While Marc Guggenheim is probably best known to comic book fans as an executive producer for the DC Comics-based “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” television shows, his love of comic books dates back to his time as a Marvel intern in 1990. Along with bringing superheroes to the small screen, Guggenheim has written comics starring Spider-Man, Wolverine, Superman and The Flash. His latest comic book project, though, stars an original character that was “legendary” from the moment he debuted.
Last fall, Guggenheim and fan favourite artist Freddie E. Williams II launched “The Infinite Adventures of Jonas Quantum” for Legendary Comics, which follows the adventures of a maverick hyper-genius that uses his infinite intelligence to manage planet-changing problems — yet he struggles with interpersonal relationships.
Guggenheim shared insight into Jonas’ new adventure, which features a back-to-front story that echoes the Christopher Nolan film “Memento,” and teased what’s to come next month in “The Infinite Adventures of Jonas Quantum” #6, which will serve as the series’ “first season” finale.
CBR News: “The Infinite Adventures of Jonas Quantum” #5 unfolds in reverse order, akin to the film “Memento.” You have written hundreds of comics over the years, but this one must have taken some time to get your head wrapped around.
Marc Guggenheim: It definitely did. This is an idea that I’ve had for a long time. I’ve always thought that comic books are particularly amenable to restructuring in this reverse unfolding style like “Memento” did, especially since, unlike “Memento” where you need a special DVD cut of the movie to see it in proper order, you can actually pick up a copy of “Jonas Quantum” #5 and read it in any order you want. All that said, yes, it was rather time consuming to write this one and also a lot of fun. Probably more than just writing it, there was a fair amount of work to be done in terms of making sure the script actually worked as a comic book. I went through the lettering in far greater detail and far more often than I normally would. I took great pains to make sure that you could read the issue either backwards or forwards.
Is this also the first comic you’ve written in which a decapitation plays such a central role?
Yes, I think. [Laughs] The decapitation was actually Freddie’s idea. Originally, [Jonas’ robot companion] Eve was injured and left behind but Freddie pitched the decapitation, which was not only fun and cool but it also solved the problem of how does Jonas — spoiler alert — get Eve out of the situation once the story is over.
Are we going to learn more about the Catspaw moving forward or is it basically a MacGuffin for this one issue?
At the moment, the Catspaw is a MacGuffin for this one issue but one of things that I think that you will see with “Jonas Quantum” #6 is that even thought the first five issue were all done-in-ones, I have carefully laid in little characters and concepts throughout the first five issues that all lead up to a big payoff in “Jonas Quantum” #6.
Time unfolding in reverse? Pocket realities? Are we talking hard science? Do you think these types of events are actually a possibility?
That’s a great question. I was an English major so I don’t think I am entirely the right person qualified to answer that question. That said, I do enjoy reading about science and I particularly enjoy reading science fiction, and one of the goals that I had in co-creating “Jonas Quantum” was to push the envelope in terms of crazy science and sci-fi ideas. I wanted each issue to be chock full of new and crazy notions with as many as I could ground in actual science.
After reading “Jonas Quantum,” I have to ask: what’s the difference between a bad situation and an ‘un-good’ situation?
[Laughs] I think you are referring to one of my dialog affectations that this series is actually chock full of. I would say as a writer, there are just certain turns of phrase that I am particularly enamored with and the idea of an ‘un-good’ situation was intriguing to me.
When Legendary makes its first Jonas Quantum movie — fingers crossed — who would be the right man for the role: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt?
From your article to God’s ears, any of the three would be amazing. Matt Damon is probably the most obvious choice of those three but that said, Brad Pitt has not done a comic book movie yet and I think it’s practically a SAG requirement that all A-list movie stars do at least one. And I think Brad would be a really, really interesting choice.
I know you said, these are basically done-in-ones but the solicitation for the first “season finale” has really piqued my interest. Jonas has faced countless external threats, but he is about to face a mystery that even his intellect can’t unravel. What can you tease about what he is up against in the season finale?
Like I said, the season finale is a culmination of a lot of different ideas and characters that have been thread through the first five issues. He’s probably up against the greatest threat that he has faced in the series thus far. It was really important to me to up the ante and raise the stakes and I think I can say without spoiling anything that it’s not just our reality that’s in jeopardy but all of the infinite realities that we’ve established in the series.
Are we going to see a “second season”?
Freddie and I are speaking about that as we speak. As with most things, it will depend mostly on my workload and Freddie’s workload because I certainly wouldn’t dream of doing this without him.
“The Infinite Adventures of Jonas Quantum” #5 by Marc Guggenheim and Freddie E. Williams II is available now. Issue #6 arrives on February 24.