Archive | December, 2010

How to prevent Brain Damage: A Deadpool Perspective

31 Dec
Haven’t written or spoken about Deadpool in a long time.. was feeling brain damaged myself..
so this post to rectify that…
M out!

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Exclusive: Candid conversation with Aabid Surti

30 Dec

Aabid Surti talks to us in this expansive interview. Hold your seat belts folks!
 – By Manks

Aabid Surti Sir
Sir,  first of all thanks for agreeing to this interview.
As an author your output has been prolific spanning more than 80 books which includes 7 plays. You are as famous a painter as an author. It is rare that we see such a talent as yours enter into comic world. But the fact is, you are the creator of one of the first Indian Heroes. Bahadur!!

Mickey Mouse – Walt Disney


1. So let me start by asking, what inspired you to create comics?
What inspired me to create comics? Walt Disney! When I was a kid, around 8 years old (1943) when the Second World War was heading towards its climax, a mini train used to start from the docs of  Mumbai to transport white soldiers who had arrived by ship. These soldiers used to throw chocolates, magazines and other things out of the window. We – a group of underprivileged kids, used to run beside that train to pick up those discarded items. Once they threw a comic and all of us thronged towards it like a pack of wolves. I could however only manage to get one page of the comic book which featured Mickey Mouse. I fell in love with that one page and started practicing drawing. Soon enough I figured out the mathematics of the art such as proportions etc, and here I am today!

2. What was your first gig as a comic writer?

My first job as a comic writer was with a Guajarati (an Indian language spoken in the state of Gujarat) children’s magazine titled Ramakadu (toy) in 1952/53. It consisted of a comic feature of 4 pages in color with three prominent characters – a boy, a girl and a monkey, titled “Rang Lakhudi”.

Phantom – Indrajaal comics

3. How did the stint with Indrajaal happen? 


The stint with Indrajaal happened in a round about way. At that time, the nation had just got independent and people still retained a sense of Patriotism. For a long time in India the only comics that were available were those that featured foreign characters – Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon etc.

One of the Times group editors Mr Dharmvir Bharati was looking for a Indian comic strip for his weekly “Dharmyug”. Quite a few cartoonist were tried but nothing worked. Now interestingly at that time I was doing two page comic Dr. Chinchu ke Chamatkar for Parag- a children magazine, featuring a fat scientist and two kids, a girl and a girl.. Dr. Bharati (Times Group) saw that and gave me a call, asking for some indigenous content.

Now, I was doing a weekly comic script in Guajarati called “Batuk Bhai” for Chetmachander, a periodical. The response to that strip was however lukewarm, in fact a lot of mails came asking for it to be stopped. I said to myself, lets try this somewhere else; I re-titled “Batuk Bhai” to “Dhabbuji” and translated those ideas in Hindi. It became an instant hit in that language. Now why it flopped in Guajarati, but was a phenomenal success in Hindi, I can never figure out till date.

Buoyed by its success, Indrajaal Comics, which was also run by Times group approached me to create an indigenous character for comics, and the rest is history.

4. History indeed. You went on to create the highly popular “Bahadur” who is arguably the first Indian Super Hero. What was the inspiration behind that creation?

Bahadur Comics by Indrajaal

Well as I said, we wanted something indigenous that resonated with the masses. I looked around and realized that the biggest problem at the time was – Bandits. Chambal (an area in North India) was especially notorious for its Bandits. I thought a character based on such a place can work. I then researched on the Bandit phenomenon by reading articles, newspaper reports and books.


Their modus operandi was unbelievable. They used to come to villages as if they were going to a day’s picnic, make their demands and if the demands were not met committed heinous acts of pillaging, murder and rape.

I figured the chief reason for that was lack of communication. Every 100 or so villages would have one police station catering to them at that time, and by the time someone from the village reached the police station informing them about the bandits, bandits would have had already gone! What could the police also do in such a situation?

Then I thought, the only way out was not to solely rely on the government to protect you. I then envisioned a character who would inspire the village folks to assemble a local force from within the village to have a proper defence in case of bandit attacks. That Character was Bahadur (The Brave One).
Bahadur

My character Bahadur was the son of a liquidated bandit, whose mother had brainwashed him into believing that his father was a noble soul who had helped poor girls to marry, gave money in thousands to charity, supported homeless and destitute, built so many temples etc.. Bahadur was brought up for the sole purpose of taking revenge on the police officer Vishal who had killed his father. It so happened, that when they eventually met, the police officer was successful in opening Bahadur’s eyes to the reality of his parentage. The officer then offered him a chance to redeem himself and his parents by helping create local force to defend his village.


4. As per you What was the secret of the massive success of Bahadur?

 I think it was simply because people were hungry for native content. The issue we tackled was topical and resonated with the masses. Soon enough, Bahadur was overselling comics like Phantom and Mandrake.


5. While reading Bahadur, I am surprised to find it very progressive. I understand Bela  and Bahadur were depicted to be in a live in relationship, which is still a taboo in India. Kudos for that. Were you not afraid people would object to such a portrayal?

Believe it or not, not a single person objected on that issue. Sometimes I feel we were more progressive in those days than now.

6. I understand you are working on reviving Bahadur again! And that a movie is also planned? That’s great news. Care to share some details on what’s latest with Bahadur?

 To be honest ShahRukh Khan and Ashutosh Gawarikar are interested in making a movie on Bahadur.Unfortunately there is no legal agreement between Times group and me.When I was with Indrajaal I worked as a contributor from outside and never as a staff member. I had given them rights to print once. Similarly in case of Dhabbuji, when they reprinted some of the strips in their Silver Jubilee issu, they had to pay me again for the same comic strips. Thus the copyrights of the Character Bahadur that i created, are naturally with me, however these fllm companies, they need NOC from Times and the Times flately refuses. On 10th Dec. 2010, i’ve  launched a website http://www.bahadur.in for reintroducing Bahadur’s comics. We are first going to upload a few initial issues of Bahadur to make people aware of his backdrop. We would be getting new readers and we want them to be aware of Bahadur’s origin. However once that is done, we are planning to create new content where Bahadur will face today’s issues like Terrorism and would be working with new gadgets.


8. Just wanted to now shift to Indrajaal comics? What happened with them? why did they shut down. They were doing a tremendous job in bringing comics to india?

I feel this was due to the new generation of management that took over the Times Group. They felt that there was more hassle in producing comics for little reward. To them the economics of comic publishing didn’t work out and since they weren’t coming from nationalist background, the feeling of doing something indigenous wasn’t that prominent. Not only comics, in those times there was only one evening paper in Mumbai, Evening News which was also close down with the best literary Hindi magazine Saarika and children’s magazine Parag.

Dabbuji by Aabid Surti

 

9. Talking about your other famous series Dhabbuji, what was the inspiration behind his creation?

R.K.Lakshman’s – The common man

In India Lakshaman’s “The common man” is very famous. His common man is just an observer and never interferes with the state of affairs. In some sense it is the true representation of a common helpless man. I thought, why not create an “Uncommon” man. My uncommon man would not be content to observe , but would interfere with everything for better or worse, giving rise to hilarious situations. Thus Dhabbuji was born.

Dhabbuji also works on two levels, the first one is on superficial level which most people identify with and laugh on. Then there is another sub-level where each Dhabbuji’s idea is pregnant with a message. Only discerning readers can understand both of these levels.
Osho is known to have used my Dhabbuji ideas to explain the under currents and world affairs. Whenever he realized that his lecture was getting dull he used to say “ Let’s see what Dhabbuji says this week” , which was followed by that week’s idea .
Former Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and famous singers like Asha Bhosle have publically admitted to be ardent fans of the series.

10. Your characters, Dhabbuji and Bahadur are very different from each other. There was a time when u were writing them simultaneously. Was there any specific mind-frame u needed to be in when writing such poles apart series? Just want to give readers a glimpse of creative process while you write..

