Reddit's Cyber Force AMA With Top Cow President Matt Hawkins

Last night, Top Cow President and COO Matt Hawkins staged an "Ask Me Anything" interview on Reddit, giving fans an opportunity to ask him directly about everything from Think Tank, the comic he's writing, to the return of Cyber Force (in stores today, and free!), to his time as a writer Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

Below, find some of the highlights. In the interest of expediency, we're not linking to the profiles of the Reddit users who asked the questions as we have in the past--but here's the unedited version, if you want to check back to see if your question appears here.

Any update on Pitt returning? You guys have been teasing us for awhile!

We've been looking for a creative time for Pitt for a long time. Any suggestions? We want to do a new series and coordinate that with the reprinting of all Dale's old Pitt stuff. It's NEVER been reprinted.

I'm super psyched for the return of Cyber Force. I loved the series as a kid in the 90s. What was the main drive in bringing the series back and how is it going to be different than previous iterations?

The main reason to bring it back this month was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Top Cow's birth as a company. We recently relaunched our Universe through the Artifacts series and this gave us a good reason to relaunch/reboot Cyber Force. This version is a lot more cybernetic and a lot less genetic (X-Men). Has to do with technology, obsolescence and how it affects us as a species.

You recently said on a podcast that Ron Marz's last three issues of Artifacts were something to measure up against when introducing new characters into the 'new' Top Cow universe for the talent hunt. What are you looking for from an intro or origin story from yourself and from others?

It doesn't have to be an origin story but those are probably easier. I think a contained character story focusing on who this person is, why they have the artifact, how it affects them and whether or not they are the destined bearer or even know how to use it makes the most sense. Keep it simple but make it interesting! Do something different. No one wants to see the 50th derivative version of Batman or the Punisher.

Really excited about Cyber Force and I'm also coming to your signing this weekend in LA. Anything you can tell us about this series? Is this a soft reboot or hard? Is that Aphrodite I see on one of the variant covers? Thanks.

It is a complete reboot and an origin/introduction to these characters. By the end of the first arc (5 issues) the team will be formed. And yes that is Aphrodite V on the cover and in the book.

Since Cyber Force is returning as an on-going series, are there any chances that Top Cow will push a Talent Hunt focused on that franchise? I wanted to try out this year's, but all the Witchblade/Artifacts stuff seems kinda complicated/confusing to digest without spending loads of money & time researching each character involved in order to pitch a story.

And speaking of franchises, will you guys push some new IP next year, or you already got enough books to deal with?

The Talent Hunt will now be an annual thing.

Cyber Force is in the same universe as the Artifacts stuff and the links will be shown down the line but for the first year/two of Cyber Force we won't cross them over. We are always doing one or two new thing a year. I'm working on a new book with Colleen Doran called Control that will come out in the Fall. Kind of a follow up to my Think Tank book.

Hi Matt. I read and very much enjoyed Cyber Force #1 last night when the pdf landed in my inbox, thank you for getting this out to everyone who contributed so early and thanks for the shout out in the thank you section.

My only concern with giving away the first five issues is the fact only people whom regularly go into comic stores already will get this. How do you plan on combating this, if at all? Will there be copies distributed elsewhere such as libraries or schools and colleges, etc.?

Thanks for contributing to the Kickstarter! We couldn't have done this without people like you. Yes we are uploading the book to the torrent sites and distributing it to a lot of different areas we normally would not. We're giving some books away to libraries and to charities who provide free comics for our military.

Will Barricade (from Image United) be making an appearance in the new Cyber Force series? We didn't get to see a whole lot of him in Image United.

Not in the first arc, no. Never say never, though. Heh.

How about teaming with DST for more Top Cow Minimates? The Magdalena and Witchblade minimates need friends!

Sure! I haven't hit up Diamond for more licensed stuff in awhile. Worth emailing those guys thanks for the thought.

Is Think Tank going to be a ongoing series?

Hopefully! I could just lie and say yes like most companies announce but the truth is that Rahsan and I are committed to doing at least through 12. If the book is still selling enough for me to cover the costs to publish I'll keep it going.

Why didn't Mysterious Ways #4 #5 and #6 come to print as individual issues?

Sales were low; it was an economic decision. We put out #4-6 digitally and it was collected into a trade paperback.

What is the biggest weakness/limitation you see in today's art and in artist's portfolio's/submissions?

Too much big splashy shots, too little storytelling nuance.

With digital comics growing year by year, do you see this as the demise of the floppy and comic book stores in the next 10 years?

The comic book store is more "specialty" than ever and those that have survived this far I believe will make it. There aren't many crappy comic stores left. Most of the ones I've been to over the last couple years seem pretty well run and with a diverse line up. Digital comics are pretty awesome and convenient, but I don't think they'll completely replace print. People still like to have something to collect, trade and get signed. You can't do any of that with a digital book.

I had a question about the latest Think Tank. I get that our genius protagonist is not an angel, but the aside about the camera in the ladies room made him sound a lot creepier than I'd previously thought. Was that your intention, or were you trying to make him just seem juvenile?

Intent was juvenile and sort of a misguided youth, call it a Michael Jackson complex. This is a guy who has never really dated women and the military got him hookers to get him through puberty so that he could focus on his work.

The only thing I read from Top Cow is Think Tank. If you could tell me any other book that ya'll publish to pick up what would it be and why?

Read The Darkness starting with #101 and I linked the first few issues in this thread as a free digital download so you can read it for free and check it out. It's a fresh start so you don't need to read the first 100 issues. I also think it is simply an amazing story with great art, everything a comic should be.

Are there any plans for Silvestri to pencil an issue of Cyber Force? I grew up with his art and miss it.

Nope. Marc is a cover artist at this point and a designer/storyteller. He is doing back up pages for each of the print editions of Cyber Force #1-5

Cyber Force is one of my absolute favorite comics from my youth, how connected is this new series to the original mini & continuing series? Any unexpected characters making appearances or returns?

We worked hard to try and make it accessible to completely new people but not alienate the long term fans. Whether we succeeded or not you'll have to tell me. The first arc has some of the original characters and some new ones. Ripclaw, Velocity, Ballistic, Cyblade, Impact, Heatwave and Aphrodite V all appear in the first issue.

As a 90's child I would just like to take this time to thank you so, so, so, so very much for Power Rangers. That was and still remains my favorite childhood television show!

As someone who works for Top Cow, an independent comic book company, do you find that you're allowed to be more creative with your stories? Also, one small question: would you ever consider working for one of the Big Two comic book companies or do you see yourself with Top Cow for the next while?

Glad you liked the Rangers! The nice part of working and writing for Top Cow is that yes I get to basically do whatever I want creatively without too much interference. I bounce my ideas and story thoughts off of the internal editorial and Marc Silvestri to get some feedback but books like Cyber Force and Think Tank are as intended. I'll never say never on Marvel/DC writing but right now I don't have time and am very happy doing what I'm doing.

I saw about a year ago Todd McFarlane doing some art lessons on his YouTube channel. Any chance for the Top Cow crew to do something similar?

I saw about a year ago Todd Mcfarlane doing some art lessons on his youtube channel. Any chance for the TOP COW crew to do something similar?