Archive for March, 2010

More free stuff

Magdelena cover by Ryan sookI was actually planning a piece on the Hellboy: Weird Tales story I did with Jim Starlin, showing off some of the artwork in glorious black and white. But that’ll have to wait until next week, because Newsarama popped up the entirety of my Magdalena story with Ryan Sook today, and I didn’t want to let it pass without comment.

You can find the complete, 11-page story here.

It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, in large part thanks to Ryan’s amazing art and Dave McCaig’s perfect color. I remember talking to Ryan after the whole story was completed, and he raved about Dave’s color work, saying it the best interior color he’d ever received. I think Ryan is hands-down one of the best artists working in the business right now, so I was absolutely thrilled to have him on the story. And Dave was the perfect complement. Everything was spot-on. Sometimes all elements of a story and creative team just clicks, and you wind up with something special. Or at least special to me.

The story appeared in the First Born: Aftermath issue, and while it put a coda on Magdalena’s involvement in that tale, it was really about her ongoing relationship with her “employers,” the Catholic Church; hence the title, “Crisis of Faith.” I think the story works pretty well as an appetizer for April’s Magdalena ongoing by me, penciler Nelson Blake 2nd, inker Sal Regla and that McCaig guy on colors again. Ryan Sook on covers, of course. Story elements introduced in “Crisis of Faith” will surface again in the ongoing series.

“Crisis of Faith” grabbed a Harvey Award nomination as Best Story or Best Issue or something. Didn’t win, of course. Not with All-Star Superman in the running. Still, nice to see the story get a little recognition. And nice to have it getting wider exposure on Newsarama now. If you like what you read there, I’d venture to say you’ll like the Magdalena series. Assuming you want to take that plunge, tell your retailer, so we can pump up those initial orders. Every sale counts in this market. You can also place an order with Discount Comic Book Service, which is doing a promotion with Magdalena #1, signed by me, for 99 cents.

One more thing. It just so happens that today, about the same time “Crisis of Faith” was appearing for free, I was downloading “Love,” the new album from Angels & Airwaves, also for free. The band is offering up “Love” gratis – 11 new tracks. You can download it here.

There’s a donation button on the site. You can give whatever amount you want, or just take the free album. I donated. Hope you will too.

Cheers,

Ron


Wednesday was Ron Marz interview day

AngelusOr at least it seemed that way, as three interviews hit the ’net on the same day, despite the interviews themselves being conducted at widely varying points in the last few weeks. Interviews do tend to come in bunches, as new books are released or announced. Today’s trio was spurred by different projects, though the questions overlap a bit here and there.

First up, Newsarama interviewed me and artist Nelson Blake 2nd about our upcoming Magdalena book. [link]

Next, CosmicBookNews.com got into everything from Angelus to similarities between Witchblade and Green Lantern. [link]

And finally, ComicAttack.net covers Witchblade, Artifacts and even creator-owned work. [link]


I’m a dirty, rotten sellout

AngelusNot me, my comic. Or two of my comics, actually: Angelus #1 and #2. Top Cow’s press release is below, if you want to check it out. I think people sometimes misunderstand what “sold out” means in announcements like this, even when it’s put in specific terms like “sold out at the distributor level.” It means there are no more copies in the warehouse – reorders from retailers have emptied out any extra stock. So, yes, the book is doing well. But it doesn’t mean that every copy in every store is gone. Many retailers could still have copies on the shelf, so by all means, if you haven’t checked out Angelus, please do so.

Cheers,

Ron

TOP COW PRESS RELEASE

LOS ANGELES, Calif., March 2, 2010 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that the first and second issues of the six-issue miniseries Angelus has sold out at the distributor level.

Written by Ron Marz (Witchblade, Magdalena) and featuring art by Stjepan Sejic (Witchblade), the Angelus miniseries finds Danielle Baptiste returning home to New Orleans and coming to grips with her new role as the Angelus – the human bearer of the primal force of light.

“I’m just incredibly pleased at the news of Angelus #1 and #2 selling out,” said Marz. “This series is really the culmination of something we started planning more than three years ago when we introduced Dani Baptiste in Witchblade #100. We wanted to grow her into a character that readers could connect to, so that when she finally assumed the mantle of the Angelus, we’d have someone the audience cares about. Hopefully the success of the first two Angelus issues is an indication we did that.”

