When you're artist Mike Deodato, it's almost inevitable that you'll end up working on a project featuring beautiful women, as he's done for DC Comics on "Wonder Woman" and Dark Horse on "Xena." This October, it's Marvel's turn, with "Witches."

"In a nutshell: They are like Charlie's Angels, with Doc Strange as Charlie and the three lesser-known female mages of the Marvel Universe: Satana, Jennifer Kale, and Topaz as the Angels," Deodato told the Comic Wire on Wednesday.

"The plot is about a mystic book called Tome of Zhered-na. It can only be opened by a person powerful enough to deserve the power of the book. That person ends up being the brother of Jennifer, but opening the book will free a powerful demon. So, Dr. Strange summons the three heroines to stop the demon and find the book.

"The story is magnificently written by Bronwyn Carlton and edited by Lysa Hawkins, one of the nicest editors I've ever had the pleasure of working with."

For those not familiar with the witches of the title, Satana is a succubus, the daughter of Satan and Hellstorm's sister (and almost the star of a cancelled Warren Ellis mature readers monthly a while back), Topaz/Uma is an empathy, the ex-girlfriend of Werewolf by Night Jack Russell and friend to Dr. Strange, while the sorceress Jennifer Kale has worked with both Man-Thing and the X-Force.

"David Campiti, my agent and dear friend called me last September, to tell me that X-MEN editor Jason Liebig wanted me to do a Nightcrawler story for 'X-Men Unlimited' #32. Dave asked me to do my best ever out there, because there was a strong chance I could get a X- title. The plot was a 'real life' kind of story, and I thought that it would be just ideal to testing my 'new' realistic style I'd been developing since 'Xena,' which is an attempt to take what I did on such titles 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Quantum Leap,' and 'Lost in Space,' and mix it up with my 'Wonder Woman' style.

"To make it work the way I wanted, I chose to photograph everything, using my friends and myself as models and spent more time looking for background references. I did the pencils super-tight, so they could be printed from that. The upshot is, Liebig promised me a monthly X-title; but he soon left, and the promises vanished. Fortunately, it had a happy ending: Lysa Hawkins also loved the story, invited me to do 'Witches.' Now here I am."

Deodato is still using real-life references for this series: His depiction of Topaz is based on his wife.

In addition to the monthly series, Deodato's been hard at work on other "Witches"-related pieces.

"I did several pinups; three covers; and work for ['The Way of the Witches,'] a Witches megazine that will be a reprint of issues with old tales of Satana, Jennifer Kyle, and Topaz. For that, I did eight pages which will be mixed up with pages of the great Spanish artist Esteban Maroto. And I'm almost finished with the first issue."

"The Way of the Witches" is scheduled for release the last week of September, with "Witches" #1 coming out the week after.

"I'm very excited. Putting modesty aside, I consider this to be the best work I've ever done."



[Wonder Woman #173]Make no mistake, Phil Jimenez is a passionate fan of DC Comics' "Wonder Woman." But that doesn't mean the writer-artist is afraid to shake things up. In "Wonder Woman" #169, he did just that, ending the matriarchy that has been a part of the book for six decades.

"The decision to abolish the monarchy came after several discussions with the editors," Jimenez told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "We believed it was time to advance Paradise Island and its people -- the Amazons were living in a stagnant culture that needed to evolve and grow, and, practically speaking, allow for procreation and expansion. We want to reconsider what Paradise Island means, should be -- and how the Amazons can once again have a real affect on the outside world of the DCU.

"People have had very mixed reactions to the abolishment of the monarchy. Some are excited about the possibility of what that change means for the Amazons and for Paradise Island; others are quite angry with the tampering of a 60-year old tradition, particularly the 'princess' fantasy so associated with Diana and Wonder Woman. What awes me more, however, are the fans that seem angered by Hippolyta's choice to forsake her crown and royalty. Hippolyta's gotten more than a taste of heroing -- she's spent time in the past and present making friends, making changes in history, affecting the lives of women and children in a way she was originally intended, as created by her goddesses. I think the choices make perfect sense, considering the growth of the character through the years -- and we'll be playing out these effects for months to come."

Expect to see the no-longer-princess Diana and former queen Hippolyta quite busy in their heroic mode, during the "Our Worlds at War" summer crossover.

"As to Diana's role in the crossover -- she's a major player in a very big way, as are Hippolyta and the Amazons. Lots of big stuff that we'll play off, like the abolishment of the monarchy, for months to come."



Before there was Mike Mignola's Hellboy, there was Michael T. Gilbert's two-fisted monster-fighter and investigator Mr. Monster. Next month, everything old is new again.

"Mr. Monster is the world's greatest monster-fighter!" Gilbert told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "When he's not killing monsters, he's two-fisted Doc Stearn, the world's foremost authority on the occult. Doc lives high atop Slaughter Mountain with his gorgeous 'gal Friday,' Kelly Friday. Heavily influenced by Will Eisner's Spirit stories, Mr. Monster's adventures combine humor, super-heroics ... and a big dose of horror!

"Our latest book, 'Mr. Monster: His Books Of Forbidden Knowledge -- Volume Zero!' collects all the stray black-and-white stories from Dark Horse Presents, A-1 magazine, Crack-A-Boom! and so on. We have checklists, the Amazing Heroes Swimsuit pin-ups, pages of background info, a 'lost' Mr. Monster comic strip from 1933 and lots more!

"We're also printing two unpublished Mr. Monster stories: the Kirby/Lee Marvel-monster spoof, 'OOOAK!' by Michael T. Gilbert and Mark Martin, and 'Never Touch A Satan's Glass' by MTG and Keith Giffen. The latter story features Mr. Monster and Keith Giffen's hellish anti-hero, Trencher, in a special 8-page full-color section. 136 pages of fun ... not to be missed!"


Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief:

  • PREVIEW: Boneyard #3
  • Pete Woods signs exclusive contract with DC
  • DC Comics solicitations for product shipping August, 2001 with covers
  • Legal Action Comics anthology debuts July with a cast of over seventy all-star cartoonists
  • Changes to CrossGen's successful associate program
  • Image Comics solicitations for product shipping August, 2001

And last time in the Comic Wire:

  • "Batman Beyond," "X-Men: Evolution" win Emmy awards
  • Lea Hernandez URL swiped

Wheel of Time Has the Chance to Bring High Fantasy Out of England

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