Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s beloved “Batman” run is likely so beloved in part because each arc has been designed to have consequence — there aren’t a lot of one-off minor stories being told here. The currently unfolding “Endgame,” featuring the return of The Joker to Batman’s world following “Death of the Family,” hasn’t yet reached the finish line, but Snyder has confirmed that it’ll close with a major status quo change to the DC Comics character and series which the book will pick up in June following the two-month “Convergence” event.
Here’s the solicitation text for June’s issue:
Written by SCOTT SNYDER Art by GREG CAPULLO and DANNY MIKI
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
THE JOKER Variant cover by SEAN MURPHY
On sale JUNE 10 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
The all-new Batman makes his debut! Who is he, and what happens next? Find out here as a new era begins in Gotham City!
Since “Endgame” isn’t over yet, Snyder and DC aren’t willing to disclose exactly what an “all-new Batman” entails. But CBR News did get to catch up with Snyder last month at a press event at DC’s Burbank headquarters to talk the broader implications behind the status quo change, which he calls the “boldest, weirdest, biggest” thing to happen during he and Capullo’s run on “Batman.” Additionally, Snyder talks “Endgame,” including the much-discussed purported revelation that the Joker may be immortal, along with the writer’s thoughts on DC’s refocused publishing line launching in June and his place within it.
CBR News: Scott, it certainly feels like big things are coming in “Batman.” It’s been established there’s a status quo change coming in June following “Convergence” — how much can you say at this point?
Scott Snyder: I’m not going to spoil it specifically, but I can tell you unequivocally, it is the boldest, weirdest, biggest thing we’ve ever tried on the book. I’m not being hyperbolic: You’ll see it, and you’ll be like, “I can’t believe they’re doing that.”
It’s my fifth year in Bat-world, and Greg’s fourth. “Endgame” was originally designed possibly to be my last story on [“Batman”] when I first thought of it while I was doing “Death of the Family.” What happened was, the line got so exciting, between these books that are coming out — “Batgirl,” “Gotham Academy,” “Gotham By Midnight,” then you see “Catwoman’s” status; the books coming, “Midnighter” — the feeling at DC right now, it’s so progressive.
I have become so excited to be a part of it, and you know I’m not a “drink the Kool-Aid,” party line guy, at all. I’ve never been, and I’ve been critical of DC when I’ve felt like we can change things. But there’s a spirit right now, not just in the Bat-books, but at the company, of trying the boldest stuff. “You know what? We’ll stay a little bit and see how this goes.” I pitched Greg this thing: “If we do ‘Endgame’ the way we’re going to do it, it’s going to change everything.” A transformative story that ends and burns down everything, and starts something brand new. We toyed with calling it “All-New Batman” afterwards because it’s so different.
Greg was just like, “I’m up for it! Let’s do it! Let’s surprise them! Give them what they don’t know they want!” I was like, “Alright, let’s do it.” What we’re doing in June — I hope fans like it. I love it. My favorite stuff is the stuff where we take the biggest risks on the book. I honestly think this might be our best thing, in concept, so far.
I promise. Just wait until you see. It’s everything different.
So this is spinning directly out of the end of “Endgame”?
Literally when “Endgame” ends, it will have changed the Bat-mythology in a huge way. When we pick up again in June, I think you’ll be stunned to see how far we’re taking it, in that regard.
Let’s talk a bit about “Endgame” — there’s been a vocal response to your teased revelations about Joker’s origin, specifically that he may be immortal. It seems to have polarized the fanbase a bit. Have you kept up with the discussion?
I sort of avoid the discussions in general about it, because I like to let people talk without being intrusive. But I feel like some of the people that are worried, or don’t like the idea that he’s immortal, all I would say is — it’s what he claims. Just wait and see what happens. It was proven by a naked, raving scientist in a quilt, who’s essentially Crazy Quilt, being hung out a window. Wait and see.
But I love the idea that people are arguing about it. I love the idea that they are trying to decide whether they believe Batman or the Joker. But that’s how I’d pose it to you: The idea of the story is to terrify you with the possibility that Joker could be this person he claims to be, and if he is, that would be Batman’s biggest nightmare — because he’s not killable, and he’s not stoppable. If he’s not, then it’s all a big joke, and it’s something he’s trying to do to Batman, and Batman was right all along. Who do you side with? You’ll have to wait to the end of ‘Endgame’ to see.
Him being immortal would make some sense — the Joker does come back from a lot of punishment every time.
