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Write Off 2: Parents. Pick a winner!!!


#1

Hi folks,

Welcome to the Write Off. This month the subject is Parents.

Please read through and vote for the one they like most. Comments and critiques are welcome. I’ll leave this poll up for 2-3 weeks to give everyone plenty of time to read all the entries.

To the winner: if you end up with the most popular story you get two rewards. 1) the good feelings that people read your work and loved it and 2) you get to pick the subject for the next Write Off!!! And if you don’t win don’t be discouraged, this is just a bit of fun to help would be writers get some exercise. Stay tuned for the next one, it might be just right for you!

Ok folks, below are the entries. Vote here for your favorite.

[Poll]

  • The Mariner
  • The Answer
  • K.A.L.
  • The Mother of Two Faces
  • BEHOLD!
  • Manhattan, Manhattan
  • Lifeblood
  • Maria and Tony’s Big Day Out
  • Chamber Piece
  • A Canary Cries
  • A Legacy to Forget
  • A Safer World
  • Proudstar
    [/Poll]

My Millarworld talent search contest results
#2

'The Mariner’
Script by Craig Sawyer

PAGE ONE:

1/ A small fishing boat is tossed around like a toy on an icy and stormy sea.

CAPTION: It is an ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth one of three.`By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

2/ Move in on the wheel house of the vessel. We see the ships bearded helmsman LEONARD MCKENZIE fighting with the wheel. He looks like he hasn’t slept in days.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ A massive rogue wave appears over the bow. It means certain death for the tiny ship and the lone mariner.

CAPTION: "And now the storm-blast came, and he was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o’ertaking wings, And chased us south along.

4/ Super close on Leonard’s wide eyes. Reflected in his eye is the image of a twelve year PRINCE NAMOR flying out of the wave.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE TWO:

1/ The ship is capsized.

CAPTION: The ice did split with a thunder-fit.

2/ Under the water, an unconscious Leonard is sinking with arms outstretched. Debris is all around him.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ The curious young Namor floats beside the human sailor, studying him.

CAPTION: An orphan’s curse would drag to hell. A spirit from on high; but oh! more horrible than that is the curse in a dead man’s eye!

4/ The boy takes the sailor in his arms and swims away.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE THREE:

1/ Establishing shot of the legendary city of Atlantis as Namor swims toward it’s coral laden gates with a still unconscious Leonard in his arms. A glimmering force field surrounds the city.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ Guards point down from sentry towers.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ The force field descends as Namor enters.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ Namor takes a clear breathing apparatus from a nearby wall.

NO DIALOGUE

5/ Inside they swim past curious Atlanteans and angry Atlanteans . Leonard now wears a clear breathing mask over his face.

CAPTION: Within the shadow of the ship I watched their rich attire: blue, glossy green, and velvet black, they coiled and swam; and every track was a flash of golden fire.

6/ Large statues of past Atlantean kings and queens line this great hall leading to the throne room.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE FOUR:

1/ Leonard’s eyes open.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ He is laying in front of a giant throne near a warming station. Sitting on the throne is the intimidating Emperor of Atlantis - THAKORR.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ Leonard jumps to his feet. Atlantean guards with tridents surround him. A cocky Namor is off to the side with his arms crossed.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ A snarling Thakorr points at the fearful Leonard.

NO DIALOGUE

5/ The guards move in to kill Leonard.

NO DIALOGUE

6/ The beautiful FEN, daughter of Thakoor and mother of Namor rushes into the throne room.

CAPTION: Since then, at an uncertain hour, that agony returns; and till my ghastly tale is told,
this heart within me burns.

PAGE FIVE:

1/ Fen pushes her way through he guards.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ Leonard and Fen stare at each other in disbelief.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ A confused Namor looks on.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ Leonard and Fen kiss.

CAPTION: He prayeth best, who loveth best all things both great and small; for the dear God who loveth us, he made and loveth all."

