The panel was called ‘Spotlight on Scott Snyder,’ but one latecomer to the Harbor View Ballroom ensured the All-Star Batman writer wouldn’t spend the next hour on stage alone. This panel crasher turned out to be artist Greg Capullo, with whom Snyder recently wrapped their critically acclaimed run on Batman.
It would soon become apparent to this particular Boston Comic Con audience that, despite their surface-level differences, the soft-spoken Snyder and more outspoken Capullo are very much brothers. And, as it turns out, the bond that formed between these collaborators played a key role in ensuring the New 52 Batman run lasted as long as it did. Something for which many fans are no doubt grateful.
Here are three key takeaways from the Spotlight on Scott Snyder panel, which was held August 13, along with a little love for Beantown itself.
Even Top Creators Doubt Their Talents
It’s easy to look at someone successful and assume he or she has it all figured out. It’s even easier when that person writes a consistently best-selling comic series starring a character who is debatably the most recognizable superhero in the world. And yet, despite his success – including multiple awards and nominations – Scott Snyder still has doubts.
During the panel, Snyder shared that he’s not impervious to criticism. In fact, the extreme reactions, both positive and negative, to his ‘Death of the Family’ Batman arc really knocked him off balance. Snyder got to write the story he wanted to tell, but multiple tie-in books hinted at a major shakeup, which didn’t end up happening. The backlash that followed the storyline, and the announcement of the year-long Zero Year origin, did a number on the writer’s self-confidence and outlook.
“I just got depressed and said, ‘You know what, I should have quit after Court of Owls, I’m not ready for this,’” Snyder said. “It just hit me and I was paralyzed.”
When sitting down to write, Snyder would have to battle the nagging voice in his head telling him the sentence he wasn’t up to par. A panic attack would follow until Snyder could calm down and finish the page. Then, at the beginning of the next page, the cycle would begin again.
Capullo was a phone call away, though, to cheer Snyder on and provide the support needed to push through.
“I was just as scared as Scott was,” Capullo said of tackling a character as iconic as Batman. “Everybody loves Batman so much, you don’t want to make it suck. I don’t want to die tomorrow – I don’t want to get stoned to death.”
While it’s fascinating to learn what was going on behind the panels of these memorable Batman arcs, its especially inspiring to know that the creators could overcome their hurdles and create stellar work. A key factor in their success also happens to be the panel’s next takeaway.
Believe in Your Story
Capullo made the point that there are always going to be people who love and hate what you’re doing.
“You’re not doing your job right if it’s all one way,” he said.
Despite Snyder’s occasional creative insecurities, the writer’s time working with Capullo helped him realize the importance of sticking to his creative guns. The antidote to the fear and terror that come with writing Batman, Snyder said, is to make things personal.
“When we did Zero Year, I was so sure I was doing the right thing,” he said of his Batman origin for the post-9/11 world. “Everyone’s going to hate when we announce we’re doing a year-long origin, but I know it’s the right thing because its about what I think Batman should protect my kids from. It’s about gun violence, terrorism, it’s post-apocalyptic.”
This explanation was met with applause from the audience, certainly validating the power of believing in one’s story. Snyder reciprocated the praise to the fans, who despite all the risks he and Capullo have taken with Batman, stuck with the Dark Knight.
“The sales are a validation that you guys are the best audience in the world, and when we take risks we believe in, we talk to you about what we’re thinking and why,” Snyder said to the audience. “You follow us with energetic support. That has been our compass from the start.”
There’s Much More to Come
All-Star Batman is off to a thrilling start, and Snyder shared his plans for the rest of the series with the audience. KGBeast, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and the Penguin (in Miami) are all on the way. Snyder mentioned that artist Paul Pope would love to tackle the Joker, but that depends on where DC Reborn’s current three Joker plot goes. If all three Clown Princes of Crime are tied up, the Mad Hatter will be Batman’s adversary. All-Star Batman’s final arc, which Snyder referred to as his Dark Knight Returns, will be drawn by Sean Murphy.
As if that wasn’t enough of a scoop, Snyder and Capullo may have also revealed a few visuals from their next DC Comics collaboration. Snyder has been blown away by the pages he’s seen from Capullo and Mark Millar’s fantastical new series Reborn, and he wants to top them.
That could mean Batman with a battle axe on a motorcycle with dragons flying above, Wonder Woman on a tank with dinosaurs and Superman in golden armor in an alien gladiator pit. If Snyder was just joking, why would he be fearful that Dan DiDio was waiting in the wings, ready to shoot a poison dart?
Snyder on Boston
Something that wasn’t covered in the panel? Snyder’s thoughts on Boston and its comic convention, of course! Snyder was gracious enough to speak about Beantown with AiPT!
AiPT!: What do you enjoy about coming to Boston Comic Con?
Scott Snyder: This is my fifth year in a row. What I love about this con is it’s extremely robust in terms of the audience. It’s got a great crowd, but at the same time, it’s really focused. The staff here treats everybody wonderfully and gives everybody a great experience. Honestly, it’s also one that’s between a lot of friends’ locales for me. I usually see Greg, we’ve been here three to four times together. Sean Murphy, Frank Tieri, used to be Darwyn Cooke, Phil Jimenez, Azzarello – so it’s a great crew. It’s a city that draws a lot of people together. It’s also a con that’s very embedded in the city itself. Some cons are removed from the texture of the place. Here you can go down to the port, its really easy to get downtown. So we make good use of the city and we explore.
AiPT!: What have you been up to while in town?
Snyder: Well, I went out with these guys last night, we tried this seafood place called Mare, which was great. Last year, we went to the aquarium together and had a blast. We went down by the Seaport and went on the docks. I also went running downtown. Tonight, we’re going out to some crazy oyster place.
AiPT!: Union Oyster House?
Snyder: I think so, yeah. So its great we get to explore. And also, two years ago I went down to the Commons. I saw the Bull and Finch Pub where they filmed the exterior of Cheers. That was my favorite show. So it’s a great city, there’s so much history and it also has a lot of great creators.