This doctor’s got all the right tools for busting up some ghouls.
With budgets being what they are between comic books, video games, and movies these days it take a pretty big leap of faith sometimes to try anything new. Sometimes, however, you’ve got to go on a leap of faith and trust that the contents are as good as the cover promises. It kind of reminds me of hunting down VHS tapes in Blockbuster as a kid, with nothing more than the cover artwork to go on… sometimes you lost (DeathStalker) and sometimes you won (Re-Animator). I took this leap of faith recently with Witch Doctor, a “medical horror” story described by the creators Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner as House M.D. meets Fringe.
With a cover clearly inspired by The Exorcist I was inclined to give the book a shot and right from the gate Seifert and Ketner deliver an intriguing cast of characters who inhabit a world of impossible machines fueled by magic and imagination. As the main protagonist, Dr. Vincent Morrow (M.D.) is like a much younger Doc Brown (Back to the Future) with a touch of a moral Herbert West whose genius is matched only by his eccentricities. His cohorts are equally as interesting; Penny Dreadful is some sort of demon with a conscious while Eric Gast seems like the odd man out as the only “normal” member of the team.
Set in the eerie-as-it-sounds Arkham, Oregon their first mission pits them against a legion of bug-ugly demons who have possessed a young boy. The way in which Seifert lends credibility to the story by tying together real medical terms and case histories with more mystical applications is a greatly appreciated touch ad one matched only by Ketner’s artwork which could easily be mistaken for Bernie Wrightson’s recent forays like City of Others and the similarly themed Doc Macabre.
Not surprisingly, this first issue is not the first time these creators have worked together on the title. Back in 2008/09 Seifert and Ketner self-published a series of Witch Doctor comics that featured the same basic premise and cast with only a few changes that included a much sexier Penny Dreadful. The concept of a “sick” world in which all of the bad things that haunt our nightmares are actually a demonic disease is a pretty cool one and with the next issue promising carnivorous faerie babies I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this supernatural night surgeon.