See Dhabbuji was a weekly feature. I used to do six month’s quota at one go, making sure I am giving special ideas for whatever festivals fell into those six months such as Holi, Diwali etc. They would then be published weekly and would stay current since we would acknowledge all the festivals.
Bahadur was another affair. A Little known fact is that I started my career in Hindi film industry. When I was in 10th class. My father HAD expired and I didn’t have any money to continue my studies so I had to look for a job. A friend helped me get a job as a “Spot Boy” in Shakti Films. In my free time I was often found reading hefty volumes of poetry and Indian literature of the time. People used to be surprised to see a lowly spot boy reading such classics.. Soon I was offered a job in the writing department. My first film was Singapore, the last one was Ek Phool Do Maali as an assistant writer.
Working in films honed my comic writing skills as I was essentially doing things such as story board, understanding camera shots like “close up”, “long shots” etc which is essentially what comic making is all about.
By the time I was asked to create Bahadur, comic making had become a second nature.


11. I understand you have authored several children books as well. Are you planning any Graphic Novel length work for children? Do you think children would be interested in such a work?
As of now I am not sure how much demand is there for such a work. I published a work with NBT called “Buddh kyun muskuraye 2500 saal baad” ( Why did the Buddha smile after 2500 years). It is an excellent children’s story and I wanted to do it as a graphic novel, but the publisher wouldn’t accept it. The story is about a child who after watching discovery channel is inspired to go around the nation. However his body parts refuse. Only his left eye says yes and goes on the trek alone. Along the way she meets various other body parts of people from various religions and they combine to form a  new human who is a true Indian. Now Children Film Society is planning to make a film on that.

I have tied up with NBT (National Book Trust) and if they require it then I would consider it. Otherwise if some publisher comes and can offer me my fees   

12. With Bollywood’s recent inclination towards comedy genre in the last few years and the growing popularity of stand-up comedy, do you feel there’s good chance for more original strips to spawn?
 
Even today I feel, the economy isn’t working out for most publishers. Virgin group started out with some good concepts, but they failed. So I guess something must be wrong somewhere.


13. I understand you are in legal battle with producers of “Atithi tum kab jaoge” ? How did that come about? Can you share what is the current with that dispute?

Atithi tum kab jaoge

The writer-director of Atithi has completely lifted my novel! This is also the view of my 17 readers from differant parts of India who informed me on phone. I have therefore claimed 1.Crore + as compensation in the writers association. The judgement is expected soon.

I am certain it would be in my favour. If the Producers don’t agree post this, I can always go to court with this judgement.

14. The comic industry has again started spreading its wings in India. are you thinking of getting involved, via any of your previous creations or maybe creating a new one for the new generation!?

Nowadays I prefer to work at leisure for myself. My lifelong passion is painting. Writing comics is something I did to help me earn my livelihood. My painting exhibition is almost ready , plus I am focusing on children’s books these days. So I have a lot on my plate.
But never say never I say!

15. What are your future planned releases?
I m planning to make a feature film based on my novel Kaale Gulab and hope to launch it in 2011.

Thanks a tonne for giving us your time sir. We wish you all the best and hope to see many graphic novels and comics from you in the future.



 



Comics are so much fun : Marvel Acronyms:

29 Dec

As Marvelites know , Marvel is choke full of some amazing acronyms… I present to you a compiled list of as many as I could think of..

Did I miss any?

A.R.M.O.R. – Altered-Reality Monitoring and Operational Response

S.T.R.I.K.E. – Special Tactical Response for International Key Emergencies

S.W.O.R.D. – Sentient World Observation and Response Department

A.I.M.  – Advanced Idea Mechanics

S.A.F.E. – Strategic Action For Emergencies

H.A.T.E. – Highest Anti Terrorism Effort

S.P.I.N. – Super-Power-Inhibiting Nanobots

M.O.D.O.C. – Mental Organism Designed Only For Calculation/Conquest

M.O.D.O.K – Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing

M.O.D.O.G. – Mobile Organism Designed Only for Genocide
S.H.I.E.L.D – Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate
 (originally Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division)
  (In the movies it’s: Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.)

G.R.A.M.P.A –  Global Reaction Agency for Mysterious Paranormal Activity.

S.H.E – Super Heroes of Europe.

S.T.A.R.S –  Superhuman Tactical Activities Response Squad.

O*N*E –  Office of National Emergency.

B.A.D. Girls, Inc – Black Mamba, Asp & Diamondback.

S.O.D.A.M – Specialized Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers.

later changed to M.O.D.A.M.: Mental Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers.

