Wytches, Volume One
Scott Snyder (Writer), Jock (Artist), Matt Hollingsworth (Colours), Clem Robins (Letters)
A personal and unique horror comic from the current Batman writer Scott Snyder, with incredible mind altering, horrific and beautiful art from Jock they have produced a very creepy comic well worth the time to pick up. The titular Wytches are quite frankly terrifying creations, they are have little to no relation with any form or incarnation of a Witch you may come across; pointy hats, magic brewing or even spells are entirely absent from this tribe of haunting creatures living in the trees, deformed and twisted faces of distorted muscles and dripping animalistic blurry behaviour are spectral in their fear.
Snyder provides his usual solid plotting, good dialogue and inflections of the personal that so often inhabits his work on Batman, yet Wytches is quite clearly the closest thing he has done to exploring his own emotions and expressions on parenting and the responsibility of growing up and looking after your child. There is certainly potential here for examining the theme of parenthood and children on modern comic production, between this and Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples you would have a solid beginning for analysis.
But I feel it’s the art by Jock that shines in this, it is an artistic display of duality, the covers are alluring and haunting, beautiful and terrifying. The humans have individual nuances and character flairs, painted in a creepy town in a rural setting by a dark dark wood. The pages often drip with colour, specks of paint flicking across the pages of a character’s traumatic discovery or ending. Plus this first volume has a quite rightly celebratory quote from Stephen King himself, which should prove worthy enough to pick it up.
The Daylight Gate
Another Winterson, another batch of witches, this time covering the Pendle Witch Trials in Lancashire, England in 1612. A fictionalised retelling of a sadly true historical event, Winterson’s bold and brash tale is a harsh portrayal of the blind male hysteria and targeted female outcasts of the witch trials, yet the dark power of the devil is not entirely absent from their dealings. An entertaining read, brief and striking with the themes and actions covered by Winterson, it’s a certainly very different perspective on a witch trial, and the portrayal of perhaps more traditional witches in a poverty stricken landscape of religious manoeuvring. It is clearly not Winterson’s best work, Shakespeare makes a cameo at one point watching a performance of The Tempest, though despite my fears it fortunately does not turn into a 17th century England version of Forest Gump. What is successful is the memorably brutal portrayal of the witches and the sexual power and relationships between the characters, something Winterson is clearly adapt at producing.
Both of these are a far cry from Mildred Hubble and Ethel Hallow however.