Sometimes you wonder at your own good fortune as a comics fan, and for me this is one of those moments because I not only get to read Scott Snyder's personal essay in Wytches #6 ahead of its release this Wednesday, May 20th, but I get to share it with you, fellow readers and fans. And in that essay Snyder not only takes us on a kind of summing up tour of many of the themes of the comic series in an even more revelatory vein about his own human weaknesses, but also confirms that the team on the series, does, in fact, pledge the return of the series for a second arc that's already in development. Because we haven't been freaked out enough already. Or maybe we've just acquired a real taste for it. Either way there's no way out because "pledged is pledged".
Here's what Scott Snyder had to say about his darker inspirations on Wytches, parenthood, and the very real cathartic effect of communal failure with all its frightening ramifications:
WE PLEDGE YOU…
There's a conversation that sometimes comes up with friends. It usually happens after a whiskey or two, and when the mood is light, and it involves admitting one's greatest parent fail. Someone will be talking about some misstep they made with their kids that day – "I accidentally sent Joey into school wearing a costume when the costume party was tomorrow" – and then, laughing, someone will top that story, like: "Oh yeah, last week, I was watching the superbowl with friends and my three year old, Becca, walked by the living room and smiled and said "hi daddy" and she was carrying a hacksaw." And invariably, little by little, the conversation will become this kind of conspiratorial game of one-upmanship.
As for my possible contributions, I'm afraid I have plenty to choose from. There was the time I took baby Jack took to see Saw IV. Yes, Saw IV ("It's a Trap."). To be fair, he was in the bjorn, facing me, so he couldn't see the screen, but even so, I took my baby to see Saw IV. And I ate popcorn over his head and dropped some in his ear and I watched people tortured and killed over his little head and I loved it. Another time, when he was three, I was in a pool with him, and a friend came out on to the patio and I let go of his hand to wave, and when I looked back, Jack had slipped off the steps and was underwater, his little hands waving above the surface – an image I will take with me to my grave.
Parent fails. The thing about these conversations is that they don't feel bad to have. Instead they feel strangely good. Cathartic. Which is the oddest thing, because really, no matter how small the admission, each one does speak to some larger failing on the part of the teller. For example, I took my kid to horror movies because I was going stir crazy in the house, and because I was feeling trapped by my new dad role and I needed to do something adult. With Jack at the pool, I was so excited to see my friend, I forgot about my son for a moment. Laughable as some are, parent fails speak to moments of selfishness, or neglect, of desire and longing. And so these incidents are tough things to admit, even in the generally humorous context of the conversation. But the thing is, you leave these conversations much better friends than you came in. That's the strangest part of all.
Which brings us to Wytches. By now I hope it's clear that this book is intensely personal to me and the rest of the team. For me, it's been a place I can explore some pretty deep fears about myself, my kids, explore some things I'm intensely proud of, some things I'm ashamed of. Like Sailor, I do struggle with anxiety and with my own mental health. Like Charlie, I do struggle with my fears for my kids, and I have gone thought bad periods during those struggles.
And when we started this book, I remember telling Jock that this was going to be a dark one. That it was unlikely we'd have a sizeable readership. That the ugliness of the book might scare people off. But the thing is, to our amazement, you guys didn't get scared off. Not by the story, not by the essays. Instead you embraced the book to a degree we never expected. Having Wytches #6 clock in where it has in sales… we're all just floored. And more than sales, the Sailor cosplay, the letters you wrote, the stories you told us about your own struggles, your own fears… The way you took to this book and made it yours… answered it with your voices and made this a conversation bigger than any parent fail talk, but a conversation about our vulnerabilities, our humanity… We truly feel like we're leaving this first arc with a lot of new friends. We simply can't thank you enough.
So before I close I just want to say that as a way of thanking you, all of us on Wytches – Jock and Matt and Clem and David and I – we're going to pledge you. We're going to pledge – to you, all of you – that we could not be more committed to this book, and that we will come back even stronger than we left (Jock and I just plotted out the second arc in Chicago this past weekend, where we took the pics included here). We pledge that we will never take your support for this book for granted, as we have been stunned and humbled by it. And we pledge to keep the book true to its nature. The next arc will focus on Sailor, and the Irons, but at its core it will be about issues as personal as this arc has been – no spoilers, but that I can promise you. And lastly, we pledge you our thanks. You have made this book what it is, and for that, we are indebted to you.
Pledged is pledged.
Stay tuned on Wednesday, May 20th, for a special interview with Scott Snyder about the conclusion of the first arc of Wytches and the direction of the second arc on Bleeding Cool.