This week sees the publication of Joe Casey and Andy Suriano’s latest Image Comics project, the 72-page “Doc Bizarre, M.D.” Within the pages of the hardcover graphic novel, the pair follow up on their 2008 “Charlatan Ball” collaboration by shining the spotlight on a failed doctor who finds himself taking care of sick monsters. CBR News caught up with Suriano to talk about his creative partner, their changing working relationship and, of course, the good doctor himself.
“We sort of think of the good Doc as a failed medical practitioner of sorts that lost his license, literally operating on the fringe of society,” Suriano told CBR News. “Being a resourceful sort, Doc Bizarre found himself a niche treating monsters and ghouls in need — thankfully, without the headache and paperwork of PPOs and HMOs. It’s sort of Doctors Without Borders — in Hell.”
Of course, no doctor operates on his own, and Doc Bizarre is no exception. But, as you might expect, it takes a very special kind of person to assist with such a specialized practice.
“Doc’s faithful — and at times more capable — assistant is named Epoch,” Suriano said. “Epoch is a Demon Boy and one of Doc’s very first cases. He brings his own perspective and ‘Demon Abilities’ to each case and is well suited for whatever potential threats may arise — treating a vampire with a toothache can be tricky!”
When it comes to describing his partner in medical fiction, Suriano simply responded, “Two words: Rock. Star,” though he went into a greater detail in the book’s initial press release:
“I loved collaborating with Joe again,” Suriano said in “Doc Bizarre’s” initial announcement. “Every time we put our heads together I feel like I need a trip to the sanitarium after — the dude’s sick! In the best possible way, of course. This new cast of characters we brought to life are twisted and equally as colorful; I just hope everyone’s ready for the bizarre!”
But while he was remarkably succinct in describing his partner’s talents, Suriano did go further into detail when discussing the creative relationship between himself and Casey as their styles have grown and changed over the past three years.
“Well, this time around he finally called me by my correct name,” Suriano joked. “I kid, I kid. I think there’s growth and growing trust in any continued relationship. At this point, we are more adept to playing to each other’s strengths, especially working from the ‘Marvel Way’ of storytelling like we do. Furthermore, I’m not sure we bring all of our respective animation success and baggage to the table when we knock out books like ‘Doc Bizarre, M.D.’ and ‘Charlatan Ball.’ It’s more that we check that stuff at the door and sort of let our id out for a stroll and freak flags fly!”
Ultimately, Casey and Suriano decided to distribute this first Doc Bizarre story not as a miniseries — which, with 72 pages of story, it could have been — but instead as a hardcover graphic novel. The decision, as you might expect, can be broken down into simple medical terms.
“Starting ‘Doc Bizarre, M.D,’ off as a one-shot just sort of made sense to us,” Suriano said. “Doing a nice, prestige format hardcover seemed like an easier ‘pill to swallow’ — pun intended — as far as the story goes. We would love to continue Doc’s madcap medical adventures in similar formats.”
Joe Casey and Andy Suriano’s “Doc Bizarre” will see you now in comic stores everywhere.