Scott Snyder Explains How He Brought His DC Sensibility to Nocterra, and What's Next for Best Jackett

Monday is the Final Order Cutoff date for Nocterra #1, the first issue of superstar comics writer Scott Snyder's new series with artist Tony S. Daniel and the first release from Snyder's Best Jackett Press, an imprint he is launching at Image Comics with plans for a number of projects to roll out in 2021 and 2022. Nocterra, an ongoing series, takes place in a world where darkness has enveloped the Earth, and those who live in it without light are transformed into hideous monsters. The lead character is a young woman who drives a truck, essentially serving as a coyote to bring survivors from one place to another, while keeping the lights on for them.

In comics, the Final Order Cutoff is the date by which fans have to pre-order a book in order to be sure they get it on its release date. Since comics are essentially printed to order, anybody who doesn't ask for one by Monday has a pretty good chance of missing out on the first printing.

"One of the reasons that I wanted to go out with Nocterra first out of all the Best Jackett books that we're going to be announcing later in the year...was because it embraces all of the things that I think people have come to expect from my work at DC," Snyder told ComicBook.com. "Yet at the same time, it marries those things to a really personal subject matter. I have kids right now -- I have one boy that's one and a half, but one is nine and one is 13 -- all three of them at various times have had really acute fears of the dark, and I really suffered with that when I was a kid."

That's a theme that has, itself, carried through much of Snyder's career -- not fear of the dark, per se, but using his comics as a creative way to work through issues important to him, often linked with anxiety and fear.

"As much as fear of the dark is a common thing, for me I think it was really tied to the idea of anxiety, which is something that I've struggled with over the years and tried to be pretty open about," Snyder explained. "The thing about anxiety is that when you're really in the grip of it, or depression as well, every one of your worst fears feels like it's true and it's happening and your body is telling you it's urgent and it's in alarm mode, and there's a physical, visceral response that you have to argue with to be able to say to yourself, these fears are irrational and there's no evidence that these things are going to come true. The way that I was afraid of the dark, and the way that I saw my nine-year-old afraid of the dark until recently, was that same way. Every irrational thing that you think can happen or you fear will happen or that you fear about yourself becomes true in the dark."

Still, Snyder notes, this isn't a quiet, arty indie book. The world of Nocterra is high-octane, and the sleep, mainstream look that Daniel brings it gives the series a distinctly different look than the kind of indie-horror books that Snyder has written in the past, which often rely on heavy inks and a lot of negative space to create a mood.

"The great thing about this book for me is that on the one hand, it's total, high-octane bombastic summer blockbuster -- Jurassic Park, Spielberg, out of control fun stuff that I love and I embrace, and my kids love, and I love enjoying with them, like Indiana Jones," Snyder said. "These are things that I love unabashedly, and I always have. It's one of the reasons I love writing Batman so much. I love the summer blockbuster stuff, but it's wedded to stuff that I feel strongly about. On a personal level, this is close to me and intimate to me as anything in Wytches."

And that's a great starting point for Best Jackett, which Snyder teases will be a place where he can share a lot of different kinds of stories, working with a wide variety of interesting collaborators.

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"My goal with Nocterra is to kind of be like,' Hey, here's the hill I like to die on usually, like the big, over the top, fun, summer blockbuster stuff," Snyder said. "But once you get to see all the stuff in Best Jackett, my goal is to surprise you by going out on a limb and doing my own stuff for myself, taking a break from DC for the next year, so that I can do more of what I've already done. I'm just trying to be the most exciting writer to myself that I can be. And that means challenging myself by working with people who are going to push me into genres that I'm not as comfortable with."

Keep an eye out for more from out conversation with Scott Snyder in the coming days, and reserve your copy of Nocterra #1 by reaching out to your local comic shop before Monday.