Marc Guggenheim, an executive producer for “No Ordinary Family,” which premieres on ABC this fall, and a screenwriter for the 2011 feature film “Green Lantern,” hears the purists wail about the Hollywoodization of Comic-Con International, but he has a different take. He was interviewed by Hero Complex contributor Nicky Loomis.
NL: What do you say to old-school souls who complain about the changing ethos of Comic-Con?
MG: There are a lot of positives about it. Every year it gets bigger. I sort of feel like it’s like worrying about the weather. There’s no going back. The genie is out of the bottle. I think that Comic-Con has been more about pop culture anyway — I like to call it Omni-Con.
NL: How has Hollywood’s presence at Comic-Con affected the comic book creative community?
MG: One, I think that it’s been really good for comic book artists. Artists are being seen on a much wider scale. Number two, comic books have hugely benefited from the respectability from the interest that Hollywood has generated. And three, by Hollywood coming and looking at comic book properties, some of which are very obscure, you have an opportunity to give struggling artists a chance to get their economic benefit.
NL: What is it like to be a comic book writer or artist in the current climate?
MG: No one who works in comics does it for the money. What you really do it for is for the love of the game. That is definitely true for the artists. It just takes longer to draw a comic than to write a comic. The artists can only draw one book a month. They don’t have the time to supplement their income in other ways; they’re constantly struggling to meet deadlines. Comic-Con gives them an opportunity to have their artwork seen by agents, producers, studio executives, and have those projects be optioned. You have a new potential revenue stream.
NL: You seem to be at the center of the synergy between Hollywood and the comics world.
MG: I’ve definitely benefited from having a foot in both worlds. My Hollywood experience is what opened doors for me in comic books. I wrote the “Flash” comic book and now I’m working on the movie … there’s a fanboy wish fulfillment.
NL: Comic book sales are flat, but the characters have never been more dynamic in pop culture as a whole. What should we take away from that?
MG: It’s great for comic books that they are moving into the mainstream of culture. That there is a “Green Lantern” movie coming out is a testament not only to the character of the comic, but also a testament that the mainstream entertainment industry is embracing what was kind of an embarrassment when I was growing up. Comic books were considered just for kids — myself and many comic book fans, we were embarrassed to be reading them. We’ve graduated and grown up. Not only is it not embarrassing, but it’s driving huge segments of pop culture.
– Nicky Loomis
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