NOTE: This interview with Scott Snyder took place in advance of DC’s release of solicitation for June’s Batman #41. That solicit reads, in whole: “The all-new Batman makes his debut! Who is he, and what happens next? Find out here as a new era begins in Gotham City!”
Solicitation art, seen here, seems to show an armored or perhaps robotic Batman. Click on the thumb for a full-size version or click here for a super-sized version.
Writer Scott Snyder is deep into his fifth year of living with Batman, having started with a run on Detective Comics in early 2011, and making the jump to the Batman title with the launch of DC’s “New 52” later that year. For most of his stint on the title, Batman has been DC’s top-seller, and Snyder has garnered critical acclaim.
As DC’s June semi-relaunch hits, Snyder continues his work on Batman, with very big—and as yet unrevealed—changes in the works on the title.
Newsarama: Scott, we’ve heard a lot about the three big ongoing things being the Darkseid War in Justice League, plus a “new status quo” in Batman and Superman. So what is this new status quo that we’ve never seen in 75 years of Batman?
Snyder: Well, it’s true that you’ve never seen it. It’s definitely the wackiest thing we’ve every tried. It’s basically the story where I thought, “If I ever do a story out of continuity, I’d love to do this. But there’s no way I can change the mythology to a degree that I could get to this story.” But…here we are. And the thing I love is that it will allow me to explore the characters from angles that are entirely new. There are two characters the story really focuses on, and they’re both in positions where radical, radical changes affect their status quo. And this will allow me to explore the Bat-world in really, really vibrant perspectives.
I’m going into, I guess, my sixth year in Gotham, and things have been so much fun, especially in the last year with [Editor] Mark [Doyle]. And DC is now so progressive with their line and the changes in June that I really feel that right now, it’s the time for us to try something pretty unconventional and risky with the book, because otherwise, we just fall back on playing it safe. This is us saying, “We’re just getting started, and it’s Batman #1.” I promise you, if you get to the end of our 8-page Free Comic Book Day thing and if you don’t think it’s the craziest thing we’ve ever tried…well, I can’t give you your money back because it’s free, but I promise it is unequivocally the craziest thing we’ve ever tried. Period. It just is.
Nrama: And that’s a totally safe bet to make when it’s free!
Snyder: Yeah, but think about this: We’re now stuck with it for the status going forward. We’ll see how it works.
Nrama: I get that you don’t want to say, “Here’s the master plan,” but you mention two characters. Can we safely assume that one of these two characters is Bruce Wayne?
Snyder: I don’t want to say. [Laughs] I don’t want to say! I know this is a new level of coy, but I will say that the mythology will be radically reinterpreted and stretched in a different way. [2014’s] “Endgame” was designed to be my last story on Batman, but if I stayed after “Endgame,” it needed to be transformative, where everything was put aside and reinvented. It’s going to be a new cast. I can say we’re going to bring in characters you haven’t seen in Batman before. We’re also going to play a lot with a lot of the other books—characters from We Are Robin and Batgirl are in the book. You’re going to see Harper and Cullen, characters we’ve created. And there will be a really different feel to it. We actually toyed with the idea of just calling it “All-New Batman” for a while, because it is that different. I can also tell you it’s going to be all-new villains. I want to go back to the spirit we had when we were creating Court of Owls, where there’s new villains, new threats, new cast.
Nrama: I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but watch me do it anyway: Is what you’re talking about a situation of “People will either love this or hate this?”
Snyder: Oh, yeah. [Laughs] Yeah. But I’ve always been that way with this! Look, when we announced we were doing [the 2013-2014] “Zero Year,” nobody was dying for an 11-issue long origin story. I got a lot of angry mail. Same thing when we did Joker without his face, when we introduced a brother to Batman on reinterpreted James Gordon Jr. I got a lot of angry hate stuff about that, about how dark it made Jim Gordon, about how we ruined “Year One,” and so on. So I’ve never been afraid of controversy. But I really believe that the audience now is part of a changing zeitgeist. Five or six years ago, they were more about great fanboy moments and getting re-combinations of classic team-ups. And I love a lot of those stories, and there should be a place for those stories. But I think our audience now, on all the Bat-books, is receptive to creators coming in and doing their own work in a way that’s true to the core of the characters, but still visionary, singular or passionate in ways that are progressive or unconventional.
Nrama: So how does it feel to be the rock star around here? You can pee wherever you want, right?
Snyder: Oh, I don’t know about that. I never feel that way. I don’t think about that stuff at all. I thought maybe by this point in my career, I’d be writing some backup stories for Batman if I was lucky. But to be able to write it with such creative latitude over the last few years with a partner like [artist] Greg Capullo who, corny as it sounds, has become one of my closest friends, has been the greatest job I’ll ever have. I don’t think I’ll ever have a job as good as this in comics again. I just genuinely try to savor the moment. I love this character more than any other in, literally, the entire history of literature, and to be able to do the stories I want with such a positive response feel like the peak of everything to me.
Nrama: And you kind of back-doored into this via American Vampire.
Snyder: Oh, yeah. I’m the unlikely guy. I have a very indy background as a writer. My wife is a doctor, and I was going to be the poor, poet dude doing the stories I want to do that nobody would buy living off her salary. That was what the relationship was always going to be!
Nrama: And she was down for that?
Snyder: Oh, yeah! She was ready to support me as the real breadwinner. But I come from this real background of creator-owned comics and my goal has always been to remain true to that aesthetic even if I’m writing Superman or Batman. I bring the same interest that I have in my creator-owned work, the same themes, to these licensed characters.
Nrama: June. 49 books and lots of new stuff. What are you most looking forward to reading?
Snyder: I’ve got to read more of the Bat-books to this point, so I’m going to be skewed in that direction a bit, but…We Are Robin just really blew me away. Having a group of young people from all kinds of different backgrounds deciding to take up the mantle of Robin because if what happens at the end of “Endgame”…that’s just inspiring.
Black Canary and Dark Universe are books I’ve seen a lot of that are great. And Pat Gleason’s book, Damien, Son of Batman, is just great.