Writer's Commentary – Marc Guggenheim Talks Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #2

Dynamite has sent us a writer's commentary from Marc Guggenheim taking a look at Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #2. We're told that this is Marc's first ever writer's commentary on a comic. The issue comes with a cover by series co-creator Butch Guice and has interiors by Andrea Mutti.

Howdy. Welcome to my writer's commentary for Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues Issue 2. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever done commentary for a comic I've written. So this should be interesting. Please, be gentle with me…


So, we pick up — as they say — in media res, right in the middle of the action. This is actually a direct pickup from the end of Issue One. If you haven't read Issue One, you might be very confused. That said, I'm making the calculus that in today's marketplace, it's extremely unlikely that you're buying Issue Two if you haven't read Issue One. If I'm wrong, I sincerely apologize — but really appreciate you buying the issue.


Collos' "We're doomed" is classic C-3PO porn. Sue me.

This page also marks the return of Al'Zan, a character from the original series. She was a very minor character, but gains some prominence with our relaunch. I could have created a new character, of course, but I tried to play with as many of the original pieces that Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice laid out as I could fit.


Here's a better look at Al'Zan.

The last two panels feature some dialogue I'm tickled by.


Here, Raader learns what readers of the original series found out back in Issue Twelve, mainly that Bill Mantlo blew up the premise of the series — along with the main characters — is the last issue of the series. It was a really bold move on Bill's part and made for an interesting challenge for me coming on. I could either reboot the series from scratch and ignore Bill's continuity or figure out some way to un-explode the series and return it to some version of its original status quo. If you've gotten this far, you know I obviously chose the latter. Like I said, it was an interesting challenge, like resolving the ultimate cliffhanger. That said, it probably wasn't the smartest business decision. Commercially, the smart thing to do would be to restart the book clean without requiring any familiarity with the original series. I give Dynamite a lot of credit for letting me go this route. It was extremely brave of them.


Raader's reference here to being a privateer is actually a callback to the original series where the Swashbucklers went from being pirates to privateers.

The flashback panel is identical to a panel on Page One of Issue One for the one person who picked up Issue Two without having read Issue One.Guggenheim


I wanna call out Chris Sotomayor's beautiful colors here. I think Chris is one of the best colorists in the business and I specifically requested him for this book. I love the effect he came up with to indicate the post-incineration Cloudwall. Just gorgeous stuff.


Speaking of Chris' gorgeous work, just check out that first panel.

On this page, we return to Hyve, the Colonizer homeworld. We got to see it in the original series, so I asked our artist Andrea Mutti to replicate it here as best as he could. The trick is to not only re-establish the location, but to show that it's fallen on hard times in the wake of the demise of the Colonizer Empire.


A/k/a "the Black Bess Page." Black Bess is another character from the original series. This page basically serves to (re)introduce her for the new series.


This page is about solving a little writing problem. I wanted to acknowledge Black Bess' existence — Raader is on Hyve, which is the last place we've seen Black Bess (in the original series), so Black Bess is the elephant in the room — but we're already juggling so many characters I didn't want to resurrect her. The problem being, I gave Raader the power of resurrection last issue because I needed a means to save Servitor. So how to resurrect Servitor without doing the same for Black Bess? Answer: The passage of time! Otherwise known as limiting Raader's power of resurrection. Poor Black Bess has just been decomposing for too long…


Here we meet a new character, Owen Thrash. With the death of the Colonizer Queen in the original series and the collapse of the Empire, somebody's gotta be in charge…

Here, Thrash offers to make that Raader, which I just thought was an interesting surprise. It's like if after Palpatine's death in Return of the Jedi, the remains of the Empire asked Luke to lead them. (Thinking on it, that's a story I really would've liked to have seen. It would have made particular sense given that Luke is Vader's heir. But I digress…)


Here we get to see what happened to Logik after his recovery in Issue One. I'm not sure how clear it was in Issue One, but his eye was really $@%^ed up, so we see that he's got an eye patch here. I gotta give Bill and Butch credit for having done a pirate series without one of the main characters having an eye patch, but I've rectified that here.

I really love the power of the last panel on this page. Andrea does a wonderful job here of not only selling Raader's fury, but Logik's terrified reaction as well.


That last panel. Chris Sotomayor, ladies and gentlemen.


This is a fun page for those familiar with the original series. Here, Logik speculates on what might have happened to original series characters Domino and Cap'n Kidd. But those who read Issue Twelve of the original series know that his speculation is right on the money.

I should also note here a little continuity gaffe. Domino's costume isn't right. By this point in the original series, she'd gotten a different costume and we're showing her old one here. It's my fault. I could have relied on the fact that we're basically seeing Logik's "hypothetical" on this page, but decided to lean into the gaffe in subsequent issues. I just prefer Domino's original costume to the one she ended the series with. A No Prize to anyone who can make the continuity work. (Though I have a few ideas of my own.)


I don't normally switch locales/locations in the middle of a page — I much prefer to make those switches over the page-turn — but I don't like padding either, so I broke my own rule for this page.

I really like what Andrea and Chris have done here to create the environment of the seedier side of Hyve.


When you write a series about pirates — particularly space-faring ones — you've got to include at least one…


…barroom brawl.

But the point here isn't (just) mayhem. This issue is all about Raader processing her grief over the loss of her crew, including (to the best of her knowledge) Domino and Cap'n Kidd. It seemed consistent with Raader's character that the first thing she'd do is get blind drunk and start a fight with someone who would put a beating on her to punish her for the guilt she feels at having — to her way of thinking — her crew.


The problem (for Raader) is that we established last issue that she's too powerful to be killed…


…so she doesn't get the closure she was hoping for.


By this point, we've resolved Bill's original cliffhanger and re-established all the main characters from the original series. We've also seen Raader process her guilt and grief — or at least try to. Now it's time to get the main story of the series rolling.

(And how beautiful is that first panel?)

Also, mad props to our letterer, Taylor Esposito, for the final two panels. They really sell the chaos and destruction I'm going for.


Meet the Sidari. They literally appeared in only two panels in the original series, but in keeping with my previously-stated desire to play with all the original toys, I'm making them our antagonist for this first Swashbucklers arc.

And that's it! Thanks for reading!


About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.