After having been one of the defining creative forces in the first decade of the book's existence, Ron Marz left Witchblade two years ago at #150, when Top Cow reworked their entire publishing line and the title went to Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley. A lifelong fan of the character, Seeley admired Marz's work but set about almost immediately trying to differentiate himself, creating over the course of his twenty-issue run a story that was both personal and widescreen--but also reinvented the wheel a bit, moving Sara to a new city and removing her from her supporting cast and familiar trappings of the previous 150 issues. Now that it's over, of course, the problem is that a fairly standalone "movie" screened in the middle of the ongoing "TV series" of monthly comics demands another retooling when it's over--and one with a gentle touch, since you don't want to seem schizophrenic, as though the premise is damaged so badly it needs a reboot every couple of years.
Marz joined us to talk a little bit about those challenges, and what to expect from Ron Marz's Witchblade (Mark II) going forward. You can buy the issue at Image Comics's website or comics retailers nationwide today. ComicBook.com: What made you come back? Did you not have your full say with Sara last time around? Ron Marz: The simple answer is that Top Cow asked me to come back. I felt like I still had stories to tell about Sara and the Witchblade, so I wanted to tell them. Sometimes when you walk away from a book, you feel like that's all you've got in the tank. With Witchblade, even when I stepped away after issue #150, I felt like I still had something to say. ComicBook.com: Do you think you have another fifty issues in you? Marz: I don't know what the specific number would be, but I don't think another fifty issues is out of the question. At the very least, I'd like to get the book to issue #200, because I think that's a nice benchmark, especially when there are virtually no titles from the Big Two even in triple digits. ComicBook.com: So that recap page: Is that all you need to know to come into the new run? Marz: The recap page is intended to give you the basics of the characters and the concept. It's a primer, not necessarily a recap of everything that's gone before. Issue #170 is written to be as much as a ground-floor read as possible, so hopefully I've managed to work in background information within the issue itself. I feel like comics need to provide entry points for readers, and #170 was designed with that in mind. ComicBook.com: In any event, it's a very different starting point, and one that gives you some time to establish the new Sara and her new supporting cast. Was that part of the attraction to going this way, to kind of differentiate it from what you were doing last time around and in Artifacts, at least at first? Marz: I just didn't feel like there was much sense in repeating the stories and settings we did before. If I was coming back to the book, I wanted to bring something new to it, rather than cover the same ground. And honestly, there's an attraction to just making up a bunch of new characters and situations, and see how Sara fits into it all. One of the reasons I've been so comfortable at Top Cow is that they always let me evolve the characters, rather than perpetrating the illusion of change. This is the next stage of evolution for Sara and the Witchblade.