As the moon rises and the wolf howls in the distance, there's a copy of Wytches calling your name. I had the pleasure of picking up a copy and reading it by a tiny desk lamp on a cold and windy October night. Seriously. Regardless of where you read it, this is storytelling at its finest. I can't think of a time where Snyder has let me down, and in this particular outing he has outdone himself.
As I was thinking about how to describe the story, I struggled with how to classify the comic. At face value, it's a horror comic. The story is creepy and plays on some of the basic fears we all harbor from childhood. However, the wytches aren't the typical witches we know from childhood. There aren't any black cats, cauldron or broomsticks. Though we haven't actually got a good look at the wytches yet, we know they aren't what we are used to by the clever definitions on pages one and two. And they are primeval and powerful and hungry. Jock's art and Hollingsworth colors on the the first images are freaky and terrifying. I'm not sure I'll ever walk by a tree in the dark the same way. The entire prologue continues with the scary, but it becomes apparent that this is more than just a horror comic. There's a psychological element that gets inside your head from the prologue. Shirly Jackson's The Lottery doesn't have anything on Snyder's Wytches.
The story stays in your personal headspace the whole time: sometimes by reminding us of the pain of adolescence and the need to fit in. Granted, Sailor has had more drama in her life than the average teenager, but her plight with a new school hits home. Her bullying experience is just as terrifying as the trip through the dark forest, maybe more so. The evil of humans is so often worse than some supernatural threat. Also, the fear of the dark is present throughout. The things that go bump in the night are very real and very terrifying here.
The art is excellent throughout. Jock's art has a grittiness to it that is perfect for this title. The colors, especially the color red are so perfect that you want to check your hands when you're done reading to make sure you don't have some splatter left on your fingers.
And there's a bonus. At the end of the book, there's a personal letter from Snyder explaining how the story came to be. Since I grew up in a small town where it wasn't unusual to be in the woods and find something like an old car, this just reinforced the story's ability to get inside my head. And he included photos!
There isn't a thing I can complain about except that this book scared the crap out of me. And I can't wait for the next issue. "Who would you pledge?"