Don’t get me wrong, I love superheroes. But sometimes I’m all super-powered out. But luckily there’s more to comics than just that. The comics I read cover a broad range of styles & genres, and I wanted to highlight a thoroughly creepy book that resides firmly in the horror category, perfect for those days you want to curl up in a blanket and read something that’ll send a shiver down your spine.
WYTCHES (Image Comics)
Team: Scott Snyder (story), Jock (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colours), Clem Robins (letters)
Wytches, volume 1, follows the Rook family as the attempt to settle in a new town & make a fresh start after an unexplained disappearance left them, and in particular their daughter Sailor, an object of morbid curiosity in their previous locale. Unfortunately for the Rooks, the past is with them in Litchfield, and their new home isn’t turning out to be any safer than the old one, in fact it’s a lot more dangerous. Something evil watches from the woods around their house, waiting for the right time to reappear…
When I sat down and opened up Wytches, I was hooked from the first few pages and so I raced through the trade in one sitting, while my forgotten drink sat beside me. The story just grabs you, shifting back and forth between the present time and flashbacks that help explain character’s motivations and the events that have brought them to this point in time. The characters of Sailor and her father in particular are gloriously flawed, and you spend the book right there with them, urging them to survive the nightmare their lives have become. At its heart, the book is a story about family and overcoming weaknesses to fight for what’s important , all wrapped up in a tale of horror that takes familiar tropes (something in the woods, witches, dark pacts) and twists them into something new enough to keep you on edge.
Of course, the creepiness and clever time-shifts of Snyder’s writing wouldn’t work nearly as well if it wasn’t for the art. The book looks rough and scratchy and spattered, interspersed with occasional clean pages that just emphasis the darkness and filth creeping in elsewhere as things spiral downwards. Jock’s work is visceral and intense and serves the tale beautifully, and the masterful colours courtesy of Hollingsworth set the mood and also delineate time and space, preventing the disordered time-line from becoming too confusing.
It’s an incredible book, one that had me wanting more immediately upon finishing, and I highly recommend checking it out if any of the above sounds at all interesting.