THE OCCULTIST: 'What if Peter Parker Became Dr. Strange?'
The Occultist #2 Covers
CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics
Back in 2010, Tim Seeley and artist Victor Drujiniu brought horror/fantasy fans The Occultist to Dark Horse Comics as a one-shot and then followed by a mini-series in 2011. This Fall, Seeley continues the story with fan favorite artist (and studiomate) Mike Norton (Young Justice, Battle Pug) in tow. The Occultist centers around college student Rob Bailey who comes across and ancient tome called The Sword which grants him supernatural powers and the responsibility to protect the living from the dead...and vice versa.
Being thrown into a world with magic and the undead hasn't made Rob's life any easier, and this time around, things look to only get worse. Newsarama spoke to both Seeley and Norton about the upcoming series as they give hints about for what lies ahead. Norton even supplied some never before seen pages from the first two issues!
Newsarama: So, guys, The Occultist has been billed as Harry Potter meets Trainspotting and for those that missed out on the mini-series, how would you describe the world of the Occultist?
Tim Seeley: Ha. I like that billing. I think I have occasionally used "Dr. Strange meets Requiem for a Dream without the parts that make you feel icky."
Mike Norton: I describe it as "What if Peter Parker became Dr. Strange instead of Spider-Man." Actually he's more like the kid in Kick-Ass, because he hasn't quite got the "Great Power = Responsibility" thing yet.
Nrama: After the events of the first mini-series, where do we find Rob now?
Seeley: Rob is studying with his mentor, James Charles (who is really his arch-nemesis, Aiden Beck in disguise), attempting to better control the power of The Sword, and assisting local detective, Anna Melendez on "paranormal" crimes.
Nrama: Mike, you take over artistic duties for Victor Drujiniu on this series, are you approaching the book any differently than the first series and putting your own flavor into the mix or are you going to keep the style in the same wheelhouse?
Norton: I'd say I'm quite a bit different than Victor. I'm just sticking to the basic looks of the already established characters, but everything else is going to be much more me. Much more "comic book". I'm just trying to have fun with it.
Nrama: Rob had help last time with the aid of Detective Anna Melendez, there's mention of a possible partner this time around being a magical schoolgirl named Luka Shryde. Can you tell us a bit more about her?
Seeley: Luka represents the other end of magic use, wherein, to her, it's all about how to use it to expand your own perceptions and experiences, rather than attempt to control it. Also, she's a catholic school girl.
Norton: Tim like's girls in school uniforms. What can I say?
Nrama: You guys have collaborated before on Revival, and you're both Devil's Due alumni and work in a studio together, what is the creative process for you guys?
Seeley: For this book, it was a bit of "What do you want to draw?" and then figuring out how to combine that with my story beats. But, mostly, I write, and then I look over Mike's shoulder and say "Sweeeeeet."
Norton: It's evolved over the years, but mostly it still comes down to Tim writes and I draw. With Revival, it's much more involved, because we bat around ideas and sometimes I'll even help write stuff, but we're very collaborative. It really helps that creatively we live very much in the same world.
Nrama: Without giving too much away, who are The Providences?
Seeley: The Providences are college students at a Christian school who've decided to pursue magic as a way to escape the physical confines of their bodies and experience a "higher state." So, sort of New Age crackheads.
Nrama: Rob's nemesis Aiden Beck is still lurking in the form of one of Rob's closest allies, what part does he play this time around?
Seeley: Beck's plans are coming to fruition, and his "mentor-ship" of Rob has allowed him to steer the Occultist away from using The Sword for it's intended purpose.
Nrama: What can fans of the series expect this time around? Do you think it exceeds its predecessor? Seeley: I'm really proud of the story, and I think it's a really logical extension of the stories we've told previously, but also works as a stand alone superhero epic with really pretty art and covers!!
Norton: Yeah it's a continuation, but I think we get more into the MAGIC part of it, I think. Things get trippier. Certainly fun to draw, for me at least.