Wytch watch Jock
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 www.4twenty.co.uk
Above: Horror takes many forms: Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches, left, and Batman: The Black Mirror.