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AMAZING FANTASY 2015, modernizing Spidey's origin


#1

I thought of this title the other day and felt it was too good not to do something with. It’s a new take on the Spider-Man legend, using the comic book script format provided on this forum. Enjoy!

FAO Editor TBD

AMAZING FANTASY 2015
Spider-Man created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Story by Stephen Sonneveld
Art by TBD

24 pages
Final Draft: 27 November 2015

Note: NO DIALOGUE throughout

Page One

1/ A gift in hand, Ben and May Parker (50’s) exit their front door, which bears a Christmas wreath.

2/ The Parkers walk next door. Their neighbor’s house has no Christmas decoration. A traditionally-dressed Muslim man, Tariq, happily greets them in the doorway.

3/ Living room. Tariq serves some appetizers to May and Ben, seated on the couch, kitty corner to Ara, who is seated in a chair holding her newborn baby boy.

4/ Ara offers the boy to May to hold. May is stunned.

5/ May demurs, holding out her right hand to deny the offer. Her head is politely bowed. Her face is saddened. Her left hand –

6/ – rests on the couch. Ben’s hand covers hers. He is looking at May, and his expression reveals their heartbreak.

7/ A split panel. Tariq is on the phone, exasperated. On a cell phone is a corner store employee, next to his car, which has a flat tire.

8/ From the EXT, we can see through the open front door: Ara is wearing her winter coat, and is holding the baby. May stands next to her. Tariq, wearing his winter gear, shakes Ben’s hand.

9/ Same POV as previous. Closer on Ben, in the family’s doorway, looking to the street. He waves goodbye to the off-panel Ara and Tariq. There is a solemnity to his expression. Backlit by the front room’s bright light, he stands in a kind of darkness. Behind him, in the warm light of the front room, May’s smile beams at the little baby she finally holds in her arms.

Page Two

1/ EXT. Corner store. A figure wearing a ski mask emerges from a car parked in front of the store.

2/ Inside: Tariq and Ara unpack Hostess snacks behind the counter, but their faces are startled by an off-panel threat.

3/ Gun in hand, the ski mask-wearing customer, wild-eyed, shouts at the off-panel Tariq and Ara.

4/ To Ara’s shock, Tariq lunges for the robber’s gun.

5/ Close on the gun, a discharged shell casing flying off. In the background, Tariq falls back in agony, to Ara’s horror.

6/ Close on Ara, looking at us in terror, holding up her arms in a defensive posture.

7/ Tariq and Ana’s living room: Ben smiles, seated next to May on the couch. She holds the sleeping baby and motions with her finger on her lips, “Shhh.”

8/ EXT: A Policeman pushes the doorbell.

9/ Same as panel 7. The baby cries and his little arms flail. May’s expression, “Really?” Ben looks to the door.

Page Three

1/ Looking down the block, at night. Tariq and Ara’s house is in the foreground, while the Parker’s house and front lawn are also visible next door. Ben is in the doorway of Tariq and Ara’s house, talking to the Policeman.

2/ Same as panel 1. Day. Years later. Peter, now 8-years-old, waits with his backpack on the sidewalk, where the school bus is driving alongside. A proud May and Ben stand behind Peter.

3/ School hallway. Peter is bullied.

4/ To everyone’s surprise, young tomboy Gwen Stacy defiantly stands between Peter and the bullies.

5/ The stonewalled bullies sulk off, and the smiling Peter is helped to his feet by the pleasant Gwen.

6/ The mosque. Young Peter prays with his fellow congregates. In the background, Ben sits in a chair, calmly waiting.

7/ In the Parker living room, Peter and Gwen do homework while May brings them some veggies.

8/ A school science fair. Peter and Gwen receive a blue ribbon for their project about DNA.

9/ The mosque. A tween Peter prays with his fellow congregates, as Ben again waits in the back.

Page Four

1/ The Parkers and Gwen celebrate Peter’s birthday with cake and pizza.

