This interview contains Batman spoilers.
If you’re even remotely involved with the comic book world right now, you’ve probably heard of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. They’re the guys behind DC’s best-selling monthly book.
What they’ve managed to do with Batman since the 2011 New 52 relaunch in a run that now stretches to 45 issues is nothing short of a revelation. Snyder, who began his career as a short story writer, has brought back a literary edge to a character who is as comfortable with philosophically deep dives into the mouth of madness as he is punching horses or hitting henchmen with sharks (not kidding). Capullo, in his part, brings his fierce pencils down on the book like Thor’s hammer, and has in a few short years established himself as one of the best Batman artists to ever draw the cowl. He can sure as hell draw a good monster.
Yes, I’m a fan. And since one interview wasn’t enough, I had a chance to sit back down with these guys at this year’s NYCC to chat about Superheavy, the book’s current arc, the sexy Bruce beard, the terrifying and villainous Mr. Bloom, and the team’s plans for the future. Of course, we also had to talk about Capullo’s departure from the book after issue #51 to work on a secret project with Mark Millar. But don’t worry, according to Snyder, Capullo will strike again!
Den of Geek: After you guys were done with Zero Year and were starting on Endgame, you said the next few arcs would be shorter stories. But instead, you’re working on Superheavy, which is much bigger…
Greg Capullo: It’s always a lie.
Yeah, it seems like a running joke with you guys at this point.
Scott Snyder: It is!
Why was it important to do Superheavy now?
SS: What happens with me is that I always say I’m going to do smaller stories. Internally at DC, it’s like a big joke at this point, but I mean it sincerely when I say it. Then what happens usually is that I’ll have an idea like [Superheavy] with enough time to prepare the Bat-line [of books] and do it. The truth of the matter is that if you’re going to work on a character like Batman, there are thousands of writers that would kill to get on the book so that they could do their one big Batman story. And if you have one that’s a big Batman story that you care about but you choose to do the relaxing, small story, I feel like you might as well move over and let somebody else take the book and swing for the fence on it.
So when I came up with Superheavy and I told Greg, he was enthusiastic about it and I knew we had to do it instead of the small stories. But maybe one day…Before I ever leave Batman forever, I want do some smaller stories at some point.
GC: Scott said I was excited, and that’s really true. Gordon is my favorite character in the book. If I had the opportunity to just do a Gordon and Bullock series, I would love to do that. That’s how much I love Gordon. So when Scott told me Gordon becomes Batman, that was a mix of the two best things about the book for me. I was completely on board.
The only thing I honestly miss are the glasses and the mustache, which to me are signature Gordon. I really miss the mustache, but we’re going to bring it back, as Scott has teased, in the finale…it’s going to be that the big bad is the mustache.
SS: Yes, a big mutated mustache!
But at least the lack of mustache balances out with the Bruce beard…
GC: Yeah! Scott came up with that idea. Let me just give you a little backstory: since day one of working with Scott, in his scripts, he would include photographs of his ideas, except because of my computer program that I was reading this stuff with, I never saw a single one of these pictures for years. And yet he would still include them! So you would think at some point, Scott would say to himself, “Jeez, he doesn’t even pay attention to these pictures. Why bother?” But no, he still would send me these pictures that I was never able to see!
Only less than a year ago, finally I got a different program, and now all of a sudden, “Oh, there’s pictures here…” So he’s obsessive about this.
For the Bruce beard, he sent me a photograph of a beard…You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! So this is a guy with a family and a loving wife. While he could be spending time with them, he’s just sitting there going, “I’ll be down in a minute, honey. I have to google an image of a beard for Greg.”
SS: When you google a beard, a lot of weird things come up…
GC: I’m sure!
Greg, you told me last year that you really love drawing monsters. How much fun are you having with Mr. Bloom?
GC: This whole thing has been great, because I’ve had more than him as a monster to draw. Nothing but fun. Especially with the one guy who reshaped the city…so I had this Batman made out of bricks and glass. That was incredibly fun. The Bloom stuff and all the stuff I’m drawing now is more in line with the stuff I was familiar with in my years of drawing Spawn. So for me, it’s a really comfortable and fun place to be. Because who doesn’t love monsters? And it’s becoming more and more fun because Bloom is able to mutate and change his shape and grow and do all of these scary things. Nothing but a party. And it’s getting worse and worse or better and better, depending on how you want to say it.
This arc has the most new villains and characters in your entire run on the book. Have you guys found it more liberating or challenging to create all of these new characters?
SS: I’ve found it really liberating. But I’m always nervous or anxious. I get scared sometimes that it’s a lot, but ultimately the whole arc has given me a new angle on the mythology. And when you have a franchise that’s 75-years-old and you come up with something that you think hasn’t been done before, you have to try it. So it is very liberating, because anywhere you look in the book, it looks new. Batman looks new and Jim looks new and Bruce looks new…it really is like a new lease on the mythos.
I imagine it’s a really good time designing all of these new things.
GC: The designing part is actually the most fun part, because you’re like a little kid again who just lies on the floor drawing in his notebook. So that part is fun. I’ll tell you, though, the sucky part about designing comics if you’re working on a monthly book is the fact that there’s a deadline. So it’s like you want to spend more time designing and coming up with ideas, but it has to happen rapidly. A lot of stuff you get it done to a point and you have to just let it go and be happy with it.
Like Scott will always go, “It’ll be fun. We can bat ideas back and forth.” And I’m going, “No, this is not fun. It’s stressful. The clock is ticking!” It’s fun one way, but the deadline sucks all the fun out of it sometimes.
SS: Yeah, that’s my biggest regret, too.
So what are your plans for after Superheavy?
SS: Well, I can’t really tease it. I just sort of want to celebrate the fact that we’ve been able to do this much together, and I’m excited about the project Greg has after Superheavy with Mark [Millar].
Is there a title for that project yet?
GC: If there is, we’re not telling you!
SS: I really want to take a moment to appreciate what Greg’s been able to do on this book and be excited for his next project. But I’m staying on Batman to keep the house in order. I have some big plans, but I don’t want to talk about them yet, because this is a better time to talk about Greg and all he has done with the book and enjoy the time we have before he takes a break. Just know that I’ll keep the house in order, and then Greg will come back and we’ll blow it up.
Scott, do you have a shortlist of artists you want to work with while Greg is on his break after #51?
SS: I don’t even want to think about it right now. I mean, I have, but it’s really about enjoying my time with Greg.
I’m enjoying my time reading and seeing your work as well. Thank you, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo!
Batman #45 is out today.