Wytch watch Jock

Comic Heroes - - Contents - By Stephen Jewell

Talk­ing Wytches, an­other Scott Sny­der team-up

One of the most fa­mous artists to come out of 2000 AD, Jock is team­ing up with Scott Sny­der

once more for a star­tling new take on witch­craft

With a ca­reer that en­com­passes not just comics but also film, ad­ver­tis­ing, and much sought af­ter work with high-end poster com­pany Mondo, Jock re­mains one of the in­dus­try’s stand­out tal­ents. He’s now turn­ing to the dark side cour­tesy of Bat­man writer Scott Sny­der’s new Im­age se­ries that prom­ises a chill­ing new take on the wiz­ened old witches of leg­end. Comic He­roes: You’ve worked with Scott Sny­der be­fore. Did he ap­proach you to work on Wytches? Jock: “Yeah, he did. I was go­ing to be do­ing some work with an­other writer which fell through and Scott emailed me that same day, so the tim­ing was for­tu­itous. We’d worked to­gether on Bat­man: The Black Mir­ror. We’ve got a great work re­la­tion­ship, we’re good friends, and he came up with the idea for Wytches, which is a pure hor­ror story, some­thing Scott excels at; he’s an amaz­ing hor­ror writer. There was no way I could say no and as he told me more about the story I just got more ex­cited about it.”

CH: Can you give a brief sum­mary of the story?

Jock: “We’re do­ing a re-imag­in­ing of the myth of witches; they’re not lit­tle old ladies with hooked noses and long grey hair like they are in the sto­ries, they’re ac­tu­ally more like beasts,

It’s one of those comics that will make people go ‘Oh my God’

mon­sters that live in the woods and bur­rows, re­ally nasty crea­tures.

“What we pre­vi­ously imag­ined were witches were ac­tu­ally the people that wor­shipped these crea­tures, so the witches them­selves don’t have mag­i­cal pow­ers but in­stead it’s all tinc­tures and the abil­ity to cure dis­eases; they’re steeped in the knowl­edge of the es­o­teric and ar­chaic.

“They’re tall and thin and hide in the woods. You can’t see them but you might just spot a lit­tle move­ment as they peek out from be­hind a tree. They feed on chil­dren so the wor­ship­pers have to sac­ri­fice kids to them. Scott has some re­ally, re­ally nasty things

hap­pen. It’s one of those comics that will make people go, ‘Oh my God, did they re­ally go there?’”

CH: Is there a cen­tral char­ac­ter we fol­low through this?

Jock: “It opens with a lit­tle girl who’s in the for­est with her friends and catches a glimpse of some­thing. But then the fam­ily moves to an­other town and the girl dis­ap­pears. The par­ents are distraught and ev­ery­one is out search­ing for her, but when the po­lice come and speak to the fa­ther ev­ery­thing changes and he re­alises that noth­ing is as it seems.”

CH: It sounds very much like a dark Broth­ers Grimm-style retelling. Is it set in a fan­tasy world?

Jock: “We were talk­ing about set­ting it in the ’20s, but no, the first arc will be set in the present day. What’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing about that, though, is that we can flash­back to 500 years ago or trans­plant it to Green­land for an arc – there’s op­por­tu­ni­ties to move around with dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and pro­tag­o­nists. We’ll have the abil­ity, whether we go there or not, to build up a mythol­ogy and have a back­story that means we can move around and tell other sto­ries. It’s an on­go­ing story, but we’re go­ing to do an arc, then break for a few months, then an­other arc and an­other break. We’re un­sure whether those arcs are go­ing to fully con­nect or whether they might just be their own sto­ries.”

CH: Are you look­ing to do this in a “nor­mal” Jock style?

Jock: “In the past I’ve thought too much about how to ap­proach a project and all that does is get in the way, so I’m not con­sciously chang­ing my style. We’ve got a few ideas about the style and about some of the vis­ual tricks that we’re go­ing to use. We talked about maybe hav­ing lit­tle in­serts, al­most like what Alan Moore had in Watch­men, which are back mat­ter that we scat­ter around a bit. It’s still early days so noth­ing’s been set in stone, but it’s a nice idea; maybe a pho­to­copy of a hand­writ­ten note or a book from 1623 talk­ing about tinc­tures and notes about some­one find­ing out what the recipes mean – lit­tle things like that which build the world. Be­cause it’s an Im­age book we’ve got more lee­way to play around with those el­e­ments.”

CH: Is this go­ing to be black-and-white or colour?

Jock: “It’s go­ing to be coloured by Matt Hollingsworth. Colour’s key, be­cause at­mos­phere and tone are re­ally im­por­tant in hor­ror. You’ve got to get those mo­ments to be as scary as they can be and colour adds so much con­trol to that.”

CH: You haven’t done much hor­ror...

Jock: “Bat­man: The Black Mir­ror is a hor­ror story, it just hap­pens to be set in Bat­man’s world. Hor­ror is clearly Scott’s pas­sion and he wants this to be his most hor­rific story yet. Im­age is a great place to be at the mo­ment. A lot of amaz­ing books are com­ing out from some amaz­ing people, so it makes sense to do it there.”

Wytches by Scott Sny­der and Jock is due from Im­age in Septem­ber.

born East Kil­bride high De­tec­tive Comics “The Black Mir­ror” now Wytches more

Above: Hor­ror takes many forms: Scott Sny­der and Jock’s Wytches, left, and Bat­man: The Black Mir­ror.

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