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When the press representative to Baltimore Comic-Con asked who I wanted to interview, I had three creators listed: Mark Waid, Peter J Tomasi, and Scott Snyder. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room in the schedule for an interview with Snyder because they had Scott doing autographs nearly around the clock. However, I was able to score an interview with him between signings on the condition that it be “literally five minutes”. I certainly didn’t begrudge him – he’d been working nonstop since the show opened that day (and quite a fair bit the day before). So I’d like to thank him very much for taking what ended up being 5 minutes and 58 seconds to talk with me.
Me: I’m here with Scott Snyder. Dude, your lines here have been rivaling Stan Lee’s lines – it’s pretty crazy!
Scott Snyder: It is pretty crazy, it is. But I wouldn’t go that far. I would wait in line in a second to see Stan again.
Me: I really loved your run on Detective Comics. I thought that your Gordon Jr was really, really scary. Is there any chance that Bruce is going to get a chance to see him in Batman during your run?
SS: Well, I really, really do want to use him badly. You saw him for a split second in Batman #1 in Arkham. But right now actually Gail Simone is about to use him in a really cool way during our story coming up with the Joker and all that stuff. I don’t want to give anything away so – just the way that he has been playing out in her story has been great. You’ll see a lot of him over there and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to bring him back into Batman in the upcoming stories after Joker.
Me: Cool, cool. And one thing that I really liked about your run on Detective Comics – Jock’s art was amazing! He made Joker look really scary. How much of that Joker is carrying over into your story that’s coming up in the next coming months?
SS: That personality is the same one. That’s my take on the Joker which is essentially that he believes himself to be the court jester of the royal court of Gotham and that Batman is the Bat-king of this very macabre kind of court. And in being the court jester his belief really is that it’s his job to deliver news to the king that’s important – whether that news is good or bad. And what he loves doing is to deliver the worst news like the nightmares of Batman’s heart to him in the form of these horrifying challenges all the time. So he thinks he’s doing the king a service and making him stronger. And in that way what he really believes is that the Bat-family is doing Batman a disservice and making him weaker. So this story really is about him saying, “My king, I’m here to serve you and this time I’m going to bring the worst news you’ve ever seen. And I’m bringing it to every single one of your allies. And I’m going to break them because I’ve never gone after them individually. They might think I have, but I haven’t. This is the time I’m coming and I’m saying ‘oh little Nightwing, former Robin. Why are you the way you are? Let me break it down for you. And tear your whole world apart.’” So it’s going to be really good and scary. And I’m super proud of it. I really think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far. I’m crazy proud of it.
Me: I’m glad that you’re taking that view of Joker as a court jester. I heard you say that during one interview before and I had to go on wikipedia and tear through and see what a jester used to be back in the old days. So it’s really cool that you’re taking that view. What is it like being the flagship Batman title?
SS: It’s amazing, man! The great thing is that we have such good guys and girls on the other books. It’s nice, and I’m not just saying this as some kind of boost to DC, we actually really get along in the Bat-Universe. Gail is a good friend, Kyle is a super-close friend, Pete Tomasi has been in my corner since I started at DC, and I’m friendly with John Layman too. All of us are buddies so … and Scott Lobdell and I have become friendly. So it really is fun to make stories with them. And it’s incredible to be the flagship book, but I feel really well supported internally that way – where I’m excited about the stories they’re telling and it feels even more exciting to be flagship knowing that there’s such an incredible group of people working with you.
Me: In the last couple minutes we have here before you take a rest before your next marathon of signing, I just want to ask you a little bit about American Vampire. I really love that series. My wife REALLY loves it. She’s really into vampires and I think it’s a really neat take. I like how you’re using it to explore America through time. For that particular book do you have a stopping point in mind? Is it a decade you could reveal or is that part of the secret?
SS: Well, it’s part of the secret, but we definitely do have a stopping point in mind. Oh…I’ll just say we do plan on ending it in the present. We want to catch up to now. And so we’ve had that stopping point in mind from the very beginning and I think one of the things that’s interesting is that we’re about halfway done – maybe a little bit less than half – but we’re nearing the halfway point. The next big parts of American Vampire, and I haven’t said this before, are about bringing the pieces that we’ve been spreading out – our version of Dracula, the [Vassals of the Morning Star], Felicia Book, Skinner, Pearl – all of these characters that we’ve shown their stories going out into the different areas bringing all of it back in. All of the ancient vampires you saw in Sean Murphy and my arc, Survival of the Fittest. This second half of the series is going to be about bringing it back together for the biggest war of all time. So it’s going to be really fun.
Me: OK, my absolute last question: I really like what you’re doing with Skinner Sweet and the fact that with vampires you’re kind of taking a snapshot in time. You’re saying “OK, here’s what someone from the 1800s would think of the 50s, the 60s, and so on. Here’s what someone from the 20s would think of the 50s and 60s and so on.”
Me: Does that help you determine at what point you’re going to create a new American vampire to get another snapshot?
SS: Yeah, I mean I think it’s more the story. The decade we go to we really choose now – at the beginning I thought that would be the idea. We’ll go to the 20s and explore because that would be cool to have vampires there. But what we’ve come around to is this idea that really we try and figure out what decade is most interesting for where the characters we’ve already established are going to be. Like how Henry’s going to be feeling, how Pearl’s going to be feeling, and so in that way we really try to pick the decades based on THAT and then create the coolest vampires we can from there. Because it’s really about the characters and the emotional trajectories they’re on from issue one all the way to the end of the series.
Me: Well, thank you so much for talking with me.
SS: It’s a pleasure, thanks for having me.