This month, Guggenheim’s brand new comic book series “Halcyon” hit shelves, and just like “Resurrection,” it also deals with the aftermath of some big events in the world. Guggenheim’s first co-writing project with his wife, “Halcyon” explores the question of what the world’s superheroes do when the battle for truth, justice, and everything else, well… ends.
I spoke to Guggenheim last month to get some background on “Halcyon,” to find out whether there’s also a movie in the works for this new title, and to get a status report on the “Resurrection” movie.
MTV NEWS: You’ve got a great one-line pitch for “Halcyon” (“What happens when the never-ending battle for truth and justice ends?”), so tell me how the project came about… How did you and your wife come up with the series?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: We saw the “Watchmen” movie, and when we walked out of the theater, she said, “You know, the part of the movie that really interested me the most was the end, and I want to see what’s going to happen to these characters once the world becomes sort of perfect.” We riffed a bit and wondered what would happen if, say, Rorschach lived and the world is suddenly an okay place. What does a character like him have to do anymore? What if you get a character like Spider-Man, whose whole life has been about responsibility, and that responsibility is now lifted from him?
MTV: Okay, so once you have a basic theme for a project, whether it’s comics or movies or television, what’s the first step when it comes time to create brand new characters?
GUGGENHEIM: The first step is servicing the story, which for “Halcyon” involved this world where suddenly there is going to be no more war and crime or violence. Who are the types of characters, the superhero paradigms, that would be most effective? I knew I wanted to have an urban vigilante like a Rorschach, Batman, or Punisher — a character whose whole life has been about fighting crime. I knew I wanted a character who had the weight of the entire world on his or her shoulders and would feel that burden alleviated. I wanted a character who could have been something other than a superhero, but never really got the chance to pursue something new. So we started with these paradigms, and then as we discussed them, we figured out ways to keep the urban vigilante from being a Batman clone or a Punisher clone, and how to give these characters their own unique perspectives.
[“Halcyon” artist] Ryan Bodenheim actually suggested a character to us, too. He asked, “What about one of the chimps that was launched into outer space, back when we were experimenting with rockets? What if they cybernetically enhanced the chimp and he became super-intelligent?”
MTV: A super-intelligent, cyborg monkey? That’s like printing money, man…
GUGGENHEIM: [Laughs] I wanted an acrobatic kind of character, and that’s where the monkey came from. This is how it all works: you work with your collaborators and everyone throws around ideas, and you end up with a cybernetic monkey. And it’s f—ing awesome.
MTV: Well, you’ve done so much work in the television and movie world, so you have to always be thinking about a project’s viability in other media. Does “Halcyon” have some movie or TV potential in your mind?
GUGGENHEIM: This is the only the second creator-owned book I’ve done — the first being “Resurrection” — and my attitude is always the same: if [an adaptation] happens, that’s wonderful, as long as it’s good. As long as the comic book is good, and the eventual TV show is good, and as long as the quality is there, I definitely think this could make for a phenomenal movie. Some people have read the first couple of scripts and told me “This could be a TV show,” so I don’t know… It’s like having a kid. You just want the kid to turn out well. If the kid turns out to be the President of the United States, that’s great — that’s icing on the cake. But I’m raising the kid right now, and I’m not so much worried about what’s he’s going to do in later life.
MTV: You mentioned “Resurrection,” so what’s the latest on the movie?
GUGGENHEIM: Actually, an A-list Hollywood director just expressed interest in it, which is really nice. I’ve been working with him and he’s fantastic, he totally gets the project. That’s really exciting, because we’ve been in development for a number of years now. We’ve dealt with a whole host of people and some people have really gotten it and other people have not gotten it at all. Some people have been like, “Do the aliens have to leave the planet?” That’s like doing Batman but his parents don’t die and he doesn’t dress up as a bat. “Resurrection” is continuing to be in progress, and again, it’s all about “I just don’t want to make it, I want to make it right and I want to make it good.”
MTV: Have you finished the screenplay?
GUGGENHEIM: No. Basically, the story is all broken out, and for me, that’s the most time-consuming part. Writing the actual script doesn’t take very long. We’ll see what happens. The last thing I want is some alien invasion movie that just has the name “Resurrection” but no resemblance whatsoever to the comic.
MTV: There’s a new TV series coming out called “Falling Skies” that follows a bunch of survivors after an alien invasion — is there any concern there that you’re treading the same water with “Resurrection”?
GUGGENHEIM: Ever since “Resurrection” came out, there have been a number of projects in development that certainly bear similarities. From what I understand about “Falling Skies,” the aliens haven’t left, so we’re not exactly infringing on each other’s territory. But it definitely has those same similar elements. It’s funny, because “Resurrection” actually has similar elements to “The Walking Dead,” if anything.
“Halcyon” #1 is on shelves now from Image Comics. “Resurrection” is available in collected form from Oni Press.