Front cover to Witchblade Vol. 1 (Witch Hunt) TPB (Feb. 2008).
|Publisher||Top Cow Productions / Image Comics|
|Number of issues||175|
|Main character(s)||Sara Pezzini|
Witchblade is an American comic book series published by Top Cow Productions, an imprint of Image Comics, from 1995 until present. The series was created by Top Cow editors Marc Silvestri and David Wohl, writers Brian Haberlin and Christina Z, and artist Michael Turner.
The Witchblade title has been adapted into an television series in 2001–2002 as well as an anime series, a manga series and a novel in 2006. A feature film based on the comic, titled The Witchblade, was scheduled for a 2009 release but has since been cancelled.
The series follows Sara Pezzini, a NYPD homicide detective who comes into possession of the Witchblade, a supernatural, sentient artifact in the form of a gauntlet which bonds with a female host and provides them with a variety of powers in order to fight evil. Sara struggles to hone the powers of the Witchblade and fend off those with a nefarious interest in it, such as entrepreneur Kenneth Irons and his bodyguard Ian Nottingham.
- A New York City detective, Sara first encountered the Witchblade while on a case with her then partner, Michael Yee. After both officers were mortally wounded by criminal Ian Nottingham, the gauntlet suddenly left the possession of Nottingham's employer, Kenneth Irons, and gave its power to Sara, healing her wounds. When Jackie Estacado, the host of the Darkness, was possessed by its influence, he impregnated a temporarily comatose Sara as part of an effort to sway the Witchblade's balance. However, neither of them became aware of this until later. Eventually, Sara met and relinquished the Witchblade to Danielle Baptiste, whom the artifact had a strong affinity toward. Amidst complications during the birth of her daughter, Hope, Sara's life was saved when she received half of the Witchblade from Dani. Sara now possesses the full Witchblade and Dani is now the host for the Angelus.
- Danielle is a young dancer who was born in New Orleans. After moving to New York to pursue her career, she experienced a mysterious dream in which she saw herself inheriting great power by means of a mystical gauntlet. Dani found herself taking a walk and wandering to an antique shop the next day. It was there that she encountered Sara Pezinni, the current host of the Witchblade. Having become pregnant, Sara realized that the time had come for her to relinquish the artifact. Sara relinquished the Witchblade to Dani when she realized that she was meant to become its next host. While exploring her powers, Dani faced and overcame a number of mystical opponents. Eventually, Dani returned half of the Witchblade to Sara in order to save Sara's life following the birth of her child. She currently does not have any portion of the Witchblade as she is the present host to the Angelus.
Detective Patrick Gleason
- Sara's partner and boyfriend.
The Curator/The Survivor
- The owner of an antiques shop, the Curator is a sage-like spectator and occasional informant. One of Sara and Dani's most trusted confidants, he knows much about the Witchblade, the other Artifacts, and the ongoing matters surrounding the Angelus and the Darkness. The Curator later apparently dies, spontaneously exploding after saying "all hope is lost". It was later revealed that the Curator was actually the Survivor – the mysterious mastermind behind all of the recent events in Sara's life. He is the sole survivor of the previous universe in which he was the "Codex" – a being meant to ensure its survival in the event of Armageddon. Having failed in his duty and witnessed the destruction of his family, the Survivor has been gradually gathering and manipulating the Artifacts and their bearers throughout history as part of his plan to resurrect his universe.
- The Curator's brother who has sided with the Darkness. He can pull Darklings from out of his head to attack or spy on others and wields a powerful cane with a gem-encrusted hawk head.
- Sara's daughter with Jackie Estacado. She is neither of the Darkness nor the Angelus, but has unknown powers that are currently dormant. Hope is the subject of a massive search by several Artifact bearers following her capture by the Survivor. Hope is the "Codex" for the entire universe, meant to survive and ensure its survival. The Survivor plans to kill Hope and replace her as the Codex in order to guarantee the resurrection of his own universe.
- Sara's sister. She was romantically involved with Jake but the two broke up when Jake discovered that she was running drugs. Jake later returned and shot Julie, but she survived, leading to her arrest and imprisonment. Julie was later released after serving her sentence and was reunited with Sara. While taking Hope to a fair, Julie was surprised by Aphrodite who killed Julie after shooting her in the head.
- Formerly a Captain of the British Special Air Service, Ian subsequently joined MI5. He underwent behavioural modifications for the purpose of infiltrating the Yakuza. Afterwards he forgot his past and became Kenneth Irons' bodyguard. Ian has phenomenal skill with both archaic and modern weapons. Ian kills Sara's partner Michael Yee. For a time he underwent a great change, allowing him the capability to absorb great quantities of energy and to drain energy from entities, even going so far as to temporarily host both the Witchblade and the Darkness. He also temporarily wielded Excalibur, the Witchblade's twin, but it was revealed that Excalibur was merely a shard of the Witchblade, which quickly reabsorbed it. After he lost Excalibur and was defeated by Sara, Ian was taken to prison. He was freed from prison by Aphrodite IV. Recently, he retrieved the Blood Sword from Michael Finnegan, gravely wounding the wielder of the Glacier Stone in the process, and left him in the river to die.
