Our final interview for C2E2 was with the majority of the creative team behind Batman: Eternal. This included Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seely, Jason Fabok and Dustin Nguyen. The interview was with all of the creators at once and the main focus we asked about was Batman: Eternal rather than the individual projects that some of them are working on.
TBU: Rather than asking the same question that everyone seems to be asking about the creative element with so many different creators, I do want to ask how long ago was the foundation for Batman: Eternal laid?
Scott Snyder: It was over a year ago. Basically DC came to James [Tynion] and me with the idea of doing a Batman weekly that would last a year. Initially, both of us sort of stepped back from the offer and thought we didn’t really know what the point of it would be. But what we realized was that the only reason to do it was if you could do a story that had two elements to it. One would be the experiential element, where you could make a story suddenly had the room to explore Gotham in all of its avenue, whether you are talking about people that are struggling in their blue collar jobs in the Narrows or you are talking about Harvey Dent or Bruce Wayne. So you get to make it experiential and walk the streets of Gotham and live the lives of those you don’t get to in a singular series like Batman, where it has to be focused on Batman, like a lot of the series. And now suddenly you have the room. The second thing was that we could come up with a story that would be crazy and big enough to make fifty-two issues of comics feel small. And if we could do that and sort of shake Gotham to its core and bring in every giant villain and every hero and really make it something that changes the status quo dramatically for Batman and the other books in the line, it was worth it. And we came up with a story skeletally and felt absolutely, let’s do it. And let’s try and break the mythology in Batman’s seventy-fifth anniversary just to make it something new and exciting and stronger.
James Tynion IV: The singular idea that kind of made it all coalesce for us was what’s a single moment that you could open a series with like this that immediately changes everything in Gotham City? We knew that was taking Jim Gordon off of the table. Because that relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon is so much of what Gotham is. There is a reason he is such an instrumental figure in the mythos and has always been and always will be. And the idea of taking away that level of support, especially within the New 52, Batman has never operated in a Gotham City without Jim Gordon. That means everything changes. In this first arc Gotham is almost reasserting itself to try and become what it was before Batman. You have the return of Carmine Falcone. You have Jim Gordon out and a corrupt commissioner back in charge. It is the city being forced back to its primal state that Batman has been fighting against from the very beginning. And knowing that that was the starting place and also how big it could go to the end, those two piece together really cemented why the series should be what it is.
Scott Snyder: And Gordon is just the start. That is just the warning shot of what’s coming.
TBU: And when did you [Tim Seely] come on board?
Tim Seely: I’m the last guy. Let’s see. I started in September but I talked to these guys at San Diego and they said they kind of had a thing that they wanted to talk about and it was the start of a Batman series and how would you work on this. I was like “Oh my god, this is insane. Who would do this? Yea, I’m in.” And that was basically the idea and the wheels were already in motion. I basically had to come in as if I had a final coming up and I dropped in and had to learn everything I didn’t know about Batman so I could be one quarter as knowledgeable as James or Scott.
TBU: And as far as the artists go when did you guys come in?
Jason Fabok: I started issue one back in October or November. It was quite a while ago. And we had to because if you are going to have three issues come out in one month it’s got to be done way ahead of schedule. And I’m sure the rest of the art team, [to Nguyen] when did you come in?
Dustin Nguyen: Right after we finished [Batman] #28. And we just jumped right in. I think I was the last one to come onboard.
TBU: Because the title was planned so far in advance, how did the editorial change affect the series? Was there any change that occurred when Mike [Marts] left?
Scott Snyder: I don’t think so. Really for us, Mike was terrific to us. He was my editor on Batman and our editor for years and he was always wonderful. The thing is Mark [Doyle] came in and inherited a team that was really deep into the story already and he has been incredibly great about being in the deep end of the pool and suddenly being invested in the story and helping us. I feel that we were great under Mike Marts and Mark is a terrific editor. It seemed pretty seamless.
TBU: Let’s discuss the characters in the book. The series is a huge thing for fans of Stephanie Brown. The fact that she is first being introduced into the New 52 in Batman: Eternal, is the plan that she serves a purpose in Eternal and that’s all? Or is the idea to introduce her so she can be used down line in future stories as well?
