A few weeks ago at San Diego Comic-Con, I had the awesome opportunity to interview Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, about their upcoming series Talon, which launches in September from DC. Scott is the bestselling writer of books like American Vampire, Batman, Detective Comics, and Swamp Thing. James has co-written books with Scott, such as last May’s Batman Annual #1, and has written back-ups for both Batman and Detective Comics.
Talon branches out from Scott’s epic Batman story, “The Court of Owls,” which wrapped last month. It introduces Calvin Rose, the only Talon assassin to ever escape the thrall of the Court, as he tries to defeat them once and for all. James is handling major writing duties on the book, with Scott serving as co-plotter. Let’s see what they had to say:
UTF: So, James and Scott, first, how is Comic-Con treating you today?
James: It’s been great. Last year I was here as a fan and this year I’m here as a professional. I can’t even process everything that’s been happening. And now we’re reaching the end of the weekend. It’s incredible. It really is.
Scott: Yeah, and for me it’s just great to get out and see the fans, man. This is my third one as a creator, as a professional. And, you know, you work in a vacuum with comics, where you’re just sort of isolated, so to get out and see the people who read the books and love the characters is just a real joy.
UTF: Great! Talking about Talon, I know that DC wanted to keep the Court [of Owls] alive, and I know that, James, you were Scott’s student, but how did you get connected to this storyline?
James: Well, Scott brought me on board Batman, the main title, with the back-ups, starting in issue #8, just to help out, and help flesh out the story of Court of Owls. So when they started talking about the possibility of creating a Talon series, I was sort of there to have the little light bulb moment, really start coming up with something that I felt could explore the history of the Court of Owls in a way that we hadn’t just seen in Batman. So it was kind of right-place-right-time and then I had the pitch that Scott really liked, thankfully, and then we sent it over to Mike Marts in the Batman offices and it really started going from there. It’s been a whirlwind few months.
James: Thanks, man.
UTF: Talon is an ongoing book, I believe.
UTF: So, obviously, Calvin’s main adversary is the Court of Owls, but will he be facing off against anyone else?
Scott: Well, we really wanted to make it a book, and I know James was very invested in having it be a book that could stand on its own, and not be something that relied on the Bat mythology, so he said before that, even though we’re both sure that Batman is going to make his opinion known on what it’s like to have a Talon running around in Gotham, we want it to be a book that really has a life of its own and is completely singular and individuated from the other Bat books, so you might see it down the line, and we have ideas for it, but for the beginning story, it really is just about Calvin, the Court, and their really terrifying history in Gotham and their reach all over the DCU.
James: And I think that the Court of Owls is going to have a tremendous impact on this book and we’re going to be exploring their history and a lot of that, but, you know, we are building a character that we want to last for years to come, so there are villains, I’m sure, down the line that are going to be totally new and different. We want this to be a character that isn’t facing the Court of Owls forever, but our first big story is dealing with the history of the Court of Owls and a bunch of new, cool revelations that we haven’t seen before.
UTF: You actually kind of addressed one of my questions already when you said Batman would have some influence in this book. So it is considered one of the Bat books, but it’s not too closely related.
James: Sort of a cousin, not a sibling.
Scott: Yeah, it’s a Gotham book, but I wouldn’t say it’s a Bat book.
UTF: And, for example, the Joker won’t be…
Scott: No, no.
(Joker plays a major role in an upcoming Batman arc, “Death of the Family,“which will cross over into several other Bat books.)
UTF: Yeah, I wouldn’t think so. With the Court as a villain, part of what made them so terrifying in Batman, was that they’re kind of a faceless entity, and the masks even reiterate that. Will we see a more specific villain, or face of the Court?
James: There is a major villain, a nemesis to our main character, who’s going to show up in the first few issues. I don’t want to give away too much about him. He is connected to the Court and there is a really cool history there that I’m really excited to see, but we’re very conscious of the fact that part of what makes the Court so great is their facelessness, and just their creepiness. You don’t want to go and show a board meeting where they’re talking about their annual funding. We want to keep them as scary as possible and we know it’s a fine line and we’ve been talking about it for months, on how to keep them the scary, incredible villains that Scott created last year.
UTF: So this will largely keep the same tone?
Scott: Yeah. The Court is still the Court that you knew, and we want to be very careful about unmasking them, but the history, I think, that James is unmasking, and the new, terrifying characters that he’s introducing -especially one that I can’t wait for you guys to see- that belong to the Court, or that are affiliated with the Court, are things that I think will give them a whole new dimension that I think you’ll be excited about.
UTF: Okay. Because Guillem March’s work –I hope I said his name right, I just learned [the pronunciation]–
James: Yeah, yeah.
UTF: -kind of has a tongue-in-cheek quality to it, maybe, so how does that connect?
James: He has a certain style that, on Catwoman, is very bombastic and sexy, but obviously this is a different type of book. If you look at his work on Azrael from a few years ago you’ll see the big, crazy action and dark gritty tone that he’s exploring in this series. I’ve been getting pages in, actually, all weekend and they’re incredible. I think people are going to be really thrilled when they see it.
UTF: So it sounds pretty great. Last question: convention’s almost over. What are you working on, when you go in, Monday morning?
James: Next issue of Talon. I finished a draft and I need to polish it up and get it ready for the artist.
Scott: Yeah, and I’m gonna have the Joker kill some more people.
UTF: Awesome. Thank you very much.
James: You’re welcome.
There you have it, the low-down on Talon. The book debuts September 26, as part of DC’s “Zero Month.” Scott’s awesome summer miniseries, American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares, is currently on the shelves, as are Swamp Thing #12 and Animal Man #12, which kick-off the “Rotworld” crossover and which Scott co-wrote with Jeff Lemire. James contributed a beautiful and very creepy back-up to last Wednesday’s Detective Comics #12. It serves as a prelude to the Joker’s return in the “Death of the Family” story beginning October’s Batman #13.
What do you think? Are you interested in Talon? Let us know, and always check back with Unleash the Fanboy for the latest comics news.