Things started a little late, as due to a scheduling error Snyder had to physically run back to the panel room from ten blocks away. He apologised for being late for the panel, promised that “I wasn’t out getting drunk!” and told the crowd that he’d stay in the room until the convention organisers kicked him out – and he was true to his word. He offered the crowd “anything, even spoilers” as his apology, before kicking off the Q&A.
A young fan came up first, and started by asking about how Rebirth has wiped New 52 from continuity. Snyder assured him that, in fact, Rebirth does not mean the New 52 never existed. Due to Dr Manhattan’s meddling with reality, years have been taken from the characters which mean some perceive reality differently to others – but the actual events of the New 52 still happened. The fan followed by asking about the three Jokers storyline, which Snyder confirmed is a narrative which is being told by Geoff Johns.
When asked what was his favorite story arc to write, he said that it was hard to pick one. He always started from a place of worry. It was a chance meeting with Grant Morrison which helped him out. After a quick chat about Frank Sinatra’s feet, Morrison told him “when you start off you worry you’re not good enough; but soon you’ll worry that you used to be better”. He told Snyder that he needed to perform a death and a rebirth in order to make Batman his own creation, which Snyder went ahead and did.
During the anecdote, Snyder broke off to recall the time he met Adam West. Adam West had never met him before, and quite likely had no idea who he was. However, when he walked into the room and West turned round – wearing a suit, glasses and cravat – West’s first words were “oh well now it’s a party!”.
Returning to the question, Snyder said that he did enjoy “Zero Year”, because it felt like they were building Batman from the ground up. Batman used to scare people back into the shadows in that Dirty Harry manner, but now the worries we have aren’t gang violence and mobsters – it’s shootings, and problems which are abstract and too big for any one person. So “Zero Year” was about “inspiring good people to come out of the shadows; rather than scare bad people into them. It was the first time I had a strong mission for Batman, and I knew from there we could just go crazy”.
The audience member said that it also gave us a really good Riddler story, and Snyder recalled being told by Paul Dini that “you’ll love writing him until you get to the riddles!” which proved to be true. Snyder jokingly said that’s when he decided it would be a good idea to bring in some of his friends like Marguerite Bennett to write some Riddler stories with him. “Here you go, Marguerite, here are some riddles for you to do”!
The next question asked about “Wytches”, his series with Jock at Image. He promised “more soon – I’m working on it right now”. Jock also got a new job which added slightly to the delay – he was hired to be involved with the costume design for “Star Wars” episode 8. When Snyder first heard, he told Jock to prove it – and Jock promptly sent him a photo of Mark Hamill in costume. The second arc will include a group of people who hunt witches, and will feature a danger which strikes from beneath the ground.
Damian Wayne was brought up next, a character Snyder has not particularly been able to use. “Everybody thinks I hate him, but he was dead for most of my run! And then when he did come back, it was too late to include him”. Right now the character is tied to the Teen Titans rather than Batman, and Pete Tomasi is handling him.
When asked which current book he wished he’d come up with the idea for, he said that “Vision” is his favorite right now. “It’s so up my alley in so many ways”. He also listed “Thor”, “Southern Bastards” and “Green Arrow” as other favorites, and made special mention of James Tynion IV’s writing for “Detective Comics”, saying that “to get to a place where you’re learning from your students is very special”.
A few questions asked about next year’s unnamed Batman event which reteams Snyder with artist Greg Capullo. “We’ve been working on it for a long time. Every story I say this will be bigger and crazier than anything before it – but this really is at least ten times bigger than anything before”. It will feature characters from across the dc realms – science, magic, and cosmic characters. Superman will also have a notable role. The story will stand alone, and serve as a capstone to their run with the character.
One fan came to tell Snyder that a few years ago an old friend got in touch with him on Facebook to ask if he’d recommend ‘Death of the Family’ to her, and his enthusiastic response led to one thing and another… and now they’re married.
A question asked how Snyder keeps interest in writing the same character for so long. Snyder answered that he finds Batman “endlessly interesting, and stands at this crossroads of pathology and heroism where he goes out every night and punishes himself, but he does it to prove that we can take down anything that stands in our way. I have struggled with depression in my life, and when I feel down I look in the mirror and everything feels impossible. Everything says to me how bad, stupid, and fraudulent you are. I think I gravitate towards Batman because he always says ‘get up’. That has helped me through some tough times”.
Following, he was asked how he pushes through when he gets in a rut and can’t do anything but hate his writing. Snyder agreed “you look at the page and the voice in your heads says ‘is that what you’re going to write? It’s terrible’. So you get up, walk around, sit down and write more and the voice then says ‘that’s even worse'”. His only solution is to write sentence by sentence until he can’t move forward, and at some point you have to be happy even if you only get 50 sentences done in a day.
Changing conversation course, the Q& shifted to some quirkfire questions. He told the crowd that seeing the Court of Owls onscreen for the new season of “Gotham” had been amazing. Both he and Greg Capullo had the same response when they got the call telling them it was going to happen – “can we dress up as owls and stand at the back?”
Will the Joker, last seen in a ‘normal’ guise sitting on a park bench, ever be reverted? “No”, Snyder answered. More of this will be seen in the eventual three Jokers storyline.
When asked which Marvel characters he might want to ever write, he paused and questioned “what’s Marvel??” before saying, if pushed, he’d like to do a Wolverine/Ghost Rider/Captain America biker story.
If he could work with any artist from any time period, the first name he chose was Jim Aparo.
The final question asked what he would write to the Gotham Gazette, if he ever had the chance. Snyder replied that he had already had the chance, in issue #51 of “Batman”. But he used the question as a chance to thank the audience for their support for his work over the years, and particularly on the Bat-books. “In all kinds of ways, Gotham is you – you are the city, you have supported us and our work. You’re like family, and you mean the world to us”.