At seventy-five years old and counting, Batman has never looked better, even as his city is crumbling around him. Why is Gotham City crumbling, you ask? Well, that’s mostly due to Batman writer Scott Snyder putting the city through the wringer time and time again in consistently excellent stories like “Court of Owls,” “Death of the Family,” and now “Endgame.” As we hurtle towards the universe-changing events of Convergence, many people are wondering what’s next for Gotham’s Caped Crusader. From the looks of the latest solicit text and cover for Batman‘s post-Convergence June issue, big changes are on the way.
Here’s the official solicit text:
Written by SCOTT SNYDER Art by GREG CAPULLO and DANNY MIKI
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
THE JOKER Variant cover by SEAN MURPHY
On sale JUNE 10 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
The all-new Batman makes his debut! Who is he, and what happens next? Find out here as a new era begins in Gotham City!
Pretty crazy, huh? Just who is in that mech suit exactly? Recently, at a press day at the DC Comics office in Burbank, CA, I sat down with Snyder to talk about his corner of the DC universe, what’s coming after Convergence, and more.
N: So you’ve been part–you’ve been spending time in Gotham City for what–six years now?
Scott Snyder: Yeah, because I started in the spring of 2010, so really, if you counted those–yeah, it’s crazy. I can’t believe I’ve been here that long.
N: That’s a long time to spend in Gotham. So are you still enjoying it? How do you keep it fresh for yourself after existing in this dark, brooding corner of the DC universe for so long?
SS: Well, I’m extremely dark and brooding. [Chuckling] No, I’m not. Honestly, it refreshes itself and it feels–to me, right now, like the most vibrant time in the history of my tenure at DC. The books that DC has been able to put out in the Bat-line, under Mark Doyle–they’re just progressive, and exuberant, and different, and risky, and that makes us want to up our game on the book, and earn our keep as one of a line of books that’s supposed to be cutting edge.
So it challenges you to be progressive on a character like Batman, and I feel like we’ve always tried to be, you know. We’ve tried to do stories that I don’t know that everybody thought they wanted at first, like an 11-issue origin of Batman, or Joker with his face cut off, or Batman having a brother. All of those things are things that I think we loved and we wanted to do, but we were worried that we would get kicked off the book.
So we’re very grateful to have gotten to be able to do what we do, but I can tell you unequivocally that what we’re trying in June, after “Endgame”–what “Endgame” does to Batman–the mythology of Batman, the cast of Batman–is the most radical thing we’ve tried, by a mile on this book.
So it might be our ‘jump the shark’ moment. It really might! It might also be our best moment. It’s the moment, honestly, I’m very, very proud because my favorite creators on the book, Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, Denny O’Neil, Paul Dini–I mean, they were always pretty fearless with what they were willing to do with the character, and bold. And for me, even if we fail on this one, I would be much, much less happy with myself, and much, much more depressed if I didn’t try this thing that I thought of, because I’d rather go out swinging like this.
And it might be our best thing! Honestly, it’s definitely the thing I told Greg, and he was like, “This could be our best thing ever!” So I really am excited about it, but it is–you will get to our free comic book day comic, and you will see what we’re thinking, and I know it’s the biggest WTF moment we’ve ever done.
N: Nice! So talking about the eight-page story that’s coming out?
SS: Yeah, the eight-pager, you will get to that page eight, and you’re going to be like, “These guys are definitely nuts.” I promise. And I’m not speaking hyperbolically. It is–you will get there, and I promise you, you will be like, “This is easily the nuttiest thing they’ve tried.” And it’s something that’s never been done in the 75 years, so I feel like it’s something that we’re not returning to anything, we’re not trying anything that has been tried before, it’s something that’s personal to me, it feels like the right story for right now. We’re just going to go for it, and I hope you guys like it. It’s really out there.
N: Well, the track record speaks for itself so far. A lot of the stuff you guys have been doing, it hasn’t been done in the Batman universe before–at least not in the ways that you guys have done it. I think that’s partially why people have responded so well to it.
SS: I hope so. I mean, you know, we really try and take our cues, in a lot of ways, from the fans, in that the things that they seem to respond to right now, I really feel like its changing the zeitgeist in comics, is creators bringing a kind of passion or vision for the characters that’s indicative of what they do on their creator-owned work. They feel like someone like Brenden and Annie coming onto Black Canary, they’re going to do a book that you would find them doing in their creator-owned sort of world.
And they respond to that authenticity, and I think on Batman, we’ve really tried to do that, where these are the stories that I would tell if I got one chance to do a story on Batman, and never again got a chance. You know, the fact that they have been so supportive for this long really means the world. I mean, I was ready to sort of pack my bags, and Greg was too, at any point, after “Court of Owls,’ where I got to do a story that was mine, and then I got to do the origins, which was my origins. I got to do my Joker story. You guys out there have given us so much with it that we really couldn’t be more grateful, and I hope this one is our “Thank you” to you, where it’s basically, like, we’re going to take this ball and go as far as we can with it and see what you think. I feel like it would be a disservice to the readership, I feel like it would be a disservice to the character, it would be a disservice to the other books in the line, if we didn’t try our nuttiest stuff this year, when everybody else is going big.
