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AICN COMICS Q&@: Matt Adler talks WITCHBLADE with writer Tim Seeley!!!

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Q’s by Matt Adler!

@’s by WITCHBLADE Writer Tim Seeley!!!

Hey all, Matt Adler here. If you haven’t been following Top Cow’s WITCHBLADE lately, you might not know that Tim Seeley, creator of HACK/SLASH, has begun an epic run on the book, filled with all the horror, humor, and intrigue you’ve come to expect from his writing. As of the time this interview was conducted, his first arc on the book has just been completed, and a trade paperback is due in stores on June 6th. Tim was kind enough to speak with me about his run, and what he has in store for ex-NYPD cop Sara Pezzini, in her new environs of Seeley’s hometown Chicago. Enjoy!

MATT ADLER (MA): We're now 5 issues into your run; have any of your expectations about what it would be like working on this series changed from when you started?

TIM SEELEY (TS): Not too much actually. In a rare case for me, I had a pretty solid handle on what I was going to be doing with the book, largely thanks to a nice firm established fictional history, and plenty of input from Filip (my editor). There are few characters we introduced in the first arc which I thought I'd probably be done with, but they've managed to sneak up on me and make a place for themselves in later arcs I'm working on.

MA: What kind of reaction have you gotten from the fans on your run thus far?

TS: Honestly? Not a lot. I know WITCHBLADE readers are very vocal generally. A few seemed to outright hate me, but most have given me the benefit of the doubt, and are waiting to see where I go with this. I think most of the negative backlash was more from a perceived vantage point, from people who thought I'd turn WITCHBLADE into a non-stop assfest, given my work on HACK/SLASH. I think I'll hear a lot from readers of the trade.

MA: What do you personally like most about writing Sara Pezzini?

TS: I like her resilience. Sara can be neck deep in shit, and still feel like she has a handle on it. I also love how well she can be adapted to any scenario. The character has real flexibility to her, even moreso than the Top Cow Universe.

MA: What has it been like working with Diego Bernard?

TS: I love seeing the pages trickle in, because his pencil work is just beautiful. It's been a humorous learning curve, as English is not his first language (he's Brazillian), and I've had to adapt the way I write scripts to best accommodate his translator. So, no snark or slang in my panel descriptions, which, weirdly, takes me longer to do. Apparently it is difficult for me NOT to be a wise-ass.

MA: WITCHBLADE has always been known as a character who has a certain "physical appeal" for readers; how do you find the right balance for those elements in this book? As an artist yourself, do you provide detailed descriptions for how the characters should look, what they should wear, and so forth?

TS: Well, I mean, I think sexuality and physical attractiveness can't really be undersold when it comes to Witchblade obviously. But it's important to uphold the strong tradition of the book which is that story and character come first, and when there's a good place for good looking people in their underpants, well, then take it. I'm a nut bout character they dress, how they stand, etc, so Diego gets a nice fat folder EVERY issue, full of ref of people and locations.

MA: You're a Chicago native; now that Sara's adventures are taking place there, do you need to do much research to describe particular scenes in your scripts?

TS: Well, I've been around, so some of it is memory and personal experience. I do a lot of research as far as history of various neighborhoods and such goes. And I've started reading crime blotters to have a good idea of what kind of crime goes on in what part of the city. I want the book to have a basic is reality to help contrast with the magic/supernatural stuff. I don't think I'm writing THE WIRE here, but it is important to me that our CPD works as much like the real one as possible. Same for the criminal element. Same for the city of Chicago.

MA: You've already developed an extensive supporting cast in these first five issues; Big Woz, Cain Jorgenson, and the Brunhildas. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for these characters?

TS: BIG WOZ is drawn from Chicago's rich history of big, bad ass Polish cops. She's intended to be a foil for ally sometimes, an enemy others. They have a lot in common, but just enough different that they don't always agree.

CAIN is a "love interest" in the tradition of other love interests for Sara, with the twist that he's involved in some shit that is going to keep getting him, and by proxy, Sara into trouble. Cain is so deep into the magician's philosphy of "misdirection" that he treats everything like a big trick.

