Brandon T. Snider is the author of best selling “The Dark Knight Manual”, also one of my favorite Batman books. It has recently been featured in Entertainment Weekly, Time, Forbes and Wired. Brandon has also done writing for Comedy Central’s “Come Inside with Amy Schumer” and contributed humor to the Huffington Post. Media Mikes had a chance to ask Brandon a few questions about his new book and his favorite comic characters.
Mike Gencarelli: What was your biggest challenge with your book “The Dark Knight Manual”?
Brandon T. Snider: The deadlines were quite challenging, actually! The turnaround was very quick so I didn’t have a ton of time to second guess myself and the direction we ultimately went in. At first I approached the material with a slightly more personal take but it was decided to make it more cut and dry so I had to rethink how I wanted to do it and plow ahead. I wrote it in about a month which was kind of insane. I usually like writing something, taking a breather and then returning with fresh eyes. In this case I had to finish parts and then get them in quickly while wading through the material for the next part. And somehow it all came together in the end.
MG: The design of the book literally feels like a pop-up manual for the series, why did you decide that route for the book?
BTS: That format was already in place before I signed on. Insight Editions has cornered the market on cool, coffee table-sized booksthat are filled with fold outs and fun stuff. I was approached to write the book based on my previous experiences with my editor Chris Cerasi. As far as the interactive features, I wasn’t as involved in their selection but I did give suggestions based on the material I included. Process-wise we decided early on what weapons and characters to feature and then the designer, Jon Glick, would pull the appropriate artwork and create the beautiful visuals. Christopher Nolan and his team had a true vision for Batman and his world and thankfully we were able to incorporate the best pieces of that vision into the book.
MG: How much research did you have to do in order to complete this book?
BTS: I did a fair amount of research but I never strayed from what was established in the Nolan trilogy. I didn’t use the comic books or any other version of Batman than the one you’ve seen in the recent films. My main resources were Batman Begins and The Dark Knight which I watched more times than I can count. For each viewing I’d look for different things; broad themes, embellishments and sometimes just straight up information. I wanted the entirety of the films to inform my work so it was important for me to absorb as much as I could. I had ancillary resources for the more specific details and incorporated real world factoids to enhance the idea that much of Batman’s arsenal is rooted in established technology.
MG: Based on your work, is it safe to say that you are DC Comics fan over Marvel?
BTS: I don’t think it is safe to say that, my good man! I’ve not yet had a chance to work with many Marvel characters as of yet. Had I the chance, I might just take it as I think they have a great stable ofproperties. Don’t get me wrong, I love DC Comics characters. Hopefully more opportunities will come my way to do stuff with them in the near future but that’s not for me to decide. And, truth be told, I think the Marvel and DC universes are quite different. I know fans love to compare the two but the reason they’ve both been so successful are because they’re not like one another. There are parallels but overall their mythologies are unique. It sounds diplomatic but it’s true.
MG: Who would you say is your favorite superhero/villain?
BTS: I’ve always had a soft spot for Lex Luthor and I love all the versions of him; the mad scientists, the jerk capitalist and everything in between. A man with unlimited money and resources who chooses to pursue the selfish agenda of destroying the one person who he believes is a spotlight-stealing fraud? I mean…that’s pretty great. And the parallels to politics that can be drawn fascinate and scare me.
MG: Who would be your dream character to do a book on?
BTS: I suppose my answer depends on the type of book but in general terms I’d love to write a Justice League story. If we’re talking about a manual-style book I think there’s a lot of potential in Superman’s world for that type of informational ledger.
MG: What do you have planned next after “The Dark Knight Manual”?
BTS: I recently worked as a staff writer on a Comedy Central pilot that just got picked up and stars comedian Amy Schumer. I’m also working on a few books for Harper Collins featuring The Annoying Orange. Everything else is too soon to talk about but I’m lucky to have been given a range of opportunities in my writing career and I hope to continue working on as many diverse projects as I can get my hands on.