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AICN COMICS Q&@: Ambush Bug talks Mystical Doctors, Lament Configurations, and Legal Ghosts with Brandon Seifert Writer of WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE! HELLRAISER! And SPIRIT OF THE LAW!!!

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Q’s by Ambush Bug!

@’s by Writer Brandon Seifert!!!

Ambush Bug with another chat with writer Brandon Seifert who is keeping busy these days. Not only did he just release HELLRAISER: THE ROAD BELOW and SPIRIT OF THE LAW, but next week he’s got the sequel to the critically acclaimed WITCH DOCTOR series entitled WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE coming out. Here’s what Brandon had to say about the whole lot of them…

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE #1 is being released this week. What do readers need to know going into this miniseries in regards to the last miniseries?

BRANDON SEIFERT (BS): Not that much! Reading the first WITCH DOCTOR miniseries will certainly be helpful — and so will reading the WITCH DOCTOR: THERESUSCITATION one-shot we put out last year. But MAL PRACTICE is pretty self-sufficient.

Really all you need to know is there’s this snarky jerk doctor named Vincent Morrow who specializes in “supernatural medicine” — treating people with diseases like demonic possession, vampirism, stuff like that. And he’s got two assistants, a normal-seeming paramedic named Eric Gast and a weird girl named Penny Dreadful who’s infected with a weird supernatural disease nobody’s seen before. That’s pretty much it! WITCH DOCTOR Vol. 1 is definitely not required reading — though it’s recommended!

BUG: Are you happy with doing WITCH DOCTOR stories in a miniseries format? Have you ever considered making them ongoing?

BS: If it were up to me, WITCH DOCTOR would be a monthly ongoing series. I certainly have enough ideas for an ongoing — this summer I realized that if we only did my absolute favorite WITCH DOCTOR ideas, and only did each story in a single issue, that’s three years of a monthly book right there!

But comics is a collaborative medium, and my co-creator Lukas just can’t draw an ongoing monthly book at this point in his career. He managed five issues of WITCH DOCTOR in 2011, and he’s looking to have about the same amount done by the end of 2012. So doing WITCH DOCTOR as a monthly ongoing, with Lukas doing the art — that’s just not in the cards. I’m hoping we’ll figure out some other solution though. I love this book, and I’d definitely love to see a new issue hit the stands every month!

BUG: What is this like doing a follow up to the original miniseries? In many ways, this can have the difficulties often attributed to sequels whereas many may want some kind of rehash of the first outing?

BS: Well, it’s not like WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE is a sequel to the first miniseries — they’re both just part of a continuing series. So if any of our readers are hoping we rehash the first miniseries... they’re going to be disappointed. WITCH DOCTOR Vol. 1 was very much about introducing these characters and this world, and setting the ground rules. Now that we’ve done that, we can expand in different direction.

BUG: Was there pressure to top the success of the original series?

BS: I don’t know if I’d say there was pressure to top it. Lukas and I, we really didn’t realize how successful the first miniseries was going to be. We both thought it was really good, and we thought WITCH DOCTOR was an idea with a lot of commercial potential. But even so, we were both really blown away at how much readers loved it, how much critics loved it, and how well it sold. It’d certainly be nice to “level up” and get even MORE love, MORE sales — but if we even match how well we did the first time around, that’s still a big success!

BUG: Would you say MAL PRACTICE is going bigger or smaller in terms of scope?

BS: Uh... both? MAL PRACTICE is very different from the first WD miniseries. The first one was four issues of mostly self-contained stories, taking place over the course of a month or two. MAL PRACTICE is one six-issue story arc, taking place over the course of 36 hours. The threat isn’t as big and apocalyptic as the threat of the Relapse that we introduced in the first volume — but it’s a much more personal threat for Doc Morrow, so the stakes are much higher for him.

BUG: Does the Witch Doctor have any rivals? Maybe a Witch Malpractice Lawyer?

BS: Great question! And the answer to that is... SPOILERS!

We’ll definitely be introducing rivals for Doc Morrow, sooner or later. As to how much sooner, or how much later... you’re going to have to wait and see.

BUG: Which of the supporting characters will be returning for this mini and how have they changed since the first series?

BS: Doc Morrow’s assistants Penny and Eric are both back — and even though she isn’t in the first issue, we’re definitely going to be seeing Catrina Macabrey, the necromancer pathologist, from WITCH DOCTOR: THE RESUSCITATION again. And what changes we seen in them are things we saw happen during the first miniseries or during THE RESUSCITATION.

BUG: How much time has passed between series?

BS: When we pick up in MAL PRACTICE #1, only a short amount of time has passed since the events of WITCH DOCTOR: THE RESUSCITATION. A couple weeks, maybe.

BUG: Is there a finite number of stories to the story of the Witch Doctor, or do you see him as more of a serial character?

