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Scott Snyder Rips Into DC’s New 52 Reboot

DC's New 52 Reboot

Believe it or not, as of a this month, DC’s New 52 reboot is ten years old! The controversial revamp of the entire DC universe has since been rebooted again several times. However, the New 52 is notable for being the first time in decades that such a major shake-up took place.

With it, the New 52 brought some truly iconic story-lines and ideas. A few of the most notable include; seeing Batman take on the now infamous Court of Owls, watching Joker have his own face surgically removed and then crudely reattached with gruesome results and Harley Quinn joining the Suicide Squad.

However, not all of the DC’s New 52 reboot yielded such iconic results and it eventually became more known for setting up major crossover events, but never really seeing them through.

A fascinating oral history regarding the industry-shaking reboot was published today by Polygon today. The piece included statement from a good number of key creators involved with DC’s New 52 reboot including Dan DiDio, Judd Winick and Paul Cornell. However, it was Scott Snyder’s candid comments that stood out the most.

I think it is easy to forget how much pressure is put on the writer of a new series as beloved as Batman. When you consider the impact that Snyder’s work within the New 52 has had on the comic, TV, videogame and film industries, it is monumental. It is also fascinating to consider what may have happened if that work wasn’t up to par.

Snyder opens up about this in the Polygon piece and goes in-depth into the anxiety, frustration and infighting that he had to constantly contend with all whilst trying to write a great Batman story. He goes as far as revealing that he, “had a literal panic attack” after being given the news that he would be responsible for delivering the first Batman #1 issue in 7 decades.

Something else he also discusses is how the passion and fervour of his co-publishers; Dan DiDio and Jim Lee was twofold. On the one hand, it was a compelling and exciting environment to be working in, but on the other hand the lack of any significant end-goal being established wound up being a major issue for the creative team.

“That sort of fluidity, that lack of rules, of blueprints, led to issues, because between different groups there were different ideas of what was DC history. So you’d do something and then you’d hear from a different group that one of the characters you mentioned [being] in the past wasn’t in the past anymore, because they had a new origin. Again, everyone was working out of love of story, trying to tell the best tales in their area. It was just difficult without more set rules.”

He went on to add, “The thing that I do wish was different at the time is that I wish there was a plan. A lot of it came from, I think, the suddenness of the whole idea. I think there was an element of spontaneity to it that was exciting, there was this sense of possibility, this sense of purpose, we were going to make these characters fun and dynamic and show what we loved about them but in ways that pushed them forward! But in the long run, I think that it hurt us not to have a blueprint that people could follow group to group, because it created these silos of creators and editors that were protective of their version of what they were building.”  

In terms of infighting, Snyder bluntly shared a anecdote that saw him butt heads with the editorial teams at DC.

“We’d finished [the first Batman storyline] ‘Court of Owls.’ It was at the printer, and word came down from above that they weren’t sure that they wanted Batman not to be able to solve the mystery of the Owls; whether Lincoln March was his brother. They wanted us to change it, to make it so that he’d definitively solved it. For me, that would have changed the entire story, because the point of the story was just the opposite. I remember standing in Target, pushing a cart of paper towels, screaming into the phone, ‘You go down the hallway and you tear up my contract!'”

The Court of Owls have since become an iconic piece of Batman lore. They are set to feature in the upcoming video game Batman: Gotham Knights. They are also rumoured to appear in the upcoming movie, The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. Last week we reported on the news that HBO Max are developing a spin-off TV show based on Colin Farrell’s version of The Penguin, who will also appear in that movie.

What do you think of the comments made by Snyder? Did you find the stories about the inner workings of the DC creative team as fascinating as I did? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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Or check out our review for The Dark Knight Returns here.

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Daniel Boyd

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Daniel is a 26-year-old writer from Glasgow. He loves sci-fi and hates fantasy. He also hates referring to himself in the third person and thinks that bios are dumb.

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