THE BRUNHILDAS...well, let's be honest. "Biker Witches" was just one of those ideas that came to me that I couldn't resist, if not just to see Diego draw them. One of the thing I really wanted to do was create a new rogue's gallery for Sara. So, my challenge, every arc, is to come up with a brand new bad guy.

MA: The first arc has introduced us to warped, alien versions of the traditional artifacts of the Top Cow universe. Are these going to play a major role in your run going forward?

TS: Oh yes. Wait until you see the corrupted "Magdalena."

MA: How does the underlying "Reborn" plotline factor into your run? Will we be seeing major developments in Witchblade itself, or is that story more reserved for other books?

TS: It's definitely a major underlying story, and thematically, I think it drives most of the book. Ron, David and I are working towards something big and cool!

MA: What can you tell us about what's ahead for the book?

TS: Issue 156 is a self contained Chicago ghost story. Issue 157 and 158 feature a former Witchblade bearer, steampunk elves and orcs, and one of my favorite fight scenes I've ever written. Woot! Issues 159 and 160 introduce a "big bad" and start to tie in a lot of elements of our mini-universe. Should be lotsa fun!

MA: Do you conceive of your run having a definite endpoint?

TS: Not quite yet. I'm burning off my big ideas, so as of now, I'm just trying to keep from forgetting all the cool stuff I have planned.

MA: What else is on your plate these days?

TS: Whew...HACK/SLASH at Image. BLOODSTRIKE at Image. EXSANGUINE at Dark Horse. And, my new series with Mike Norton, from Image, called REVIVAL. That comes out in July and I'm real proud of it!

MA: Thanks so much for talking with me, Tim!

Matt Adler is a writer/journalist, currently writing for AICN among other outlets. He’s been reading comics for 20 years, writing about them for 7, and spends way, way, too much time thinking about them, which means he really has no choice but to figure out how to make a living out of them. He welcomes all feedback.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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Readers Talkback
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  • May 29, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST


    by CB Chap


  • May 29, 2012, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Which came first, comic or tv show?

    by kanye west

    I took a few years off from comics on general, but am looking to get back into them.

  • May 29, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Comic came first. TV series was an underrated gem.

    by Xen11

    One of my favorite series ever. I love and miss those characters and that world. I'm only a fan of the tv series, but I feel like I know the comic series just from the familiarity with the characters in the tv series. If you want to see the actual series as intended with all of its music intact, I uploaded the entirety of it through torrents. The DVDs released have replaced all the iconic music, so its not the same. I edited the music back into it so you get the widescreen DVD picture with the original sound (taken from broadcast airings). I basically learned how to professionally edit through that thorough and exhausting project. It was fun though because I love what I was working with. It was a work of passion, mainly for myself, but also for the fact that I single-handedly restored a tv series that was already lost in time. It's the only way to see the series uncut. Even in its original broadcast, you didn't have the widescreen picture. OK, I'm done wacking myself off. I'll probably never read the comics though because I'm not a fan of that for the simple fact that all comic series are trashy whores. They crossover with everything else to where the entirety of comics is one universe. When I read or watch or play something, I want to experience every piece of its universe in order of release. With comics, that's impossible. Witchblade crosses over with Tomb Raider for fuck's sake. Comics are ridiculous. Every series should be self-contained in its own universe, but they're not. They also never stop and just keep killing all their characters and bringing them back to life to the point where its just farcical.

  • May 29, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Comic was first. I too have taken years off from comics because

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I got married, and realized I was spending too much money on them. I don't regret my choice. Comic book guy is a virgin, while I've been happily married for 20 years. My last foray back into comics was collecting the Dark Horse translation of Lone Wolf and Cub.

  • May 29, 2012, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Comic came first...the TV show came next...and I came last :)

    by marineboy

  • May 29, 2012, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Dear Tim Seeley

    by Jon Forbing

    If you are reading this, please start drawing again. I know you are busy writing, I know a lot of the artists you've worked with have been great (this Diego Bernard guy looks especially good), but I miss your art. The only "Hack/Slash" that looks right to me is the stuff you drew yourself. Fanboy favor?