Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why Artifacts?

The Witchblade. The Darkness. Angelus, The Spear of Destiny, The Rapture, Pandora's Box, The Blood Sword, The Glacia Stone, The Ember Stone, The Wheel of Shadows, The Heart Stone, The Coin of Solomon and The Thirteenth Artifact. Thirteen items of power beyond human belief, from turning a man into a monstrous creature of brimstone to angelic powers that leave the host as leader of a horde of angels, the scope and differences between these 13 mystic items is HUGE, allowing for any variety of tales to be told when used correctly.

I'll level with you here, I don't expect all too many of you to know much about the artifacts, at least outside of Ron Marz's epic event series, but I'm sure that you'll all at least have heard of two of the characters; Witchblade, long-running Marc Silvestri creation formerly remembered for wearing nothing much but a bikini made out of magical material (again, a character improved in recent years) and The Darkness, wielded by Jackie Estacado, star of one of the best video games in recent years (you guessed it!) The Darkness. Those two are the clear mainstays of the Top Cow universe, popular characters oft written by some of the more talented writers in comics.

But still, I chose these characters purely on the strength of the event comic, and on how easily they resonated with me as a writer. Whether that pays off is something we'll see in a minute or two, but with any luck this feeling isn't just fanboy squees from me. Of course it helped my choice that the Top Cow universe has been growing into something more solid and respectable in these last few years, and seeing that encouraged me to highlight it with this week's choice.

So have at, check some spots for information about the characters, maybe buy the first trade of Artifacts to help you on your way (AMAZON US) (if it's anything like the single issues it will contain sufficient backmatter to get you up on all things Artifacts-related), and most importantly, HAVE FUN.


  1. Wow, that is a lot of stuff to take in.

  2. Oh my God, I've no idea what I'm gonna write this week. Why couldn't my Thought-Balloons sabatical ahve been during ARTIFACTS WEEK?!

  3. Artifacts – Not Meant For This Earth - MK Stangeland Jr.

    (6 Panels)

    Panel 1: The RECLAIMER holds The Spear of Destiny, the end of which has been stabbed into WITCHBLADE’s stomach. The current scene is one at the end of a fight between RECLAIMER, WITCHBLADE, and FINNEGAN (off panel), the last of which is working with RECLAIMER.

    RECLAIMER is a new character. He mostly wears a monk style robe, but at present the hood has come off. He appears as a man with longer, unkempt graying hair and a full beard. On one hand he wears a mystical looking gauntlet that glows with energy. This energy is flowing through the Spear towards where it has been stabbed into WITCHBLADE.

    NARRATOR 1: We believe he calls himself “The Reclaimer”. Already he’s stolen the Spear of Destiny, and he has the aid of Mr. Finnegan.

    NARRATOR 2: But how much more possible trouble could he cause?

    Panel 2: RECLAIMER pulls the Spear out of WITCHBLADE. The same energy that flows from his gauntlet along the Spear flows out of where WITCHBLADE was stabbed as it follows along where the Spear moves.

    NARRATOR 1: He appears to wield The Gauntlet.

    NARRATOR 2: The Gauntlet? The ‘Anti-Artifact’?

    NARRATOR 1: Yes.

    Panel 3: RECLAIMER holds the Spear in his other hand. He holds out his hand wielding the Gauntlet wide open and directs it at WITCHBLADE. A massive surge of energy seems to flow from where she was stabbed to the gauntlet. As it does, the armor the WITCHBLADE provides is beginning to retreat from around SARA PEZZINI. However, this should not be done in a tasteless manner – while she’s suffered from the extent of the battle that took place prior to this scene, the clothing she was wearing underneath is still mostly in-tact.

    NARRATOR 1: And as his name suggests, he’s using it to ‘reclaim’ the artifacts.

    Panel 4: SARA PEZZINI lays on the ground in the foreground, and she shows no signs of still possessing the WITCHBLADE itself.. While she has a hole in her shirt where she was stabbed, she’s not bleeding from the wound. Rather, there’s residue of the energy that previously flowed out of her that appears to be trying to heal her wound. Otherwise, she’s mostly out of it.

    In the background, the energy that was flowing out of her has begun to form together in the RECLAIMER’s Gauntlet.

    NARRATOR 2: This could work to our advantage.

    NARRATOR 1: Hardly. He has no intention of allowing them to be gathered together.

    Panel 5: Close-up on the RECLAIMER’s Gauntlet. There, the energy has formed into an orb.

    NARRATOR 2: Then what is he planning?

    Panel 6: FINNEGAN stands next to RECLAIMER, and holds a small open box of an elegant design which is just big enough to hold the orb that has formed in RECLAIMER’s Gauntlet. RECLAIMER is starting to put the WITCHBLADE ORB into the box.

    NARRATOR 1: To destroy them.

    FINNEGAN: One down.

    RECLAIMER: Ten to go.

    (END PAGE)

    But for the record, the Witchblade hasn’t actually been destroyed yet. It’s just being stored so they can safely transport it and do that part later.

  4. MK - you win this week purely by force of will. The tenures are struggling, I can only imagine what the other PAHers are doing. You ponied up, and in good time, too. Congrats.

    Oh, and good script too. It works, totally.

  5. I am one of those struggling...

  6. I'm definitely taking a skip week. I don't know much about the Top Cow universe, and even if I did, the plot seems a little saturday-morning-cartoony (Specifically the Jackie Chan Adventures). But with cheesecake. It just doesn't appeal to me.

    And I'm lazy.

  7. Artifacts – Once Upon A Time In April… - MK Stangeland Jr.

    (6 Panels)

    Panel 1: Wide setting panel showing Lake Tiberias. Two men sit in a boat. One of them has just finished putting on SCUBA gear.

    Narration Panel: Lake Tiberias

    Panel 2: Underwater panel showing the man wearing the SCUBA gear entering the water.

    Panel 3: The man in the SCUBA gear swims towards an underwater cave.

    Panel 4: The man pops his head up out of the water inside the cave. A MAGDALENA, but not the one we’re accustomed to, stands at the edge of the water and looks down at the man.

    MAGDALENA: Come for the Coin, did you? I’d heard someone was looking for it, but I hardly expected anyone would be dumb enough to try.

    Panel 5: The man reaches for his SCUBA mask so he can take it off and get a better look at MAGDALENA.

    SCUBA MAN (1): (Narration Text) She’s right about one thing. I came for the Coin of Solomon. If it’s real, it belongs in a museum.

    SCUBA MAN (2): (Narration Text) Problem is…

    Panel 6: Panel shows us a close-up of the mans face, revealing who it really is – Indiana Jones!

    Age wise, the scene takes place somewhere after the end of World War II, but well before where we saw him in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    INDIANA JONES: (Narration Text) …I have no idea what kind of trouble I’ve just walked into.


    And so, here’s my contribution to April Fools Day this year.

  8. MK, not bad, though Rol kind of beat you to the punch.

    The 'it belongs in a museum' line works perfectly, is that a lift from the flicks...?

  9. Yeah, I specifically included it for that reason.

  10. MK - extra points for contributing two scripts this week (this week in particular!), I enjoyed them. I especially liked The Reclaimer - kinda a Top Cow Repo Man.

    Aryeh - lazy? You must be a writer.


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