War Rocket Ajax #12: Scott Snyder on ‘Detective Comics’ and the Batman Relaunch [Podcast]
This week, ComicsAlliance’s official podcast is proud to welcome one of our favorites to the show when Scott Snyder drops by to talk about his recently completed run on Detective Comics and take a look to the future — including revealing his plans for Batman and what has changed for the character after the DC reboot! And you can listen to the whole show right here at ComicsAlliance!War Rocket Ajax v.2, #12: Beer Anxiety with Scott Snyder
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
The return of the Hundo Club continues this week as Chris and Matt are joined in the third chair by listener Susan Cole, who may in fact be the only War Rocket Ajax listener who doesn’t like super-hero comics. Instead, she provides talk of webcomics and a recipe for a delicious dessert, as Chris delves into LEGO sets and post-apocalyptic gaming and Matt withdraws a previous recommendation with an anti-rec! Plus, we make the most unexpected invitation of all time!
When writer Scott Snyder joins us, he takes us through the process of getting editorial to allow him to revive James Gordon Jr. for his Detective Comics run as a backup story:
They went back and forth on it, I’ll be honest. There was some resistance, a little bit at first, to the idea of James Jr. because they weren’t sure if they wanted to go that dark, and I tried to make the argument that I thought Jim Gordon Was born dark. That’s Year One, that’s what gives the character his richness in a lot of ways. He cheated on his wife, he struggles with his sense of ethics in Gotham. He’s completely flawless as a police commissioner, and he’s completely flawed as a person behind the badge. That’s what makes him really interesting to me. It makes him very similar to Batman.
They went for it, and they said, “Sure, you can have the backup, you can do that,” so I started designing a run that would be a series of cases that Jim solves in the present that have haunted him from the past. This would be the through line, the thing he was solving as the spine of the eight to nine to ten issues. That was in March that I pitched that at C2E2 and they liked it, and in May, they called me into the office with Mike Marts. I don’t know who was on the feature, who left or what happened, but they were like, “Listen, the feature to Detective just opened up. Would you like to write the whole thing?”
I knew that the idea that really fascinated me as a theme that I could pull into the feature as well was the idea of Gotham. Because even though it was going to be about James Jr., I didn’t want it to be sensational and just be some story about James Jr. being a shocking villain. I wanted him to be a twisted reflection of Jim’s worst nightmare. Not just because he’s his son, but because I wanted him to be designed to be an enigma, a mystery that you can’t solve. Why is he the way he is? It might be genetic; it might be because he fell off that bridge; it might be because Gotham twisted him, because Jim wasn’t paying enough attention. It could be any of those things, but you’ll never really know. It doesn’t add up and it doesn’t make sense, and to me, that’s Jim’s worst nightmare, because he’s a detective.
He also gives us some hints as to what the Batman characters are going to look like after September:
With the relaunch, what DC did was say “Listen, we know you guys have stories for our characters. We want to give you carte blanche and say nothing is off limits.” It doesn’t mean they’ll accept any story, but they said, “We know you guys love the characters, if you have a character you want to try something with, or if you have a character you’re working on and you have a story in mind that changes their status quo, we’ll listen now.”
So for something like Green Arrow, which is very different from the way he was before, that’s a character where the idea pitched was something that J.T. [Krul] cared a lot about and was really sort of like, “This is something I want to try.” It’s the same with all of these things, or with the ones I know about. My feeling is that that’s the spirit of the relaunch at least from our standpoint as creators, and the people I know — and I can’t speak for everyone at DC, but my friends are all excited about it because they’re getting to tell the stories they want about their favorite characters.
DC was generous enough with those characters to sort of let us change things or not. When it comes to Bruce, what happened was that I pitched this story before there was a relaunch. I wasn’t really interested in changing things, but we had a meeting. Pete Tomasi, and we emailed with Grant too, Tony Daniel, and Gail Simone, and we all talked about things that could be different in the Bat-Universe. Whether it would be villains, whether we’d change Jason, and what we really came up with was that there weren’t stories for those things that we were more excited about than the stories we wanted to tell with the characters as they were. This was a time when we all really loved the status quo of Batman.
Plus, we talk about Swamp Thing, his visit to a kitchen convention, and find out just how he voted when Jason Todd’s fate was left to the readers!
Susan highly recommends the 10-Minute Lime Cracker Pie. Give it a shot and enjoy the cool taste as you listen to the show.
LEGO brings you the Invasion From Planet X2 1/2!
For more on Sunspots, check your local library or risk being educated by the Internet.
Chris’s review of Batman Inc. #8 can be read with all its vitriol here.
Chris’s Rec: Fallout 3
Matt’s Rec: Sennheiser HD 202 headphones
Susan’s Rec: Stripped: The Comics Documentary
Comics Reviewed: The fact that Batman Incorporated #8 is “that bad is shocking,” Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1 is “a little bit of a mixed bag,” and Susan’s pick of Bad Machinery is “very Chris Sims-friendly because it’s about teenagers solving mysteries.”