Top Cow was born with CyberForce, but found its flagship with Witchblade in 1995 -- and now it's redefining its universe, Ultimate-style.
Long-time Top Cow writer/artist Stjepan Sejic is remaking the Top Cow universe -- and its heroes, Witchblade, The Darkness, Angelus and more -- beginning next week with the ongoing series Switch. Switch tells the story of Mary, a teenage girl who finds the Witchblade and then finds herself meeting this all-new, all-different Top Cow world.
“It is sort of an ultimate universe take on Top Cow characters. A fresh beginning.some things remain the same while others changed dramatically," Sejic told Newsarama. "First of all, Witchblade ends up in the hands of Mary, a teenager, who may have a bit of an obsession with U.F.O.logy. Now, switching the bearer of a power on it's own is a pretty mundane thing to do in the world of comics. What makes this different is that Mary, unlike Sara, can channel the spirits of the previous bearers to use their power sets.”
Sejic explained a bit more about the Witchblade’s mythology and how it connects all its bearers, and what sort of legacy Mary has to live up to.
“It was a long established element to the Witchblade mythos that previous bearers remained linked to the blade itself. So you have a group of battleforged warrior ladies who have been bored for a long time, and a girl who becomes their chance to relive the glory day. As they say, when the student is ready…”
He also elaborated that this book will have a sense of humor, which Sejic is ecstatic to explore.
“Humor is another thing you can expect. Then again if you read some of my previous works, Death Vigil, Sunstone, and even Ravine, you know how I roll.”
Sejic summarized what Switch is all about and explained a few of the changes.
“It’s a grounds-up title where I do a new take on the Top Cow Universe. Some things same, others different. Jackie Estacado isn't the bearer of the Darkness, Tony is, but Sara Pezzini is still a cop, Kenneth Irons is still a douche and Sonatine...okay, so Sonatine is now Xolotl, an Aztec-warrior-turned-Aztec-priest when he was reborn in the dark of the sacred caverns and..."
"You know what... long story, and hopefully a good one.”
Sejic has previously illustrated many of Top Cow's titles, and even wrote and drew his own series such as Death Vigil and Sunstone. After a brief stint on Rat Queens, Sejic returned to Top Cow with an exclusuve contract and a plan for Top Cow's heroes -- all starting with a new character, a young girl, obsessed with U.F.O.s.
“When she was twelve, she saw a U.F.O. and ever since they have been her obsession and a hobby," Sejic explained.
"Mildly introverted, but tends to take herself too seriously at times, but her heart is in the right place.”
Talking about Mary as a character, Sejic says that her fascination with what else is beyond our world defines her, but very unlike anything we’ve seen before in the Top Cow Universe -- although what she wears, the Witchblade, is all too familiar for Top Cow fans.
“It is a relic that creates weapons and armors and acts like a supernatural magnet. The concept itself presents endless possibilities. You attach that relic to a good character, and you'll have some great fun.”
He continues more about the generational aspect.
“One woman in a generation can bear the blade bydefault you have a great history there, and with the fact that the bearer can talk to previous bearers...possibilities for storytelling are endless. Be it current events, or past battles, you have an endless supply of stories.”
The creative process of forging this world came fairly easy as wanting to use other characters from other Top Cow books just happened to be from books of some of his best friends.
“I'm like, ‘hey Matt here is this idea’….Matt's like ‘roll with it’! Then I go, ‘hey Ron [Marz] can I use your Dragon Prince character?’ Ron goes ‘roll with it’. ‘Matt , can I use Lady Pendragon?’ Matt goes ‘roll with it’!”
“Point is,” he explained. "They trust me to make some good comics and I plan on justifying that trust. Hopefully if the long term plans by some miracle work out, there will be many fun collaborations. I am building a foundation, using their bricks, and I plan on making that foundation a strong one.”
Lastly, Sejic explained why longtime Top Cow readers and Witchblade fans should stick around for Switch.
“It's a fun, and epic book, that is a grounds up story for new readers but the amount of Easter eggs for long term readers is gonna be crazy. When Ultimate Spider-Man started, and a new reader saw Otto Octavius or Norman Osborn, they didn't know who they were. However, long time readers of Spidey knew. The important thing is that both these groups could enjoy the book - same is here. When a new reader is introduced to characters like Kenneth Irons, Ian Nottingham, Tau'ma , Wenders and so on...they see new characters, they learn about them and they keep reading. To long time readers however, connection is almost an Easter egg. They will see what I did there.”