Charmed I'm Sure: Deodato unlocks the magic of 'Witches'

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."

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