At NYCC, we spoke with comic scribe Scott Snyder about his forensically inclined run on Detective Comics. Snyder told us his plans to put Dick Grayson through the psychological wringer and what's next for the bloodsuckers of American Vampire.
First off, tell us about what you're doing with Detective Comics.
Well, what we're trying to do is play with the concept that Gotham is a "dark mirror" for those who takes on the mantle of the Bat. Dick Grayson's been Batman for a year — essentially what the series is about is how Gotham will throw Batman's worst nightmares at him. Bruce's villains were all an extension of his psychology, being a twisted mirror of the duality of his life. What kind of monsters is Gotham going to throw at Dick Grayson? The series is called "The Black Mirror," and it's about Batman solving crimes in Gotham with high-tech CSI.
Are we going to see throwback villains to his Nightwing or Teen Titans days?
We thought about it. But we thought, "This is really about him as Batman." We wanted to create new villains that are organic to him as Batman. We wanted to challenge him on that level, rather than bring back Deathstroke or Tarantula.
Do you subscribe to the characterization that Dick Grayson is a happy (or at least less morose) Batman?
I like that idea about him, but it's more that we're trying to differentiate between him and Bruce. It's more about what weaknesses Dick has as Batman. His strengths — his hopefulness, his optimism, his faith — are also vulnerabilities. How will Gotham try to use those against him? How will it show the ugliness of his character? How will it break him?
You mentioned that there will be a strong CSI slant. Will we see elements from Gotham Central show up?
Gotham Central is one of my favorites. One of the big features we're setting up will be the new crime lab that is in Wayne Industries' tower. Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD can bring cases pro bono to the tower for evidence analysis. You will see a lot of interactions between Dick and Jim Gordon.
Were there any particular Batman tales you drew from when crafting this series?
Definitely Gotham Central. I also really liked Ed Brubaker's run on Detective, Dark Knight Returns, Grant Morrison's work, and Killing Joke. More than the crime element, I always liked writers who were creating new mythology for Batman rather than simply getting him out of new cages or traps or so on. I liked those writers who really delved into what Batman meant to Gotham and the people of it.
Let's talk American Vampire — what's in the future for Skinner Sweet?
The current issues take place in Las Vegas in the 1930s, where prominent citizens start ending up dead. Things will really come to a head in issues 8 and 9, which go into the secrets of vampire evolution, the vampire interspecies war, and human-vampire relationships.
We've been seeing that a European vampire cabal is secretly running industry and politics in the western United States. Are we going to see different cabals, say an African or Asian vampire cabal?
Yeah, we're playing with the jingoistic idea of the American vampire. We're trying to think of it more pseudoscientifically — vampires aren't part of any sort of national or cultural identity as much as they're part of a random mutations. You will see different kinds of vampires, but you won't necessarily see representatives of people from those countries. With Skinner, he definitely has unique mutations, but it isn't like he's emblematic of America. It isn't like, "This is what a French vampire is!" But you will see vampire species from all over the world.
The series readily jumps decades at a time — it's gone from the late 1800s to the 1920s to the 1930s in a matter of issues. With its immortal protagonists, how far in the future do you see American Vampire going?
We're doing a story with Henry and Pearl we're really excited about for issues 10 and 11. We've got series artist Rafael Albuquerque's studio mate Mateus Santolouco doing the art, and then Rafael's coming back for the 40s and World War II. We also have some ideas for the 50s and 60s as well. We'll be moving laterally and back in history.
Detective Comics 871, which contains the above Bat-artwork by Jock, will be released November 24. American Vampire 9 will be released October 27.