By Christine Caprilozzi
Horror News Networkâ€™s Senior Editor, Christine Caprilozzi, recently caught up with one of the busiest men in comics, Scott Snyder, to discuss his new series, â€œThe Wake.â€
Horror News Network: Besides being considered a horror comic â€œThe Wakeâ€ has an underlying government conspiracy theory to it. What made you add that element?
Scott Snyder: Well I love characters that are outsiders. For me I wanted to create somebody who has that sort of moral compass thatâ€™s sets her against the grain. To me she (Dr. Archer) is this character who is really terrible with people and communicating, yet has this incredible ability to decipher these messages from the bottom of the ocean. In that way, she seemed like the perfect type of person to go after the truth, and without giving too much away, itâ€™s why sheâ€™s on â€œthe outsâ€ with homeland security and the government. She seems like someone who would go after what she knows without being able to understand the personal ramifications. So now, at this point, sheâ€™s now the outsider, yet she understands thing very clearly.
Horror News Network: Because of that, along with the character conflicts, the story is sort of layered it keeps the reader drawn in. Was that done on purpose, or is that just the way it happened?
Scott Snyder: It was definitely very deliberate. I wanted to try something that would push my style as a writer. This story in many ways is different than anything Iâ€™ve ever tried. I mean Iâ€™ve done a lot of horror, but nothing with the element of science fiction. I wanted to do something with this scope and breadth. I also wanted to sort of defy expectations of what people have come to know from me. So it really became about creating a structure that would be different and surprising. It also gave room for both Sean and I to play around not only with the narrative, but also with the landscape he was able to draw.
Horror News Network: In the first issue, we see characters that obviously have a lot of baggage with each other. Then, of course, they are forced to contend with a greater evil. What battles do you see as getting more intense, the battles between the crew, or with what lies beneath the ocean?
Scott Snyder: Thatâ€™s a great question. I think part of the reason I love the monster in this story so much, and people will see this when they read issue #2, is that is sort of bridges the gap between those aspects. Part of what it does is brings your worst fears to life. So youâ€™ll see a lot of that stuff beneath the surface within the characters. Youâ€™ll see not only their personal demons, but also, their interpersonal demons will be exploited in gory, horrifying ways. It really is a wonderful opportunity for me as a writer to have this monster that kind of enables me to bring actual physical frightening horror, but more importantly bring out the nightmares of the characters, because thatâ€™s where the real horror resides. Itâ€™s a very fluid horror story where the personal fears become literal fears very quickly.
Horror News Network: The setting is pretty claustrophobic with these people in on a ship, isolated under water. Is that part of the creepy feeling? And how was that to convey artistically?
Scott Snyder: Yeah itâ€™s really scary! What Sean does so brilliantly is to really remind you that it is a very claustrophobic space. So when it gets tense, you see a lot of close ups and you see the walls very clearly in the background, so thereâ€™s really no way out. Then at times, itâ€™s more about the loneliness and fear of being isolated. Some of those wide angle pictures of the rig itself remind you of they are part of this elite team really deep under the water. Sean comes up with that all himself.
When I write the dialogue and get to a scene where it emphasizes just how alone they are, heâ€™ll automatically pull out and show how incredibly hostile and imposing this environment is at the bottom of the ocean. Itâ€™s really great working with him in that way.
Horror News Network: You two have teamed up before (â€œAmerican Vampire :Survival of the Fittestâ€). Whatâ€™s the creative process like when you work together?
Scott Snyder: I really like working with artists who Iâ€™m friends with outside of comics. So heâ€™s really easy to work with. We have a great rapport as friends, just as we do as colleagues. We hang out a lot together outside of working, but as a colleague heâ€™s one of the best team players Iâ€™ve ever worked with, as he brings a tremendous amount of ideas to the table. I usually write full scripts. However with Sean, I donâ€™t even panel, I just write the dialogue. He brings so many great ideas creatively. For example in Issue #2, thereâ€™s a scene (without giving too much away) about creature mythology. He created this visually incredible half page design for the scene. I always give him room to do stuff like that, which makes the story exponentially better. Heâ€™s just been a wonder to work with.
Horror News Network: Without giving too much away about Issue #2. Can you both describe how you came up with the really dark imagery and crazy sea creatures? Itâ€™s not exactly the â€œLittle Mermaid.â€
Scott Snyder: Ha! No, itâ€™s not a particularly happy place down there. You know itâ€™ almost like the characters go to the bottom of the ocean and are stuck in a place thatâ€™s almost become like a haunted house. It really becomes apparent in Issue#2. It really was about trying to create an environment that didnâ€™t look familiar. Every creature you see looks foreign. Even the suits they wear are claustrophobic and the jellyfish they see are humungous. Itâ€™s meant to be that everything is creepy and different than what you expect.
Horror News Network: You both have worked on comics n the horror genre before. Not only have you teamed up on â€œAmerican Vampire,â€ but Scott youâ€™ve also tackled â€œSwamp Thing,â€ etc. What do you think draws you to what we refer to around here as â€œthe darker side of comics?â€
Scott Snyder: Even when I was writing prose before I was doing comics, Iâ€™ve always been really attracted to stories where people have to face their fears. Whether they actually come in the form of monsters or traumatic situations, it sort of represents their personal demons coming to life.
Ever since I was a kid, Iâ€™ve just loved horror. I remember watching and loving all of the 80â€™s slasher movies. I donâ€™t know if it was watching all the popular kids get killed, or something else, but some of those movies really moved me in some sort of psychological way. Stories like â€œThe Thing,â€ â€œAliens,â€ and, of course, â€œNight of the Living Deadâ€ is my absolute favorite horror movie of all time. These are movies where the horror comes from the monsters, but more so the peopleâ€™s personal fears. I guess thatâ€™s why I gravitate towards monsters, but for me itâ€™s really about people facing what they are deeply afraid of about themselves.
Horror News Network: What have been your biggest horror comic influences?
Scott Snyder: As far as horror comics, I loved â€œSwamp Thingâ€ growing up, as well as â€œTomb of Dracula,â€ a lot of â€œTales from the Crypt,â€ a lot of Bernie Wrightson. As far as horror comics, those really stick out to me a lot. For me, when I was growing up, â€œBatmanâ€ was running like a horror series around that time. It was during the time when it became darker and more of the psychological horror came into play. â€œArkham Asylum,â€ and â€œKilling Jokeâ€ those were really inspiring too.
Horror News Network: Thank you so much for your time Scott!
“The Wake” Issue #2 is out Wednesday, June 26th