In part one of my interview with Scott Snyder, we discussed his Image comic book series Wytches and what lures the titular beings to the Rook family. In part two, we delve a bit deeper into that, what makes the wytches scary, and what to expect in the story arc’s second half.
FreakSugar: Charlie [Sailor’s dad] obviously adores Sailor and I thought the scene with the restaurant-style playland gave a nice window of how much he wants to make her smile. However, after the incident, he moved the whole family to make life easier for her. In your mind, even if he doesn’t acknowledge it overtly, do you think there’s any part of him that resents her for having to move? Or is the frustration over blowing up at her at times stemming from his helplessness to help her?
Scott Snyder: Oh yeah. I think as a father, it’s one of those things that I think you struggle with. You love your kids deeply and you can feel vulnerable to the world because of that love. It can be infuriating sometimes because that thing you love and fear for is out in the world and can get hurt, so you worry so much. You care so much, and I think there’s part of you that wants to shut that down. With Charlie, too, I think that’s a real thing and in some way I think his capacity to love Sailor is something he’s prouder of than anything else—his role as a father. At the same time, he’s going to have moments where he lashes out at it and I think all of us do that sometimes.
FS: With as dark as the book is, is there a process you have to go to decompress from the bleakness of writing the story of the Rooks?
SS: I have a pretty robust family life. We have two boys, 7 and 3, and my wife and I try to spend time together. So you move out of your head and your imagination to the physical reality of your life. You escape for a bit and that helps you to decompress from the grimness and the bleakness. For me, at least, I’ve always been a big fan of horror, not because I think it’s so bleak but because a good horror story is a way to wrestle your deepest fears. And I think that’s a really pure and great form of conflict, not when someone comes up against a great, hulking monster, but a monster that’s a reflection of what they’re afraid of about the world. I’ve always gravitated toward those kinds of stories. For me, it’s more about the drama that form offers.
FS: What can we expect in the second half of the arc? How much more strained can the Rooks’ reality become?
SS: Oh yeah. Issue four introduces the notion of the cauldron. It’s the part of the burrow where they cook special pledges, so it’s where the myth of the cauldron comes from, that wytches boil you in a big cauldron. It’s not like that, though. There’s no physical cauldron where you’re boiled with water, it’s different than that. It’s even worse than that. But it because a race against time to get Sailor out of there and to discover the secret as to why the wytches are after this family.
FS: What is scary about the Rooks that, in turn, makes the wytches scary?
SS: For me, there isn’t anything on the surface that would draw the wytches to them and that makes them good characters for readers in the introductory arc because they could be us. I try to make them as nuanced and charismatic as possible, because they’re not to me or [series artist] Jock or [series colorist] Matt [Hollingsworth]. It’s the stuff beneath the surface, what they’ve done in the past, which becomes more clear as the series progresses.
But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people, bad parents or daughters, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they should be pursued by the wytches. There could be other secrets. We wanted it to be a mystery why the wytches are pursuing them until it’s not a mystery anymore later in the story. If the wytches are about giving into your desires in a way, then you need to show those things in a brutal and raw and real way with a family that feels realistic and full-blooded, hopefully. And to look at the things people don’t normally see when they’re generally happy with their lives, but are still there.
FS: How much of your own fears for your children play into how you approach writing Wytches?
SS: It informs the whole book. It’s the driving force behind the book, for me at least. And it’ll change from arc to arc, but this arc is about the terrors that having children open you up to, how you fear for their safety and how you suddenly feel vulnerable to the outside world in a way you never did before. Sometimes it can be upsetting. It’s the mix of feelings, the mix of utter love and frustration and fear and everything. In this arc, at least, it’s what Charlie is dealing with. And for me, it’s what the wytches prey on. Any kind of happiness, any kind of regret, any kind of restlessness they sense, that’s when they start coming for you.
FS: Is there any news on the development of the Wytches movie?
SS: Yeah, we’re really excited. Wytches was optioned by Plan B Entertainment, and they have a screenwriter who we really like. They’ve been really great to us, so hopefully it’ll continue to go well. They’ve been terrific.