It’s Tuesday again, and that means 7 Questions! For this week’s installment, “Witch Doctor” creator/ writer Brandon Seifert took the time to talk to me about writing, comics, and writing comics.
1-WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT COMICS WERE THE MEDIUM YOU WANTED TO BE WRITING IN?
Wanting to write comics pretty much came hand-in-hand for me with reading them to begin with. I got my start writing comics when I was 10 years old and reading the Ninja Turtles Adventures comics from Archie. Me and my best friend would write and draw our own comics — admittedly, he could actually draw, and I couldn’t. I got too “cool” to read comics during high school, but when I got over myself and started reading them again my first year of college I immediately started wanting to write them again, and started coming up with my own plots and stuff. I took a detour through journalism in my 20s, but even then, comics were what I actually wanted to be writing.
2-WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS-DO YOU HAVE A NOTEBOOK WITH LOADS OF NOTES THAT YOU TYPE UP LATER?
I have notebooks, and stacks of pads of paper with notes on them, and notepad files on my computer. It’s pretty chaotic — but something I find that if I’m stuck on something I’m writing, I need to try writing it down in some other medium. (Like if I’m having trouble with a plot I’m trying to type up, I need to close my laptop and start writing with a pen and paper.)
I used to really intensely plot things beforehand. I’d have a document with a separate, one-line description of every page in an issue, and I had to have it mostly complete before I started the script. Eventually I discovered that was just me being afraid, and not trusting my craft. Now I have the same document, but I fill it in a few pages at a time, generally as I’m writing the pages themselves. Turns out that being more flexible works better for me.
3-YOU REFER DO YOUR BOOK AS “DR. STRANGE MEETS DR. HOUSE.” WHICH WORKS ACTUALLY INFLUENCE THE SERIES?
We reference a lot of different works when we describe “Witch Doctor”... but most of them aren't actually things that influence us. (For instance, I watched the first season of House M.D. back in 2007, but I haven't watched any more episodes since then — and I’m thoroughly uninterested in Dr. Strange).
My influences on “Witch Doctor” are actually constantly in flux. When we started working on the series, I was heavily influenced by Hellboy, Buffy, and H.P. Lovecraft. Then I got into Doctor Who and the BBC Sherlock, both of which started influencing what I’m doing in the book. And then a couple weeks ago I started watching Supernatural, and got really into it. So this week I’m describing “Witch Doctor” as “House, M.D. meets Supernatural!”
4-WHAT COMICS ARE YOU READING CURRENTLY?
I just got done reading Saga #1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and I was really impressed with it. (It’s Romeo and Juliet as new parents — IN SPACE!) Last week I loved The Manhattan Projects #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitara — it’s big, silly, gonzo SF in kind of a Warren Ellis mold, and I love that stuff. Other than that, the only books I’m currently collecting on a semi-regular basis are Uncanny X-Force from Marvel, The Unwritten from Vertigo, and Atomic Robo.
5-TRUMAN CAPOTE ONCE SAID “FINISHING A BOOK IS JUST LIKE YOU TOOK A CHILD OUT IN THE BACK YARD AND SHOT IT.” WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THIS CLAIM?
By the time I’m almost done with a script, I generally wish I could shoot it. The only times I’m unhappy about finishing a project are if I feel like I should’ve done a better job on it — and in those cases, I’m usually too burned-out on it to feel like spending any more time on it.
I like getting stuff done, and moving forward. And sometimes, I’m actually able to get myself to do so!
6-YOUR CURE FOR WRITER’S BLOCK?
I don’t know if I experience “writer’s block.” My idea of writer’s block involves not having ideas for stories, or not knowing how to execute a story. But I’ve always got ideas for stories, and while I may not know the best way to execute them, I can always figure out some way to try.
The thing I get that’s like writer’s block is a state where I have trouble getting myself to actually write. And I find that’s mostly an anxiety thing. The easiest way for me to get around it is to just sit down and start writing, not let myself procrastinate. I have to show myself there’s nothing to be afraid of; if I don’t like a sentence I wrote, or a page or a script — I can always just delete it and start again.
7-WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM BOTH WITCH DOCTOR AND BRANDON SEIFERT IN 2012?
Next from “Witch Doctor” is “Mal Practice,” a six-issue storyline coming out near the end of the year. Our first arc was really heavily focused on monsters; our second arc is more focused on magic, and the people who use it — and abuse it.
As for me — 2011 was the year I started my career and began to find my bearing, but I think 2012 is my year to shine. I feel like I’m coming into my own on “Witch Doctor,” and I’ve got some other projects lined up that I’m really excited about. Back in April I did a story in the Hellraiser Annual from BOOM; time will tell if I’ll get another chance to write Clive Barker’s creations! I’ve also got a couple other projects in the works, some of which are my creations — but I’m going to have to wait until San Diego Comic Con to talk about them!