Marvel Comics has announced a joint publishing arrangement with Top Cow Productions under which Top Cow artists, inkers and colorists will team up to illustrate 36 Marvel comic books over the next two to three years. The Top Cow team will work from scripts supplied by Marvel, which will feature Marvel superheroes. The first collaboration between the two companies involves Amazing Spider-Man #530 and #531, which will be penciled by Top Cow's Tyler Kirkham. Marc Silvestri, Top Cow's founder, will illustrate a six-issue series by Marvel's kingpin scribe, Brian Michael Bendis, and Silvestri will draw eighteen covers for Marvel under the terms of the deal, which also gives Top Cow the right to produce (with Marvel's approval) eight crossover issues featuring Marvel and Top Cow characters.
This publishing arrangement, which has been rumored for some time, will provide Marvel with access to excellent talent, and will give Top Cow artists considerable exposure with the broad Marvel audience. The deal should make it easier for Marvel to expand its line without suffering a loss in artistic quality, and the crossovers could potentially boost the sales of the Top Cow characters involved.