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Interview: Greg Capullo Talks BATMAN, Death of the Family and Arm Wrestling Batman

The artist of BATMAN talks about working with Scott Snyder on the comic.

The comic at the top of the reading list of many readers in the New 52 is BATMAN. Scott Snyder has been crafting some crazy and intense adventures. Spicing it up to amazing levels is the art by Greg Capullo.

Capullo has been knocking each issue out of the park and there's no sign of stopping. His art is intense and manages to keep up with the frantic pace of Snyder's scripts.

We had the chance to talk to Greg Capullo and it was a blast.

BATMAN #16

Comic Vine: When you draw an issue, have you seen scripts for what's coming next or do you focus on one issue at a time?

Greg Capullo: I don't have 17, I'm working on 16. So yeah, I only have in front of my what I'm working on at the moment.

CV: The scene with Joker (in BATMAN #13) at the police station was brilliant. Given the darkness but heavy nature of it, was it easy or difficult to do?

GC: Even though there's so much black, the time is more given to the planning of those scenes. They have to be just the right bit of…whatever. It's about getting the pacing, the experience and the emotion you're trying to put over to the reader. For things like that, the planning is where all the energy goes.

BATMAN #13
BATMAN #15

CV: Does Scott describe the layouts for each page (how many panels, etc), do you come up with them or do you guys plan it together?

GC: The way Scott works, he provides me his story beats because that's how he writes. He doesn't tell me how many panels or what to put into the panels. He'll describe the scene and it'll each have its beat. I have the liberty to try to modify that, in any direction. He gives me that and I see how I can best server that, get the pace down and make it all look and feel right. It is a collaboration.

He trusts me completely. He gives me the baby and I make sure to powder his behind…I mean the story by that, not Scott. I give it its milk and make sure it's not crying and it's a happy baby.

CV: You had a long run on SPAWN, do you plan on sticking around BATMAN for a while?

GC: Probably not for that many issues [Greg's worked on 147 issues]. Here's the thing, you can never plan life. Life does what it wants with you. Right now, this is what I'm doing. I'm having an amazingly great fun time doing what I'm doing. The fans are really enjoying it and you'd be foolish to walk away when the fans are just loving it so much. I have no intentions of leaving right now. Neither does Scott. Right now, we're focused on delivering the best Batman stories that we can to the people. That's what it's about. Right now, the focus is like a laser on Batman.

BATMAN #15

CV: Great to hear! Do you have a set work routine? Do you work the same hours each day or just work when the inspiration comes?

GC: Nah, I'm more like a work horse. I get up in the day and it begins. I make sure the wife's alright, make sure the kids are off to school and then it's time to chain myself to the table and I just work non-stop. I work seven days a week. Once in a blue moon, I take a day off. I always want to get more than a page done in a day. On average days, I put in about twelve hours. I'm very disciplined and I'm like a machine. I just get in there and get it done.

CV: Wow. Because of some of the darker comics you've drawn, has there been anything Scott's given you to draw that has surprised you?

GC: Like in issue 16, when you see some of the stuff coming, it's like, my god, that just came out of left field. There's some really cool stuff. So in that respect, yeah, he surprises me. Because I never expected to see…a pink penguin flying around with a rocket in its butt. Some crazy stuff comes my way. There's nothing like, 'How am I going to draw that?' It can be shocking, the story twists that he has thrown at me. Those are always a nice surprise.

BATMAN #15

CV: Who came up with the new design of the Joker?

GC: Joker had no face. Scott said we have to find a way to reattach it. Maybe with a belt or something. The only thing he had his heart set on was stretching the skin very tight so that Joker would have the biggest smile that anyone's ever seen on the Joker. That was why I came up with hooks and put them in various places to really pull everything back so we could see the teeth. He told me, 'Go in that direction.' He hung the piñata and I just swung until the candy came out.

CV: If you could somehow draw two ongoing titles, what other character would you like to take on?

GC: Oh man, I've done that in the past! And twice I swore I'd never do it again. People still ask me about the Creech. I have a lot of the third story arc written. If I had the time, I'd start penciling some of that. But you know, as I told you, I work too many hours as it is.

CV: Do you ever feel bad when Scott makes you draw scenes where Batman or Gordon get beat up?

GC: Listen, after what he put Batman through, in "Court of Owls," I'm kind of numb to it. I'm desensitized. It's like, how much more can you do to this character?

Scott's ruined me. I'm like this cold heartless guy who could just kick the shit out of anybody now. And feel no remorse.

CV: Which issue of Batman are you most proud of?

GC: I don't know if I can ever say I'm proud of anything because I'm never satisfied. I'm really really pleased with the way issue #5 came out. It's the single most issue that fans come up to me at shows and just go, "Aw, that was the best issue!" There's something gratifying about that. So if I had to pick one out of the lot, maybe issue #5.

