I have been telling you guys for a few months now about a little book called Witch Doctor, it blends a perfect amount of horror and medical in to one amazing comic. If you aren't reading this book you are doing yourself a disservice, the third issue comes out Wednesday so you can try and pick up all three this week.. I got a chance to ask Brandon Seifert who is the writer and co-creator of the book a few questions, Brandon was more than happy to answer some questions for us. Check out the interview and make sure you go out and pick up the book, you won't be sorry.
1. FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHEN AND WHERE DID THE IDEA OF WITCH DOCTOR START AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU GUYS TO GET THE BOOK GOING? DID YOU GUYS PUT THE BOOK OUT YOURSELVES FIRST OR IS SKYBOUND/IMAGE THE FIRST TO PUBLISH THE BOOK?
Lukas and I first started working on WITCH DOCTOR in Fall 2007 — four years ago now! — and we self-published a 16-page story in 2008 as a ‘proof-of-concept’ rather than doing a traditional series pitch. Skybound signed us in 2010, and we did a new version of that 16-pager for them, which we branded WITCH DOCTOR #0 — it got printed as a flip-book with an issue of The Walking Dead!
As for the idea behind it, the core concept of WITCH DOCTOR — jerk doctor with a sword uses magic and a medical approach to fight monsters — had been sitting in a notebook of mine since about 2002. I pulled it out and dusted it off when Lukas and I first started talking about doing a comic together, and really quickly the ideas started to snowball.
2. WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR DR. VINCENT MORROW? I WAS AT COMIC CON 2010 WHEN YOU SAID IF YOU HAD TO PUT A LABEL ON THE BOOK IT'S A CROSS BETWEEN HOUSE AND THE EXORCIST, HOW ACCURATE IS THAT?
I’m pretty sure I said it was “Dr. House meets Fringe” (which is what I used to say; now I say it’s Dr. House meets Doctor Who)... since at that point, we didn’t even know we were going to lead with the exorcism story. But yeah, the House part is true enough. I’d never seen House, M.D. before I started writing WITCH DOCTOR, but I’ve always liked the idea of the doctor who has no bedside manner. I also like the idea of the doctor who investigates the supernatural, so it was pretty intuitive to put the two together.
3. MEDICAL ACCURACY SEEMS TO BE VERY IMPORTANT WITH YOU GUYS AND WITH GOOD REASON, WHEN YOU HAVE A MEDICAL TYPE BOOK THE MORE ACCURATE THE BETTER. HOW DID YOU GUYS GET TOGETHER WITH YOUR MEDICAL CONSULTANT KAREN ANDERSEN AND HOW INVOLVED IS SHE WITH THE BOOK?
Karen’s a friend of mine here on Portland. I’d met her through friends several times, and then one night we were talking at a show and I found out that she’s an EMT, and also a gigantic nerd.
When I’ve got medical questions — like “what would you do if you thought someone’s kidney had been illegally harvested?” or “what kind of painkillers would they give someone with fractured ribs?” or “how would a living corpse walking around effect the settling of blood that causes liver mortis and pallor mortis?” — I shoot them at her. She’s also read a couple of the scripts, and made suggests from the medical end. Issue #4 has a bit of dialogue clarifying something she pointed out, something that’d be obvious to a medical professional but had totally escaped me.
4. THE BOOK HAS BEEN GETTING GREAT REVIEWS AND IS SET FOR 4 ISSUES, IS THAT GOING TO BE IT OR IS THERE GOING TO BE MORE WITCH DOCTOR IN THE FUTURE?
Oh yeah! We announced a couple more WITCH DOCTOR things at Comic-Con this summer. We’ve got a one-shot called WITCH DOCTOR: THE RESUSCITATION coming out in December, and another miniseries coming out in the Spring! As long as sales are good and Skybound is willing, Lukas and I want to keep doing WITCH DOCTOR as long as we’re able!
5. THIS ONE WILL COME OUT OF NOWHERE. WHEN I READ SOMETHING THAT I REALLY LIKE I MAKE MY WIFE READ IT AND SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVES THE BOOK, SHE WANTS TO KNOW IF THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ORIGIN TYPE STORY OF PENNY DREADFUL? WHERE SHE CAME FROM? WHY SHE IS THE WAY SHE IS AND WHAT EXACTLY IS SHE? FEEL FREE TO NOT ANSWER IF THAT IS GOING TO GIVE ANYTHING AWAY.
That’s cool! As far as Penny goes, issue #3 answers some questions about her... no, that’s not right. Issue #3 tells you what questions you should be asking about her. You’ll get some idea of what she is and what she can do, but the Penny reveals are going to be a long, ongoing process. There’s a lot to her.
Lots to Eric Gast too, but we haven’t even started hinting about that yet.
