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Witch Doctor: First Incision

By Owen Jones (2008-04-26)

The comic you always wanted but were too afraid to ask for.


A little while back I came across an interesting workblog started by a member of one of the comic communities I frequent. Brandon Seifert had given into the creative urge and begun the tough task of writing a comic, based on an inspired idea. This weekend that process will come to fruition in the form of Witch Doctor: First Incision. Having followed the title's progression avidly (you can catch up through the Witch Doctor workblog here), becoming increasingly jealous of the stunning artwork penciled by Brandon's co-collaborator Lukas Ketner, some of which they were kind enough to give us and can be seen below, it is fair to say I would be remiss in not sharing this little gem.

Witch Doctor: First Incision is a FREE (just go to their website and download it now - there is some swearing and violence be warned) 16-page introduction into the world of Doctor Morrow, a cross between Doctor Strange and Doctor House. The good doctor, as the synopsis describes, has been 'Excommunicated from the medical community and headhunted into an exciting new career in the black arts, he's here to diagnose earth's dark underbelly. Morrow serves the world with both hands -- one in magic, one in medicine -- as earth's protector. Earth's WITCH DOCTOR. It's a sick world -- he's here to treat it.' In Brandon's own words First Incision is "a crash-course introduction to Doctor Morrow, his staff and his world, presented as a rather warped take on vampires that's based on actual blood-drinking animals." And here's the proof of the pudding:

Personally it has been inspiring and motivational to watch this semi-formed idea take shape visually and thematically, creating a mix of intelligent, well-researched writing (check out the guys' second blog at Warren Ellis' Whitechapel here for all the things you need to know about cannibalism and other fun stuff ) and kick-ass artwork that defies the fact this is their first comic book.

As Brandon points out: "FIRST INCISION is a portfolio-piece gone wrong. He's (Ketner) a professional artist (illustrator for newspapers, albums, motorcycle helmets and more) and I'm a professional writer (for newspapers and magazines), and we decided to team-up to create a short piece for our non-existent comics portfolios. Then WITCH DOCTOR spiralled out of our control. Lukas and I are approaching FIRST INCISION as if we aren't comics creators, but musicians recording a demo. It's both an audition piece for us as individual creators, and the proof-of-concept for a series. We've got a three-issue miniseries planned once we've found a publisher. It's a zombie story called NIGHT OF THE LAUGHING DEAD. Among other things, it's about how when you have an outbreak of an extremely virulent disease (like ebola), the hospital system becomes a major vector for infection. All our monsters are crossed with disturbing things from medicine and zoology. So all my research has been into things like Mad Cow Disease, ebola, and the mating habits of bedbugs."

Which brings us to the end of the talking and begins the staring, below is the wonderful cover and first three pages of Witch Doctor: First Incision.

Please pay a visit to the website: www.witchdoctorcomic.com if you want to know more and download the free comic, before they get really big and start charging :)

Debuting in the Pacific Northwest at Portland's Stumptown Comics Fest on April 26-27, WITCH DOCTOR: FIRST INCISION will be available for free online beginning Friday, April 25. You can also visit Doctor Morrow's MySpace page.

Owen Jones 2008



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