Interview | Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft

Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft are two old friends and co-writers. You may already know Scott Snyder from the awesome comics he writes, but Scott Tuft is a new kid on the block, I’m not saying he’s a terrible pop star, just he’s a new name to comics and such. They’re currently working on Severed, a period horror published by Image, and I was incredibly eager to find out more (and ask Scott Snyder a bunch of geek-crush questions about American Vampire).

Good Comic Books | Firstly, is it alright referring to you as ‘The Scotts’?

The Scotts | Absolutely. As long as The (actual) Scots don’t think we’re moving in on their territory. We’ve seen Braveheart – and read WANTED and KICK ASS – and know of what they’re capable.

GCB | So, Scotts… Severed is a period horror… What’s so attractive about the genre? Is there something about challenging idealised periods of history that lends itself particularly well to horror? Especially as American Vampire falls into the same category.

The Scotts | Absolutely. America’s past isn’t all Norman Rockwell paintings. America has always been a dark and violent place and the tension between the idealized past that people dote on and the gritty reality that existed makes for a fun place to explore.

Also… history can be pretty darn creepy and it’s fun to play in that sandbox. The spaces, the technology, the people… they’re both familiar and foreign in a way that is truly haunting.

But while Severed uses the antiqueness of the period, it is as much about now as 1916. Today the internet is connecting the world in new ways. All the rules and expectations are being rewritten. And this allows people to alter their identity… to become who they want to be. Some find their real selves, others use this anonymity to trick others. To prey on the weak. These two archetypes are our main characters in Severed but we thought a kid on the road in 1916 would make for a creepier comic than a kid on the computer in 2011.

GCB | How scary is Severed? Is it Buffy the Vampire Slayer scary, “turn it off before they drop the blood, because Carrie’s having such a nice time” scary or “OH, JESUS CHRIST!” scary?

The Scotts | It’s meant to be “can’t get that out of my head” scary. Or, “I wonder if my mailman is a serial killer” scary. We hope that the scares build throughout the 7 issue arc in an effective way so while it starts out creepy, it gets more and more twisted. By the end, we hope to get to that “Oh, Jesus Christ!” scary.

GCB | How did Severed come together between you two and Attila Futaki, and what’s the writing process? Is beer involved?

The Scotts | Us Scotts had the idea a while ago… we wanted to write something that would scare you deep down- in your soul. We thought about fairy tales and serial killers and how they bizarrely complemented one another. We plotted out the whole story together and as far as the actual writing goes- when we started, Snyder was neck deep in Vampire and Detective so Tuft took the first pass…. Then Snyder gave notes, revised, tweaked. We did this for every phase of the process for every issue. There were lots of discussions throughout the process but because we’ve worked together before and known each other for 20 plus years, it was easy to collaborate on this one.

With Attila, we gave him the first script and he seemed to get it right away. The first storyboards he showed us were nearly perfect with his story telling… his storyboards really capture the feeling and tone of the story and throughout the process, it only gets better. He’s really passionate about the story which is important to us and so while he pretty much follows the script to a tee, sometimes he’ll add a panel or background detail. And it’s all for the better. The notes are usually pretty minimal but Tuft and Futaki talk daily on gchat like schoolgirls… twisted and demented schoolgirls but schoolgirls all the same. “Like Oh My God, In panel 2… you should totally see more bone”

GCB | How long have you had the ideas for Severed? Has it been a long gestation period or did the baby spill out unexpectedly?

The Scotts | Feels like both now that it’s suddenly coming out but we’ve been thinking bout this story for a while. The story is pretty intricately plotted and it took a while to line all the ducks up in a row. At one time we toyed with it being a movie but found that we’d be freer to tell the story that we wanted to tell as an indie comic. But finding Attila and setting it up with image… all these things take time, which makes for a good gestation period.

GCB | How long is the story you have planned?

The Scotts | It’s a 7 series arc that is a pretty solid story on its own. But there is definitely room for spinoffs and we have been so happy with the way it’s coming out, that we’re thinking about doing another one.

GCB | What kind of research was undertaken for Severed, and did you find any particularly interesting/horrible real life horror stories? The more horrific the better I reckon.

