For Scott Snyder, one of the greatest joys of writing Dark Nights: Metal is getting to pull elements from DC stories he loves and build a new connectivity around them.
Spoilers ahead for this week's Dark Nights: Metal #1.
As readers of this week's Metal #1 found out, that includes Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Grant Morrison's Batman runs, and dozens of other stories from DC's storied history.
Metal is a six-issue event about how certain powerful metals in the DCU are connected somehow to a Dark Multiverse, a mysterious realm of possibilities that is coming to invade the known world.
Along the way, Snyder is building new characters and concepts, weaving them among continuity that already exists. And surprisingly, he's also reviving - and giving and exciting new life to - a lot of beloved-but-rarely seen ideas from DC's past, from the Challengers of the Unknown to Plastic Man, the Blackhawks, Hawkgirl, and Dream of the Endless, who showed up on the final page of Metal #1.
Drawn by Greg Capullo, Metal reunites the artist with his Batman collaborator and gives the two a chance to expand their storytelling ideas far outside Gotham City.
Newsarama talked to Snyder to find out more about the influence of other writers on his work - particularly Morrison, whose creations are peppered throughout Metal #1. And continuing our earlier interview with Snyder and Capullo about this week's issue, we talk to both about what's coming next.
Newsarama: Scott, I think one of the things that stands out about this first issue of Metal is how much you're pulling from Grant Morrison's run on Batman as you build this story.
Scott Snyder: Yeah, I mean, Grant's one of my absolute favorite writers of all time and he was a real mentor to me when I first came to DC. And I just got to talk to him in San Diego about everything coming, both in Metal and after Metal. And he's always been tremendously generous and a really great spirit when it comes to offering advice and talking story and all of it.
His daring and bravery on the books has always been, like, a real North Star for me.
So to get to use material he created from Final Crisis and cosmologically with Multiversity - but also to kind of wed it to things that I really love from other people, like "Darkseid War" from Geoff Johns and stuff that's coming from that, and some of the stuff that Tom King has been doing in Batman, and our run on Batman, and also Geoff's long run on Hawkman and JSA.
All that stuff - Metal, because it's so huge and such a big event and spans the entire DCU, I get to pay tribute to or pull from stories I love and put those things in the DNA of the event, because nothings off limits.
So as much as it's built on the great stuff that Grant did, part of the fun is connecting some of that stuff to other stories that I love that at first might not have that much to do with it - like, the entire terrific run that Geoff did on Hawkman. And some of the stuff Benjamin Percy is doing now on Green Arrow, and what Dan Abnett is doing with Aquaman.
It's the connectivity of it that's the most exciting part. That's what I'm getting at. It's like, getting to point to and pull from stories that you love and connect them to other things happening right now or stories that you love from the past that might not seem to have anything to do with them at first.
Nrama: And you're connecting to Neil Gaiman with that last page. I think that was one of the biggest surprises.
Snyder: Yeah, Sandman, Dream, the Endless - these elements meant a tremendous amount to me growing up and they still do.
So to be able to get Neil's permission and his blessing to work with this character and to have him play a key role in the story - and to have him connect other stories like Final Crisis and other things I've really loved for their scope and daring - it's just an incredible honor and thrill.
I couldn't be more grateful for Neil giving us the go-ahead.
The day I got the email from him where he was like, "I love it! Do it!" was amazing. I met Neil a number of times at DC and we got along well. I admire him tremendously.
Nrama: So you emailed him?
Snyder: Yeah, I wrote him an email just saying, you know, "This is exactly how I would use Dream if I could use him. And I totally understand if you say no. Like, no big deal. But if it's possible, this is what the Dark Multiverse is and why he's so connected to it and why it would work."
And you know, it was just a long … Greg will tell you, he's always like, he writes in emojis and I'm like, "but blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah." On and on and on.
Greg Capullo: Yep.
Snyder: So it was a very long email just explaining my case.
Then he literally wrote back and was like, "I love it! Go for it!"
And I was like, "What? Oh my God!"
I can't thank him enough for being so generous with such a special character. So yeah, I'm really excited.
Nrama: The vision we see - are those characters having visions of what's to come because they're connected somehow?
Snyder: Every character connected to metal or kind of higher metal.
Nrama: "Higher"... how?
Snyder: It's all on this sort of scale of that strange area of the periodic table in the DCU - radion, and dionesium, and all kinds of stuff - these metals we've started to introduce. Some of them have been in continuity a long time.
Anyone with a connection to one of these metals, the very high end of the kind of periodic table in DC, starts to have these visions, because these metals conduct energy from the Dark Multiverse.
So Steel, Plastic Man, Doctor Fate, Deathstroke, Mister Terrific - who we saw manages Plastic Man because he's kind of trapped in that form - a lot of those characters play a key role because they're able to see what's coming and to have some kind of premonition of what's going to happen.
Nrama: And this vision we're shown is the army?
Snyder: Yes, that's your first glimpse of what's coming.
Nrama: And Carter's journal is in Wayne Manor?
Snyder: Yeah, it's in Wayne Manor. Apparently, he must have some history with the Wayne family in his previous lives - like Nighthawk and Cinnamon and that whole mythology.
Nrama: You really are pulling from every corner of the DCU.
Snyder: It's a lot, right?
Nrama: And you're connecting it all.
Snyder: Yes! That's the fun, getting to connect to every aspect.
Nrama: OK, we're running out of time, so now that readers know what Metal #1 introduced, anything you can tell fans about what they can expect from #2 in September?
Capullo: It's like a rock concert that has a seven-band line-up, and the warm-up act is not even the strongest band.
So basically, you've just seen the warm-up act. And so, as concerts go on, they get louder and louder, right? By the time you get to the last band, everything's at full maximum - enough to draw blood from your ears.
You've just seen the warm-up act out of a seven-act stage set-up. So just buckle up and get some earplugs ready. Be prepared, because we're just going to melt your faces.