This October, writer Ron Marz returns to Top Cow's leading lady, Witchblade, but he's not coming alone. This time around he's bringing newcomer artist Laura Braga, a graduate of the Disney Academy, and budding artist in her own right having worked on a few Top Cow titles already. Braga's addition makes her the second female penciler on the long running title (first being Adriana Melo who started with issue #99) and the second time Witchblade has featured an all female art team (Braga is joined by colorist Betsy Gonia).
Newsarama recently talked to Braga about her debut on the book and a little bit on her style and some of her artistic influences. She supplied us with some pre-color pages and images that certainly will whet Witchblade fans' appetite.
Newsarama: What does the character of Sara Pezzini and the world of the Witchblade mean to you?
Laura Braga: Sara Pezzini and the world of Witchblade are really important to me, mainly due to the fact that it's one of the first American comics I've read. I fell in love with this character, I've always thought, and still think, that it is one of the most beautiful female characters in the world of comics.
Nrama: How would you describe your style in comparison to what other artists have contributed over the years on Witchblade?
Braga: There are so many talented artists in the history of Witchblade, and each one of them with their personal approach has given something particular to the character and to the saga. I hope I manage to do the same.
Nrama: Your colorist is Betsy Gonia, making this the second time Witchblade has had a female penciler/inker and colorist combination. What is the collaboration process with Betsy like?
Braga: Betsy is a great colorist and I'm really happy to work with her. I also like the idea of a "all girls" pencil/colorist team. We have very good communication, we've talked a lot to create a coloring style that would work for the book and she's made a terrific work to find a perfect style. I couldn't be happier, it's really enjoyable to work with her and with everyone at Top Cow.
Nrama: You're Italian, correct? How did you get started working for American comics?
Braga: Yes, I'm Italian. I started working with Italian publishers and more recently for French publishers, but last year, I started sending my portfolio to American publishers. I had already attended some comic conventions (San Diego and New York Comic-Con) in the past. I've been lucky because some months ago Ron Marz noticed my work posted on my website and decided to contact me on twitter. I couldn't believe it! I've been a fan of Ron's since Crossgen and his first run on Witchblade.
Nrama: Who are some of your artistic influences?
Braga: I attended the Disney Academy, so at the beginning I had a completely different style, more cartoonish. I developed a more realistic style working with Milo Manara. From then there's a long list of artist whose work I admire: John Romita Jr, Frank Frazetta, Frank Miller, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Steve McNiven, Bryan Hitch, Claire Wendling, Leinil Francis Yu, Eric Canete, Alan Davis, Frank Cho, Oliver Coipel, Joshua Middleton, Sara Pichelli (also from Italy)...but I'm sure I forgot someone!
Nrama: What made you want to get into comics instead of fine art?
Braga: As far as I can remember I've always wanted to draw comics or cartoons. Since I was about five or six years old, I've always said drawing comics would be my job and I've grown up keeping that promise.
Nrama: Are you doing anything different to the look of Sara's armor or are you keeping it pretty much the same?
Braga: I'd prefer not to say too much...its appearance depends on where the story goes, and I'm not spoiling it.
Nrama: You mentioned Witchblade was one of the American comics you first remember reading and enjoying, what other American books do you have a fondness for?
Braga: Now, I try to read as much as possible. I find it difficoult to say that I prefer a book or another, because in the same series there is so much difference between a run and another because of the different writers and artists. I can say I prefer some characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Batman (especially the evil characters), Supergirl. I also loved Tellos and the work of Mike Wieringo.
Nrama: You recently worked on an issue of Cyber Force for Top Cow, so in addition to that and Witchblade, are there any other Top Cow franchises you'd like to tackle later down the line?
Braga: Before Cyber Force I had artwork in "Heart of Darkness", which was a short story included in The Darkness #114, written by David Hine. I really loved the dark setting of this story and the work of David Hine. For sure, The Darkness and Cyber Force are two series that I've loved working on. I've always loved also characters like Aphrodite IX, Magdalena, Angelus, Tom Judge, and Jackie Estacado.
Nrama: What's it like been collaborating with Ron Marz?
Braga: Working with Ron Marz is simply perfect! He puts so much attentions on all sides and details and he's also such a kind and helpful person! From the beginning it's been so natural to draw his stories as you can really see the images and every detail as soon as you read the script!
Nrama: To wrap up, what would you like to tell fans of the series to be ready for this time around?
Braga: There will be lots of unespected events and "coup de théâtre"! I really hope that the fans of this series will love this new run together with Ron, me, and the Top Cow team