As Alec Holland, also known as Swamp Thing, makes a great sacrifice at the end of the current "Rotworld" event, fans of the Swamp Thing series will also make a sacrifice, as Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette leave the book after issue #18.
According to Snyder, "sacrifice" lies at he core of Swamp Thing's character, and it will become one of the central focuses for the book as "Rotworld" wraps up over the next couple months.
"Rotworld" is the crossover event that's spanning Animal Man and Swamp Thing, both launched last year as part of the New 52. The event ends in each issue's #17, then will be followed by an epilogue before Snyder and Paquette say goodbye.
Newsarama talked to Snyder in a two-part interview about his New 52 work. What follows is part one of our chat with the writer, but look for our discussion about Batman later today.Swamp Thing #16 Newsarama: Scott, we got the news this week that you guys are leaving Swamp Thing. As you finish up "Rotworld" over the next few months, and you look back at this story you've been building since last September, what are your thoughts about the run?
Scott Snyder: First of all, I know I've said it before, but you can't say thank you enough to the fans for being so supportive of this book, to me and Yanick and everybody else on the team. I mean, there was a lot of skepticism from us, personally too, but from other people around the internet and in comics.
I think that Swamp Thing can be a viable book over time. And the fact that, not only did all you guys out there support us, but you supported us with a story that didn't have Swamp Thing in it for the first six issues at all, for six months of the book, means the world to us. It really reinforced this idea that I have and Yanick has about the comic fanbase, that if you give a good story, no matter how wild and experimental and strange it is, they'll follow you. You know? Fans will respond to something you're passionate about.
This book in particular, Swamp Thing for me has been so important in terms of the books that made me want to write in the first place, but also books that I read consistently for a long time, because it was always a book that people came onto and did in a totally different way than the person before them. So Alan Moore would come on and completely change all the stuff that Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson did. Or Mark Millar would come on and do something completely different. And so on.
So the fact that fans supported us through this whole thing where we really tried to do something that was completely different than what came before means so much.
With "Rotworld," it's great to be able to finish this story, this finale of the run that you were going to do.
To be totally honest, Yanick and I hadn't planned to be on Swamp Thing quite as long as we are, simply because we both had other projects coming down.
I remember calling Jeff Lemire right when DC said there was a chance to do Swamp Thing, when Geoff Johns called and said there was a chance. And calling Jeff and saying, "How am I going to do Swamp Thing? I have this creator-owned project at Vertigo." And he was just, like, "You've always loved Swamp Thing. When are you going to get a chance to write Swamp Thing again?" And I was like, "I have to do it!"
So it was always planned to be a limited run for me. But I'm really proud that Yanick stayed with me from beginning to end and we were able to go even longer than we wanted.Nrama: Are you going to be able to tie up all the loose ends in the book before you go, and pick up all those threads you've started on the book?
Snyder: "Rotworld" really will bring all of the threads that we've begun back in our first arc together. And the finale of our run in issue #18, I think, will be, hopefully, both pretty shocking to people but also will bring things full circle.
Nrama: The word "sacrifice" is used a lot in the coming solicitations for "Rotworld." I know you can't say exactly what kind of sacrifice is coming up for Buddy and Alec. But knowing your use of themes, how central is the theme of "sacrifice" to the story you're telling about Alec Holland?
Snyder: I just think that it's part of the story for these characters especially -- characters who are reviled in some way by the public. I mean, Swamp Thing isn't an enemy to the public, but if you saw him, you'd run away in fear. Monstrous heroes have always been characters that I've loved for that reason. They give us so much. They're protecting us. They're doing things that are heroic, even though nobody wants to be in the room with them because they're terrified of them.
So in that way, I think part of the core of Alec's heroism is this notion that he's willing to become and be a monster to do the right thing and to help other people, whether it's Abby or the Green or the world.
The culmination of the story in "Rotworld" really makes that very apparent, that the stuff he's given up already is only half the price that he's going to have to pay to really pull this one off with Buddy.
Nrama: One of the real joys as a reader is discovering this alternate future where we've got the rot-infected heroes and... is it "girl-bat?"
Snyder: We call her "Man-Bat-Girl." [Laughs.]
Nrama: Perfect. And even Jeff's got some fun things going on with these future versions of characters in his book. As you went into the planning for "Rotworld" a year ago, was that one of the challenges, to come up with something new, but also one of the things that was the most fun about telling this story?Swamp Thing #18 Snyder: Oh, a hundred percent! And part of it was just fun talking to Jeff. "Oh, you get these characters. I want these characters." Deciding what happens to them and who would survive.
But the framework we tried to use -- and it was actually Geoff Johns, when we were first talking about the story, that suggested this angle. Because we were like, we want to do an alternate future in which the Rot has won, and it was his great idea, honestly, to sort of use the lens of the Red, the Green and the Rot as a filter for which character would still be around, as opposed to characters that were just resilient and survivors. You know? So it was characters with connections to the Red, the Green or the Rot that would have an easier time resisting the infection and the massive spread of the Rot.
And it gave us this great framework to play with, like, which characters really would survive? And would there be heroes and villains that now have roles in this Rotworld that were totally surprising to us, because they had been different characters before?
So you have characters like Mr. Freeze, for example, coming up, who is playing a kind of heroic role, even though he's such a villain in the past.
Or you have characters like Woodrue, who you'll see, or Poison Ivy, who you've seen, and Barbara Gordon playing a different role. And you know, Cyborg and all these different characters coming up that have these new missions and duties in this ruined Rotworld.
Nrama: I know you've got several things you're juggling, with Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire and your upcoming Vertigo series The Wake. Plus your new Superman story with Jim Lee. Does that mean you're not picking up another series when you leave Swamp Thing?
Snyder: No, that's all. There's no surprise books coming.
Nrama: I think that's enough!
Snyder: Yeah, well, there have been times when I actually juggled five books at once when we were launched the New 52. So it's not like I feel like I couldn't in any way manage four books. But it's that I really feel as though it becomes a struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle with my family, and also to be able to maintain the quality without really struggling to do that, pulling incredibly long hours.
So I made a deal with myself about six months ago that I would never really go above three books again, ever.
I knew I'd be leaving Swamp Thing, so that's why doing American Vampire, I knew Rafael wanted to get ahead as well and really do more of the arcs in the second part of the series, because we're about halfway done, and not have as many fill-ins. So we're taking a break so he can get ahead and I can work on The Wake, since it's a limited series. That way I can stay on basically three books.
Right now I have Superman and Batman and nothing else. So I'm able to get way ahead on those two. And then by the time The Wake comes, I'll be far enough ahead that I'll be able to sort of just work on that and get way ahead on that. And then American Vampire comes back. So I can stagger it so I'm really only ever on two to three books.
Check back for more of our interview with Snyder, as we talk about this week's Batman #15 and what's coming up next in "Death of the Family."