MTV Exclusive Interview: New 'Artifacts' Team Ron Marz and Jeremy Haun!

Artifacts, the popular 13-issue limited series from Top Cow featuring Witchblade and the Darkness, is welcoming a new member to the team with issue #9. Detective Comics/Arkham Reborn artist Jeremy Haun joins fan-favorite writer Ron Marz on the newest arc! Hailed as the ultimate comics event, Artifacts has received glowing reviews from fans and creators alike – and Haun, following in the esteemed footsteps of Michael Broussard and Whilce Portacio, will no doubt bring a unique viewpoint to the series.

Artifacts reunites Sara Pezzini, NYPD detective and bearer of the Witchblade, and Jackie Estacado, gangster and bearer of the Darkness, as they search for their kidnapped daughter, Hope. As the search intensifies, other Artifact bearers like Ripclaw and Nottingham join in the action. Marz presents a series that new readers can follow and enjoy without knowing the history of the Top Cow universe. MTV Geek spoke to Haun and Marz about their experiences with Artifacts, their favorite characters to work with, and which Artifact they would choose to wield.

MTV Geek: Artifacts has attracted a lot of attention and fans over the past few months. How does it feel to work on such a unique title?

Jeremy Haun: I'm absolutely honored to be working on Artifacts. It's a HUGE book. As a reader I was excited about the book and have read it from issue one. At the time, I'd only just started talking about going exclusive with Top Cow, but I kept thinking, "MAN I wish I was drawing this book!". It's such an epic concept and a truly good story. I couldn't be more excited to be the guy that finishes it up. I'm part of something really special. Of course, I have to follow up and live up to all of the amazing work that Michael Broussard and Whilce Portacio have already brought to the series. That's QUITE a feat. Artifacts is a chance for me to really spread my wings artistically. It's exactly the type of thing I've been wanting to do for a while now. I'm going to work my ass off to do it right!

Geek: Which Artifacts character has been the most entertaining to draw? Do you prefer exploring explosive action scenes or the quieter moments?

JH: I'm really loving drawing Tom Judge. He's just a cool, iconic character. I could pretty much draw him forever. He's fun in both just normal and his cracked and craggy "Rapture" mode. Honestly though, all of these characters are a lot of fun. One of the great things about the Top Cow universe is that these characters have one foot in the real world with a cool visual flare. Everyone from Ripclaw to Nottingham are really visually appealing. And of course, I love drawing the Darkness. I mean, I'd better get used to drawing Jackie. I'm definitely going to be doing it for a good long while.

I actually love drawing both the action scenes and the quiet moments. One thing that Ron does really well is balance those things. One scene will be huge and crazy and over the top, but then he really finds time for those nice character beats. I really appreciate his story structuring. He knows when to really go big and let a scene breathe. That’s kind of a rare thing. Ron is really challenging me as an artist. He let me know from the beginning that he was going to give me a scene that was going to kick my ass. I welcomed that challenge. This is the stuff that makes for a better artist, in the end. I'm loving it.

Geek: If you could redesign any of the characters, who would it be?

JH: Hmmmm...I really don't know. I'm just getting into playing with my take on these characters. It's such an interesting thing. I'm not really redesigning anything just figuring out how I approach their looks. With Witchblade I might play up this aspect of her armor, while I might tone down an aspect of another character. I'd have to really get a feel for these characters before I was brave enough to step in and do any redesign. That said, one of the best character redesigns in Artifacts was Broussard's take on Tom Judge. That dude DESPERATELY needed to start wearing a shirt.

Geek: What's it like being the new addition to the team and working with a veteran writer like Ron Marz?

JH: Ron has been excellent. He's invited me in to help wrap up this epic storyline. It's a huge amount of trust that he's placed in me. One of the really nice things about working with a writer like Ron is that he really GETS comic book storytelling. This is what he does. He knows how to work with an artist and play to our strengths. That's a really special thing. We're working together to build a story that we can be proud of. I'm grateful to be a part of that.

Geek: If you could wield one of the Thirteen Artifacts, which would you choose?

Haun: Huh. I don't know. These Artifacts are so often as much of a curse as they are a blessing. I mean the Darkness is so cool. It's this nearly limitless dark energy, but Jackie is ONE FRUSTRATED DUDE. I'm not sure I'd want to walk around with that much pent up tension. You know, I'm going to choose the Thirteenth Artifact. Because I know what it is and I like screwing with you-- I'm totally not telling.

MTV Geek: Artifacts has been described as the perfect comics event. Were you surprised by the recognition it has received?

Ron Marz: Well, if I say yes, I'm surprised, then it looks like we didn't expect to put out a good book. And if I say no, I'm not surprised, then it looks like I'm an arrogant ass. So ... I'll say no, I'm not surprised. Seriously, I think we expected the reaction to be good, because I think we're doing good work. The thing that's been really gratifying is the number of people who have discovered Top Cow thanks to Artifacts being an accessible story.

Geek: Artifacts has been a defining moment for Top Cow, bringing the universe together to search for Jackie Estacado and Sara Pezzini’s daughter, Hope. How do you think it will affect future series in the Top Cow world?

RM: This is really the first time a lot of these characters have encountered each other, so there's going to be more familiarity between them going forward. There should be more of a sense of a coherent, cohesive universe. Assuming we don't, you know, kill everybody and burn everything down.

Geek: Having so much practice with Sara Pezzini, what have your experiences been with writing the other characters in Artifacts? Which one have you enjoyed scripting the most?

RM: There's really nobody I dislike writing, but I think Tom Judge is probably my favorite among the ones I hadn't written before. He's a fallen priest, a sinner, but there's a world-weary decency and even heroism about him. That's intriguing to write.

Geek: You’ve made a point of developing the characters in this series. How do you feel they have grown and evolved as a result of this crisis?

RM: Virtually everyone, at least the ones who survive, will be changed in some way. But Jackie and Sara will have a vastly different relationship with one another by the time we get to the end of the series.

Geek: If you could wield one of the Thirteen Artifacts, which would you choose?

RM: I think I'd have to go with the Blood Sword. Samurai swords are always cool. Always.

Ron Marz and Jeremy Haun team up for the 3rd and final arc of Artifacts starting with issue #9!

Read A Full Issue Of Artifacts #0 Here!

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