“There’s little to be unsaid about what Marz and Sejic have done for Top Cow’s top character, and this title is in the same field of character development, intrigue, with magical elements that wouldn’t let me stop turning pages.” – Newsarama’s Best Shots

“Sejic is still as spectacular as ever with each page, and if you have only seen the scans from the preview and were amazed, then it’s time you grabbed the book.” – Comic Attack

“The story was solid, and entertaining, and the artwork was awesome, as usual for Stjepan Sejic. The use of storytelling through panel progression and balance between calm subtle moments, and double page action spreads, really give this book a nice feel.” – Comic Collector Live

Angelus #1 and #2’s successes join five other recent sold-out Top Cow titles – The Darkness/Pitt #1, The Darkness/Pitt #2, Tracker #1, Pilot Season: Murderer #1 and Pilot Season: Demonic #1.

Angelus #3 will arrive in stores April 7th, 2010.


Witchblade #135 in stores

Witchblade #135, the second chapter of the three-part “Almost Human” arc, hits stores today. There’s a cop with a supernatural gauntlet. There’s a cybernetic assassin with green hair. Stuff blows up. What more do you need?

The Top Cow Universe has a bit of split personality. There’s the supernatural side, which is where titles like Witchblade, The Darkness and Magdalena call home, and then there’s the more tech/sci-fi side that covers things like Cyberforce and Hunter-Killer. I don’t mix the two sides on a regular basis, but if done sparingly, I think the contrasts make for interesting stories. The aforementioned cybernetic assassin, Aphrodite IV, falls more on the tech side, but she’s encountered Witchblade wielder Sara Pezzini before. Issue #135 digs a bit more into Aphrodite’s “origin” and puts some pieces in place for her appearance in May’s Free Comic Book Day issue from Top Cow, which serves a prequel to the upcoming Artifacts series.

Story by me, art by Stjepan Sejic …who does not like to be called the “Croatian Sensation” despite being Croatian and sensational. Two covers, one by Sejic and one by Darick Robertson of Transmetropolitan and The Boys fame.

Cheers,
Ron

PS:
Ah! Before I forget, Comixology has a preview of Witchblade #135. That’s also where the images in this post came from. Hey, credit where credit’s due!

–RM


Man of the hour

HourmanOne of the cool aspects of working in comics is that you very often wind up working with your friends. Of course, your friends are likely scattered around the country, or even the globe. Probably the best part of being at CrossGen in Florida for a few years was working in the same studio with guys who were not only my friends, but some of the best artists in the business. Seeing new pages by Jim Cheung, Steve Epting, Butch Guice, Bart Sears and everyone else was the main attraction of going into the office every day.

I’ve known artist Cully Hamner for about as long as either of us has been in comics. He’s one of my best friends in or out of comics. We’ve worked together a number of times, though always on something of a single-issue nature rather than an ongoing. If you’re not checking out his current “Question” stuff in Detective Comics, your life is not complete. Cully was actually a candidate to draw my year-long run on Thor early in our careers. Maybe if he’d ended up on the book with me, my run wouldn’t have been so dreadful. I still have Cully’s pitch piece for the series, featuring one of the more kick-ass Thor versions you’ll see. I’ll dig that out and show it off soon.

Back early ’90s when Cully and I were eager, young know-it-alls (as opposed to the jaded, older know-it-alls we are now) we got it in our heads to pitch an Hourman revamp. I truthfully can’t remember the specifics, like which editor it was for, or even if it was intended to be a stand-alone mini, or maybe part of an anthology series. Hell, I don’t even remember if we ever officially pitched it or not. But I did save the faxes – yeah, this was before e-mail – of Cully’s character designs, which you can see here. Still pretty damn cool, huh?

Hourman

So the pitch never went anywhere, but one aspect of it stuck in my head ever since. Our Hourman story was going to take place over the course of one hour, and count down each minute of his Miraclo pill-induced powers (with interspersed flashbacks). Imposing that kind of storytelling structure would have been a real pain in the ass, but worth it.

Flash forward to last autumn, when I was pondering a proper story for the Velocity four-issue mini. I live adjacent to a lake, and the road that loops around it is 2.5 miles. I do a lot of my thinking on daily walks around the lake. And I thought of … Hourman. Or more specifically, using that one-hour framework in which to tell a story. It worked for Hourman for obvious reasons. But I thought it would also work for a speedster character like Velocity, a literal ticking clock she’d be racing against. How much could she accomplish in an hour? I called Cully, made sure he was cool with me resurrecting the idea on something he wouldn’t be drawing. He was.

So the controlling element of the Velocity series is going to be one hour: four issues, told in just a little more than 60 minutes, each page counting down the time she has to save not only her own life , but those of her Cyberforce teammates. One more tidbit: the opening sequence is an homage to a Bond movie, though I’m not saying which one. Velocity #1, by me and Kenneth Rocafort, hits stands in May. Hope you have an hour to spare.

Cheers,

Ron


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