At C2E2 2019 I attended a panel on Top Cow’s hunt for new creative talent. The panelists included past winners of the Talent Hunt; Stephanie Phillips, Isaac Goodhart, and Ryan Cady as well as Top Cow’s owner Marc Silvestri and president Matt Hawkins. The panel was moderated by Henry Barajas.
The Talent Hunt tasks artists with rendering a sample script featuring The Darkness in their own style. Writers entering the competition are to produce a spec script featuring any bearer of The Darkness.
For those new to the character, The Darkness is a supernatural power that allows the wielder to conjure anything they desire so long as it doesn’t come into contact with light. In the case of Italian mobster Jackie Estacado, the Darkness takes the form of armor, guns, twin eels and a horde of small imps called Darklings. The Darkness is passed down from generation to generation with each previous bearer being killed the moment of their descendent’s conception. While Jackie is the most well known bearer of The Darkness, there are previous hosts from different time periods who could also be used in the spec script.
What Top Cow Is Looking For
They are looking for digital artists who can ink their own work. Tips: Focus on backgrounds, camera placement, character expressions, and quiet moments. Don’t use coloring as a crutch and be mindful of your light sources.
They are not looking for pin-ups, graffiti, graphic design, or cover artists. Artists who submit should be able to tell a story in the sequential art medium.
Show that you can do a good character-focused one-shot in an established property. Be sure to communicate story, emotion, and pacing.
Silvestri emphasized taking critiques well. Don’t question or argue with pros. They are using their valuable time to give you free school. Be respectful and listen. Be like a sponge and absorb the information with an open heart, open mind, and a closed ego.
Silvestri continued by saying that it’s important to be a team player. Top Cow won’t hire people who are either bad at art or have a bad attitude. According to Silvestri, “As an artist you will only feel creative and on top of the world 10% of the time, the other 90% is hell.”
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Perspective! for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea
Recommended Steve Lieber’s art breakdown.
If you’re interested in entering then head over to the Top Cow website and subscribe to their newsletter.The rules for the competition will be forthcoming. Best of luck to all participants.