Scott Snyder has long been one of my favorite writers. His run on Batman is by far one of the best runs on the character of this generation. He, along with Greg Capullo, created an epic run and are set to reunite on the character this May in BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH.
He's currently writing the BATMAN WHO LAUGHS mini-series, which continues to sell out at comic book stores every where. He and Capullo created the character in METAL, since then the character had become one of the most popular villains of the DCU.
He's also heading the flagship JUSTICE LEAGUE book, where the current arc, "The Sixth Dimension", sees the League flung into the future meeting their future counterparts. The consequences of the upcoming conclusion are set to shake up the DCU.
Not only is he busy over at DC, but he's also working on new AMERICAN VAMPIRE & WYTCHES, along with a slew of other upcoming creator owned projects in the works.
Scott was able to give this exclusive interview, in spite of his busy schedule. I hope you guys enjoy it!
COMIC LOUNGE: First off, I wanted to ask, how you got into comic books as a kid? What were some of your favorites growing up?
SCOTT SNYDER: I was really into comics early. When I was 5 or 6, my father tried to get me to read more, and it grew to every Wednesday going to town and getting new stuff. He would read comics to me every week. It was really something that I loved and wanted to get into. I really wanted to be a comic book artist and writer, both. I even had a portfolio and all that stuff.
It really wasn't until college that I fell more into the writing and fell in love with the writing aspect of it. But I broke in afterwards, writing short stories. I got into a few magazines and built a collection of short stories. Then I put a book out of those stories, VOODOO HEART.
While I was still just sort of getting my start, I was offered to do a short story for a collection. It was about prose writers making up these superheroes. It was a lot of fun. Most of the stories were kind of dopey and humorous. But mine was serious and caught the attention of a couple comic book editors. They knew I was a comic book fan, and they gave me a chance to pitch for a couple small things. Again, I fell in love with the process of comic book writing.
COMIC LOUNGE: Who were some of the writers you looked up to, growing up?
SNYDER: There's so many. Everybody from Dennis O'Neil, Frank Miller and Mike Mignola. What Todd McFarlane did with SPAWN was really huge for me. Chris Claremont and X-MEN, Alan Moore of course, and Paul Dini as well. Mark Millar was another one, as I got older.
Frank Miller was probably really the one that made me understand, with DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, how immediate, real and resonant a superhero book could be, while still being completely out there and imaginative. It changed my perception of what a comic could be, how a character could be and how a creator could be.
COMIC LOUNGE: You wrote one of the best runs on Batman of all time. first with Dick Grayson under the cowl in DETECTIVE COMICS, then with Bruce back in "The New52" relaunch of BATMAN. Although you are still writing the character in JUSTICE LEAGUE and BATMAN WHO LAUGS, what has been you takeaway from the experience of writing such an iconic character?
SNYDER: I never expected to get to write the character. It's really mind blowing to me, that these kind of chances are offered to me. The only way to do it, is to imagine you're doing it for yourself and that no one gets to see it. Otherwise, it can get incredibly intimidating and paralyzing.
You know, Batman was my favorite character in literature growing up. Writing these characters with so many stories that changed my life, it's just impossible to write without getting genuinely frightened of letting the character down, the fans down and all that stuff.
So that's kind of how I approached it from "Black Mirror" all the way till now.
COMIC LOUNGE: You finished METAL last year, which has lead into your current JUSTICE LEAGUE run. What was your experience like, working on your first major crossover at DC?
SNYDER: It was great! I always wanted to work on a crossover there. Whether it was as the lead writer or just somebody involved in following someone else's lead. I was talking to Geoff Johns, but it was just hard to collaborate because we were moving at different speeds sometimes. Batman was in the past and he was in the present. So I didn't get much of a chance to do it.
Comics to me, the DNA of comics, is to collaborate. It's hard to make something in a vacuum for months and months and nobody sees it but you. With comics you're constantly talking to everyone on the team. You're talking to the artists obviously, your editors, colorists and letterer, all that stuff. It's a mural. So you wind up making something with a group of creators and people passionate about comics.
Doing it on an event level, is what's so fun about comics in general. It gave me a chance to work with Josh Williamson. Also, James Tynion whom I'm incredibly close with in general, he use to be a student of mine a long time ago. I got to work with Kelly Sue DeConnick, when she came in on AQUAMAN, which was building off of some of the stuff in METAL and JUSTICE LEAGUE.
