Marc Guggenheim on the Death of a Speedster

Tue, June 26th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer

"The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive" #13

Writer Marc Guggenheim knew where he was heading from Day 1. And yet somehow, he nearly delivered on what he promised. He almost had followers of the fastest man alive accept Bart Allen as the Flash.

Until, of course, he killed him.

Guggenheim, who picked up DC Comics' "The Flash: Fastest Man Alive" with #9, confirmed for CBR News that he knew what he signed on for when he replaced "The Flash" TV veterans Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo on the title that had left both critics and fans pining for the return of either Wally West or Barry Allen.

"Yes. I always knew my run would be limited to five issues, culminating in Bart's death in #13," Guggenheim told CBR News, explaining that due to the tie-in with the top-selling "Justice League of America" and "Justice Society of America" "Lightning Saga" crossover, writing Bart's death was a fairly simple process to execute. "It really helped that Brad [Meltzer] and Geoff [Johns] had a very clear and very well planned out sense of where they were going, so I just wrote towards that," said Guggenheim.

The Long Island, New York native admitted that he would have accepted a much longer run on "The Flash: Fastest Man Alive" beyond his five issues, had destiny (and the leadership at DC Comics) not had other plans for the speedster formally known as Impulse. "I love the character," declared Guggenheim, "but I knew that when I was coming on I was coming on for a very specific duration and a very specific purpose. So I didn't really plan on, you know, making beds in a burning building."

Guggenheim thinks Bart never really made it out of the starting blocks as the Scarlet Speedster, especially with the status of the ├╝ber-popular Wally West up in the air. "I think Bart didn't get a chance to show everyone what he was capable of. The backlash was so quick and fearsome, it didn't afford the character - or any writers writing him - much of an opportunity to do anything cool with the character," explained Guggenheim. "I've also said that I wonder if Bart would've been given more of a chance if Wally had actually died and the hope of bringing him back as the Flash didn't loom so large."

"All Flash" #1
Wally West, as it was revealed last week, returns to the mantle of the Flash in Mark Waid's upcoming one-shot re-launch "All Flash" #1, followed by "The Flash" #231, also by Waid, which picks up the numbering from Wally's previously cancelled series.

While Bart Allen's reign in the Speed Force is over, Mark Guggenheim is getting ready for Prime Time. The TV veteran of such hits as "Law & Order" and "CSI: Miami" is writing an upcoming run on "Wolverine" entitled "The Death of Logan" for Marvel Comics and has already delivered a six-part "Batman Confidential" arc to DC.

"The amazing Jerry Bingham is currently drawing and painting [my Batman story]. I think it'll really blow people's socks off when it comes out," said Guggenheim.

Additionally, this fall sees Guggenhem's television series "Eli Stone" debut on ABC. "We're breaking the first batch of episodes," said Guggenheim. "The writing staff is amazing and we've come up with some really amazing and fun stories and ideas. It explores the very different worlds of law and spirituality in a humorous and heartfelt way.

"We've also started construction on our set. It's very ambitious. Unlike any set you've ever seen in a law show, which makes sense, in a way, because 'Eli' is not a typical law show. We also hired three-time Emmy winner Chris Misiano as our Producer-Director and it's extremely exciting because in addition to being a nice guy and talented, Chris has directed some of my favorite hours of television."

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