Charlie Chang: In today’s entertainment world, people are so used to consuming their media on a weekly basis like weekly TV shows. Injustice has been a great example of how comics can do the same. Being a weekly series how do you handle pacing for a weekly book like Batman Eternal?
Scott Snyder: With the rise of so many shows and comics that you can binge on, that’s all really changed the way we’re writing a series where there will be cliffhangers and that same sense of suspense and tease where as a writer you have to try and make the reader wait a week for that next issue. There’s also a great expansiveness to a series that’s weekly where there isn’t the same need to keep them at the edge of their seat for the month as opposed to building this cumulative, terrifying, and rolling propulsive plot. It’s more like “Oh my god that just got moved forward a big step, how are they going to have 52 issues worth by the end when the big terrible thing looks like it’s coming now?” So it’s not so much how will the character(s) get out of this predicament in the next issue but this building dread that something huge is coming in the series. That is really fun to play with because you don’t have that kind of room on a monthly book and it’s a different set of priorities in your own writing, I really enjoy it.
CC: How do you think about this series from a character focus? How do you bring a huge cast of characters into a weekly book while still making sure that the plot is moving and that readers know where to focus?
SS: Well, I think making sure there’s always a good amount of Batman is an easy way to keep the spine very clear to people. At the same time, I think one of the joys of doing a weekly book is that we get to visit characters of Gotham that you don’t get to see normally in a monthly book. So you get to see what it’s like to work at Arkham and you get to see what it would be like to be the guy who wrote the big crime book on the Joker that’s a big national best seller when the Joker might come after you for writing it. You get to see what it’s like to be on the police force. So part of the fun of the series is we get to immerse you in the world of Gotham and to provide an experiential atmosphere for the reader whereas on a monthly book you have to be very economical and laser focused, for a weekly book you get to the opportunity to make Gotham a living, breathing place that you have to contend with as an animal.
CC: Let’s switch gears to The Wake. Looking back on Part One and now moving forward to Part Two, how would you as the writer describe Part One to readers now that that portion is complete?
SS: I would describe this as a killer Mermaid story in disguise. The disguise that it wears is this very plot-driven, story-driven, giant mermaid story but it’s really personal to me and it’s really about the sense of longing that the main character has and the search for the answer of why we feel so alone sometimes. Even though we understand our place on the planet in terms of evolution or sociology, you live in a city that has been standing for a while, sometimes you just feel so desperately lost. It’s a story that has a lot of personal meaning to me and hopefully that’s what keeps people reading in addition to all the fun bombastic sci-fi/horror elements. That’s how I would describe it and it really does have a fun personal meaning for me and Sean (Murphy).
CC: How do you carry that theme into Part Two? Part One is so dark and black compared to the cover for Part Two.
SS: In Part One, you’re dealing with this character that believes there’s some mystery that’s unsolved at the bottom of the ocean and that these creatures are trying to tell us something. That somehow these creatures will help inform her of the greater meaning of life that’s she’s known instinctually on her own. In the second half you have a character who really believes that the world is being erased little by little and is hoping that again, there’s some kind of message from the ocean that will give some answer or explanation for whether or not this really is the way things are supposed to be. For me, the thematic string through this series has been about the desire for an answer. That sense of exploration into the human condition is what both halves of the story are really about.
CC: Switching to American Vampire, a really great long running series and as a reader feels like a very complete story. The series feels like the pieces are already there and you’re just telling the story and we’re along for the ride. Going into Second Cycle, what are you most excited about?
SS: Thank you, you know, the series has always been very tightly plotted from the outlines and we definitely know where we’re going and who the big bad guys are that we’re going to be going up against. What I’m most excited about for this cycle is really the sense of crescendo to the series where the first half was really about showing readers how big the mythology really was and how expansive the cast was going to be and creating new characters. In this half, even though we create a lot of new characters along the way, it’s really about bringing those characters into conflict for a huge battle that’s been looming for hundreds of years that’s going to happen out in the American desert. So for us, it’s very much about taking all the things that you love if you’ve been reading the series and moving those pieces towards this big conflict. It’s nice to see all of those things add up.
CC:Anthology was so cool and a very neat character piece. Will we be seeing those characters and short stories tie back into Second Cycle?
SS: There’s nobody that gets used in American Vampire that doesn’t get used again. There’s no such thing as a throwaway character. You’re going to see everyone from one character named Kitty from issue #12 to the history of Pearl’s farm in one of those small stories. We really want this to be a series where even if you only read one short story and enjoyed it, you see that paid forward later on where it’s all part of one big tapestry where there are echoes of earlier stories throughout the whole thing.
This interview was conducted by Amazon comics expert, Charlie Chang. Interested in comics and graphic novels? Sign up for Comics Delivers, a weekly email featuring the best in comics each week - from weekly booklists to deals and exclusive content from creators.