6. WITH A SOCIETY THAT IS OBSESSED WITH VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES RIGHT NOW IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE SOME ORIGINAL AND TERRIFYING MONSTERS, THAT CREEPY PLASTIC DOLL BABY MAKES MY SKIN CRAWL. I KNOW IT SOUNDS CLICHE BUT WHERE DO YOU GUYS COME UP WITH THEM? DO YOU JUST THINK OF WHAT WOULD CREEP YOU GUYS OUT THE MOST OR DO YOU JUST BOUNCE IDEAS OF EACH OTHER?
See, I love vampires and werewolves, and I’m really excited to do our take on them! But yeah, our first miniseries is about possession, faeries and fish-people — not very zeitgeisty stuff at the moment.
For WITCH DOCTOR, it’s never a question of “What would creep us out the most?” when it comes to monsters — it’s all based on the biology research. Sometimes it’s really easy. A monster that tricks people into caring for its young? Lots of animals do that, there’s a whole Wikipedia page for it. From there, the rest of the Cuckoo Faerie stuff came pretty intuitively — faeries stereotypically had insect wings, so that got extrapolated into being an insect-like creature with an exoskeleton posing as human. That one, and the demonic-possession-as-parasitic-larval-stage, were really easy to come up with. Some of the monsters we’re going to do are much more out in left field.
7. THIS MIGHT BE ME PICKING UP ON NOTHING OR MAYBE NOT, IT HAS TO DO WITH THE COLORS IN THE BOOK. THERE IS A HUGE CONTRAST BETWEEN COLORS IN THE BOOK, THE DR IS VERY CLEAN, ERIC GAST AND HIS BLONDE HAIR SEEM OUT OF PLACE, THE CONTRAST BETWEEN LIGHTS AND DARK'S IS INCREDIBLE. IS THIS SOMETHING THAT IS THOUGHT OUT OF AHEAD OF TIME OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT HAS KIND OF COME TOGETHER BY ACCIDENT?
That was pretty much all our initial colorist, Sunny Gho. Sunny did some really amazing things with contrast, especially in the first issue — and that was pretty much all him. Lukas had some ideas about coloring for the book, but I think Sunny went in a completely different direction and wowed us all. Unfortunately Sunny had to bow out of the book in the process leading up to issue #3, but our new colorist Andy Troy is following in his footsteps and doing a great job making the transition seamless!
And I like that Gast looks out of place in Morrow’s world. He should.
8. NOW FOR A FEW PERSONAL QUESTIONS FOR YOU GUYS. I KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN AT COMIC CON FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE CON AND WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT?
I only ended up being in San Diego for 22 hours for Comic-Con 2010, so 2011 was much more fun and relaxed! I know a lot of creators find San Diego to be kind of a battle, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. I actually much prefer it to the cons on the next tier down, the ones that are really big but not that big — the floor is just as crowded and it’s just as hard to see anything there, but the stuff that’s there to see isn’t as worthwhile. The spectacle just isn’t as grand.
The highlight of San Diego for me so far was drunkenly introducing myself to Matt Smith and Karen Gillen — the Doctor and Amy Pond from Doctor Who! — at an after-party this year. They were amazingly gracious and nice, and I was a bit of a mess. I gave them WITCH DOCTOR pens that looked like syringes full of blood, and Ms. Gillen looked rather taken aback. Those poor, sweet people.
9. SINCE WITCH DOCTOR PROBABLY FALLS IN TO THE HORROR CATEGORY I HAVE TO ASK YOU GUYS, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE?
For me, it’s either John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” or “Aliens.” They’re both really solid, gripping — and both the effects and plots are great, which isn’t common!
10. ALRIGHT HERE'S THE LAST ONE AND ALWAYS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COMICS AND WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? ANYTHING YOU WANT TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO AND LET OUR READERS KNOW ABOUT?
Right now, I’m barely reading any comics. The only ones I regularly follow are Mike Carey’s “The Unwritten,” Rick Remender’s “Uncanny X-Force,” and “Atomic Robo” — which is great and people should definitely pick it up! I love “The Unwritten,” and I was very impressed by Remender’s first story arc on “X-Force,” though much of the stuff since then, the Deathloks and the Age of Apocalypse, I haven’t been that into and has felt like a detour from the book’s core concept to me. But it’s still really solid, much more so than most of the superhero books I browse.
As far as favorite comics go — Warren Ellis’ “Planetary,” “The Authority” and “Transmetropolitan;” “The Sandman;” Bendis’ “Ultimate Spider-Man;” Paul Cornell’s “Wisdom” miniseries from Marvel a few years ago; “Scott Pilgrim;” Millar’s “The Ultimates;” Morrison’s “New X-Men” and “We3;” “Casanova;” “Phonogram;” and “Hellboy.”
Thanks again to Brandon for answering some questions for us, make sure you guys go out and pick up Witch Doctor #3 coming out Wednesday.