Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Today marks the the release of the Witch Doctor: Mal Practice trade paperback, which collects Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation one-shot and Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1-6. Written by Brandon Seifert and illustrated by Lukas Ketner, the medical-horror series from Skybound/Image Comics follows Dr. Vincent Morrow, who specializes in supernatural diseases, frequently bringing him in contact with vampires, demons, changelings and the like.
In anticipation of the release, I contacted Seifert for a consult on the series (as well as to get his take on cursing in comics). If you want to read Witch Doctor #0, comiXology is offering the issue for free. Also, Seifert and Ketner will be at Portland Things From Another World (2916 NE Broadway St., Portland, Oregon) tonight for a Witch Doctor: Mal Practice release party.
Tim O’Shea: In this trade paperback-hungry market, how good does it feel to be at the TPB stage with Witch Doctor?
Brandon Seifert: Really good! Witch Doctor Vol. 2 has been in the works for a long, long time. Lukas started drawing the first issue in the trade in, I believe, October 2011, and I wrote it a month or two before that. So this TPB has been in progress for like a year and a half, year and three quarters! It’s great to finally have it done and on sale. And the edition itself turned out great!
Although I’ve known him for a few years from frequent drop-ins at the BOOM! Studios booth on the convention circuit, I haven’t ever had the opportunity to interview Matt Gagnon, the company’s editor-in-chief. So I jumped at the chance to talk to him for ROBOT 6’s anniversary.
Matt Gagnon joined BOOM! in 2008 to edit its Farscape comics after working as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. He moved up fairly quickly, becoming managing editor, then editor-in-chief when Mark Waid was named chief creative officer in 2010. This past year saw the launch of BOOM!’s ultra-popular Adventure Time comic book, as well as several other kids’ series as a part of the KaBOOM! line. The publisher also announced a new Hellraiser series and put out several original series, like Higher Earth, Freelancers (which Gagnon co-created) and last week’s Deathmatch, just to name a few.
My thanks to Matt for his time, as well to BOOM!’s Filip Sablik, who helped set it all up.
BBC’s revival of Doctor Who in 2005 met with immediate success, but with the arrival of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Steven Moffat as executive producer, its popularity seemed to rise to a new level. IDW Publishing has been releasing Doctor Who comics since 2007, and this year launched a new series with writer Andy Diggle as “showrunner.” With December’s Issue 3, up-and-coming writer Brandon Seifert and artist Philip Bond stepped in for a two-part story in which Amy sends the Doctor and Rory on a boys’ night out to help build their strained relationship.
Seifert has established himself in a relatively short time with his medical-horror series Witch Doctor, with co-creator/artist Lukas Ketner, which earned the attention of Robert Kirkman and a spot as the launch title for his Skybound Entertainment imprint. Seifert also was among the initial wave of creators invited to produce digital-first material at MonkeyBrain Comics. And most recently he was selected to write under Clive Barker for the Hellraiser series at BOOM! Studios.
Brandon and I got a chance to chat about his Doctor Who two-parter, how he handles horror in comics, and our shared history with fan fiction. IDW was kind enough to provide us with a preview of Doctor Who #4, which goes on sale Wednesday.
BOOM! Studios will continue down the road to Hell in February with Hellraiser: The Dark Watch, an ongoing series co-written by Hellraiser creator Clive Barker and Witch Doctor‘s Brandon Seifert, with art by Tom Garcia. Barker first explored the world of Pinhead, the Cenobites and the mysterious puzzle boxes in the novella The Hellbound Heart, which later spawned a series of films.
In a press release sent out today, BOOM! notes, “As promised, Clive Barker did not only return to the Hellraiser universe, he re-imagined it! Nothing is as simple as it seems–the old ways have been destroyed and a dangerous new world lies in its wake. Where are Elliott Spencer and Kirsty Cotton? Who will rule and who will serve?”
