Warning: The Following Interview Features Spoilers for Wytches #6, Released Today by Image Comics
As a comic book fan, and especially a fan of Batman, being able to talk to someone like Scott Snyder about his craft is a real treat. A real treat that I was late for. Sometimes the events of a day can get hectic, and things get forgotten or completely glossed over at first glance. This happened with the little bit of information in my e-mail that informed me I was to be the one calling Scott for the interview. Not the most common practice. So, as the phone rang I wondered what best to say in order to apologize for being late to the party. After Scott answered, and I apologized, I was put to ease to know that Scott was in the middle of still living out of boxes after moving into a new house, and he assured me that scatterbrained mishaps even happened to professional comic writers.
image via Zimbio
“How do you know when a story is over?”
“When everyone is dead.”
Snyder is the type of writer that can not settle down on just one project at a time. He confesses that having several irons in the fire is what helps keep him going on his stories, and the ability to break away from one and work on the other stops any of them from becoming too daunting of a task. They also can sometimes offer a reprieve from the constraints of writing for superhero comics. “The thing about superhero comics, like Batman, is you are writing someone else’s character,” Snyder explains. “You try to make them as much your own as you can, and create stories that are yours, but there will always be those other stories, or concepts, that you have to stick to. You have to maintain the character that someone else created.” With Snyder being the writer on the main Batman series at DC Comics since 2011, he has also maintained several side projects of his own creation. “It’s nice to have something that is entirely your own that you have the freedom with. I need that in my writing.”
Scott’s latest creator-owned series, Wytches, has been a hit for Image Comics, and a way for Scott to tell a story that has been a lot more personal for him, and for his artist, Jock. “The story, and especially the first arc, was born from a fear that Jock and I both have experienced as fathers. A fear of all the terrible things that could happen to your child in the world.” They story follows author Charles Rook and his family as they discover an ancient race of wytches are stalking their family, particularly their daughter Sailor. It is a tale of visceral horror and tension that fans of Snyder have come to expect after outings such as American Vampire and Severed.
image via Women Write About Comics
“Every good piece of horror is a stand-in for terrible things in real life.”
“I have tried writing other types of stories, but I really seem drawn to horror because of what it can represent. Every good piece of horror is a stand-in for terrible things in real life. People fear zombies because they remind us of death, and that it is inescapable, and we fear what we will do to each other to avoid it. I chose witches as a topic because they are a type of evil that must be sought out. Every culture has stories about witches and similar creatures, but they always tend to be an evil that we have to seek out for ourselves, knowing what they are, because of what we hope to gain from them no matter the cost.”
In Snyder’s story. it is ultimately discovered that Sailor has been pledged to the wytches, and the entire town has known of their existence for quite some time. Charlie, discovering himself to be the only one willing to fight to save his daughter, chooses to sacrifice himself and pledges himself in her place instead to give Sailor a chance to get away. An ending that Snyder feels was always meant to occur this way. “There is a quote I remember from when I was younger, where someone asked Stephen King how he knows when to end a story. His response was ‘when everyone is dead,’ and I seemed to have stuck to that.” This last bit brought a laugh out of the writer, thinking on his own work. “That kind of an event shapes a person. This was always Sailor’s story, but nothing else in it would happen if this didn’t happen first.”
While Scott doesn’t want to spoil what may be down the road in the series, it is still one he is quite excited to continue. “Now, we get to explore Sailor’s life after her father’s sacrifice and what that will ultimately build her into.” Snyder’s personal story about parental fear and sacrifice could only end after a legitimate parental sacrifice. With Sailor’s parents, and most of the town dead, Snyder truly kept to Mr. King’s rule. True horror is based on real life, and a parent’s job will ultimately lead to them leaving their children to fend for themselves after giving them everything they can. After all, every child is the protagonist of the story their parents write.
Wytches #6 is on sale now from Image Comics, and be sure to check out Scott’s other work in Batman from DC. The second arc of Wytches is expected to release this fall, along with Scott’s new Image series with Jeff Lemire, After Death.