Sharpening the Witchblade: Smith Talks Due Process

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Philip W. Smith II is the writer of the latest Witchblade one-shot Witchblade: Due Process and beyond that a long-time editor at Top Cow. BF talked with him about Sara's latest adventure in which she has to make amends with an innocent man she sent to prison when she was a rookie and who now has made a choice in which he comes into conflict with Sara's new powers.

BROKEN FRONTIER: In this story Sara is looking to redeem herself for mistakes she or her corrupt colleagues made way back before she acquired the witchblade. A man who has been conspiring with demons is about to be released from prison and seek vengeance. How did you come up with the angle for this one-shot?

PHIL SMITH: Having recently become a father (my daughter is 14 months old) the question of how far would you go for your children, what would you give up, how much are you willing to compromise your values in the interest of your family keeps coming up.  To put that question to the test I created a scenario for a father where he is pushed to his limit and we explore one answer to that question.  

BF: Congratulations on your new fatherhood! It sure stirs up your life and makes you think in new ways! Sara is in a different state since she first appeared in comics. Since you have been a Top Cow editor for years now, how do you approach Sara after all these years?

PS: As I am fond of saying it is easy to look good following in Ron Marz's footsteps. Today Sara is a weathered hero with battles that take place on a much larger scale (see Artifacts). To set my story apart I focused on an aspect of Sara's early career before she had gotten seasoned by so many battles.  The battle in this story is with her conscience.  She is a hero now and has come to realize she is where the rubber of the world meets the road.  If she cannot be counted on to help someone out, no one will. She feels responsible for not stopping an innocent man from going to prison. The weathered hero knows she cannot let that stand and does everything she can to make it right.  It's what makes her a hero.

BF: The artist on Witchblade: Due Process is Alina Urusov, who has already made some very nice Marvel covers (Nyx, X-23). How did you come across Alina?

PS: Working with Alina was a dream! Before this one-shot I was not familiar with Alina's work at all.  We had no artists available to jump in so I went online and did a cold search to find someone. I came across an online gallery that had some incredible work featured so I sent a blind query to the e-mail on the site.  It was the only query I sent. Alina responded the next day.  We negotiated a rate and a schedule and she started on cover thumbnails.

BF: What do you think is the strength of Alina for this story of Sara and her Wtichblade?

PS: Her ability to create subtext through the characters. Her ability to grasp the subtext of a scene and emote that I feel was like having a second writer behind me making it better.

BF: After  The Darkness / Witchblade / Angelus Trinity: Blood on the Sands and now this Witchblade: Due Process, are you planning a new project already?

PS: I have a few things I would really like to get in print and share with an audience but it is all about timing and opportunity. There are some Top Cow Universe ideas I have that I think would be cool to explore.  There is one that is close to my heart that I have pitched annually for the last...5-6 years and just looking for when the time will be right for it to catch on.  I also have some creator owned concepts I have that were unveiled in the Top Cow Bible Addendum in San Diego so I do have some irons in the fire but it is all about timing.

Witchblade: Due Process is out now from Top Cow priced $3.99.

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