Seifert told USA Today earlier this month he plans to build his stories from the first two Hellraiser movies. “Hellraiser is about the Cenobites and the Cotton family, sure — but it’s about other things too. It’s about the people who escape from Hell, just like it’s about the people who put them there.” Seifert is also the writer of Hellraiser: The Road Below, a spinoff miniseries that kicked off this month and tells the story of Kirsty Cotton’s first “call to Earth” after she became the new Pinhead. So no doubt we’ll see some Pinhead-on-Pinhead action in the new series.
BOOM! picked up the license to make Hellraiser comics at the end of 2010 and launched an ongoing series in March 2011 that lasted 20 issues. It wasn’t the first time Hellraiser found its way into comics, as Marvel published a Hellraiser anthology series under their Epic banner in the late 80s/early 90s that BOOM! republished in a collection last year.
The complete press release, along with variant cover art, can be found below.
BOOM! Studios’ March solicitations include several new projects, including a new Planet of the Apes miniseries called Exile on the Planet of the Apes.
Exile is a sequel to the miniseries Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes and will feature the return of the writing team, Corinna Sara Bechko and Gabriel Hardman. Hardman won’t be drawing the second mini, as he is currently busy with Secret Avengers, so the duo will be joined this time by artist Marc Laming.
“We’re thrilled that BOOM! and Fox are giving us this opportunity,” Hardman said on his blog. “The story is a direct sequel featuring Dr. Zaius and characters we introduced in Betrayal. Well, the ones who survive, anyway.”
Other projects due from BOOM! in March include a Hellraiser annual written solely by Clive Barker, an Ice Age one-shot from their kids line, a new superheroes-meets-Real Housewives comics called Supurbia and a retrospective of now-defunct independent publishing house Kitchen Sink Press.
BOOM! Studios announced via press release this week that the first printing of Hellraiser #1 has sold out, with a second printing on the way. While Hellraiser #1, which was released last week, is no longer available from distributors, your local comic shop may still have copies on store shelves.
These sorts of announcements are fairly common nowadays, to the point that it’s probably pretty rare that we’d even blog about them. Michael May did a really thoughtful interview with the Archaia folks earlier this year about sellouts and what they mean. Looking back at Michael’s intro, he highlighted some questions that I know go through my mind when I see these sorts of press releases, things like whether retailers under-ordered, was the print run really low, did the comic just really click with the audience or was it marketed really well?
While no doubt it doesn’t hurt to have Clive Barker, a writer with a built-in fanbase, returning to write one of his signature creations, BOOM! gave credit to that last one in the press release. The company released a PDF copy of Prelude to the Hellraiser #1 on the day the comic came out.
“Given the tremendous fan response online and how well Hellraiser #1 sold in comic shops nationwide, I feel confident in saying the online PDF worked just as we’d hoped,” Chip Mosher, BOOM!’s marketing director, told Robot 6. “But beyond selling out, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for comic book fans and non-comic book fans to host and share the all-new, all-original Prelude to the Hellraiser #1 PDF and give as many people a chance to experience the beginning of an all-new Hellraiser series. We know there are plenty of horror and Clive Barker fans who may not be comics fans, so by having a quick, easy and completely free way to read and share the Prelude to the Hellraiser #1 we hoped this would be enough of a catalyst to get more people interested in comic books.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Ryan Cody, creator of Icarus and illustrator of Villains and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun. You’ll be seeing more of Icarus around these parts starting very soon …
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
BOOM! Studios announced this morning that they’ve picked up the license to make comics based on horror writer Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. The new ongoing series will be co-written by Barker and Christopher Monfette and drawn by Leonardo Manco of Hellblazer fame.
In addition, they also plan to release Hellraiser: Masterworks Vol. 1, which will reprint stories from the Hellraiser anthology published under Marvel’s Epic banner. The first volume will include stories by Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola and Alex Ross, among others.
The complete press release can be fund after the jump.