Along with Magdalena #2, in stores this Wednesday is Witchblade vol 7 TPB, the new volume in the Witchblade trade paperback series. This one has been a long time in coming, as Top Cow catches up on its TPB program. Since the trades are printed in China – for reasons of both cost and quality– the process takes a few months from start to finish. Top Cow managing editor and all-around awesome fellow Phil Smith put together the material and designed the book, and we all proofed it numerous times before the files were sent to China for printing. Once the entire run is printed, it’s shipped via literal slow boat back the U.S. and then the distributor gets it into stores.
Vol. 7 contains issues #121-#124 of Witchblade, the lead story from Witchblade Annual #1 (which I didn’t write), as well as the 16-page Free Comic Book Day story (which I did write) that’s previewed here. The FCBD story introduces the Gretch character, a journalist for an alternative newspaper who figures in the three-part “Crown Heights” storyline featured in this volume. Each page of the FCBD story is formatted in a 16-panel grid, the same format Frank Miller used The Dark Knight Returns, a story that influences me to this day.
“Crown Heights” is inspired in large part by a photo essay I saw in the New York Times a few years ago, which provided a window into the Lubavitch Jewish sect in Brooklyn. I find those kinds of cloistered societies fascinating anyway, but add n the visual component of the black clothing and fedoras, and I had to use it as a setting for a story. There’s another photo essay, along with a feature and a video, on the Chabad-Lubavitch Jews on the National Geographic site.
Vol. 7 has an intro by Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis, touching on Jewish mysticism, as well as a cover gallery, sketchbook section by Stjepan Sejic, and a scriptbook by me, featuring my complete script and Stjepan’s layouts for issue #121.
The Vol. 8 trade, with the “War of the Witchblades” storyline and an intro by Jim Starlin, is already buttoned up and headed off to press.