With the release of BATMAN #17 and the conclusion to the Death of the Family story arc, Batman and the Joker seem to be what everyone is talking about lately. Earlier today we posted an interview with BATMAN writer Scott Snyder. In it, Snyder discussed the story, what it was like pushing Batman to the limit and also, what he has in store next for the Caped Crusader. However, Snyder wasn't the only man behind Death of the Family: artist Greg Capullo played a huge part in the creation of this story, too. We recently caught up with Greg and asked him to reflect on his work in Death of the Family.
Comic Vine: This Death of the Family arc has been a long time coming, and it's obvious that Scott has pushed the envelope quite a bit. What has the experience and the journey been like for you?
Greg Capullo: The experience and the journey are always the same--FUN! There are always new puzzles to solve artistically and challenges of how best to approach a particular scene. There are many different ways to direct any given story and DOTF was no different. Finding the right frames to compliment Scott's vision, making it look cool for the reader... I love my job and I love working with brother Scott.
CV: If you could choose any one moment from 'Death of the Family' that was the most difficult for you to draw, what would it be?
GC: The most difficult, by far, was the tattooed human tapestry. How to order the bodies to make clear that they were bodies, while hiding any naughty bits. ...Because a boob or a butt is way more offensive than stitched together bodies. Ha! Seriously, the strategic placement of the bodies, and the ink was a daunting task.== TEASER ==
CV: You've mentioned that the way you and Scott work together is he provides you a script with the beats but he doesn't tell you how many panels he wants or what to put in those panels. Can you describe the process of how you lay out the story? Do you storyboard first, or do you simply dive into it head first?
GC: When I took over Batman, I was a little nervous early on. I really didn't want to disappoint. For the first time in my career, I did thumbnails for my own work, enlarged them, light boxed them onto the boards and drew them. I still feel that was the best approach for issue five. However, since that point, I've resumed doing the breakdowns on the boards themselves. I only do thumbs if it's a really tough scene. It's all about time. I work way too many hours and I don't need the extra steps.
CV: You will be taking a brief hiatus off the book for two issues and return to the series in May for BATMAN #20. According to the recently released solicit, Batman will encounter a "strange visitor" in Gotham City. Is there anything you can tell us about this stranger or the subsequent team-up?
GC: Actually, I've only taken off one issue. I'm back in the drivers seat on issue 19. The only opportunity for me to ever break is between arcs. Issue 18 was one of those moments. Plus, I don't think DC will allow me to take two in a row off! And, that's fine with me. I'd lose my mind.
As for the "strange visitor"; could be anybody. I'll never tell.
CV: The cover for issue #20 is pretty interesting: on it we see Batman fighting in what appears to be a lot of mud. Is this a metaphor for something we'll be seeing in this issue? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
GC: I loved Frank Miller's DKR. It was my homage to the awesome fight Batman had with the gang leader! Nothing too deep.
CV: Speaking of covers, some of yours for BATMAN have been pretty incredible. Do you usually illustrate the interiors first, or the cover? Is it difficult to come up with a cover that is unique but also encompasses the story in the issue?
GC: I'm happy to hear how much you've enjoyed some of my cover art! Thank you!
I usually [complete] the covers ahead of the story because they're needed for solicitation. I talk story with brother Scott and what we could do for the cover. He will usually spits out a couple ideas which I use to inspire me. Cover #2 was Scott's idea which I executed. But, mostly, I try to encapsulate the essence of what he's told me into a simple, hopefully iconic, image.
CV: Do you think you will ever want to stop illustrating BATMAN?
GC: Well, of course. But, I'll be pounding the pavement in Gotham for quite a long time.
CV: What was your favorite comic ever to draw?
GC: You know, I've wanted to draw comics since I was eight. So, I'm just thrilled to be living my dream! So, picking one as a favorite is really tough. There are many highlights, including the first comic I ever had published! But, if a gun was put to my head and the choices were narrowed to my current run on Batman... I'm still pretty happy with issue 5.
What did you think of the Death of the Family story arc? Do you like what happened between Batman and the Joker, or were you expecting something more? Did you read BATMAN #17? Do you like Capullo's work on the series? Let us know in the comments below.