Posted on December 28, 2011 by Matt-M-McElroy
One of the best things about my role at DriveThruComics.com is working with an amazing group of authors and artists that are producing some awesome comics. One of our publishers has a universe shattering series going on now and I recently had the chance to talk to Artifacts series author/architect Ron Marz about it. This interview was originally crafted for the DriveThruComics Newsletter, so I wanted to do things a little differently. I did some “crowd-sourcing” for questions from folks reading the series. I added those suggestions to my questions and fired them off to Ron.
Artifacts was originally a limited series that involves the bearers of 13 mythological items such as the Witchblade and The Darkness. Recently it was announced that Artifacts will continue past issue 13 and the affects on the Top Cow Universe will be lasting. Here Ron tells us a bit more about the series…
If you had to rank the 13 bearers from most to least favorite for you, how would it go?
Well, I don’t really think of them in terms of “favorites,” I think of them in terms of the story possibilities inherent in each. My favorites would include the Witchblade, the Darkness and the Angelus, as well as the Spear of Destiny.
How difficult is it to balance air time for signature characters in this story?
It’s always a juggling act to make sure that everyone gets their fair share of screen time. Every character is somebody’s favorite, so you want to be sure that each one gets a moment in the spotlight. But I have to balance that against making sure there’s a spine running through the entire story. In the case of Artifacts, the spine is Sara, Jackie and Hope, so their story is what we keep coming back to. It very much began with them and it will definitely end with them.
How is the crossover-event impacting the storytelling going on in the individual comic lines?
We’ve tried to make sure the monthly books like Witchblade and Darkness can be read independently. I never like storylines that put a gun to the readers’ heads and force them to buy a bunch of different series. If you just want to read Artifacts, you can do that and the story will make sense. If you just want to read Witchblade or Darkness or Magdalena, those will make sense individually as well. But by the end of the whole thing, all the series will reflect what’s happened in Artifacts.
Are readers who follow several series getting more of the goods than the folks just following Artifacts?
I hope so. We approached this so that you didn’t have to read multiple titles, but if you do read across a few series, the experience will be a little richer and you’ll pick up on some details. We wanted to reward those reading multiple titles, but not penalize anyone who isn’t.
How does Artifacts work as an introduction for new readers to the Top Cow Universe?
I tried to write the first few issues to be as new-reader friendly as possible, within the context of doing a multi-character series that explores the mythology of the Top Cow Universe. So while there’s a lot going on, I never want the audience to feel like they’ve walked in during the middle of a movie. Everything you need to know should be contained within the pages of the story. No visits to Wikipedia necessary.
What can you tell us about the artists working on Artifacts?
The plan was always to have multiple artists on the series, so we split it up in the way that made the most story sense, which is to follow the traditional three-act structure. Michael Broussard, Whilce Portacio and Jeremy Haun all bring something different to the table, and I tried to play to each artist’s strengths. And then Dale Keown is drawing issue #13, and I honestly have to say it’s one of the most beautiful issues I’ve ever been involved with. Starting with issue #14, Stjepan Seijic and I will be the regular team on the book.
What can readers expect from the ongoing Artifacts series?
Issue #13 definitely brings the initial storyline to a close. There’s very much a new status quo by the end of it. Starting with issue #14, we’ll be exploring that new status quo. You’ll see Jackie Estacado, you’ll see Sara Pezzini and the focus character for at least the first few arcs will be Tom Judge. Artifacts as an ongoing series gives us a much bigger canvas to work with. We’ll be doing much bigger, more epic-style stories, but without losing the character-driven nature of what we do.
The Artifacts and other Top Cow Universe series are available now at DriveThruComics.com.