5/ An angry Namor pushes Leonard and Fen away from each other.

NO DIALOGUE

6/ Leonard lovingly grasps the side of an Namor’s face with both his hands and tries to explain that he is his father.

CAPTION: I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; that moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: to him my tale I teach.

PAGE SIX:

1/ A tearful and shocked Namor backs away from his father.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ Leonard reaches out pleading with his son.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ In a burst of anger Namor pushes Leonard back several feet.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ Namor points at his mother with venom dripping off his lips.

NO DIALOGUE

5/ Fen slaps her son Namor.

NO DIALOGUE

6/ Thakoor slams his fist down on the arm of his throne.

NO DIALOGUE

5/ All in attendance stop and look upon the great emperor.

CAPTION: While each to his great father bends, old men, and babes, and loving friends.

PAGE SEVEN:

1/ Namor angrily swims out of the throne room.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ Fen lifts up an unconscious and bloody Leonard.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ Fen, with Leonard’s head cradled in her arms, pleads with her father.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ Thakoor turns his head from her in disgust.

NO DIALOGUE

5/ Fen takes Leonard under her arm and swims away.

NO DIALOGUE

PAGE EIGHT:

1/ The surface is now sunny and calm. A lone row boat floats beside the debris from Leonard’s ship.

NO DIALOGUE

2/ Fen appears with unconscious Leonard.

NO DIALOGUE

3/ beside the boat, Fen kisses Leonard’s cheek softly.

NO DIALOGUE

4/ Leonard wakes up to catch a glimpse of his lover.

CAPTION: The Mariner, whose eye is bright, whose beard with age is hoar, is gone; and now the wedding-guest turned from the bridegroom’s door.

5/ Fen disappears in the waves.

NO DIALOGUE

6/ Wide shot of the tiny row boat as the sun is rises, just a shadowy speck on the eternal sea.

CAPTION: He went like one that hath been stunned, and is of sense forlorn: a sadder and a wiser man he rose the morrow morn.


#3

"THE ANSWER"
Written by
Michael T Gonzalez

PAGE ONE (5 panels)

Panel 1: Interior of a semi-circular building with a domed ceiling and pillars lining the perimeter – akin to the Roman Senate – on an alien world. ALIENS are gathered in the audience, listening to an impassioned speech by the LEAD ALIEN. By their gestures and postures, they seem to be contemplating a matter that has caused great consternation.

Artist note: The Aliens should appear humanoid so that they can convey recognizable emotions with their facial expressions. Other than that requirement, the artist is free to invent.

WATCHER (cap): IT IS A QUESTION WHICH HAS PERPLEXED ALL SENTIENT LIFE SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME.

Panel 2: An earthquake shakes the building and everyone tries to stabilize and shield themselves as the roof begins to crumble. Additionally, a crack has formed along the perimeter of the ceiling.

SFX: RUUUMBLE

SFX: KER-ACK

Panel 3: Exterior of building. The roof of the building is ripped off, as if a cap from a bottle.

SFX: DOOOOM

Panel 4: Lead Alien’s POV. Looking up through the gaping hole which used to be the roof. People and debris from the surrounding area are being sucked up into a vortex in the sky towards a mammoth form silhouetted by the sun. The form is hazy but nonetheless recognizable as that of GALACTUS. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Galactus_(Earth-616))

Panel 5: Close-up of the Lead Alien, frozen in shock as debris whirls around him. He now appears gaunt as his lifeforce is extracted from his body.

WATCHER (cap): THE QUESTION OF “WHY?”

PAGE TWO (4 panels)

Panel 1: Deep space. A cloud nebula, similar to the “Pillars of Creation”, fills our view. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Creation)

WATCHER (cap): SO WE GAZE BACK THROUGH THE FOG OF TIME.

Panel 2: Inside the dark nebula, bolts of electricity arc between dim points of light creating white streaks.

WATCHER (cap): TO SEE THE BEGINNING. SEARCHING FOR THE ANSWER.

