At DC, Scott Snyder has established himself as one of the most important writers to take on Batman. From creating the Court of Owls to reimagining villains such as The Joker and Riddler, he breathed new life into the Dark Knight mythology while adding chapters of his own. After years in the Batcave, Snyder made the decision to leave Gotham City and pursue creator-owned avenues through ComiXology and Dark Horse. Since then, he has teamed up with an array of talented collaborators to produce titles like Nocterra, we have demonsand Clear.
CBR caught up with Snyder to discuss his experience adapting to creating exclusively creator-owned works. He explained which of his new releases surprised him the most. Snyder also looked back on his time writing Batman and talked about what it was like to work with Greg Capullo again.
CBR: How does it feel to move away from mainstream comics?
Scott Snyder: Honestly, it’s been really fascinating and exhilarating. I think when you’ve been in a defined, insular system for a long time, and you get so used to those expectations, those rules, those challenges, and those opportunities. Your brain sort of gets used to these calculations. Coming out of that, for me, was hugely liberating, creatively and personally. As a member of the comics industry, it’s given me a lot of buy-in seeing over the hedges of my own property in DC and trying to look at the industry more holistically to think about the type of role I want to play as a writer. , but also, as someone who is now able to do many things like teaching and bringing other people’s books to life. It was a truly transformational year. And it gave me a lot of insight into the industry – how it worked in the past, where it is now, and what role I want to play in it in the future.
You are producing more books than ever before. What triggered this increase in productivity and production?
It’s really not about having the same arithmetic to work with as when working on a licensed work. When you’re on a licensed book like Batman, for example, not only do you have to present the story you want to make to your publishers and convince them that it is something that will benefit them, but you also have the policy of making sure that this book fits in with the story. other books and understanding how to position the book the way fans think it is. I call it all triangulation.
So there’s a whole ecosystem when you’re in the Big Two heading that consumes – not in a bad way but in a different way – a ton of energy. Being outside, I have no restrictions. If I want to make a book that is historical fiction like Barnstormers which doesn’t have any monsters or supernatural things – but it’s really just a moment in time that has a lot of parallels to now – and doing it differently where the text is printed directly onto the art and doing a type of different finish, I can do it. There’s so much more bandwidth in my brain to work on stories.
Which of your recent titles surprised you the most, especially in terms of fan reception?
The three books we have demons, Clearand night of the ghoul. I had high expectations for each of them, [especially] with great co-creators like Greg Capullo, Francis Manapul and Francesco Francavilla.
I think the one that caught me off guard was Ghoul Night — how the horror community in other areas like books, movies, and TV discovered and embraced it. It was really nice to see that there are so many people who love classic monsters and really brutal modern horror under one big tent. So it was exciting to see so many people embracing that one.
Despite all the bestselling books you’re writing now, do you ever miss writing Batman?
Sure. I really miss writing Batman sometimes. For me, what makes him so enduring is like… Every superhero has their basic DNA. Hulk is a man struggling with a monster inside him. Spider-Man is selfless despite pedestrian circumstances all the time. Superman is someone who inspires us and inspires us to give our best at all costs. Batman, at its core, is someone who says, “Overcome your own fear: take your fear, face it, and become better than it.”
This applies to so many things, especially in our world with everything happening now and the darkening of the whole global atmosphere, but especially here [in the U.S.]. There’s a real desire to apply the character to so many things because he has an insurmountable hope, even if it doesn’t seem like it on the surface. Because whatever you put him through, he wins. Batman usually wins. So you put him up against something you’re really afraid of, and he shows you how to beat it. So there is a will and a deep desire to write this again just because of so many things that I would like to see him face.
At the same time, it’s wonderful to see so many other creators working in this world and doing things that I couldn’t: which James [Tynion IV] did to make him a new character, IP builder, and make him feel so young with Jorge [Jiménez]; so what is Josh [Williamson] could do with the Deathstroke and Robin stuff. And I’ve read Chip Zdarky’s issues, and what he and Jorge are going to do is so much fun and different, and it’s turning Gotham into something all its own, and seeing what Ram V is going to do with it Detective comics…so imaginative and unique. You eventually have to give space to others and see what they can do with the character and be inspired again.
What’s it like working with Greg Capullo again?
It was easily the best experience we’ve had and made us want to do so much more. Greg and I text multiple times a day, every day, from political cartoons to family dramas. We never felt like we stopped working together because we are still in touch. I think the thing that really hurt and started to bother me at DC, working with Greg, was seeing how much it hurt him physically and mentally to be in that grind all the time. No matter how much time we had, no matter how long it took, it always ended up being the same problem somehow. They would ask us to change things; they wanted more characters; they asked for the issue to be expanded… And we ended up in a wheel where Greg worked 12 hour days in the editorial office, didn’t exercise and couldn’t spend time with his wife and kids.
It was still very difficult to watch, especially at the end. When we started, we were both like, “We can do this.” It hurt my marriage for a while, and it hurt her marriage when we started Batman because the demands were high. All we cared about was making this book the best it could be all the time. It’s a huge pressure when you’re on Batman because the health of the whole line depends on it. So many people’s jobs depended on the success of this book. This grind gets really grueling at some point. Not that I’m saying it’s not the best job in the world or “Woe to us, we had to work on Batman“, just that it comes with certain pressures that can be harsh after a while on your mind and body.
After so many years, we both needed to be in a space where we could do something at our own pace, that we owned together, and that we didn’t feel like there was the same expectation or the same pressure for him to sell a certain amount. It was so fun to work on it we have demons. We were going back and forth on every aspect of the book all day. It was awesome. He’s my partner until I die. As long as he has me. Greg is my best friend and the person I learned the most from in comics. I am very grateful for this partnership, even more so for the friendship. You will never separate us. We’re like an old married couple at this point.
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