Witch Doctor: demented graphic novel about a metaphysical epidemiologist bent on stamping out incipient Cthulhuism

By Cory Doctorow

Under the Knife is the first collection of Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner's charmingly demented graphic novel Witch Doctor, which concerns th travails of Dr Vincent Morrow, a metaphysical epidemiologist who specializes in tracking down and eradicating transdimensional pestilences, ably assisted by Penny Dreadful (a possessed former art students whose internal demon feeds on pandimensional horrors) and Eric Gast, a paramedic who's learning the metaphysics trade.

Ketner and Seifert's sensibility is perfectly potty, and their titular doctor is a blend of Doctor Who and Spider Jerusalem. The metaphysics they reveal through the gruesome adventures in this volume has a weird internal consistency, but it's so cockeyed and frankly revolting that I can honestly say it never occurred to me before they scarred me with it.

This is a fine debut, and I can't wait for future volumes. Here's a preview of the first issue, and I've also included a few pages after the jump, so you can get a taste.

Witch Doctor, Vol. 1: Under the Knife

Published 6:28 am Mon, Jan 30, 2012

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About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

25 Responses to “Witch Doctor: demented graphic novel about a metaphysical epidemiologist bent on stamping out incipient Cthulhuism”

  1. Isn’t stamping out Cthulhuism religious discrimination?   Sounds like a human rights issue to me.

  2. desiredusername says:

    Meet the medic

  3. jlargentaye says:

    On a scale of 1 (coincidence) to 10 (blatant rip-off), how do you rate the relationship with Charles Stross’ Laundry novels? Or Tim Power’s Declare for that matter?

    Anyhow, this fits squarely in my themes of interest. Thanks for the tip, Cory!

    • I can answer that, since I’m the writer: I’ve read some of the Laundry novels, and while I like them, they haven’t really influenced my writing the way some of Stross’ other stuff has (“A Colder War,” I’m looking at you). And I haven’t checked out Declare.

      Honestly, I don’t know that “doctor investigates/fights Lovecraftian monsters (and vampires/demons/faeries) from a medical perspective” is really that similar to “intelligence agent fights Lovecraftian monsters and deals with forms and bureaucratic red tape” are honestly that similar — apart from the “Lovecraftian monsters” part (and the fact that we’ve got a lighter feel, a bit like the Laundry).

      – Brandon Seifert

      • Sean Mangan says:

        I’m definitely picking this up, but wanted to know if you have a preference of where people should purchase it.
        Do you get more of a cut if I pick it up at a brick and mortar?
        Amazon is easy, but I wonder if those prices are at the expense of the authors.
        Thanks, Sean

        • Sean — I’ve gotta say, I really appreciate you asking that!

          I honestly have no idea if I get more or less of a cut if you buy the book on Amazon — but I strongly encourage supporting your local comics retailer. Supporting book-and-mortar comics stores helps everyone in the industry, from the publisher down to the fans. (And buying my book at a comic store helps the store see there’s a demand for the series, and encourages them to order more.)

          Thanks again for asking!

          Brandon Seifert

  4. Val Lindsay says:

    I’m fortunate enough to own the short-run premiere issue of this book, back when they were refining the art and format. Thanks for letting me know a great title is alive and kicking!

  5. Jon_Wake says:

    I’m glad Lucas and Brandon are getting this great press. They’ve been busting their asses for the past four years trying to get this off the ground.

  6. snagglepuss says:

    This looks promising. I’m a sucker for cynical smart-asses who still have the scientific – and ethical – chops to wade into pseudomysticism and kick it’s hairy ass, while  showing it to be just another misinterpreted/misrepresented scientific discipline after all.

  7. Bunta says:

    Kind of reminds me of August Derleth cthulhu cylce (sans dr.).  Anything that includes Lovecraftian monsters sounds interesting to me.  Any chance we can since this in digital download? (kindle? android etc)

  8. bjacques says:

    Having been one of the test subjects on Warren Ellis’s “Whitechapel” blog where it first appeared, I can say it’s hilarious and stomach-churning stuff. Seifert and Stross  are working the same–happily still rich–seam, but their respective approaches are very different.

  9. For those interested in checking us out, WITCH DOCTOR #0 is free to read digitally through comiXology:

    (THANK YOU Cory and Boing Boing for the press! I love this blog, and it’s really awesome to get some love here.)

  10. Bahumat says:

    For a very different take on “Doctor whose primary medical specialty is posession.” try “Mushi-shi”. Great little anime, very heartfelt, and the best way I can put it is, it feels like House meets Spirited Away. 

  11. SedanChair says:

    No possession is too otherworldly…for DOCTOR WOLVERINE

  12. IndexMe says:

    I don’t want paper but would buy an unencumbered digital copy to read on my Mac or other devices I see fit to read it on as time goes on. I think it should be cheaper than the Amazon price for dead tree edition.

    It would be nice if people who bought the first edition are given a hash code worth a discount on future editions.. I might even choose to pay for a couple of the future editions in advance now.

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