Thursday, August 19, 2010

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: TV TIE-IN VERZION ~ WITCHBLADE!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: TV TIE-IN VERZION ~ WITCHBLADE!

Recently reading the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers excellent collection of essays, Tied In, on the art and skill of writing novelizations and tie-in novels, sent me back to my book shelves to delve into a sample.

I’ve been collecting TV tie-in novels of spy, cop, and mystery shows for as long as I’ve been collecting books – starting with The Man From U.N.C.L.E #1 The Thousand Coffins Affair by the redoubtable Michael Avallone (AKA: The Fastest Typewriter In The East). Since then, the titles gracing my shelves have ranged from both American TV shows (The Mod Squad, I Spy, Get Smart, Ironside, Harry O, The Outsider, Mannix, etc.) and British TV shows (The Avengers, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Bill, The Professionals, The View From Daniel Pike, Marker, Minder, etc.).

However, I’ve had two books tied-in to the Witchblade franchise sitting on my shelves for a more than a while and decided to give them a try.

Witchblade began life in 1995 and continues as a series comics and graphic novels from Top Cow. There have been a ton of spin-off titles and crossover comic/graphic novel titles, and from 2000 – 2001, a cable television series running to 24 episode over two seasons.

The show starred Yancy Butler as lead character Sara ‘Pez’ Pezzini, a tough-as-nails NYPD homicide detective who comes into possession of the Witchblade, a powerful gauntlet-like weapon with a will of its own. Existing since the dawn of time, it chooses each time the right person to be merged with, and Sara is the chosen one of this generation.

The Witchblade, being a mystical artifact, gives Pez enhanced strength and agility, the ability to deflect bullets with its armored glove, and the ability to gain full armor and a sword when needed. Various individuals such as mysterious millionaire Kenneth Irons try to gain the Witchblade from her, dropping hints and trying to manipulate her into serving them. Meanwhile, the Witchblade itself has a mind of its own and has its own plots and schemes.

Witchblade: The Complete Series – a seven-disc collectors set including the original made-for-TV movie, all 23 episodes of the series, and special features – was released in 2008.

There were two novels tie-in to the television series, both carrying photos from the series on the cover, and a third novel, which both from cover and content appeared to be more tied-in to the series of graphic novels than to the television series.

WITCHBLADE #1: TALONS

Her name is Sara Pezzini. A New York City homicide detective with a deadly secret: A few years ago, she came into the possession of the Witchblade, a mystic weapon of unknown origin that has existed for centuries. Grateful to have first used it when her life was in danger, Sara soon learned the lesson every owner of the device has been taught through the years: The Witchblade is not controlled by anyone – it does the controlling . . .

A series of brutal murders have been committed in New York, and the trail of bodies seems to lead back to Russian mob boss Lazlo Kontra. But are the killings really gang-related, or the work of a mysterious group called the Order of the Raven -- a group that seems to know all about Sara Pezzini's secret...?

At the moment, though, the Order and the Russian Mafia are the least of Sara's problems. Rumors have been spreading through the NYPD about cops on the take, and one of the accusatory fingers has been pointed directly at Sara. Now Internal Affairs is looking into her activities, and they've taken a particular interest in the more unusual aspects of her past cases -- situations in which Sara had been forced to use the Witchblade to bring murderers to justice.

Caught between special prosecutors, gangsters, and mystical killers, Sara must once again call upon the Witchblade in order to survive -- but will it answer that call when she needs its power the most . . .

WITCHBLADE #2: A TERRIBLE BEAUTY

In the wake of a rash of killings dubbed the Machete Murders by the press, the people of New York have been living in fear. Assigned to the high-profile case are Sara Pezzini and her partner, Jake McCarthy, who soon find themselves neck-deep in trouble, not just from NYPD brass, but from voodoo priests, evil spirits, a brother and sister pair of hired killers, and a Goth band called The Mountains of Madness!

Not exactly a normal homicide investigation, but then Sara is no ordinary cop – not when she’s secretly the possessor of the Witchblade, a mystical weapon that can help her overcome her enemies . . . if it doesn’t turn against her first. . . .

WITCHBLADE #3: DEMONS ~ MIKE BARON

When a big-shot antiquities dealer is found with his head severed, the case falls to NYPD Homicide detective Sara Pezzini and her partner. Sara enlists sword polisher David Kopkind, a student of Japanese history, who recognizes the killing blow of a katana. Could an ancient Japanese warrior be on the loose in New York – and if so, can even the Witchblade stop him before Sara loses her own head . . .


3 comments:

Todd Mason said...

WITCHBLADE the tv series (not the current or at least more recent anime series) usually serves as an example of why the US television of 1999-2001 was probably the best we've had so far in this country...even this, utter bubblegum that it was, was made with an attention to detail and mild imaginativeness that would've made it look brilliant and pathbreaking in the tv doldrums of, say, 1978-1982, and not a few other chunks of time before and even since. (Yes, in those five years, we did see LOU GRANT and WKRP and BARNEY MILLER and the rise and fall of SCTV, the early better years of MAGNUM PI and the tail end of ROCKFORD and the beginning of HILL STREET BLUES...and when you get past MTM Produtions, the pickings get very slim, indeed. Beyond SCTV, imports such as RIPPING YARNS and the Rutles helped, or at least as with SEEING THINGS didn't hurt.)

George said...

I had forgotten all about WITCHBLADE! Thanks for the memory jog~

Evan Lewis said...

I remember this as a pretty cool show.