This Week

Scott Pilgrim sought and found

Dec 10, 2007

Marc Guggenheim Interview Part Two

Marc Guggenheim was good enough to give us the inside word on a LOT of stuff--so here is part two of Kat Bittner's interview, wherein she discusses his other comic book work, including stuff coming soon!

BPD: Given in your infamous run in the "Vendetta" storyline with Wolverine surviving a ground zero detonation from Nitro not to mention a plane crash and a thousand foot free fall-- you don’t seem to have a problem covering Logan as mega-powerful.

Did you create the last year of the "Resurrection" story as a response criticism of that take?

MG: I don’t write in response to criticism. I think that’s sort of a fool’s errand. As far as people reacting to "Vendetta" that way, they probably won’t like or maybe they will love my next arc on Wolverine where in the first issue Wolverine swallows a bomb.

BPD: You hinted at the end of your run on Blade that we might see some more Blade-centric material from you in the future. Specifically involving Blade’s old partners.

MG: I don’t know if I would call it Blade-centric as more Blade involved. There’s two different projects I’m working on right now where Blade will appear and play a part. I grew very fond of the character in writing him for a year. I still hope to get another bite of the apple with him one day as a regular series for time being I’m taking little hits at him through these other projects (unfortunately attempts to probe deeper provoked finger wagging from Blade’s mother).

BPD: Why did Howard Chaykin change Blade to look less like Wesley Snipes and more like Billy Dee Williams?

MG: I can’t speak to the why of it. He just told me he was going to start playing around with the look and I said okay. He did so slowly and subtly that even though I was informed of that he was going to be doing, I didn’t even fully appreciate it until we flash back to that panel from issue two. Then you can see over the course of a year he really changed his look.

I kind of liked it--it felt very real to me, like in a television show when they rerun the season premiere at the end of the season, and you go "OMG that actor changed his hairstyle!" It was very much like that. It felt like Blade changed his appearance the way we all do, that it happens so slowly that you’re not conscious of it.

BPD: How did being an attorney influence your coverage of Punisher and Law and Order?

MG: In the case of the Punisher story, it's set in a courtroom. It’s all about the Punisher moving through the legal system. I was drawing very heavily on my background as an attorney and on my experience writing in Law and Order.

Except for rare instances where my characters intersect with the legal system, my experiences as an attorney really comes more to bear in terms of my ability to write fast. As an attorney you write a 75 page brief in a night. You learn the hard way to write well and to write fast. In many ways being a lawyer is like being in boot camp for writers.

BPD: You were on Flash for five issues. Do you think Bart will come back?

MG: I do, but in the same way that everyone will come back eventually. I think he ultimately will. It would be great to write him again one day.

BPD: Would it be more in the Impulse/Kid Flash mode or in the more "I’m growing up gotta get serious about life" mode?

MG: I think that commercially it would probably be better and more successful to bring him back as Impulse or Kid Flash, because that seems to be the version of the character that everyone seems really fond of.

Off the top of my head, I think there might be something really interesting in writing a guy who started out as this ne’er-do-well, devil may care kid who dies and comes back to life. How does that experience affect his ability to be impulsive? [We could] explore the real human emotion of that.

The truth is, that’s the tricky part of bringing characters back to life. That’s something that Geoff Jones does extraordinarily well. When he brought Hal Jordan back, he brought back the essence of the character without all the baggage he'd picked up over the years. I think that’s probably the way to go. It’s so hard to speak hypothetically, that’s certainly seems to work the best in terms of what fans are looking for.

BPD: Historically Flash has been one of the more light hearted upbeat characters.
MG: That sort of goes with a character who’s fast. If you’re writing a character who’s fast but they seem to be weighed down by all these emotions, there’s an inherent incongruity there.

BPD: Are you afraid of ever getting caught up in one of those gigantic mega-crossovers? You know, like getting a two sentence summary and they say "Go write this."

MG: I don’t write it. That’s the reality of writing comics these days. The reason why I love writing so much. I look at everything like it’s a challenge, a puzzle to solve that would be an interesting challenge to solve.

Since I’ve been reading comics all my life by the time I broke into as a writer I’ve developed this list of pet peeves as a reader, things that I promised myself I would address or at least avoid in my own writing. One of my pet peeves is when you have the big crossovers and the tie-ins are really trade dress only. That’s what I would really not want to do. If I was faced with "you have to be involved in this crossover," the trick is being involved without sounding out myself. I always approached it as an interesting problem to solve. Also I love writing comics so any problem to solve is a quality problem by definition.

BPD: Any future projects?

MG: I’m working on a TV show right now called Eli Stone, that I’m very involved in and very passionate about. It’s got elements of science fiction. We have more visual effects shots in our pilot than Heroes did, yet it’s not traditional sci-fi. It’s more spiritual, more metaphysical than your traditional science fiction. It’s about a lawyer who may be a modern day prophet. It’s a lot of fun. It’s got comedy and drama and law and musical numbers and visual effects and it’s one of those original pieces that people will absolutely love or absolutely hate. I think they’ll love cause it’s got a lot of heart to it.

BPD: Who’s in the cast?

MG: We have a great cast. They are the reason the show is fun to write because you can’t wait to see the actors deliver these lines. Jonny Lee Miller is our lead; he was in Trainspotting. Natasha Henstridge, Julie Gonzalo from Veronica Mars, Victor Garber from Alias, Loretta Divine, Sam Jaeger from Catch and Release, Tom Amandes from Everwood. There are lots of great people on this show.

BPD: What network is it gonna be on?

MG: ABC. The trailer is up on YouTube and the ABC site.

BPD: Do you have any favorite genre writers?

MG: I’m a big fan of writers who are working in comic books like Brian K. Vaughn. Y the Last Man is my favorite comic book right now.

I like a lot of different forms of SF television and film like Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity. I’ve been really enjoying his comic books lately. He’s an amazing writer. I read his stuff and simultaneously love him and hate him at the simultaneously. There are certain writers I don’t feel in competition with and Joss is definitely one of them.

And course Star Trek and Star Wars. Kind of hard for any male of my generation not to be heavily inspired by it.

BPD would like to thank Marc for his time and courtesy in granting us this terrific interview. Look for Resurrection #1, on sale now, and watch for Eli Stone coming on ABC.

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