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COMMON GROUNDS #4 (Apr 2004) Image Comics

cover:  Rodolfo Migliari
Date: Apr 2004
Cover Price: $2.99

Reprinted in:
 TOP COMICS #4 (France) (Nov 2005)

Special thanks to Troy Hickman and Ilke Hincer.
(10/16/2003): George Pérez to do a backup story for COMMON GROUNDS
(10/26/2003): Story will be called "Glory Days", which is about Silver Age superheroes.
(10/30/2003): Limited series - out of six issues.
(1/14/2004): Available in April 2004.
Find out what happens when superheroes take off their capes. Welcome to Common Grounds, the hero hangout and coffee-and-donut shop, where true tales of the human side of the superhuman get spilled every month. Some gut-wrenching, some funny, but all told from the heart by new writing sensation Troy Hickman. Two stories every month!

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      "Time of their Lives" (9 pgs)/"Fat Chance" (9 pgs)/"Glory Days" (6 pgs) 
    writer:  Troy Hickman  
    art:  Carlos Pacheco
    Jesus Merino 
    Dan Jurgens
    Al Vey
    George Perez
    Mike Perkins
    colors:  Guy Major
    Tom Smith
    letters:  Dreamer Design's Robin Sephar
    Mark Roslan
    Dennis Heisler
    editor:  N/A

    COMMON GROUNDS #4 (Apr 2004)
    Image Comics

    Image Comics

     July 19, 2004 07:28 pm | Hickman Interview at SBC
    From Silver Bullet Comics
    Common Grounds’ Troy Hickman: Q&A
    Posted: Monday, July 19
    Posted By: Tim O'Shea

    O’Shea: In looking over these six issues, is there one story in particular that you've grown to be more proud of, more than the others?
    Hickman: Oh, that's like choosing a favorite child, of course. There are things I dig about all of them. The minimalist beauty of Mike Oeming's Head Games, the suspense of Ethan Van Sciver's Roles, Chris Bachalo's incredible depiction of the Acidic Jew, the facial expressions of Carlos Pacheco, Where Monsters Dine with Angel Medina's fantastic rendering, Sam Kieth depicting American Pi in such a wonderful stylish fashion, each and every story by the great Dan Jurgens, and on and on. If I had to pick one, I guess it might be CG #4's Glory Days as it gave me the opportunity to have my work brought to life by the one and only Mr. George Perez, and that's something I've been waiting to see for three decades. And I'd remiss if I didn't mention Rodolfo Migliari's covers. Never thought I'd see my characters appear in a full-sized comic, let alone painted version of 'em!

     Jun 04, 2004 12:00 am | Common Grounds Letters
    From Vu

    The following letters were published in COMMON GROUNDS #5 (Jun 2004).

    Troy and Folks,
         Picked up Common Grounds #4, and was I ever pleased to see three stories instead of the usual two. It's like finding that extra donut in your usual dozen… and then finding out it's crème-filled.
          I especially loved the third story about the superhero reunion, with the fantastic art by George Pérez. I loved the way it showed the heroes on trading cards from years past, and then we get to see them as they've aged. Your stories always seem to show a depth of characterization, even in just a few short pages. At the end, when we saw Lift-Off dancing with Belle-Air high above the other heroes, I felt like clapping with them…..
          Jeff Niffen

    Glad you liked it, Jeff. Yeah, I thought the trading cards would be a good way of getting the superheroic visuals in there. And I'd love to actually have those Pérez shots printed up as trading cards. What a premium that would be !

    Hey, Troy,
          Easily my favorite story of Common Grounds #4 was the Pérez-illustrated "Glory Days," George Pérez is a lass act, and he really showed his skill by the work he did on this story. The last page was amazing. What he did with his art in conveying the emotion was just beautiful. Words weren't needed…..
          George Gatewood

    Two quick quotes about issue #4 that I just couldn't resist mentioning. The first is from one of Common Grounds' staunchest supporters, Mathan Erhardt, who reviewed CG#4 online and referred to the "Glory Days" story as "perhaps the most beautiful story in a comic, ever." Yeeps!
          The second is taken from the Top Cow message boards and is from our mysterious pal "TheDarkness017" who says "I can't get enough of this stuff. I read this issue about a gazillion times and am still reading it. I think it was created make the world a better place, or if not the entire world, at least yours and mine." Ha! So there you go, folks: Buy Common Grounds and make the world a better place. Let's all join hands, now…
          And before we go, I also wanted to mention that last issue's wonderful George Pérez-drawn story, "Glory Days," was originally illustrated by my good pal and fantastic artist Dave Berns for the Liberty Balance one-shot, back around 1994. Thanks for setting the standard, Dave. You da man.

