BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
Writer Marc Guggenheim
confirmed for THE PULSE
that only one person is walking away from Spider-Man's battle with the terrible Menace. However that's about all he would confirm about the upcoming Character Assassination
storyline. He was tight-lipped about the 30 villains Spider-Man is supposed to go up against, but he did clear the air about a statement about gay marriage that he made in our September interview ....THE PULSE: So much has happened since Brand New Day and the deal Spider-Man made with Mephisto. Does it all seem like a blur to you when you think about the planning stages of this new direction for Spider-Man and where you are with the series now?
Yeah, it's been quite a ride. We had our first summit years ago now and a lot has happened. It's very exciting, however. It's nice to see everything -- all the planning and preparation -- come to fruition. That's very gratifying.THE PULSE: What have been your highlights so far of working with this group on the series? What are your proudest moments so far?
Good question. For me, it's just been a thrill to work with such talented writers and artists. I know that sounds like a meaningless platitude, but from my perspective, I never thought I'd get to work with industry legends like John Romita, Jr., Mark Waid, Barry Kitson... the list goes on. So that's been a real thrill for me. In terms of my personal proudest moment, that would probably by Issue 574 -- the Flash Thompson In Iraq issue.THE PULSE: I know you and the other writers have things planned out for a long time in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, how tough is it to know where everything is leading, but only be able to tease bits and pieces here and there?
It's very tough! It's funny, I was just reading an interview with Ron Moore and I thought, "Wow, this guy is really good at teasing stuff without spoiling stories or ducking the question. I wish I was good that way." It's a very specific skill. One that I don't profess to have.THE PULSE: Solicits have teased in this February's Amazing Spider-Man # 585, "It's Menace versus Spider-Man, and the loser ain't walking away!" So is someone winding up with broken legs here or does that "ain't walking away" mean something more ... permanent?
It's very literal. At the conclusion of 585, either Spider-Man or Menace is unable to walk away from the scene. How's that, Mr. Moore?THE PULSE: With the title of this newest arc, "Character Assassination," that can also be taken a few ways. One would guess Spider-Man's character is the one being assassinated -- especially with the new role Norman Osbourne is playing the Marvel Universe. But what else is that title alluding to in these pages?
The title is intended to evoke politics, being a political term -- character assassination -- and the arc focusing on the outcome of the mayoral campaign subplot we've been weaving through the series ever since Brand New Day started. I also wanted to make it easy on the One More Day haters out there who like having something to make fun of.THE PULSE: What has it been like collaborating with artist John Romita, Jr.?
It's been a dream come true. Seriously. I'm constantly amazed by Johnny's work. It's one thing to be a fan of his as a reader, but when you place yourself in his hands as a writer -- his brilliance takes on this entirely new dimension. I don't think I've ever had such trust in an artist. There's a key moment at the end of the arc where I was going for a very tricky emotional beat. Ordinarily, I'd write some dialogue or narration or something to sell the moment, but with Johnny I didn't think it was necessary. I was like, "I'm putting this moment in your hands. It'll play better 'dry," without dialogue or narration, and I know you can pull it off." With Johnny, you just hand him the ball and know he's going to throw strikes.THE PULSE: I know in the third part of this story, Spider-Man has to go up against a gaggle of his enemies. Who are some of the ones he'll be facing? I'm sure you can't mention everyone, but which ones can you confirm will be in those pages?
Um... believe it or not, I can't confirm any at this point. Sorry.THE PULSE: What have been the biggest challenges you've faced working on this series and also being able to work on your television and film projects? How do you balance your time?
I neglect my wife and kids. I'm joking, but not really. It's hard, balancing everything. Very hard. Particularly on this series, which really needs to run like clockwork to hit a thrice-monthly schedule. I hope I'm doing some good for the reputation of Hollywood writers working in comics and our ability to hit deadlines and not miss shipping. As for how I do it, I honestly don't know. I just stay diligent and focus on getting the work done.THE PULSE: A lot of people took offense at this statement you made in our last interview in September:
"Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage. Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage."
What did you mean by saying this, because there was an uproar with people saying you were anti-gay on Comicon.com's main boards ....
Yes, thanks for that, Jen! ;^) I've never said anything that got so much fallout. Someone even edited my wikipedia page to say that I'm opposed to gay rights. Now, I don't routinely check that page, so I had to find out through a friend of mine -- who happens to be gay -- who brought it to my attention because he knows me and knows that the page didn't correctly reflect my political views. In fact, I defy you to find someone more pro-gay marriage than myself. It's kind of ironic, but I think because of my partnership and friendship with Greg Berlanti, who's openly gay, the internet had been reporting for the longest time that I was gay as well. So in the space of a year, I went from being gay to being anti-gay as far as the internet was concerned. It's been a very confusing time for me. And my wife.
All that having been said, I think what happened was I offended people who are pro-gay marriage but anti-One More Day. I didn't set out to offend anyone, however. I was just making what I thought was an innocent joke. If I'm guilty of anything, I think, it's that I'm constantly underestimating the very strong feelings people still have about OMD. Clearly, people aren't ready to find the humor in the controversy, even though it's over a year old at this point. Obviously, I'm sorry if I offended anyone, particularly anyone who shares my feelings on the issue of gay marriage. I'm also sorry if I offended the people who are still bothered by OMD. Everyone deals with controversy differently, and I suppose my strategy -- for better or worse -- has always been to downplay it. I don't mean anyone any disrespect. I'm just a guy trying to make his way in the world, writing stories as best he can. I've been a comic fan much, much longer than I've been a comic writer and I still always approach the characters from that perspective. If you don't like it, I totally get it, but please believe that my heart is in the right place.THE PULSE: Speaking of what people are saying, any more news on the Green Lantern film since we last talked?
Nothing I can report at the moment.THE PULSE: What other projects, in or out of comics are you also working on now?
I'm writing the comic book adaptation of the Stephen King story, N., which Alex Maleev and I already adapted as a mobisode series. It's a lot of fun. I'm enjoying the challenge of reimanging the story for a different medium. I'm also preparing to relaunch my creator-owned series for Oni, Resurrection, and give it the attention it deserves -- monthly shipping, full color publishing, etc. It's very exciting to get a second bite at the apple. Finally, I'm writing a pilot for ABC.
PULSE readers can learn more about Marc Guggenheim at these websites: http://www.legalscribe.nethttp://www.elistonetvshow.com