Beauology 101: Guy Gardner: Behind The Vuldarian Tattoos part 2

Beau ready for a brawl

Beau ready for a brawl

by Beau Smith

In part 1, Beau told how he came to write Guy Garnder: Warrior and how Guy became part Vuldarian. Now, the exciting conclusion.

Like I said, I made Guy the last of his kind, part human, part Vuldarian, the greatest warrior of all. Nobody in the DC Universe was a better fighter… not even the sacred cow himself… Batman. I was so tired of Batman being touted as the end all of end alls.

Needless to say, by making Guy the greatest fighter and second to only Superman in strength… well… you know where I was going.

If not let me refresh your memory… Batman’s one punch knockout of Guy when he was in the JLA.

I wanted my revenge.

You ask, “Were you going have him one punch Batman and knock him out, Beau?”

Nope.

That would be an easy revenge, too easy. A crummy British or TV writer would do something like that. Not me. I’m a comic book writer!

It's Guy Gardner Warrior!

It's Guy Gardner Warrior!

I was gonna have Guy save Batman’s bacon from some menace in front of everyone in the JLA. Then in one real tense moment when everybody thought Guy was gonna “One Punch” Batman…

Panel One-Small Panel. Shot of Guy doing his best Clint Eastwood squint at Batman.

Panel Two-Matching small panel. Shot of Batman doing his best Batman scowl as he looks back at Guy.

Panel Three-Pan to the faces of the other members of the JLA as they look at Guy and Batman. All look tense.

Panel Four-Back to Batman still scowling as he speaks.

BATMAN: Guy…

Panel Five-Guy still giving his squint and lookin’ stone cold dangerous as he speaks.

GUY: Yeah?

Panel Six-Batman drops the scowl and gives his flat-line smile… you know, the only thing he has close to a smile and offers his hand to Guy.

BATMAN: Thanks.

Panel Eight-Largest panel on the page. Show Guy and Batman shaking hands and there is a slight smile on both faces. The rest of the JLA looks on in disbelief. They thought for sure there would be a fight… at least a punch thrown. But there wasn’t.

GUY: S’okay. Anytime.

That was what I had planned back then. If this were WWE wrestling this scene would be called Batman “Putting Guy Over,” meaning putting Guy over with the readers/fans. A show of respect, establishing that Guy was once a jerk and had grown as a character. At the same time showing that Batman has grown as well and isn’t the stuck in the mud nutjob he’s too often shown as being.

Getting back to the subject… I just wanted to leave Guy at being the greatest warrior in the DCU… but the powers that be wanted more powers. Arrggh…

This next part you will really groan at. I did.

At the same time all this power talk was goin’ on, on TV the kid’s show The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was huge. DC said they wanted Guy to be able to morph weapons. That’s like being a manly blues singer and having your agent say you have to sign like some American Idol winner.

Again I tip my cowboy hat to Mitch Byrd. He came up with a very cool visual for Guy to morph stuff. Saddled with this morphing stuff, I made it so Guy could only morph the weapons of the greatest warriors of the universe. I figured that would narrow it down to spears, knives, swords, guns, that kinda stuff. I thought the character would be safe there. It would’ve been safe too, but all of a sudden we had rising sales on Guy Gardner and now ever editor and their ugly brother wanted to borrow him for their books.

I made real hard rules about what Guy could morph. What happens?

I open up these other books and they have Guy morphing chain saws, egg beaters, and everything short of Rachel Ray’s kitchen sink.

As time went on I got to tone down Guy’s powers, it was hard to do because every six months DC had another “theme” going on. By the end I had Guy being part human, part Vuldarian. He could morph now and then, but not much. I was trying to get back to him just being the best warrior. He and Superman made up, they were friends and I was heading towards the Batman meeting you read above paragraphs.

Then the word came down from DC. Guy’s sales were down to 40,000 (They would kill for those numbers now) and on the bubble to be axed.