2/ The mosque. A tween Peter prays with his fellow congregates, as Ben again waits in the back.

3/ A school science fair. Peter and Gwen receive a certificate for their project about atoms.

4/ Peter and Gwen sit next to each other in class, giggling. The rest of the students are equally inattentive.

5/ Same as previous. Unfortunately, ALL of the students crane their necks to the door.

6/ A fellow classmate has arrived in the classroom wearing a flack jacket and carrying multiple guns. Bodies of injured or dead students can be seen in the hallway behind him.

7/ The gunman sprays the teacher with bullets and the students run with fear.

8/ Peter looks back and sees that, in the commotion, Gwen has been knocked over.

9/ The gunman aims at Gwen, who is terrified.

Page Five

1/ Peter leaps in front of the gunman to protect Gwen.

2/ A bullet fires from a gun.

3/ CU Peter wincing.

4/ Gwen looks up in horror.

5/ Gwen and Peter realize Peter has not been hit.

6/ A SWAT team officer stands in the classroom doorway, gun drawn. The student gunman has been shot.

7/ Peter and Gwen, both agog, stare at one another.

8/ Overhead shot: Peter and Gwen embrace, the dead bodies of the gunman and their teacher nearby.

9/ At the mosque, Peter weeps, surrounded by the comfort of May, Ben and the Mufti.

Page Six

1/ In Peter’s bedroom, he and Gwen sit on the bed, notebooks between them. Gwen holds up her finger like a gun. Peter wonders how to knock the gun out of her hand.

2/ Peter holds up a picture he drew of a lasso, then motions to his belt.

3/ Both of them hate the idea.

4/ Same as previous, except Gwen has an “Ah ha!” moment.

5/ Gwen points to her wrist.

6/ Peter begins drawing a kind of bracelet. On the same page, Gwen makes her own design, showing the lasso spinning from it.

7/ They look up from the page, practically nose-to-nose, smiling.

8/ Same as previous, now intensely looking into each other’s eyes.

9/ Same as previous. Peter chickens out, looking down. Gwen is disappointed.

Page Seven

1/ Night. Peter in bed, sleeping.

2/ Classroom: The student gunman aims at us.

3/ Peter wakes up in wide-eyed horror.

4/ Peter sits on the edge of his bed.

5/ Close on Peter, sobbing.

6/ Peter, tears running down his face, looks to the moonlight.

7/ Outside the window is a bright crescent moon.

8/ Peter brings his face close to the window, his eyes in awe.

9/ Peter closes his eyes, kissed by the heavenly light.

Page Eight

1/ The mosque. A teenage Peter prays with his fellow congregates, as Ben again waits in the back. The Mufti prays beside Peter.

2/ Peter walks through the school hallways in traditional Muslim attire. His former bully, now a teenager, as well, is not impressed.

3/ A school science fair. Teenage Gwen receives a scholarship for her project about gene-splicing.

4/ The mosque. A teenage Peter prays alone. Seated in the back, where Ben usually sits, the Mufti waits.

5/ Ben and May eat dinner, aware that Peter is just sitting there bored. His phone is on the table by his plate.

6/ Ben looks to Peter and motions to the food on his plate. Peter looks disgusted.

7/ May is hurt by Peter’s attitude. An angry Ben looks at Peter and points away from the table.

8/ An angry Peter leaves the table.

9/ Ben cuts into his food, his eyes glancing at where Peter was seated.

Page Nine

1/ May scolds Ben, “No!”

2/ Ben shrugs as he holds Peter’s phone.

3/ Ben looks at the phone, shocked. Images from the Internet swirl about him of Jihadists, and terrorist actions.

4/ Ben is ashen. May looks over him, her hand clutching his shoulder, and is stunned.

5/ The mosque. Peter sits respectfully before the Mufti, there with a soldier’s stance, his arms at rest behind him. In the background, Ben enters.

6/ Ben stands between the horrified Peter and the unflappable Mufti. Ben angrily screams and points at the Mufti.

