Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are arguably DC Comics’ hottest creative team of the New 52 era, and they’re making a bid at claiming the title in Rebirth as well thanks to their work on the current Dark Nights: Metal event. After launching Batman in the New 52, the writer and artist went their separate ways once Rebirth began. Now, they’re reunited for DC’s first massive Rebirth event, which sees the Dark Multiverse invade the DC Universe.
Snyder and Capullo took time out of their busy schedules for a special panel at New York Comic Con, an event which had no moderator and focused on the two collaborators sharing stories of working together and early influences from their childhood.
“Whatever you throw at Greg, he makes it magic on the page,” Snyder said. He then shifted the focus to highlight the differences in his and Capullo’s upbringings. Snyder had a supportive mother and father who indulged him in his artistic endeavors, whereas Capullo had a rougher family life. “I was told I was going to be either a garbage man or rapist, because of my interest in women,” Capullo joked, darkly.
Even at a young age, Capullo looked up to the character of Batman as inspiration to not become a victim of poor circumstances. “You can either be a victim or victor,” Capullo reiterated. “Be like Batman, choose to be a victor.”
Noting that the manner of the one-on-one conversation felt almost like a psychiatrist session, Capullo offered, “I feel like I should be on a couch.”
Back to the subject of comics, the duo agreed that between “Death of the Family” and “Zero Year” is when Batman — the title and the character — felt like he really became theirs. Instead of using intimidation, their version of Batman looks to inspire.
“When there’s blowback on an unpopular story or decision, I call Greg to talk about it,” Snyder added. “But Greg never gets the same blowback I receive.” “Zero Year” was used as an example of an unpopular story at the time, since it was an 11-issue Batman origin story.
Capullo’s first drawing was at the age of four, and it was of Batman and Robin. He became obsessed with drawing, to the point where his friends told him that he couldn’t stop drawing. “I’d draw on any surface I could, napkin or sidewalk.”
Snyder then asked his partner for some of his most influential moments or creators. Instead of directly answering, Capullo polled the audience to see who wants to be a writer or artist. The majority of raised hands were for writers. “Artists have the sexier job,” Capuloo quipped, noting that Neal Adams was an early inspiration for him, along with Gil Kane and Mad Magazine.
Capullo revealed that early in his career, someone at Marvel told him that he should give up being an artist and go drive a truck. He emphasized that “Marvel didn’t open a door right away. I had to go through the backdoor.”
To hone his craft, Capullo would do quick sketches of people shopping or catching a cab. “Gotta have a burning desire,” he said.
For Snyder, he wanted to be a writer/artist like Mike Mignola. He was in college when he decided to become an author, finding himself surrounded by people that were so good at art, that he fell into writing.
The topic of parents came up again, with Snyder teasing Capullo about how much his parents love his artistic collaborator. “When is Greg heading over for dinner?” Snyder asked with a laugh.
Another collaborator who Snyder’s parents love is Rafael Albuquerque. When Snyder began American Vampire, he was newly married — and dead broke. Snyder and Albuquerque were going to attend a con together to promote American Vampire, and Albuquerque was supposed to stay at one of Snyder’s friend’s house while Snyder stayed with parents. As the con grew closer, Snyder hadn’t heard from Albuquerque and became worried, since he was traveling from out of the country. It turns out they got the addresses mixed up, and Albuquerque went to Snyder’s parents’ house. They loved him so much, they didn’t want to kick Albuquerque out, so they suggested Snyder go stay with his friends instead.
Next, Snyder shared a funny story of the time his parents sent him off to camp as a kid. The thinking was, since he wasn’t into sports or normal things, camp would be the perfect thing for him. At the end of camp, there was something called “Color Wars,” where you were selected for either the Green or Grey team by a human tug-of-war. “I had green pajamas on, but was picked for the Grey team,” Snyder said. His choice of pajama colors was so important that his teammates instructed him to take them off. When he didn’t, they ripped them off him.
Snyder and Capullo then turned the panel over to questions from the audience. The first questioned how Snyder came up with the concept of the Court of Owls. “I was working on Detective Comics and didn’t think I’d get to work on something this big,” Snyder began. “Paul Dini went to do animation, and I was asked to do backup stories. I got the call to do Batman with Greg, and was told I could expand the story of what I set up in Detective.”
Snyder wasn’t sure he could do it, but his wife reminded him that he was contracted to write it. One day, he was about to go to his old neighborhood to meet his Dad and noticed the neighborhood had changed. As he began to feel lost, the similarities with Batman cropped up. “Batman’s whole identity is wrapped up in knowing Gotham better than anyone,” he said. “Batman thinks he knows the city, but he doesn’t. He knows a moment. ‘We [Owls] exist, and you didn’t know it. We’re inside your buildings, have ties to your close friends.'”
One of his biggest fights with DC involved the higher-ups not wanting the comic to feature a mystery. After seeing Capullo’s designs for the Talons, though, he knew they had a winner.
Another fan praised Snyder and Capullo for being his favorite creative team, which got an applause from the crowd. Capullo then told a story of working at Marvel and getting a six-page plot. He also worked with Todd McFarlane and they talked story over the phone. Robert Kirkman’s scripts were close to the Marvel-style as well. However, he claims, the first script from Snyder burned through all of his printers.
“They were almost 50-pages long!” Capullo screamed. He told Snyder to just give him the important words, to which Snyder screamed, “They’re all important!” Even Capullo’s wife was appalled at the size of Snyder’s scripts.
Snyder was ready to walk after their disagreement, but Capullo didn’t realize it had gotten to that level of frustration. He reassured Snyder that he’d take care of his baby. “DC advised we go to our separate corners,” Snyder said. “Once we realized we came from a common place of both caring about our craft and the character of Batman, that’s when we trusted one another.”
“He’s brought me to tears over his work,” Capullo said. “Gave me chills.” One example of this happening was Joker crawling out from under Commissioner Gordon’s bed in “Death of the Family.”
Snyder ended the panel by saying, “You guys have been family by seeing us not getting along, to then getting along and taking more risks because we felt your support.”
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