The panel started out with James Tynion IV explaining how the panel would flow. As a longtime friend of Scott Snyder he’d prepared some questions, which he didn’t know the answers to, to ask Scott Snyder. And after a few of those he’d then turn the panel over to questions from the audience.
Snyder added that as much as he loves writing, it’s a very lonely job, so he relishes cons because they give him a chance to meet the fans and give them thanks for giving him a dream job.
Tynion asked what was the work that made Snyder decide to be a writer. Snyder recounted the story of how when he was eight, his parents sent him sleep away camp. There was a Counselor Ted who read to the kids form Stephen King’s “Eyes of the Dragon” every night. It was thing that Snyder looked forward to the most every day. It’s what got him into storytelling.
From there Snyder got into Dungeons & Dragons, particularly being the dungeon master, because of the story potential. Snyder remarked that when he writes his “A” still has a baroque look to it.
In 12th grade he fell in love with working in comics as a writer and artist. That’s also where he got the best advice he received on writing; “write the story you’re inspired to pick up that day.” If you’re in the mood to write a mystery on that day, work on that. If the next day is something sci-fi, do that. Write the story that you want to tell.
Tynion asked what Snyder’s first published work was. Snyder explained that while he had it relatively easy with getting into comics, he did have to grind it out as a prose writer. Snyder recalled some of his most memorable rejections. He once got a story rejected three different times from the same magazine, even though he only submitted once. And recently he got a rejection letter for something he submitted over ten years ago. But his first published work was in Zoetrope magazine, a short story called “Blue Yodel” about a man who travels cross-county in a Model-T, following an airship he believes has the love of his life onboard.
Tynion asked Snyder why comics are such a good fit for him. Snyder replied that he loves comics. In fact he still dreams of being an artist. He threatens to send his portfolio to Greg Capullo periodically. And one day he really wants to do a variant cover.
But Snyder loves comics because they’re so collaborative. Snyder talked about he got a book deal when the market was favorably for writers. But by the time he’d submitted his draft, the industry had turned. So while he was trying to polish his manuscript to make it more commercial, he’d written a superhero short story for an anthology and it brought him so much joy. When he was asked to pitch to Marvel and DC he jumped at the chance.
Snyder talked about how supportive his wife was of his decision as well as his struggles with anxiety and depression and how much he grew to hate working on his book. Because comics are so collaborative, it’s actually a benefit to his mental health, because he has someone to talk to. He noted that the artists he work with are all very collaborative creators who don’t mind being bugged.
Snyder also talked about how one of the things he loves about comics is their versatility. He explained how much he loved Batman Year One, because it felt so very read to him, because that’s how New York looked to him. But The Dark Knight Returns was pretty much the same themes using the language of comic books.
And the same thing with the recent Batman #44 he wrote. It’s the same themes as the current Gordon arc, but told in a different style.
He likes how Bruce is just a human, which is something that’s always present, even in Grant Morrison’s lager than life stuff. But to Snyder, Bruce is less a mission of taking back the city than it is about inspiring people to do better. Snyder views Bruce as about telling your kids what to be brave about.
Snyder was asked how the conversation about shaving Jim’s mustache go. DC was for it in the beginning, but then there was some pushback. Greg did some art of Gordon, with mustache, in the costume, like full on 1970’s Burt Reynold’s ‘stache, which looked awesome. Snyder also revealed that Gordon’s mustache was the main villain of the arc.
Snyder also confessed that he dreams of a Gordon story, like Bullitt.
Snyder wants to do a couple more stories on Batman. Both he and Greg will be a team for a long time. And Snyder still wants to do Batman stuff, even if it’s not on the main title.
Snyder was asked about which Batman influenced his Batman. Snyder said that Batman: The Animated Series, Frank Miller, Denny O’neil and Grant Morrison are all in the DNA of Snyder’s Batman. He loves the fearlessness. He loves when people take characters that he loves and take a turn into something completely different, but that still works.
Snyder was asked about his thoughts on Alfred. To Snyder Alfred is the heart of Batman. He’s a tragic character because he’s such an enabler. Alfred is the lens of a parent, watching a kid do something that makes them happy, but hurts them.
Snyder described a scene in Batman where Alfred just holds his gaze on Bruce’s unscarred back, because he knows that it’s only a matter of time until the scars return.
A fan asked Snyder what other heroes he wants to work on. Snyder listed off several characters, Wonder Woman, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Captain America and the Justice League. He really has a Wonder Woman story in mind, but it’ll have to wait until after he’s done with Batman, because it would require that much effort.
He pointed out that for the sake of his own sanity, he needs to have at least one creator owned book going, or else he’s unhappy. The time he was only writing Superman Unchained and Zero Year was an unpleasant period, which really took a toll on him emotionally.
Asked for his advice to writers, Snyder suggested that they write their own graphic novels. Comic companies want to see an original voice and original work.
A fan asked if Snyder would ever want to move to film. He said that he’s really happy to stay in comics. He’d happily jump at the chance to work on a film, but he’d never leave comics for film.
Snyder was asked about the inspiration for Lincoln March was. Snyder replied that he was inspired by the haunted qualities of old cities. He wanted to weaponize the history of Gotham against Bruce. Bruce might know present day Gotham, but he didn’t know Gotham ten years ago, or five decades ago. And the brother aspect was about putting flesh on the mystery that he had created, to show just how much Bruce didn’t know about things.
He was asked how much of Greg’s previous work he incorporated into the scripts. Snyder answered none really. They happened to find a comfort zone with the stuff that he likes to write and the stuff that Greg likes to draw.
A fan asked about the possibility of a Wonder Woman/Batman romance. Snyder actually has a team-up in his mind that he really wants to do. And they certainly have a vibe, but he’s worried about incorporating romance into Batman. But…he wouldn’t be opposed to it.
How does it feel to have Court of Owls coming up in the Gotham tv show? Snyder is thrilled. But he’s worried because he knows that as good a writer as he is right now, he’s going to be better in five or ten years. So while it’s a dream come true to write Batman, he knows that he’s going to be a stronger writer down the line.
Of course Neil Gaiman offered some advice on this front. He said “right now you’re worried you’re not good enough, in ten years you’ll be worried you used to be better.”
Snyder was asked about an out of continuity Joker story he’s hinted about. He admitted that he’s tinkering with a Joker graphic novel right now. He thinks of the Joker as the devil, in that he tells you something that he sees to be true and then makes it true.
Snyder was also pretty candid about how depression affects him. He said that when he feels bad, it’s like being on a frozen lake; everyone else is skating and having fun, but all you can do is think about what’s underneath and how it could just crack and go horrible wrong.
A fan asked what he likes about Clark. Snyder pointed out that nothing Clark does is built to last. He poses as a regular person, but in five years people will begin to notice that he doesn’t age. He’s not affiliated with any country in particular, but he’s not opposed to meddling in global affairs, which will lead to countries planning for him. But Clark still does it because it’s his compass. It’s ethically right, but it’s such a flawed plan.
When asked if he had a Damian story, Snyder responded “nope.” He admitted that he couldn’t wrap his head around Damian, because his own son is eight years old, so the thought of a ten-year old boy being put in harms way rubs him the wrong way. He can’t make that leap, it’s a flaw in his person, but he can’t condone Bruce allowing Damian to right crime. He just can’t suspend his disbelief because he sees his own son.
Tags: Baltimore Comic Con, Batman, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder