Top Cow Launches 2019 Talent Hunt

Top Cow has launched their annual talent hunt for 2019, where the publisher is looking to hire one writer and one artist from anywhere in the world to do paid work for the company in 2020/2021.

The contest runs from September 10, 2019 to February 28, 2020. The goal is to hire an unpublished writer and an unpublished artist, exposing their work to a larger audience. Exposure isn’t the only thing on the line either, as this is paid work with each winner getting a flat fee of $1,000.

A runner-up writer and artist will also be selected for a short story. This will also be paid work with each winner getting $250 for the work.

To enter the talent hunt, click here.

Rules are below:

This round your submission must be set in the TOP COW SUPERNATURAL UNIVERSE inclusive of any characters featured in The Darkness. If your story conflicts with published continuity it will be automatically rejected.

Here’s the rub, we’re looking for people to write and draw stories based ONLY on these characters. We don’t care how your Batman looks and neither should you for this. We have always been a company that proactively creates new and original characters within its collective universe spearheaded by Witchblade and The Darkness. Now we are extending this opportunity to all of you creative hopefuls bursting with fresh ideas to join the party and get your voices out there. That’s right, this is your chance to make an indelible mark upon The Darkness. Step up, show us what you’ve got and take this once -in -a -lifetime shot at breaking away from being an unknown.
You need to submit art samples and story samples ONLY based on these characters listed above. Any submissions that do NOT feature these characters or that feature these characters AND other characters not on this list will not be reviewed and the submission discarded.
What does this mean? I’m going to narrow it down specifically that if you’ve done work for any of these companies or any of their affiliates, divisions or imprints you can’t participate:
Marvel Comics
DC Comics
Image Comics (all imprints)
Dark Horse Comics
Dynamite Comics
Valiant Comics
Aftershock Comics
Oni Press
Viz Media
Aspen Comics
Random House
This competition is open to all international participants and I don’t have the space to list out all of the non -English companies so as a rule of thumb if the company is in the top 5 based on market share for your country then you can NOT participate. If you have a question on this you can ask me directly.

You need to submit a 20-page full script (left justified) of the story you are pitching (panel breakdowns, dialogue, etc.) and ONLY a 20-page full script. This does NOT mean 20 pages in a word document; it means 20 comic book pages broken down by script and panel descriptions. This may take you more than 20-word processing pages. One tip is that you need to do a page break between comic book pages, each PAGE 1 or PAGE 20 followed by Panel 1 should be at the top of a page. If you don’t follow these simple instructions this will disqualify you and your submission will not be reviewed and will be discarded. If you don’t know what a FULL SCRIPT format should look like, there are plenty of resources available online or look at the scripts included for the artists. This is a good one:
From past Talent Hunts I can tell that a lot of people wrote their pitches as the first part of a long arcing story. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT. It needs to be a self -contained story with a definite beginning, middle and end. No cliffhangers, this isn’t a pitch for you to write a “100 issue” arc of something for us. Doing that will only result in you being tossed in the no pile.
Also, please note that we do NOT want a synopsis this year. You’ll write a full 20 page comic book script and you should upload only that and a copy of the signed submission agreement.

In past years I’ve been asked if writers could create new characters. Yes you can do this but you are STRONGY encouraged NOT to.  You need to be CLEAR and VERY AWARE that by doing so, this is considered DERIVATIVE work under the SUBMISSION FORM you have to sign to participate and you are creating these characters FOR TOP COW and you will not own them or be entitled to any future compensation. Bottom line, if this bothers you at all either don’t create new characters or don’t participate. There are plenty of existing characters you can use. Throwaway supporting characters to move plot along, like a driver, a bartender or cop is fine.
Personal note from me on this; if you’ve had a character your whole life that you’ve wanted to bring to the world and you want to try and use this opportunity to toss showcase them, please DON’T do this. You can, but I STRONGLY advise against this. This is not the time to expose that character to the world; this is a time to expose YOU to the world using OUR characters so that you can fulfill that other dream later.
Also, yes you can use more than one character in your story, but keep it limited. Focus on the one character and the story you want to tell with that character. If you use 20 different characters in one story I can almost guarantee you that NONE of the characters will stand out.
Do NOT cut and paste your script into the body of an email or send as an attachment to an email, it MUST be uploaded to our Dropbox as a MICROSOFT WORD document or a PDF.
We are looking for artists who do finished pencil work, pencil to color work, digital painting or pencil/ink/ink wash combo appropriate for black and white publication. If you are an inker or colorist you can submit your work to Top Cow through regular submission channels but they will NOT be considered for this Talent Hunt. What you can do is visit the forum we’ve set up with for this and see if you can find a person who is just penciling and try and team up with them. If you are part of a pencil/ink/color team and want to submit together we will accept that but you submit as one final piece of finished/colored or B/W art. There will be SAMPLE SCRIPTS posted up online with the rules that you can use for this. If you are a team and win the compensation will be split 40% to the penciller, 30% to the inker and 30% to the colorist.
We will accept just pencils as a submission.  Note that if you win, we will assign you an inker and you will not be able to “choose” who inks or colors your pages. You will be consulted, but the decision will be ours.
The Talent Hunt will run from 09/10/18 through 02/28/20 and all submissions uploaded to our dropbox and received on or before 11:59 PM on 02/28/20 (Pacific Standard Time) that have included a signed Top Cow Submissions Agreement form will be reviewed. This signed agreement MUST be included or your submission will not be looked at.  

