Ron Marz is about to be reacquainted with Top Cow staple Sara Pezzini, bearer of the Witchblade, this Fall in Witchblade #170. Marz helped establish the true meaning of the Witchblade (it acts as the Balance between the Darkness and the Angelus), at the same time creating loads of current mythology to the Top Cow Universe. It’s been some time since he’s handled writing duties for the title, all the while still a major architect for the Top Cow Universe writing the more team-oriented Artifacts.
Top Cow has gone through some immense changes in the past couple of years, giving birth to an entirely different version of it with Jackie Estacado in charge of its creation. Coinciding with Marz’s return to Witchblade, the Top Cow mini-series known as “Darkness Falls” takes place, in which Estacado will be killed off, and the fate of the Darkness up in the air for now.
Newsarama recently spoke to Marz about his return to Sara’s world, how will this affect Artifacts, and his plans this time around.
Newsarama: Ron, you've been off Witchblade for almost two years, how does it feel returning to the title after that absence?
Ron Marz: Honestly, it feels like a sizeable amount of time has passed, especially in today's comic market, when creative runs don't last as long as they once did. I almost feel like I'm getting back together with an old girlfriend. We've been dating other people for the last couple years, but we ended up making it work one more time. I'm just starting to write the book now. My return issue of #170 won't be out until October, so we're just getting to know each other again.
Nrama: Tim Seeley's run took Sara almost in the polar opposite of where you were going with her. Any plans on going back into where you were originally headed or are you going to build on top of what Seeley has established?
Marz: I think Tim's run on the book has been really fun, and he's evolved Sara from where she was when I left the title. He made the book his own and did what he does best, which is what any writer should do on a title. Imitating what's come before doesn't serve any creative purpose. I didn't do that when I took over the first time, and Tim didn't do that when he came onto the book after me. So all that said, I don't have any intention of looking backwards when I return to the book. I'm not planning on returning to the status quo of my first run, or even Tim's run. The book, and Sara's character, will continue to evolve, hopefully organically. My job is to bring Sara into the next stage of her development, rather than simply treading water.
Nrama: Do you have a short list of artists you want on the title?
Marz: Sure, we've talked about artists. I'm only half of the equation. If we don't put the right artist on the book, this is all for naught. Witchblade has had a very strong artistic pedigree since the first issue, especially in terms of breaking new artists into the industry, including Michael Turner, Mike Choi, and Stjepan Sejic. We're certainly going to continue that.
Nrama: The Top Cow Universe as a whole has changed dramatically since you were last on the title, and while you're the writer for Artifacts, what changes, if any, can we expect for Sara this time around?
Marz: Obviously I don't want to give away too much, because a lot of where Sara is headed as a character will be impacted by the events of David Hine's "Darkness Falls" series. Sara and Jackie are pretty inextricably linked, and Jackie's impending death is going to have major ramifications for Sara, life-changing ramifications. Sara certainly won't end up in the same place that she started. Be aware that the title of the book is Witchblade, not "Sara Pezzini."
Nrama: With Jackie Estacado's death a confirmation at this point, it seems Top Cow's Trinity (Darkness, Angelus, Witchblade) will be off-kilter. Where does Sara find herself in the middle of all this?
Marz: Well, Sara is literally supposed to be in the middle of all that. The Witchblade is supposed to act as the balance between the Darkness and the Angelus. So when Jackie is removed from the board, the game completely changes. The Angelus is unopposed, so the Witchblade doesn't serve the same function. It's almost enough to make somebody want to quit her job, you know?
Nrama: Will there be more interaction with the rest of the Artifact bearers, or will Sara ride solo for the most part?
Marz: I'm going to concentrate on Sara for a while. I want to delve into what she's going through, and let the audience take that literal and figurative journey with her. I had a venue for playing with the other bearers in the "Artifacts" title, which is going to reflect all that's happening with the Darkness and the Witchblade and especially the Angelus. It's a nice opportunity for me to be able to tell Sara's story through her in a very personal way, and then present the bigger picture, with characters like Tom Judge and the Angelus, in Artifacts.
Nrama: When you started writing Witchblade, you set up most of the present day Top Cow mythos, do you have any goals you want to accomplish this time around?
Marz: Truthfully, I didn't go into my first run on Witchblade with the intention of building a big mythology. First and foremost, I wanted to tell good stories that made sense, and make the audience care about the characters. Everything else grew out of that organically. My plan is the same this time. I think that if you take care of your characters, everything else takes care of itself.