SCOTT SNYDER: The DCnU BATMAN Relaunch Really Isn't

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Scott Snyder is relaunching Batman in September with a new #1, but he wants to make sure readers know he's not relaunching the character.

The writer, who's currently finishing up a critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics with Dick Grayson in the starring role, will write Batman with Greg Capullo on art. And he's adamant about letting readers know: All changes — Barbara's change to Batgirl, Dick Grayson's new job as Nightwing, Bruce Wayne's solo turn as Batman — will be explained in story.

Snyder burst onto the comics scene in 2010 with the Eisner nominated series American Vampire, which he initially co-wrote with author Stephen King. Then he won further acclaim after taking over as regular writer on Detective late last year, followed by the current mini-series he's writing with Kyle Higgins, Gates of Gotham.

Now DC has tapped the writer to write Batman #1 with Bruce Wayne in the lead role, a job he said he's not taking lightly.

Newsarama: Scott, has it been a little surreal to think that you're writing Batman #1, the first issue of a whole new run of Batman?

Scott Snyder: Yes! I've spent a lot of sleepless nights where I'm thinking, "I can't believe I'm doing this!" and my wife's like, "It's going to be fine!" Believe me, I understand the significance of this. I even felt this when I was first putting together a run on Detective Comics. My favorite character is Batman, my favorite stories in comics are Batman stories for the most part, so to be doing #1 is incredibly humbling yet exciting. I couldn't be more thrilled.

And I don't take it lightly, believe me. I've been working around the clock with the whole creative team to make sure we're doing something we can really be proud of, especially for a big relaunch like this.

Nrama: How did you end up working on Batman, basically switching places with Tony Daniel, who's working on Detective?

Snyder: Before the fall initiative solidified, months ago, I went to the editor with an idea for a story, and I thought I'd do it in Detective. Then when we talked about Bruce coming back in the fall, we just thought since this is an epic story and has a really large scope, I should try it in Batman. So I talked to the other writers, and we were all cool with it. In the Batman universe, these were stories we wanted to tell even before the initiative got hyped.

Nrama: With a character like Batman, it's probably even less necessary to explain things to new readers, isn't it? I mean, everybody knows Batman. You probably don't have to introduce him like you would have to explain other characters.

Snyder: Yeah, we do want it to be a point, because it's a new #1, that anybody who's never read Batman can jump on and will have some jumping-on-point information, the basics of the character.

But one thing we were really concerned with, me and Greg Capullo, was that it wasn't expositional. It wasn't stuff that just came off as, "Oh, in case you haven't read Batman before, here's some long diatribe about his parents and so on."

So for us, the introduction of Batman and who he is was something that was very easy to organically work into the fabric from the beginning of our story, because it's very much about Bruce and his relationship to Gotham. It's about what Bruce thinks Batman's role in Gotham is, and some very, very dark and big surprises that are going to rock his sense of what Batman is to the city, and what it's been historically.

Nrama: That's interesting that you're talking about Gotham as being important to this story, because that was something you're exploring with Dick in your Detective run.

Snyder: Part of the idea with Detective was what Gotham would throw at a new Batman, at somebody with different fears and different hopes, because it is a city of nightmares in some ways. And we address that in upcoming issues of 'Tec. But with Batman, Bruce is such a different character, and he's so tested and tried and true as Gotham's protector. But what I wanted to do was make it sort of surprising to him what Gotham has become. Not because it's been changing, but there are things about Gotham historically that he's discovering.

That's one of the things I'm very interested in, is Gotham's history, what's come before Bruce. So what if there are elements of Gotham that are saying, "Gotham is ours, Gotham has always been ours. Your sense of how you protect Gotham and are a symbol of Gotham as the Bat is just one tiny little piece of a puzzle that you've never really realized is there behind the scenes."

It's a story I'm super excited about, and I've been discussing this with other writers and with [DC Batman Editor] Mike [Marts] for months. I didn't want to go from doing Detective with a big story about Gotham and its relationship with Dick Grayson to a story that was just taking Batman for the sake of working on Batman. I never would have taken this book on if I didn't have a story that I personally would be proud of.

Nrama: We've been told that characters like Catwoman and Batwing and Nightwing are back, as well as some other Batman characters. Does Bruce interact with these other characters in this title?