7/ The car ride home. Ben holds the steering wheel, white-knuckled. Peter sits in the passenger seat, his arms folded.

8/ The school bus is parked outside Oscorp Labs.

9/ From overhead, a hapless spider and her web are caught in the fire of two Tesla Coils, an event unaware to the students gathered below.

Page Ten

1/ The students disperse to the next room, Gwen looking behind her.

2/ Peter stands alone, looking at the machinery.

3/ Gwen stands next to Peter, offering a sympathetic smile and wave. He looks down and away, ashamed.

4/ She gently cups his cheek so that he looks at her.

5/ He holds her hand, then softly kisses her palm.

6/ Her hand still cups his cheek. She smiles.

7/ Gwen heads toward the exit. Peter turns to face the machinery again, but is aglow.

8/ Same as previous. Gwen has exited. Peter swats a bug bite on his neck.

9/ From overhead, the web between the Tesla Coils is without a spider. Below, Peter stands alone.

Page Eleven

1/ Peter is asleep in his bed.

2/ Classroom: The student gunman aims at us, but is refracted into eight images

3/ The worried gunman begins to take on the features of a fly, his legs wound up in spider silk.

4/ The gunman/fly is nearly cocooned in webbing, pincers in the extreme foreground ready to devour him!

5/ Peter rustles awake from the fever dream, sweating, disoriented, his pupils dilated.

6/ Close on Peter, clawing away at the pain in his head.

7/ Close on Peter, hunched over, trying to stay calm, covering his face.

8/ Close on Peter, calmed, his eyes normal, removing his hands from his face.

9/ Though Peter is in the body posture of sitting on the edge of his bed, he is surprised to find that he is actually on the ceiling.

Page Twelve

1/ Dumbfounded Peter smirks as he walks down the crowded school hallway.

2/ The teenage bully nemesis shoves Peter.

3/ Close on Peter, a crazy smirk on his face.

4/ The bully reacts, wary of the off-panel Peter’s grin.

5/ Peter shoves the bully clear across the hall, bowling over other students in the process.

6/ Overhead shot. Peter is alone at one side of the hall. The downed bully is unconscious against the lockers opposite Peter. Between them are downed students, some knocked out, others in pain, some looking at Peter, scared. Students standing nearby share the same cautious reaction.

7/ Peter, mortified at the carnage, looks down at his hands.

8/ A student points Peter out to the campus security guard.

9/ The guard approaches Peter, who reacts, petrified.

Page Thirteen

1/ Peter runs down the hall. The guard gives chase.

2/ EXT school entrance. Peter is clinging to the wall high above the entrance, where the perplexed guard stands, wondering where Peter ran off to.

3/ EXT mosque. The Mufti makes his way to the entrance.

4/ OTS Peter, clinging to the interior dome. The Mufti is below, looking up, stunned.

5/ Close on Peter, a hangdog expression, afraid.

6/ Low angle, the Mufti is looking up, with an expression of joy.

7/ The Mufti outstretches his hand to Peter.

8/ Comforted, Peter smiles.

9/ The Parker house, kitchen. May and Ben are stunned Peter is happily shoveling dinner into his mouth.

Page Fourteen

1/ Ben shoots a dumbfounded expression across the table.

2/ May replies with an equally dumbfounded shrug.

3/ Ben and May smile as Peter pats his full belly.

4/ Still at the dinner table, Peter rose and embraces May, who is still seated.

5/ Close on May, closing her eyes and holding Peter tight.

6/ Close on Ben, unsure what to make of it.

7/ The Parker’s bedroom. May is in bed, worried. Ben sits on the edge of the bed, also concerned.

8/ Same as previous. Ben is gone, May looks to the bedroom door where he left.

9/ In the hallway, Ben knocks on Peter’s bedroom door.

Page Fifteen

1/ From inside Peter’s room, Ben opens the door, peeking in.

2/ Peter’s room is empty. On the nightstand is an incense burner and lighter. There is a note on the bed.

