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Geeking with Destination Venus - Episode #1: Chatting with Witchblood's Matthew Erman

So. The Geeks at the Gates is dead - long live Geeking with Destination Venus! We start with the first part of Regie's conversation with the immensely talented and endearingly enthusiastic Matthew Erman. Click on his picture below to go to the download page, or simply search for Geeking with Destination Venus wherever you get your podcasts.

Our discussion started with Witchblood - the current collaboration between Erman and his wife:

Witchblood is a modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood.

From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes WITCHBLOOD, a blend of action, lore, and Americana-perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods -except frankly it's better than both of those things.

Mention was made of muted colours in comics back in the eighties. This is the sort of thing Regie was talking about:

A panel from Batman Year One (1987) Art by David Mazzucchelli
A panel from Batman Year One (1987) Art by David Mazzucchelli
A panel from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986). Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen. Colour by Lynn Varley.
A panel from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986). Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen. Colour by Lynn Varley.

And of course mention was made of Tim Burton's "Superhero Noir" classic Batman from 1989:

Witchblood isn't the first comic that Erman and his wife Lisa Sterle have worked on together. They also collaborated on Long Lost from Scout Comics.

A page from Long Lost. Words by Matthew Erman. Art by Lisa Sterle.
A page from Long Lost. Words by Matthew Erman. Art by Lisa Sterle.

Long Lost is the story of two estranged sisters who find themselves drawn back to their small southern hometown after an invitation from an otherworldly creature. The pair are compelled to unlock the disturbing mysteries that are hidden in Hazel Patch in the hopes of uncovering the bizarre circumstances surrounding their mother... but they must deal with each other first.

In a discussion of the influences on Witchblood mention was made of the Bill Paxton vampire movie Near Dark. This is it:

Matthew also cited the Wim Wenders masterpiece Paris Texas as the perfect "American South West" movie:

Matthew also spoke about the genius of "Adrian" at Vault Comics. The

Adrian in question is Adrian Wassel the Chief Creative Officer at Vault Comics, and Vault comics is one of the best, most creative, most innovative publishers in modern comics. I do not say that lightly.

Matthew compared the wide appeal of Witchblood to Saga. That's a big claim. The official stance of Destination Venus as an organisation is that Saga is the best comic currently in print. Now, before you go thinking that Erman was being egotistical Regie would like to point out that he was just about to say the same thing. Witchblood really is that good, and in any case, Erman was talking about his approach to genre, not the quality of his writing. (But it really is that good.)

Erman confessed that he wasn't completely up to date with Saga, and Regie warned him that it will break his heart in two. Because it will. Written by Brian K. Vaughn, with art from the mighty Fiona Staples, Saga is a book that takes no prisoners. There's not real way to describe it - the best we've come up with at Desties is "Star Wars smashed into Romeo and Juliet with a dirty mind and a filthy mouth", but that's really just the start of it. Saga has a habit of making you love characters and then killing them in ways that make you sad. Seriously, when it comes to killing off beloved characters Saga makes George RR Martin and The Walking Dead look cuddly.

Read Saga, because it's awesome. But don't get attached to anyone, is what we're saying...

Heathen Volume 1 Cover. Art by Natasha Altericci
Heathen Volume 1 Cover. Art by Natasha Altericci

We also spoke about Heathen. We're both fans of bot hit, and it's creator, writer artist Natasha Altericci.

Told across three volumes it's the lesbian viking quest saga you never knew you needed, but trust us when we tell you, you really, really need it.

As a side note, if you're in or around Harrogate and reading this on or around the day the podcast drops (April 21st 2021), although Destination Venus remains closed under Covid regulations you can pick up a copy at The Geek Bar on Bower Road. They can't open as a bar, but have turned their retail side into The Geek Shop for the duration.

Regie also had a couple of comics recommendations. First up:

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr

The Many deaths of Laila Starr #1 Cover. Art by Filipe Andrade
The Many deaths of Laila Starr #1 Cover. Art by Filipe Andrade

A powerful new series for fans of The Wicked + The Divine and The Dreaming from Ram V (Justice League Dark/These Savage Shores) and Filipe Andrade (Captain Marvel) that explores the fine line between living and dying in Mumbai through the lens of magical realism.

With humanity on the verge of discovering immortality, the avatar of Death is fired and relegated to the world below to live out her now-finite days in the body of twenty-something Laila Starr in Mumbai.


When a young boy is torn away from his mother while seeking asylum at the U.S. border, something begins to change in him, and it isn't just the trauma, anxiety, and guilt you'd expect. He doesn't know it yet, but it's the onset of superhuman abilities that will change his life forever...

JULIO ANTA and ANNA WIESZCZYK debut with a deeply grounded and heartfelt five-issue series that explores the real-world implications of a migrant with extraordinary powers.

And of course, he also mentioned the Shang Chi trailer, which we're posting here just because we can...

And that's it for this week! Join us next Wednesday for the concluding part of Regie's chat with the awesome Matthew Erman, more comics recommendations and all manner of other good geeky stuff.

Until then, be kind to yourself, be kind to everybody else, and above all else, stay safe, and stay geeky!