With the release of ‘Batman’ #51 on April 27, the four-year-long stretch of work on the series from both writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo will, sadly, be coming to an end. The duo have managed to completely revitalize the Caped Crusader on the comic pages, and their work over the last few years has been praised far and wide. I recently had a chance to chat with both men together, and they were able to shed some light on what their favorite moments have been, what they’ve enjoyed most about the process, and even their thoughts on something as random as Batman playing party games. Read on to learn more!
SF.com: Scott, your run on the comic has taken quite a few unique twists and turns with its story. Was it your intention from the beginning to create these specific story arcs?
Scott Snyder (SS): Not always, but we were given a lot of freedom with the character, so sometimes that led to us going to a bit more strange places for the mythology, and sometimes it was a bit more classic. So I guess it was more about following my compass in terms of things I felt compelled to write about, and using that as a guide on whether the story gets zany and “goes down the rabbit hole” or if it stays more traditional.
SF.com: Greg, the new design of the Batsuit is all yours. With Batman having so many iconic looks over the years, would you say you worked harder to make this suit different or was it instead more challenging to keep a sense of “historical reverence,” if you will, in the design?
Greg Capullo (GC): I tried to walk a fine line with that. I wanted it to be different enough because I think a lot of people get nervous about any change for Batman, because he’s been iconic for so long. So, I didn’t want to go too far, but I did want to make it different enough so that it actually did look different this time! My thought process was that I wanted to bring back things that were reminiscent of the various stages of Scott and my run together.
When I took over ‘Batman,’ back in issue #1, we had the design from Jim Lee, who had designed all of the characters coming out of the ‘New 52’ run, so I never had the opportunity [for a redesign] at the onset. One of the things I’ve always loved about the cowl was when Frank Miller, in ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ had [Batman] in this flat, bull-nosed type of helmet, and I always loved that; maybe that’s because when I was a kid, I loved Space Ghost! I always wanted to do a cowl like that, so that was the first thing I changed; I was like, “Finally, I get to do my cowl!” So then, I thought, “Well, we just did the ‘Superheavy’ story line…” and we had a little yellow outline around the chest emblem. I know a lot of people really loved the yellow oval emblem, but I couldn’t really do directly that, so this was sort of a compromise. For the belt – I’ve seen yellow a zillion, trillion, million times, and I wanted it to be a little different, but still have a little yellow. So in the design, I tried to make it in the design of a bat-shape, very angular and having it flare in the central area to resemble bat fangs. For the cape: I wanted to give it a splash of color, so it’s a bit of a nod to ‘Zero Year,’ when we had the purple gloves, so I gave him a bit of a purple lining on the inside of the cape. So, it was all of those elements that came together to create the look.
SF.com: Any time you have a chance to work Space Ghost into the equation, you absolutely should. Now, if you could somehow fit Dino-Boy in there, I’d be really excited.
GC: [laugs] Love it! Growing up, I had the coloring book and everything. Big fan.
SF.com: You’ve had the opportunity to draw some pretty unique things that the average reader would have never expected to see in a Batman book. Do you have a particular favorite item/character/scene that you’ve drawn?
GC: Wow… there’s been sooo many! [laughs] It’s really, really hard to pinpoint one specific thing… I would say that one of the highlights for me was issue #5. It was very successful and I had a lot of fun with it; I know that’s not a particular character or scene… but it’s one of the things I’m very fond of.
SF.com: Issue #5… is that the one where Batman is fighting the lion? [Interviewer’s Note: here I am, trying so hard to be knowledgeable, and failing miserably – what I’m referencing was actually ‘Batman’ issue #31. I was way off!]
GC: No, this was in the Court of Owls, where he was trapped in the labyrinth, and he was hallucinating because he drank the drugged water, and the whole issue spins around and around. It really writes itself on the last page.
SF.com: Scott, you’ve written stories for some very high-profile characters and concepts, including Superman, characters with other companies (Iron Man, Human Torch), and horror stories alongside Stephen King. In all honesty, where does Batman rank for you in terms of favorite projects you’ve worked?
SS: Well, in terms of superhero stuff, he’s my favorite. I’ve loved him since I was a kid, so it’s been a real thrill! Any time you can write your favorite character and get so much latitude with it… to be able to tell the kind of stories we’ve told, and to do it with amazing people – the best team in comics, people that have become my friends – I mean, it’s the best job in the world.
SF.com: Working up to ‘Batman’ #51: there was a pretty unique storyline leading up to the issue, and then with the end issue itself… mentally, what’s the approach you take with the writing and the artwork in the creative process? What specifically was there that you wanted to focus on in issue #51?
SS: I wanted to make sure that Greg got to draw everything fun in the mythos. I wanted to make it an echo of our first issue, and give him a chance to take one last tour of everything fun in Gotham, from the Bat-Signal to Arkham to all the villains to the Bat-Cave to the Batmobile – the whole nine yards. The purpose of the issue, of course, is to really say thank-you to the fans, and the character, and the creators that came before us; you know, it really has been the ride of a lifetime, and none of it would have been possible without the people who are reading the book. So, the issue really is a tribute to them.
SF.com: As you completed your run on ‘Batman,’ where there any DC characters that you would have liked to have had in the series but never had the opportunity to do so?
GC: I would have liked to have drawn Catwoman, but I only had the chance to put her in one panel, in a cameo as she looked up to the sky [Interviewer’s Note: that’s in issue #5 again, for the record!]. I was bummed – like, that’s all I get with her? [laughs]
SS: I feel like I got pretty much everyone I wanted – I got lucky!
SF.com: Now for a few random questions, just because. Greg, if you could draw Batman eating any type of food, what would you draw?
GC: [laughs] Oh, wow, how to answer that one! Uh, geez… [copious amount of thinking]
SF.com: These are the hard-hitting questions that the true fans want to know.
GC: This is hard-hitting, gosh! I would say the biggest, mondo, cheese-covered, bacon-added burger – just something insanely huge, because it would be his one “cheat day” every four years.
SF.com: Scott, if you could write a story teaming up Batman with any singer or musical group, past or present, who would it be and what might they do?
SS: Oh, this is easy [laughs] – I would team him up with Elvis! I’m a big Elvis fan. I would take them to solve an incredible crime together in Las Vegas.
SF.com: Last one, for both of you: we’ve seen Batman v. Superman on the big screen, but who do you think would win if it was Batman v. Superman playing Jenga?
[lots of laughter from both]
GC: Oh, it would definitely be Batman. I mean, he’s got every contingency plan. He would have to cheat – but hey, Captain Kirk [of ‘Star Trek’ fame] had to cheat at Starfleet Academy… yeah, Batman would definitely win.
SS: Yeah, I feel like even when it’s The Avengers vs. The X-Men… Batman still wins. Even when he’s not even in the fight… Batman always wins.
When looking for his first job as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, Tony stumbled through the mall and ended up in front of the local comic book shop – and he never looked back. A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.