James Tynion IV: The idea is to put her on the table. She is a part of the Gotham mythos. And the thing that I’m really, really glad we got to do is in Batman #28. We had announced that Stephanie Brown is coming months and months ago right when we announced the existence of the series. And even back at New York Comic Con is when we said issue three is when she would show up for the first time. And then it turns out that two months before the whole thing comes out, you see her towards the end of the story in the Spoiler costume and you understand that she is an incredibly important player in this story. She is very close to the entire spine of what’s to come and we’ve seen now that she knows things that no one else in Gotham knows. Things that Batman doesn’t know. And that’s going to make it an incredibly dangerous place for her and also put her on the path of becoming Spoiler. The goal is to have Stephanie Brown be as much as a part of Gotham at the end of the story as any other member of the Bat-Family.
TBU: There are tons of fans that are excited that she is back in Gotham. Are there any other characters that fans have been asking for that have not been in the New 52 that you have plans to introduce in Eternal without giving specifics?
Scott Snyder: Yes.
James Tynion IV: Yea, without giving any names, there are characters that people have absolutely zero expectations for. There is a major character very close to the heart of the series who will be showing up within the next couple of months that when he, when the character was first brought up to use in the room a lot of us thought it was a joke. That would be too ridiculous. And then we thought and this would actually change everything.
TBU: Can I just ask if it is Condiment King?
James Tynion IV: [Laughing] Yep, you got it in one.
Scott Snyder: [to Dustin Nguyen] I sat on a panel with you where you gave a pitch for Condiment King. And you were going to make him spicier? Do you remember?
Dustin Nguyen: Condiment Man. No more ketchup or mustard. [Everyone laughing] Change to sriracha.
Tim Seely: I think we did talk about at another panel, that Ray talked about bringing back Ten-Eyed Man, which is a character for some reason is stupid, but we have got a good hook on him in the book.
TBU: I think that there are a lot of characters that fans don’t have expectations for, but if they were reimagined in the modern era compared to when they were first conceived in the sixties or seventies, there could be some really cool possibilities.
Scott Snyder: And the characters that they are dying to see also will be in it as well. There is a great fun reinventing of characters that you haven’t seen in a while, that you have no expectations for, but the ones you might have big expectations for might show up as well.
TBU: I wanted to discuss the promo image for Eternal that was released back in November. Most of you have probably read through some of the theories that fans have had online about the various clues shown in the image. Was there anything that a lot of people were missing in their evaluations?
Jason Fabok: There was some funny ones. People were counting up the individual bones and skulls on the ground. Maybe I put them in there randomly, but maybe I didn’t. [Everyone laughing] That was a fun piece to do, actually James [Tynion], Katie Kubert and Mike Marts kind of masterminded the whole thing and then just let me draw it. It was a blast to draw it.
Tim Seely: There was the thing with him [Professor Pyg] ramming the trains together.
Jason Fabok: Yea, yea. I don’t remember anyone picking that one up. Thinking back now, wow.
Scott Snyder: There still a lot of hidden stuff in there that hasn’t come up yet. There are some really good clues in there.
James Tynion IV: I mean there are major characters right there on the page that no one has been introduced to yet, and that’s a lot of fun.
TBU: With the announcement of Grayson series coming in July and at least the cover art showing Dick with dark hair, can we assume that the blond character in the promo image isn’t Dick or is it just someone else we are going to be introduced to?
James Tynion IV: I wouldn’t assume anything [Snyder laughing] until the stories play out.
TBU: Eternal is a lot of issues with plenty of time to go, but are there plans to incorporate any of the ongoing titles into the story or the events occurring within the pages of Eternal, because it is such a massive story?
Scott Snyder: With the things that happen in Eternal, it will be the Gotham that I return to [in Batman]. So it is drastically going to change Gotham into what it is officially. So if you are asking if it going to have repercussions in the other books. Absolutely. You could see other books spin out of it. You could see key changes in Gotham appear in Batman or Detective Comics. [Eternal] is meant to be almost the nerve center of Gotham’s future and what continuity will be.
James Tynion IV: And on the flipside to that, this is a singular story. This is a big piece. All of the important pieces of this story take place in the pages of Batman: Eternal. It is not something where you are going to be shot off in different directions to pick up extra things. This is setting the stage where we wanted people to be picking up a book every single week, we want that to be a full and complete experience.
TBU personally thanks all of the creators for not only answering all of our questions, but also having fun while giving their answers. Batman: Eternal #3 is in stores now and #4 comes out this Wednesday.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel