Top Cow’s new Kickstarter-supported Cyber Force is a lot of fun. And even better, it’s free.
Series creator Marc Silvestri teams up Top Cow’s president Matt Hawkins to bring back the these characters in a new revamped format. I guess I’m lucky going into this not remembering too much of my Cyber Force history, as they took the concept and started it from scratch.
Our story is set in the generally boring city of Pittsburgh, which has been rebuilt by the evil conglomerate CDI. Now renaming the home of the Penguins Millennium City, the company looks to have some sort of diabolical plan in motion (I assume global domination; it’s a comic book after all). They accomplished this with a secret army of hybrid human/robots. The only person who is both aware of this and can stop it is a teenage girl codenamed Velocity, the cyber enhanced daughter of CDI’s president.
The only people she can turn to are a bunch of renegade/decommissioned former CDI hybrids. The most popular of the original Cyberforcers, Ripclaw, is the first to be recruited after the company murders his wife and daughter. By the end of the second issue, the two go off to find the original Cyber Force leader Stryker, who has been hiding out with the civilians (normal people) leading a quiet life as a toll collector. The question at the end is will he go out of hiding and resume his war against the evil CDI.
The story really picks up by the second issue. The best way I can explain it is that it’s a tale of a dystopian future, like Terminator 2: Judgement Day or the worlds George Orwell created, with an evil government/authority that has little regard for its subjects and there is a counter movement bent on stopping it. What it then adds is a touch of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns with Stryker happily living a life off the grid on his own, but now he’s being provoked into getting back into life as a commando.
The story is a lot of fun and you can’t beat reading it, as it’s a free monthly installment. So if you pick this up, thank the generous people who funded the project. Eventually it’s going to be released as a hardcover and I think it’ll be a great read in that format. On the art side, Khoi Pham does a great job conjuring up his inner Silvestri.
The new Cyber Force gets a thumbs up. It’s less of a super hero comic and definitely on the science fiction end of the theme spectrum. You can check these out for free over at Comixology.
So who here has checked out Kickstarter? The website is a way to get sponsorship/patronage for artistic endeavors. A bunch of comic books and comic related projects have received sponsorship from the website, most prominently Dave Sim was able to fund-raise over $60,000 for an audio/visual adaptation of Cerebus: High Society. Image Comics co-founder Marc Silvestri is taking fan-sourcing one step further with the relaunch of Cyber Force.
Cyber Force featured a team of cyborg mutant heroes, first published back in 1992 as one of the original Image Comics titles. Over the last twenty years, the characters have appeared on and off. But for the next relaunch of the series, Silvestri is turning to Kickstarter.
In the past, fans have been able to support projects they wanted through Kickstarter. It goes something like this:
- Creator makes appeal to audience, asking for them to sponsor the project. As incentive, they give sponsors a copy of the work or some other token of appreciation.
- Once they get the desired funding, they use said funds to pay for/support themselves while producing the project.
- Project gets sold, creator makes money and sponsors feel they did their part.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex, Silvestri plans on doing something different with the Kickstarter model. He plans on using it to fund the project, then distribute it for free, both digitally and physically.
So because of that mind-set our unique plan to reintroduce Top Cow’s original launch series “Cyber Force” using Kickstarter fits right in. Kickstarter itself is a genius idea and a win-win for everybody, really. And we want to use its crowd-sourced funding in typical Top Cow fashion, meaning differently. While most everybody uses Kickstarter to fund a project in order to build it and then sell it, we at Top Cow are going to use the funds to build “Cyber Force” and give it away — for free! Plus we’re not talking just one issue but five full issues of the comic. And it won’t be free just digitally, but also as a full-color printed comic that will be available at any participating comic shop. So for people that want to read “Cyber Force” digitally — yes, including torrent sites — it’s free. And for anyone wanting to hold a traditional comic in their hands to read it — it’s still free. We figure this is a great way to reward loyal comic fans plus get new people to get onboard reading comics and see what they’ve been missing. Plus it allows fans to actually get involved in the comic making process and be part of something truly groundbreaking that will help all of us that love the genre.
So Silvestri and company are doing this for free. Well, sort of. The cost of making the comic, including financial compensation for the creative staff, production costs and printing distribution, is all coming from crowdsourcing. I wonder if any of the other major publishers are going to give this a try. This might be the only way we can get another Longshot mini-series. What do you think?
Yesterday Image Comics celebrated twenty years of existence. There’s a lot that can be said about the company’s legacy and history, but I’m going to talk about my experience as a fan with the publisher.
It went something like this. It was summer 1992 and was around nine years old. We had a neighbor in high school who I would pester about comic books and such. Anyway, he had a copy of Spawn that he showed me and we had a brief conversation about it:
HIM: It’s by the guy who does Spider-Man.
And then he went on to explain the whole reason why they left Marvel. This was really the first time I paid attention to who was creating the comics and the business side of things. I mean at that point, I had a certain affinity for certain creators like Frank Miller, John Byrne and even the Pinis thanks to reading Comics Scene magazine. But like most people into comics in the early 1990s, it would be Wizard that fueled my interest in Image.
Image teamed up with Wizard, and made their whole line cool. Unfortunately, they were a harder sell to my parents, who at that point were still purchasing comics for me. I actually got my first Image books probably in the mid 1990s as part of some post-speculator boom three-for-a-dollar packs at Cost Cutters discount store. It boggled my mind how someone could pick up such valuable treasures as Brigade and Cyber Force comics at such a low price.
As a much more well read comics fan, I now look at these with a certain nostalgia. That first wave of Image has some fun stuff, lots of great artwork, and generally has the excitement that makes super hero comics fun.
To me what is most important about Image that they’ve grown as a company. Today’s product line is much more diverse in subject and genre. And that is a good thing.