     May 05, 2004 09:21 AM | Hickman Interview in Wizard #152
    From WIZARD #152 (Jun 2004)

    interview by Richard Ho
    published in WIZARD #152 (Jun 2004)
    transcribed by Vu

    TROY HICKMAN published in WIZARD #152 (Jun 2004)
    These days, Troy Hickman finds himself on uncommon ground.

    The writer of the cult indie books Holey Crullers, a touching series of tales set in a superhero donut shop - a tasting mainstream success for the very first time with Top Cow's release of Common Grounds. The modern revamp of Holey Crullers features Hickman's time-tested scripts with art by pros like Dan Jurgens, Mike Oeming and Carlos Pacheco. After years of toiling in the small press, Hickman is humbled by his big break, and hops to take further advantage of this caffeine jolt to his career.

    What's it like seeing Common Grounds on the stands?
    It's really a lifetime dream come true. After working in relative obscurity for about a dozen years now, suddenly seeing the books staring back at me on the stands… I soiled myself for a while [laughs], but now I'm pretty much okay.

    How exactly did Common Grounds get off the grounds?
    It was at the very beginning of 2003, I think within the first week or two that Jim McLauchlin signed on with Top Cow. Being the egomaniac that I am, I was doing a Web search for my own name [laughs], but I stumbled upon an interview that Dynamic Forces did with Jim, and they asked him what kind of creators he wanted at Top Cow. Amazingly, after Alan Moore and Kevin Smith and a couple of other guys, there was my name! And there was a little note from him saying, "Troy, if you're reading this, get ahold of me!"

    [ Read more Hickman Interview in Wizard #152 ]

     April 23, 2004 | Common Grounds Books Are Returnable
    From Comic Book Resources

    by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer
    Posted: April 20, 2004

    Official Press Release

    Common Grounds #4, which arrives in comic stores today, features stories by legendary artist George Perez (JLA/Avengers) and fan-favorite artist Carlos Pacheco all wrapped in a gorgeous painted cover by artist Rodolfo Migliari. Top Cow has provided a free online preview of both these stories on their website, As an incentive for retailers to stock up, Top Cow is making advance reorders and post shipment reorders for Common Grounds #4, as well as all reorders for Common Grounds #1-3, fully returnable through Diamond Comics Distributors.

    "Twice in my twelve year publishing career I've been involved with projects that I thought were vastly superior to the numbers being ordered. Common Grounds is one of those and by making the fourth issue returnable and allowing returnable reorders on the first three we're putting our money where our mouth is," says Top Cow President Matt Hawkins. "I'd encourage retailers to take advantage of this no risk incentive and stock up these books and recommend them to their customers."

     April 22, 2004 | Entire "Glory Days" Online
    From Top Cow, thanks to Ilke Hincer (email)

    Check out some Online Previews of Common Grounds #4
    14:03 - April 16, 2004 by Daniel Hale [Top Cow - Webmaster]

    Fat Chance

    Time of their Lives

    Glory Days

    Note: If you have a pop-up blocker, you may have to disable it to view preview.

    (Vu: A direct link is here:
     April 13, 2004 | More Common Grounds Preview
    From Top Cow

    Check out the Online Preview of Common Grounds #4
    12:58 - April 12, 2004 posted by Daniel Hale [Top Cow - Webmaster]

    Click Here

    Note: If you have a pop-up blocker, you may have to disable it to view preview.

     April 13, 2004 | Common Grounds Shipping Apr 14
    From Diamond

    Shipping This Week: April 14, 2004
    Monday, April 12, 2004 1:40:15 PM

    The following products are expected to ship to comic book specialty stores this week. Note that this list is tentative and subject to change. Please check with your retailer for availability.

    FEB041355 COMMON GROUNDS #4 (Of 6) $2.99

     April 8, 2004 | Common Grounds #4 Preview
    From Comics Continuum, thanks to Ilke Hincer (email)

    Thursday, April 8, 2004

    Covers and four-page previews titles arriving in stores on Wednesday (August 14)

    Common Grounds #4 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Image Comics. The issue is written by Brian Holguin and Todd McFarlane, with art by Angel Medina and Danny Miki and a cover by Greg Capullo and McFarlane. (The issue is written by Troy Hickman with artwork by Dan Jurgens, Carlos Pacheco, and George Pérez.)

