At Comic-Con, American Vampire helmsman Scott Snyder gave us the scoop on DC's brand new Batman and Swamp Thing series. According to Snyder, both the Dark Knight and the, ahem, Bayou Bachelor face fates fraught with fright.
Post-Flashpoint, everything is somewhat altered, but we're not sure what's been affected. What's Batman's status quo come September?
Everything you know and love about him — his rich history, that which makes him Bruce Wayne — stands. I have no interest in getting rid of any of the stories that you adore as fans. Everything that you know happened. Dick, Damien, Tim, and Jason have all been Robin. That said, there is sort of a compressed history. We wanted to do something with a fresh feel, but maybe [Batman's] somewhat newer to Gotham.
But what my story really is about is a big ambitious thing that I pitched to Mike Marts before the [relaunch] initiative materialized. Gotham is in a lot of ways Bruce's best friend. He believes that Gotham is his ally. But it's 300 years old, and he's only been Batman for a relatively short time. Gotham's been around since the 1700s.
What if Gotham hasn't noticed him, hasn't been paying attention? What happens when it turns its deadly stone eye towards him? He realizes it's actually his worst enemy that's just going to flick him away and bring all of the forces of history — that the Waynes have been politically antagonistic with for years — to bear to crush Batman. Maybe Gotham doesn't belong to the Bat — maybe it belongs to another symbol.
You're writing Swamp Thing, which has a voluminous legacy thanks to creators like Alan Moore and Len Wein (and that rather bizarre Saturday morning cartoon). What elements of his history will you bring to your run?
I've been a huge of the character since I was a kid. I'm such a fan of what Vertigo has done with him over the years. I wanted to do something that's both different and bold and honored all the history that came before. For me, that was about getting back to the character Alec Holland. In Alan Moore's stuff, my favorite moments are when Swamp Thing is wrestling with the fact that he's no longer human. That struggle to maintain his humanity is at the heart of the character.
Our take is that Alec climbs out of the swamp before the series begins (in Brightest Day: Search for Swamp Thing) and — when our series starts — his last real memories are burning and falling into the swamp. He has all of these dream-like memories of being connected to The Green. At one point, he says, "I feel like I'm in love with some woman I've never met, the woman with white hair." He has memories of being a monster, and he just wants to forget. He wants nothing to do with The Green.
It's about his legacy to coming for him. We want to look into the reason for him being chosen, just as everyone in the Parliament of Trees might have been chosen because of lineage, destiny, or biology. And what is the Arcane's role in this bigger plan? We're not wiping out or altering the mythology, but expanding it.
How prominently will other DC superheroes be featured in Swamp Thing?
You will see superheroes in the first issue — it's in the shared DC universe. You'll see the big DC icons. But at the same time, it's also the book I would've written at Vertigo as well.