Saturday, October 30, 2004


I happen to like Ian Edginton’s work. He’s a solid writer, if not flashy, and whenever I’ve bumped into his work, I’ve never really came away unhappy. Lately however, I have come away feeling sorry for him. You see, Ian has recently been writing WITCHBLADE. The poor, poor bastard.

My distaste for WITCHBLADE goes back pretty much to the title’s inception. When it hit, it was quite the rage, and the guy who was drawing it, Michael Turner, was an instant superstar because of it. I didn’t pick it up at the time, but once a trade paperback hit the shelves I picked it up to see what the fuss was about. And boy, was I pissed.

It wasn’t like the concept was awful. At heart, the idea of a New York policewoman coming into possession of an ancient weapon and using it to battle evil is a decent enough one. But the art… my God. I was pretty sure it had been drawn by a retarded monkey who was jacking off to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at the same time. Fuck almighty. It was bad stereotype, playing up to the drooling fanboys who had no chance of ever seeing a real woman wearing a thong without having to pay for it. And to this day, I can’t stand Turner’s art. Awful. Just awful.

But not nearly as bad as Turner-lite artist Tony Daniel. Daniel has managed, in his career, with books like F5 and HUMANKIND, to ape Turner’s art style’s worst excesses. So when I found myself on the receiving end of two recent WITCHBLADE issues, and I saw that Daniel drew them, I opened them up and awaited the train wreck. It didn’t take long; page one of issue 78 looked just like this:

This is the scene of a multiple homicide. And rather than have Sara Pezzini show up looking like a police professional, she hits the crime scene looking like a completely different kind of professional. How is she not suspended, for Pete’s sake?

She manages to ditch the four inch heels and hooker dress for three inch heels and cameltoe pants when she gets back to the office. What an improvement:

But that sense of decorum goes out the window by the next issue when she wears an outfit that a nineteen year-old sorority girl would have trouble pulling off. Think the NYPD in this reality has a lot of sexual harassment problems?

What’s sad here is that Edginton is trying to tell a serious story with some gravity to it, but the art is just sabotaging him at every turn. I’d love to see the original script for these issues. I’d be willing to bet that the stage directions Edginton wrote in don’t say stuff like “she should be dressed like an expensive whore when she gets to the murder scene” or “the other characters will take her more seriously if she arches her back and sticks her tits out.” Now, I could be wrong, but I feel good about where I stand on that one.

I guess it mostly leaves me wondering how the writer, any writer on WITCHBLADE, feels when they start getting pages back from the artist. Is there just some switch you have to flick in your head when you take the assignment, a sense of resignation you have to adopt, knowing that your work is about to be fucked by some guy who’s more interesting in drawing women’s asses rather than your cool police story? We all take jobs here and there that are just for the paycheck, ones that bring us needed money to pay the bills; I just have to believe that writing WITCHBLADE is an even more bitter pill to swallow than most.