BATMAN #44 is taking a slight sidestep in the middle of the current Superheavy story arc. Scott Snyder is teaming up with Jock again to bring us a story dealing with Batman's early days as well with tying into the story of Mr. Bloom, the current villain in BATMAN. We talked to the two to see what it was like working on Batman together again. We also talked about his rumored connection to DARK KNIGHT RETURNS III and asked Scott about the possible Two-Face story he has in mind which lead to some details on the future of his run with Greg Capullo.
COMIC VINE: Scott, did you have Jock in mind when you were working on this story?
SCOTT SNYDER: I knew it was going to be a piece of the arc. I knew we had a fill in at 44 and I wanted to do an origin for Mr. Bloom that was really more about the systemic problems he takes advantage of to make people feel hopeless enough that they’ll come to him. He can be an extremely scary villain for that reason, in Gotham. So I knew I had the issue. I knew I was going to do something grittier. I wanted to do something that wasn’t about any one particular issue like the stratification of wealth or police brutality or divisions between neighborhoods. I wanted to do something that sort of touched on all of it. I wanted to show someone that was caught in a web. I knew Jock would be perfect for it.
Right off the bat, I called him up and asked him if he could do it. I explained it to him, this was a long time ago. We’ve been talking about it for a while. We were working on WYTCHES when we started talking about it. I was just thrilled he was able to do it. I couldn’t be prouder of the artistry from him and Lee Loughridge. I really feel lucky to have been able to work with them on this one.
CV: Jock, is it easy to just slide right back into working on Batman?
JOCK: Yeah, I love drawing Batman. He’s one of those characters I can name on one hand that I just feel very comfortable drawing. The run I had with Scott on DETECTIVE COMICS, Black Mirror, was such a good experience. To revisit and work with Scott again on the character, it’s been a pleasure, to be honest. He’s the one I always get asked to draw at conventions and he’s very easy for me. But more than that, the actual story and script Scott wrote, it felt very poignant. Good fiction should have some kind of content or meaning. I talked to Scott about his story and I knew this would be a kind of special issue. It was just a no brainer for me to agree to do it. It was a thrill to draw.
CV: Did it feel like going back to the days of working on Batman in Black Mirror?
SCOTT: Yeah. Having worked together on WYTCHES, I feel like we’ve built a really good shorthand. Working with Jock, it’s easy because I can picture his work, even though he’ll always surprise me. It’ll be even more dynamic than I expected. On top of that, one of the things that’s a real joy about it is he’s become a close friend. We’ve worked together now for…Black Mirror was a year plus. WYTCHES was another year. Now this. He’s been with me from the very beginning. I would say Jock was the very first artist who was a big star that took a chance on me when I was nobody.
SCOTT: [laughs] For me, its a joy because we’ve become friends. One of the things I think is easy about working with a friend is I can call him up and say, “Do you think this is sensitive enough? Do you think this is rough enough here? Do you think it’s brutal enough?” He understands what we’re going for, as a team because we talk about it on a personal level. It makes it very easy to have a unified vision when you get to the page itself. You know the person you’re working with is someone that can speak to you very freely about what you’re going for.
JOCK: I totally agree with Scott. It’s very rare to find comic people to work with like this. There’s something about his work that when I read it, I can see it. It’s actually really nice to hear that when he’s writing, he can see my artwork as well. If you’ve read the issue, you know it’s a great piece of work. To be able to talk about the things he talks about in that script in a Batman comic is really great.
CV: How did Brian Azzarello come on board with this story?
SCOTT: As soon as I conceived the issue, Brian and I had been talking about some DARK KNIGHT material where that book is something that initially I had talked to him about being a part of and talking to Frank [Miller]. What it boiled down to was they began working on it so intensely in Frank’s studio. With me living out on Long Island about two hours away with kids, it just wasn’t possible for me to make the kind of commitment that Brian could make to do it. He’s done such a wonderful job with that. I’m really proud of him and really proud of it. There’s still a good way we could be involved together a bit with that project but ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable even trying to insert myself into that process when I began to understand how intimately and wonderfully the two of them are working together. So I’m extremely proud of them for that.
But we had been talking a lot. Brian comes to New York a lot for that project and we began hanging out. He’s become a really good friend and a really good mentor. A really good mentor. So I’d meet him in the city at night and have a drink and I started talking to him about this issue. I knew he would bring…he’s a fearless fearless writer. I try to be, myself, but I know from the stuff he’s done with 100 BULLETS and with WONDER WOMAN, he’s also a terrific editor. I wanted him to be on this one in particular because he cares deeply about a lot of this issues as they pertain to Chicago, his hometown, and a lot of the stuff Chicago is going through. I felt he’d bring in an authenticity and raw truth to a lot of the dialogue. He did terrific work. He really tightened a lot of the dialogue and he really retooled a bunch of scenes. It’s a lot better with his contributions. He wanted to do this call today but he’s on his way to New York.
CV: You got to write Bruce as Batman again. Will we be seeing Bruce return to Batman anytime soon?
SCOTT: Will we be seeing Bruce as Batman in the current continuity? You’ll just have to wait and see. He will never ever come back. Bruce Wayne will never be Batman. [laughs] Ever again. It’s gonna be Gordon and then it’s gonna be Alfred and then Leslie Thompkins. We have a whole roster of older people.
CV: Jock, have you drawn the robo-Batman suit yet?
JOCK: I have not. No, I haven’t. It was one of those things when we approached the issue, Scott said it’s going to be about five years before and you won’t need to worry about any of that stuff. Approaching this, I was trying to do justice to the great work that Greg and Scott do on the run. I tried to approach it as a singular stand alone. Having Brian involved, as Scott said, he’s one of those people you want to work with because he’s so brutally honest as well as being talented. He came in and there were a few points where he really expanded the elements of the story.
So the robot suit did not make an appearance in 44. But who knows, maybe I’ll draw it another time.
SCOTT: There’s actually another issue towards the end of Superheavy where I keep wanting to ask Jock if he wants to come back and do another issue. One of the problems is we have to get started on WYTCHES too. I would work with him on many many things.
JOCK: If I had about four arms I could maybe draw two comics at once.
CV: You mentioned Two-Face in a tweet earlier this week. Do you have a story with him in mind?
SCOTT: Yes, I do actually have a story with Two-Face in mind. I have like a new take on him in my mind where I feel like…I don’t want to give it away but I feel like a lot of the stories deal with him having been Harvey Dent. Other stories deal with his cure and reversion. What really scares me about Two-Face is when you look at him objectively, regardless of the fact that he could be a friend of Bruce Wayne or he could be cured, he’s really frightening. To me, he reflects the idea that all of us have a monster inside of us. All of us have a dark half. All of us have a coin we want to flip into a fountain and make a wish we shouldn’t make. To me, there’s really something terrifying about that—if someone steps out of the shadows and says, “I know the side of you you don’t want to look at because you have one just like me. But I’m gonna bring it out.” I really like Two-Face. I’d like to write him.
I don’t know, honestly. My tenure on Batman and Greg’s tenure on Batman, we’re still in the midst of figuring out how far we’re going to go. If we’re going to stay a while longer. If one of us is going to stay a while longer or if the other one will stay a while longer. One thing I can tell you is, we’re a team and Greg’s like a brother. We’re going to be working together on things for a while. If we do other things, we’ll always return to each other as a team, in a lot of ways. We’re just figuring it out right now. If I had an answer and said I know we’re doing this and we’re staying, I’d tell you. But we really don’t know right now.
We'll have to wait and see for a lot of these answers. You won't have to wait too long for BATMAN #44. It's on sale Wednesday, September 9, 2015.