Panel 3: The streaks of light form the white markings of Tenebrous, who is standing on an earthen mound, as the dark cloud around him dissipates. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Tenebrous_(Earth-616))

WATCHER (cap): HIS NAME WAS TENEBROUS.

Panel 4: Similar to above but pulled back to reveal CELESTIALS standing at the base of the earthen mound in subservience to Tenebrous. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Celestials_(Race))

WATCHER (cap): HIS PURPOSE WAS TO RULE.

PAGE THREE (5 panels)

Panel 1: Tenebrous rides in a Kirby-esque flying throne, leading his army of Celestials, as they bombard a helpless alien civilization with energy blasts.

WATCHER (cap): TO EXPAND HIS EMPIRE ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

Panel 2: Tenebrous stands on a smoky battlefield as bodies of ENEMY SOLDIERS litter the ground for as far as the eye can see. One DYING SOLDIER reaches up to plead with Tenebrous.

DYING SOLDIER: PLEASE… SPARE ME. I WILL… GIVE YOU… ANYTHING.

Panel 3: POV of Dying Soldier. Close-up of Tenebrous, who looks down stoically.

TENEBROUS: THERE IS NOTHING YOU POSSESS WHICH I CANNOT EASILY TAKE.

Panel 4: Far shot. Tenebrous stomps down on the Dying Soldier’s head, crushing it beneath his boot.

SFX: CRUNCH

WATCHER (cap): UNTIL ONE APPEARED WHO STOOD IN DETERMINED DEFIANCE.

Panel 5: Tenebrous reels from an energy blast to his back.

SFX: FWAK

TENEBROUS: ARGH!

PAGE FOUR (4 panels)

Panel 1: Tenebrous – on one knee with smoke rising from his back – looks up at Brio, who hovers in the air. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Brio_(Earth-616))

WATCHER (cap): HER NAME WAS BRIO.

BRIO: YOU HAVE REACHED BEYOND YOUR GRASP, TYRANT.

Panel 2: Throne room in Tenebrous’ fortress at the top of a mountain (think Mount Olympus). Tenebrous slumps in his throne and pounds his fist as DIABLERI paces the floor. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Diableri)

WATCHER (cap): BRIO PROVED TO BE A STIFLING ADVERSARY.

TENEBROUS: I CANNOT ABIDE THIS STALEMATE!

DIABLERI: HER POWER IS EQUAL TO YOURS AND SHE HAS NO WEAKNESS.

TENEBROUS: SHE MUST! AND WE MUST RIP IT OUT OF HER!

Panel 3: Diableri peeks around the throne, his head near Tenebrous’ shoulder, as if the devil whispering into his ear.

WATCHER (cap): WITH THOSE WORDS, TENEBROUS’ ADVISOR, DIABLERI, WAS INSPIRED.

DIABLERI: OR, PERHAPS, WE BESTOW IT?

Panel 4: Similar to above but Diableri has peeked around the other side of the throne near Tenebrous’ opposite shoulder. Now, Diableri wears a wide, wicked smile as Tenebrous contemplates his words.

DIABLERI: WE CREATE THAT WHICH WE CAN EXPLOIT.

TENEBROUS: A DECEPTION. YES.

PAGE FIVE (5 panels)

Panel 1: Courtyard of Brio’s art deco-style castle. There is a major ceremony taking place. Brio’s empire is officially receiving Tenebrous and his entourage, which includes Diableri. Brio’s soldiers create a gauntlet for Tenebrous to approach Brio.

WATCHER (cap): AND SO, A PEACE OFFERING WAS MADE.

Panel 2: Tenebrous and Brio face each other as a volatile energy forms between them.

TENEBROUS: TO BRING OUR TWO EMPIRES INTO HARMONY, I OFFER THIS COMMUNION.

Panel 3: Close-up of Brio’s belly. Within the energy field, a small multi-faceted orb (think spherical diamond) appears.