NONE OF THE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE LOOKED AT OR REVIEWED PRIOR TO THE 02/28/20 DEADLINE OF THE CONTEST.  So take the time you’ve been given and make it the best you can.
You will NOT receive any review of your work or why it was not chosen.

I have set up a Facebook group here that you can join where Top Cow personnel including myself will check in weekly to answer questions:

We will be checking this group and commenting and talking with people regarding this, so it is highly recommended that you join the forum. If you see me at a convention or comic book store I’m happy to talk to you in person, but with the volume of entries don’t expect me to remember it.  Your best bet is to bring a printed out copy so I can skim it real quick when we’re chatting and then I’d be happy to talk to you about it. If you follow our social media feeds you’ll see where I’m going to be. If you try to show up to places I check in to via social media to try and catch me you should know that a) this may anger me if I’m with my family and b) I check into places as I leave so you’re not going to find me anyway. All of my public “appearances” are posted and well publicized on our feeds.
Writers, if you do not win, you are free to post your submission anywhere you want as long as it is not for monetary gain and solely for the purpose of review. If you post your submission script prior to the winners being announced you will be automatically disqualified. The reason for this is if you WIN we don’t want people reading the script before it’s published. Artists, you’re welcome to post your submission at any time, including on the Facebook group created to support the Talent Hunt. Strategically, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for you to do so, but it won’t have much bearing on whom we pick and it’s not the actual art that will be published so go for it if you want to.

This is okay for both artists and writers as long as it is within the scope of the spirit of that character. I’ve included this solely because a lot of people have asked this. Personally, I think it’s a risk not worth taking and sticking with the existing designs is the way to go…but we’re okay with this as an option.
We have the absolute highest regard for creators and for the ownership of original properties, and this agreement should in no way be misconstrued as license for us to appropriate your creations. This agreement protects Top Cow from any liabilities involving coincidental similarities to works -in -progress or other submissions. Any submissions received without a signed agreement will be discarded without review.
I will be attending a lot of conventions and signings. You can show me your work at these and I’m happy to talk to you about it. Look online and through Top Cow’s and my social media feeds and it will show where I’ll be. I (Matt Hawkins) am the ONLY one reviewing Talent Hunt materials at signings so please do NOT attempt to get reviews from anyone else working or signing at the Top Cow booth.
All submissions will be accepted via DIGITAL MEANS ONLY uploaded to our DROPBOX here:

We will NOT accept mailed submissions. You need to scan your work, “downres” it to an appropriate size and upload it to our dropbox. This account is set at a MAXIMUM 10mb file size, bigger than that and it will be rejected. If you send us each page as a 10mb file that will annoy us greatly.
Do not send or drop off original art of any kind, your submission will not be returned to you.
You CANNOT resubmit a script turned in for a previous Top Cow Talent Hunt.

We only have a few people on staff so if you spam us with questions or be overly annoying we reserve the right to block you and not accept your submission.
If you are chosen, you will not be hired as an employee nor will you be given a long work commitment, this will be a published one shot to start off with that you do willingly on a 100% work-made-for-hire basis. Winners receive $1,000 flat rate for their work. Runner-ups receive a $250 flat rate.
Given the expected volume of submissions, please do not harass the small Top Cow staff to check on your submission or it’s standing. NO results will be given or posted until after 04/01/20 so it is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that you take your time and do the best work you can and submit only when you’re ready.
We want your submission and every received submission that follows the rules and includes a signed copy of the Submission Agreement will be reviewed.
If you’ve been published by one of the publishers I’ve listed, please do not submit.
If you do not disclose that you’ve been previously published and we find out, we will
not review your submission and it will be discarded.
Submissions must be in English (sorry I can’t read it otherwise).
You have to be 18 years of age to participate.

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