- A rich entrepreneur who discovered the Witchblade in Greece, Irons' age is undefined. It was eventually revealed that he was a Templar Knight of the third crusade and that he once drank from the Holy Grail, granting him a healing factor and immortality, establishing his age as greater than 800 years. However, due to his exposure to the Witchblade during an attempt to host it, Irons does not age at a normal rate; he appears to be no older than 35. In a failed bid to gain control of the Witchblade, Kenneth Irons lost his hand and sacrificed his wife. Kenneth Irons was later one of two characters left in the Deathpool. As a result, Chief Joe Siry killed Irons for all of the trouble that Irons had unleashed on Sara. He is the father of Geraud Irons.
- Sara's former captain when she served at the 18th Precinct. He was the partner of Sara's dead father, Detective Vincent Pezzini.
- Jake was Sara's best friend and partner. He fell in love with Sara, but his feelings were unrequited. A demon came to Earth and entered Jake's body, possessing him while he was wounded defending a weakened Sara. While in a coma he was placed in a hospital. When he later awoke up, he was possessed by a god-like demon that had entered his body. The demon was bent on destroying the world to remake it into a hellish kingdom with him as ruler. Sara drove the demon's influence out of his mind, but Jake committed suicide to ensure that the demon could never return.
- Daughter of Maria, a deceased friend of Sara's.
Following a pilot film in August 2000, the cable network TNT premiered a television series based on the comic book series in 2001. The series was directed by Ralph Hemecker and written by Marc Silvestri and J.D. Zeik. Yancy Butler starred as Sara Pezzini. Although critically acclaimed and popular with audiences, the series was canceled in September 2002.
Witchblade ran for two seasons on TNT, featuring 12 episodes each. The first episode aired on June 12, 2001, and the last episode aired on August 26, 2002. On April 1, 2008, Warner Home Video announced a DVD release called Witchblade: The Complete Series — a seven-disc collectors set including the original made-for-TV movie, all 23 episodes of the series, and special features – which was released on July 29, 2008.
In August 2004, Top Cow announced they had made an agreement with Japanese animation studio GONZO to produce an anime adaptation of Witchblade. The main character of the anime is a new character named Masane Amaha. Although the series features an entirely new story with all new characters, it is considered to exist in the same canon as the comic series and the manga.
The anime began broadcast during April 2006 and ran for 24 episodes. The lead character and newest Witchblade wielder is the kind-hearted amnesiac Masane Amaha who has no recollection of her past beyond six years earlier.
In August 2004, Top Cow made an agreement with manga publisher Kodansha to produce a manga adaptation of Witchblade. The subsequent adaptation, known as Witchblade Takeru (ウィッチブレイド丈流 Wicchibureido Takeru?), was released in March 2006, written by the anime's writer main writer Yasuko Kobayashi (小林靖子) and drawn by Kazuasa Sumita (隅田 かずあさ Sumita Kazuasa?), featuring a different plot and characters than the anime and comic series but set in the same continuity as both. The manga was later released in the US by Top Cow from February 2007 to February 2008.
The manga focuses on Takeru Ibaraki, an average Japanese high school girl raised in a Buddhist convent by nuns, who experiences recurring nightmares about the Witchblade calling out to her, leading her to become the Witchblade's newest bearer.
Witchblade: Ao no Shōjo (ウィッチブレイド 碧の少女 Witchibureido Ao no Shōjo?) is a Japanese novel written by Satoshi Ichikawa (市川智士) with art and illustrations done by Makoto Uno (うのまこと, who previously worked on the Witchblade anime as the lead art & character designer), and was published in August 2006.
The protagonist is Yuri Miyazono, a sickly 15-year-old Okinawan girl who bonds with the Witchblade for her own survival. As mentioned in the afterword, the novel, the anime, the manga and the comic series all take place in the same timeline, with Yuri as the immediate successor of Takeru Ibaraki from Witchblade Takeru and the immediate predecessor of Masane Amaha from the Witchblade anime.
- SuperHeroHype (2008-05-26). "Witchblade Teaser Poster and Site Revealed". Superhero Hype. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
- First Born #2. 2007, Top Cow Productions.
- Witchblade #130. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, Sept. 2009.
- Witchblade #103. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, February 2007.
- Witchblade #107. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, July 2007.
- Witchblade #110. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, October 2007.
- Witchblade #117. Top Cow Productions. Issue date, May 2008.
- "Entertainment News, Celebrity Gossip, Celebrity News | E! Online UK". Eonline.com. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- "Witchblade DVD news: Announcement for Witchblade - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Gonzo to Produce Witchblade Anime - News". Anime News Network. 2004-08-16. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- "Top Cow Announces Witchblade Manga in 2007". Anime News Network. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "GONZO 作品一覧 -ウィッチブレイド". Gonzo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- "Modern Visual Culture Digest » Manga Review: Witchblade ~Takeru~ Chapter 1". Heisei Democracy. 2006-04-09. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- Kobayashi, Yasuko; Sumita, Kazuasa (2006). Witchblade Takeru 1. Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-25323-155-8. In Japanese.
- Productions, Top Cow (2006). Witchblade: Lost Generation Midori no shōjo. Tōkyō: Tokuma Shoten. ISBN 978-4-19905-162-3.
- Witchblade at the Comic Book DB
- Witchblade at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- Top Cow
- Air dates and episode guide
- GONZO Witchblade anime site (Japanese)