Joker’s a character who really is almost the devil for me. I love writing him. He’s my favorite villain to write, because he essentially takes what you’re most afraid of about yourself and is trying to prove to you that it’s true. For Batman, one of the things that I feel our version of him is most scared of is his own mortality. It’s not that he’s afraid of dying — he’s not afraid of dying at all — he’s afraid of his body giving out and failing because of that. And he’s afraid of the limitations of his own mortality. What Joker is saying is, “Everything you do is meaningless. Your whole life. All you are is this guy crying for his parents. You’re just Bruce Wayne. You’re nothing. There’s no meaning to what you do. Not only is your body going to give out and you’re going to fail, but I’m going to be there long after. I’ve just watched you and laughed at you. I gave you a chance to join me, and be forever. I would have turned you into someone like me. But, you dropped me off a cliff, and now I’m going to show you how incredibly insignificant you are, and how everything you’e done amounts to dust.
For me, that’s a big nightmare of Batman’s. It’s why we’ve done those Cassandra visions, where he’s seeing all these different ends, and this would be the most terrible. Ultimately, again, I’m excited that fans are discussing it. I would just say that if they’re actually mad about it, wait and see if it’s true or not. I hope that you like the story, and we’re having a good time on it.
To go back to the big status quo change coming, DC’s been talking a lot lately about wanting to “let creators create.” Presumably, you and Greg have built up a lot of credibility at DC — was this shift something they were immediately on board with?
Yeah. Honestly. We were pretty lucky when we started — they gave us a lot of latitude on “Court of Owls.” We’ve had our fights. I don’t like to talk publicly whenever we have an argument, but we’ve had our arguments, and I’ve definitely had to go into the office and fight for certain things, and Greg has too, and we’ve been a team about those things — from small things like the page five turn in “Court of Owls” to other, more significant elements of story — but ultimately, DC really has let us do pretty much everything we wanted to. When we came in with this, they were great. They were just sort of like, “That’s kind of the thing that we want. We want you to take risks and go for it.” I keep waiting to be told no, but it hasn’t happened so far.
The Bat-titles have almost been a testing ground for a lot of the tonal changes at DC, with titles like “Batgirl” and “Gotham Academy.” As the writer of the main “Batman” series, is there a sense of pride attached to that?
Huge. Huge pride. Mark Doyle and [former Marvel editor] Jeanine Schaefer came to a reading where I was a guy who had a short story about a superhero in an anthology of superhero books, and mine was serious, while most of them were funny, about superheroes with bad superpowers. One guy never had to go to the bathroom, and he was in a support group for superheroes with terrible powers, and he would be like, “Where does it all go?” Mine was a serious superhero story. They came up after and asked me if I was a real comic fan.
Mark has been with me there from go, and our aesthetic tastes are the same, and our sensibilities are the same. He’s always encouraged me to push Batman — I’ve always showed him every script, even when I worked with Mike Marts. To see him come in and be this transformative figure and be allowed — and encouraged even — to make these changes on these books, to see the audience respond so well, it’s huge pride. I take pride because I’m literally just proud to be one book among this incredibly vibrant and progressive line right now, and I can tell you the stuff’s coming even more so. I feel like we’re part of that, and that really makes me feel good. That’s why we want to be crazy on the book, too — we don’t want to be a grandpa. I don’t want to be like, “Here’s a Mr. Freeze story!” “Here’s a Bane story!” I want it to be, you pick it up and you’re like, “Oh my god, these guys are just getting started.”
On that note, since you mentioned at one point thinking “Endgame” might be it for you on Batman — you’ve had a lot of creator-owned success, but do you find you still have a lot to say in the work-for-hire realm, even beyond “Batman”? Do you still have stories you want to tell in that world, and in DC in particular?
I do. I have a big Wonder Woman pitch. I’ve made no secret about that. I’d really love to work on that character. I have other characters at DC and at Marvel I’d like to do at some point. And creator-owned is wonderful. Honestly, right now, I’m having such a good time on Batman, and I’m so proud of what’s happening in the line, that I’m focused on being a part of that, for my superhero work.
Greg and I are definitely on through #50 — probably about #52 to finish the story we’re doing. We’ll play it by ear. I’ve never felt that way before. It’s a really liberating feeling. I really felt like, we’d do “Endgame,” fans would be sick of us, we would be done, we would have said our piece. I never thought we’d get to do this many stories, but I really thought by this time we would be over in that we would have overstayed our welcome, or it would be time to move over. Instead, fans have been so great to us. I feel like, “Okay, I didn’t expect it, but we’re going to try and reward you guys by doing stuff that’s more daring and more elastic with the mythology than anything we’ve tried.” Now, when it comes to #50, we’ll just see where we are.
If people want us to stay — no seriously, they might not! — but if they do, and Greg wants to stay, I have a couple stories, I’d love to keep going. But if it’s our time, than we’ve gotten to do more than I ever thought I would, and it’s been the best job of my life, and best job I probably will ever have. So I’m extremely grateful to fans for just letting us do what we’ve already done.
“Batman” #41, featuring a major status quo change for the series, is scheduled for release on June 10.