Guest post by Jessica Lyn Toman from What’s Write About This
I, like The Littlest Winslow, am a lover of horror. As the Halloween season approaches you can find it in comics as well as movies. One such comic, Wytches, by Scott Snyder with art by Jock, is a must read for horror fanatics. The first issue came out in October 2014 and the most recent release was Volume 1 in June 2015 by Image Comics. The Wikipedia word is that it has already been picked up for a movie adaptation which would be awesome.
Wytches’ opening is immediately intense. A woman with terror in her eyes, her nose missing, struggles to free herself from the depths of a tree hollow. She calls out to her son, but he reminds her, “Pledged is pledged,” and that means more than blood in Litchfield, New Hampshire.
Anyone who has spent a childhood pretending in the woods is familiar with the magical element of the trees, and Snyder has tapped into this. His own childhood spent in rural Pennsylvania plays into this idea and he shares bits of it with his audience. I enjoyed that insight into the author’s mind at the end of each issue.
Towering over us, trees have been of the world a long time. Strong, their roots finger deep into the earth, yet their branches brush the heavens. A connection between worlds, always watching. Folklore surrounds them, from Pagan gods demanding human sacrifice to fairy folk and their tricks. Like the Scandinavian god residing in an ancient tree who requires a sacrifice (Season 1, Episode 11 of Supernatural), the wytches too require a sacrifice or rather food. Their delicacy—human flesh. The town folk pledge someone and in return prosper. There are even elements of Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, in which family turns against one another because of rules and ritual.
Wytches has it all. The creep factor of evil lurking in the woods, waiting to drag you away. The art by Jock is impressive, vivid, and disturbing. The readers care about the leading family, The Rooks, who are trying to make a clean start. They especially connect with the loving father, Charlie, who cares deeply for his daughter, Sailor. We root for them.
This series is terrifying. The wytches have always been there, waiting. They are even so legendary they deserve their own special spelling with a y instead of i. There is the fact that people’s selfishness and greed feeds them. Anyone can be pledged by another and the person who sacrifices another benefits. Be careful who you piss off in a place like that. But the super freak factor is that the wytches are hungry; they like their meat tender and slow roasted, and you can hear their teeth in the night, “Chit. Chit. Chit. Chit…”
You’ve been pledged. They are coming for you.