The Halliwell Sisters are coming back to comics and Erica Schultz is writing them. Dynamite Entertainment recently picked up the license and is launching a new Charmed comic in March and I got a chance to chat with Erica about the new series, her familiarity with the property and working with artist Maria Sanapo. Covers by Joe Corroney and Sanapo.
DAN WICKLINE: You’re taking on a popular property with Charmed. How familiar were you with the series before you got the project and what type of research did you do before starting on the first issue?
ERICA SCHULTZ: I’ve always been a fan of the Charmed television show, so I was very excited to be a part of Dynamite’s new launch of the comic. I had watched all eight seasons when they were on, but I wanted to refresh my memory of speech patterns and attitudes. Luckily, Netflix has the entire series on streaming, so I’ve watched through several seasons. I also keep it on as background when writing the scripts.
DW: For existing fans of the series, where are Piper, Phoebe and Paige continuity wise when your first issue starts? Is this picking up from the end of season eight of the television series or someplace else?
ES: This story arc takes place during the show, around season four. Piper, Phoebe, and Paige are working through balancing their lives with being young professionals AND the saviors of the free world.
DW: With the new series, you introduce a new character named Djall that seems to be plotting against the Charmed Ones. What can you tell us about this suave character and what is his issue with the Halliwell sisters.
ES: Djall is an old demon who takes issues with The Charmed Ones simply because of who they are. In the Charmed Universe, the sisters are the defenders of good in our world. Every demon, Djall included, want to upset that balance of power between good and evil and take over.
The difference between Djall and many of the other demons is that he has a patience for the kill. Djall has a very meticulous plan for getting the sisters out of the way.
ES: A television show has a Show Bible that you have to adhere to. You have to make sure that the comic falls within those parameters and the continuity of the television series. I have worked with television shows before with Marvel Comics for Revenge: The Secret Origin of Emily Thorne.
Swords of Sorrow was a groundbreaking crossover, not just because it took characters from different licenses, but from different genres. There was a freedom within Swords of Sorrow that I don’t necessarily have here, but that doesn’t make the writing any less fun!
DW: What is your working relationship like with Maria Sanapo? Do you talk over the scripts much? What is it about her work that makes her the right choice for the series?
ES: I have an outline for the story arc that is being written, so that’s sent to the editor and passed on. Being aware of Maria’s incredible talent and experience makes writing the script that much easier. She has a great eye and knows just how to interpret the script for her art, and I have so much respect for what she brings to this story.
I think she’s a great choice because she gets the style and flair of the Charmed Universe, and she draws really great action sequences. I know her work on Bombshells helps with the kick ass scenes.
DW: You have a pretty unique background for a writer. Spending time as an art director, working at Neal Adam’s Continuity studios doing inking and coloring and working as an animator on the Astonishing X-Men motion comic. How did you go from there to being a comic book writer?
ES: I have an extensive background working as an artist and animator, but writing was always my first love. Working for Neal gave me the opportunity to see how comic scripts were formatted and how the story was paced and told.
Having that experience under my belt, I branched out in 2010, writing the creator owned book, M3, with artist Vicente Alcázar (Jonah Hex, Commando) illustrating it. M3 opened more doors for me as a writer, but I continue to do animation, inking, coloring, and lettering when the need arises.
DW: Anyone who liked the Charmed television series will be interested in the new comic series, but if you take a step back and look at it… what about the new series will interest people who have never seen the show?
ES: If you enjoy superstition, mysticism, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry and family drama, you’ll definitely enjoy this story. My goal was to write a new adventure with the Halliwell sisters, but incorporate the humor, action, and heart that made the Charmed television series so great.