Scott Snyder On Wytches, Finding Creative Balance and His All-Star Collaborators

Earlier this weekend, Scott Snyder's Wytches, developed with artist Jock and published by Image Comics, was picked up as a motion picture by Brad Pitt's production company.

The series, which sold out its first issue and has had almost unanimous praise from reviewers, reteams the former Detective Comics creators on a creator-owned horror book that takes a dark and strange look at the notion of witches.

You can check out the first issue here, as well as a free sample chapter developed before the final order cutoff which is available here.

Scott Snyder joined us around that time to talk about the series, but we saved a few questions for New York Comic Con week...even before we knew that Wytches would be one of the weekend's big stories.

You spoke with us about how you feel like you have to keep a creator-owned book going to flex those muscles. I know some superhero guys who are perfectly good creators, happy just to work on other people's properties -- and then I know Erik Larsen, who decided at 25 or whatever he was that Savage Dragon was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Is it weird to kind of look around you and see that all these perfectly legitimate talents have a completely different idea of creative fulfillment?

It's fascinating to look back at that time when there was such a division -- that sense of creator-owned or Image really rivaling Marvel and DC and becoming this kind of "big three" moment and now I think of how fluid the whole system is. No one bats an eye. Even five years ago, it was different. Now, I feel like the rise of image, the ascension of BOOM!, of Kickstarter, of all these avenues to do your own work -- it's kind of expected that you do.

I mean, everyone looks forward to seeing your creator-owned work in addition to your superhero work. I still can't get over that expectation -- that we have the opportunity to do these things, these very different things at once, and to be seen I think as creators and to be followed as creators beyond the creations you're working on that way. People expect you or are excited at least for you to do books that follow your interests whether they're on characters they're familiar with or not. You feel very grateful to the fans and to the community all of a sudden for being so incredibly generous and progressive in that regard.

When you look back at previous generations, I think of creators who had it rougher in terms of being able to step away from the big two and do their own work on the side. Again, working for the big two is great. It's not knocking working for them. It's just, having those other opportunities gives me such an outlet for expression that it's really essential.

I would shrivel up if I only wrote superheroes at this point. Just creatively, I need that room to go as black or as fanciful or whimsical or whatever as I can with no expectation around the characters I'm making up to make me feel good about going and doing superhero comics and being as daring as I can on those. Otherwise the balance is off. I feel like I'd need to try it on superhero comics in a way that isn't true to those characters and it gets all confused for me if I don't have those different areas, you know?

How does it feel working with Jock again?

[Laughs] It feels great, man. Obviously, he's a good friend. We went through the trenches together on Detective Comics and we've been friends ever since. So I pitched this series to him a while ago and it was a matter of when we'd get to work together again.

I never pitched it to anyone else; there was no one in consideration for it, the same way Sean was with the wake; it was just, whenever you're free, let's do this thing together.

So I've been dying to get to work with Jock on this thing and the art on it is just immaculate. He's doing scenes that are intimate and unsettling at the same time. They can be incredibly tender but they can also have these dark shadows in the background where you feel the sense of something ominous creeping into a very loving, sort of warm scene. It's so good. I get these pages from him and it just makes me happy all day long.

When you talk about the idea in this book that witchcraft almost kind of seems more magical than it is, I think that when you apply that to bright, shiny superhero kind of comics, it can draw a lot of skepticism. But Jock, he sets a tone that fits that really well.

Yeah, it's very gritty and realistic and unpolished, uninflated sense of human limitation to his art where the people look like real people that are bent by work and life and all of that. His superheroes can look iconic but at the same time they're never over-muscled. They're not polished; they're always sort of rough-hewn. That sense of them being human and vulnerable I think always comes through and so for this type of a book, he's just perfect.

The creatures, the wytches themselves, are frightening because of how oddly human they look even though they're really monstrous, so it plays right to his strengths. I couldn't be happier with how it's coming out and Matt Hollandsworth, who I worked with on The Wake, is just a color genius. He tells a better story through color than I feel like I am through script half the time.