N: Yeah, especially when it seems like everybody is coming to a head in the DC universe. You may as well do what you want.
SS: Yeah, that’s right. I feel like that’s the spirit right now. I’ve said it before, but I’m not a big company man. I come from a more independent background, where I was in short stories, and I came to be a Vertigo guy, and then I’d been doing Image stuff. So I’m not somebody that would–I’ve never been one to go out and talk about DC as a place, you know, but first with the things they’ve done with the Bat-line, and now with the June line-up, and the books that they’re promoting, and the books that they’re celebrating. The creators that they’re bringing in, the diversity of story, diversity of creator, the diversity of art–all of it is something that makes me incredibly proud and excited to be a DC guy right now. I really think it’s the best time in a long time for us and for comics and all of it.
N: Earlier, we spoke with Dan DiDio about the relaunch and he said, “Story will trump continuity.” Which is not to say that you’re disregarding 75 years of Batman history, because there are so many incredible things that have happened, and formative stories, and stuff like that. How are you guys taking that sort of maxim and applying that to Batman going forward with the relaunch?
SS: Well, I really feel like we have proceeded that way on Batman, redoing his origin and introducing his brother–all of these kinds of things are things we always felt–my favorite stories have been transgressive: Dark Knight Returns, Year One–they become canon, almost, in a way where they defy continuity, but then they’re so good that they become continuity.
Not that our stories are that amazing, but that’s always been the goal, is to strive for that kind of thing. So continuity, for me, what it means from June going forward, is not being beholden to things that happened before the 52, or even things that have happened in ways that would restrict you. It’s about creating a shared universe with books going forward, so you will see continuity in terms of characters from We Are Robin, play a big role in our story in June. Batgirl plays a big role in our story–things like that.
So there will be shared universe, but in terms of continuity as something that’s restrictive in the past, that’s not anything we’ve ever been, I think, been particularly prohibited by on Batman. We’ve always felt like, “Let’s pitch the craziest thing that we want to do.” If we love it, then DC has been very good to us about that stuff.
N: So obviously you have your plan for Batman, but are there plans to weave in different elements of the Batman family?
SS: Yeah, actually, you’re going to see a lot of cross-pollination, in the way that what happens in “Endgame” will be reflected in every Bat-book. So the status of Batman changes, and the status of the Bat-mythology changes, and that will be in Batgirl and Detective Comics and everything. So you will see a unity there, and then I think that you will also see characters from those books making appearances in our book for organic story reasons, but in ways that make it clear that this is a shared universe. We each have our neighborhood–we’re not going to step on each other, we have no events planned that interrupt each other, anything like that. But we also want to say, “Look–we’re all on this–this is Gotham, we’re all here. We’re all proud to be part of the same city.” You will see the books reflective of each other in certain ways.
N: Something else that I’ve really enjoyed was seeing sort of lesser-known or forgotten characters from the Batman universe pop up in “Endgame”, like Crazy Quilt. Are there any sort of characters of that ilk that you’ve wanted to use but just haven’t been able to figure out a way to work them in yet?
SS: Well, every Con asks that, and Crazy Quilt was the number one character that people would say, and the second was Condiment King, and I just cannot figure out a way to use that character without seeming like a complete fool. So I’ve not figure it out yet, people who are fans of Condiment King, but what you will see in Batman issue 39, and going forward–and when is this coming out?
N: This is coming out in March. We’re embargoed until March.
SS: So you won’t have seen #39 yet. So I would say, just going back, what you will see at the end of “Endgame,” I think, is sort of every character being affected. You see Bane and Croc and Mr. Freeze and Penguin and Tim and Barbara and Julia and Alfred and Jason–everybody. This story is really about the burning of the entire Bat-mythology and rebuilding it. So, you know, really there isn’t a character that isn’t affected by this story in some way. It was fun to be able to bring in more obscure characters, and now we’re bringing in the big, heavy hitters.
N: I’m very excited to see where Batman goes, but with the relaunch, there are so many awesome-looking new titles. Which one are you most looking forward to reading?
SS: Oh, there’s so many–because I get to see them early. I’ve been pushy with Mark about getting copies of the Bat ones. So the ones that I really am thrilled with are Pat Gleeson’s Robin, Son of Batman is terrific. It’s almost like a quest adventure, with Damian with great companions. We Are Robin is one that’s very close to my heart, where Lee Bermejo and team are doing a book where characters that have grown up in Gotham, young characters, children of all sort of different demographic backgrounds, respond to what happens in “Endgame” by taking up the mantle of Robin, and it’s a book that really speaks to me as someone who grew up in New York, and I think they’re doing a terrific job with it.
And Black Canary–Annie Wu and Brenden Fletcher–they’ve got some real good rock-and-roll fun in there. Really different kind of book. The last one I’d say is James Tynion and Ming Doyle on Dark Universe. I’ve read that book up front, and it’s such an interesting take on all of the magical and mythological characters and elements in the DCU, and it’s a lot of fun.
Batman #40 hits store shelves on April 29, 2015.