Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Newsletter 119: WYTCHES Is Getting a TV Show!

Newsletter 119: WYTCHES Is Getting a TV Show!

Getting candid about the animated Wytches TV adaptation coming from Plan B and Amazon Studios

Hey guys, it's Scott.

It is Wednesday, February 8th. And I normally do these posts on Tuesday and answer two of your questions, which I will do at the end of this, but I wanted to wait a day because I got word yesterday that they were finally going to announce big news, some of the biggest news in my career—that in December, Wytches was greenlit by Amazon Studios and Plan B for their adult animation division to actually be on television in 2024. So I can't wait, it's something we've been working on behind the scenes for well over a year, and I want to be able to finally talk to you about it and share more of the experience as it happened and as it does happen and unfolds going forward. I'm so excited to finally be able to share all of this with you. But so, Wytches, for a while, it was over in development with Plan B for film. And what happened was, it felt bigger than a single screenplay than a film and it didn't seem to be coming together despite the involvement of a ton of great people.

And so when it came back up for option a few years ago, Jock and I really wanted to try and be a little bit more involved in the development process. In the other deal with Plan B, we were just sort of producers and we were on the outside. This time, we wanted to be a little bit more involved in the making of it because it's such a personal story. And so one of the options that came along was animation. We started talking to a couple producers and one in particular, Kevin Kolde, who is responsible for some of the best animated stuff on television past and present, from Adventure Time to Castlevania.

Kevin serves as VP of Frederator Studios, a production company behind some of your favorite animated shows!

And he's a big proponent of having creators involved in their shows, and so when we partnered with him and brought it to Amazon with Plan B, they became really excited about the idea of us putting the show together, of animating Jock’s art in a groundbreaking way. So the actual art of the show, and the animated material from the show, is drawn directly from the comic. It's going to be painterly, it's going to be really unconventional and different, and we really believe in this thing. So when they started giving us that kind of creative latitude in their deal, we jumped at it. I was able to not only write the pilot, but I wound up showrunning the mini room that was put together to develop the first few episodes to see if we could get it across for greenlight. And Jock is essentially the art director, concept art designer, all of it.

So we're heavily involved in it. And so that was all the way back, well over a year ago, that we made the option deal. And then it was in development, where I mentioned a few times I was in this writers room, but the writers room went for six months or so. And it was me and a few other great writers from different aspects of television.

And I wound up running the room, which was a total learning curve and something I never knew that I would be doing, but then really found enjoyable and love doing because I thought the people were great. And the experience was really fascinating. Being a good showrunner, in my opinion, is about allowing people to have some ownership over their episodes, having a feeling like the show is theirs as much as yours. And so it’s about guiding it and creating a singular voice for it. And Wytches is so intimate and such a passion project for me and Jock that I think it wasn't effortless, but it definitely was a great experience.

And so over about six months, we put together a few episodes in script and we put together designs from Jock, and Amazon and Plan B were really supportive. And then we put it up for greenlight in November and we got the word in December, right around Christmas, that it got greenlit for two seasons of production. So one season will definitely be on TV, the other is going to be made, we get to write it and all of that, and if the first season is a hit, it'll go on. So we're really, really excited. I believe in this thing with all my heart. Honestly, I genuinely think the show is as good as the book, if not better. It made me want to really expand the series, and so Jock and I are 100% bringing Wytches back to coincide with the launch of the show. We'll probably do a reissue of the original material plus the Bad Egg, plus some of the little short things that we've done over the years, and then start the second arc not long after. So we can't wait to kind of give you Wytches in all forms coming forward.

And I'm so so proud of this thing. I mean the book, yes, but also the show. I mean, we did it—me and Jock with some incredible other creatives. So again, it's way better for their involvement and their voices and all of that. But we got to be a part of it in a big way and lead the charge with it, and I really believe in this thing. So I think it's really going to surprise you what we can do with animation. It's fully R-rated and gruesome and horrible and brutal and heartfelt and all the things the book is. There's no shying away from the violence, emotionally or physically or any of that stuff. But it's also just dazzling, like the preliminary stuff that I'm seeing is just dazzling visually, so my hope is that this becomes something like a real watercooler show, something that pushes the boundaries of what you expect from animation.

But above all, it's just something I'm deeply, deeply proud of, and I’m incredibly grateful to Amazon, to Plan B, to Kevin, and everybody involved—all the writers that helped with the the mini-room and the writers coming in for the main room as it's assembled, and I just can't wait. So the writers room is technically supposed to start at the end of this month, it all depends on staffing and stuff. But I'll be back in there showrunning or co-showrunning it, and Jock’s in there, too. So I'm gonna let you know how it goes as it goes, as much as I can. But I'm so glad to be able to finally share this news with you. It's been a huge part of our lives for the last year and a half plus, and since December when we actually got greenlit and it was purchased, I've been dying to tell you guys about it.