    Here's how Image describes the issue:

    "Special bonus. Three stories this month -- by comics legends, all -- grace the pages of Troy Hickman's series. Dan Jurgens illustrates the overweight superhero support group, while George Pérez takes us inside the superhero reunion. Then Carlos Pacheco shows what happens when heroes become homeless."

    Common Grounds #4 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.99.

     April 3, 2004 | Wizard's Picks For April
    From WIZARD #151 (May 2004)


    WHY IT'S COOL This near series proves to be a fresh cup of joe in a world full of lukewarm concepts. In issue #2, a fledgling waitress who works at the superhero bistro must pull off her greatest order yet - convincing a knife-wielding maniac that she has superpowers (she doesn't) and could totally kill him instead (she can't)! if he doesn't buy it, she's toast, putting us on edge BIG TIME. The only thing missing was an introduction from Alfred Hitchcock himself!
    IN ISSUE #4 The anthology series continues with tales by three guest artist: Carlos Pacheco, George Perez and Dan Jurgens, who illustrates a look at an overweight "superheroes anonymous" meeting. "Some of these people do not look good in tights," laughs Jurgens. "But they can't hide what they are, and they still have to have 'the look.' And part of the look is wearing those heroic-looking tights. Muumuus are never in fashion when you are in the midst of action." By Troy Hickman, Jurgens, Pachecos and Perez.
    APRIL | $2.99

     March 20, 2004 | Preview Art For Common Grounds
    From Avengers Comicboard

    First new Perez/Smith art ..after A/JLA !!
    Posted by Tom Smith on Saturday, March 20 2004 at 20:55:07 GMT

    I just finished working on George's Common Grounds for Top Cow.

    Check it out !

    Tom Smith "CAL!"

    652 × 220
    CG.jpg (64 kb)
     February 19, 2004 | Common Grounds #4 Cover
    From Troy Hickman

    COMMON GROUNDS #4 (Apr 2004)
    Image Comics

    (Vu: Cover is based on Edward Hopper's painting: "Nighthawks" (1942. Oil on canvas: 30 x 60 in.) )

     January 18, 2004 | Random: AICN Reviews Common Grounds
    From Ain't It Cool News

    AICN COMICS!! @$$Holes
    Thursday, January 15, 2004

    Written by Troy Hickman
    Art by Dan Jurgens, Michael Avon Oeming, Al Vey
    Published by Image / Top Cow
    Reviewed by Buzz Maverik

    Aside from it being a first issue, I was attracted to COMMON GROUNDS # 1 by its amusing concept. In this superhero universe, writer Troy Hickman postulates that certain places would exist where heroes and villains would not be allowed to fight. Safehouses, of a sort. Watched over by undepicted but allegedly fearsome bouncers, one such place is a coffee shop called Common Grounds.

    In Common Grounds, Flash-style superguy Speeding Bullet can give an interview to a newspaper reporter and reveal how lonely and unfulfilling the super-life can be. While we've seen those super-metabolism-requiring-massive-amounts-of-food gags in THE FLASH years ago, this story contains some insightful speculations on life at super-speed. Also, Speeding Bullet tells of how he was completely helpless when it came to saving a girl trapped in a collapsing well. This was good for character, but too reminiscent of an incident in Paul Chadwick's CONCRETE from several years ago. I'm sure this similarity was either unintentional or unconscious, but when you've read waaay too many comic books, you notice this sort of thing.

    [ Read more AICN COMICS!! @$$Holes ]

     January 14, 2004 | Common Ground #4 in April
    From Comics Continuum

    Wednesday, January 14, 2004


    Written by Troy Hickman, penciled by Dan Jurgens, Carlos Pacheco and George Perez, cover by Rodolfo Migliari.

    Special bonus: Three stories this month -- by comics legends, all -- grace the pages of Troy Hickman's series. Dan Jurgens illustrates the overweight superhero support group, while George Perez takes us inside the superhero reunion. Then Carlos Pacheco shows what happens when heroes become homeless.
    32 pages, $2.99.

     January 6, 2004 | Common Grounds #4 to be Solicited
    From Troy Hickman

    Hey, at the risk of sounding like I'm pimping my comic (though she is one fiiiine lady...), I wanted to let you know that Common Grounds #1 is supposed to hit the comic shops in a day or two (Wednesday, January 7th, 2004, shipping_010704.txt ). It sounds like the stores may not have enough copies on hand to meet the demand, so folks who were caught unaware by the title may have a rough time finding it. I mention it here because the Perez issue (#4) is about to be solicited, and I'd hate to see anyone to miss out on that one, as well.