R.C.X –  Resources Control eXecutive.

D.U.C.K –  Department of Unknown and Covert Knowledge.

W.H.O –  Weird Happenings Organization.

H.E.R.B.I.E –  Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics.

And the last one, which is our favourite:

U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind

Which one is yours?

How many of them did you know? Are you a true Marvelite?

Aalok Deciphers DC : Introducing Crisis on Infinite Earths

26 Dec

Through this column we plan to review and analyze every major event within DCU since COIE, in the hopes that this becomes a  road map of sorts to the continuity laden streets of DCU.
If you are an old fan, come enjoy reminiscing with us through the good and the bad DC had to offer.
If you are an old fan getting back into comics , let us help you get upto date sequentially
If you are a new fan you will get our help in unraveling the mysteries of current DCU
If you are not reading DC comics, let us tell you why you should be.

As promised , starting this week the adventures team casts its eyes on the Big Daddy of all events

CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS 
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: George Perez & Jerry Ordway

Publication year: 1985
-Article by Aalok Joshi
– Edited by Manks

Once upon a time, in a comic land far far away, a comic company decided to do the unthinkable for their 50th Anniversary- They decided to destroy their comic book universe and build it anew.

Why? What publishing house would ever commit such an insane act?
It was DC Comics, who had given the world the most popular Superhero, Superman (1938) and the World’s Greatest Detective, Batman (1939). Wonder Woman came later (1941) and formed the third cornerstone of the DC Universe (or Trinity, as they like to call it nowadays). Subsequently came other characters some of which were primarily featured in back up features in the comic books featuring the big three, while some others were given their own magazines. Then came team up books, of which the Justice Society Of America or JSA was the first, followed by the Justice League Of America. However, the company soon ran into a few problems.

With another company called Marvel comics (though around since 1939 as Timely comics, what is called as “The Marvel Age of Comics” started in 1961, under helmsman Stan Lee) dominating the sphere of Science Fiction heroes and space Adventure, DC was in trouble. They tried everything to stay on top:
Which included:
-Character revamps (Green Lantern, Flash)
-Recruiting top talent (Jack Kirby on NEW GODS, FOREVER PEOPLE and SUPERMAN’S PAL,JIMMY OLSEN)
-Introducing multiple universes and characters through way of the theory of Infinite Earths, each occupying a specific vibrational plane of reality. Most were generated due to chronological abnormalities

 The last one proved to be a major confounding factor. The Silver Age revamps occurred as the golden Age stuff (with the exception of the Trinity) wasn’t selling anymore.

When Flash ; Green Lantern were revamped, they decided to make a new team called the Justice League instead of the Justice Society. However, in order to continue the Justice Society some day when profitable, instead of establishing that the Justice Society existed in the past, they established another Earth, Earth – 2 for the Justice Society adventures while the Justice League was on the original earth Earth – 1 which contained the revamps, Hal Jordan as Green Lantern; Barry Allen as Flash. But Superman had been continuously published since 1938 in both Justice Society and Justice League. So they had to create another Superman for Earth – 2, called Kal-L and older than Kal-El. Other Earths were created for the incorporation of the Fawcett characters (Shazam!) and Charlton characters (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, The Peacemaker)

 Still with me, folks?

 Then, DC decided to have the characters of different Earths meet each other. The Justice Society and Justice League met every year to celebrate Thanksgiving. Whenever some character was supposed to be killed in an issue, he usually turned up later saying”I’m alive. It was the _____ of Earth-____ who gave his life to save me. I shall never forget his valiant spirit , noble sacrifice.” or somesuch. One day, after 50 years, DC finally decided that in order to bring new readers to DC it would be best if they declared everything in the past as null and void and start, bottom onwards on a new slate. Finally they decided to make a story out of it and thus was born CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

 To answer a few important questions:

Q. So everything was destroyed. I haven’t read any of the pre Crisis DC anyway. How does that make it important today?
A. Yes, almost everything was destroyed. In those days, whenever a startling revelation (such as the identity of a super hero to the public) was made, it was either revealed to be a dream, a hoax or an imaginary story (Origin of the cover blurb: Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story!
Millions lived, Millions died and the DC universe was never the same. But the story has had far reaching effects that continue even today. And in the end, it’s just a good story.

