Stjepan Sejic has confirmed that with the news of his exclusive deal with Top Cow, he is no longer the artist of "Rat Queens," published by fellow Image Comics imprint Shadowline. Sejic cited health issues for delays, and said that while he's leaving "Rat Queens," he'll be replaced by an as-yet unnamed "wonderfully skilled artist."
Truth is, this was a bad year for me health-wise," Sejic wrote in a post on the CBR Community forum. "As you will soon see in my letter of apology for lateness in "IXth Generation" #4... I ignored my thyroid condition until it threw my liver out of whack and I spent the last two months in perpetual nausea. I believe 'Rat Queens' fans deserve better than a delay after delay on such a wonderful book so I offered to step down. Luckily, I am to be replaced by a wonderfully skilled artist."
Sejic was announced as the new artist of the Kurtis Wiebe-written series in December 2014, following the departure of original "Rat Queens" artist Roc Upchurch.
Meanwhile, Top Cow Productions is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Witchblade” this October -- by ending the series.
CBR is reporting that "Witchblade" will come to a close with October's issue #185.
"The end of the ongoing 'Witchblade' series with issue #185 is the end of Sara Pezzini as the Witchblade bearer," said Top Cow President Matt Hawkins, adding that nothing "cliffhangery-dramatic" is planned for the final issue. "She doesn't die, but has loose ends to wrap up before her retuirement. One of her key character traits has always been that she didn't want the Witchblade to fall into the hands of a woman who would use it for evil. Long term fans will be pleased with how her character wraps up. We've been planning for the 20th anniversary for a long time now, and the timing just worked out that we could do it this."
"Witchblade" #185 will feature a main story by regular writer Ron Marz, along with a backup co-written by Hawkins and Marc Silvestri. A variety of "Witchblade" artists past and present will contribute to the issue, including Sejic, Keu Cha, Randy Green, Nelson Blake II and Brian Ching.
"We want to give her the proper send off," Hawkins said. "Ron Marz is writing the forward story to wrap up her personal life. I'm writing the back story with Marc Silvestri and this part is about what to do about the Witchblade so that it doesn't fall into wrong hands. This series of 'auditions,' for lack of a better way to say it, is where I've been allowed the luxury of doing a series of short stories with a variety of artists." Also included in "Witchblade" #185 is the series' original artist, Michael Turner, who passed away in 2008. The main cover will be an homage to his cover of 1995's "Witchblade" #1, and his work will be represented inside the issue, as well.
"The Michael Turner short is a rescripted short from a scene that he drew 20 years ago," Hawkins said. "It seemed fitting to allow Mike to be involved with the end of the character's story that his creative involvement was so pivotal in."
"Witchblade" debuted in 1995, created by Silvestri, Turner, David Wohl and Brian Haberlin. The series soon became a hit and inspired a TNT television series that ran for two seasons, while also being criticized at times as an example of '90s comic book excess.
In recent years, the series moved away from the scantily clad depictions of the main character to generally more covered-up depictions.
Along with the end of "Witchblade," October also brings a new 20th anniversary "Art of" hardcover celebrating the two-decade run of the series.
"This is a carefully selected series of images from the character's 20-year history that we're putting together in this special limited edition hardcover," Hawkins shared. "It will only be printed once and won't be offered as a softcover. Some new pieces, some classic pieces with art by fantastic artists like Michael Turner, Marc Silvestri, Dave Finch, Joe Benitez and many others."
Source : CBR