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Comic Book / Switch (2015)

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"So... why did it choose me? I had my theories, but the one I settled with, at least for a while was: you eat enough steak, and after a while you'll find yourself craving a burger."
Mary
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An Alternate Universe/Alternate Continuity all-ages spin-off of Witchblade, also featuring some elements from The Darkness. This comic book series, created by Stjepan Šejić, the longest-running artist on Witchblade, is based on a what-if scenario where the eponymous Witchblade chooses Mary, a snarky nerdy schoolgirl, instead of Sara Pezzini. It began as little more than a few drawings that Šejić posted on his DeviantArt account, as an attempt to "test the waters" and see whether there's a potential readership for this kind of story. The project became very popular, and Šejić has been able to persuade his bosses at Top Cow (an imprint of Image Comics) to publish it as an actual comic book series, starting with Fall 2015, with scripts by Ron Marz. As of March 2016 two issues have been published and a third is in production.

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The project was initially called Twitch, a play on "Teenage Witchblade". However, Top Cow was forced to switch the title to Switch to prevent a possible copyright collision with a Spawn spin-off, Sam and Twitch. Word of God is that the new title also has a double meaning, since in this universe the Witchblade wearer is able to "switch" between the skills of previous wearers.

Switch is an interesting experiment in Playing Against Type, both for the Witchblade franchise (a wholesome Lighter and Softer all-ages book about kids, in contrast to the franchise's usual dark adult setting with erotic undertones), and Šejić himself (who's most well known for his work on the original Witchblade and his erotic webcomic Sunstone).


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Examples:

  • Adaptational Modesty: Thankfully, the Witchblade doesn't destroy its wielder's clothing in this continuity.
  • Ascended Meme: The series started as nothing more than few random sketches poking fun out of Witchblade, initially barely even related with each other.
  • Big Sister Instinct: In the first issue, Mary explains that she once saw a boy getting bullied but left pretending she hadn't seen anything. In contrast, when Krono throws a van against her little brother, she rushes to get him out of the way and gets crushed instead (luckily, the Witchblade saves her).
  • Blind Without 'Em: "Why do I wear glasses in battle? Because I need them, Einstein!"
  • The Chosen One:
    • Mary for the Witchblade.
    • Tony Estacado for the Darkness, although he doesn't inherit real power until he turns twenty-one. For now he's something of The Load.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Sara Pezzini seems to fill the role.
  • Death by Adaptation: Although he had been killed by the time the series was released, Jackie Estacado (heavily implied to be the Darkness wielder before Tony) is more or less stated to have died impregnating a woman, rather than in combat.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first few pages of issue #1 mention that the Witchblade's modern user, like those before her, needs to be an exceptional and beautiful young woman with tons of courage and willpower. We're introduced to a shot of a beautiful, well dressed girl walking down the hall, who then moves out of the way to reveal Mary, the actual protagonist.
  • Hero Secret Service: Sandra Wilkins, the protege of Lord Sonatine and the elite warrior of the Brotherhood of Darkness, serves as the personal bodyguard to Tony. Justified in that Tony hasn't inherited his full powers yet, and needs protection.
  • High School A.U.: While the heroes are original characters, this is essentially what Switch is. The original title was even an abbreviation of "Teenage Witchblade."
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Again, Mary and Tony. As the artist summarized it, they're "just teenage dumbasses with regular problems having the world dropped on them every now and then."
  • Ordinary High-School Student: How Mary and everyone else starts off.
  • Razor Wings: Mary's brothers description when Zala took control was "You turned into knives and destroyed the street".
  • Refused the Call: Zigzagged. Mary accepts the Witchblade reasonably quickly, until the past bearers explain to her that she can expect it to regularly attract oddities, meaning humungous monsters and anthropomorphic personifications of primordial forces, most of them unfriedly. At that point, she wanted nothing more to do with it until it was explained to her that the Witchblade arrived "from the stars".
    Mary: Light and Dark, my ass! I HAVE AN ACTUAL ALIEN WEAPON!!!
  • The Southpaw: Mary is left-handed. At first the Witchblade clings to her left arm, but later it switches to her right because it was bothering her when she was writing stuff at school.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the comics at the time when Switch was released, the Darkness had been destroyed through an occult ritual after the decapitation of Jackie Estacado, due to the combined forces of early wielder Aram and the then-current wielder of the Witchblade. In this continuity, it survived long enough for Jackie to pass on the power to a son, Tony Estacado.
  • Spirit Advisor: In a divergence from the original Witchblade series, here past wielders can communicate with the current one. Their advice is sometimes overly enthusiastic and not especially helpful to Mary. Also, when she channels any specific predecessor's ability — like expertly shooting a bow and arrow — Mary's body takes on physical attributes of that predecessor's appearance, like her Witchblade armor reflecting theirs or her normally straight hair kinking out.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Mary can channel a lot of benevolent former bearers... and she can channel Zala, the Twilight Empress, who in her first appearance apparently eviscerated a creature that used an armored truck as a missile weapon. To quote her:
    Zala: I am the one you will call when all others fail you.
  • Stripperriffic: Averted, due to the book's Lighter and Softer style and school setting. The Witchblade doesn't rip off Mary's clothes when its powers are activated. The difference is notable considering the original series was one of the prominent 90s examples of "bad girl art" genre, which combined erotic imagery with antiheroics.
  • Unperson: According to Zala, her name was erased from history out of fear that other Witchblade bearers would follow her example.

Alternative Title(s): Switch, Twitch

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