Graphic Novel Friday: Interview with Scott Snyder (Part One)

Writer Scott Snyder had quite a year in 2011: American Vampire, his original take on the vampire mythos, won both the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best New Series; he then penned Batman: Gates of Gotham and the critically acclaimed Batman: The Black Mirror (one of our selections for Best Graphic Novels of 2011). When DC decided to do a little thing like relaunch their entire universe, they picked Scott to helm two of their most important titles, Batman and Swamp Thing, and both have been highlights of the new frontier. Somewhere in between all this, Scott found time to answer quite a few questions about what scares even the Batman, working with artist Greg Capullo, and much more. With all eyes on the bestselling first volume of Batman that released last week, now seemed like the best time to explore the first part of our interview that focused on the Caped Crusader. Before the big DC reboot, you wrote a fine send-off to the old Batman status quo in The Black Mirror. In this story, Dick Grayson, the former Robin, takes over for an absent Bruce Wayne as Batman. How did your approach differ based on who was under the mask?

Scott Snyder: It was a lot of fun because Dick Grayson is so different from Bruce Wayne. He’s emotionally accessible and open and sharing and giving with his feelings. He’s really fun to write, almost as if you or your friend were given the chance to be Batman—you know, enthusiasm and a lack of baggage; a sense of wonder about the world. He’s tough, he’s determined. He’s not some wide-eyed innocent, yet he wears his heart on his sleeve. Meanwhile, writing Bruce is so different. He’ll tell you about the case; he’ll tell you about the facts, but if you want to hear about his feelings, you have to listen to people speculating about them outside of his character.

The way I see Gotham is as a black mirror—a kind of villain generator. The city almost seems to put its heroes through this trial by fire where it knows their greatest fears about themselves and their demons. It creates villains that speak to those demons and those fears directly. That’s why Bruce has such a great rogues gallery, because his villains are direct extensions of his greatest fears about himself. The challenge was to try to do that with Dick Grayson by using character like James Jr.—he was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to write him again at some point. He’s in Batman; he has more cameos, I think, than he probably should [laughs], but I just enjoy writing him tremendously.

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