3/ Ben sits on the bed and reads the note. He is worried.

4/ Ben crumbles the note, horrified.

5/ Ben uses the lighter to burn the note over the incense burner.

6/ Elsewhere, Peter walks through a doorway –

7/ – the smiling Mufti, packaging a pressure cooker, greets him.

8/ Ben drives, panicked.

9/ The Mufti hands the packaged pressure cooker to the obliging Peter.

Page Sixteen

1/ From Ben’s car, the mosque is in view.

2/ Peter holds the packaged cooker, a small smirk on his lips.

3/ Closer on Peter, the smirk gone, his eyes showing doubt.

4/ Ben haphazardly parks outside the mosque.

5/ Peter hands the package back to the stunned Mufti.

6/ Close on the angered Mufti.

7/ Peter’s spider-sense radiates.

8/ The Mufti attempts to slap Peter, who ducks.

9/ Ben races toward the Mosque entrance.

Page Seventeen

1/ An angered Peter tosses the packaged cooker into the Mufti, knocking the air out of him.

2/ Floor level shot. The frightened Mufti has been knocked to the floor… next to the damaged and overturned pressure cooker package. Peter climbs up the wall.

3/ Ceiling level shot. Peter is stunned to see a furious Ben racing toward the Mufti.

4/ Close on Peter, screaming for Ben.

5/ Low angle shot. A surprised Ben looks to the ceiling.

6/ Close up of Peter, his eyes wide as his spider-sense radiates.

7/ Close up of Ben, looking up and gently smiling.

8/ Peter shields himself from the explosion.

9/ Peter wakes up from a nightmare, though this time he is in a hospital bed, his face and arms still bearing some bandages and scars.

Page Eighteen

1/ Peter realizes where he is at, and that May is sleeping in the chair next to his bed.

2/ Peter sits on the edge of the bed, facing the sleeping May.

3/ Peter weeps.

4/ He continues to sob, curling up.

5/ May’s hands reach into frame to rub Peter’s back.

6/ May sits on the edge of the bed next to Peter.

7/ May is the strong one, cradling Peter as he embraces her.

8/ Overhead view, wide shot of previous.

9/ Close up of Gwen, gob smacked.

Page Nineteen

1/ In Peter’s bedroom, Peter, wearing the clothes of an American teenager, is seated on the ceiling, while Gwen is seated on the bed.

2/ Peter scales down the wall, pointing out a packed suitcase.

3/ Peter shows Gwen some marked-up maps, but her eyes are trained on him.

4/ Same as previous, except Gwen rips the map in half, to Peter’s astonishment.

5/ Same as previous, Peter smiling as Gwen draws in their notebook.

6/ Close on Gwen, in full artiste mode, holding up her thumb to capture Peter in her eye line.

7/ Close on Peter, smiling, but curious.

8/ Gwen plays coy, holding the notebook to her chest.

9/ Gwen smiles, revealing her drawing – Peter’s head atop Superman’s body. Instead of the famous “S” emblem, there is a spider.

Page Twenty

1/ Close on Peter, amazed.

2/ Peter sits back, resting against the headboard, looking away. He crosses one arm.

3/ Gwen reaches forward, placing her hand on Peter’s crossed arm.

4/ Peter leans forward, back to Gwen, who is holding him by the wrist.

5/ Gwen kisses Peter’s palm.

6/ Gwen closes Peter’s hand, wrapping her hands around it. Their eyes are locked on each other.

7/ At last, they kiss.

8/ Outside in the starry night, Tariq and Ana’s house is dark. Only the light in Peter’s room is alight in the Parker home.

9/ A university classroom. The back of Dr. Otto Octavious’ (imagine a Stephen Hawkings) wheelchair faces us. Four mechanical arms protrude from it, adding to the schematic on the chalkboard that fills the background. An “A” is prominently centered. All other letters and letter combinations connect back to it.

Page Twenty One

1/ Pan back from previous to reveal the dead professors and SWAT officers strewn about the floor.

