Dynamite is launching four new series in December — Nowhere Man, Voltron, Lord of the Jungle and Robocop: Road Trip — and all week long, Newsarama is bringing you Q&As with the the writers involved with each of the books, culminating on Friday with exclusive art from the books.
First up is Nowhere Man, written by Marc Guggenheim and illustrated by Jeevan J. Kang. The series was originally announced back in 2008 as a highly publicized Virgin Comics series with X-Men actor Hugh Jackman and artist Paul Gulacy involved, and is now seeing print through Dynamite, in association with Virgin successor Liquid Comics.
The series takes place 500 years in the future, with pervasive government control monitoring people's thoughts in the form of a nanotech virus, and thus eliminating all crime — until a murder starts to unravel the entire system, and a group of rebels rally around a child born immune to the virus.Guggenheim — whose credits include Amazing Spider-Man, Justice Society of America and the TV series Eli Stone — talked with Newsarama about what makes Nowhere Man unique, working with Kang and the long process of getting the series released. Newsarama: Marc, readers know a bit about Nowhere Man from solicitations and other information revealed along the way, but from your perspective, what truly makes the book unique? Marc Guggenheim: It's funny, but I've never worked on a creator-owned book with this much pre-release hype surrounding it. The guys at Liquid and I have been, quite frankly, stunned by the initial response. Something about the concept of the book seems to really resonate with people. They've told us it's the timely and prescient nature of the diminishment of privacy. That's something that everyone in society has noticed recently, whether it be the enactment of the Patriot Act or the ascendancy of Facebook or the general movement towards transparency, the erosion of the concept of personal privacy is something that everyone can relate to. What makes Nowhere Man so button-pushing is that it takes that concept, that general trend, to its ultimate conclusion.
Nrama: How would you compare this series to your previous work?
Guggenheim: The scope is a bit more epic and the storytelling is a bit more cinematic. It's probably closest to the work I did on my first Wolverine arc: a lot of action, a lot of widescreen moments. What's interesting is how long this project's been gestating. We've been developing the book for a number of years and, in that interim, I've evolved and changed as a writer, as all writers do. So Nowhere Man gives you kind of an interesting cross-section perspective on my career to date. For some people, I'm sure, that will be a selling point. For others, not so much.
Nrama: Why is artist Jeevan J. Kang right for the book?
Guggenheim: Two reasons. First, his clean, visceral storytelling is perfect for a book such as this one where we're trying to tell a cinematic-style story. Everything about his art is very crisp, with clean lines and clear panel layouts. That's generally my preference as a reader and it really fits the elegance I'm shooting for in terms of story and storytelling. Second, we needed an artist with a really strong design sense because we're creating an entirely new world — an epic vision of the future that is familiar enough to be believable as the future, but unique enough to have its own point of view. That's a tall order and Jeevan's pulled it off brilliantly.
Nrama: What's something cool about Nowhere Man that readers might not expect, either from the concept or based your past work?
Guggenheim: Well, the concept — the elimination of all private thought and, therefore, of crime — is cool and unique, but I think most everyone who knows about the book knows that. I think people who are only familiar with my comic book work will be surprised to see how much of my screenwriting experience I'm bringing to Nowhere Man. From jump, we've always felt it could work either as a movie or a comic, so I've tried to imbue the comic with a cinematic sensibility.
Nrama: Nowhere Man has been in development for a few years now. How relieving is it to finally see a release date for the book, and how has the series changed along the way?Guggenheim: The series really hasn't changed that much. I'm generally following my original outline. That said, I think society has evolved in the interim. When the book was originally conceived, it was inspired by the Patriot Act. Everyone was concerned about the narrowing of privacy through legislation. But now, four years later, we've discovered that social media like Facebook has made us a society of sharers, used to living our lives out in the open (albeit in cyberspace). I think our expectations of privacy have changed while the book was gestating in a way that makes Nowhere Man more relevant today than it was when we first conceived of it.
It's always nice to see a long-gestating project finally come to fruition. Though, believe it or not, there are other comic projects I've written that have been gestating longer...Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!