With DC already announcing that its next big event will kick off in 2010 with the title “War of the Supermen,” it looks to be a big year for Kal-El. I caught up with Guggenheim to get more details on his upcoming debut as the regular writer on one of the industry’s longest-running series, and what he has planned for one of the world’s most popular superheroes.
MTV: With “War of the Supermen” kicking off next year, it seems like there’s going to be a lot going on with the Man of Steel in 2010. Where are you jumping into everything with “Action Comics”?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: Basically, my starting ground is kind of a finish line. … I’ll come in right in the throes of the “War of the Supermen” event, which is this massive crossover that the super titles have been building up to for over a year now.
What this means is, my first issue will coincide with the first month of that event. So, my jumping-off point is like jumping out of an airplane — and hopefully I’ll have a parachute.
MTV: With everything going on in “War of the Supermen,” is the plan for “Action Comics” to offer an alternative to the main “event” book — something a little “quieter” or simpler, maybe? Will “Action Comics” provide the venue for making sense of how the over-arching event specifically affects its main character’s universe, like many regular series tend to do during crossovers?
GUGGENHEIM: I wouldn’t say quieter, but the phrase I keep using is “back to the basics.” I really want “Action” to be pure, classic Superman. For the last year, Superman has been off on New Krypton and it’s been a major change to his status quo. I’m hoping that by the end of the “War of Supermen” event I’ll be able to tell some true and classic Superman stories.
MTV: You say you want to bring Superman “back to basics” — so does that mean we won’t end up with a Man of Steel with new powers or a new costume when all the dust settles?
GUGGENHEIM: I can’t promise the lack of things that may or may not end up at the end of the event, but what I can say is that … even if he got a new costume or superpowers, there’s still an opportunity to tell very quintessential Superman stories. To me, a quintessential Superman story doesn’t rely upon him only having the powers he currently has or the costume he’s currently wearing.
MTV: Looking beyond “War of the Supermen,” what has you most excited about taking the reins of “Action Comics”?
GUGGENHEIM: My main focus is going to be to try to introduce some new villains to Superman’s rogues gallery, because it’s been a while since he’s had some new characters that stuck. I’d like my contribution, at least in the early goings of the book, to be presenting some new villains for him to fight.
GUGGENHEIM: The trick is to not treat him differently from the other characters. Superman comes with so much baggage. You’re not writing a character, you’re writing an icon.
But the trick to telling an effective Superman story is to tell a story about him as a character and not have him be some sort of impenetrable icon. If he’s an impenetrable icon, then I don’t think he’s someone the readers can wrap their arms around. The trick is to approach the character the same way you would The Flash or Aquaman or other characters. Once you put Superman on a pedestal, you run the risk of losing your readership.
MTV: You mentioned wanting to tell quintessential Superman stories. With so many different versions of Superman over the years, how do you envision the quintessential Superman? What’s the version of Superman that’s informing your stories?
GUGGENHEIM: There’s three iterations of Superman that I’m the fondest of. I don’t know if that affection will filter down into my writing or not, but the three depictions I’m most fond of are the Richard Donner “Superman” movies, the John Byrne relaunch, and just to pick a potentially random iteration, I love the way Superman was depicted in the second “Superman vs. Spider-Man” crossover book.
That’s sort of random, but i really enjoyed the way he was portrayed there.
MTV: So, with so many other DC characters under your belt — any cameos we can look forward to?
GUGGENHEIM: I would love to do that. I would love to bring in The Flash, I would love to bring in Batman or Green Lantern. I can’t say I have plans in place right now to do that. My inclination is to be as Superman-centric as possible right now, because the nature of the event is so much bigger than Superman with so many supporting characters. So my inclination is to focus on Superman and his supporting cast.
If the stories coming out of the event call for it, I won’t shy away from it, but I want that to come out organically.
Head over to DC’s The Source blog for more on Marc Guggenheim, Superman and “Action Comics” — and keep an eye on shelves in 2010 for his debut as regular series writer on “Action Comics.”
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