Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hype Machine - Scott Snyder's Detective Comics

Scott Snyder is one of the rising stars of the comic writing world. His debut Vertigo hit, American Vampire, gained extra press because of the addition of Stephen King to the writing team, however many realised quickly that Snyder was perhaps the real deal as his pages challenged each week to be the best in each issue. He’s now been signed up by DC and his first major work for them in the DCU proper will be a 12 issue arc on Detective Comics. He’ll be joined by Jock and Francesco Francavilla and this news is something that has actually gotten me quite excited. Hit the jump to see why this might be a series to look for at the end of this year.

As most will know, I haven’t bought a DCU comic in quite some time. The last ones I got were Morrison’s Batman R.I.P. and while it was okay I did end up dropping it purely because I wasn’t exactly loving it and it seemed like a good falling off point. I’ve had no need to go back to DC since but the news of Snyder on Detective Comics, with Jock on art duties, and Francavilla on a Commissioner Gordon back up, might just lure me back in. I’m going to add up the ingredients and see if I can take this title on board.

Scott Snyder

I’ve gotten each issue of American Vampire through the first arc (with an introductory review) and one of the main things that has been shown is that Scott Snyder is a pretty fine writer. The series looks at a new breed of vampire throughout the history of America. Snyder opened up his creator owned title looking at a young girl in the 1920’s as she becomes involved with the other main character, Skinner Sweet. With Rafael Albuquerque on art this half of the title was very well written and certainly made me take notice of Scott Snyder as a writer. It also helped that on most weeks his tale trumped the other half of the comic which was written by Stephen King. Snyder had hit the scene and he was certainly someone to watch.

The thing about American Vampire that impressed me most was that Snyder truly seemed to have an epic scope planned for his very large tale. He knows exactly what is going on and he’s got plenty to tell. Sadly, this title is going to retain its $3.99 price point and yet lose the amount of pages each month, which might see a few readers opt out of the next arc which is penned solo by Snyder.

Getting to see this beautiful mind playing out a large tale in the Batman world is something that excites me. We might get something different here and I also appreciate seeing a new writer on the scene get a chance to write something big.


There’s no doubting that Jock is a good artist. He’s done nearly all of the covers for Jason Aaron’s Scalped and he’s probably best known for his collaborations with Andy Diggle on The Losers and Green Arrow: Year One. On both series he’s done a very good job and his style is certainly scratchy enough to make a very solid noir style for the caped and cowled dark knight of Gotham. Whenever you think of certain characters you visualise a certain art style. Batman has had nearly every art style put into his comics over the past 70 years of print but when I think of Bruce Wayne or any of his villains I usually prefer a more shadowy style. He looks good when there’s someone like Jim Lee polishing the pencils but usually I prefer it when the art is a little more dangerous; it’s a city of crime and terrible things constantly happening and I’m looking forward to seeing how Jock getting yet another crack at this landscape after his prior run on this title with Greg Rucka. Jock has already created one teaser image for this run and I really like it.

Francesco Francavilla

I’ve long been a fan of Francavilla’s many artworks, he even got a Crisis On Infinite Arts post a while back, and it’s amazing to see the design and art elements that he can meld to make some of my favourite artworks on the internet. His actual pencil work is great but I’m also hoping to see opportunities for him to cut loose on a title page and really craft a piece of old school art. Having Francavilla on the title as well as Jock also gives me the chance to see two great artists within the one title and while their styles are different they also fit into the same vein of genre. Together, they should match very well to create a crime comic that will be atmospheric and enjoyable. Francavilla created a teaser piece for the title and it’s this exact sort of thing I’m dying to see over the next year.

Batman, The Detective

I don’t read any Batman comics right now, I’ve only ever picked up Batman on a monthly basis once, and that wasn’t for long. But I do have a fair bit of Batman on my shelves. And it’s a wide variety. I’ve also read lots of Batman and while he fits into nearly any genre the one I like the most is when he has to pit his mind against his foe. I like the detective side of Batman as it is an intriguing aspect of the character, he doesn’t have super powers, he’s just got brains. That’s his best aspect for fighting crime and it needs to be played up more.

Snyder has said that he will be getting Batman to get his detective on a lot more, and Detective Comics is the perfect title to have this more gritty approach work, and he’s also spoken of having more high tech gadgetry within his tales. I have faith that Snyder can bring a great edge to this title, not to mention he plans to be on it for 12 months and while each issue might have its own hook, overall it’s all going to add up a lot to make the tale The Black Mirror. Even the title excites me. Having Jock slowly help show this tale is just icing on the cake.

Commissioner Gordon Back Up

I really do dig the concept of the back up. DC seem to be better at bringing in a back up strip to a comic to warrant the $1 price increase whereas Marvel have rarely offered this option lately, instead giving us Bendis’ verbal history of the Avengers which is great if you love Bendis’ penchant for dialogue but is terrible if all you ever hear is Bendis-speak. I’d shell out $3.99 on Daredevil or Fantastic Four is they had Black Tarantula or Dr Doom back ups with decent creative teams but this so rarely happens. Nick Spencer is doing a Jimmy Olsen back up in Action Comics which I wish I could get on its own for $1 but that isn’t an option, however Detective Comics is giving us a back up that really works well with the main story.

Scott Snyder will write the back up on this title as well and it will feature Commissioner Gordon as its lead. I like that the back up is featuring another little player who is still a pretty decent draw on his own. The thought of the head cop in Gotham being in the comic which will feature Batman getting back to his detective roots is quite well played. Having Francesco Francavilla on this back up is just that bit more perfect. I really hope this back up is just as good as the main Batman stories and Snyder has said this will work with the main story as well, so each month we really will be getting more for our money.

