A Writer’s Commentary: Marc Guggenheim on Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #5, the grand finale, on sale now from Dynamite.
Note the intentional parallel between Panel 1 and Panel 2. History is repeating itself — this time on Earth.
I love how Andrea kept his lines especially loose for this action-filled issue. I think it really helps convey a sense of kineticism.
The last two panels are favorites of mine. The sound-effect in Panel 4 — SQUINCH — and Cap’n Kidd’s dialogue — “Go for their eyes! They be squishy!” — in Panel 5. I could write Cap’n Kidd for the rest of my career and be happy.
During the lettering stage — i.e., far too late — I realized that we showed the Sidari ship crashing into the water at the end of Issue 4, but here it is on dry land, hence the exposition about half the ship going into the water. Thank you, dialogue!
And here, after five issues, we FINALLY get Raader and Domino’s reunion. As a point of reference, I asked Andrea to be inspired by this George Pérez panel:
Note that Domino refers to “President Reagan” as the one who’s calling in the nuclear strike. This is because this series picks up directly after the original Swashbucklers series by Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice, which ended in 1987 while Reagan was still president.
Similarly, the Douglas A-3 Sky Warrior in Panel 3 is what my research told me was the plane most likely to drop a tactical nuke back in 1987. (Cue a bunch of people on the Internet pointing out all the ways I’m wrong here.)
Okay, I admit it — and will say as much on the next page — but Raader’s use of her god powers here is a bit deus ex machina. I rationalize it by pointing out that she’s actually had this power since Issue One, but it’s reemergence here is undoubtedly convenient. If I had a sixth issue in the series, I imagine I’d have handled this moment quite differently.
I love Cap’n Kidd getting interrogated by the FBI here. Thanks to Andrea for re-drawing that panel to my specifications. Not for nothing, but we pass a fair bit of time here on this page. Who knows what earthbound adventures Cap’n Kidd could’ve had during that period. Just saying.
Hey, look. A new team line-up. FYI, original plan was to kill Logik in this issue. But then I remembered that I’d left him aboard the Harbinger last issue, so there went that plan.
Which is a good time to talk about my process for this series: I wrote a five-issue outline for the series before I started scripting. But it’s extremely rare for me to follow my outlines exactly — no matter what medium I happen to be working in. I don’t know why exactly, but it’s always been my process to call audibles as I write and deviate from the outline as inspiration strikes.
Note that once our heroes leave our dimension, the narration captions shift back to a more “futuristic” appearance.
I did a fair amount of dialogue revisions on this page to clarify what exactly what happening to the Sidari ship. Hopefully, you don’t notice the seams.
That damn ship just can’t seem to keep itself from crashing…
This ending is probably the biggest deviation from my original outline. I’d always planned on using this “first volume” to re-establish the Swashbucklers and set them off on a path towards new adventures after Bill essentially blew up the series at the end of his run. But the idea that our pirates end up on a planet with a different “genre” is an idea that came to me only while scripting this issue.
I’d note, however, that the idea that the Swashbucklers universe is populated by different genre planets (as I call them) was originated by Bill himself in Swords of the Swashbucklers Issue 10, which featured a “samurai planet.” Bringing our pirates to a “western planet” seemed like a fun springboard for the second volume.
But here’s the thing, folks: Our sales need to be better to warrant a second volume. So please, please encourage your friends to pick up the forthcoming trade paperback of Volume 1. We need to keep our Swashbucklers flying.
Thank you to all of you who read Volume 1. This series has been a labor of love for all involved. I hope we did Bill and Butch proud.