Writer Scott Snyder has been having a pretty good year at DC and Vertigo. As the co-creator of American Vampire he’s been getting a lot of attention for his spin on the evolution of the vampire mythos, and he’s currently at the helm of DC’s second-longest running title, scripting the adventures of Dick Grayson in Detective Comics.
Over at Detective Snyder has set up the goal of trying to give the Gotham underworld a rethink with Dick under the cowl. To Snyder’s mind, Batman’s villains are reflections of his psyche—Joker, Two-Face, and the Riddler are all somehow mirror reflections of who Bruce is as a character. “We’re focusing on a story about the way that Gotham, now that Dick Grayson is Batman, is sort of changing itself to be a better enemy for him. It’s almost like anyone who takes on the cowl Gotham will throw their worst nightmares at them.” This current storyline is in its 4th part, with the fifth and final issue of the arc occurring in issue #875 which hits shelves on March 30th.
Issue 875 also has a standalone story by Snyder with art by Francesco Francavilla (Scalped, Fear Agent, Black Beetle) featuring the return on Jim Gordon’s son, James. Apparently the character hasn’t been seen in comics since he was a small child and Snyder hints that his return will have ramifications for the Detective cast, with everyone—from the Commissioner, to Barbara, to Dick—harboring an intense fear of the now-adult James.
Snyder praises Francavilla’s work here which he feels lends story focusing on Jim Gordon a noir-ish tone as opposed to the more action-oriented, angular art of Jock which is a better fit for some of the mainline events being told in Detective. The two artists have been alternating on the title in order to give Jock some breathing room while ensuring that the book stays on schedule.
Jock will be handling art on the “Hungry City” arc which starts in issue 876 and features a new likely antagonist in the daughter of Tony Zucco—the man who killed Dick Grayson’s family. She’s currently established as a legitimate businesswoman and bank owner, but to be honest I’ve never encountered a story where a person who touted themselves as a “legitimate business owner” wasn’t in fact, crooked as a corkscrew.
That’s not all the Batman on Snyder’s calendar, though: in May he’s co-writing a mini with Kyle Higgins (who wrote the Nightrunner story over in Batman) called The Gates of Gotham, which sounds like a solid team-up between Batmen young and old. Trevor McCarthy (Red Robin, Nightwing) is providing art to this story which ties a current a current mystery to a crime as old as the city of Gotham.
The story appears to be using several detective types in order to tackle a mystery that, according to Snyder, explores the cyclical nature of Gotham’s history and how it never seems to die in a plot reaching all the way back to the Gilded Age and construction of the city. Dick and Bruce won’t be alone, though, as the elder Batman recruits other Gotham city detectives like Red Robin, Owlman, and I-Ching to delve into a mystery that seems to affect the very architecture of the city.
Finally, Snyder has his own baby, American Vampire over at Vertigo, where he promises a year filled with vampires in WWII, stylish rockabilly vampire killers, and ancient species of bloodsuckers that readers haven’t encountered before. Snyder describes his series and its lead, Skinner Sweet, as an evolutionary leap for vampires: powered by the sun, leaner and meaner, he and his progeny are nothing like their European counterparts. Upcoming stories will be taking Skinner further into the 20th century, exploring the ways the rapidly changing century affect the horror staple. While the first story was about the Old West, subsequent stories will see the rise of America, and its clashes in foreign conflicts, and how it affects the characters.
Snyder says that he’ll actually be exploring the second World War in both the main title as well as in a mini titled Survival of the Fittest, with the former dealing with the conflict in the Pacific and the latter charting the adventures of several characters in the European theater of conflict. Survival will be drawn by Joe the Barbarian artist Sean Gordon Murphy.
Both American Vampires and Detective Comics are on shelves now, and Gates of Gotham will be arriving on May 18th.