CS Interview: Batman: Last Knight on Earth’s Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
ComingSoon.net had the chance to speak with the writer/artist team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (Dark Nights: Metal, Batman: The Court of Owls, Batman: Death of the Family) about their latest work Batman: Last Knight on Earth, which is available in comic book stores and digitally on May 29. Check out the interview below!
The legendary team of Snyder and Capullo join forces once again for their “final Batman story” in Batman: Last Knight on Earth from DC Black Label. This 3-part saga will take the Dark Knight on a quest across the devastated landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world.
ComingSoon.net: When you were conceiving this storyline, some of these story segments that you sort of whiz by seem like they could’ve almost sustained their own arcs. I feel like the chalk outline thing could’ve been its own arc, being in the asylum could’ve been it’s own kind of “Shock Corridor” kind of thing with Batman. And then, of course, we get into the Mad Max wasteland of it all. So did you ever think of these as separate arcs?
Scott Snyder: No. For what it’s worth, the mystery at the beginning of the chalk lines comes back every issue and winds up meaning something to the story. It’s sort of the last case Batman was on right before those things happened to him that changed everything. So that case has particular significance and winds up giving clues as to how he’s supposed to act in the present. But ultimately, each part of it is meant to be a different angle on the same theme, which is the fact that Batman always has to end and begin again. The chalk line signifying the death of Batman, the hospital thing, it’s time to give it up. It’s time to move past this version of Batman that you think you are. And then the finale, where they say the world doesn’t need a Batman anymore, so there’s no room for you. So all of it to me, as different as they are, as different as everything you’re going to see in this book is section to section and chapter to chapter, all sort of exploring the same idea of what happens when the Batman that you’ve been seems outdated by the world that he’s supposed to be saving? Where does he go? What does he do? And then, how do you sort of recreate him in a way that means something both the same as he’s always meant, and then something resonant for another generation as well?
CS: For Greg, when you were George Miller-izing some of these iconic Batman characters, which one was the biggest challenge?
Greg Capullo: You know, I wouldn’t say any one is more challenging above the next. As a matter of fact, I don’t really see it as a challenge. To me, I see it as a party. When Scott hands me these scripts, all I go is “woo!” look what I get to draw. So yeah, I don’t sweat the fact that any of them is a challenge. It’s all fun. It’s the stuff that thrills me, the same stuff that thrilled me as a little boy still thrills me now. I don’t go, “Oh my god, what do I do and how do I make this and how do I elevate it?” I just go, “let’s party.” Yeah, so I don’t see this as challenging. I just go, it’s all just fun.
CS: This is a three issue series, and this first issue keeps mode jerking into different phases, into different segments. Are the next issues going to take place primarily in the wasteland or are there still a lot of curveballs you have coming up?
Capullo: Lots of curveballs.
Snyder: Yeah, it moves. We wanted to show the whole span of the DCU, so you’ll see everybody in this thing from the Spectre to Haunted Tank to Lex Luthor. Really, it spans the whole cosmology of the DCU, so while it stays on Earth, it sort of takes you through a lot of different territory from Superman mythos stuff, Green Lantern mythos stuff, Flash mythos stuff, and eventually getting you back to Gotham at the end. So we wanted it to really be a DCU story as much as it’s an intimate Batman story.
Capullo: For me, it’s as fun as doing “Metal.” In “Metal” you have so many fun scenes, and this is just epic and sprawling in the way that Scott wrote it. So yeah, I’m having a ball. I can draw all kinds of fun stuff.
CS: And this has been called your final Batman story, so that means the final one for you as a team or for you both just washing your hands of the character?
Snyder: I think this was a story that I’ve had in my head a really long time at the end of our saga. And I wasn’t sure if we’d get to do it, but for me, it feels like it. It brings everything we’ve done full circle. And you know, I have so many stories that I’d still love to do on Batman, don’t get me wrong. We didn’t get to do a big Scarecrow story. We didn’t do a big Penguin story. And there are other characters I would love to create, new villains. But the thing is, we have so many things that we want to do together that we haven’t tried yet, and by the time this thing’s finished it will be almost 10 years on Batman. One way or another, it feels like if we don’t move over and start doing more of the things that we haven’t tried yet, from our own stuff to other characters from the DCU and elsewhere, we’ll run out of time in that way. So we feel like we could stay here forever, but I feel like there’s just so much that’s really exciting to us right now that we have to try those things. And I’m very glad that the fans seem supportive of those decisions. I’m happy they’ve let us go this long and still seem to be excited about things that we want to do.
Capullo: It’s like what Scott said. If we stay too long, we don’t get to taste all the other good and delicious candy we see up on the wall and in the jars and we’re going, “ah, that looks so good.” So that’s one thing. But the other thing, and we’re just seeing it played out in TV shows and stuff where they’ll go one season too long. Some show that was just fantastic and all of a sudden going, “oh my god, pull the plug.” And so, “Seinfeld” went out on a high note, right, where everybody went, “oh, I wish I had more ‘Seinfeld.'” I did, anyway. And so, I’d rather be that than some other TV show where they go, “wow, they ran it into the ground.” And at the end, the public, the fans are just going, ugh. And so, why leave them with that? Like the saying goes, leave them wanting more. And so far, they want more, they still support us and we love them for it. Better to give them our very best while we’re still very enthused. Neither one of us have gotten to a point after this long run, only to just go, “ah, I’m so tired and worn out of doing Batman” because that’ll start to reflect in the work. So neither Scott or I have reached that point. And so, better to leave the party while it’s still going strong than until the last drunk guy’s sitting there on the floor.
CS: Something I’ve always been interested in for all mediums like movies, TV, comics -anything working within the action superhero genre- there’s this expectation that there’s got to be some kind of a punch-up or some kind of battle or fight somewhere along each issue or each episode or every 10-to-15 minutes of a movie. This one, in this issue, you kind of gloss over the fights, which I thought was interesting because there’s so many other more interesting things that you’re doing. So when you are working in comics is there an editorial push for fights? That people are going to put the book down if there aren’t fights?
Snyder: Not really. I mean, I think we’ve been doing it long enough at this point that I think you’d have kind of an innate sense of the rhythm of the story. Some are slower, some are faster, some are—”Metal,” for example, was just really concussive and big and explosive all the time. This one, I wanted it to feel more disorienting, so there’s certainly going to be things that are crowd pleasers like the fight with the giant Green Lantern babies or breaking out of the asylum or all of that kind of stuff, escaping in an invisible tank based on Wonder Woman tech with the new Amazons. So I think there are still those fun kind of bombastic moments. But what’s always more important is just telling the story on its own terms. And this one is a fun, over-the-top, daring, I think, really unconventional Batman story. So I want it to be surprising constantly. But it’s also really personal and it’s very much about Batman not knowing what his place is anymore in the world when nobody wants heroes. They only want their own sense of villainy. And so, that means that it’s less about him punching and more about him exploring, more about him trying to figure out where to go and how to fix this place that doesn’t want him anymore.
CS: And you get a chance to really explore this character by kind of turning him inside out.
Snyder: Yeah, exactly.
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