Marz Returns to "Witchblade" With an All-New Direction

Today, Ron Marz has a sweet reunion with an old friend -- Sara Pezzini, wielder of Top Cow's powerful Witchblade. After writing Pezzini's adventures for seven years, the pair spent the past couple of years apart, though it was a separation that was apparently not meant to last.

Marz never strayed far from the world of "Witchblade," writing "Artifacts," "Magdalena" and "Angelus," a number of other series based in the same universe as Pezzini. Now, Marz returns to the Cow's flagship series and character, and their reunion comes with some exciting changes to the title, including a new artist in Laura Braga.

CBR News spoke with Marz to find out what brought him back to "Witchblade" and the challenges that come with returning to old stomping grounds.

CBR News: What brought you back to "Witchblade?"

Ron Marz: Honestly, it was as simple as Top Cow asking me if I wanted to come back. I felt like I had more stories about Sara to tell, so it was an easy decision.

While you were away, Tim Seeley took the book in a different direction than you did, and seemed to have a lot of fun with it. Will anything from his time on the book carryover as you take over?

Tim's run was absolutely a lot of fun, and he did exactly what he should've done on the book, which is write his "Witchblade." Tim's take was different from my take, but I think we both did stories that are in character for Sara and fitting for the Witchblade, which is a testament to the strength of the concept.

Returning to the book, my intention is to do something different than what Tim did -- and different from what I did previously. The main character is still Sara, but the setting is different, the supporting cast is different. We're jumping ahead in time a bit. I didn't come back to repeat myself, or repeat what Tim did.

Reading issue #170, it seems the story is more focused on the Witchblade itself rather than one specific character's relationship with it. We also see Sara in a new place in her life. Will someone else be wielding the Witchblade in the future? 

When issue #170 opens, Sara is a sheriff in a small town, and she doesn't have the Witchblade. Part of the mystery being unraveled is what happened to the Witchblade and who has it now. And, I guess by extension, is Sara ever going to get it back? I don't want to say much more than that, for fear of spoiling anything, though I can tell you, Sara is very much the focal character for this first story arc, which will run through issue #174.

You're returning to the book, but your artist is a newcomer. How did you come to work with Laura Braga?

I actually came across Laura's work via Twitter, and was really impressed with what I saw. I was, truthfully, pretty stunned she wasn't working on a regular series already, because the work is so clearly accomplished. When I agreed to take on the writing duties of "Witchblade" again, Laura was the first person I suggested for the gig. The Powers That Be at Top Cow agreed and gave Laura the assignment. Obviously, everybody involved is pretty thrilled with how it's worked out.

It's amazing that you found her on Twitter. What advice would you give to other artists who are looking for regular work in terms of social media? And was Laura a fan of "Witchblade" before you approached her?

Certainly, having an online portfolio is a necessity for an artist. Any artist should have his or her own site, but Deviantart.com is also a necessity. It serves as a clearinghouse for writers who are looking for artistic partners, or even editors who might be searching for new talent. And anybody who wants to draw comics needs to have sequential pages in their portfolio, not a bunch of pin-ups or covers. A selection of quality interior pages, showing action and acting, is what will get you a job. 

As I recall, Laura actually had some "Witchblade" images on her site, so she was definitely aware of it. It's like this partnership was meant to be.

Her style is so expressive and character-focused -- does that influence your writing at all, knowing how she interprets emotion? 

My job is to write character-driven stories no matter what I'm working on. If the audience isn't invested in the characters, if the audience doesn't care about what happens to the characters, there's not much point in telling the story. Having an artist that you know can pull off all the acting, all the subtle stuff that characters need to convey visually, is a huge boon. I try to write Sara as a real person, as much as my skills allow. Laura makes her into a real person.

What is the most challenging part about coming back to the series? What are you looking forward to the most? 
I think the biggest thing on my mind is to be certain that I don't repeat myself. I wrote more than 70 issues of "Witchblade" previously. When a character is so familiar, you have to guard against slipping into auto-pilot mode, where you're just treading water, rather than moving forward. Continuing Sara's evolution is what I'm looking forward to most, especially with Laura and our colorist, Betsy Gonia, along for the ride.

"Witchblade" #170, by Ron Marz and Laura Braga, is on sale now.

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