Q. Was it successful?
A. Yes and no. It couldn’t completely accomplish what they had decided to do, but it did succeed in giving them a blank slate (kind of). The revamped titles had fresh talent and were classics and are remembered fondly even today.

Q. Should I read this if I don’t want to follow the DC Universe in particular, just some character?
A. Today the DC universe exists as a whole, definitely larger than the sum of its parts. A crossover event takes place every summer, and most have references to the Crisis, some are even named such. So even if you want to invest in one character, chances are that you’ll venture into the realm of crossovers. This was the first. So it should be read.

Q. Is there anything that should be read prior to starting this book?
A. Not really. Whatever you’ve read so far in this column should suffice. If you want to have an idea of what the Multiple Earth stories were like or just want to get a taste of the confusion, you can start reading these. Not Essential reads to get into the DC universe per se’:

Crisis on multiple earths vols 1-5
Crisis on multiple earths: the team ups vols 1 & 2
Huntress: darkknight daughter
Dc’s greatest imaginary stories
Justice society vol 1 & 2
Dc comics classics library: batman-the annuals 1 & 2

Q. Was there anything significant, in the vein of good stories that took place before the Crisis?
A. Yes. Author Mark Waid’s opinion is that good stories should define continuity, not the other way round. However, today most writers treat most of these stories as null and void, while some choose to bring them back. I will say, just read them as they are worth the effort:

The new teen titans: who is donna troy?
The new teen titans: terra incognito
The new teen titans: the judas contract
The new teen titans: the terror of trigon
Batman: strange apparitions
Dc comics classics library: superman- kryptonite nevermore !

Dc comics classics library: the legion of super heroes – the death of ferro lad
The legion of super heroes: the great darkness saga
The legion of super heroes: an eye for an eye
The legion of super heroes: the more things change

Most of the Superman and  Batman stories of this era were one offs, rarely collected other than the Golden age material. However I shall be reviewing the must read above stuff soon. Stay tuned for the next installment – the actual review of the sense shattering event.

Stewart’s Slate : Review of Complete Frankencastle

25 Dec

Fanken-Castle

Collects: Dark Reign: The List – Punisher, Punisher #11-#16, Franken-Castle #17-21,
              Dark Wolverine #88-#89

Writers: Rick Remender, Daniel Way, Marjourie Liu

Art: John Romita JR       Jefte Palo
      Tony Moore            Stephen Segovia
      Mike Hawthorne      Paco Diaz
      Dan Brereton          John Lucas
      Roland Boschi         Andrea Mutti
      Luca Malisan

Review by : Stewart Loud

I already did a review of Punisher #11-#16 a couple of months ago (which can be found here) so I’ll leave out any details of those issues and focus instead on the rest of the impressive amount of comics that this graphic novel collects.


This book brings together every part of the Franken-Castle storyline, from the untimely carving up Frank receives from Daken in The List to him seeking Daken out for some retribution or “punishment” in the pages of Dark Wolverine and his return to normality in Franken-Castle #21.

This isn’t the first time The Punisher has been killed and brought back to life and despite what a lot of other Punisher fans say I think it’s necessary to keep him as a believable character in the Marvel Universe. I don’t mean that having him as a half man half machine monster makes him more believable, because that would be ridiculous. I’m saying this: anyone who fought during the Vietnam war like Frank Castle did would have to be well into his 60’s by now and while the grizzled old veteran with aching joints and a bad attitude thing works very well in the MAX series, when he’s usually murdering simple street thugs using his cunning and military experience, it’s very difficult to accept that a 65 year old man who’s been shot, stabbed, blown up and set on fire more times than any other comic character I can think of (except perhaps Judge Dredd) would be able to take part in the high paced and often acrobatic battles he has with the bizarre range of villains that populate the Marvel Universe. SO.  The way I rationalise it is that, every time he dies and is mystically resurrected, he comes back revitalised, younger and at the peak of his athletic, crime fighting condition.

