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DF Interview: Sam Davies’ Hex Vet is just what the (supernatural) doctor ordered
By Byron Brewer
In a world where magic is a part of daily life, Nan and Clarion are determined to be the best veterinarian witches of all time. Between life, animals and magic, these two witches will soon realize that they have a lot to learn—and not just about how to help a ghost cat have kittens. This story will take Nan and Clarion on fun adventures where they will get to learn more about each other, their strengths as veterinarians, and their equal passion for magical animals. Hopefully they’ll be up to the challenge of running a clinic, saving lives, and staying on their boss’ good side!
From BOOM! Studios and its acclaimed KaBOOM! imprint, Hex Vet is an all-new hardcover original graphic novel from cartoonist Sam Davies (Stutterhug). DF wanted to know more, so we whipped up a little spell of our own to take us directly to artist/writer Sam Davies.
Dynamic Forces: Sam, what can you tell us about this mystical magical world you build in Hex Vet?
Sam Davies: This story takes place at the vets surgery itself which isn't too different from an ordinary English country vets apart from the creatures wandering around inside. There are some possible future locations that are more fantastical, but you'll only find out about them if there's a sequel! This story hopefully teases some ideas about the wider magical world but doesn't let you see them just yet.
DF: Tell us about the storyline of this great graphic novel. How did the concept come about?
Sam Davies: Well, Shannon Watters originally emailed me last year and asked if I had any stories I'd be interested in pitching. I'd been trying to work out a way to do a magical vets story as a silent webcomic but never quite made it work. I went back to it and rewrote with a longer comic in mind and ended up with a story about two trainee Witch Vets dealing with being left in charge of the surgery for the first time. I have to thank Shannon and my editor Whitney Leopard for giving me an excuse to focus on this story and work through the concept with them; otherwise, it would have stayed in my pile of half-baked ideas for who knows how long.
DF: Can you introduce us to Nan, Clarion and some of your other protagonists please?
Sam Davies: Clarion is a very optimistic friendly person and a big animal lover. I think readers will enjoy following him throughout his day. Nan is... very focused and dead-eyed, probably not much fun at parties. Also DON'T mention her family in front of her. They haven't known each other very long and you could say there's a bit of a personality clash. Let’s hope things work out when they're under stress. Their boss and mentor is a famous witch vet surgeon, Dr. Talon. They both admire her but have noticed she's a little eccentric when it comes to judging how dangerous magical creatures are and it’s also pretty mysterious that she's working in a small vets practice in the middle of nowhere. Does this sound intriguing enough yet??
DF: I know from your webcomic work that you have a thing for unusual pets, so Hex Vet gives you literally a world of opportunity! Can you tell us some of the more UNUSUAL unusual pets readers will encounter in the book’s pages?
Sam Davies: I like classical mythological beasts like griffins and phoenixes, things with completely nonsensical biology, so you can expect some of them to them to make appearances. Even the normal-seeming pets like rabbits, cats and dogs might have some interesting abilities when you get to know them better. There's also a quite large magical pest problem in the surgery that needs dealing with, but I won't give away what that is.
DF: Does Writer Sam and Artist Sam always agree on what goes down on the page? Who wins out, plot or art? Is working as a one-woman band an advantage or disadvantage?
Sam Davies: Sam the Artist thinks Sam the Writer should think before she writes so many characters into one scene! It's actually funny because in my webcomic work, the line between art and writing is very blurred. I “write” mostly through sketching and letting things evolve. This time, the process is much more separated but I'm still finding ideas change considerably when I come to draw them. So it’s probably a good thing I'm doing it all myself or I'd constantly be sending annoying emails to the artist saying that I've changed my mind again.
DF: Sam, what else can readers expect from you in the near-future?
Sam Davies: I'm planning to publish a collection of my webcomic Stutterhug for print later in the year, continue working on new episodes of Stutterhug and The Shape Things, my long-form silent shapeshifter fantasy webcomic which you can read on Tapastic and through my patreon (https://www.patreon.com/Stutterhug).
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Sam Davies for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. The Hex Vet OGN from BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM! hits stores in December!
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