Top Cow Productions a wing of Image Comics has been doing things great. They’re different from the ‘mother ship’ in that they do company owned comics, but they are doing things great just the same. When they announced that they were re-launching Cyber Force, much of the comic book community was excited, but just as much of it was like “what is Cyber Force”. I fell more into the latter as I had heard of Cyber Force before, but I never gotten a chance to read it, mostly because when it was popular I was reading Marvel or DC Comics almost exclusively. For those who did read and enjoy the original incarnation it gave them a second chance with the comic book franchise.
Top Cow decided not to go about bringing it back by traditional means, no, they choose to use the ever popular Kickstarter method to bring about renewed interest into the book. Many people would believe that having Marc Silvestri heavily involved in a book would be enough, but I believe that Top Cow wanted to make sure that this book could stick around for the long haul. They wanted to be able to give you issues 1-5 for free. Of course the backers would pay money, but those are the people who were already heavily into the original Cyber Force and therefore were excited about its reintroduction into the world. For those who weren’t familiar Cyber Force it was a chance to just walk into your comic book store and pick up five issues of a book for free.
If the first five issues of a series can’t get you hook, then that book probably wasn’t for you to begin with. That was the bet that Top Cow made. They knew that if they could just get you to try their book that you would enjoy it enough to pay for issue six and beyond. So far the plan has paid off. Marc Silvestri is still the mastermind behind Cyber Force and draws a cover for it every month. More importantly they have been able to use its success to relaunch another fallen book Aphrodite, and give it a small link-style tie into Cyber Force. Aphrodite IX is completely different from Cyber Force and yet is held far in the future and within the same world that Cyber Force takes place. Smell crossover? Me too.
But, Top Cow has given the comic book community new possibilities on how they can bring back books that small groups of people may want, and hope that enough people will try several free issues and find themselves hooked. Recently Robert Liefeld followed a similar tactic with Brigade, and I was extremely surprised when Jimmy Palmiotti didn’t follow suit when Creator Owned Heroes was cancelled (there was much support on twitter over bringing it to a Kickstater, and Palmiotti has done many successful books on the platform before).
The thing that we as fans can take away from this is that Comic Books a medium we love is changing. People are publishing in alternative ways, and while many of us aren’t in love with every Kickstarter campaign for a new comic book from unknown people we can show that we do support things that we love getting the Kickstarter treatment.
“If you build it, they will come”, a popular quote that applies aptly here. Cyber Force is the blueprint, let’s see if other people can duplicate it or make it better and help change Comic Books for the better.