Interview with Lisa Sterle & Matthew Erman, Co-Creators of WITCHBLOOD, from Vault Comics
COMIC BOOK YETI: Hi there! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I really appreciate it. Can you introduce yourselves and what you do to contribute to this series?
Matthew Erman: Hello! I’m Matthew Erman, the writer + co-creator of Witchblood. I think up the story for the most part!
Lisa Sterle: And I’m Lisa Sterle, the pencils/inks + co-creator of Witchblood and I draw the book for the most part!
CBY: Congratulations on a wonderful first issue, by the way! How are you feeling building up to release week?
ME: Thank you so much! I’m feeling pretty good. This is a new experience for me — the last creator-owned project I had out was my first, Long Lost, and Lisa and I did everything ourselves. This has been a much more relaxing experience, especially for Lisa who is working with a colorist and a letterer now!
CBY: What inspired you to make Witchblood?
ME: A ton of things! Primarily though, Lisa and I wanted to have fun doing a comic that was fun to make.
The biggest thing is that I feel like both of us (Lisa and I) really know what the hell we’re actually doing too! Long Lost was a learning curve, a very steep one, because we didn’t know what we were doing — I had never written comics professionally before, and Lisa had never drawn a monthly comic series before. We were working other jobs and doing Long Lost, truthfully as a passion thing with Scout, we didn’t really know what would become of it or where our careers would take us after that. So yeah, we’re taking everything we’ve learned doing Long Lost and Lisa making The Modern Witch Tarot and making our lives easier. We streamlined a bunch of stuff that allowed for the heart of Witchblood to really come through.
CBY: As you mentioned, this isn’t the first time that you two are working as a duo on a series, having collaborated on Long Lost published by Scout Comics. Did you plan to work with each other again on this series from the beginning, or was it that one of you had the idea and asked the other to hop on the project?
ME: Lisa has first dibs on anything we think up together and this was exactly that. We had this idea, the original thing, and then she did art and then it grew and transformed. When we’re both involved this much in the creative process, it is really natural for both of us to want to work on the project.
CBY: What was the best part about writing/illustrating this series?
ME: That I’m still doing it! Vault has given us a ten-issue first arc and that just allows for so much time to develop things as a storyteller, when you know you have over two-hundred pages to tell your story.
LS: Getting to create all the sexy witches and vampires!
CBY: Who would you say the audience for Witchblood is? What genre best describes this series, in your opinion?
ME: Anyone who likes Cowboy Bebop, the work of Hirohiko Araki, Buffy, films featuring Bill Paxton and the music of either Alan Jackson and/or Mannequin Pussy.
CBY: In the first issue, it is mentioned that Yonna is immortal and born of the blood of Esmerelda herself. Will we find out more about her backstory, like how she came to have her powers?
ME: Yes! You will!
CBY: We get some lyrics from Mannequin Pussy within the first few pages. Will this series feature a lot of music and/or musical references? Is music important to your creative process?
ME: Yes! It will feature so many musical references. And it’s incredibly important — we make a playlist for everything and this was no exception. Here it is.
<iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/024upcf3SLYP0pyhfSTTh9" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>
CBY: Given the choice, based off your versions as well as other versions of them in the media, who has the best style: witches, vampires, or hex hunters?
LS: This is like asking me to choose which of my children is the coolest. I simply cannot.
Though, the Hounds of Love style was intentionally a bit more utilitarian, to make sure they were fully protected from sunlight. So, I don’t know. I guess I had more freedom there.
CBY: Will we be seeing Yona using a Modern Witch Tarot deck in the series?
LS: Uhhhhhhhmmmmm — maybe!
CBY: Are you hoping that “Howdy howdy sailor” catches on as a new greeting? I can’t stop saying it now to my friends since reading issue one.
ME: I don’t know, maybe it would be really strange for everyone to be saying this thing you made up. Part of me wants to infect the world and the other part of me just wants to not be anything at all.
This is a hard question. I’m sorry about your friends.
CBY: What is your quick pitch to get somebody who hasn’t seen all the fabulous reviews and positive buzz articles around Witchblood to pick it up on March 31st?
ME: Do whatever you need to do to make you a happy, fulfilled person in this world and if that thing involves or has been missing neon witches and vampires on motorcycles fighting about blood, then I think this book can fulfill that pretty well.
CBY: Lastly, where can people find you online to follow your work with Witchblood and any other new comics you’re working on?do to contribute to this series?
ME: You can find me on Twitter: @matthewerman — That’s primarily where things go up first.