sketchWhen Scott Snyder first started writing comics in 2010, both American Vampire and Detective Comics featured two stories in each issue.
Now he's back at it again, this time with his hit series Batman, which is adding a 10-page ongoing back-up story beginning with April's issue #8.
The back-up stories will tie into the main story by Snyder and ongoing Batman artist Greg Capullo. They will also highlight the Court of Owls history as the title heads toward "The Night of The Owls" event that begins in 2012. "Night of Owls" will be featured in not only Batman, but also most of the other comics in the Batman universe, and will expand upon the "Court of Owls" story that Snyder is telling.
The first four issues of the back-ups will be co-written by Snyder with James Tynion IV, a new name in the comics’ world. Tynion taught writing with Snyder, who describes him as a "huge talent."
The stories will also feature art by, who works with Snyder on the Eisner Award-winning Vertigo title American Vampire.The additional story pages will increase the Batman comic from 20 pages of story to 30. And DC is increasing the price of the issues from $2.99 to $3.99, with 40 pages overall.
The news about the page and price increase broke on Newsarama on Friday in an interview with DC sales execs John Rood and Bob Wayne. Then this morning, DC released information about the back-ups stories.
Newsarama contacted Snyder to find out more about the new co-features and what readers can expect from the change to Batman.
Newsarama: Scott, when was the decision made to increase the page count and price on Batman, and what was the motivation for the change?
Scott Snyder: I know fans are nervous and excited, but also some of them have reached out to me. I have a lot of story I want to tell that involves the Court of Owls, and I had artists that I really wanted to work with.
I had the option, because I have a lot on my plate, of having another writer do a back-up or doing something completely unrelated to Batman in the back-ups, the way they did in some books, but I had so much fun doing the back-ups on Detective with Francesco [Francavilla] in those early issues, that gave added content and added story and secret storylines to the main story and the main feature, that I figured, look, if they're going to do extra pages of the book, I want to do them myself.
So I signed on to do the back-ups. So I'll be doing them for the future, indefinitely.
Nrama: There's no planned end to your back-up stories?
Snyder: No end in sight.
Nrama: So who are you going to be working with on the back-ups?
Snyder: I thought is would be a really fun chance to bring in new blood, both artistically for the art, and writers who people haven't seen before also on Batman or on major comics at all.
So two things I'm really excited about with the back-ups are that I'm going to be writing the first batch with a writer I've known for a long time, whom I actually met when I was teaching fiction in comic writing and who is a very young, up-and-coming writer whose stuff I really, really like. I've read a lot of his prose, and I know he's just a huge talent. And so I thought it would be a lot of fun to co-write the same way I was able to do that on Gates of Gotham with Kyle [Higgins] when he was starting out. I feel like co-writing on the Batman back-up would give someone new a chance to begin to find their voice, and at the same time, I can have a very heavy hand for what happens in Batman.
We thought that would be a great balance, so I'm writing it with a guy named James Tynion IV. And I think he's a real rising star, and I'm excited for people to see what we're doing in the back-ups.
And the other thing I'm super excited about is that we're going to be launching it with Rafael from American Vampire. I was so thrilled when that came together.I said to DC, listen, I want to make sure we're doing something exciting in the back-ups by writing with somebody that I think will really— I'll be able to put my voice there, but also add something new to it, where it's different from something I'd write completely alone, and I learn from those people. And then also, get to bring some really awesome artistic blood to it.
So Rafael will be doing the first four back-ups for us, so 40 pages. And I couldn't be happier about that. He's my co-creator and one of my best friends in comics. And he's just a guy who, you don't get any better than him.
And also, his style is really perfect for what we're going to be doing in the back-ups, and it's very different than Greg's. And Greg and he have a lot of admiration for each other. He's a huge Greg Capullo fan. Greg would love to draw them if he could, but we'd never keep on schedule, even though he's so far ahead. So the feeling was really to get guys we both really like. So it's going to be a lot of fun to have a bigger team as well.
Greg will still see the back-up stories, and they'd coincide with what's going on in the feature. And our hope is just to make the whole book a better book.
Nrama: How does the content of the back-ups enrich the feature story and what will they focus upon?
Snyder: The first one, in issue #8, Rafael's first one, is going to be contemporary. It's really going to be almost more of that issue.
I don't want to give away too much about what's happening in that issue, but this is the point in our Court of Owls story, since it's 11 issues long, where everything is sort of exploding all over the place figuratively for Batman and Gotham. It's right in the middle of a kind of war for Gotham, for its soul.
So everything's going crazy, and this issue in particular, in issue #8 and the back-up, gives you the sense of the scope of the attack that the Court of Owls is planning on unleashing on Gotham, and how impossible it's going to be for Batman and his allies to do as much as they need to do to stop it.
The back-up really gives you the sense of the scope. Issue #8 is very much about Batman at war with the court in a way that's going to be super-intense and fun.
The issue #8 back-up is the place where you'll learn about how broad the attacks are going to be on Gotham, and also, you'll learn about how it's going to affect other books in the Bat-family. You'll see the scope of it as it impacts other members of the Bat-family in the back-up, which leads into the "Night of the Owls" story people have been hearing about, that we're doing in the Batman Universe in 2012.And then issue #9 begins a three-part arc in the back-ups that I've been really excited to tell for awhile that's called "The Fall of the House of Wayne." It's a story that's very much about the Wayne family history with the Court of Owls, but it's told through the point of view of Jarvis Pennyworth, Alfred's father. And so it's very much an Alfred and Jarvis story, too.
So you'll learn a lot about the Wayne's relationship to Gotham and to the Pennyworths, you'll learn about the Pennyworths, and you'll also learn about, above all, the Wayne's history and conflict with the Court of Owls.
It will have big revelations that will reverberate in the feature as well.
Nrama: What time period is that in Gotham history?
Snyder: It takes place 30 years ago, before Alfred was caretaker of Wayne Manor. And I don't want to give too much away, but there's a lot of suspense in it because Jarvis believes something terrible is happening, and he's telling you what's been going on with the Waynes and the Court of Owls.As I said, it will reverberate in the feature, and it will give you a much greater scope of how the Court of Owls have operated in Gotham over the years.
Nrama: Then to finish up our discussion about the back-up stories, is there anything else you want to tell Batman fans?
Snyder: I just want to say that I sympathize with people who are worried they can't keep the book when it goes a dollar higher. All I can say is two things: One, you're getting 30 pages of story now for $3.99 when a lot of other companies give you a 22-page book for $3.99. So there is a deal to be had. We're not just raising the price. We're adding pages as well.
It's also content that I promise to do my best to make as good as possible, personally, as the steward on Batman. I promise to deliver stories on those pages to make it worth your while out of gratitude to all of you who have been reading the book and have been so supportive to Greg and me.
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