Right Means Fight In Top Cow’s Magdalena
Mar 05, 2017
by Vince Brusio
Evil is like mold: it’s hard to kill. It has habit of coming back, too, because it does not travel alone. It moves en masse. It hides in numbers. It does not like to stand alone, for when it does than it becomes an easier target to kill. And when it confronts something like the Magdalena? That’s when you see evil sweat. In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview with writers Tini Howard and Ryan Candy, we see that evil will be quickly falsifying documents so as to hide from the debut of Top Cow’s Magdalena #1 (JAN170667). The lineage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene has once again stepped up to do battle with the darkness. Most everyone will tell you they’re not the type to take prisoners.
Vince Brusio: How did the ball get rolling to bring back Magdalena? Who lit the fire over at Top Cow to give this new series a green light?
Tini Howard: Well, Ryan was transitioning from his editorial role there, and brought up to me that he had the opportunity to bring the Magdalena back in a new volume, and that he'd like to have me along as his co-writer. Now, as long as I've known Ryan, Magdalena has been a dream project for him. So Ryan asking me along was like...the comic writer equivalent of asking someone to be your maid of honor. I couldn't say no, and I didn't want to. With Matt Hawkins' approval, we hit the ground running.
Ryan Cady: I had written some one-shots and backups at Top Cow, and was always chatting off and on with them about pitching a series. Tini and I had done Magdalena one-offs around the same time, and we'd always had ideas about ways to bring back the series...one thing led to another and Matt Hawkins had greenlit the series. We pitched a lot of different approaches when we were first talking with Matt and Bryan Hill, but our base themes of legacy, sisterhood, and terrifying occult imagery haven't changed much.
Vince Brusio: For those who may not be familiar with the character, could you give us the background of Magdalena’s genesis? We’d like to rule out any revisionist history.
Tini Howard: So the story is that the women who are descended from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene can wield the spear that pierced Christ's side at the crucifixion as a weapon. They can fight evil, slay demons, etc. The original story was that these women were carefully watched and trained by the Catholic Church, but that's not so much the case anymore.
Ryan Cady: The character first showed up as an enemy of Jackie Estacado in The Darkness (and funny enough, the first appearance had multiple members of the order trained and ready to wield the spear, as well as guns, swords, and knives), and ended up with her own spin-off. The Magdalena is rooted in the Holy Blood, the Holy Grail apocrypha that Mary Magdalena and Jesus had a child together. In the Top Cow Universe, female members of this bloodline have a mystic connection to the Spear of Destiny. To boil it down even further, the Magdalena is a holy badass descended from Christ who battles demons and monsters.
Vince Brusio: With the launch of Magdalena #1 in the January 2017 PREVIEWS, we learn of a new legacy on the horizon. What circumstances have led to this new recruitment? And will this passing of the torch change the mission for the Magdalena?
Tini Howard: Ryan nails it! The new Magdalena mission is as much about establishing their own rules and ideas as much as it is fighting demons.
Ryan Cady: The Magdalena has always been a legacy gig. In Ron Marz's run, we learned that Patience (the current Magdalena) had been doing the gig longer than most. They tend to have pretty short life spans, being holy warriors. Ron portrayed Patience as being really distrustful of her Vatican handlers, and outright breaking away from them on occasion, and so we've taken that a step further. Patience is on her own, fighting Hell solo. She's wounded by a pretty powerful demon, and when the wound appears to be cursed and refuses to heal, she has this epiphany that she needs to find the next in line and train her.
Vince Brusio: How do you two work together on this project? Who’s the yin, and who’s the yang? Who regards the previous stories as static documents, and how sees them as living/breathing, and open to interpretation?
Tini Howard: Hahaha, yeah, Ryan in like a 60%/40% split.
Ryan Cady: We've been working pretty organically from the beginning. Typically, we'll have a skype call once a month and talk about new ideas we've had, where we wanna take the next issue, etc, and revise our outlines from there. I used to do a little editorial for Top Cow, so I think I'm a bit more precious about old continuity than Tini. But there's no question that we both love Patience as much as we love Maya, our new bearer.
Honestly, as much as I'd love to take credit, Christian Dibari provides so much of the fresh energy for our take. His art is mindblowing and inspiring, and every new concept sketch he throws together gives us new ideas.
Vince Brusio: Describe for us the dynamic between Patience and Maya. They’re at the center of this book, and all eyes are on their relationship to see if it’s a stairway to heaven, or a highway to hell. Do they have each other’s trust?
Tini Howard: That's the journey, isn't it? ;)
Ryan Cady: It's very master-apprentice, which is good, but the thesis we're trying to hammer home is that the Magdalena has always been a sisterhood, and that's where they're trying to be. Maya is young, brash, and unprepared, but so enthusiastic, it kind of throws Patience off. Meanwhile, Patience is struggling with the idea that she may be training her replacement, and she can be a little brusque. They're very much learning to work together as much as they're trying to keep the world safe.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.