting process has been constant.

2007 Season

In 2007 the Pilot Season consisted of six planned titles based on established Top Cow characters that had potential to star in their own series. The entrants are listed below.

 

Ripclaw
Cyblade
Velocity
Necromancer
Angelus

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Jorge Lucas

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Rick Mays

Writer: Joe Casey

Artist: Kevin Maguire

Writer: Joshua Ortega

Artist: Jonboy Meyers

Writer: Ian Edginton

Artist: Stjepan Sejic

       

Aphrodite IX  

(pulled from schedule, never released under the Pilot Season banner)
Writer: Dan Jevons
Artist: Eric Basaldua

It was determined in the final stages of production that the sixth title, Aphrodite IX, did not fit the feel of the other issues and would be released at a later date. Ripclaw, Cyblade, and Velocity are spin-offs of Marc Silvestri’s popular series, Cyber Force. The Angelus is a concept that originated in The Darkness, another Silvestri creation, while Necromancer had appeared in a previous miniseries from Top Cow in 2005. All the characters were established and made up a connected, shared world, whereas Aphrodite IX was set in the future.

The voting process was well received, exceeding four million votes over the course of one month (from December until January). Readers were permitted, and encouraged, to vote as many times as they wanted. 
Cyblade and Velocity tied for first place, and both titles were slated for an ongoing series in 2008. However, only Cyblade was released on schedule. After suffering many delays, Velocity writer Casey resumed work again, this time with artist ChrisCross relieving Maguire. The title hit another impasse when ChrisCross resigned from the project in Dec. 2008 due to “unforeseen differences”; the title was officially cancelled in February 2009. Casey later attributed the delay and cancellation to Top Cow’s poor management, citing mass dismissal of Top Cow personnel, including editorial staff. Velocity was finally re-launched in 2010 with a new creative team, despite being published under the Pilot Season banner. The new series is written by Ron Marz with Kenneth Rocafort providing art.

 

2008 Season

This season saw a change in that all the entrants were original characters, with only two having a publication history before Pilot Season.


Twilight Guardian

Writer: Troy Hickman
Artist: Reza

Lady Pendragon

Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Eru

 
Alibi

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Jeremy Haun

Genius

Writer: Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman
Artist: Afua Richardson

The Core

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort

Urban Myths

Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Jorge Molina

The voting period this season lasted from August to September 2008, and allowing individual computers to vote only once per a day. Twilight Guardian won with nearly 30% of the vote. Top Cow VP of Marketing and Sales, Mel Caylo stated that some titles from the season could still be slated for future projects. Alibi earned the least amount of votes, yet has been optioned for a feature film by Mandeville Films.

 

2009 Season

Another change was made to the competition in that all the titles listed below were co-developed by Marc Silvestri and Robert Kirkman, with the latter writing each.

Murderer 
Artist: Nelson Blake II

Demonic

Artist: Joe Benitez

Stealth

Artist: Sheldon Mitchell

Stellar

Artist: Bernard Chang

Hardcore (never released)

Artist: Brian Stelfreeze 
Murderer was the first title released in December 2009, the rest sporadically throughout 2010. The final issue, Hardcore, was due October 2010; as a result the voting on Kirkman’s Pilot Season has not yet taken place.

 

2010 Season

Top Cow made a beneficial change to the initiative this year by having separate creative teams compete.

Forever
Writer: Brad Inglesby
Artist: Thomas Nachlik

39 Minutes 
Writer: William Harms
Artist: Jerry Lando

Crosshair
Writer: Jeff Katz
Artist: Allan Jefferson

Asset
Writer: Filip Sablik
Artist: David Marquez

7 Days From Hell
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill & Rob Levin
Artist: Phil Noto
Midway Earth (pulled from schedule, never released under the Pilot Season banner)

Writer: Unknown

Artist: Unknown 
Unlike previous seasons, pilot issues were released every week over the course of five weeks. This allowed the voting process to be complete by November, before the outcome of the 2009 season was decided (which is still not finished). 39 Minutes was announced as the winner this year.

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