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The V.I.C.E.roy

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As part of the group of creators responsible for Top Cow's new wave, Tyler Kirkham talks about his upcoming work on V.I.C.E. and life at the sunny Top Cow studio.

BROKEN FRONTIER: You seem to have found a great little niche at Top Cow. As an artist, what’s it like to be part of a company where great artistic production has always been a top priority?

TYLER KIRKHAM: It’s an honor to work here. There have been a lot of great talents that have come from Top Cow. Marc is a great mentor and a great teacher. It’s been great working in the studio with him and the other rising talents.

BF: Ever since you started working on The Gift, things have been moving at a fast pace. How exactly did you become part of the Top Cow stable?

TK: Well, as you know, Renae Geerlings, the editor on The Gift is also an editor for Top Cow – she even was the one that got me my gig on The Gift. As soon as she felt that I was good enough, she invited me out to the Top Cow studio to meet Marc Silvestri and have him look at my work. He liked it and had me move out to Los Angeles to work in the office.

BF: Because Top Cow has always been your #1 destination, you began living a dream when they decided to bring you in. Has the experience lived up to your expectations?

TK: Absolutely! As I said, it’s been great working here with Marc. The characters are so much fun to work on, and I just love being part of a smaller studio, as well as creating new characters and ideas.

BF: Before you came along, Eric Basaldua, Michael Turner and others have all picked up tricks from the top dog— ‘top cow’ sounds a bit awkward—Marc Silvestri. You already mentioned him playing an important role in your career, so has he learned you a few things as well?

TK: He has taught me a lot. I feel like I've learned so much since I've been here. I know so much more about drawing comics now. It’s been great working with Eric Basaldua and all, but I would have loved to have been able to work with Turner, Finch and Benitez too.

BF: Do you also work closely together with the other artists at the Top Cow offices to improve your craft? How much time do you spend together working on perfecting certain areas of your style?

TK: Yeah, we work together sometimes. We give each other ideas and help each other out. I think it’s good though that we don't always work together, to make sure our styles continue to vary a little.

BF: How much does pencilling V.I.C.E. differ from working on Strykeforce? After all, they’re both team books…is it hard to give each title its unique look and feel?

TK: V.I.C.E. is much more real, darker and a lot more violent. For comparison, it’s more like The Ultimates, while Strykeforce was more like X-Men.

BF: Writing V.I.C.E. is Aaron Coleite’s job. Given his background in the world of television shows, do you find his approach to comics scripting to be different from other writers you’ve worked with, such as Raven Gregory?

TK: Aaron is really good. I love the fact that he has a TV background, because he’s very descriptive as a result, something that I really like. He’s always up to suggestions too.

BF: What is the story behind V.I.C.E. really, we haven’t touched upon that much…

TK: V.I.C.E. is about a team of not so good guys playing superheroes. These are the guys you go to when there’s no one else to go to anymore. While that may not say much, it’s going to be a very action packed real world crazy thriller, trust me.

BF: The book is a spin-off of Hunter/Killer. Will it stand on its own two feet, or will the Hunter/Killer characters continuously keep an eye on what the V.I.C.E. crew is doing?

TK: I think it’s only going to tie in once in a while with Hunter/Killer, but I guess both groups of characters work out of the same facility. So, naturally, they will run into each other here and there.

BF: On the other end, will the events unfolding in V.I.C.E. spill over into Hunter/Killer?

TK: I wish I knew… [Laughs]

BF: Given the Halo freak that you are, are you excited with the release of the Xbox 360 being right around the corner?

TK: Oh yeah, definitely! I can’t wait! I haven't played Halo that much recently; I'm more into Ghost Recon now. I seem to prefer that one lately, since it’s more realistic, and Ghost Recon 3 is supposed to be a launch title for the 360 I think. I have to say that it’s been hard to play though, because I've been so busy with work. Starting a new ongoing series sure is intense, but exiting.

Top Cow released a seven-page V.I.C.E. prologue this summer in its preview book Triple Play. In case you missed, here's your chance to catch up:

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