The Scotts | Beyond researching the time period and American serial killers, we actually took a trip that nearly charted the entire course of the book. We really wanted to get a deep sense of the spaces that we were exploring. We went to some creepy places and spent several nights in motel beds that probably accommodated a serial killer or two.

GCB | Scott (Tuft), I believe this is your first foray into comics, how have you found it? Was it a maelstrom of late nights and deadlines? How does it compare to writing for other mediums? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline now that you’ve got a taste for the medium?

Scott Tuft | It is. I cant express how lucky I feel to have SEVERED be my first comic. To work with Scott and Attila on a story this rich is a dream come true. And to have it be my first… I’m sure I must have made a deal with the devil some drunken night.

It’s also been incredibly challenging. Deadlines and late nights for sure. Writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and then some more rewriting. I’ve written a lot of screenplays in the past and directed films but comics are a whole new ballgame. Every day I learn something new, not only about the comic book form, but about story telling in general.

I’m constantly inspired by the subtle differences that crop up between films and comics. I feel like there’s a slew of obvious ones, like one has sound and the other has lettered words. One moves on a screen and the other is static on the page. But there are subtle differences that I never thought about… and I think addressing these differences is making me a much better writer. Writing comics is a fantastic process and now that I’ve caught the bug, I definitely want to do more. I’m currently working on a bigger ongoing Sci-Fi idea and Scott and I had an idea a while ago that would make for a really awesome comic – a Sci-Fi Thriller.

GCB | Scott (Snyder), you must be really busy, are you really busy? What with AV, AV:SOTF, Detective, the DC reboot, cooking, cleaning, going to the shops (I’m just assuming the last three).

Scott Snyder | You assumed right! We have a newborn, too. Emmett Aaron! Our second son. So yes, I’m very busy but the work is staggered and more than this, it’s work I love. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have this job. I promise never to complain or take it for granted.

GCB | Scott, (Snyder), how much a fan of Sergio Leone movies are you? Will wants to know (a writer on the site) he says American Vampire suggests you are…

SS | Very big fan. I have a poster of Fistful of Dollars in my office :)

GCB | Scott (Snyder), just one more AV question, do you have plans for any historical period you’re particularly excited about? I’d love to see an issue of AV set at Woodstock…

SS | Right now, I’m working on issues 22-25 for Rafa, which take place in 1955. It’s all death-races and diners and greasers and suburbs… It’s a decade Rafa and I have been dying to get to for a long time. And, we introduce our version Van Helsing: a badass rockabilly (psychobilly) teenager who drives a ’55 hot-rod and has a secret past involving a previous arc. He’s like a teenage Elvis vampire killer. Rafa was sending sketches today – I can’t wait for you all to meet him. He’s a real favorite.

GCB | What inspired you both to get into comics?

SS | I’ve always been a comic fan. My dad used to read them to me when I was a little kid. He’d take me on Wednesdays to Forbidden Planet in Manhattan. He’d send me comics when I was away at camp. All through high school and college. It’s his fault.

ST | Honestly… I am super new to the medium. When Scott started writing them, I started reading them. The past couple years has been all comics. I can’t remember the last time I bought a literary book. The first comic that totally hooked me was THE FILTH. While I had read other comics before that one… this is the one that I will always consider my first. Where I saw that the medium was something to take completely serious as a genuine art and a solid form of entertainment. And since then, not a day goes by without me reading at least a couple comics. But I’ll tell you what’s inspiring me to STAY in comics – it’s a way to tell visual stories and it’s totally uninhibited by anything other than your creativity, the talent of the people you are working with and the tastes of readers.

GCB | Do you have any recommendations for comics we should be reading?

ST | Ongoing – American Vampire, Detective Comics are must reads. (really – they’re great) I also like Sweet Tooth and Chew. I also pick up minis a lot – I like close ended stories.

SS | Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire. Morning Glories by Nick Spencer. Echoes, a gn by Josh Fialkov was something I really liked a ton. There are honestly a lot of book coming in September in DC’S new 52 that I’m really excited about too. Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman. Grant Morrison’s Action #1. JT Krul’s Captain Atom. Geoff John and Jim Lee’s Justice League of course. It’s a good time to be a comic reader.

Severed is released on 03/08/2011… which is nice.


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