2/ The bitter face of Octavious turns toward the door.

3/ Spider-Man is in the doorway.

4/ Spidey fights Doc Ock.

5/ Doc Ock is safely secured in webbing. Spider-Man looks at the chalkboard.

6/ Chalkboard still in view, the “A” featured prominently by Spider-Man. Spider-Man looks to the doorway.

7/ Peter, in his early 60’s, dressed like a disheveled, tenured professor, stands in the doorway.

8/ Peter enters the empty classroom, rubbing his forehead. Spider-Man and all remnants of the Doc Ock incident fade away.

9/ Peter holds his head, a quizzical expression on his face.

Page Twenty Two

1/ Peter holds a piece of chalk, staring at the immense, blank chalkboard.

2/ Close on Peter’s hand, writing “A”.

3/ Peter and Mary Jane, in their 60’s, walk arm-in-arm on a colorful autumn day.

4/ Peter, in his 50’s, holds the hand of Spider-Girl, smiling.

5/ Living room. Peter and Mary Jane (50’s) are stunned when their teenage daughter shows them a Spider-Man mask with dried blood on it.

6/ Attic. Peter (40’s) kneels beside a footlocker. He places the bloodied Spider-Man mask there. Mary Jane stands beside him.

7/ Peter is on life support in a hospital bed. Mary Jane and their daughter (10) are by his bedside.

8/ Spider-Man lies in an alleyway, blood pouring through his mask. The Green Goblin laughs.

9/ Peter and Mary Jane (30’s) smile, holding their newborn baby daughter.

Page Twenty Three

1/ Peter kisses the forehead of May, at rest in her hospital bed.

2/ Peter and Mary Jane (30’s) happily marry.

3/ Spider-Man, in his classic costume, energetically swings through the city.

4/ Mary Jane embraces the aloof Peter.

5/ Black costumed Spider-Man takes his rage out on Spider Slayers.

6/ Spider-Man, unmasked, tearfully holds the breathless Gwen (20’s) in his arms, as the Green Goblin cackles in the background.

7/ Peter (20’s) proposes to the thrilled Gwen.

8/ Spidey battles the Sinister Six.

9/ Peter and Gwen kiss (page 20, panel 7).

Page Twenty Four

1/ Remorseful Peter embraces May (page 18, panel 7).

2/ Ben looks up, smiling (page 17, panel 7).

3/ The Mufti reaches up to Peter (page 13, panel 7).

4/ Peter is bit by the spider (page 10, panel 8)

5/ Young Gwen defends Peter from the bullies (page 3, panel 4).

6/ Ben plays catch in the front yard with a young Peter.

7/ Tariq is gunned down (page 2, panel 5).

8/ Back to the current time, with 60-year-old Professor Parker. Peter looks at the “A” he drew on the chalkboard, bittersweet.

9/ Close on Peter’s hand adding more letters: “A = A”

CAPTION : End.


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#2

Certainly provocative.


#3

Thank you for reading. I wanted to make it of our time, not just a re-hash.


#4

It definitely serves that purpose.

Superhero origins -removed from the pseudo-science- are generally pretty timeless.

This doesnt speak to that. I think its very well written… I felt a little lost with. He A=A stuff? Is the allusion that we are not dissimilar from those we oppose?


#5

Thank you.

I would have replied sooner, but unfortunately was site was down when I tried logging in.
I like your idea regarding the A=A and am interested to know what sparked it.
I was going for a couple of things with it:

