Scott Snyder wants everybody to feel Bruce Wayne's pain
Hero Complex: You began seeding Harper Row into this Batman series from the beginning. She’s proved herself very capable, though until 28, Batman hadn’t necessarily approved of her efforts. I know that in “Eternal” we’ll see how she became Bluebird, but can you talk about how you see her and Bruce’s dynamic, and why she’s right to launch a new generation of the Bat family?Oh for heaven's sake. Wasn't Stephanie Brown as Spoiler a character who gave a lens through which to see everyday people, since she and her mother came from a working class background, far from wealthy? I would think so. But Bluebird is different in the sense she uses guns. However, she's still a ripoff of Hit-Girl from Mark Millar's Kick-Ass comics, and there's little chance she'll have a likable personality under Snyder's pen. At the very least, he'll script her very drearily, and it's apparent already that whatever he's got in store for the next few years, it won't be very exciting.
Scott Snyder: She wasn’t created with that identity in mind, and she wasn’t really meant to be the sort harbinger of a new generation of Bat allies. She was really designed to be a character who gave us a lens with which to see Gotham that was really everyday people – working class, struggling to support herself and her brother in rough-and-tumble Gotham. I’ve always loved those stories that you get to see in “Gotham Central” or the animated series that show Gotham through the eyes of everyday citizens. The challenge was to create a character that would be likable and engaging enough to be worth coming back to a lot in the series. And luckily, people seem really supportive of her. As I started doing more and more stories with her, I realized that there was an opportunity to have her become a character that also would sort of lead the charge in creating a new set of allies for Batman.
I think partly the reason of why her and why now is she’s a very different kind of hero. Her priorities are really different, as you’ll see. Her attitude, her style. Her mission is different than someone like Robin, who is more of Batman’s sidekick, where as I think she’s more independent. The idea of doing that in Batman’s 75th anniversary was really appealing. As incredible as Batman’s history is, I feel like his future, the things planned for the next coming years, are so exciting and really aim to revamp and do new and exciting things with his mythology in a way that I think will bring him to a new generation of readers.
Speaking of Spoiler, they bring her up too:
HC: At New York Comic Con, your announcement that Stephanie Brown would make her New 52 debut in “Batman Eternal” was met with shrieks of joy. She had seemed to have fallen out of favor at DC the last few years. Why is this story and this time right to bring her back, and what does that character mean to you?I'd say he's only changing her background so it's far more complicated than Chuck Dixon's simpler origin for Stephanie as the daughter of the Cluemaster who, along with her mother, spent most of her childhood without him at home, since he was either plying his criminal trade, or spending time in prison. And changing her purpose so she's a dealer in secret information sounds like they're taking potshots at readers who give away the synopsis. I doubt he'll be very faithful to what made Stephanie work 2 decades ago, and he's done enough to prove he won't. I feel sorry for anybody taken in by Snyder's announcements at the NYCC, since Spoiler's presence alone doesn't make the Batbooks worth the price of admission. Nor is Snyder bound to bring in new generations of readers when they've lost so many already.
SS: She means a lot. I was a tremendous fan of Bryan Miller’s “Batgirl” series that featured her. Part of it was trying to find a story where we could bring her back that wouldn’t just be sensational or wouldn’t be done just to get to say we did it, but that had a real big place for her and a way of relaunching her story that would honor what came before but create something new for her.
The reason I thought this would be the right place was because she has the opportunity to play a huge part in the giant plot of “Eternal.” The reason that she’s perfect for the role is because we needed someone that trafficked in secrets, someone that was almost completely overwhelmed by the terrible truths that she has found out about what was coming and the plot that was going to unfold in Gotham, but also about her own legacy and her own family. The idea of Stephanie and how that would give us an opportunity to build her in a new way but also go back to some of the things that were core about her and who she was before the 52 felt like a perfect opportunity.
And to re-imagine the idea of what that name Spoiler means. Before its modern iteration, I feel like it was used to show how she ruined plans. Nowadays, “spoiler” is more aligned with the idea that you’re giving away secrets before you’re supposed to, you’re ruining the ending of something, you know where a story is going before it happens. For us, there was an also opportunity to use her in a way that would give her a whole new purpose but also tip our hat to who she was before the 52.
Interesting they say Spoiler "fell out of favor" at DC without mentioning the horrific attitude the editors were taking after Dixon left, asking if Snyder knew why all the hate for Stephanie a decade ago, or if he had any appreciation for Dixon and the Robin stories he wrote.
And now, we arrive at the query about Snyder's vision for Bruce Wayne's origin:
HC: We’re getting to Crime Alley. So far “Zero Year” has shown parts of that day leading up to that night when Bruce’s parents are killed – and certainly the fallout from it – and now, after all these months, readers are going to see yours and Greg Capullo’s take on it. How are you feeling about your version of that transformative event in Bruce’s life finally getting out there?The only feeling we're bound to get is nausea, or plain boredom. Let me guess: Snyder ramped up the bloodletting factor in Thomas and Martha Wayne's death? It's not hard to guess it'll be much more gruesome without being thought-provoking.
SS: I feel great about it. Believe me, there’s nothing that caused us more stress and anxiety than the Crime Alley scene and when Bruce decides to become Batman. Those two sort of sacred moments are more than intimidating and almost paralyzingly so. But we really were excited by the way that we were able to redo the bat flying through the window and his decision to become Batman. And here, with the alley, the challenge is to do something that’s new and your own but doesn’t dishonor the stuff that came before. So to try and be true to the core but do something you haven’t seen before.
The way we do it here, it’s not something that I think will shock anyone: Bruce doesn’t steal a gun and shoot his parents. There’s nothing bizarre or completely surprising for shock value. That said, it is done in a different way, and it’s meant to be really brutal to see. We want you to really hurt. We wanted you to leave the arc feeling the way Bruce feels at that moment, which is entirely hopeless and terrorized.
And if they've dishonored much of the DCU with their reboot, why should we expect them to do any better with Batman? The only pain we're likely to feel is how badly a once excellent comics company's fallen down.