To tell you the truth, the reason for the sinking sales (Down from 60,000) was because Mitch left the book and we had a different artist every other issue.

Guy Gardner Warrior #44 page

Guy Gardner Warrior #44 page

In the last issue (#44) I was so stoked… we got Mitch to come back for the big ending and duke it out with one of my favorite DC bad guys, Major Force!

In this last issue, a real knockdown drag out, gut-wrencher, I revealed that Guy’s powers were finally defined. He was the greatest fighter/warrior. He could morph a little, plus he could regenerate his heart and other organs.

It was tough to go out, but at least I went out on my terms and with my buddy Mitch.

Unlike some creators, I’m not gonna moan about what a publisher does with the character that they own. I got to come over and play for a while with their toys and was paid well to do so. I am happy.

In closing, I’d like to ask you to go to your local comic shop and hunt down some of my run on Guy Gardner: Warrior. You’ll probably find them in the four for a dollar box. That’s a good thing and a proud place for comics. That means they’ll get read and not preserved in carbonite. Try them and see if you liked what me, Mitch, and the rest of the gang were doing. For the record, I did issues #20 through #44. There was an issue #0 and two annuals that we did as well. It was two years of the most fun I’ve had in my 22 years of writing comic books. DC treated me far better than needed and made me feel a part of the family. We didn’t always agree with creative paths, but they always listened. You can’t ask for more than that.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

Want Guy Gardner: Warrior back issues? Click here!

USER COMMENTS7 Responses

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!

  1. Sam Kujava Says:

    Confession time, pard. When those issues came out,
    your old amigo wasn’t collecting too many comics then.
    Nah, I wasn’t destitute or any other sad story like
    that…it’s just that MOST of what was being published
    then was utter crap. I thought I had outgrown comics
    at last. So I missed out on your run of comics fun.
    My bad. I’ve learned too be MUCH more selective in
    my collecting…NO big crossover event nonsense. Save
    a LOT of money that way.
    But I am now looking for those Guy Gardner issues in
    back issue bins, even bargain boxes, wherever I go.
    Hey, the journey is half the fun, and I now know I’ve
    got a lot of GOOD readin’ ahead of me, when I complete
    this run of Beau-tastic comic books!
    Thanks for schoolin’ this ol’ collector, pard!

  2. Beau Smith Says:

    Sam,

    You are more than welcome, amigo. Coming from you, this truly means a lot. It was your columns and reviews in TEH COMICS READER that kept me on top of what was good. I miss that magazine and I your opinions on comics.

    Beau

  3. Jefferson Sergeant Says:

    Beau, these behind the scenes takes are always great.

    I agree with you 100% about the Bat God syndrome.

    While I enjoyed Morrison’s take on the character; it only made sense within the action of the JLA.

    I hope you get a chance to return to Guy in the future.

  4. Ed Catto Says:

    Just loving the look back on Guy Gardner. what great fun that book was, and I find it fascinating to understand what Beau was behind and what he didn’t like but tried to make work (like the morphing thing).

    Makes me want to beg DC for a collected edition and read ’em all in one sitting. THAT would be a great book to have a Director’s Commentary, wouldn’t it?

    Best,
    -Ed

  5. Ken Davis Says:

    Ok,… Mail, Fax or Pony Express this page layout to Mitch Byrd, I’ll chip in on the cost!!!
    I have to see this VERSION of Guy Gardner vs Bats on paper!!!!

  6. Peyton Holden Says:

    Beau, you are the only writer that really understood Guy. I hope you’ll get another crack at him someday.

  7. Guy Garnder: Collateral Damage | Static's Comic Corner Says:

    […] (to follow read the article these are ripped from go here http://westfieldcomics.com/blog/interviews-and-columns/beauology-101-guy-gardner-behind-the-vuldarian-tattoos-part-1/ and here http://westfieldcomics.com/blog/interviews-and-columns/beauology-101-guy-gardner-behind-the-vuldaria… […]