James Tynion IV has been busy spreading evil and the macabre throughout the DCU. This summer, the writer launched DC’s newest Justice League Dark comic along with artist Alvaro Martinez. He also subbed for Scott Snyder on the Justice League flagship, penning a pair of villain-centric issues for the critically-acclaimed (especially by us) comic.
Tynion is now writing a five-part weekly crossover entitled The Witching Hour, which runs throughout October in Justice League Dark, Wonder Woman, and a pair of one-shots. Tynion recently emerged from the ghastliness to give ComicsBeat some insight into this event and what it could mean for his team moving forward, answering our questions via email.
ComicsBeat: This strikes me as very much a horror story, which is maybe a genre not often associated with or applied to the Wonder Woman character, at least not before this book launched. What has it been like writing Diana in this event and taking her so deep into some of the darker spaces in the DCU?
Tynion: One of the biggest questions I’ve been getting asked all summer is “Why is Wonder Woman on Justice League Dark?” I mean, the others are pretty easy to justify. Zatanna represents the classic DC Magician-Heroes, Swamp Thing was the key player in the big DC Horror revolution in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Detective Chimp representing the Shadowpact era…Even Man-Bat I can justify with the simple fact that I wanted a mad scientist on the team…But Wonder Woman has never been a horror character. Out of the Justice League, she’s probably the character you’d least associate with horror.
Which is precisely what caught my interest. At DC more so than the competition, magic has always been rooted in horror. Most of the magic characters were created in the horror anthology books like House of Secrets and House of Mystery, and others first popped up in books inspired BY the horror anthology books. And Diana has always represented a kind of magic. Gods and mythological creatures. Diana has faced beings with unspeakable power, she has wrestled with incredibly powerful (and frightening) monsters. But it’s always been on her own terms, usually in her own mythology.
The opportunity I saw in bringing her in is the fact that you have a character who thinks she knows what she’s up against, but she doesn’t. She sees magic through the spectrum of her mythology, not through the lens of horror that the other characters do. That means that the horror is going to get under her skin. The fact that she’s up against something she doesn’t understand, something that doesn’t neatly fit in her definitions of magic and monsters, is going to be incredibly disorienting. Particularly when the source of that horror IS something that seems to be coming out of her own past. Her own mythology.
So, basically, the exciting part of writing Diana here is getting to take the DC horror/magic lens and point it at Wonder Woman mythology, and grapple with how discordant and revealing that can be, right at the same time Diana tries to understand it all herself.
ComicsBeat: Is the villain of this story, Hecate, the same we’ve seen entwined so often with Wonder Woman in the past, and what kind of changes might we expect to see during this event in the dynamic between her and Diana?
Tynion: There have definitely been several takes on Hecate in Wonder Woman’s history, and while I want to nod to them, I wanted to draw in some of the actual mythology and history of the figure as well. Namely the fact that Hecate actually predates the Greek Pantheon as a God. The Greeks kind of wrote her into their myths to placate their worshipers. There is also the aspect of the triple goddess, and the moon, both core to her identity that I really wanted to explore here. The Hecate story that spoke to me the most in Wonder Woman history was the glimpse we saw of her when George Perez introduced his take on Circe back in the late ‘80s. But this is the goddess of witchcraft like you’ve never seen her before, and it is going to be terrifying.
ComicsBeat: What—if anything—can you tell us about where this event will leave the Justice League Dark team in the months to follow?
Tynion: Harrowed. In Justice League Dark we’ve seen a glimpse of the magical horror of the Otherkind and The Upside Down Man, which are slowly unleashing themselves against the world. At first it’s going to seem like the Witchmark on Diana’s forehead is going to be an answer to their prayers. The perfect way to fight back against these extra-dimensional terrors…But I can promise you that it’s not going to go the way they think it is. And we’re going to see a Magical World in an even more dire state at the end of this event than we do at the beginning.
ComicsBeat: Swamp Thing seems to be increasingly reluctant or maybe even taxed by his role and his duties of late. What can you tell us about his role in the story, and what this event might mean for his status quo in the future?
Next to Diana, Swamp Thing is the character who is going to be hit the hardest by The Witching Hour, and it’s going to send him in an entirely new and dangerous direction. We’ve seen Alec Holland as he’s withdrawing from the world, but now we’re going to see exactly what he has to lose if he doesn’t step up and fight alongside the Justice League Dark. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away. I guess I can say “BEWARE OF THE FLOWERS,” but that won’t make sense for a few more weeks, yet.