     December 10, 2003 | Get Your Ideas Published
    From Wizard

    Tuesday, December 9

    Check out a sample script from the Top Cow 'Get Your Idea Published' contest and enter to win!

    Always had an idea for a comic book that you knew people would read? Well, our pals over at Top Cow Productions are here to give you the chance to put that genius idea in print and make you the next comic book superstar!

    Your very own comic book creation could be the next Top Cow sensation. Don’t believe us? The critically acclaimed Common Grounds (previously published as Holy Crullers) series has already been picked up by the Cow, and you could be next! So polish up that script and get the creative!

     November 26, 2003 | Hickman Interview at SBC
    From Silver Bullet Comics

    Troy Hickman's Common Grounds: SBC Q&A
    Posted: Monday, November 24
    By: Tim O'Shea


    TO: How intimidating or gratifying is it to have industry veterans like Dan Jurgens, Chris Bachalo, Ethan Van Sciver, and Michael Avon Oeming collaborating with you? How did you garner Jurgens as the series’ regular artist, and what value do you feel he adds to your stories?
    TH: Hmmm...strangely enough, I haven't been that intimated by it. I guess maybe I should be, but the artists working on this stuff have, without exception, been really gracious and down-to-earth folks, and they've been kind enough to make me feel like I belong here, rather than being a very small fish in a very big pond. Now, gratifying is another matter. You tell me: how gratifying is it to be toiling in relative obscurity, doing a self-published, photocopied, black and white digest comic, and then six months later to have one of your scripts drawn by George Perez? I was trying to describe this feeling to my girlfriend, who was not a comic fan at all until she met me, and the best comparison I could come up with is if you were a struggling actor doing dinner theater and you suddenly found yourself co-starring in a feature film with Laurence Olivier. That's what this is like for me. And bear in mind that the feeling is even ten-fold beyond that, as I'm not just getting the chance to see George draw my stuff, but also the aforementioned Chris, Ethan, Mike, as well as Sam Kieth, Angel Medina, Carlos Pacheco, J. Scott Campbell, Rodolfo Migliari, and on and on. I feel like I've gone to comic book heaven, quite frankly (a wonderful place where you can eat fried chicken while you read and your issues will still remain pristine!).

    As far as Dan Jurgens, I am so thrilled to have him as our "regular" artist. I love Dan's work, and he's really establishing the Common Grounds "look." I've seen most of his pages for the comic, and they're just wonderful. When I picture the comic in my head, even in terms of coming up with future stories for it, I see it in a Jurgens world, y'know?

     November 20, 2003 | Comments on Common Grounds
    From Pulse

    posted 11-19-2003 05:01 PM by PulseJenC


    The word is out about Common Grounds, the new series created by writer Troy Hickman that Top Cow purchased and will publish starting in January. Industry heavyweights have read the stories and offered praise and admiration for the storytelling. Some examples include:

    · Stan Lee: "The toughest thing in comics, or in any form of writing, is to come up with new approaches to old themes. It looks to me as if Troy Hickman has done just that. In Common Grounds Troy has managed to depict superheroes in an entertainingly unique way. I predict a bright writing future for the talented Mr. Hickman."

    · Alex Ross: "surprisingly very clever stuff."

    · Guillermo del Toro (director, Hellboy): "Revisionist Comics gains a heart. Endearing, moving and painfully human, Common Grounds is as uncommon as it gets. Enjoy."

    · Fantastic Four writer Mark Waid: "Very clever, very sharp, and surprisingly poignant. Common Grounds finds a new way to look at the familiar, and what writer Troy Hickman sees through that lens is pretty astounding."

    A wide range of exceptional talent has been invited to provide guest stories in each issue, to go along with anchor stories drawn by Dan Jurgens:

    · Issue #1: "Head Games" by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Hammer of the Gods)
    · Issue #2: "Roles" by Ethan van Sciver (New X-Men)
    · Issue #3: "Sanctuary" by Chris Bachalo (New X-Men, Captain America)
    · Issue #4: "Liberty Balance" by George Perez (JLA/Avengers)
    · Issue #4: "Time of their Lives" by Carlos Pacheco (JSA, JLA/JSA)
    · Issue #5: "Where Monsters Dine" by Angel Medina (Spawn)
    · Issue #6: "This'll be the Day" by Sam Kieth (Hulk/Wolverine)

     November 11, 2003 | Pipeline #335
    From Comic Book Resources

    PIPELINE #335
    Tuesday November 11, 2003
    written by Augie De Blieck Jr.


