Overview

Angelus Goes Solo

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Ron Marz chats with BF about the new Witchblade spin-off focusing on Dani Baptiste and her new role in her series, Angelus.

Marz knows a thing or two about creating sympathetic characters discovering the wonder and danger of the world around them, and their place in it. His work on DC's Green Lantern in the 1990s brought a new energy (and ring bearer in Kyle Rayner) to the series, while recently he's turned his eye towards building a shared universe with Top Cow, with whom he has signed an exclusive contract.

After the War of the Witchblades storyline which saw original 'Blade bearer, cop Sara Pezzini battle it out with young dancer Dani Baptiste. The climax saw Dani give her half of the Witchblade gauntlet back to Sara. However Dani is not free of mystical powers of her own, thanks to now becoming the new host for the Angelus entity. Marz and his fellow Witchblade collaboartor, artist Stjepan Sejic details Dani's story in the new six issue mini-series, Angelus.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Any chance of more Dragon Prince stories, or new creator owned work?

RON MARZ: We're looking at getting the Dragon Prince collected edition into stories in 2010, so assuming that goes as planned, we'll have a new stories in the collection. Beyond that, Pantheon City, by me and Clement Sauve, should finally come out from Dark Horse next year. Lee Moder and I also have a new project called Shinku that we're working on. It's a modern vampire story -- no sparkling, no longing gazes -- that we plan on debuting next year as well. And the third volume of Samurai: Heaven and Earth is always on the back burner, waiting for Luke Ross to have time to draw it.

BF: When you came on board with Top Cow you were building a universe on an existing foundation, so did that make things easier than starting from scratch?

RM: Not really easier, just different. Starting from scratch is fun because you can just create from whole cloth, and you're not tied to anything that's come before. You're starting with a complete blank slate. That said, tinkering with the Top Cow universe is great, because while there were certain elements in place, a lot was left open. So I came in and tried to find the natural connections between the concepts and characters. The Top Cow universe is small enough -- compared to the Marvel U or DCU -- that it's much easier to get a handle on it. The whole trick is building a mythology the supports the kind of stories we want to tell, but doesn't become so complex that it becomes a barrier to new readers.

BF: Is it difficult juggling the drama of Witchblade along with the action and supernatural elements, and does each issue need all three?

RM: Maybe not each and every issue, but in general, you want to have a balance. One of the things that really attracts me to Witchblade is the opportunity to tell different kinds of stories -- supernatural, crime, relationship drama. It's not just the same thing over and over.

BF: Are you happy with the way you've brought The Darkness and Angelus into focus? It's no longer just the Witchblade that's getting all the attention.

RM: The success of the Darkness is all about what Phil Hester and his artists have done. The Angelus concept is something I've wanted to expand upon for a while, which is why we put a long-term plan into place to make it more viable. The Darkness and Witchblade are kind of the twin pillars that support the modern Top Cow universe. It would be great to see the Angelus eventually join them.

BF: What will the Angelus mini-series allow you to do that you couldn't do in Witchblade?

RM: As long as Dani was in Witchblade, she was sharing the spotlight with Sara. Giving Dani her own series allows me to completely concentrate on her and the Angelus concept, and build both of them into viable entities. One of the reasons I moved Dani back to New Orleans is that I wanted to give Dani a new life, so readers could plug into her story on the ground floor. As she grows into the role of the Angelus, the readers can grow with her.

BF: Stjepan Sejic's along for the ride. How much do you two converse when creating a design for a new character or artifact?

RM: Pretty regularly, sometimes daily. Instant Messaging is a wonderful thing, especially when one of us is in New York and the other is in Croatia. Stjepan is so fast that we can kick around ideas or character designs, and a few hours later he sends me a bunch of sketches. He's a great collaborator because his mind is always turning over story ideas and concepts.

BF: Are you glad that War of the Witchblades has finally finished and you don't have to keep secrets anymore?

RM: Just Christmas secrets. I can handle that.

BF: With your Green Lantern work and your current Top Cow projects there seems to be a theme of ordinary people wielding great objects of power and coming to terms with that. Is that a theme that intrigues you?

RM: Absolutely. As both a reader and a writer, I'm much more drawn to stories of ordinary people in extradordinary circumstances. It's the difference between Cary Grant in North by Northwest -- just a regular guy who gets in over his head -- and somebody like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, who's an expert in damn near everything. For my tastes, I'm more entertained by a character who is human and fallible and rises to a challenge, rather than a character who is completely equipped to deal with that challenge.

Angelus #1 is out now from Top Cow and #2 is released on January 13.

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