Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Newsletter #164: Back in the Writer's Room

Newsletter #164: Back in the Writer's Room

Plus, Dungeon, Canary, and Sick Birdies!

Hey guys, it's Scott.

It is Thursday, October 26th, and witches are in the air in all kinds of ways because Halloween is right around the corner. I can't wait. Quinn has four different costumes at this point. He could be Sully from Monsters, Inc., Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Batman, of course, because, you know, every kid should be. And a ghost, also, which is just a sheet which he is contemplating. It's a very basic, stripped-down, DIY costume. So we'll see. Who knows? I'll send pics. But also, because our writer's room is back! The Wytches writer's room came back Monday.

Thank you to everybody who congratulated us on our return. It's been amazing, man. Seriously. I mean, it is a job job. I am in there from 12 to 5:30pm every single day. And for those of you who don't know, so a writer's room is essentially like, a bunch of writers on the show collaborating with different tasks. We're each assigned an episode or two. But we break the whole season together. We make a board with a program called Miro that has different cards for each episode. And then we have an episode board that breaks down the episode into different cards as well. So we all really have to know what each other is doing because sometimes you're writing episodes simultaneously with other people. So you have to have a really intense vision for the show where we all understand the tone, we understand the characters, we understand their psychologies, the pacing, the level of scare, all of that kind of stuff is really uniform throughout. So the job of the writer's room is to kind of really plan everything out and then everybody goes off to write their episodes.

I'm helming it with a co-showrunner I adore, Marion Dayre. She worked on Better Call Saul and Curb Your Enthusiasm and all kinds of great stuff. And our head writer is Jeff Howard from the Mike Flanagan group, initially. He did The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass and all kinds of fantastic stuff too and it's been a blast. We also have Harrison Rivers, who's an incredible playwright and has a play going up in New Haven pretty soon, and Bornila Chatterjee, who's an incredible screenwriter as well and has films that she has directed and written, so you should check out everybody.

But it got me thinking I'm going to do a really quick post today because we have a lot of goodness for you coming up. I did an interview with Tom King last night.

It was a blast. One of the smartest, kindest, funniest, most brilliant people in the industry and we talked for over an hour about everything from parenthood to the pressures of Batman to a lot of the really cool, creative stuff he's doing now to some of his decision making in terms of his career, all of it. I think you're going to enjoy it. We really had a blast. I can't thank Tom enough. We'll post it really soon. That's for paid subscribers. So again, you can always bump up your subscription from free to paid. It's only $7/month (or $75/year) and everything is archived. So, if you wanted to rip me off, like pay the seven bucks, go watch every single class we've done, every interview, everything in like, one month, and then just quit, you could totally do that. I'm proud of the material. I want you to go see it, the class, the interviews, everything. I love what we've been able to build with it, so I'm really excited about what's there in the whole repository of stuff.

So, I thought I'd give a quick thought about Dungeon #1, out from IDW. It's the second miniseries that I'm doing with Hayden Sherman, an incredible talent, one of the, I think, real bright stars in the future of comics. That’s for our Dark Spaces line, which is an initiative from myself and IDW executive editor Mark Doyle in which I'm doing absolute real-world stories. There's no supernatural elements, there's no monsters, nothing but a real-life potboiler, real pressure cooker situations. The first one was a noir called Wildfire, which came out last year.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire (2022) | Cover by Hayden Sherman

And then this one, Dungeon, is a serial killer thriller. So I hope you'll check it out. I'm really proud of it and I'm doubly proud of Hayden's incredible work on it.

Dark Spaces: Dungeon #1 (2023) | Cover by Hayden Sherman

So it's out yesterday from IDW and the more support you show for our books over there, the healthier the line is. The Dark Spaces initiative exists so that we're able to also help give a bit of a spotlight to new creators like Che Grayson and Jeremy Lambert who are doing Good Deeds and Hollywood Special respectively, two fantastic series that I believe announce the coming of some great talent in comics.

Dark Spaces promo art by Hayden Sherman

So again support if you can. Also Book of Evil, again, is out digitally, the whole trade. Really, really excited.

Book of Evil (2023) | Cover by Jock and Emma Price

And pretty soon, in just a couple weeks, Canary #1, comes out from Dark Horse. It collects the first two digital issues. It's a big nearly 60-page thing and I genuinely believe it's some of the best work of Dan Panosian’s career.

Canary #1 (2023) | Cover by Dan Panosian

I have two kinds of books. I think sometimes for me, maybe I'm being too reductive with just two kinds, but sometimes I put them in these two categories and the categories are books that I know going in I know how to do, but I want to push them to the limit and kind of try to take this form that I'm very comfortable with and move the story into a place that challenges me. So, something like We Have Demons is like that, right? Where I know how to work with Greg on horror, I know what fans want, I'm very comfortable in that zone with us. But I want to tell a story that's challenging for me because it's about how do you find faith as somebody young in a world that's completely corrupt, literally and figuratively, in this universe that we created there. Clear, on the other hand, is a book that is the second kind, or Barnstormers, right? Or Canary is absolutely one of those, and Book of Evil, where essentially I'm going into a genre I don't know that I can pull off well. I might be working with a creator I'm comfortable with. But the book itself, in terms of its story, is something that is really outside my wheelhouse.

Art by Francis Manapul, Greg Capullo/Jonathan Glapion/Dave McCaig, Tula Lotay/Dee Cunniffe, and Francesco Francavilla; Design by Emma Price

I haven't done straight speculative science fiction or Barnstormers, again as an example, doing straight historical fiction is very sort of new to me. I haven't done it since I did prose. Book of Evil, doing something that's part prose, again, don't know if I'm going to pull it off. And I think Canary is sort of the pinnacle of that. It's a western, but as I was writing this pure western outline, I realized that the only way to do a western, at least for me in my own mindset in these crazy times, was to make it a horror story, too. And then it became this bigger and broader idea about cosmic evil lurking somewhere under this mine in the West and why it’s there and what it says about us and all this stuff. And so it almost became something akin to True Detective where it starts in one genre and expands to a couple others, and I love it for that reason. But it’s definitely in the latter category. It’s the kind of book that you go in being like, “I don’t know if I can do this, I don’t know how to pull it off. I think I can…” but from go it’s outside your comfort zone. And I love challenges like that, especially when I’m working with people I trust. People who aren’t just gonna hold your hand, but constantly turn in work that inspires you to keep going and to refine and refine and refine what the thing is about. And that's Canary for me. And I'm very excited for you guys to go check it out.

Also, thank you again for the love on By a Thread.

By a Thread #2 (2023) | Cover by Valeria Favoccia and Whitney Cogar

Jack and I are so excited, and Valeria as well. It means a lot to me that you guys showed up to give such support to my son, too. He's 16, and I remember what it's like at that age wanting to be a writer. And you guys have just come out in droves to be so kind. Really, best fans in the world. So, I know this is just a really brief post. I'll do more next week. Just getting back—

[adorable Quinn-related interruption]

I’ve got to go handle a sick birdie. I'm sorry, guys. But thank you for listening. And hopefully I'll do another post before Halloween. But again, thank you guys for everything. Back to the writer's room. More Wytches. Can't wait to show you what we're building. It's going to be a lot of fun!


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