  1. Aristotle’s axiom figures into the later work of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, so it was a nod in that direction.
    I also liked the idea that Peter ends up as a philosophy professor, instead of a science teacher. Just because he was interested in science as a teenager doesn’t mean he’ll continue to be throughout his adult life.
  2. In this story, Dr. Octopus creates a chaos theory that says random, disparate events can be traced to a singular moment. On the blackboard, he writes all things connect back to “A”.
    I remember reading in one of those screenwriting books a criticism that in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Peter getting bitten by the spider was acceptable to the suspension of disbelief, but Osborn also becoming the Green Goblin in the same story somehow strained credibility. I disagreed, but it got me thinking.
    All of the chaos in Peter’s universe, all of the villains trapped in chemical explosions, loved ones lost, are all connected, coming back to a single point. The “big bang” isn’t when his selfish actions cause Ben’s death, or the spider bite; it is, for this story, the random act of violence that kills his biological parents and changes the course of his life forever.
  3. So, A = A, a thing is or a thing isn’t. That terrible moment equals all he has become. Peter can dream of “what if” stories, he can shake his fists at the heavens and ask why. Instead, upon reflecting on his life, he accepts his existence.

#6

I know that a lack of dialogue is a creative choice
here, but I can’t see how it helps your story. I’d love to know more about how you decided to take that route with the story.


#7

Thank you for reading, Barri, and for your feedback.
Thinking about your question for quite a bit of time here at my keyboard, and I keep coming back to it was a gut feeling to not add dialogue. That’s the honest answer.
Some background that might inform that:
I was considering drawing this, posting it on my Tumblr as a work sample and linking it back here. But I am sitting on 80-pages of my own IP that needs to be drawn, and to do Spidey justice, drawing it was just going to be too time consuming.
So, I wrote it for myself to draw, and I appreciate comics and movies as visual mediums. There’s a quote, I think it’s from the film critic Pauline Kael, that sums up my feeling: “The movies were nearly perfect, then they added sound.”
In one respect, a great actor/comic book artist can say it with a look. A great director/comic book artist can write with pictures. Even if you had a lyrical bit of dialogue, unless it offers something other than what the artist can show, it becomes superfluous, in my opinion.
In another respect, it is the nature of visual mediums that they convey emotions. Film directors and critics have said that for years, but I think it applies to comics, as well. Of course they can be intellectual and convey ideas, but, if you look at something like “Triumph of the Will,” the ideas are being delivered on the emotion.
I had an interesting experience watching the film Wall-E. I liked the first part, because it was a silent film. They provided me information, I internalized it, and I developed ownership, an emotional connection with the story. But in the second half, the robot ends up on a human colony spaceship, and the dialogue starts pouring in, and I lost my emotional connection with the film, because, I realized, dialogue immediately editorializes a story. Now THEY’RE telling me the story is about a wasteful human race, and the story went from this internalized, parable-like story that you would relate in some manner to your own experiences and bias, to being about something specific.
In retrospect, they should have had dialogue throughout, tell me what the story is from the start, or continue not having any dialogue at all – just keep telling the story visually, providing me the input.
I’m working on a story now called British Justice that has loads of dialogue about the effects of child abuse, the dangers of vigilantism. The intent of that story is to editorialize, and hopefully get a point across using the emotion of the medium.
With this retelling-around-the-campfire of Spidey’s origin, we know the story, we know it’s a Greek tragedy, and I just didn’t feel the need to editorialize. Hearing the robber say, “Give me all the money or I’ll blow your brains out,” doesn’t add anything because the emotion is there – he’s angry, he’s armed and he’s going to rob these poor people.
The “political” content of the school shooter and the cleric recruiting disenfranchised youth to terrorism are two of the elements that make this retelling modern. In twenty years, they’ll be something else. But dialogue about why this or why that, would only editorialize it, and then you owe it to the reader to make the story about those issues, otherwise you end up with that shoehorn dialogue you see on TV all the time: “I feel this way about this issue.” “Well, I feel that way about it.” “Okay, let’s get back to solving this murder.” Why even bring it up? It would be more provocative to solve the issue, not the murder.
That’s a lot of words to say why no words. Gut feeling said say it with pictures, and if the pictures don’t convey the emotion, that’s on me. I do like that one panel, though, of Ben watching Tariq and Ara leave the house to meet their doom into the night, a smiling May is in the full, warm light behind him, holding the baby. He’s standing in the doorway, in half light, between life and death. That’s the goal, to tell the story with pictures.