So again, just so you know, optioning something (just as the teacher comes out in me again), most things that you do in the creative sphere independently, you go out with for option. That means a company rents them for a while. So if you get an option, it can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it's the smaller amount of money than the purchase. So the option is almost like they're saying “we'll pay you a certain amount anywhere from a few thousand bucks to a hundred thousand bucks,” which is insanely high. Usually it's somewhere between a few thousand dollars, and $50/60/70,000 is healthy. And they say “we're going to keep it for 18 months or three years, depending on what kind of a deal you have, and at the end of that time, if we haven't put together good scripts and a director and put together a package we can bring to our bosses, we're gonna give it back to you and you can go out with it again, or we'll try and renew it with you.” Everything I have creatively that's an independent book is in some form of development that way, but this is the first thing I've ever gotten greenlit or purchased, which means they officially have bought it and it's going to be on television. So that's rare and I feel, again, incredibly, incredibly lucky. But I can't wait for you guys to see everything that we've been working on down in our dark burrow. Alright, so I'm gonna answer to your questions and we're off to the races!

Wytches #5 (2015) | Art by Jock and Matt Hollingsworth; Letters by Clem Robins

Okay, and now for two questions:

geeked42 asks, “can you tell us what's on your Mount Rushmore of Batman: The Animated Series episodes?”

Oh my God that's hard, man. Batman: The Animated Series is the thing that kept me in Batman, and in comics, honestly, when I was away at college. I was away in the mid to late ‘90s. There wasn't a comic store in Providence, RI, where I was going to school, or if there was, I couldn't drive. I grew up in New York City and didn't learn to drive till I was like, 23 or so. So I didn't have a lot of access to comics. I ordered a subscription, but that kind of fell off. And so I would wait until I came back home to the city, which wasn't but maybe once every couple of months, once a month maybe, to go to Forbidden Planet or Midtown Comics and get some stuff and catch up. This was before digital comics, also. Before even the internet, if you can believe that. The internet was brand new when I was there. We were like, “email? Pfft. What a fad.” In fact, it was so new that the whole writing department there was convinced that the internet was going to destroy linear fiction. And so all of our projects, they wanted them to be hypertext, it was called, which was like telling fiction with links to other pages, so that it would almost be like a choose-your-own-adventure, but it was supposed to ‘subvert Western narrative.’ And literally the idea was sort of interesting, but then you would try and click on the link in somebody's story and it'd be like, *KRRRR BING BING BING KRRR ERROR KRRR*. It was terrible.

But Batman: The Animated Series, I watched religiously. I mean, it was so mind-boggling to me to see a team come in and reimagine the entire mythology from top to bottom. The whole retro Art Deco style, the noir of the ‘50s, all of it was just so cool. It was such a fully realized vision. It was like the gold standard of what I would ever want to do in comics if I ever got in on anything. And so my favorite episodes, probably, I mean I remember watching it when it first came out, so I mean, “On Leather Wings” is the very first one, but I would say “Two Face,” “Heart of Ice,” I think “Perchance to Dream,” that one was way darker than I expected, the Mad Hatter one.

There’s “Sins of the Father,” where you learn why Dick Grayson left being Robin in The New Adventures of Batman

And ultimately, Batman Beyond was huge for me. I love Batman Beyond. I was so proud and excited for DC to be that daring with Batman. I love the whole story of Terry McGinnis.

I mean, The Return of the Joker is one of my favorite stories bar none, like in all of geek literature, not just in Batman animated. I think The Return of the Joker is a masterpiece (not the edited for TV version, by the way, the original one).

But the whole ending of Justice League Unlimited where it circles back and shows the real origin of Terry McGinnis, without spoiling anything for anyone, and also harkens back to “On Leather Wings.”

That whole animated universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Superman: The Animated Series to Justice League to The New Adventures of Batman to Batman Beyond to Justice League and Unlimited—Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, everybody involved, I can't say enough good things.

Question Two:

Jonathan P asks, “what comics genres have you not explored that you'd like to explore in the future?”

I mean, I've explored most. I haven't done romance—Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love and Murder is romance, but it's really historical fiction even more than romance. It's got romance, but it's also an adventure and it has elements, not sci fi, but elements of a chase. So it's not pure romance.

Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love and Murder #2 (2022) | Art by Tula Lotay with Dee Cunniffe

But I would like to try… I guess I haven't really done a strict noir, like a strict thriller noir, a straight-up, no frills 1940/50s heist noir. I'd like to do that. I mean, Wildfire was pretty close, but it's kind of a modern twist on it.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 (2022) | Cover by Hayden Sherman and Ronda Pattison

And I mean, honestly, I would really like to go back and do more westerns. I feel like the western is a genre that should be reexamined right now, and in such a strange moment when people are arguing over the nature of who we are and what we are and what we should be so vehemently, I feel like the western is a genre that kind of forces you to reexamine American identity. So I'd like to do more of those. And I want to do more sci-fi after doing Clear with Francis, and Francis and I might be cooking something up, so that would be fun! But yeah, there's nothing I don't want to try, but I mean, my go-to’s are horror, action, and sci fi. Those are my three favorites. So anyway, thank you guys so much. And again, thank you for all the support during the time when we were putting Wytches together. I can't believe it's actually greenlit and it's going to be on television! So chit, chit chit right?

Image! 30th Anthology #7 (2022) | Art by Jock and Matt Hollingsworth; Letters by Tom Napolitano

Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Anything and everything BJP, from new projects to exclusive deals and merchandise, variants, classes, ALL of it