Scott Snyder, the creative force behind the ongoing series “American Vampire,” has been handed the keys to two revered titles under the new DC re-launch: “Batman” and “Swamp Thing.” Hero Complex contributor Travis Walecka caught up with Snyder to chat about his plans for both series. This is Part Two of the interview. Read Part One here.
TW: Batman, Aquaman and Superman all appear in “Swamp Thing No. 1,” and you’re also writing “Batman.” Will there be a crossover between your two books?
SS: Well, Batman and Swamp Thing, they may hold off for a little bit for a while, only because we want to give them each a chance to establish themselves in their little universes for the first year. But they are in a shared universe, so you’ll see things that will happen in “Swamp Thing” affect other characters in the DCU the same way you’ll see other things happening in the DCU affect “Swamp Thing” and the other characters in the DCU Dark. So, whether you’ll see Swamp Thing sort of fight Batman, that will probably have to wait a little while.
TW: How about your new Batman universe? Are you mainly focusing on core characters, or are you shaking things up?
SS: Yeah, it’s funny, because everyone is so nervous and excited about the changes in the DCU. The other day, somebody asked me if Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred was still going to be Alfred, and I just Tweeted, “Yeah, of course he is, except that he’s a cyborg.” And I was just kidding, and like all these people got so mad. They were like, “What do you mean you’re making him a cyborg!” And I was like, “Well, all his robot parts are inside though, so you’ll never know it’s really a cyborg.” And they just did not let it go for a while. So, in terms of the changes of the Justice League playing into Batman, you’ll see a little bit. My story that was pitched to Batman editor Mike Marts was six or seven months ago, before there was a relaunch. Again, it’s a big, epic story about Bruce Wayne coming back to Gotham after all of the events of [Grant Morrison’s] Batman Inc., although you don’t have to have read that series to enjoy this at all.
TW: Can you tell us more about it?
SS: Bruce Wayne is back in Gotham, totally bad-ass Batman with new tech, but the same guy in the way his history stands. He just feels great about the city belonging to the Bat, super-confident about his skill set as Batman at this point, before a set of murders suggest that there may be this ancient evil in Gotham. Not something supernatural at all, but an organization that may have been there since the colonial days and actually, that Gotham belongs more to this symbol of an organization than it does to the Bat. Bruce Wayne begins to realize that he’s only been Batman a short time in comparison to the history of Gotham City, which is 400 years old. So, maybe the city belongs to something else historically. Thus we get all these enemies who have been there from the beginning.
This is the kind of history Bruce won’t admit that possibly exists because, one, he has a secret history that we reveal later with this organization, meaning that he investigated it at one point and came up empty-handed, but, two, he just can’t accept that something that big, something that dark exists on his watch without him knowing it. It really goes after his confidence as a protector and legend of Gotham. Along with it, there’ll be a lot of revelations about the Wayne family, about the Grayson family too, and it will all tie into “Nightwing.” The epic storyline will be 11 issues long, really about a war for Gotham’s soul between the Bat and this other organization, with some shocking new enemies for him built out of this mythology we’re going to develop.
TW: You seem pretty stoked to write Bruce Wayne, though many fans have grown to love Dick Grayson as Batman. How did it feel to let go of such a beloved character?
SS: Oh, believe me, writing Grayson in Detective Comics is where I made my first big story. I had the best time on it with Jock and Francisco [Francavilla], and David Baron the colorist. It was really hard to let go of the character. I did have this story in mind for Batman as a Bruce story while I was doing that one, so I knew I wanted to do one eventually. I would have loved to do more stories with Dick as Batman as well, but I’m very excited for Bruce to be back as the stories we have to tell with him — and as well as the stories that we are going to have for Nightwing. Could we have done more stories with Grayson as Batman? Sure. We definitely could have. But there’s a lot coming up that we are equally excited about with him being Nightwing, and Bruce coming back.
TW: Should we expect any crossover with “The Dark Knight” movies?
SS: No. Not at all. DC really lets us do stories we want to do, pretty much. I don’t have any initiative from DC or Warner to include those characters. You won’t see Bane. And I’m really not sure if you’re going to see Catwoman, either, honestly. We’re really just trying to do the story that we think would be the best Bruce Wayne story at this point.
TW: Would you consider writing for film or TV?
SS: Yeah, I enjoy it. I’ve done a couple screenplays with my best friend, including “Severed,” a historical horror comic from Image. So, yeah, I’m up for it, and I love the animated stuff; I’d love to write for the DC Animated Universe at some point. I’m a huge fan of that whole Bruce Timm and Paul Dini kind of ‘verse. I’m up for anything. Anywhere I can tell a story that I’m excited about, I’d try. But I’m so focused on comics right now.
TW: You had a pretty difficult assignment tackling the alternative-universe Superman origin with “Flashpoint: Project Superman.” Would you like to explore other titles in the future that maybe stray away from the usual horror and fantasy elements you’re known for?
SS: Yeah, I love Elseworlds stories like “Superman: Red Son,” “Gotham by Gaslight,” “Old Man Logan,” “Days of Future Past.” I adore stories that explore some possible future or alternate reality. So when you get into those, there are characters that I never thought I’d be up for writing at this point. Superman, for example, is not someone I would tend to lean toward in terms of ideas as a writer, who all of a sudden becomes interesting because some tiny thing about them has changed. I love those kinds of stories. We actually have some planned coming up, so I’m very excited about them.
– Travis Walecka
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