Robert Tiemstra ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Friday at New York Comic Con featured a host of famous faces from the comic world, especially DC comics. A mere 2 hours after Frank Miller surprised The Dark Knight Returns reunion crowd with his presence (and the first glimpses of The Dark Knight III), Scott Snyder, famous for American Vampires and the Batman stories Endgame, Death of the Family, and The Court of Owls, was in his own spotlight in a far smaller room. However, as the rising star outshines the dying one, Scott Snyder’s panel took the form of an eloquent and thoughtful discussion on what makes writing in comics work, rather than simply a clinical look at the business machinery that makes them tick.
Moderator John Cunningham (who refused to speak directly into the mic throughout the panel) opened with a relevant quote from one of Scott Snyder’s short stories, Happy Fish Plus Coin:
1.) “I once lived next to a man who was indestructible.”
As the panel went on, Scott Snyder delved into his background with writing for horror, and how that approach informs all the writing he does, even Batman.
2.) “When you have horror done well… it’s scary because of what it says about you.”
And on his favorite villain in the Batman rogues Gallery:
3.) “I love Gotham City… it’s the greatest villain in all of literature.”
As the Moderator tried valiantly to keep the panel on track, Scott Snyder described what made Dick Grayson’s story a perfect fit for him as an upcoming writer.
4.) “Writing Dick Grayson is easy because he was as terrified of being Batman as I was of writing Batman.”
Frequently, Scott Snyder has been questioned about why every Batman story he does has to be a big event. He said that he approaches each and every Batman story like it’s his last chance to state his thesis about the character. He referenced the thousands of fans and aspiring writers who would kill to be in his position, saying:
5.) “If I’m gonna write Batman, I have to swing for the fence.”
6.) “The only way to [write a good Batman story] is to make it personal.”
On a more humorous note, Scott Snyder covered the difficulty in writing Bruce’s inner conflict. Since his forte is figuring out what a character fears and exploiting that to its full potential, Bruce Wayne proved a difficult subject.
7.) “Bruce Wayne is harder to write than Dick. He doesn’t show his emotions, so you have to have Alfred walk up to him and go like, ‘What are you feeling, sir?’”
Soon after, several fans asked about the social relevance of Batman, and how the New 52 Batman is about marrying both socially conscious and vigilante elements into this character of Batman. But according to Snyder, it isn’t enough. Batman isn’t strong enough to fight these characters, and even in his own stories, he’s something of a fictional character. The problems America faces in the 21st century are Batman’s problems as well: Economic stagnation, systematic corruption, and poor gun control among others. But Batman isn’t enough to fight those problems. His legacy is demonstrating how a man (a broken man even) can put everything they have into fighting injustice in the vain hope that others will take up the torch and follow him. It’s a much more inspiring message than the Pro-Fascist final Act of The Dark Knight Returns, that’s for sure.
8.) “Batman isn’t about scaring bad guys into the shadows anymore. He’s now about inspiring the rest of us to come out into the light.”
Why would anyone stay in Gotham City? is a question that skeptical Batman fans the world over have been asking for ages. Scott Snyder had a simple answer: It’s the place you go to become the hero you know you can be. During the hour he had to talk, he teased several story ideas he had, from Two Face, to a pair of Joker Stories which he says are his next projects, but the most resonating one is the pitch he had for the final Batman story he’d ever write. A quiet night in Gotham City. Batman goes about his night, patrolling, and for once doesn’t find a single horrible thing happening. The city has finally given him a break.