Created by: Matthew Erman & Lisa Sterle
Coloured by: Gab Contreras
Lettered by: Jim Campbell & Andworld Design
Yonna D’Arc is a witch. She might be immortal. She definitely has Hatsune Miku hair. Unfortunately for Yonna, there’s a group of vampire bikers out for some of that delicious titular witch blood, which is apparently the source of all magic. I’m not sure how your local Wiccans will feel about that.
Actual real-life couple Matthew Erman (words) and Lisa Sterle (art) have put together a fun little world. Yonna is an adorable creation, a biker witch with a bird familiar and some large amount of what you might call moxie, thrashing around Texas on a motorbike called Ramblin’ Rose. She’s got an anti-hero vibe, not unlike Tank Girl. What she is not, however, is a people pleaser. She manages to get a whole bunch of antagonists in the first issue, including a ‘hex hunter’ (a hunter of supernatural types) and the aforementioned vampires, The Hounds of Love. We get a few more music references in Yonna’s potions names too (Mr Blue Sky, Love Buzz), which entertains nerds like me. And then Yonna gets shot.
Issue #2 sees those vampires causing havoc in a different place, and we get a bit more backstory to this world. We get to meet Liana, a witch playing at being a trailer park herbalist, and Amaya, who has yet another excellent outfit and just happened to be the commander of 47 witch knight legions. Which is nice. Don’t get too attached though, there’s quite a body count racking up already.
Issue #3 involves sheds and eyeballs. Turns out there’s a witch of sheds. Who knew? At this stage, the comic is aware of its own silliness and runs with it. Witchblood is funny haha as well as a bit funny strange, and frequently juxtaposes death and comedy. There’s a hint that this might not be 21st century America as we know it (besides the witches and vampires like), and our hex hunter turns up to ruin a lovely cup of tea.
Issue #4 sees more new characters, the stylish Texas Red and the giant bat rider Paradisia Bath (yes, giant bat rider), and we establish that the Hex Hunters are doing it at least partly for the money. We get the origin story for this version of reality, which is certainly original.
I should mention the narration, which has a definite voice, like a western movie voice-over mixed with Super Soul from Vanishing Point, a slightly cryptic bookend to each issue.
Like Yonna, all the characters of dripping with personality. The chief vampire Paxton is immediately painted as a massive dickhead, but you want to hear more from him because, in very little time, they’ve given him depth. When Yonna gets her life saved by snarky herbalist Liana, Liana is given just enough space to hint at a bigger backstory. And the key point here is that I want to know about these backstories.
It feels like a lot of effort has gone into designing outfits for these characters too – what Lisa Serle is about is drawing attractive people in cool outfits. She’s aided and abetted by the neon touches of Gab Contreras colouring amongst the pinks and purples, and some solid and frequently amusing lettering work (initially by Jim Campbell, then Andworld).
So at the end of issue #4, we have a trio of two very different hex hunters and a witch who may well be playing them, all hunting a gang of vampires hopped up on magical with blood. It’s been a fun ride so far.