Five Questions With Witch Doctor Writer Brandon Seifert
Oct 29, 2012
PREVIEWSworld: So here we go again. Another trip back to the doctor's office. What have the patients been saying in the waiting room since “The Resuscitation” and the release of the "Under The Knife" TP? What's been some of the stranger fan feedback on your web site, or at comic conventions like Portland's Rose City Comic-Con? Anyone accused you of being a Warlock yet?
Brandon Seifert: Nope, no warlock accusations yet! Mostly, Lukas and I have just been floored by how much people have loved Witch Doctor. I mean, if we’re going to be honest... it’s a pretty weird comic! It’s a doctor, who solves supernatural medical mysteries using actual science, and a sword! I thought it was going to be kind of a “cult favorite” series — but people have really, really gotten into it.
As far as strange feedback goes, there’s one scene in the first Witch Doctor mini-series that people seem to have fallen weirdly in love with: the scene where Doc Morrow shakes the evil baby! When I wrote that, I was honestly a bit afraid that I was going to get tarred and feathered. Instead, our readers seem to think that was the best scene ever. So I made sure to write an equivalent of “baby shaking” into Witch Doctor: Mal Practice.
PREVIEWSworld: Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1 is the start of a brand new six-issue story arc for your creator-owned title with Skybound. Can you give us a peek behind the curtain about what happens next for the good doctor?
Brandon Seifert: In the first Witch Doctor mini-series, we introduced readers to Dr. Vincent Morrow, the world’s leading specialist in supernatural medicine — and to the vampires, faeries, fish-people and demonic possession cases he treats. In Witch Doctor: Mal Practice, Doc Morrow is going to have to treat a very different patient — himself!
“Mal Practice” kicks off with Morrow going out for a drink, meeting a girl at a bar... and waking up the next day with no memory of what happened after that. For most of us, that would just be embarrassing. But for Morrow, it’s a reason to panic. Did he get drugged, or poisoned, or infected with something? Was it an assassination attempt, or an attack by a supernatural creature? Whatever happens, it’s the start of the worst 36 hours of Doc Morrow’s life!
PREVIEWSworld: Can we listen in on the phone conversation or email exchange between you and artist Lukas Ketner to learn how you guys kicked around new ideas for this series?
Brandon Seifert: That’s not really how things go for us. There’s a lot of back-and-forth in the creative process for Witch Doctor — but not really at the story stage.
At this point, I’ve got a massive, massive list of story ideas. (How massive? This summer I went through it and selected just my favorite ideas, the ones I really want to get to. Then I did some math. If we did Witch Doctor as an ongoing monthly comic, and did all of my favorite story ideas, and did each one as just a done-in-one, single-issue story... that’s still three years’ worth of stories!) So at this point, the question isn’t “What should our next story be?” It’s “Which of these story ideas should we use next?”
In the case of “Mal Practice,” it was kind of a no-brainer. The story we see in issue #1 was something I actually wrote to be issue #2 of the first mini-series! But when I turned the script in, Skybound told me, “This is a great story... but it’s not issue #2 of a new comic series. It’s, like, issue #6 or issue #10. For this to work properly, we need to know the characters better.” And they were totally right! So I came up with a new story for Vol. 1 #2 (the story about the Cuckoo Faeries), and put my first script for #2 in a drawer. When it came time to do a second mini-series, me and Lukas both knew we needed to revisit that script I’d shelved. It was a story I desperately wanted to do — and a story Lukas has wanted to draw for years at this point.
PREVIEWSworld: Have you been approached about where you can take this concept? It seems like a natural for a film treatment. If not film, maybe a novel adaptation?
Brandon Seifert: When Lukas and I were first planning Witch Doctor, we noticed that, too. There were a few, ‘Man, this would be a cool TV show!’ conversations. But that’s not our focus. Lukas and I are here to make comics, because we love comics. If someone wants to come make a TV show or a film or a video game or whatever out of something we’ve created, that’s awesome — but that’s not in our hands, so it’s not really something we can worry about.
To answer the question you’re actually asking, Witch Doctor has definitely received some interest from Hollywood people — nothing I can talk about, of course. But we’ll see. Maybe someday it’ll find a second life in a different medium.
As far as novels go, I’ve certainly thought about doing prose form before. Like I said, I’ve got an utterly ridiculous number of ideas for the series. But one of the obvious problems with doing novels for it is that it’s such a visual comic. Lukas really pulls out all the stops with the monster designs, and I just can’t see it working as well as just straight prose.
PREVIEWSworld: What would you say to people to make them think that Witch Doctor should be at the top of their reading pile?
Swords! Science! Baby-shaking! Amazing monster designs! Off-color humor! Witch Doctor has it all.
The consensus seems to be: If you like Hellblazer, Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Doctor Strange, Supernatural, or House, M.D. — you’ll probably like Witch Doctor.
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1 (of 6) is available on November 28th at your local comic shop!
Go to http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK to find a shop near you!