BATMAN #15

CV: Who would win in an arm wrestling match, you or Batman?

GC: I would win because I'd cheat. I would have kicked him in the nuts. If he was wearing a cup or something, I'd find some implement to jab into his eye. I'd find some way to distract him.

CV: Ha. Thanks so much Greg, you're doing an amazing job.

GC: Thanks. I can't wait for you to see some of the stuff coming up. Especially in issue #16. Scott is throwing so much crazy stuff here. I think you'll have a good time with it, I'm having a ball drawing it. Hopefully you'll let me know

CV: Definitely yeah. Can't wait for it.

BATMAN #14 is on sale now. BATMAN #15 is on sale December 12, 2012.

31 Comments
Edited by Kesho_Ronin

man the entire staff of comicvineis is in love with batman.that's ok,but they havent rated or made a topic about Superman Earth One Volume Two which is out 16 days now.

http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/superman-earth-one-vol-2

if your gonna do just one character then you should call yourselves "BATMANVINE"

Don't get me wrong,i love the batman series but come on

Posted by BatWatch

@Kesho_Ronin said:

man the entire staff of comicvineis is in love with batman.that's ok,but they havent rated or made a topic about Superman Earth One Volume Two which is out 16 days now.

http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/superman-earth-one-vol-2

if your gonna do just one character then you should call yourselves "BATMANVINE"

Don't get me wrong,i love the batman series but come on

I think ComicVine gives its attention to what fans are following. Obviously, Batman has a huge following and it is in the midst of a major, future shaping crossover. It only makes sense that they would spend a lot of time on the Dark Knight.

That being said, I do think ComicVine is a bit too in love with this current arc. I honestly do not think the latest issue was anything to write home about. I also find it odd that they cover some issues every month, but they ingore others completely. It seems like they would have enough trusted volunteers who would be willing to write comicvine reviews on just about every issue.

Posted by Kesho_Ronin

@BatWatch: THANK YOU ,you explained better then me :)

Posted by Reignmaker

"The comic at the top of the reading list for many readers is BATMAN." Fixed. This book is beyond petty New 52 distinctions. Any fan interested in a good story is buying it, and sales show that.

And nice interview, G-Man.

Edited by Reignmaker

@Kesho_Ronin: Every comic site is in love with this Batman series.

But IGN posted a review of Superman Earth One Volume Two here: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/31/superman-earth-one-volume-2-review

Doesn't sound very good.

Posted by ccraft

How did u get the Batman #15 pages, from Greg? Is that the same colorist? looks a lil different

Posted by Kesho_Ronin

@Reignmaker: Yeah i get that.and as i said i also love batman story arcs...But i don't care about IGN,i love comicvine and i really enjoy reading topics,i just think they should give a shot to other characters and comic books.

Posted by Press Oblivion

Great interview. I love Greg's work!

Edited by cacarl

Love that Jason is with the Bat-Family. This New 52 Red Hood is my favorite. I was tired of his "Bruce didn't kill The Joker. I want revenge" stories. Now he is his own man.

Posted by SmashBrawler

@Reignmaker said:

@Kesho_Ronin: Every comic site is in love with this Batman series.

But IGN posted a review of Superman Earth One Volume Two here: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/31/superman-earth-one-volume-2-review

Doesn't sound very good.

Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 is one of the best Superman comic books I've read in a long time. IGN's reviews are garbage.

Posted by velvetmeds

I like Greg's art, but am i the only one who prefers Jason Fabok's?

Posted by evilvegeta74

@Kesho_Ronin: There are more Bat Fan -Boys here, and I feel that they cater to them as well . Batman is cool, but doesn't it seem a little off that the majority of the books get high ratings, I doubt the best authors in history could continue to get those rating that the Batman books recieve.Wait this is my imagination , I forgot Batman can do anything, and no wrong.Yeah right, the character is cool , but it's time to quit oversaturating the topic of Batman comics and give other comics their fair share in the limelight. If these books keep getting unfair ratings then people are gonna steer clear of them, boost batman sales are gonna shine. Seems political, I read where a moderator gave a book a bad review and recommended, waiting for the next issue. I will not mention the book, what matters is that people shouldn't detered from buying their favorite book, or boosted up to jump on the Batman Bat wagon, no disrespect to all the Bat Fanboys, I know you guys love good fight, but you clearly know what I'm saying here,and can't disagree, logically.

Posted by Kesho_Ronin

@SmashBrawler: i second that

Posted by Grey56

@Kesho_Ronin:They don't do articles on Elephantmen, either - as wonderful of a title as it is. That said - the folks here on CV do an extraordinary job of attempting to provide accurate, fair coverage over a length of topics/books within the industry. Batman is arguably the most notable character within the industry - and just so happens to have a great creative team helming the ship right now. It's worth discussing - even via multiple articles, sir.

