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Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Talk Batman: Last Knight on Earth

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are embarking on their last Batman story with Last Knight on Earth, published through DC Black Label. It's epic in the truest sense 0of the word. I had a chance to speak with the creators about the project, their collaboration, and more.

Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane.
And...he was never Batman.
So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it...
From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of "Court of Owls" to the bombastic power of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, DC Black Label is proud to present the bimonthly, three-issue miniseries BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, published at DC's standard comic trim size.
This could be the last Batman story ever told... 

James Ferguson: What makes this the last Batman story ever told?

Scott Snyder: It's the last Batman story for us as a creative team. It's also the last Batman story for our version of the character. We really wanted to do something that brought everything full circle. I started coming up with it all the way back when we were doing the origin story for our Batman in Zero Year. I was trying to give him a beginning and an end, so it's lived in my head for a really long time as a fitting end to the saga that we began with Court of Owls in Batman #1.

We're really excited to get here. Doing it at Black Label gives us the chance to take the time and the space to really make it something special that I hope fans enjoy as much as we do.

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JF: In Last Knight on Earth, Batman has a pretty...interesting travel companion in the Joker's head in a jar. What compels him to pick that up and hold onto it, especially after it starts talking?

SS: Batman is alone in the world. He just kind of pops up in the sand in a landscape that is completely unrecognizable to him. In this strange context, that Joker head hanging from that lamp post is kind of like a guiding light. It's the only familiar thing in a completely alien world. Batman almost has no choice. We wanted to throw them together in a way that you've never seen before. Here Joker winds up playing more of the role of the sidekick, traveling buddy, or Greek chorus of the story. He's often Batman's only friend.

I did so much thinking about the Joker as this villain when we were on Batman. Now that we've moved past some of those stories that really explored that aspect of him, I wanted to reframe him in a way that you haven't seen before. I'm really excited about their relationship and how it plays out here.

JF: That's pretty interesting to think about. When there's no one left for Batman in the world if the Joker is the only one that's still by his side, it's saying something about both of their personalities.

SS: Yeah, exactly.

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JF: Between the straight jacket and the mask, I'm a huge fan of the design of Batman's costume in Last Knight on Earth. How did this come about?

Greg Capullo: Scott always has beats for the visuals. He gave me the elements and I looked into a few things. What does a shock treatment helmet look like and how can I make it bat like? I thought his really great idea was using the Wayne insignia on his chest because it really does kind of resemble the bat symbol. All the seeds for that stuff always start with Scott when he gives me the script, then I look at it and figure out how to bring that to life.

SS: I would just say that Greg adds to the ideas so tremendously. With that one in particular, the long straps hanging down are almost like a makeshift cape. He came up with the idea of Batman modifying the costume as he went, taking the glass shards and making the fins on the gauntlets and all that. I love giving a prompt and I'll often think of the creative element in a story because I imagine what he'll do with it. He'll take it and go farther than I ever expected. As much as he says the idea starts with me, it often starts with him and what I know he's capable of and that inspires me to go farther in my writing than I would otherwise.

JF: You guys have been working together for some time. What is your process like now compared to what it was when you first started collaborating?

GC: Scott started with full scripts, which is not something that I like to do. I was trained Marvel Style when I was coming up, which meant that I had to study film books and learn about pacing and all the things that go with this medium. With full scripts you don't need a guy like me. You just need a draftsperson to follow the blue print. Scott started that way but very quickly started to realize my skill set and got further and further out of my way. I'd tell Scott, “You've got a family. Go spend time with them and let me do the heavy lifting and by the way you don't get paid by the word.” Now he's almost abusing it. He'll tell me “For pages two through 30, this is what happens.”

SS: You created a monster, man.

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GC: The honest answer is that Scott and I are so similar in the way we see things that we probably see almost all the page breaks the same way. It just makes it easier. We work together very well. It's like two arms on one body. He does his thing and hands it to me and we just function together.

SS: For me, Greg came to Batman really experienced and I was still pretty green. It's been such an honor and a thrill working with him because for me, it was such an incredible learning curve. He's right in that I started the book really nervous about writing anything but full script. I didn't understand how much room you give an artist really dictates, depending on your comfort level, what you get back and how good the return is on the script. I couldn't get that through my head for a while. Working with Greg has taught me not just to be a better comic book writer, but a better person all around through our friendship.

It's been a great thrill for me to work with someone that not only has such great experience, but who I've watched evolve too. As much as Greg came fully formed to the book, he's one of those people that always pushes himself to do better and better work. That's incredibly inspiring. It's like when I worked with Stephen King on American Vampire and he was already Stephen King, but you saw him pushing himself to do a comic that was just as good as anything he had done or better. That's the way Greg is. When you find people like that that are already legendary creators in their own right, but are still hungry, there's nothing more inspiring than that.

GC: You're gonna make me blush!

JF: Much of your work has been centered on Batman. Are there other characters you'd be interested in tackling as a team?

GC: Tons and tons and tons.

SS: Totally. There's a lot. Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing at DC are some. Over at Marvel, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Captain America, there's a ton. Above all, one of the reasons we wanted to put a cap on our Batman saga with this was because Greg's my brother and partner for life, so the idea of being able to try things that we haven't has been on our minds for a long time. I love Batman and I've got so many more Batman stories that I didn't get to do that I would have loved to do with Greg, but if we don't take the chance and do things that we haven't, we're not getting any younger. We have so many ideas between us and some for Marvel and DC and all over. We spent so long on Batman and we love it and we're grateful for all the support, but we have to venture out and try some new things or we'll really start to regret it.

Horror DNA would like to thank Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo for speaking with us. Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through Amazon Kindle and ComiXology.

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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