The second half of the book sees Frank, having finished helping the Legion Of Monsters with their own little war, setting about taking some revenge on the most recent people to have stumbled onto his shit list. Mainly Daken! I don’t think I can put in to words just how crap I think Daken is and how much bullshit it was that he could ever kill Frank, even on his worst day. The Punisher has gone up against Wolverine himself on more than a few occasions and not only survived but once left Wolverine minus his face and tentacles underneath a steam roller (The second Marvel Knights Punisher run Garth Ennis wrote) and once he just flat out killed him! (Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe) But none the less here we have him getting chopped in to about 15 different pieces by a “son of” character. Dakens character worked well in the brilliant Dark Avengers series as part of a team but as a stand alone character he’s just pointless. Ooh, he’s like wolverine but younger and more mean and he’s got a big tattoo. We’ve already had Son Of Hulk so what’s next? Son of Thor? Son of Iron Man? TRY HARDER MARVEL! Or don’t try at all. There’s already about a million characters in the Marvel Universe (at least 30% of them crap) and none of the writers seem to have the balls to kill any of them off permanently so why keep introducing new characters anyway? Frank said it best himself “Reputation coattail rider, dressed up like someone else… I built my reputation. Ground up. You? Snuck into the show on another mans back. You’re just a poser.”

Anyway. The second half of the book is more of what was in the first half really. Big over the top silly, fun, fighting action with the Punisher being able to take (and deal out) loads more punishment than usual due to his monstrous form. And to be fair he does give Daken the kicking of his life. He even gives Wolverine himself what’s coming to him when he tries to get involved so I was satisfied with the story. Lots of different artists keeps the visuals constantly changing and interesting. Ranging from the amazing detailed pencil work of Tony Moore (he’s becoming one of my favourite artists) to the lush painted sections by Dan Brereton.

If you’re a serious Punisher fan then you’ll enjoy it. It’s a really good fun read. And a big one at 13 comics! There’s an almost record breaking amount of different artists work in it too. I got my hardback copy for a bargain £17 from amazon.co.uk and it was worth every penny. Plus as much as I’ve enjoyed the change of direction for the Punisher it’s ace to see him returning to normality at the end with a brief bit of grass roots criminal killing!

SCORE 7/10

Swipe File : The Indian edition

24 Dec

In the tradition of bleeding cool please welcome our new semi-regular feature – SWIPE FILE.

From Bleedingcool :
In Swipe File we present two or more images that resemble each other to some degree. They may be homages, parodies, ironic appropriations, coincidences or works of the lightbox. We trust you, the reader, to make that judgment yourself.  If you are unable to do so, please return your eyes to their maker before any further damage is done. The Swipe File doesn’t judge, it’s interested more in the process of creation, how work influences other work, how new work comes from old, and sometimes how the same ideas emerge simultaneously, as if their time has just come. The Swipe File was named after the advertising industry habit where writers and artist collect images and lines they admire to inspire them in their work. It was swiped from the Comic Journal who originally ran this column, as well as the now defunct Swipe Of The Week website.

We start off with the Character – Indra of erstwhile Manoj comics.

Now please have a look below. Do they feel familiar?

Robotman (DC Comics)
Mekanek (He-Man and Masters of Universe)

Rhino (Marvel comics)



Klingon Race (Star Trek)


Hmm…

Witchblade: The Indian connection (Part 2)

23 Dec

We revealed a pin up of Witchblade  by Abhishek Malsuni and Shashank Mishra for Witchblade annual here

Now we reveal another Witchblade pin up by Shashank Mishra for the same annual. Please click on the image to see this fine piece of art in all its glory.

 I really like the concept of this art piece. As we can see, Witchblade is drawn here as vanquisher of evil forces . This art is a confluence of western character and eastern sensibilities.
For me, one of the best facet of this art is the expression on the face of the Witchblade wearer and the flowing hair. She seems to be channeling a divine goddess who has just emerged victorious in a fierce battle with a demon and is still seething with anger.

If there is one fictional character that is suited for such a portrayal, it is definitely the bearer of the Witchblade.

For the uninitiated, to get a brief idea about what the Witchblade is all about , please refer to our previous post on Witchblade : here

And once again congrats to Shashank Mishra from the adventures team for this doubly whammy on Witchblade annual.