Tag Archives: Joe Casey

What Happened to Velocity?

Velocity #1 - ChrisCross and SnakebiteJust last week, I read and reviewed the 1996 Velocity miniseries, and re-read her 2007 Pilot Season one-shot. As you may recall, the book was one of that year’s winners, so Top Cow began preparing a new series around the character. It was originally announced for November 2008, then pushed back, and eventually canceled.

Details of the breakdown have been hazy. Artist ChrisCross left first, citing creative differences. Writer Joe Casey said the book had been lost in a shuffle of editorial firings. Now publisher Filip Sablik tells Top Cow’s side as one element in an interview about the recently-announced third round of Pilot Season:

This series is unfortunately “missing in action”. We started working on the series with the original Pilot Season writer Joe Casey with the best of intentions. We couldn’t secure original artist Kevin Maguire so we brought in ChrisCross, who was Joe’s top choice for artists and Snakebite on colors. We actually had the first entire issue complete and a script in for the second issue along with some art in progress when we ran into a disagreement in how the first story arc should proceed. Joe had a direction he wanted to go in, which we didn’t agree with and truthfully wasn’t something we felt represented Velocity (as a company owned character) [emphasis added] in the best way. We tried to work it out with Joe, but reached an impasse and everyone decided it was best if Joe walked away from the series. It’s a damn shame too, because as any publisher can tell you it’s never an easy financial decision to have an entire issue plus completed and not be able to put it out. At the end of the day though, we can’t afford to put out a comic we’re not completely happy with. We’re still looking into how best to retool Velocity and hope to be able to update the fans in the near future. Again Velocity is going to play a vital role in this summer’s Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer series and I hope she’s a character we get to revist on a solo basis in the future.

Now, obviously, everyone involved is going to want to minimize their own share of the blame, but it does seem to come down to this:

The writer and company wanted to do different things with the character, and the company won.

At first glance, it’s kind of ironic considering that Top Cow is one of the original Image studios, and was founded by artists who were tired of being told what they could and couldn’t do with the characters they worked on.

On the other hand, Cyberforce creator Mark Silvestri is still the CEO of the company. So to the extent that he shapes company policy, it’s still a matter of the character’s creator asserting control. For now, anyway. If he ever leaves Top Cow, they’ll be in a similar situation to Marvel without Stan Lee.

It does make me wonder how things will play out with all the various creator-owned characters in the long run. 70 years from now, will someone be licensing, say, The Savage Dragon from Eric Larsen’s estate the way DC is doing The Spirit?

I’m also really curious as to what Joe Casey had in mind that Top Cow didn’t want to do.

Looking Back at Velocity

Velocity #1This weekend I read the 3-issue Velocity miniseries from 1995, by Kurt Busiek and Anthony Chun. I’m not terribly familiar with the character, having read only the Pilot Season one-shot from 2007. I haven’t read any Cyberforce or anything else she’s appeared in, since I basically ignored Image back in the 1990s. (I was a DC snob at the time, and only made exceptions for Groo the Wanderer and the occasional licensed book.)

What struck me right away was that this was not the character I remembered from Pilot Season. This Velocity was shy, timid, and always followed her first instinct: to run away. I was also annoyed by the male/female protector/protected dynamic that started out with Heatwave (no relation) and shifted to Savage Dragon in issue #2. It’s one thing if your lead is the protector, but if your lead is the protected and supposed to be the hero?

I kept reading, though, and realized that this miniseries was about how Velocity grows up and becomes the capable hero I read in about in the Pilot Season book.

She’s put in a situation where she can’t just run away, and can’t rely on other people to shield her. She’s cornered, and has to turn and fight. Near the end of issue #2 she begins taking her fate into her own hands. By the end of the story, she leads her pursuer to a battleground more suited to her and defeats him on her own. More importantly, learns that she can.

Compared to the Flash

The emphasis on running away reminded me of Flash: Rebirth, which has made a point of characterizing Barry Allen’s life (unfairly, but he is depressed right now) as a series of choices from which he ran away. Both miniseries are about taking a character who is not ready to be a hero (Barry with his not-quite acknowledged death wish, Carin with her inability to overcome fear) and moving them to where they need to be in order to become better heroes. Continue reading

Velocity and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash

Joe Casey talks to CBR about Dance, the Final Crisis aftermath book featuring Japan’s Super Young Team. Two speedster connections: first, the Super Young Team has their very own speedster, Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash. Second: Casey and Dance artist ChrisCross were going to be the team on Top Cow’s Velocity series, and Casey talks a little about what happened to that.

Y’know, we were primed to do a “Velocity” series for Top Cow and although I wrote and got paid for three issues and Cross penciled a first issue that was so visually stunning and the best-looking thing Top Cow would’ve published this year, somewhere along the line that famous Top Cow brand of common sense disappeared into an unexpectedly bizarre rift in time and space, they started firing staff left and right – including our beloved editor – and our book was suddenly no more, resulting in an obviously broken promise to four million Pilot Season voters. Ouch.

But, hey, their loss is DC’s gain, right? Before you could say, ‘Diamond minimums,’ Cross and I landed on this series, which, let’s face it, is a lot cooler and will probably sell a few more copies.