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Saturday, August 9, 2003


ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Witchblade Animated comic book and action figures might next be translated into an actual animated series, Top Cow editor-in-chief Jim McLauchlin said.

The comic, which reaches stores on Wednesday, and action figures from Palisades Toys were debuted Friday at Wizard World Chicago, where McLauchlin hosted a panel with Palisades' Mike Horn and two of the comics creators, writer Paul Dini and artist Darwyn Cooke.

"Witchblade is something that has had a very successful run on TNT as a cable show in live-action," McLauchlin said. "I think that there is a lot of cache already in the character, the name and the property."

Dini, an animation veteran at Warner Bros. who is currently working on Duck Dodgers, said the comic and toy could help sell the show.

"It's always helpful when you're pitching a project like this to go into any office with something that people call a 'leave behind,'" Dini said. "If you're going in to talk to an animation studio or a syndicator of a TV program on a network and you can say, 'Here's what we think it's going to look like,' and then show the toy or show them the book. That gives them something tangible."

Dini said a key is where to sell the concept.

"Fortunately, there are many more venues than there were in selling a show," Dini said. "You have Spike TV, where they are trying to run more adult programming with Ren & Stimpy and some of their late-night shows. Then you've got Cartoon Network, who's doing Toonami and Adult Swim.

"Things like that would be the natural place to position a show like Witchblade Animated. Where you don't want to take it is Nickelodeon or Kids' WB! because then you'll have, 'Let's make her 12 years old, give her a dog and have other kids for her to hang out with. Let's call it Witchblade, but really do something else.'

"You don't want to do that. You don't want to hamstring the property just to get it on TV. It's double-edged sword because you might get a show out there, but you'll lose the appeal of whatever the show was."

Added McLauchlin: "You've got to be true to what you started with."


The Witchblade Animated concept originated at Palisade Toys, which would also be involved in a television series. The toys are being sold in a three-pack at the convention.

Cooke handled the artwork for the comic with J. Bone and David Bullock, with each artist playing off his strength. Cooke said that Bone handle the design work, Bullock the story telling and Cooke the final touches. The artists actually got together at Cooke's home in Toronto, forming a studio of sorts for a month.

The comic includes both Magdalena and The Darkness. Dini said he tried to streamline the characters, emphasizing what he saw in them that made them click, and mixed that with a Marvel Team-Up sort of approach.

As for future Witchblade Animated comics, McLauchlin is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"This is a trial balloon we've thrown out there," McLauchlin said, "and we'll see how the audience reacts."

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