For a writer known for exploring the darkest aspects of humanity, Scott Snyder has got to be one of the sweetest guys in comics you’ll ever meet. From chronicling the adventures of the Dark Knight to his current gig shepherding the DC Universe with DC’s premiere superhero team Justice League, Snyder certainly has come a long way since his days working at the Disney World theme park.
In between his comings and goings, The Beat was able to sit down with Snyder during New York Comic Con and chat with the acclaimed writer on what’s to come in his current DC books.
Taimur Dar: The Justice League/Aquaman “Drowned Earth” crossover is coming up just in time before the Aquaman film arrives in theaters. Did this storyline come about initially to tie-in with the Aquaman film?
Scott Snyder: No, I mean we always planned to do this story here and they wanted to kind of make it a little bit bigger to give him [Aquaman] more of a spotlight. When it turned out what was going on in the Aquaman book itself would be pretty confluent in terms of story beats. It just came together at once. This story is essentially the most crazy kind of bombastic thing we could do with Aquaman that celebrates every aspect of his mythology and at the same time introduces new elements that we’ve been trying to do in Justice League in each arc. We’re trying to expand the mythologies of one or two characters in the League.
So for Aquaman, the story basically begins with realizing Arion (or Orion however you want to pronounce it) Atlantis’ first great hero king, when Atlantis was still a terrestrial civilization, Arion and Poseidon fought off an attack by sea gods that were trying to take the powers of Poseidon and seed other oceans around the galaxy with life. And ever since those gods have been locked away in the Graveyard of Gods, but because the Legion of Doom (Cheetah and [Black] Manta) breaks them out, they come to Earth and flood it with alien water which essentially turns anyone it touches into a fish monster zombie.
We have Batman in a full body cast with all sorts of crazy weapons in it. We’ve got baby Starro named Jarro because he’s in a jar that Batman is using to try to get secrets about the Totality out of Starman, pirate Justice League, and space krakens. We’re really, really proud of it. I wanted to go as big and crazy as we could while also still having it be a deep, deep exploration and celebration of everything about Arthur [Curry] and Mera as well and Atlantis.
Dar: As many people have already pointed out, your current Justice League book reminds me a lot of the great animated series such as your inclusion of Hawkgirl and John Stewart. Was the JL animated series a conscious influence on your book?
Snyder: Oh yeah. Yes, it had a big influence. I mean, I wanted our League to feel like your favorite childhood Justice League elements like Super Friends for example with the Legion of Doom. Elements of Grant Morrison’s run, elements of Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer. But the DNA is really cooked in from the Justice League animated series and Super Friends, and some of the stuff I grew up on when those stories were so bombastic and celebratory about comic book lunacy but at the same time grounded and emotional and immersive. So I’m going for that but making it very much my own. I want to do an adult version of Super Friends where it’s big concepts and very personal to me.
This moment in time for me, and I think everybody, is incredibly contentious, divisive, and everyone is entrenched in their own opinions. We’re all at each other’s throat regardless of what side you’re on politically. We face these tremendous challenges and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to overcome any of them. So Lex Luthor’s opinion is that’s who are and meant to be. He’s seen the future. He sees our DNA. He understands that Entropy in No Justice was the great force of planet Earth. So he’s had an almost kind of religious conversion where he realizes to be our best selves and to evolve into what we’re supposed to be, we need to embrace our “inner bad guy.”
Whereas Martian Manhunter being the most compassionate, empathetic, and aspirational leader the League could have, he really believes the opposite. Together, we overcome our DNA, our biology, our wiring to reach higher and be better. It’s a very personal book to me and in that way I feel as though I can then go crazy with it because I know what its heart is and its heart is true.
Dar: Finally, in Justice League #8, you teased a confrontation between the Joker and the Batman Who Laughs that should be quite a clash after their last encounter at the end of Metal. Is that something we can look forward to within the pages of JL or the upcoming Batman Who Laughs mini?
Snyder: You will see it in both, but you will definitely see it in Batman Who Laughs. If you haven’t read Metal, Batman Who Laughs is essentially a character created in a realm called the Dark Multiverse where all of our hopes and fears exist in material form. He’s Batman’s worst nightmare which is he will kill the Joker one day and that Joker’s heart contains a toxin that will whoever kills him into the next Joker. And therefore, the Batman Who Laughs is Batman’s absolute nightmare reflection. In that series we’re going to have him come to Gotham and face off with everybody in the Bat mythology- Joker, everyone in Arkham, [Commissioner] Gordon. He’s got tremendous plans and it’s easily the darkest thing I’ve written for Batman so I’m very proud and excited for it.
Justice League is out now and The Batman Who Laughs comes out in December