Almost five years. 46 issues together. A true partnership writing a new legend.
This is the last Batman interview for writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo.
With issue #51 hitting shelves today and both creators on to other projects — Snyder beginning All-Star Batman this August with a host of artists, and Capullo working with Mark Millar on an unnamed project — Comicosity got to sit down and pick the guys’ brains about their final issue of Batman together. It’s been a long run. Let’s sit back, take a deep breath, and say goodbye.
Scott Snyder: About a year ago, I started talking to Greg about how we could end the run. It’s sort of a “quiet night in Gotham.” I was nervous, because this could have been the most boring issue ever. I mean, no one’s ever just given him the night off. It could be incredibly slow and pointless.
But then I thought, no no, we can do it in a way that’s really a tribute to the character and to the fans. And maybe we can make it like a celebratory tour of the mythos.
For me, it was also a way to say thank you to Greg and the art team — FCO Plascencia and Danny Miki — and to give them a chance to draw everything cool. And above all, just saying thank you to the fans for the best ride of my life.
Greg Capullo: My thought process was mostly about keeping sadness at bay, knowing I was drawing my last issue of Batman. And that Scott and I would be moving on from each other for just a bit. That was really the only thing on my mind.
Apart from that, I was enjoying revisiting a lot of scenes that we did together along the road. Which also made me have to keep sadness at bay, especially during the Court of Owls scene.
In terms of special thought, you know, I just kind of follow my instincts and do it. Draw it as it strikes me. I tried to enjoy it and not be sad.
MSG: You guys really do touch back on so much of what you did in the course of 51 issues — the Joker, the Court of Owls, all the other villains. Was it important to you to put a bow on all of it at the end of the line?
SS: Yeah, it was more sort of like looking back. Part of fun of it is putting it together for the fans, so they can see the Red Hood element of it, or the giant Owl coin.
But for me, there’s a private history of the book, which is the growth of Greg and my relationship. So some of this stuff — getting to see the labyrinth again or getting to see Batman up on the tower — was a chance for me to revisit some of the creative moments we had together as friends.
The labyrinth for me will always represent the time Greg came up with the great idea to flip the book. It was the first time we stepped up for each other with DC. “Zero Year” was where I was so nervous about doing the origin of Batman and having the purple cape and seeing what Greg would come up with. Seeing the Red Hood helmet really references that.
Maybe I was just being selfish in some way, you know. Putting the Easter eggs in for me to trip down memory lane.
MSG: There also seems to be this element of putting the toys back into the toybox for the next run, most noticeably with the return of Alfred’s hand.
GC: Yeah, in the final hours, after going to press, I joked about giving Alfred another left hand accidentally. I was hoping I would get you good enough to go back and check the pages! [laughs]
SS: Yeah, for a moment there I was imagining him with the tray and two thumbs sticking out. [laughs]
MSG: But in all seriousness, the moments between Alfred and Bruce are really moving and definitely mark the end of “SuperHeavy,” as well as touch on their relationship overall.
SS: I hope it’s been one of the hallmarks of our run. “SuperHeavy” was all about how Batman isn’t real, how he’s huge and larger than life. How we have to solve things without him. How he doesn’t always save us — although he does in a different way.
But we tried to make Bruce very human throughout the run and very vulnerable. And his relationship with Alfred is one of those strains we’ve had a blast working on. Alfred is that father who has a son doing something (like a soldier or a cop) that he respects and that’s he’s proud of. But he’s terrified of as well, every day. It’s one of those things as a dad that speaks to a lot of feelings.
GC: That scene, drawing Alfred staring at Bruce’s virgin back, was a really really sad moment for me to draw. Bruce doesn’t really have recollection of what his previous stint as Batman was like. But Alfred has seen it all, and he knows what’s coming. He knows the chapters before Bruce writes them again.
And the thing that made it so painful is — and we’ve done it before too — that Alfred has these fantasies about Bruce’s life and how it could be if he weren’t Batman. A wife. Kids. The whole thing. So, he’s seen it now in reality. It wasn’t a dream. He saw Bruce not being Batman, being happy, with love in his life. He was a regular guy enjoying life as we all hope that we do.
When he’s staring at that back, he can see scars there, even though they’re not present. For me, that was really very painful. I felt for Al.
MSG: As hard a moment as that was, a bunch of us do owe you a debt of gratitude for giving us a genuine thirsty moment with Bruce in those sweatpants, Greg. [laughs]
GC: Ha ha ha! You’re welcome.
SS: I sent that image to Tim Seeley and Tom King while they were writing Grayson, because we have this battle going back and forth about who is the sexier hero — Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson. And they always win! Whatever. But at least we had a parting shot!
MSG: The last thing I want to touch on is the culmination of the story — in meeting the journalist, who is meeting Batman for the second time. Batman’s effect on him, on Gotham, has clearly gone beyond just punching a few criminals. Tell me about what Batman has done for Gotham.
SS: I hope that my legacy with the character has some element of this. When I was growing up, Bruce was very much this character driven by this sort of fascinating pathology, possessed by the demon bat in the caves. He was maniacally driven. He was a samurai. He was a man alone and a kind of Dirty Hairy. He had a very dark drive to him that I love. And it was important to that period where the problems facing cities like New York required this take, like “reclaiming the night.”
Now, I feel like the problems we all think about in cities or even internationally are bigger and more abstract, whether it’s racism or class difference or homophobia. All these things that people feel are almost impossible to defeat. So we’ve tried to make our Batman, especially since “Zero Year,” to be about inspiration and bravery and facing these kind of larger-than-life, technocolor nightmares. They are extensions of those fears, which are almost huge, dream-like versions.
They make you want to say, “If Batman can overcome that, I can get out of my house and overcome my personal fears or demons. Or I can even make a difference fighting problems on a city level, or national level, or even global level.” I hope that’s the case. I really do. It’s been my deliberate effort to say that, and I don’t know if it comes through or not.
GC: I’ll tell you: the thing I hear so much is that we’ve established a legacy. People have been telling me I’m the Batman artist for a generation. It’s really hard to think like that, because I’m just doing my job day in and day out. But I’m certainly aware of all the unbelievable fan support that we’ve had throughout the entire run.
And if it’s true, that people are considering me any of that, all I can do is get on my knees and thank you. I am just incredibly humbled by such a big statement. I just want to give a heartfelt thanks to every single person who has cared about our work together.
MSG: Well, I would definitely reiterate that statement. You’ve both created something here that’s incredibly special and… you know, just “Thank You.”
And here’s to talking to each of you on your next projects!
SS: Yes! AND when we’re back together!