(USA Today) -- Batman fans are going to see more of Gotham City than ever before next year.
Launching in the spring, the DC Comics weekly series Batman: Eternal features a talented creative team and a year-long run of issues that will alter the status quo for the Dark Knight and his hometown, according to series "showrunner" and Batman scribe Scott Snyder.
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"It's a place for me to be able to work with good friends in terms of shaping Gotham in a bigger, grander and more game-changing way than ever before," says Snyder, who's working on the Eternal project with artist Jason Fabok (Detective Comics) and a revolving crew of Bat-writers including James Tynion IV (Talon), John Layman (Detective Comics), Ray Fawkes (Justice League Dark) and Tim Seeley (Revival).
And with the 75th anniversary of Batman being celebrated in 2014, Snyder promises, "we're gonna give you the biggest, craziest and most fun stuff we've done on the book and in the world of Gotham."
In addition to Eternal and the flagship Batman series, Snyder is contributing a tale for the massive, 96-page Detective Comics No. 27, out Jan. 8. The issue, a nod to the original Detective 27 that introduced the world to Batman in 1939, showcases an all-star lineup including writers Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Gregg Hurwitz and Peter Tomasi and illustrators Neal Adams, Dustin Nguyen and Francesco Francavilla.
Plus, Adams, Jim Lee, Batman series artist Greg Capullo, Chris Burnham, Kelley Jones, Patrick Gleason and Mike Allred are among those drawing covers for the issue. It also begins Layman and Fabok's final story line, "Gothtopia," before the new Detective creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato begin their run in the spring.
Snyder, who will be on hand for DC's special Batman panel at New York Comic Con on Friday, will be doing a speculative Dark Knight story for the first time in the Detective issue. His chapter with artist Sean Murphy, Snyder's co-creator on The Wake, is a "prophetic vision" of the epic tale he's been doing in Batman for two years, the writer says. "While it's way in the future and it has sci-fi elements, it echoes back to the run we're doing now."
He's also psyched about sharing a comic with Frank Miller, the man behind the seminal "Batman: Year One" story arc and The Dark Knight Returns series in the 1980s who's drawing a two-page spread for Detective No. 27.
"He's still that guy who if I could meet him, I have a whole paragraph in in my mind: 'This is why you matter so much to me ...' Hopefully one day. His Batman stuff is just untouchable," Snyder says.
The same could be said about Snyder these days. Since he and Capullo relaunched Batman in September 2011, the book has consistently been in the top five best-selling comics every month, according to Diamond Comic Distributors, and has made Snyder a fan favorite and trusted Bat-scribe.
A weekly Batman series makes sense financially for DC in an era of readers ravenous for all things Dark Knight. But from a creative standpoint, Snyder says Eternal was appealing because it involves working with writers he admires for arcs "that set the stage for a new Gotham and new characters and a new set of stories that will take Batman into 2015."
Snyder and Tynion will be co-writing the first story arc that lays the groundwork for the expansive Eternal series, exploring hidden corners of Gotham not seen often in comics. "You'll see some humongous newsworthy stuff in it, I promise," Snyder says.
The story lines will also move toward an increasingly bigger story and set the stage for when Snyder moves back to the present after his current "Zero Year" story line in Batman - an origin tale set six years in the past - wraps up next year.
"We want this to be a place where you get to tell a story about anything you want in Gotham, so long as we're also moving this big story forward in the background," Snyder explains.
"You'll see bombastic arcs as well but there'll be plenty of room for Ray to explore some of the darker, more mystical aspects of Gotham that he loves or Tim to explore some of the crime we haven't seen before."
Snyder feels that between the five writers, they cover a lot of ground.
He's planned out a lot of the large machinations for Eternal with Tynion, a "great world builder" who's "just got this incredible expansive mind," Snyder says. "He loves taking the characters who see things from a different angle like Harper Row or the whole supporting cast of Talon, and showing events through their eyes."
Seeley is a deeply character-driven writer and "brings the humanistic stories to the table for us about the people living in Gotham and their reactions to the huge things happening in the series," Snyder says. And Layman offers exuberance for Batman's resident supervillains as well as a strong sense of imagination. "He's always up for a really fun, out-of-control story."
Fawkes is planning an Eternal arc where something very dark comes to Gotham, according to Snyder, and as a lover of the occult and the supernatural, Fawkes has "a really, really great sense of the macabre angle of Gotham - the tragic, haunting elements of the city really come to life in his hands."
Eternal will be similar to comics such as Gotham Central that feature a variety of peripheral characters and the city's more infamous residents, but Snyder insists that the Caped Crusader will be front and center in the massive story, too.
"We're five guys doing our best to give you an exciting Gotham that's changing under the feet of its characters."