Posted by Grey56

@evilvegeta74:Do you even read the majority of the articles/blogs/op-eds posted by the staff - or are you too busy generalizing like Kesho over here to see the lengths the staff goes to promote diversity in topics/mediums/titles ? Batman is popular for a reason - for multiple ones, at that. Ignoring your fan base to cater to what-ever it is you have imagined has been slighted is unobjective and off-base given the substantive amount of evidence pointing to the contrary. Even your example of the staff issuing a detante over a singular book to make sure the next issue would validate the series isn't inconsistent with someone looking to be objective. One example does not a data set make.

Posted by iaconpoint

Greg seems like a class act and someone it'll be cool to kick back and drink whiskey and listen to BLS with. I hope he and Scott stay on Batman at least 5 years.

Posted by Onemoreposter

Capullo is by far the best thing about this book.

Posted by Grey56

@evilvegeta74: Just so everyone can see what this fellow wrote to me in a PM :

Actually I do and at times they sound , well at best like scratched record as does your statement. However I do respect your opinion, but it is very obvious something not right. As far as me dispaying the proper data to stimulate thoughts of minds such as yours, I refuse, I above pointing out names and dates of who said what. You know the evidence is out there as plain as day. It's your choice to dilute your mind with whats neccessary, to actually believe things here, are on an equal playing field. You sound intelligent, I believe you know better.

Fascinating. So, you are above arguing/discussing in a less than arbitrary manner - using things like citable text/articles or data sets - because you are above such things ? Interesting. Oh well.

Posted by sentryman555

@SmashBrawler said:

@Reignmaker said:

@Kesho_Ronin: Every comic site is in love with this Batman series.

But IGN posted a review of Superman Earth One Volume Two here: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/31/superman-earth-one-volume-2-review

Doesn't sound very good.

Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 is one of the best Superman comic books I've read in a long time. IGN's reviews are garbage.

I gotta agree that IGN reviews are garbage. Earth One Vol.2 has become one of my favorite stories about Superman. Mostly due to the fact that he's not constantly thinking about Lois Lane. In fact for most of the issue it seems like he doesn't even notice her. I've only really read IGN reviews for video games and they seem extremely biased. Only liking the popular games and calling crap every other game.

Posted by knightofthechronicle

I'd defiantly say that issue 5 had the best art, just all of the detail and the cryptic owl themes around the maze were awesome, and just as well Batman turning into an owl and the way the panels moved while you read each page.

Posted by JLDoom

Love this art :D

Edited by RedOwl_1

I can't wait to #15!! Snyder is really making us holding the breath.

Nice interview btw :D

Posted by Mbecks14

Capullo is my favorite artist to come out of the new 52. I had never seen his work until Batman and now I can't get enough of it.

Posted by thveej

@sentryman555 said:

@SmashBrawler said:

@Reignmaker said:

@Kesho_Ronin: Every comic site is in love with this Batman series.

But IGN posted a review of Superman Earth One Volume Two here: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/31/superman-earth-one-volume-2-review

Doesn't sound very good.

Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 is one of the best Superman comic books I've read in a long time. IGN's reviews are garbage.

I gotta agree that IGN reviews are garbage. Earth One Vol.2 has become one of my favorite stories about Superman. Mostly due to the fact that he's not constantly thinking about Lois Lane. In fact for most of the issue it seems like he doesn't even notice her. I've only really read IGN reviews for video games and they seem extremely biased. Only liking the popular games and calling crap every other game.

Totally agree. Earth One Vol.2 is great. Don't listen to IGN, Comicvine is infinitely better at reviews than IGN and Giantbomb and Gamespot are just leagues above IGN in terms of video game coverage.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Capullo is simply awesome in his art style...the team up of him and Snyder on Batman is probably comics' greatest creator team-up since Claremont-Lee in my opinion.

Posted by Om1kron

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

Capullo is simply awesome in his art style...the team up of him and Snyder on Batman is probably comics' greatest creator team-up since Claremont-Lee in my opinion.

you have a good opinion.

Posted by RoTheKid

Great interview! Thanks, Tony. :)

Posted by Stormbox

Awesome interview!!

Posted by kal-el09

I love the Batman #15 panel! It's awesome to see jason with the family again!

Posted by THEBATFoE

Awwww can someone please tell me whats happening to Alfred? D: And why it looks like Red Robin is smiling about it... is he dead? AHHHHH I NEED TO CATCH UP ON THIS STUFF!! Some one alert me- not sure if the comics out yet though...

Posted by Jawshco

I know that Earth One Superman was discussed in the Podcast, and the podcasts do highlight a lot more titles than the articles alone could. I think they base their energy on comics that get the most attention from readers on this site and Batman is very popular.

But it's unfair to call them Batman Vine when they spend so much time on Spider-man, X-titles, Avengers, Justice League, Flash, Green Lantern, I, Vampire, etc.