Like discovering the divorce of your favorite celebrity couple, the comic book world was shaken to its core when DC Comics announced artist Greg Capullo planned to take a hiatus from his fan-favorite run on “Batman” with writer Scott Snyder — a collaboration that dates back to the beginning of the New 52 in September 2011 — to work on a creator-owned project with Mark Millar. However, fans and OTPers need not worry. Capullo and Snyder both see the hiatus more as a short affair than a full split — and they definitely plan on coming back together afterward.
Snyder and Capullo joined Jonah Weiland in the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con to discuss Capullo’s leave of absence following the current “Superheavy” storyline centering on new villain Mr. Bloom, their secret follow-up project, personal favorite characters — excluding the Dark Knight himself — and much more.
The duo started things off by addressing the elephant in the room and discussing the “break-up” of one of “comics’ greatest couples.” The always candid and joking Capullo extended the couple metaphor even further to explain his reasoning, with Snyder weighing in on his enthusiasm for Capullo’s new work, before discussing the secret DC Comics project re-uniting them following the hiatus.
On why they decided to “break up”:
Greg Capullo: Because I’m tired of being a cuckold. It’s the best metaphor I can think of because we’re a married couple — so to speak — in comics and he gets to run around play with Sean [Murphy] and he plays with Jock and he plays with Rafael [Albuquerque] and I stay true-blue loyal only sleeping with him. So I just wanted to take a minute and have an affair outside the marriage so I get to have a taste of something else for a minute. That’s basically it. I want to experience something else and you can’t do that without breaking up for a minute.
Scott Snyder: The truth is — and it sounds hokey — but Greg is like my brother and he has become a very important friend, and as a friend — like, I would give up working with him to save our friendship if we really weren’t getting along as partners on the book.
Capullo: Which, we are getting along.
Snyder: But when he told me there was a possibility of doing something else, I heard [him]. I was like, “You know what, dude, please go do that. You should go out there and you should own something with someone and have something that is yours and experience that and have projects that give you a whole different audience, a whole different sense of empowerment outside of the Big Two. And I’ll be the first in line to go get it.” I love Mark [Millar] and I love Greg and I was excited for him when he told me. And I’ve known about this for a while. So, for me, I couldn’t be happier for him and I’m thrilled that part of the plan we talked about was him coming back. And I talked to DC about when he comes back, I want to do something bigger and better.
On their new, secret project following Capullo’s return:
Capullo: I have every intention of rejoining Scott for a super project that is in development. Scott and I have always talked about how we’ve had such great success on Batman, where do we go from here? We can’t really go any higher. At best we can move left or right, a lateral move. But then DC had some ideas and have tapped us for this thing we’re going to do together that we feel will probably be even more explosive than what we’ve done thus far. So, this one is going to go to 11.
In the second part of the interview, the friends discussed the current “Superheavy” storyline and Mr. Bloom, a new villain for James Gordon that seems like a pastiche of many aspects of classic Batman rogues. They also discussed what it’s like seeing cosplayers based on characters from their run and what makes Capullo’s art style unique and how it serves as inspiration for a new generation of artists.
On the Creation of Mr. Bloom and the development of a new Batman villain:
Snyder: It was developed around this idea that if we were going to have Commissioner Gordon be Batman, he’s a character that believes in the mechanisms we’ve put in place to protect ourselves as a population in a city like New York or Baltimore or Gotham. He would want to be Batman in a way that tried to give people faith in those mechanisms. So I would need a villain then that would be the guy that when you walk the streets of the place you live and feel, “I can’t do this anymore. There are entrenched problems — whether they’re huge, like class divide or racial inequality, or everyday problems, like your life feeling oppressive,” he’s waiting at the end of the alley to say, “Come. I’ll give you the powers you always wanted to look after yourself.” So he developed out of this idea of this weed that grows between the cracks both figuratively and almost literally in the shadows of Gotham. And a lot of it came from making sure he was scary enough to be one of those rogues. So, I’m sure there are little bit of my favorites in the DNA of him.
On the touch of cartoonish-ness found in Capullo’s unique art style:
Capullo: I think cartoony-ness belongs in comics because you want to get away from reality with comics, you want to push the envelope with comics because superheroes aren’t real. They have to be bigger and larger than life and I want to be able to raise the eyebrow a little higher than even [Scott] is able to do. That little stretch, like Chuck Jones used to do. That’s very cartoony but it was also reality based in all his posturing and everything like that and expressions. I think you need to have that little bit of extra rubber when you’re doing comics book because otherwise, for me, personally, I find it very static when it plays a little too real. Some people love it and I’m not knocking it and those are very talented individuals that do it that way, but for my personal taste and what I think works best in comics, I think you need that little bit of a stretch. And it does enable you to get away with a little more.
In the final part of the interview, Snyder talks about adjusting his writing to fit the different artists he works with and how different artists allow for different stories, keeping the Batman franchise fresh and new. And both creators reveal their favorite character to write and draw and the ultimate fate of the Bat-Truck.
On Snyder writing for different artists, from Capullo to Jock and beyond:
Snyder: One of the joys of writing comics is how collaborative it is and the respect that — I write very differently for Jock than I write for [Greg] and it also inspires different kinds of stories. And that’s part of why I think staying on “Batman” for me is still exciting even though there is no matching what Greg and I did in terms of a run or a sort of architecture that you build. But there are still a lot of stories and some big and crazy ones that I’d like to do, and I feel like there are certain artists that allow me to go to different places than I would go with Greg. In that way, it gets me excited and gives me a new lease on the character. The same I’m sure if [Greg] works with a different writer it would give him a new lease on whatever project he was on.
On who they like writing and drawing the best — excluding Batman:
Snyder: Well, I like writing the Joker the best — even more than Batman sometimes. He’s my favorite. But I would say in terms of the current cast, I love Jim to death, but one character I’m really invested in is Duke Thomas, who plays a very big role in this arc and then has a big role coming up as well. I love bringing up new characters and characters that we build and seeing how they play and stick.
Those characters become real special because whether it’s Gordon in the Batsuit or it’s this, this franchise is 75 years-old. When you can look at it through a new set of eyes — whether it’s a young character or a character that is tried and true, like Jim — there’s no way to turn away from a story like that. That’s when you know you have something special, at least for me — even if it’s crazy and it might not work. Luckily for this, I told [Greg], “You know this might be the one where we jump, like, 10 sharks with this Gordon story.” But the sales have better than held up and the fans have been supportive and, honestly, it’s such a great feeling to come to a con like this and see that they’ve followed us to these nutty places. So, whenever you can do something new and get a new angle on this old mythology and make it new, it’s special.
Capullo: It would be a toss between Owl and Jim but maybe leaning a tad bit toward Jim when he has his glasses and his mustache. That, to me, is a great character look and it’s fun to draw. But if he’s going to stay without his mustache and glasses then I would bump him back and go with Owl.
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