Snyder: Yes, and I understand that there's a lot of confusion and excitement about what the shape of Gotham is going to be, in terms of the cast. I know there are a lot of wild rumors out there, because we're trying not to spoil things that are coming in story.

But one thing I can definitely say is that the stuff you've loved about Batman over the years is still there. We're not just taking away things that people have liked from the past so that they haven't existed or don't matter. That isn't the mission at all here.

If there are elements of the Batman world and Batman history you love, I can tell you with confidence that those things are still there and still did happen. And they are part of the mythology of Batman as we're using it here.

So in terms of the cast in Gotham, DC was very excited about the way certain things were going on in the Batman world, and certain elements, like the supporting casts. So this may not be a place where there are changes to upset what fans have been liking. I love what we've been doing in the Batman universe, and I think fans have responded well to it.

We've put a lot of thought into the changes you'll see in the Batman world in terms of how to make those transitions and shifts work within story. And I can assure you as a fan of Batman myself: Nobody was interested in just doing things that are surprising for the sake of doing things that are surprising. We're very respectful of history and continuity, especially for Batman, who has some of the best moments in comics’ history.

Nrama: But all these issues are geared toward new readers, right?

Snyder: Well, it's like any #1. Or what any comic should be, really. We don't want you to feel, if you come into the book new to Batman, that you have to know anything about the character to enjoy it and jump right on. But, if you have been a long-time Batman fan, we have no interest in wiping away his history, because we love it as much as you do.

It's not just a continuation. It will be a big jumping-on point. And there will be some new things and new twists.

There are some exciting changes you'll see in the Bat-world, but the changes you'll see are in-story. It's not a case where things in the past suddenly didn't happen. The relationships between the characters will not be radically different. None of it is a radical flash in the sky and boom, things are different.

 

I know people have seen the changes that are coming, like Nightwing and Batgirl. But I just think Gail [Simone] on Batgirl is great.

Nrama: I tend to think that only Gail could write Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

Snyder: Exactly. You couldn't do it without Gail. I love her stuff, and I'm so excited for her to be doing Batgirl. She and I have talked because I've used Barbara significantly in Detective this year, and she becomes a big player as the arc is closing out in August. And Gail has been nothing but gracious and helpful, and also extremely supportive from the beginning. So I'm hugely excited to see her on a title like this, where I just know she's going to do terrific things.

Nrama: But getting back to the overall approach to your run on Batman, you are approaching this as a solo title for Bruce Wayne?

Snyder: Yes, overall, it's a solo title. In Batman #1, we'll have establishing moments where you'll get to see the roles played by Damian, Tim, and Dick. They are part of the first issue. But I do want the book to be more of a solo book. Batman and Robin is going to be more about Bruce and Damian. And you're going to have a Nightwing book, obviously. There are going to be places for the team aspect.

Even though these other characters all appear in Batman #1 to establish the status quo, this is a Bruce Wayne story. In Detective, I wanted to bring back that sense of Batman as a detective, solving street-level mysteries that escalate. In Batman, I really want this story to be about Bruce being confronted with dark forces and dark secrets that really shake him up personally and are about him as Batman and his city and his relationship to it. And to the Bat-family as well.

So it is going to be more of a solo book.

Nrama: And the tone is a little different from what you were doing on Detective?

Snyder: It is, because it's going to be big and bold. It's not just going to be my run on Detective moved over to Bruce in Batman. It's very much a Batman story in Gotham with big revelations, big fights and big tech.

It's an even bigger, bolder and much deeper story that what I did in Detective, in terms of who Bruce is and what he depends on psychologically to keep going. But one thing that will be the same is that it's one big epic story that's going to run for a while with different pieces.

Nrama: How does Greg Capullo add to that "big, bold" tone you're trying to achieve?

Snyder: He's just perfect for Batman. He brings this incredible energy. I can't wait for people to see his Batman, his Batcave and his villains and rogues gallery. He brings this dynamism to it and this sense of energy to the page that I think is perfect for a Batman book. As much as I loved working with Jock and Francesco on Detective and have been begging them to work with me on other things, I'm so honored to be working with Greg on Batman.

He just brings such a great explosive feel to every page. It just fits really, really well to what we're trying to do. And we're both working together really hard to make sure this story is something we'll be really proud of. For both of us, this Batman story is something we couldn't be more excited about.

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