Somehow at the beginning of the Modern Age of comics, where Diamond Distribution was slowly gaining its foothold in the industry, a small imprint from Image was about to strike gold. Just three years before Top Cow's debut of Sara Pezzini in the Witchblade franchise, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefield, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, and Whilce Portacio separated from the comic industry conglomerates Marvel and DC and formed Image Comics.
Although the two newly formed distributors were releasing top sellers such as Cyber Force and Spawn, John Jackson Miller (Comichron) stated, "It was an awful time to launch a new series, with distribution in flux, and it's a testament to the title that it endured and prospered." So even twenty-five years later, not including a television adaptation and toy line, here are three ways that this storyline brought to fruition by Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, and Michael Turner still holds up.
Marc Silvestri has been quoted as saying that "Sara was never based on any real person. She embodies what makes someone a hero," elevating her to more than a character on paper, but an idea that heroes should aspire to be. Since the Witchblade itself chooses only female bearers, Sara is tied to a long line of historic and powerful women, including Joan of Arc and Cleopatra.
Seeing a hero not only making her own rules, demonstrating fearlessness, and wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the universe while wearing a red Versace dress is power personified. Sara showed a generation of readers that women don't have to fit into a stereotype in order to go toe to toe with the biggest and worst villains the Top Cow universe had to offer. In one panel, her boss tells her she looks like a slut while in another, she takes several bullets in an attempt to save her partner… Even for those who were more attracted to the comic by the scantily clad aesthetic, it would be hard to leave the series without being a fan of more than Sara's most striking looks.
There are multiple ways this comic has proven why it's stood the test of time and is a commentary on how time changes as well. In this day and age, it wouldn't sit well with current events to see a police officer like Sara taking the law into her own hands, either by entering apartments of suspected murderers to threaten them or by beating suspects in the interrogation room. The small and over the top ways this comic went to show that its titular character played by her own rules has its issues and unfortunately did not age well. However, seeing as how Witchblade has not only progressed and evolved over the years, its clear that Top Cow and Image Comics are more in tune with social issues and making progressive changes for the better.
In celebration of Michael Turner's impeccable and iconic art, the 150 million books sold worldwide, and Top Cow's best selling series to date, here's hoping that we get another two decades of the fantastic Witchblade series.