So I actually looked up the word for killing an entire family and came up with exactly jack squat. Luckily, it turns out it won’t even be on the final exam! According to the until-recently-missing Joker, Gotham’s Dark Knight is guiltier of a kind of regicide (a word we’d never associate with any of the Bat-family! Well, except maybe Jason…) and the Clown Prince of Crime is back to teach Batman a major lesson in his responsibilities to his enemies. Confused? No worries. We were lucky enough to sit down with current Batman-scribe, Scott Snyder, to chat about the explosive first issue in the much-anticipated “Death of the Family” event along with some other of his upcoming projects at New York Comic Con and even managed not to fan-girl-out too much (we hope).
IHOGeek: Have you felt that writing Batman was a huge undertaking and that you had big shoes to fill?
SS: Yes and yes! Absolutely on both counts and you always feel that way. You have to just pretend that you’re writing for yourself and writing it the way you would love to pick it up and read it or else you’ll just get paralyzed. The character means too much to you and everybody else you know so you have to be able to put those blinders on and that’s it.
IHOGeek: Obviously the one of the first things we have to talk about has to be “Death of the Family!” We obviously just read it this week and are obsessed, but how has fan reception been of the book so far at NYCC?
SS: So far it’s been great! Most people I’ve talked to been really receptive and excited for the story and to see what’s coming next.
IHOGeek: We’re so happy to see the Joker return! He’s certainly been missed. Is this your own interpretation of the Joker or just re-tweaked from past stories?
SS: It’s very much my own interpretation. I think when you’re dealing with a character like that you have your own interpretation that’s very individuated from the ones that came before. For me our take on him, at least right now, is that he sees himself now as Batman’s court jester. The Kingdom of Gotham is the place that he chose. He could have chosen metropolis or somewhere else, but he came here to serve The Bat-King because he was the one that was most worthy of a villain such as himself. In “Death of the Family,” Joker is saying that in the early days you[Batman] were worthy because the level that I pushed you to and you pushed me made us both stronger. But now that you have this family to rely on, you have become weak and slow. So I’m going to show you why they should all die…which you think yourself deep down.
That’s what the Joker thinks and is telling Batman. So it’s very much our own interpretation.
IHOGeek: Are you saying that the Joker thinks that this is part of his responsibility as the “court jester” because Batman is not living up to his end of the deal and responsibility as King?
SS: Yeah, he thinks of himself as Batman’s ally. He thinks of himself as serving Batman by making these nightmares come to life that then he has to then get over or defeat or struggle through to come out the other side stronger. The Joker thinks that he’s doing Batman [laughs] a good service.
IHOGeek: We actually have a couple of friends with backgrounds in economics and they did this amazingly lengthy algorithm type-formula thing that mathematically proves sales wise, that you are more relevant and successful than Grant Morrison. How does this make you feel?
SS: I would just say that it makes me feel flabbergasted and overwhelmed. What Grant is doing is so amazing and he is one of my idols in terms of the bravery that he has in his stories. I’m just honored to be part of that whole sort of family of writers. It’s great to work with people you’re inspired by.
IHOGeek: As far as the new Talon character that just premiered, are there any plans of a team up with Batman at some point?
SS: Yeah…you might see one. I don’t want to give it away, but you might see some Batman in there at some point.
[Kaitlyn and Leia clutch their recently acquired DC-giveaway Talon masks tightly]
IHOGeek: It was just announced that you were going to do the Superman run. For us personally, we’ve felt Superman has been missing a lot of the soul and action. Do you think you’re going to be putting some of that back in the story?
SS: Well I hope so. I appreciate what they’re doing on those books a lot so it’s not so much trying to do something that’s not there as it is doing your own take on him. Our take is going to be very much about what makes Superman incredibly heroic and what makes him the most powerful character on Earth, not just because of his still set but because of what he stands for and the restraint that he shows. He could reshape the world however he thinks is best but he challenges us to do it ourselves. In that regard we’ve built a story where he’s going to face a new villain but also up against some of your favorite characters as well from Lex to Lana and Lois. At the same time it’s a story that really cuts through the heart for us and we’ll shake him to his very foundation. It’s gonna be a big, epic, bombastic, but intimate story all at once.
IHOGeek: Great adjectives! We’ve certainly noticed that you have quite a full plate of work (we’re actually concerned that you may not have time to sleep), but do you have any plans of doing other creator-owned comics?
SS: Yes! We just announced actually that we’re gonna be taking a bit of a break from American Vampire for about six months.
[Collective Kaitlyn and Leia moan of sadness]
SS: I know! I know! But the thing is we’ve always been planning on doing this and the idea is not that we want to move away from it and not come back or that it’s indefinite. We absolutely are coming back at a very particular point about seven to eight months after the series takes a break. The story is already written for when it comes back. It really was that in the story itself this is our midway point in the series. It’s halfway done and the next storyline actually takes place about ten years after the current one, “The Black-List.” So we really wanted to do something to make it feel like you’re stepping away from the characters and that they’ll be coming back in bigger, badder, and crazier story than you’ve ever seen with them. But also, it gives Raphael a chance to draw a couple things outside of this with me in the DCU that I’m actually excited about. We’ll also be doing a special American Vampire issue that I don’t want to give away that’s going be a very big issue that has a lot of fun things in it that will keep you interested and excited about what’s going to happen in the series when we do come back. You’re really not away from it for more than a couple months.
IHOGeek: Months though!
SS: That’s it! It’s issue 34 and then a couple months and then a big special and then a couple months and then we’re back. So it’s really a tiny break. But it gives me a chance and Raphael who has those things he wants to do and I really want to do this other creator-owned miniseries with Sean Murphy that got announced yesterday called The Wake. It’s a 12-series and I’m really proud of it. It’s basically a science fiction-horror story that takes place at the bottom of the ocean, essentially. It has a post-apocalyptic element to it as well. It’s really different from anything I’ve done. It’s going to explore all our favorite myths of the sea and Sean’s art is amazing so I’m really excited for you guys to see it.
IHOGeek: I’m sure we’ll pick it up when it comes out next Spring! To go in a completely different direction: What’s your favorite title out right now, whether it be DC, Marvel or Indy?
SS: I only read my own comics and nobody else’s ever.
IHOGeek: Great answer!
SS: [Laughs] My favorite comic is probably Animal Man by my pal Jeff Lemire because it’s just a series that I really am inspired by every month. But there are so many good comics right now on both sides of the aisle, which is a win-win for everybody. I really feel that comics are going through a really amazing time between what guys over here are doing with everybody that I love on the Bat-family and what Grant is doing on Action and what Brian Azzarello is doing on Wonder Woman and Jeff [Lemire] on Justice League. Over at Marvel as well, there’s so many good books so it’s just a great time to be a comic fan.
IHOGeek: Ok then, if there was any Marvel project you could work on, what would it be?
SS: Any one? If I could work on any one? Cause I’m like who’s Marvel, what’s Marvel? I think I would just want to come back to Batman and Superman. No, there are a lot of great characters that I love over there. I’d probably want Captain America or Spiderman. Those are two characters that I’ve always loved to death. Comics are just full of amazing characters on both sides of the aisle. It’s a great time to be a geek!
It certainly is! We just want to thank Scott so much for taking time out of what we’re sure was an amazingly hectic convention to talk to us! Let us know what you thought of Batman #13 and what you think of all of Scott’s upcoming projects. What a busy guy! It comes with all that talent.