John Cunningham, of DC, hosted a small panel today at Wondercon featuring Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV to discuss Batman Zero Year and several other projects.
They started off the panel talking about his move from writing Dick Grayson on Detective Comics to taking over Batman and launching the new #1 issue with the new52.
Bruce was so confident when starting the new52. He had all these allies, he's on top of his game, everything was fresh and bright, and I was thinking to myself, well, he thinks he knows the city better than anyone else, maybe that's his achilles heel...
...So it became about how can I write a story that destabilizes Bruce the way I did Dick. So there's this villain that represents his worst fear about himself.
Here is the Court of Owls is saying, 'you think you know this city, but you know nothing'.
So, that was the idea and I started writing it before we knew about the new52. Then Dan Didio calls and says, 'I have some news for you, it's not going to be Batman 790-whatever, it's going to be Batman #1. I completely freaked out and almost quit, I said I couldn't write Batman #1 and my wife can tell you I spent many sleepless nights worrying about the pressure of launching a #1. So I ended up just going with the story I had developed anyway, it was going to be the story before a #1 so let's just proceed with it.
Capullo has signed a contract to draw Batman through issue #48
Continuing on regarding the launch of Batman #1, Snyder goes on to talk about how he and Capullo first crossed swords on the project and how they went from differences that almost pushed one of them off of the title to becoming best friends.
DC told me, 'we have this guy from you, Greg Capullo'. I knew his worked and I liked it, but they told me, he has this thing... he has only worked from outlines and not full scripts and asked if I minded working that way with him. I said, there is no way, I can't work that way, it's just not how I do it.
So I sent in this script, I got very defensive because I was afraid they would make me start doing outlines. I was afraid they would cut down my scripts so I'm going to write the biggest damn script I can and I sent in a script that was 47 pages long with descriptions of everything. Every possibly little thing was described...
...Greg wrote back and said, 'there is no way I can do that'. We talked, I said I know I overdid and I'm sorry, what if I just send you a regular script. He said, 'Well, I'm worried if you do a full script, the story might get in the way of the art'. And I said, "I'm worried that if I don't do it, your art might get in the way of my story." We really had that conversation and we said, 'Maybe we should talk another time', and we both got off the phone and emailed Bob Harras saying, 'One of us might have to leave this book.'
He told us to get on the phone one more time and just talk about the story, because you never really talked about the whole Court of Owls story and give him a chance to do the designs.
So I called him up and he really started contributing ideas for the designs while we talked and he has so many great ideas... I said, 'this guy's amazing, I have to work with him.' Now he's actually one of my closest friends. Like we're going away together (laughter) I know, he's like my comic wife. Or, I guess I'm his comic wife, he's huge, a WWE wrestler with a fu-manchu. He like rides the Harley and I'm the sidecar dude. (laughter) He's come up with so many story elements along the way that are just brilliant.
That guy sacrifices so much for this book. Right before this panel, I get a text on my phone of page 18 from issue 20 and he is supposed to be on vacation right now. He did a page from the hospital while waiting for his wife to get surgery. He is so dedicated to this book.... It's an honor to work with him.
Greg just re-signed his contract, he just posted this on twitter, so I'm not spoiling it, but he wrote into his contract that he can draw Batman and Batman only if wants. Meaning he will be on this book until issue 48 or 49, if he wants. That's how commited he is to it and similarly I'm working on something like that as well, so we have stories planned far into the future.
Zero Year will not be a retread of Year One
There is nothing in this book that you have seen this way before. I'm not going in their to retread Year One, because I could never make it half as good as Year One. The idea was that when the new52 came about, I was very adamant about keeping Batman's history as intact as I could. What happened was, other stories came up along the way, where Selina Kyle's story was done differently, James Jr. would be six years old in the new52, Jim Gordon's history is different, Falcon's history is different, and it became obvious that Year One couldn't have happened in the new52 the way it happened.
