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Snyder and Higgins on Night of the Owls

Issues eight are out for both Nightwing and Batman and with the release of the issues begins the Night of the Owls crossover. Comic Book Resources has posted an interview with both writers Kyle Higgins and Scott Snyder. Discussed in the interview are the threads that continue to play out in both series.


Nightwing #8CBR: Let's talk about how all this spreads out across the life of the event. We see at the end of "Batman" #8 that Alfred kind of "calls the banners" for the Bat-Family to help battle the Owls. While the Talon that Nightwing faces has a SUPER personal connection, will all of the stories we see here have a similar kind of personal bent to them?


Kyle Higgins: I can't speak for any of the other books, but I know that in the case of "Nightwing," that was the idea. When we were talking about how to do "Night of The Owls" and how the book would tie in, Scott asked me which era my Talon would come from. And this was right around the time when Scott was writing "Batman" #2 and 3 where William kills Alan Wayne, so I said that I wanted to do something from the "Gates of Gotham" era where we could revisit the world we'd built. But it also had to be William Cobb. It had to be Dick Grayson's great-grandfather because otherwise there's no personal connection. I thought it was a great hook that out of this big reveal we also get that the guy hunting Bruce was Dick's great-grandfather. You have to deal with that in the crossover. So from minute one that's what I wanted to do.


Scott Snyder: And for me, giving the general idea of "Night of the Owls" to the other writers, it was meant to be something that they could take and make their own from story-to-story. Some of them do [connect to the character.] Like "Red Hood" actually gets very personal between Jason and the Talon he's fighting. It's not like Dick Grayson and William Cobb, but it's at a moment in Jason's life where he's struggling with being back in Gotham. And having come back from the dead with this idea of making new choices outside of Batman's life, the character of the Talon represents a similar idea in a lot of creepy ways. He's come back from the dead and is serving this powerful force, and it all has this strange legacy behind it as well. Some of them have ties like that, and other ones like "Birds of Prey" happen as these big, fun romps where the characters have to fight off the Talons in the middle of another story that was happening, but it forwards that story too. The story you've been reading in "Birds of Prey" doesn't get put on hold. This beat with the Talons pushes it forward a bit. So I tried to leave it up to all the writers to do what they wanted, if they wanted to tie in at all.


Some writers, like JH Williams on "Batwoman," were right in the middle of a story that couldn't be interrupted. So we just gave them room to avoid this, while the ones that did want to tie in could decide the level of intimacy the issue had. The only stipulation was first to try and make the story personal to your character in some way whether that be emotional and thematic like in "Red Hood" or the way it was in "Nightwing" where there's some connection to the character's past. And the second stipulation was that since the Talon could come from any era of Gotham's history – so if you love the 1950s, you could pick a '50s Talon, and we had chart laying out the particulars of the history of the city from any time – then the hope was that you'd open a window to that period of history for a moment. Kyle did a great job with that with the late 1800s, and pretty much everyone did a similar twist. Gail Simone's is one of my favorites since her "Batgirl" opens in the 1940s with this great historical anecdote.


Kyle Higgins: Yeah, Gail's is really good!


Scott Snyder: So on the one hand, we wanted to have them tell a story that was important to their character – though the degree of importance was up to them – and on the other hand, we wanted to encourage them to open a window in to Gotham history that we don't get to see often.


CBR: In each of your books, we've also got some smaller threads that seem to be simmering until they can swing back around later in the event. Bruce has got this damage to his eyes from being held captive by the Owls, and so he's literally on the verge of being blind as a bat. And in "Nightwing," Dick has someone out there trying to pin a murder on him, which hasn't quite gone public yet. What can you guys say about these smaller elements in terms of theme or the overall arc that readers should be aware of?


Kyle Higgins: In my case, I think these things mimic everyday life in a lot of ways. We were talking before we started the interview about how you guys got back from C2E2 and went right into doing your taxes. Things come up and interrupt your plan. The subplots we weave in and out – in this case the murder committed with Dick's eskrima sticks – are connected to the idea [from "Night of The Owls"] that Dick Grayson was supposed to be a killer. As I really develop that subplot in issues #10, 11 and 12, it's something Nightwing comments on. It's there to strengthen what's already happening in the main story from an emotional standpoint.


Scott Snyder: And for me, the themes function in a major way, like the idea of vision. That's a very big theme in this story, and there's the idea that Bruce admits that he felt the city was watching him his whole life. He used to think that was a benevolent feeling to that, but now he feels the city is a stranger or worse an enemy watching him and waiting to attack the way an owl would. One of the fun things about a story like this is working through those themes and having them come to fruition when you do a long-form story. One of the fun things about Kyle's run has been that even though there are arcs, there's this longer story building and accumulating meaning over time. It's almost like this snowball effect where everything's going to payoff down the line.


For the entire interview, including talk about the artists on the series', head over to Comic Book Resources. Nightwing #8 and Batman #8 are in stores now.


Posted by Dustin Fritschel

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