A while back I wrote a very brief post on Witch Doctor: Under the Knife by Mssrs. Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner. Whether by accident or not, that post linked to the Witch Doctor website (the Facebook page has a better feel, though, and gets updated much more often) and I feel like I should give the text a greater nod than what I had done.
This isn’t a review. While I think this is a great comic and that it has cracked my top-five favorites (in no particular order for now: Marvel Civil War, The Troll-Witch and Others, Arkham Asylum: Serious House on Serious Earth, Deadpool: Suicide Kings, and now Witch Doctor: Under the Knife), I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone. Rather, I’m not sure I can say that everyone should read this comic. There are books that I think everyone should read, whether they end up enjoying it or not; Marvel Civil War and World War Z are two books that should make it into everyone’s hands for a period of time to peruse and learn from.
Witch Doctor isn’t one “of those.” It was a purchase I made on a lark at my local comic book store, I found it crammed behind one of those comics based on a running television show. I was extremely lucky to have found it, purchased it, and read it that same night. I’m not sure what it is about this book and its characters, but it is extremely cathartic for me. I read it and felt alleviated from the stress I was feeling from the classes I was taking and teaching. I was happy. I, weirdly, felt a connection with these characters and wanted very much for them to be real. Though, perhaps not so “weirdly” as I’ve also written about my problems with my suspension of disbelief. That cord is not yet snapped, thought it doesn’t have the same spring it once had (however long ago that was).
I’ve read and reread it within hours and days, and picked it back up weeks later after its stay on my bookshelf (incidentally, I did find a typo). For a while, I carried it with me to classes sometimes to show to friends, but mostly just to have it with me. I’m sure if Mssrs. Seifert and Ketner were to see this post, they would be at least somewhat put-off (creeped, skeeved) by what I’ve written and by my feelings for their creation. I would understand. So, superficially, I will say that the art, the plot, and ideas are interesting and lovely. The language is gripping, the dialogue is realistic and done well; it’s as if you are listening to a conversation, which is hard to do in the written form.
This panel. I love this panel.
I love the characters and am interested in knowing more about them, they are wonderful and compelling. I’m most curious about Penny Dreadful and knowing about what happened to her and what will happen; the sadness that is implied is powerful and has me desiring answers for her. I’m excited to watch the relationships between the main trio, Dr. Vincent Morrow, Penny Dreadful, and Eric Gast, develop (there should be a second volume coming out later this year). I love stories about families, and maybe that’s why I find such comfort in this book. The weird bond between these people remind me of what I want so much in my now and future.
That last bit was more of a review. I guess to make anyone reading this feel better about why I’m writing it. But, it does come back down to the fact that it makes me feel a kind of happiness that either I haven’t felt in a long time or never really felt at all, and I’ve been needing it. Maybe it’s simple escapism, but I should point out that I have a lot of books, DVDs, and a satellite dish. This book is special and screw what I said before. You should read it. If nothing else, it’s pretty damn funny and there’s nothing wrong with extending the Lovecraft Universe a little further, I should think.
- Weird medical comics are back with HARVEST (comicsbeat.com)
- Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries to debut at ALA Convention in Anaheim (comicsbeat.com)