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Exclusive Interview with Marc Guggenheim for ‘Jonas Quantum’ Comic Series

“Arrow” TV showrunning Marc Guggenheim is keeping really busy nowadays.

With a highly successful fourth season of “Arrow” premiering next month and the start of production on TV’s “Legends of Tomorrow,” it’s a wonder on how Guggenheim finds any time to create comic books.

But, he did.

Guggenheim introduces the sci-fi series “The Infinite Adventures of Jonas Quantum” from Legendary Comics. The comic series follow an intellectual Indiana Jones who can create any invention to help humankind.

Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview earlier this month with the writer on this project.

“Jonas Quantum” is out in comic book stores and digital download today.   

Read the interview below.

Latino-Review: Speaking of your busy schedule, I’m curious—why do you want to create a comic book? You have everything on your plate already.

Marc Guggenheim: Did my wife put you up to that question?

Latino-Review: [Laughter] No.

Marc Guggenheim: It’s a great question. It’s totally fair. It’s funny that I’m totally a workaholic. For me, you would think doing “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” that I would had it with all these superheroes. It’s generally true, but Jonas Quantum is not generally a superhero. Also I realized my general love for superheroes is to tell it in comic books. I just love that medium. That’s the answer to your question on why on comic books.

There’s something about the medium of static panels and turning pages. I just have the affection for them. I enjoy telling the stories through them.

Latino-Review: So where did the original idea of Jonas Quantum came from for you?

Marc Guggenheim: It was actually a number of years ago that I was kicking around and musing on the notion about new characters capturing the zeitgeist. I remembered growing up with Indiana Jones like “Oh, wow! Indiana Jones is brand new.” I remembered reading that Indiana Jones is the response to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas response to James Bond.

It just got me thinking on who is the response to Indiana Jones? I started to think more and more about this guy who had this incredible intelligence. I hit that notion on what if that was his superpower. The idea just developed from there.

Latino-Review: So Jonas’ superpower is just super intelligence? That just makes him a genius scientist, right?

Marc Guggenheim: A little bit. It’s just a little more than just a scientist. He’s Steve Jobs on steroids. He’s this incredible inventive force. It’s like Tony Stark on steroids. He just can’t stop inventing things. At the same time, like Indiana Jones, he’s an adventurer. He’s not just content to stay home at the lab. He’s solving problems around the world and in other realities. It’s really an adventure series more than anything.

Latino-Review: So what’s the premise of this story then? It sounds like he’s an intelligent man who is just bored. It doesn’t seem like he has any adversary.

Marc Guggenheim: [Chuckles] I’ll tell you that there are some adversaries. We’re not just telling one story. The series is not serialized. Each individual issue will have its own story. It’ll have its own beginning, middle and end. In each issue, it’ll have its own challenges. It’s not like we’re telling a single story. Every issue will be its own animal.

Latino-Review: Why stop at six issues?

Marc Guggenheim: We probably won’t. We’ll take [a look for more] depending on Freddie Williams’ schedule. What’s nice about this is that there are really no limitations since each issue is its own mini-adventure. We can do this as long as there are desires and an audience to read it.

Latino-Review: It almost sounds like you’re taking the same playbook like your TV shows of “Arrow” by taking everything is an individual episode.

Marc Guggenheim: I don’t think so. “Arrow” is a lot more serialized than Jonas Quantum. Most episodes of “Arrow” has a villain of the week. I think “Arrow” is much more serialized and ongoing than Jonas.

Latino-Review: Absolutely. Just like any superhero, Jonas must have a weakness too. Can you talk about that?

Marc Guggenheim: Yeah, his weakness is his strength. His weakness is his intelligence. Because of the way his mind works, he has a really difficult time interacting with other human beings. That is his tragic flaw.

He could invent all these incredible things, but he is longing for human connection. He has a difficult time in relating to other people. The thing that makes him special also makes him apart from everybody else.

Latino-Review: [Laughter] So basically he’s an introvert is what you’re saying?

Marc Guggenheim: I would say so in a way. To me, an introvert implies being scared. If you went to dinner with him, you wouldn’t know on what to talk about, because he’s not going to talk about the latest movie or the latest pop song. He’s going to talk about the quantum field theory or folding proteins. There are very few people who can play at his level.

Latino-Review: When you were creating this character—a lot of the stuff you’re talking about right now sounds very scientific and complicated—did you personally had to do your own research or you’re a natural genius too?

Marc Guggenheim: [Laughter] I think I’m an expert bullshitter. I could probably say that I have a degree in comic book science.

Latino-Review: [Laughter] I guess that works itself out very well.

Marc Guggenheim: Yeah, it worked out okay for me.

Latino-Review: Could you talk about Freddie Williams and on why he was the perfect artist on this project?

Marc Guggenheim: Freddie and I worked together on this project called, “Justice Society of America.” We really enjoyed working together. I really like on how imaginative his visuals are. Once I told him about this book, he had a million ideas that he came to the table with. So much of the book depends on the idea of him bringing these incredible visuals. The book is really a love letter to the comic book medium. It’s homage to all those comic books I grew up with during the Bronze and Silver Age. So much of the visual language is with these really wide-screen bombastic visuals.

With Freddie, it’s really his own take on all of that. It’s all of those images with really modern sensibilities. He is also working with the colorist Chris Sotomayor. He’s just a phenomenal talent as well. The combination of the two of them is really stunning. It’s some of the most beautiful books I’ve ever been involved with.

Latino-Review: As you mentioned before, you’re not going to limit this to a six-part series. You certainly have more ideas for adventures for Jonas Quantum then.

Marc Guggenheim: Oh, yeah. What’s nice about this is that I get to reinvent the book with every issue. I can tell whatever story I feel like telling.

Latino-Review: Let me wrap this up with you—with all the stuff that Jonas Quantum comes up with—what would you like to see in real life?

Marc Guggenheim: That’s a great question. [Long pause] He has come up with an invention of a pill that could replace food. I probably wouldn’t want to live like that for the rest of my life, but I can see that being really useful in certain circumstances.

Latino-Review: Thank you. I know you have a really busy schedule, especially working with the pilot of “Legends of Tomorrow.” I really enjoy this conversation.

Marc Guggenheim: Same here. Thank you so much for taking the time.

“Jonas Quantum” is out in comic book stores and digital download today.   

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