BS: I’ve always thought one of the strengths of WITCH DOCTOR is how open-ended it is. Doc Morrow is here to study and treat supernatural diseases. It’s not like he’s ever going to run out of work to do! Look at the real field of medicine. Sure, in the last ten years we’ve had new treatments and vaccines come on the market. But in that time, we’ve also seen existing diseases mutate into things like SARS and H1N1, we’ve seen a resurgence of bedbugs in places like New York, and we’ve seen things like MRSA and drug-resistant tuberculosis become larger threats. Disease is always going to be a problem, whether the disease is HIV or vampirism.

But I definitely have an end in mind for Doc Morrow himself. Disease will never go away — but Morrow’s career can really only end in death or retirement.

BUG: HELLRAISER: THE DARK WATCH sounds a bit like a team book. Who is on the team and what's going to be their purpose?

BS: THE DARK WATCH definitely has an ensemble cast — but it’s not a team book. The characters in it aren’t all working together — some are sworn enemies!

Really, THE DARK WATCH is just the continuation of the HELLRAISER ongoing that wraps up this week — “season two,” in TV lingo. The current HELLRAISER ongoing ends with some really major changes to the status quo, for our cast, for Earth and for Hell. THE DARK WATCH is where the characters who survive pick up the pieces.

BUG: This isn't your first HELLRAISER project. What about this series keeps making you return to it?

BS: For one thing, they keep asking me back! I had a lot of fun writing my story in the HELLRAISER ANNUAL this year, so when BOOM! and Seraphim asked me to pitch a miniseries, I was happy to. That miniseries turned out to be THE ROAD BELOW. I enjoyed writing it, and everyone else involved seemed to like it — so they offered me a gig on THE DARK WATCH, co-writing it with Clive! I would’ve had to be crazy to turn that one done. It’s a huge honor to work with an industry legend like Clive — and beyond that, he’s literally my favorite horror author of the half-century.

But beyond that, I’m still attracted to HELLRAISER for the same reason I’ve always been — it’s got a mythic sweep and expansive world building that’s completely unlike the horror movies that were coming out at the time.BUG: Do you have a favorite Cenobite?

BS: Hmm. I’m not sure! I love the classic Cenobites — Pinhead, Butterball, Chatterer and the Female. But I also love the idea of the “Torso cenobite” from the later movies

BUG: How is the stuff with Monkeybrain going? Now that SPIRIT OF THE LAW is available, what's next for you with that company?

BS: Stuff with MonkeyBrain is great! I love print comics, but I’m also really excited about the possibilities of digital. So it’s been really cool dipping my toe in that pool for the first time with SPIRIT OF THE LAW.

The two part SPIRIT OF THE LAW is finished now — for your readers who haven’t heard about it, it’s a noir/pulp/horror mash up, basically a pulp heroine’s origin but from the “villain’s” point of view. The two issues are $0.99 each, exclusively through comiXology. We’re also coming out with a “collected edition” soon, which will have both parts of the story plus a whole bunch of “process art” from my co-creator Michael Montenat and notes on the creation process for both of us.

Michael and I had a really good time working on SPIRIT OF THE LAW, so we’re definitely going to do more MonkeyBrain work together. We’d definitely like to continue the adventures of the Spirit of the Law, and we’re talking about doing other projects through MonkeyBrain as well.

BUG: Look for WITCH DOCTOR: MAL PRACTICE #1 in stores next week from Image Comics. HELLRAISER: THE ROAD BELOW #1 was released least week from BOOM! Studios and look for HELLRAISER: THE DARK WATCH #1 was just announced and will be released in the Spring of 2013. You can also check out SPIRIT OF THE LAW from Monkeybrain Comics now!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over eleven years & AICN HORROR for two. He has written comics such as VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, & NANNY & HANK (soon to be available on iTunes and soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He has co-written FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND’s first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in 2013 as a 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK last year from Zenescope Entertainment & look for his exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-81 released August-December 2012. Mark will be writing GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES to be released in February-June 2013. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitter @Mark_L_Miller.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 20, 2012, 6:32 p.m. CST

    I picked up The Road Below...

    by 3774

    Just to establish a perspective: Hellraiser is genius, Hellbound is great, and then there's just white noise (it's too bad an extensive, extended re-edit of Bloodline isn't possible, might have had potential). I've bought Barker's work in comic form before (IE: The Yattering and Jack) but never a Hellraiser comic. Seeing Kirsty as a Cenobite compelled me to buy it, because 'what the hell?' I liked it well enough. The feud had a sort of Nightbreed tone to me, which wasn't a bad thing. But Kirsty's dialogue seemed very...normal, which didn't feel right. Cenobites have had a very deliberate, almost operatic, Shakespearean way of speaking, which adds to the mythic-level of menace. I guess I was hoping to read really mind-bending horror in mythic, pan-dimensional levels, but I got the start of a pretty good family revenge tale instead. I'll pick up the next issue to see where it goes.