phile under: comic con 2010
5 Questions with Brandon Seifert
On the cusp of Comic Con, the writer of Witch Doctor discusses his series’ new-found bargaining power.
Brandon Seifert writes a comic book series called Witch Doctor, which has been billed, succinctly, as House meets Fringe. This might be the first you’ve heard of it, but it probably won’t be the last, as he and illustrator Lukas Ketner have recently signed on with big-league comics-industry financiers, Skybound. (Read more about that in this recent New York Times Article)
Tomorrow, the pair will premiere Witch Doctor at Comic Con in San Diego. Today, Culturephile catches Seifert in a state of giddy anticipation, ready to don a new suit and take the geek world by storm. Without further ado, five questions:
How did you react when you first heard from Kirkman/Skybound?
We first heard from Robert Kirkman one year ago today, just before last year’s Comic Con. It was an email out of the blue, asking if we had a publisher and saying, "Book looks really solid." That was all.
I was terribly excited, and also startled. We’d gotten a lot of attention for the book, but not from anyone of Kirkman’s stature.
My reaction was also, "It’s a shame we have to turn this down." At the time Robert was contacting us on behalf of Image Comics proper, and Image pays on the back-end — you get royalties based on sales, but you never get an advance on royalties. And my collaborator Lukas can’t afford to produce multiple issues of a comic unless he’s getting paid up front. It was only after a couple months of back-and-forth that Robert revealed he had his own imprint in the works, specifically designed to accommodate creators like Lukas.
What has the partnership done for you financially so far? What bills have they footed? How many of your books have they printed?
I can’t really go into details on the financial stuff. I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon — unless the comic is a HUGE hit or we get a Hollywood deal sooner rather than later. (And considering I got my first inquiry about TV/film rights less than 24 hours after Monday’s New York Times came out… that’s not outside the realm of possibility.) Meanwhile, my collaborator gets to pay his rent while he works on our first miniseries, and we get a comic published, distributed — and heavily promoted, which is rare in comics and is a big deal.
What’s your strategy going into Comic Con?
My strategy is NOT TO DIE. I leave Portland at 6:40 in the morning tomorrow, get to San Diego around 9, and then it’s meetings, panels, signings, parties… and then I spend the night in the airport and fly out Friday morning, exactly 24 hours after I left Portland.
DON’T DIE is Job #1.
HAVE FUN is Job #2.
What are you and Lukas gonna wear? This seems like a frivolous question, but costuming’s big at Comic Con, and I know you care ;)
Ha. :-) I went out and bought a Victory Suit for the occasion. It’s a pin-striped black three-piece. I told my editor I bought a suit, and he went, "… Why?" So that might have been a mistake. But still — VICTORY SUIT!
What is your absolute best-case-scenario biggest dream for Witch Doctor?
A long and successful run on my own creation, a la the success Mike Mignola’s had with Hellboy. Accompanied by a WITCH DOCTOR TV show written and directed by Joss Whedon, with effects by a creature house run by Guillermo Del Toro.
Also, a solid-gold minivan and a castle on the moon.