WATCHER (cap): FROM THEIR DISTINCT ENERGIES, A NEW LIFEFORCE WAS CREATED.

Panel 4: Brio holds up the orb, reflecting light from its many facets, and is awed. We can barely make out the vague form of a fetus inside.

BRIO: IT IS… PRECIOUS.

Panel 5: Tenebrous and Diableri watch stoically.

DIABLERI: CERTAINLY WORTHY OF AN EMPIRE.

PAGE SIX (4 panels)

Panel 1: Interior of Brio’s castle. Strategy room. She is meeting with her ADVISORS over a star map. A GUARD rushes into the room.

WATCHER (cap): SOON AFTER, TENEBROUS SET IN MOTION THE NEXT PHASE OF HIS DEVIOUS PLOT.

GUARD: MY LORD, THE ORB IS GONE!

Panel 2: Brio and her army advance towards Tenebrous’ mountain fortress, blasting it with energy beams.

WATCHER (cap): BRIO KNEW INSTINCTIVELY WHO WAS TO BLAME FOR THIS OFFENSE AND RAIDED TENEBROUS’ FORTRESS.

Panel 3: Interior of Tenebrous’ fortress. There has been a major battle, as numerous bodies lay strewn about the smoky rubble. Brio looms over a cowering Diableri.

WATCHER (cap): OF COURSE, TENEBROUS PREDICTED THIS RESPONSE AND LEFT HIS ADVISOR TO DELIVER A MESSAGE.

DIABLERI: IT IS A SIMPLE EXCHANGE THAT WE PROPOSE. A LIFE FOR AN EMPIRE. ABDICATE YOUR THRONE AND THE ORB WILL BE RETURNED.

Panel 4: Interior of Brio’s castle. Brio – flanked by her Advisors – sits on her throne, distraught and conflicted.

ADVISOR #1: WHAT ARE YOU TO DO, MY LORD?

WATCHER (cap): BRIO CONTEMPLATED THE PREDICAMENT BUT COULD ONLY COME TO ONE CONCLUSION…

PAGE SEVEN (6 panels)

Panel 1: Night. In a barren, wind-swept desert under a star-filled sky, Brio approaches Tenebrous. Brio has some type of floating containment unit – a high-tech crib – by her side. Tenebrous holds the glowing orb.

WATCHER (cap): …SUBMISSION.

Panel 2: Tenebrous places the orb into the containment unit.

TENEBROUS: OUR DEAL IS SEALED.

Panel 3: Brio touches a panel on the containment unit causing waves of electricity to cascade out. Tenebrous repels in fear.

BRIO: AS IS OUR FATES.

SFX: FRZZAK

Panel 4: Tenebrous and Brio now stand alone, the containment unit having vanished.

TENEBROUS: YOU SACRIFICED HIM?!

BRIO: I SAVED HIM. FROM THE CATACLYSM.

TENEBROUS: WHAT CATA–?

Panel 5: Brio and Tenebrous are consumed in a massive explosion that emanates from Brio’s chest.

SFX: BOOM

Panel 6: Outer space. The planet once inhabited by Brio and Tenebrous is atomized, splaying out in a pattern similar to what happens when two stars collide.
(http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/NAS/NAS.html)

PAGE EIGHT (4 panels)

Panel 1: Ground-level view. We are in a field of sunflowers on an idyllic planet with a vivid blue sky. Snow-tipped mountains can be seen in the distance. Some type of ALIEN SAVAGE on an ALIEN MOOSE plods through the field towards us. The Alien Savage wears minimal purple armor and carries a trident which vaguely resembles Galactus’ helmet.

WATCHER (cap): SHE GAVE HIM TO THE COSMOS.

ALIEN MOOSE: HORK

Panel 2: Same as above except the Alien Moose has approached us and pauses to sniff the air.

WATCHER (cap): THIS CHILD OF LOVE AND HATE.