From METAL and JUSTICE LEAGUE towards what we're building with YEAR OF THE VILLAIN and beyond, is a joy. It gives you a chance to work with so many people who are creative and inspiring.
COMIC LOUNGE: Speaking of JUSTICE LEAGUE, the book has been phenomenal. I haven't enjoyed a Justice League book this much since Grant Morrisson's run. What are your long term plans for the book? Do you have an endgame in mind? I know you've said that you have pretty much a set story, but is there room to go past it?
SNYDER: Yeah that's a good question. I do have an endgame in mind, it's about a year from now. It closes in around issue 50. It ends on something that then culminates, if things work out, in sort of another big METAL type event. So if it all works out and I can do it the right way, then it will kind of end the Luthor story but lead in to something bigger. If it doesn't work out then, I'll maybe start focusing more on creator owned.
My contract ends in under a year. So for me, I want to finish JUSTICE LEAGUE really strong, but there's a chance to do something really big on the other side of it as well. I love what we're doing with JUSTICE LEAGUE and I love the ending we have, it ends really nicely, but it also has enough story to spin forward into an even bigger catastrophe, if we can. I'm just trying to keep everything open. I would love to keep up with it and keep going.
Like with BATMAN, I did arc to arc and it had a big ending. With JUSTICE LEAGUE, we have one BIG arc. There's mini arcs, that pretty much standalone within it, but it's still built on a pretty diagonal line. With this big "Year of the Villain" and "Justice Doom War", then we culminate with that. I love working on the book and would say we keep going past that.
COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any characters on the team you enjoy writing on the team, besides Batman obviously, more than others?
SNYDER: Haha, well I love writing Batman as the comic relief right now. This arc we're doing now, "The Sixth Dimension", where he and Superman are the stars, he (Batman) plays a very human and dark role and not a funny one anymore.
Martian Manhunter has been a real surprise and Hawkgirl. Those two and there relationship has been something that really surprised me and how much I love writing them. Them and also Starro. I love writing Jarro, who's also my little kind of pet character. I love the interactions there. Wonder Woman is someone I want to dig into more. I want to do something that highlights her.
COMIC LOUNGE: Is there anything you can tease about any of the arcs coming up?
SNYDER: Sure! For me, we have "Year of the Villain", that really builds out of the "Sixth Dimension" arc. The "Sixth Dimension" arc ends at 25, which will be a big issue for us, it's oversized. At the end of that issue, you'll see what Luthor's plan is for "Year of the Villain" in full, because the story leads directly into that. What Luthor does, for the first time in his life, is he believes in something bigger than himself. He makes this really big move for all the villains, because he offers them something that's pretty special to each of them.
When he does that, it ramps up our story to this big arc that we're doing called "Justice Doom War" in the Fall. So, "Year of the Villain" goes from about July to November and then "Justice Doom War" goes from the Fall to Winter. That really culminates our whole Perpetua/Legion of Doom stuff. Then in November/December, if things work out and we're able to go even further, things will kind of close down this story with Luthor and then something else happens that will ramp everything up to a crazy crazy level. Which would be the beginning of 2020 to the mid 2020. That would be the absolute final JUSTICE LEAGUE story for me which be at about 75 or something like that.
COMIC LOUNGE: So let's talk about Batman Who Laughs, who's been a huge breakout character. The mini series has been insane so far. Can you talk about how that story is going to tie-in to your overall story, that you've said goes all the way back to your BATMAN, METAL, etc. ?
SNYDER: Absolutely! Essentially, I'm not supposed to say to much because I don't want to give anything away. I want BATMAN WHO LAUGHS to feel like a special series, kind of like it's spiritual successor "Black Mirror", one that you can put on a shelf and enjoy on it's own. But, something does happen at the end of it that ends up spinning big consequences out into the DCU. So there is something that's gonna happen, at the very end. Then it leads into a lot of other places in the DCU and in JUSTICE LEAGUE. Then that storyline runs back around in JUSTICE LEAGUE when we do "Justice Doom War". It's almost like we're building the different areas.