DC approached us and said they were interested in doing an origin story for Batman and I had this idea that had been brewing before I started on the Joker story. It was a completely different moment, a very different challenge... a different Gotham than you've ever seen for Batman. So with the new52, if Year One doesn't exist, I can just rewrite it so that it happened, but if I did it would just be a poor version of it. So what I thought was, let's give you something new. Year One will always be one of the best Batman stories of all time, but if it doesn't exist in the new52, let's give you something that excites you in a different way, gives you moments, tech, designs, characters, etc. you've never seen.
I'm not talking about changing things just for the sake of being shocking. The core things I would never change, I wouldn't do that to you. I'm never going to change like, Joe Chill, or his parents, or the alley. Those things are not what I'm talking about. I want to find a different way to tell a story that touches on those moments in a new way.
James Tynion IV adding Red Hood and the Outlaws to his plate
Scott and James talk a bit about how he got started on Talon and how James has always been a sounding board for Scott, originally helping him develop American Vampire. Originally a student in one of Scott's writing classes, he was drawn to James because of a similar writing style and has no doubt that James will continue to grow in popularity. James, however, was still very modest, pointing out that he is only now approaching his one year anniversary to having a story published.
Next month he will also have backup stories in Detective, Batman, and is taking over Red Hood and the Outlaws, and of course continuing his work on Talon.
Scott tells us that DC approached him about a spinoff series from the Court of Owls, he at first dismissed the idea and mentioned it to James in passing. James took interest in it and came back to Scott with all of these ideas. Scott, ready to not like any spinoff ideas, loved what James brought him and thought he deserved the chance to use it to grow his own work. He says, even though I'm signing off on the stories, "it's all him." And it's an amazing series.
Superman to appear in Batman and Batman in Superman Unchained
The Superman Unchained image opens to big applause as Scott offers a spoiler: "You're going to see Superman in Batman, and you'll see Batman in Superman Unchained pretty early on too." Scott also fanboys a bit about working with Jim Lee.
This is sort of my one big Superman story I had, if I ever got to write Superman. It explores what I think is great about Superman, his moral compass. He always does the right thing and I think that's what makes him Superman, but it's also what makes him incredibly alone in the world. Lois is a big part of the story, his relationship with her, how he admires her, and her being a kindred spirit. The villain is brand new. It's going to explore a really deep historical element that will threaten Superman like you've never seen.
Jim Lee is drawing Lex Luthor to look like Grant Morrison
Lex will be in it, he's a ton of fun to write and Jim just said, 'I'm drawing him to look like Grant Morrison'. He just said that and now I'm terrified to get the pages because I love Grant.
Jim is bringing it like nobody's business. There is this foldout in the first issue, this huge splash page I wrote where Superman is fighting this massive thing. So he sends this huge picture with a cross in the middle... I think that's four pages. I asked him, he said, "Oh, that's pages five, six, seven and eight." I was like, o... k..., that's amazing, how's that going to happen? He says, "We'll figure that out later."
The awesome thing is that the front of the foldout is the opposite view of the situation where Superman is so tiny on the page fighting this huge thing. It's like something out of Akira and you turn the page and you are right there with him.
Scott Snyder's and Sean Murphy's new book from Vertigo: WAKE
A horror/sci-fi story dealing with a monster discovered at the bottom of the sea. He didn't have time to get too into it, but offered a few tidbits.
It's a book like nothing I've ever done. You open it and there's a girl with wings, flying around a flooded world, talking to a dolphin with a space helmet on. I was like, "Sean, bear with me." And he's awesome, he was like, "How many lights does the helmet have on it?"
Vertigo is a place where you are supposed to defy things and do something different. It's about a creature discovered at the bottom of the ocean that essentially explains every myth of the sea that we've had. Every folklore, from sirens, the kraken, mermaids, sea serpents, all the myths, we've done a lot of research on folklore of the sea.
The book has two sections, a post apocalypic element and it's totally out of control. I hope you guys like it.