As his time writing DC Comics’ flagship “Batman” series was coming to an end, Scott Snyder realized he had many more bat-tales to tell.
So when the final issue of his five-year run writing “Batman” finally arrived this spring, Snyder was already hard at work on a new Batman project, collaborating with veteran artist and comic-book industry fan-favorite, John Romita Jr., on “All-Star Batman,” a new series that debuts Aug. 10 in print and digitally.
With “All-Star Batman,” Snyder saw an opportunity to take creative chances with the Dark Knight as well as having fun with Batman villains he had yet to write.
“I realized this would give me an opportunity to do ‘Batman’ in a way that was really surprising to me and hopefully surprising to fans and also allow me to get to work with different people in ways that would challenge me as a writer and also bring a whole new energy to the [‘Batman’] mythos,” Snyder told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs.
One of the first things Snyder’s script establishes in “All-Star” is Batman not being confined to Gotham City. Batman is on the road, in a battle of wits with classic Batman bad guy Two-Face/Harvey Dent. Two-Face is a special cargo that Batman must transport (we won’t reveal why as to not give away too much of the plot). Two-Face, wanting to prove everyone has a dark side if the price is right, puts out a message promising lots of money to anyone who helps him escape the grasp of the bat.
All of a sudden, Batman not only has to worry about the villains who will come for Two-Face, but the same people he’s sworn to protect possibly turning on him for Two-Face’s green faces.
For Snyder, taking Batman on the road is something he always wanted to do.
“It felt very appropriate for a very modern Batman. I feel like in some ways [Batman] is bigger than Gotham now,” Snyder said. “You never know where he’s going to show up.”
DC Comics says Romita’s artwork will highlight Snyder’s Two-Face story line, with other artists such as Jock, Sean Murphy, Tula Lotay and Afua Richardson coming on board for future arcs – one of the reasons for the “All-Star” in the title.
Known by a younger generation of comics fans as the co-creator of “Kick-Ass,” Romita was a Marvel Comics artist for years before shocking the comic-book industry by agreeing to work for DC Comics, first as the artist for Geoff Johns’s “Superman” run and now drawing a character he’s always wanted to sharpen his pencils for: Batman.
He got practice contributing artwork to DC’s “Dark Knight III: The Master Race” miniseries. And as he began to draw “All-Star Batman,” Romita picked up a volume of Snyder and artist Greg Capullo’s critically-acclaimed “Batman” run to look for inspiration. Romita admits that because of his deadlines he never has time to actually read comics despite working in the industry, but he says that Snyder and Capullo’s “Batman” was hard to put down.
“Greg Capullo’s work before I started on [‘All-Star Batman’] was a little intimidating, but very helpful,” Romita said. “It was nice to start [at DC Comics] with ‘Superman’ first and now graduate so to speak to [‘Batman’]. I would [draw] the character on a monthly basis for as long as [DC] would have me. I’m just enjoying every second of it.”
One thing helping this new collaboration, according to Snyder, is that he and Romita are neighbors in suburban New York.
“If [John] doesn’t like something [in the script] he can always come bang on the door if he wants,” Snyder said with a laugh.
Five years of having Capullo as his artist put Snyder in muscle-memory mode when he wrote as the former collaborative duo became a well-oiled machine delivering “Batman” to fans each month.
“You develop such a shorthand, it becomes so effortless in a great way, but you forget how fun it is to flex muscles in different ways as well,” Snyder says of now having the opportunity to work with different artists on a new Batman series. “This is just what I needed to re-energize.”