Scott Snyder's highly personal — yet unsettling — new take on witches hit its climax with Wytches #5, and the story now spirals toward an April conclusion that Snyder calls "one of the best finales" he's ever done for a story arc.
Working with Jock on art and Matt Hollingsworth on colors, Snyder has been weaving a surprisingly grounded and human tale about a family confronted by the eerie, mysterious "Wytch" creatures who live in the woods.
The current story arc finishes up with an oversized, 34-page #6, then Image will release an extras-filled trade paperback in May collecting the first six issues.
Yet Jock and Snyder intend to return later this year for a second arc. As the inaugural arc nears its ending, Newsarama talked to Snyder about how personal the story is, why he chose words like "stink" and "sweet" as in-story descriptors, and what's coming next.
Newsarama: Scott, without spoiling too much about this issue, what becomes even more apparent in Wytches #5 is that it's a very human and very family story. Charlie's determination to find his daughter is so central to this part of the story, so I assume you, as a dad, probably put a little bit of yourself into this issue?
Scott Snyder: Oh, completely. This series is easily the most confessional series I've ever worked on, by far. There are times when I feel embarrassed that it's as open as it is. Like, I worry if my kids are going to read it eventually, or my wife reading it or my parents reading it — which they do, and they're unstoppably supportive.
But yeah, look, I've tried to be pretty open about the fact that I've gone through periods I'm not proud of, that have been dark, where I've not taken care of myself, in terms of depression and anxiety, and I've made very little effort to, at times when things have gotten bad, to get better. For me, at times you get angry at things, and you lash out and you get to a bad way, and you let yourself become somebody you don't like.
I never did exactly what Charlie does, and I wouldn't say it's an exact reflection, but there have been times, especially when I felt overwhelmed when we were pregnant with our second kid, with Emmett, when we had Jack, where I was tremendously overwhelmed with the feeling of, how am I going to do this? I didn't really have a big comics career yet or anything, and I was feeling very torn and very angry and very guilty — all of these things at once. And I behaved in ways I'm not proud of, where I lashed out at my family in certain ways, and I fell into a place where I was very myopic in my thoughts and my worries.
Wytches is about those things, not in a way that's meant to be "look at me and what I went though," but it's talking about how, in a lot of ways, when you hide the things that you feel and think that aren't pretty, and you don't discuss them. and you don't try to turn them into art or talk to your friends about them or get help for them, or put them out into the world, they can fester.
Nrama: And that's where the Wytches come in.
Snyder: Yeah, that's what the Wytches prey on. The Wytches want you to come to them in secret and ask for things you're not supposed to have, because you're not capable, in some ways, of dealing with things that should be the limitations of your own life.
Like, if you realize you're sick and you go to the Wytches to get a cure, but you have to give somebody else to them to get that cure.
The Wytches are a way around coping with the realities of life. They give you things that are unnatural, that you're not supposed to have, and in doing so, you throw someone else to them.
That, to me, is representative of the kind of selfishness that I think everyone is capable of at times.
Nrama: One of the thing that stuck out to me in this issue, is that this horror story, at least right now, isn't an overly complicated or convoluted mythology. It's just very basic and raw, to me.
Nrama: Even the words "sweet" and "stink." It's very basic.
Nrama: Was that a conscious effort on your part?
Snyder: Very much. Yeah. Jock and I really wanted to make it something that was almost childlike in how simple and primal it was, at least when it comes to the Wytches mythology. There are things we haven't revealed that you'll see in the next issue, that there are things deeper in the burrow that makes the burrow more layered than it looks. And there are different Wytches, which we mentioned in #4. Clara, the woman who is part of the group that hunts the Wytches, mentions that there are even rooted ones down there in this particular burrow.
So you'll see their physiology and their sort of social system has its own strange design, that we've made up. But in terms of the language, like the lexicon of the series, and their physical design and the things you fight them with, the things you fight them with — we wanted it to be very primal and brutal and simple.
So they're almost like childlike words for, rub — you know, the rub you put on, the Stink — the things like Rat Bullets. It's almost like child things that you fight them with, in some ways, because they're these kind of Grimm Fairy Tale-type monsters.
Nrama: Yeah. OK, so April's Wytches #6 is the conclusion to this story arc. But with this being adverstised ongoing, are you and Jock are going to continue?
Snyder: Oh yeah, we're going to do another arc. We're going to take a little bit of time off, for a few months, and then we'll start up again — I think we're coming back with the first issue of the next arc on Halloween; that's our thinking. Every year, we'll try to do a big arc that starts on Halloween — a big arc, like this, a six-issue arc.
The arc is big. When I looked at the trade, it's 200-plus pages, because two of the issues are plus-30 pages. Every issue is more than 22 — basically, they're 24 or 25 pages.
And our feeling is, we want to make the next trade at least this big. The next arc.
Nrama: Do you know what that arc is going to be about?
Snyder: It's going to focus more on the people that hunt the Wytches, and certain characters, without giving too much away, will come back from this arc.
So we're all set. It's mostly just taking a break to recharge and starting up again over the summer.
We want to give the series a feel for readers where it's almost like, when we do it, it's a special thing. We come together, we do the big arc, the arc is everything we can give the series, the book is special. It's got tons of extra stuff. It's got all of the essays, basically, that I did. It has the preview that we did. It has Jock's sketches. It has Matt's designs for colors. It has conceptual emails between us about how things started out.
We wanted it to be a little different, because it's designed different from other series, like Saga and, you know, Deadly Class — books that I adore and love — and The Walking Dead. Those books are absolutely sequential, in the way that it's volume after volume after volume.
We have three arcs planned — they get bigger and bigger — but we wanted it to feel like each one is released singular. Like, it's its own special story. And then it connects to the next one. Like, you have characters coming back. Things coming back. Monsters coming back from the previous arc. All that kind of stuff.
So that's our plan for it, to have the trade be something really special, with absolutely every extra we can put in there.
Nrama: You mentioned that several of the issues have been oversized. Does that mean issue #6 is bigger than usual?
Snyder: Yeah, Wytches #6 is oversized. It's 34 pages. Poor Jock and Matt. [Laughs]
But it really is, I think, one of the best finales that I've done to a series, to an arc. I'm really, really happy with it, and they are as well, in terms of the way it closes out in a pretty twisted way. I'm excited to see what people think next month also.