Ron Marz has been firing on all cylinders since arriving at Top Cow to pen their flagship title Witchblade, bringing a much needed different approach to the character that has fans emptying shelves and wanting more! Not to mention his great work on First Born, Broken Trinity, Angelus, and the upcoming Artifacts, which will be Top Cow’s summer cross-over event spanning 13 issues! Between all of this and working on his creator-owned projects, I consider myself fortunate that he took time out to chat with ComicAttack.net!
Comic Attack: Witchblade was most commonly known for its “T&A” that had some action and some fantasy elements in the story. However, since you’ve come along Sara has evolved and matured, developing into a character whom people take seriously. Was this something you focused on or just a natural progression of the story?
Ron Marz: No, that was my intention from the beginning. I didn’t have any interest in writing stories that were excuses for Sara’s clothes to fall off, and I said that when I was offered the job. But Top Cow was completely supportive in moving the book in a much more story-driven direction. It’s been that way ever since I took over, and I’ve got 55 issues in a row under my belt now.
CA: Was Dani always the choice for the Angelus, or were there other possibilities before narrowing it down to her?
RM: Dani was always going to be the Angelus, from the first time readers ever set eyes on her, which was Witchblade #100. So bringing her along, and eventually giving her the Angelus mantle, was a story that was three years in the making. Knowing that you’re staying on a title long-term gives you the creative luxury to do long-term storylines.
CA: Hope has done nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. Can you give us some insight as to when the daughter of the Witchblade bearer is going to factor into all of this mystical warfare?
RM: I can tell you she IS going to factor into everything that’s coming up in a very major way. But I’m not going to tell you how. Just like Dani, there’s always been a long-term plan in place for Hope as well, much of which will come to fruition in Artifacts.
CA: Angelus is only six issues long. Are there plans for Dani to appear regularly throughout other titles, or will she eventually get her own ongoing title or at least another mini-series?
RM: Well, obviously a great deal depends on the sales success of the series. I just found out that Angelus #1 sold out, so that’s a good start. If the sales numbers stay up, we know there’s an audience out there for the book. For now, this mini will have a sense of conclusion, and then we’ll see Dani in the Artifacts maxi-series that debuts in July. Beyond that, we’ll see what kind of demand there is.
CA: First Witchblade then Angelus, and now Magdalena is the next book that you’re working on. Why her and why now?
RM: I’ve wanted to get my hands on Magdalena, metaphorically speaking, ever since I started writing for Top Cow. She was actually the first character I asked for. But it’s taken this long for everything to line up so we could launch the series properly. I’d much rather take our time, get the right people in place, and do the book right, than rush out something we weren’t completely happy with. With Ryan Sook on covers, and Nelson Blake 2nd, Sal Regla and Dave McCaig on art, we’ve got the right team.
CA: Fans haven’t seen Magdalena in quite some time. Is this new series an origin story, or a continuation of where she last left off?
RM: We pick up Magdalena where the character is currently, but we’re absolutely doing it in such a way that issue #1 is a ground-floor, accessible read. If you’ve never read Magdalena before, this will be the perfect place to start. You’ll learn the history of the character, which can be traced back to the concept of Christ and Mary Magdalena having a child. Each generation, a woman from that bloodline becomes the Catholic Church’s monster hunter. You’ll also get caught up on Patience, the current incarnation of the Magdalena. When we pick up her story, she’s left the church, but the Vatican is intent on getting her back in the fold by any means necessary.
CA: The 13-issue Artifacts story that kicks off this summer is a pretty big cross-over event when compared to the others like Broken Trinity and First Born. Considering the massive size of the event, will most of the Top Cow Universe be involved?
RM: Yeah, I want everybody in there. Crossovers are so commonplace at the Big Two these days, I think they’ve lost a little of their luster. Top Cow has done a couple of smaller-scale event stories in First Born and Broken Trinity, which were each six-issues stories. Artifacts is the biggest story we’ve ever produced, it’s really the central, essential story of the Top Cow Universe. This is why there IS a Top Cow Universe. So we’re going to make sure it’s worthy of being the biggest story ever. The central characters will be Sara Pezzini and Jackie Estacado, but everyone else will be in there.
CA: “Big Intercompany Crossover Events” seem to be the trend in comics lately and it’s something that Top Cow isn’t traditionally known for, but is the release of Artifacts a sign of things to come?
RM: Well, as I said, the crossover has become the rule rather than the exception, at least at Marvel and DC. The market responded to their line-wide crossovers, so now we’re getting an endless array of them. For Top Cow, when we say Artifacts is the BIG one, we mean it. There’s no “bigger one” waiting around the corner, it’s not just the latest in a series of large-scale events. We’re telling this story in this fashion because that’s what works for the story. The story comes first, not the marketing plan.
CA: Dragon Prince was fantastic. Do you have any other creator-owned projects in the works?
RM: Glad you liked it. It was something a little different for me, and for Top Cow, since it was very much intended as an all-ages read. I’m actually working on another creator-owned book with Lee Moder called Shinku, which is definitely not all ages. It’s a vampire story set in modern Japan. We’re in the process of placing that with a publisher. I’m still working on Samurai: Heaven and Earth at Dark Horse, but we’re waiting for Luke Ross to have a window in his Marvel schedule so we can get volume 3 going. And there are always more ideas percolating. Just need the time to get to them all.
CA: Oh, just so you know, I really hate Sabine. Is there any way she can get introduced to the inside of a fridge by the end of the Artifacts storyline?
RM: Good, you’re supposed to hate Sabine. But the really nasty villains seem to have a way of sticking around…
CA: I figured I’d give it a shot because when you kill a character they STAY dead, something that’s pretty rare in comics these days!
Thanks again to Ron for taking some time out of his schedule, and if anyone out there isn’t reading Witchblade definitely pick it up. As of right now Artifacts is on track to be hot!