The Batman You Want

Detective Comics has been published for so many decades that I don’t think there’s any immediate fear that it’ll be canned. It’s a mainstay but it’s also one of many Batman comics. You can get Batman by plenty of authors and within certain time lines; you can even get different people in the Batman costume. There’s heaps of Batman on the shelves but quite honestly, none of it interests me. Now, this iteration, Snyder with these artists and touting a detective story, interests me. I don’t care if it’s Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson, to be honest, I just know this title with this team interests me. The others do not, so I won’t be buying them and I won’t be missing them. This is how I ignore over-saturation of a character, the publisher puts out heaps because many readers, like me, might only want one.

The only problem, I haven’t wanted any Batman for ages but now this title will be fighting to get on my pull list. It should be good but I have to be honest and admit that Morrison’s Batman Inc. does intrigue me. It’s a cool concept as Batman goes around and works with heaps of different heroes and the series sounds like it’ll have a very varied tone to it. Now, two Batman comics, can I handle that after having had no DCU for so long? It’s like someone coming out of a diet and gorging only to find their body had become lactose intolerant and suddenly fell ill. Will Batman make me feel a little dicey? I doubt it, but will my wallet support this surge? No. I will have to make a choice, but I have plenty of time to do this.


If you look at this title you’ve got a rising star writer, two fantastic artists who know how to make with the noir and the awesome and you have a $3.99 comic that will have a long form tale over 12 issues and then also a back up with a cool character which will feature a tale that only helps the main tale. It seems pretty win all around. What do you think of these series of announcements? Will you be picking up Detective Comics when Scott Snyder and the new art team jump on board? Let us know in the comments.

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kareem said...

I love the Bat books so it's a pretty obvious Yes from me. I expect to be picking up Detective, Batman Inc, Batman & Robin (Tomasi and Gleason are on it) and Batwoman every month, and Batgirl and Red Robin when I'm intrigued.

db105 said...

Yes from me too. I'm a big bat-fan, after all. I haven't read American Vampire yet, but I have heard good things about it. Let's see what Snyder can do here.

Klep said...

I have to say that outside of the DCAU, I've been much more interested in the Bat-family and his influence on them than in Batman himself. From the Robins and Batgirls to Batwoman and Huntress to the Gotham PD, even to Catwoman, I've consistently been much more easily drawn in to the outer members of the Bat-family for reasons I'm not sure of. Batwoman I'll probably be buying, but Batman? Probably not.

Ivan said...

I don't know Snyder's work, but I only hear good things and I follow Batman through good and bad, so most certainly yes.

sdelmonte said...

Definitely giving this a chance, along with Batman Inc and Streets of Gotham (and Red Robin, but that isn't really a Batbook). But Snyder's work on AmerVamp didn't entirely knock me out. It will be interesting to see how he does with established figures.

brad said...

this blog is so good!! I've been a fan of Batman since the 1989 movie and have been buying Batman comics pretty steady since. sounds like a very back to basics approach that I think many fans will love after the past few chaotic years of continuity with death, time travel and back to life for Bruce.

The Dangster said...

Detective comics, with this line up it'd be hard to not to buy.

Lucho said...

I´m excited. But I will wait for the HC/trade.

What I don´t like is DC publishing a lot of #1 of Batman. Morrison is leaving Batman & Robin to write Batman Inc. OK I´m dropping B&R and following Morrison into the new title.

Morrison run should have been ALL in the Batman title. Too bad.

natureboyHH said...

You really should give some DCU books a try. I don't know where best to start though. Perhaps if someone started w/ GL, then he'd find himself more immersed in the DCU. But since GL is not much to my liking, I just jumped in bat-related titles a few years ago and went on from there.

Detective caught my attention as soon as it was announced, and I'm looking forward to the main story as much as the backup.

In an unrelated matter, I picked up Pride of Baghdad. I'm not through with it but I'm loving it so far.

mrpeepants said...

ya i dunno how you don't currently read any dc books. i'm at least following the green lantern and gl corps and secret six. i jumped on birds of prey and like zatanna too. anyways i read rucka and jh williams detective recently in collected form. looking forward to this also.

btownlegend said...

This is why I love DC. Giving titles to rising stars to let them shine.

Matt Duarte said...

I don't think Ryan would like Green Lantern/Corps very much. The loud, colorful space opera is just not his style, haha.

Something like Secret Six though, that's probably more to his liking.

brandon said...

We are similar in that I also don't pick up DC books generally.

The one exception is Green Lantern. I've been reading GL for years but even Blackest Night couldn't get me to pick up Brightest Day and the other BD banner books.

I find time and time again when I pick up a DC book that continuity and lack of context or introduction renders the issue to read where only an insider can truly understand it and appreciate it all.

I find it very frustrating.

So while some of the Bat announcements leave me interested up front I doubt I will be picking them up. At $4 a pop it becomes too expensive to simply sample the first issue of Batman Inc or Detective when I know deep down that some stretch of panels will rely on continuity which will probably make me not want to pick up subsequent issues.

Generally speaking I find DC comics to be impossible for a new reader to pick up any given title to understand them.

Good luck Ryan

Lucho said...

Oh Ryan you should try the Jonah Hex´s TPB (DC). Palmiotti rocks. Read it and be surprised by comics again.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Matt's a man who knows me. The cosmic stuff just isn't my bag most of the time. I'm sure it's good but it's just not for me...make of that what you will.

@btownlegend - see, that's my problem with DC, it doesn't feel like they've been doing this lately whereas Marvel really have. With DC picking up Paul Cornell, Nick Spencer, the good man Snyder here, I feel some fresh blood may make DC a much more exciting place. And I'm happy for that...just don't know if I'll be around for much of it.

@Lucho - I am definitely interested in reading Jonah Hex, one day. Just don't know when my wallet will declare that day...

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