    Top Cow leads off with the superheroes-in-a-coffee-shop series, COMMON GROUNDS. Writer Troy Hickman is gifted with a series of brilliant artists lined up to draw the material. It features Dan Jurgens, but the series artist roster also includes the likes of George Perez, Michael Avon Oeming, Chris Bachalo, and more.

     October 30, 2003 | Common Ground Additional Info
    From Small Press Comics

    Topic: Big Common Grounds News!
    posted October 27, 2003 09:07 PM by holeycrullers (Troy Hickman)

    You and your damned questions, Hall. OK, here's the scoop. They're doing six issues to start with, and it's all a redrawing of what I did in Crullers (everything except issue #5, as it starred me and Jerry...there go our action figures). Hopefully the book will take off and they'll want me to do new stuff beyond that. As far as the line-up, here it is, in full:

    Issue #1 - Dan Jurgens (Speeding Bullet) and Michael Avon Oeming (Mental Midget/Man-Witch)

    Issue #2 - Dan Jurgens (Digital Man and Analog Kid) and Ethan Van Sciver (Jenny the waitress, aka Flammabelle)

    Issue #3 - Dan Jurgens (Strangeness and Charm) and Chris Bachalo (Debuton/Acidic Jew)

    Issue #4 - Dan Jurgens (overweight heroes story), Carlos Pacheco (Blackwatch/Commander Power), and Perez (Liberty Balance, which is not actually a Crullers story, but a quickie Dave Berns and I did just before Crullers, circa 1993. In fact, I think it appeared in a UFO annual. It's a silver age supergroup, so who better than Perez?).

    Issue #5 - Dan Jurgens (Eternal Flame) and Angel Medina (Where Monsters Dine)

    Issue #6: Dan Jurgens (Loose Ends, the big wrap up story) and Sam Kieth (American Pi).

    And the first issue is the only one scheduled to have a variant cover. All the other covers will be painted by the wonderful Rodolfo Migliari.

     October 26, 2003 | Common Grounds #4
    From Troy Hickman

    I was especially pleased to see mention of the story George is drawing for my Common Grounds comic. It's the absolute thrill of a lifetime for me, as I've been a huge fan of his amazing work since Creatures on the Loose #33, almost thirty years ago now. When I found out we'd lined him up for a story, well, you could've stuck a fork in me, 'cause I was done. I don't want to give much away about the story, but I can tell you it's called "Glory Days" and it concerns Silver Age superheroes, so it's right up George's alley. The story will appear, as you mentioned, in Common Grounds #4, which will also include stories drawn by Dan Jurgens and Carlos Pacheco. I can't wait. I can't wait. George Perez. Whoo-hoo!

    "The toughest thing in comics, or in any form of writing, is to come up with new approaches to old themes. It looks to me as if Troy Hickman has done just that. In "Common Grounds" Troy has managed to depict superheroes in an entertainingly unique way. I predict a bright writing future for the talented Mr.Hickman." - Stan Lee

    "So what is it you do with these comic books? You type the words into the bubbles above their heads?" - Troy's mom

     October 16, 2003 | Common Grounds to Feature Perez
    From Comicon, Thanks to Ilke Hincer (email)

    posted 10-15-2003 03:52 PM


    Read Common Grounds. Then tell a friend.

    Okay. The sticklers among you are already up in the hue and cry that that’s two messages. Split hairs all you want. The message remains the same. And the message is important, for a number of reasons:

    It’s important because it’s great material. Common Grounds is a wealth of superhero stories with all new characters and all new settings that are told with more heart, soul, and emotion than anything you’ve ever seen before. Some stories are funny. Some are heartwarming. Some are both. But all are told with a real resonance, a true human touch, that will blow you away. I know, I know, I know—you’ve heard it all before, selling everything from dishwashing liquid to doorstops. But this is the real deal. Try it and you’ll see. You’ve never seen stuff in comics that will make you laugh or cry like this.


    It’s important because your favorite artists are here. There are two stories per issue—three if we feel like it—with Dauntless Dan Jurgens drawing one story in every ish, acting as our “anchor.” Dan is joined by a different guest artist every issue, with Michael Avon Oeming (Powers), Ethan van Sciver (New X-Men), Chris Bachalo (New X-Men again), George Pérez (a li’l sumpthin’ called JLA/Avengers) and Carlos Pacheco (JLA/JSA) each taking a turn. These guys are in because they love the stories. You will, too.


    Jim McLauchlin
    Top Cow Productions