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Exclusive Interview Part 1 with @RonMarz @LauraBraga_rt @TheThirdG for @TopCow's Witchblade @ImageComics


I was fortunate enough to ask the new creative team behind Witchblade, Ron Marz (writer), Laura Braga (artist), and Betsy Gonia (colorist) a few questions about the comic industry, and the Witchblade. I was originally going to post all three of their answers together, but due to timing will be posting Laura and Betsy's answers as a Part 2 Interview. And if you missed it also check out my Featured Review for Wichblade #170. You can read the interview by clicking Read More.


How does it feel working for a company like Top Cow?


RM: It's been home for me for a decade, so obviously it's a good fit. If you find something that works, you stick with it, so I think it's been a fruitful relationship for everyone involved. Top Cow gives me a lot of freedom in writing their characters, and has trusted me to expand the universe and evolve the characters.

Top Cow is running their Talent Hunt 2013, As the industry stands now, what are some tips for breaking in?


RM: Something like the Talent Hunt is a pretty rare chance for unpublished writers and artists to get their work in front of an audience. Usually, new talent has to toil in self-published and small press work, paying their dues and building an audience reader by reader. The Talent Hunt allows someone to jump past that stage and be published by a large imprint like Image. Breaking in is a long, hard process, because there are so many people who want to do these jobs. That's why you have to make sure everything you put out there is as good as you can possible make it at the time. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

Have you experienced other peoples comments and suggestions alter the narrative of your stories-in-creation, or do you already have the entire story planned out before you sit down at the drawing board?


RM: I honestly don't let audience reaction dictate what I do. Stories aren't told by popular acclaim, they're a product of the creative team's vision. I have to be true to the story, rather than trying to guess what the audience might want. The job is to tell the best story you can, and then hope the audience comes along for the ride. Anything else is really prostituting what you do.

As a writer do you consider the suggestions of other writers, artists, fans  and editors as community building or interference with writers freedom and independence?


RM: Well, obviously part of the job in a work-for-hire situation is accepting editorial input. The company owns the characters, and the creative team is just borrowing them, so you have to be able to work within those boundaries. Beyond that, obviously comics are a collaborative endeavor. There's give and take between the writer and artist. The goal is to take everyone's creative ideas and energy, and make a whole greater than any of the individual parts. Comics work much better when the creative parts work with each other, almost like jazz improvisation, rather than an assembly line.

Can you talk a little bit about the artist, writer, producer collaboration when building new narrative worlds? Should creators be their own editor/producers?


RM: It really depends on the writer and artist involved. Again, if you're working with somebody else's characters, there's an editor involved to not only keep you on schedule, but also to make sure you're working within acceptable boundaries. Conversely, when I do creator-owned work, like Shinku or Ravine, there's really no editor. We just do it ourselves. That means you have a vast amount of freedom and control, but you're almost completely responsible. If there's a mistake, it's your fault. I'm comfortable with that tradeoff.

How does it feel to finally be returning to Witchblade after almost 2 years?


RM: Like slipping back into a broken-in pair of jeans. Witchblade turned out to be a good fit for me, especially the character of Sara Pezzini. I definitely feel like I have more Witchblade stories to tell, so I'm very pleased to be getting a chance to tell them.

Now that you are back writing Witchblade how is this going to effect Artifacts and The Darkness?


RM: Certainly current events in the Darkness play a part in at least the background of Witchblade. Issue #170 makes that fairly obvious, but I made sure that Witchblade stands on its own. The narrative in Witchblade is complete by itself, but if you're also reading Darkness, you get a bit broader picture. I'm stepping away from Artifacts after issue #32, so that's going to be more of a standalone series.

Also one question about The Darkness, I just started reading them but maybe I'm confused because I thought he was still alive. Sounded like you were saying he wasn't or did  I miss something?


RM: Witchblade #170 references events that have not been seen in the Darkness series yet.

With Witchblade now in its 170th issue, not to include minis and cross-overs, How new reader friendly do you find issue #170 to be and the book as a whole going forward?


RM: A big part of my job as writer is to make sure the book is accessible. New readers are a vital aspect of keeping a series going. Someone who has never read an issue of Witchblade should be able to pick up #170 and get a pretty good idea of who's who and what's what. If they can't, I've failed in one of the basic responsibilities of the job.

The female team of Laura Braga and Betsy Gonia will be providing art on the book. How did you three meet, and how easy was it to work with them?


RM: Laura and Betsy are the art team, not the female team. They both got the assignment because they're terrific artists, not because they happen to be female. I first discovered Laura's art because of Twitter, and I got in touch and told her I was really impressed by the work. When the Witchblade opportunity came up, she was the first person I suggested, because I thought her style, particularly her ability to draw natural, believable women, would be a great asset. Laura's work has been even better than I could've hoped, she's awesome, and I intend to work with her as long as she'll have me.

Betsy actually works in editorial at Top Cop, having graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design. She'd been looking to do some coloring, and did some samples over Laura. It was nice marriage. Sometimes the right person for the job is right under your nose. Weirdly, Betsy grew up in Wisconsin, literally three miles from where our letterer, Troy Peteri grew up. Troy is older than Betsy, so they didn't know each other, but small world.

How do you feel their style will look and feel in Sara Pezzini's world?


RM: You don't need me to say anything, the pages speak for themselves.

Are there any upcoming story arcs or crossovers readers should be on the lookout for?


RM: This first storyline will run through issue #174, and then #175 will be a double-size issue to launch the next arc. So we're going to be pretty self-contained initially. We want Witchblade to be appointment reading every month, and we're just getting started.

Any final thoughts?


RM: There's a justified, ongoing conversation about needing female leads in comics. Sara Pezzini has been here all along. I hope the audience that's looking for female characters gives Witchblade a look.

Witchblade #170


Publisher: Top Cow/Image Comics

(W) Ron Marz
(A) Laura Braga
(C) Betsy Gonia

RON MARZ RETURNS TO WITCHBLADE!
Sara Pezzini has been a cop, a mother, a girlfriend, and a private investigator. She is none of those things anymore. The only thing tying Sara to her past and preventing her from forging a new chapter in life is the Witchblade. But with everything else gone, who will Sara Pezzini be if she gives up the Witchblade?

Check out the preview pages here below and prepare yourself for the next chapter in the Witchblade story.




Pre-Order Witchblade #170 (Save 20%)
Pre-Order Witchblade #171 (Save 20%)
Pre-Order Witchblade #172 (Save 20%)
Pre-Order Witchblade #173 (Save 20%)

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