[Check out the entire preview sequence introducing the new Batmobile in this newly-updated preview of Batman #51].
Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder are ending their almost five-year run on Batman with this week's #51, tying up a few loose ends while also showing why their version of Batman is a "source of inspiration."
The issue is a stand-alone story that follows last month's bombastic finish to the pair's "Superheavy" storyline, in which Bruce Wayne "died" and was replaced by Jim Gordon (in a mechanized Batman suit, no less), before Wayne returned to the mantle.
Yet the end of their Batman run doesn't mean the end of the creative team's time together. As Capullo told Newsarama, as soon as he's done with his next project — a six-issue creator-owned mini-series with writer Mark Millar — Capullo will come back to an unnamed project at DC. According to Capullo, the next project is something DC suggested, and it's even more "stand-out-in-the-crowd" than the pair's 2011 launch of Batman.
The issue also isn't the end of Snyder's time in Gotham City, as DC announced in March that the writer would be working on a new, twice-monthly All-Star Batman title beginning in August. Snyder will not be working with Capullo on the project, but is instead pairing with a variety of artists — initially with John Romita Jr., Declan Shalvey and Sean Murphy.
"I wouldn't try to do Batman without Greg and the art team, the way I've been doing it, at all," Snyder said. "We've had a special run. And it's something we created together. The stories are tailored for the kinds of stuff that I love to do with this team, as opposed to other artists.
"So Batman as we know it — this run — is always us," the writer said. "I have a different sort of idea for what to do with the character when Greg goes away."
The end of the Snyder-Capullo Batman also makes way for the next creative team on the series, writer Tom King and artists David Finch and Mikel Janin, who take over in June. It's a tall order for the new creative team, who will be following up on a run that usually saw Batman listed as DC's best-selling ongoing title.
Newsarama talked to Snyder and Capullo about what it's like to finish up their Batman run, what readers can expect from Batman #51, and what they're doing next.
Newsarama: Greg and Scott, has it hit you that the ride on Batman is ending? It's got to be a little sad, isn't it? Or are you already looking toward your next project together?
Scott Snyder: I was telling Greg that I have never handed in a lettering script late — I totally delayed handing in the final polish on it, because it's hard to sort of close the book.
But yeah, we still text and go back and forth all the time, and I'm already thinking about what we're going to do next. I already laid out the basic idea for Greg.
Nrama: I know you can't say much, but will that be a different type of book? Is that part of what you're thinking about — how it will be different from this run?
Snyder: Well honestly, seeing what he's able to do with Mark Millar, and the different flavor that that book is going to be, and the creative expansion available on it — the work he's doing with Mark is so great. I'm so excited for what he has this time, and what they have together.
So it's become this happy thing, because it's like, "Oh, if he'll do that, I'll do this, and then we'll get back together and do something really fun and big."
Nrama: What about you Greg? Is there any sadness for you, that this is the final issue of your Batman run with Scott?
Greg Capullo: Back when I was just going to start the last issue, my wife Jane said, "You're probably going to be really sad, right?" And I'm like, "No! What are you talking about? I'm a man!" [Laughs.] You know?
I never anticipated that I would have any kind of a melancholy feeling, but it started to set in every once in a while. I'd be drawing the pages and it would get in me a little bit, and I'd have to brush it off and just do my job.
Immediately after I got done, I felt a sigh of relief, because I'd been under such deadline pressure, and a standard that I had to hold up and maintain for five years. And it was like, "Aaaaaaah." So I was actually relieved for a bit.
And Jane would also go, "Oh, and you're going to be missing Scott!" And I was like, "Nah, I'm cool. I'm a man!" But then I'm like sending him virtual hugs via text, which is really, kinda not manly… but it's a man hug. It's a bear hug. I'm crushing the life out of him when I'm doing so!
But yeah, I feel a little strange being away from him. But you know, we love each other. So we're always saying 'Hi!' and talking about what we're working on — and what we'll be doing next, which we think is just going to smash the roof right off DC.
It'll be very explosive stuff when we reunite.
Nrama: What can you say about this week's issue, Scott?
Snyder: I don't want to give too much away. But I think this issue shows how Batman is a symbol of bravery and inspiration. Sometimes he gets portrayed very darkly — and I love those versions of him — but he's also a figure of inspiration. And this issue is sort of our way of showing that theme of our Batman.
Nrama: The two of you, as creators, since the day you got together and did Batman #1, and you were putting together your ideas, what do you feel like the main thing is you've taken away from specifically working on Batman?
Capullo: For me, it's been all about our relationship with the fans that supported this. Looking back at Batman, what I focus on is how my career could be very different if it weren't for all the people who have supported us along this ride on Batman.
So I don't sit back and go, how has Batman affected me — it's how the fans have affected me. They've affected me permanently. You know? My emotions. My mind. My heart.
Nrama: It's affected you that much? This experience in particular?
Capullo: It has. I have this fierce loyalty to them, you know? Because they had our backs through every risky storyline and never, ever flinched.
So what I'm taking away from the experience is this incredible fandom that we have out there and how much I love them.
Nrama: Hard to top that, Scott.
Snyder: Oh I would definitely put that at the top as well.
Nrama: But anything other than the fans?
Snyder: Well, the thing I'm proudest of is my friendship with Greg and the partnership we developed.
It goes along with what Greg was saying about the support of the fans. For me, as a writer, coming onto Batman — I came on pretty green! I'd only done a year on Detective Comics, and I've never learned as much as I learned from Greg on this book.
But also, I think one of the things that was sort of personal about working on Batman is that he's not only my favorite character; he's also the character that's most intimidating to me to write, from the beginning. Because he has so many great stories, probably more than any other comic character.
And the thing I learned writing him was that the only way to approach these characters that loom so large in your imagination if you're a creator is to be fearless about putting yourself or your vulnerabilities or the things you're embarrassed about, or the things you're afraid of into them, and write them as though you made them up.
The fans were like, every time I'd be like, oh, this is too sappy, or this is too out there and too political or too this. They always supported it if it was — you know, if you wrote from the heart with it.
Believe me, there are tons of flaws and things that I know I do wrong up and down, but the fact that they've supported the book, partly based on Greg and my belief in what we were doing or our passion for the stories that we were telling, because they were about things that mattered to us, whether they were personal or larger issues — it really means the world.
I feel like it was a real steep learning curve, or a fascinating trial by fire. It was like diving into the deep end of the pool. And what the fans tell you is just be yourself on the book and show why you love the character and they'll be there for you. That's something I'll carry with me forever as a creator.
Check back on Wednesday for more of Newsarama's discussion with Snyder and Capullo as we talk about the themes in Batman #51 and what the pair hopes readers take away from their run.