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Topps Comics is a division of the Americanmarker trading card publisher and gum/candy distributor the Topps Company, Inc. that published comic books from 1993–1998, beginning its existence during a short comics-industry boom that attracted many investors and new companies. It was based at 254 36th Street, Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker, and at One Whitehall Street, in New York City's Manhattanmarker.

The company specialized in licensed titles, particularly movie and television series tie-ins, though it also published a smattering of such original series as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs and several based on concepts by then-retired industry legend Jack Kirby. Its best-selling title was The X-Files, based on the Fox TV show.

Creative personnel

The editor-in-chief and associate publisher was Jim Salicrup. Editors included Len Brown (co-creator of Topps' 1962 Mars Attacks cards), Howard Zimmerman, and Dwight Jon Zimmerman. Its notable writers besides the aforementioned included science fiction novelist Harry Harrison, Stefan Petrucha (the initial X-Files writer), Don McGregor (the Zorro and James Bond titles, and that of his original Zorro spinoff character, Lady Rawhide), and James Van Hise. Among Topps Comics' notable artists besides the aforementioned were Charles Adlard, Rich Buckler, Dick Giordano, Miriam Kim, Rick Magyar, Esteban Maroto, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell, Alex Saviuk, Anthony Williams, and Thomas Yeates. Some covers and frontispieces were drawn or painted by Tim Bradstreet, Kelley Jones, Michael William Kaluta, and Jim Steranko.

The company's sales and promotions manager Charles S. Novinskie is listed as, additionally, a Topps Comics editor in his mini-bio at Non-Sport Update magazine.

The company's design director Brian Boerner is listed as Reprint Editor (along with Charles S. Novinskie) in the Xena trade paperbacks' credits.

The Kirbyverse

NightGlider #1 (April 1993), cover art by Jack Kirby
The "Kirbyverse" comics, launched simultaneously with April 1993 cover-dates, stemmed from character designs and story concepts that the prolific Kirby, at this very late point in his life, had in his files of unrealized projects and preliminary sketches (some for Pacific Comics, which went defunct in the 1980s). Topps licensed them for an eight-title, interrelated mythos based around what became Jack Kirby's Secret City Saga. That flagship title was written by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, with an issue #0 prequel drawn by artist Walt Simonson and the remainder of the series by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko.

Kirby himself wrote and drew eight pages (which may have been drawn in the 1970s) of the Satan's Six premiere, interlaced with story pages by writer Tony Isabella, penciler John Cleary and inker Armando Gil. As well, the covers of the Bombast, Captain Glory, and NightGlider one-shots noted below were built around preexisting Kirby character-design art.

Along with Secret City Saga and Satan's Six, the Kirbyverse titles were:



Kurt Busiek, in an undated interview archived June 28, 2002, gave some background on the comics line: "Silver Star is a Jack Kirby character, originally done as a miniseries for Pacific [Comics]. Back when I was writing for the Topps Kirbyverse, I started two miniseries that were never completed, Victory and Silver Star, both of which got one issue published before the line collapsed. Victory was a crossover, bringing together all the established Kirbyverse characters and reintroducing Captain Victory [of the 1981-84 Pacific Comics series Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers ] ... but Silver Star was a standalone project, one that was completely plotted and mostly scripted".

In 1999 and 2000, The Hollywood Reporter and Cinescape reported Dark Horse Entertainment had acquired Satan's Six for possible movie development.

Quotes

Tony Isabella on difficulties with The X-Files creator Chris Carter over the Topps Comics' series:

List of Topps Comics

Lady Rawhide #1 (July 1995).
Cover art Mike Mayhew & Jimmy Palmiotti
Bombast #1 (April 1993).
Cover art by Jack Kirby
Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles #1 (June 1994).
Cover art by Jim Steranko.


Note: Most, but not all, were designed as limited series.

Original series



Kirbyverse comics

  • Bombast #1 (April 1993 one-shot)
  • Captain Glory #1 (April 1993 one-shot)
  • Jack Kirby's Secret City Saga #0-4 (April-Aug. 1993)
  • Jack Kirby's Silver Star #1 (planned four-issue miniseries, truncated)
  • Jack Kirby's TeenAgents #1-4 (Aug.-Nov. 1993)
  • Night Glider #1 (April 1993 one-shot)
  • Satan's Six #1-4 (April-July 1993)
  • Satan's Six: Hellspawn #1-3 (months n.a., 1994)
  • Victory #1 (June 1994; planned five-issue miniseries, truncated)


Literary adaptations/tie-ins



Movie adaptations/tie-ins



TV/radio adaptations/tie-ins

  • Duckman #1-5 (Nov. 1994 - n.a. ) plus #0
  • Duckman Duckman: The Mob Frog Saga #1-3 (miniseries; Nov. 1994 - n.a. )
  • Exosquad #0-1
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys #1-5 (June-Oct. 1996)
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto
  • The Marriage of Hercules and Xena
  • Space: Above and Beyond
  • Space: Above and Beyond — The Gauntlet
  • The X-Files #1-41 (Jan. 1995 - Sept. 1998), plus #0 (adaptation of series pilot)
  • The X-Files Annual #1-2 (Aug. 1995; 1996)
  • The X-Files Comics Digest #1-3 (Dec. 1995 - n.a.)
  • X-Files, The: Ground Zero #1-4 (Dec. 1997 - March 1998)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess vs Callisto
  • Xena: Warrior Princess/Joxer: Warrior Prince
  • Xena: Warrior Princess/The Dragon's Teeth
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: And The Original Olympics
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Bloodlines
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: The Orpheus Trilogy
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: The Wrath of Hera
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Year One


Trading-card adaptations/tie-ins



Other

  • Topps Comics Presents


Notes

References




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