Originally published at Fangoria.com on July 4th, 2011
Continuing our interview with WITCH DOCTOR (Skybound) author and creator Brandon Seifert, begun here.
FANGORIA: Dr. Vincent Morrow comes across as an anti-hero at times. Morrow is brilliant in his knowledge about medicine, but he is also willing to risk the patient’s life to prove his theory. How will each supernatural case play a role in Dr. Morrow’s personality?
BRANDON SEIFERT: I’d argue that Morrow’s more willing to risk his own safety and that of his assistants than he is to risk his patients, though I don’t know how apparent that is from the stories we’ve released so far. In WITCH DOCTOR #1, Morrow and his staff are in much more danger than his patient, and in WITCH DOCTOR #0, his patient is a vampire who’s already dead. And there again, Morrow himself ends up in more danger than anyone else in the story. As far as the cases’ effect on Morrow, it’s all amplified and altered by his assistants. In issue #2, for instance, Gast has a really strongly negative reaction to the situation at hand, while Morrow is much more pragmatic about it, which pisses Gast off. Penny’s also got a different reaction to the monsters in #2, which ends up complicating things in ways Morrow didn’t foresee.
FANG: In the first issue, Dr. Morrow confronts the demons possessing a young boy. The demons are layered in detailed description. Was this in the script or from the artist’s perspective? What is the collaborative process like between you and artist Lukas Ketner?
SEIFERT: As far as the level of detail on the demons goes, most of that’s Lukas. I frequently have specific elements or traits I want to see in our monsters. In this case, I did a lot of thinking about classical Western demons and the specific traits they had, stuff like goat legs and horns, bat wings, housefly elements, stuff like that. But how much detail Lukas throws in is his call! Although sometimes, I ask him to tone it down! I generally let Lukas know what each new story calls for, by way of designs and such. Generally he nails things in only one or two takes, but sometimes, it’s harder to get something in-line with what I think the story needs, and we sit down together in a bar or coffee shop, and he sketches things while I yell, “No! No! No! That’s all wrong!”
FANG: Issue #0 was about vampirism and the first issue dealt with an exorcism. What can readers expect from the following issues of WITCH DOCTOR?
SEIFERT: We wanted to have a good variety of threats in this miniseries, to sort of showcase as many different WITCH DOCTOR takes on monsters as we could. Before the four issues are done, we’ll have seen faerie changelings, Lovecrafty-styled tentacled elder gods and fish people inspired a bit by Lovecraft and a bit by THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.
FANG: WITCH DOCTOR is the debut original comic from Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint. Does being Skybound’s first title put pressure on you and your writing?
SEIFERT: Oh, God, yes! By nature, I’m someone who puts myself under a lot of pressure when I’m emotionally invested in what I’m doing, so I was always going to bang my head against the wall, trying to make sure my work was as good as possible. But now, the wall is way bigger. Plus, this is my first professional comics gig, and as a lot of creators will tell you, that’s nerve-wracking in its own right.
One thing that’s been very nice, though, is Robert’s faith in our work. He’s never seemed to have any doubt that this series was going to totally rock. When I turned in the first draft of the script for #1, I thought it was terrible. Then I got a call from Robert saying it’s great; he loves it and try to change as little as possible. I told him that I thought it was bad, and he says, “That’s because you’re incredibly insecure and you need to get over it.” Verbatim quote!
FANG: What are you working on now?
SEIFERT: I’ve got a couple of projects that have been greenlit, but nothing I can talk about yet. Mostly, I’m just trying to make sure things go smoothly for this WITCH DOCTOR miniseries. This is the first book I’ve written, and the first miniseries Lukas has drawn, and the first Skybound series that wasn’t written by Robert. So there’s a lot of learning going on, for all of us. I’ve also got a day-job, and it’s been really challenging to balance it with writing and lettering WITCH DOCTOR. Apart from that, I’ve got some other projects that have been greenlit, but I can’t talk about them until they’re actually announced. That should be soon though!
FANG: Where can an audience find info or more about your work?