What is Witchblade?
One of the better titles under Image Comics that most people never heard about is Witchblade. Witchblade is a comic book series published by Top Cow Productions, an imprint of Image Comics, from 1995 to 2015. The series was created by Top Cow founder and owner Marc Silvestri, editor David Wohl, writer Brian Haberlin, and artist Michael Turner. Witchblade remains one of Image Comics’s longest-running series with almost 200 issues under its belt (plus spinoffs and related titles). The Witchblade is a sentient bracelet with great supernatural power which is passed down through female hosts. Sara uses the power of the Witchblade to help her solve crimes. Witchblade focuses on a NYPD homicide detective named Sara Pezzini.
This is not the first time Witchblade has been in media other than comic books. Cable network TNT ran a pilot film in 2000. That pilot was good enough for them to start a television series in 2001. The show was very popular with audiences, but the series was still canceled after two seasons in September 2002.
There was also an anime adaption of Witchblade in 2004. Japanese animation studio GONZO produced 24 episodes. This anime adaption did not feature the characters from the comic book. It featured a new story with all new characters, but it still existed in the same continuity as the comic book. The anime focused on Masane Amaha, who has no recollection of her past beyond six years earlier.
Witchblade even made it into manga. Manga publisher Kodansha produced an adaptation of Witchblade titled Witchblade Takeru. This adaption followed a different plot and characters from the Witchblade anime and comic book but is set in the same continuity as both. The main character for Witchblade Takeru is Takeru Ibaraki, an average Japanese high school girl raised in a Buddhist convent. She experiences recurring nightmares about the Witchblade and eventually becomes its newest bearer.
Witchblade: Ao no Shōjo is a Japanese novel written by Satoshi Ichikawa with art and illustrations done by Makoto Uno, who previously worked on the Witchblade anime as the lead art & character designer. The protagonist is Yuri Miyazono, a sickly 15-year-old Okinawan girl who bonds with the Witchblade for her own survival. Again, the novel is set the same continuity as the Witchblade anime and manga. Yuri is the immediate successor of Takeru Ibaraki from Witchblade Takeru and the immediate predecessor of Masane Amaha from the Witchblade anime.
A feature film adaptation was scheduled for a 2009 release, but was never produced. The film was to have been produced by Platinum Studios, Top Cow Productions, and Arclight Media.
Witchblade back on TV
Witchblade has been confirmed to be in development to air on NBC. The series will follow the original comic book story-line. Sara Pezzini is on the hunt for an elusive serial killer. The biggest difference from the source material is Pezzini is in San Francisco’s Mission District rather than New York.
The show is being produced by Sony Pictures Television for NBC. It will be written by Caroline Dries (Vampire Diaries), who will executive produce the show alongside Brian Young (Vampire Diaries producer and writer), Carol Mendelsohn (Sony TV), and Mark Silvestri (co-creator of the original comic series).
NBC has a spotty record with developing comic book TV shows. They did have a great run with Grimm, so there is hope that Witchblade will enjoy many entertaining seasons. Hopefully Mark Silvestri is able to keep the series true to the source material.
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