Scott Snyder has been writing titles tied to Batman ever since the onset of the new 52, when the American Vampire writer took over the writing duties on the main title. Now, Snyder has taken Batman darker than he's even been before.
Snyder was at WonderCon in Anaheim to discuss the dark direction he's taken the character in recent years, as well as to give more hints about the Grimm Knight, the Batman Who Laughs and the upcoming Last Knight On Earth.
When asked about what it means to have 80 years of Batman as a fan and creator, Snyder said "It's an honor to be a part of that legacy. He's my favorite character, not just in comics but all of literature. He was the first super hero I read that felt immediate and real. Batman was dealing with urban decay, and urgent and felt relevant. He was always my favorite. The reason I think he's so important is that he's such a simple folk tale. You take something terrible that happened to you, and you turn it into something good you can do for the world. It's why you root for him. He's human, he doesn't have magical powers... to have contributed anything to the character is so important to me."
When he brought up that he'll be leaving Batman following The Last Knight, Snyder explained that "so many creators want to write that character, including students I've taught, and make him new and exciting for the new generation. There's a lot I want to do for other characters, and I want to give other writers the chance to tackle him."
When talking about his upcoming final Batman story with Greg Capullo, Snyder revealed Last Knight takes place 20 years after the current continuity, and imagines Bruce on this case... finding chalk markings around Gotham City that form a Bat symbol with a heart in Crime Alley so they know who Bruce Wayne is. And when he gets there he finds a dead boy, who rises up and shoots him with something. When Batman wakes up, he's in Arkham Asylum with Alfred, who tells him 'thank God sir, we finally got through to you, you've been here since you murdered your parents twenty years ago.'"
When asked about his own experience writing the character he loves so much, Snyder admitted that "I used to get panic attacks. It's terrifying, and you almost have to pretend it's a creator owned character. I was in San Diego right after "Court of Owls", and I was dealing with the pressure... I was not handling it well. I was getting into fights with people. I once got into a huge argument with Dan DiDio at a party... about stuff that was legitimate, but I lost the point in my drunken stupor. And I was yelling at him. Another editor came over and told him to calm down and leave, and I went to the Marvel party because I was smart.
"By the time I got to the Marvel party, they'd all heard I'd gotten into a fight with Dan DiDio. It had already grapevined, and I bumped into Grant Morrison. And he told me the only way to calm down is to create the birth and death of your character. And that's when I started writing "Zero Year"... I remember thinking 'my son has different fears than what I had growing up reading "Year One". I also started writing Last Knight at that point, I've had this idea for a long time. It has Batman traveling the entire... shattered DC Universe. Lex Luthor shows up, Darkseid, Wonder Woman. Capullo redesigned her, and it's great. And Batman is traveling with the Joker's head in a jar. And he's alive."
When asked about the return to his horror roots, Snyder revealed "Rafael Albuquerque and me are working on American Vampire now... it'll be 6 to 7 issue series set in Las Vegas, with Evil Knievel... Jock and I are working on the second volume of Wytches."
Snyder also revealed that "I'm also doing a horror book... that imagines a guy finding the remnants of a classic horror film that would have been better than Bride of Frankenstein. And he finds the director in a retirement home and goes with his son to interview him. And the director reveals that 'just so you know, the monster is real and coming here tonight to kill us all.' The story switches back from the current day and the filming of the original"
Snyder also hinted about what's coming next in his DC books. "Spoilers, in Batman Who Laughs #5 he fights against the Court of Owls... it's so dark and mean. It gives me the chance to be the anti-Batman. It's super fun. I'm working on that and Justice League, there was a moment when I was working on DC: Metal and I didn't know if I would leave DC afterwards. And I worked with Greg Capullo and agreed to a two-year plan for what we wanted next. You'll see all the things we've been building to in the "Year of the Villain" issue, which leads to "Doom War", which leads to the biggest thing which will be released next year. There are times where we have plans at DC and times we just make it up as we go, and this builds to what happens in 2020, 2021."
When asked if he's working with Sean Murphy, Snyder revealed that "I really want to work with Sean. I initially wanted him to do Last Knight... but he blew up, and he suggested that I do it with Capullo... we ended up becoming good friends. He has a lot on his plate. We've made a deal that we'll do something together. I talk to him every week."
When asked what qualities a new character to stand out, Snyder explained that "I think it has to be something that embodies your hopes and fears in a real way. Sometimes you get caught up creating something new, and that's when fans sniff it out. They have an agenda instead of being a natural character in the world."
When asked if he had any other Batman amalgamation, Snyder revealed that "we cut a character from DC: Metal that was Batman if he was a sorcerer, but people were like 'he's just a wizard, okay'. If we do DC: Metal 2, I'm bringing him in. I'll make it work. We had one that was an alien. We just ultimately pared it down to who was the scariest."
When asked if he wanted to see Harper Lee return to prominence, Snyder said "sometimes you create a character and work with them for a while like Duke or Harper and hope that someone will take them forward. I like that she's still in Gotham, and I'm trusting that other creators will take them up. But Duke is in Outsiders, and there are plans for Harper."
When asked if he'd like to take on another member of the Batman family, Snyder said that "I'd love to go back to writing Dick, it was my favorite thing. I was terrified and excited to write Batman, and he was terrified and excited to be Batman... what you love about Dick is that he wears his heart on his sleeve. There's a big Nightwing arc I've had in my head, and I've love to write Dick again."