Back in 2004 horror comics got a shot in the arm thanks to a pair of female characters. One had been around for a while, but wasn’t taken all that seriously while the other was brand new. That year not only saw Ron Marz make his debut on Top Cow’s “Witchblade” where he would turn star Sara Pezzini into one of the most well respected and badass heroines in mainstream comics, but also the debut of Cassie Hack, slasher killer and star of “Hack/Slash” written and drawn by Tim Seeley. Aside from being a pair of women who seem to attract attention from demons and monsters, Sara and Cassie went their own ways. Until now.
No, we’re not talking about a crossover in the traditional sense, but in the creative sense. With Marz leaving “Witchblade” to pursue other creative endeavors, the folks at Top Cow needed someone to take his place. Enter Seeley, who moved “Hack/Slash” to the Cow’s partner company, Image Comics, just last year. Set to take over with October’s “Witchblade” #151 along with artists Diego Bernard and Fred Benes, CBR News spoke with Seeley about taking over such a long running character, his plans for Sara’s future and how writing Cassie Hack has helped him prepare for “Witchblade.”
“I’ve now got PLENTY of practice doing long form stories after seven years on ‘Hack/Slash,’ and I suppose the fact that ‘Hack/Slash’ deals with a female lead and supernatural stuff should help me out a tad,” Seeley told CBR News.
His experience writing strong women has also given Seeley a pretty clear idea of who Sara Pezzini is as a character and what motivates her.
“Sara is motivated to do what’s right,” Seeley said. “She knows what’s right and good, and she doesn’t doubt it ever. BUT, she lives in a very morally grey world, filled with shades of morality, supernatural and natural. She has to navigate all this stuff, at the same time keeping this insanely powerful artifact attached to her wrist in check. My take is going to be taking that sensibility and applying it to a crime noir type world.”
The heroine’s complexity wasn’t Seeley’s only reason for taking over the book, though.
“Well, it’s one of, if not THE, marquee female superhero comic book,” Seeley said. “I feel like I can play [to] some of my strengths on it, while coming in with a slightly different and new take.”
Part of that new take extends directly out of the huge Top Cow Universe-spanning miniseries “Artifacts” set to end with August’s #13. While details on the series’ conclusion and fallout are being kept on the down low, Seeley did mention that the book will have a direct effect on “Witchblade.”
“The ‘Artifacts’ crossover defined the Top Cow universe and the relationships of the character in very certain terms,” Seeley said. “I think this is a great time to step away from it, and get back to Sara being Sara.”
Part of getting Sara back to her roots as a character will include moving her to a different town and pitting her against brand new enemies, as well as giving her new allies.
“First off, we’re moving out of New York to the quaint little town of Chicago,” Seeley said. “Then, we’re going to change genres just a bit, giving Sara plenty of new and different stories to live through. The idea, at least in the beginning is to go all-new. New threats, and new kinds of baddies. Really, besides Jackie and the Angelus, we haven’t seen a ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ for Sara. I’ll fix that up right quick!”
But don’t think Seeley will be tossing out everything that came before him. He not only re-familiarized himself with scores of comics, but also greatly respects what Marz did on the title before him.
“Ron came in and really gave the book an identity, and guided it through some very well conceived plans,” Seeley said. “The only way for me to really do this is just to take a good look at his run, respect the hell out of it, and then go my own way. My thinking on it is that Ron and I have a similar approaches to writing, but different interests in the kind of story we like to write. So, the book won’t drastically change as far as approach to characters and such. It’ll just be a new set of circumstances that’ll best let me play around with my favorite types of toys.”