Like, JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYESEY is building up Darkseid for something that's coming for us in our Justice League story. JUSTICE LEAGUE is building up Perpetua, the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor and all of the Forces. JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK is building up the Upside Down Man and Magic.
All of that stuff kind of comes together in Summer/Fall.
COMIC LOUNGE: In BATMAN WHO LAUGHS, you introduced The Grim Knight, which is a pretty badass version of Batman. Are we going to see an other, or do you have any other ideas for "Dark" versions of Batman?
SNYDER: We had so many! We had a magic one, one that was cosmic. We had an undead one, that was a zombie. There was a lot. It was really just a matter of what is the scariest, the most emotional and hurtful. We wanted to pick ones that would be Bruce's greatest fears about himself, without it being to fun with it. It's always fun to be "Here's the monster Bruce", so we wanted to keep it tied to his biggest fears. I'm really happy with the ones we wound up picking.
COMIC LOUNGE: You and Greg Capullo are working on BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH right now, can you talk a little about that? Are you guys planning anything together when that book finishes?
SNYDER: Yeah! We're doing BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, which starts in May, on DC's "Black Label". They're 3, 50 page issues, and it takes place about 15-20 years after the present. It's kind of like our DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or OLD MAN LOGAN, but he's young for some reason in ours. It takes him all across the DCU, it's really like a tour of the DCU and what happens.
It's been in my head for about 4-5 years, I've really wanted to do it for a long time, so I'm really nervous about it and equally excited. I feel like it brings a lot of the stuff I did at DC full circle. I'm really proud of it and I hope you guys enjoy it.
Greg and I will work forever man! He's like a brother to me. I was talking to him this morning about a creator owned project, that we want to do post- "Last Knight". We also want to do some stuff with CREECH for him. Then we have one BIG DC thing we want to do and if not, then we'll just do creator owned. He and I would love to do some stuff over at Marvel at some point and do Hulk or Wolverine.
We're family, the goal is to just do projects that we love and never get bored with eachother. We want to make sure we love what we're doing, always challenge eachother and make sure we're doing the best stuff we can do.
COMIC LOUNGE: I wanted to ask a couple more questions about you're creator owned stuff. Can you give any updates on AMERICAN VAMPIRE and WYTCHES?
SNYDER: So, AMERICAN VAMPIRE is coming back in 2020. That's the 10th Anniversary of the beginning of the series, so Vertigo wanted to do it then. We're gonna start working on it together in the late Summer, early Fall, me and Rafael. Then what we'll do, I think, is release it as one big volume this time. So it will be like 7 issues in one book, about 150-160 pages. I've known the arc for a while, Rafael and I have talked a about it a bunch. It takes place in 1976, in Vegas, in the desert. You know, Evil Knievel, full of intrigue and paranoia all that stuff from the 70's. There's a lot of crazy "end of times" paranoia feel to it, I'm really happy with it.
With WYTCHES, my deal with Jock about BATMAN WHO LAUGHS, which was if he could do it, we had to do WYTCHES right after. We both felt the same way. That takes place about 4-5 years after the first volume in real time. Sailor is now a part of the Irons, who hunt Wytches, and she meets Sebastian, who's a character from our Halloween Special. They team up and start taking down Wytches and she starts to believe her father might be alive somewhere. It takes us from the Southwest all the way to the Northeast. We learn more about Burrows all around the world. I'm really really happy with this one too.
COMIC LOUNGE: Lastly, I know you've announced recently that you're working on some new creator owned books. Can you talk about who your collaborators are and maybe what the books are about?
SNYDER: Well I'm not allowed to yet, but I put out a teaser for one of the books. One of my collaborators is Francesco Francavilla, who's an old friend of mine. We worked on DETECTIVE COMICS together and we've known each other a long time. We've been looking to for a horror thing to do together. I'm really trying to do something different with this one. It's about classic horror movies but it takes place in the present. I can't tell you the title yet either because we haven't announced it, but we're about 40 pages into it and I'm really happy with it.
The other I can't tell you too much about, I have about 4 that I'm working on simultaneously, is the next one that I'm gonna announce. I'm co-writing it with Charles Soule, but I can't say who the artist is yet. We're gonna start releasing teasers in a week or two. That one is going to be more of an ongoing series, that we're probably going to do with Image. It's like a BIG epic kind of ongoing. So that should be a lot of fun as well