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Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV talk fear, family, and all things Batman

The writers also muse on creating mythos, the future of the titular series, and the best Robin.

Batman takes pain and turns it into hope. He strives for a better tomorrow, and to help people become their best selves. His very visage is proof that fear will always cower in the face of courage. At least, that’s what I’ve always preached to who’d ever listen, and why I have entire shelves dedicated to his paneled exploits. But if you believe anyone, let it be Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with both Tynion and Snyder at the recent NYCC. We talked about what inspired us the most about the Caped Crusader, how those inspirations fuel their respective stories, and, most importantly, how many spin-offs Jarro would get post Justice League. Lots? Perhaps. 

If that weren’t enough, Tynion was also kind enough to give us a little preview of what’s to come on his 2020 run on Batman. Read on, Bat-fans!

AiPT!: Okay, so I’m going to go right for the jugular for my first question. Jarro. How many spin-offs are we going to get with him? 

Scott Snyder: Well, he has what? 5 arms? So I would say five.

AiPT!: That was my guess too. Actually, how many do you [to James Tynion IV] think?

James Tynion IV: I think as many as they’ll give us. I mean, really. We love Jarro.

SS: In the issue I just wrote which is kind of the finale of Doom War [for Justice League], the thing we are working on. Well, part one of the finale of Doom War. He is standing with all of the Robins and it’s one of my favorite moments and he is in charge. He’s like “Robins! Let’s do this.”

AiPT!: Well obviously, he’s the best Robin.

SS: Well as he says, always. Yes.

AiPT!: On a more serious note, what I love about your current Justice League run and what I’ve noticed in your prior work on Batman is that you often meditate on the war between light and dark. What I also loved about your run on Batman is that you presented him as a symbol of hope and emphasized how he fights for a better tomorrow.

So what I’ve always wanted to ask both of you — How did you come to that conclusion regarding Batman and the DC Universe?

SS: I would say two things. One, for me, Batman has always been the character to help me through particularly dark times. 

You know, when I when I go back to reading comics, Batman was always the first thing I asked the person in the comic shop. I’d always ask, “Is there anything good, Batman related?” when I was younger because, and I don’t even know if I really realized that time, but his whole architecture is basically a guy who had something awful happen to him that should shut him down forever, but instead he took that incident and turned it into fuel to make sure that not only did it not happen to anybody else but, that he would live a life that mattered in terms of, you know, affecting people in a good way from that point forward. And that construction is so simple and enduring that he’s been sort of, almost like a funnel through which you can put all of your fears, all of your nightmares and all of that stuff to be able to be brave in the face of those things. 

So when I got on Batman it was for me like every fear. I’ve ever had about being a father — that’s in the Death of the Family

The fears that I have for my kids in terms of the state of the world — that’s in Zero Year

The fears that I have about all of us not being able to get along and instead falling in to kind of, you know, totally subjective pits of selfishness — that’s in The Batman Who Laughs.

Batman and his mythos has been a vehicle for me to be able to look at the things that I’m most afraid of and say I’m going to be brave at least writing through these things.

And you know, as somebody who’s been through kind of anxiety and depression in my life, like that aspect of being able to say, “I’m going to take the thing that I’m most afraid of and don’t want to look at it and just want to kind of curl up and avoid and instead make it into a monster that I have to fight,” it becomes an extremely inspiring experience writing Batman that way. So that’s what it really was from the get-go, that construction of Batman was sort of, at least for me, what made him so, so magnetic. 

JT: I agree with everything Scott said and the angle of Batman that has always stood out to me and part of why it I think that is, is that we see the bat symbol as this signal over the city and it’s a unifying concept. It’s been that unity and the community that builds around him and the family that’s been built around him is something that I have been incredibly respondent to.

He’s almost like, even though he’s the coolest guy in the world, he still is kind of the king of the outcasts. He’s someone who was orphaned from the life he was meant to have and sort of cast off in this different direction and he sort of gathers the people. He gathers the outcasts of the world around him and he pulls them in and he makes them family and he makes them his belfry. He helps them find their best selves, even sometimes at his own detriment. That is ultimately what I love about him.

AiPT!: I actually feel the exact same way and part of why I’m so excited to meet you too is during 2014-2015 — you guys pulled me out of a bad spot.

Reading your [to Tynion IV] work on Batman Eternal every week gave me something to forward to and of course [to Synder] your run on Batman.

SS: Thank you. Well, there were a lot of points since  2011 to now where we were both in dark spots and writing it helped us through and you [to Tynion IV] helped me through things, you know, and so on. So hearing that means the world and we appreciate it.

I mean, that’s what Batman is, you know, I really feel like he’s a character that always says, “get up.” Use the thing that’s keeping you down as motivation and fuel to be better than you were before. 

AiPT!: Absolutely and one last question your [to Snyder] run was very much about Batman, the myth. Tom King’s is very much about Batman, the man. [To Tynion] Can you give us any hints to what your run will be about? You’ve already hinted that it’s going to be detective caper with horror. 

JT: Yeah, honestly though there’s something about this, to figure out the best way to answer this question. This is a really, really good question. I think that honestly, it’s — it is “Batman the Batman.” Which is a weird way of saying it but in that construction, it is about — “What has he built? What has he built Batman into? What is Batman’s function in the city and how can he make that work in the best possible way? What are the ways that the symbol that he’s created needs to change in order to protect and save the city of today? And it is about what he has built. That is — it is about what he has built. And that building is a very central metaphor about what I’m writing and that’ll become more obvious as we move forward.

That’s awesome. Well guys, thank you so much. This means the world to me. It was a pleasure. Thank you so much. 

SS: There’s so much I wanted to say about that, just about how you took that Alfred stuff and used it — his thing is going to be so good.

AiPT!: I have no doubt. I can’t wait.

People love Batman for many reasons. They love the gadgets, the cars, the cowl, and the romanticized darkness inherent in the character — but my conversation with Snyder and Tynion reminded me there’s so much more to him. They reminded me that he uses his batarangs to fight for those who can’t. They reminded me that he stalks in the shadows only so he can help those lost there find the light. And above all else, they reminded me that Batman is there to empower us all to keep climbing.

Keep climbing, everyone.

 

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