SFX: SNIFF

Panel 3: Far shot. The Alien Savage and Alien Moose have both fallen over, in their death throes. We now see that the Alien Moose was sniffing near a naked infant – BABY GALACTUS – in the field of sunflowers.

ALIEN SAVAGE (weakly): INDECIPHERABLE ALIEN LANGUAGE…

ALIEN MOOSE (weakly): HOR-ACK…

WATCHER (cap): THIS CHILD OF LIFE AND DEATH.

Panel 4: Bird’s-eye-view of field. The sunflowers around Baby Galactus have rotted and turned black. The Alien Savage and Alien Moose have become emaciated – almost mummified.

WATCHER (cap): HE KNEW NOT FROM WHERE HE CAME NOR HIS PURPOSE.

WATCHER (cap): HE SIMPLY… WAS.

PAGE NINE (4 panels)

Panel 1: On the surface of a moon orbiting the planet from the opening scene on page one. The Watcher, UATU, faces us. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Uatu_(Earth-616))

WATCHER: AND SO HE IS.

Panel 2: Over-the-shoulder shot. We now see that The Watcher is looking at Galactus feeding on planet.

WATCHER: WE STARE INTO HIS COLD VISAGE AND ASK “WHY?”

Panel 3: Medium shot of Galactus’ emotionless expression as he continues to absorb material and energy from the planet.

WATCHER (cap): WE ENDURE THE SILENCE WAITING – HOPING – FOR AN ANSWER.

Panel 4: Close-up of Galactus’ square pupils.

WATCHER (cap): NEVER UNDERSTANDING THAT HIS SILENCE IS THE ANSWER.

THE END.


#4

K.A.L.
By Menichols

Page one

1/ Exterior, street-shot of Metropolis Presbyterian Hospital

Caption (loud): I don’t understand!

2/ Interior of doctor’s office. Perspective is from behind a physician (Dr. Perry White) seated at his desk and looking into the panel. He faces an expensively dressed, thirtyish, married couple (the Kent’s). The husband (Jonathan), irate and standing, looms angrily above Dr. White while the wife (Martha) perched on the edge of one of two chairs across from the physician, wears a worried, pensive look.

Jonathan: I thought Metro Pres claimed to have the best fertility program in the country.

Dr. White: A claim that’s well deserved, I assure you.

Jonathan: Well what’s the problem then White? Is it money? Do you know how much the Kent family has contributed to this hospital… to this city, in the past century?

Jonathan: What will it take… a donation… a new wing…. What?

3/ The doctor motions Jonathan toward the unoccupied chair next to his wife.

Dr. White: It’s not as simple as all that. Please Jonathan… sit.

4/ Profile waist-up shot of the doctor leaning forward, elbows on desk with his fingers interlaced as he addresses the would-be parents seated across from him. Martha appears tearful.

Dr. White: Yours and Martha’s combined medical histories Jonathan create an almost perfect storm of incompatibility for successful fertilization and implantation of an ovum.

Dr. White: This last trial was your third attempt at IVF and I’m sorry to say we again failed to achieve the result you were obviously hoping for.

Martha: So… so, what do we do now?

5/ Jonathan and Martha’s perspective looking at the doctor who contemplatively lowers his forehead atop the thumbs of his interlaced fingers.

6/ Same as previous panel. The doctor raises his head and addresses the couple ruefully.

Dr. White: Have you considered adoption?

Page two

1/ The Kent’s palatial bedroom. Martha lies on her back in bed, under the covers, propped from the waist up by pillows. Jonathan paces back and forth in front of her, still in his suit shirt, tie loosened at the neck, waving one hand in exasperation while carrying a drink in the other.

Jonathan: Adoption… Adoption!

Jonathan: Can you believe the gall of that quack?

2/ Martha replies from her reclined position.

Martha: May… maybe we should consider…

3/ Jonathan whirls on his wife. His wife responds nervously.

Jonathan: What?

Jonathan: I can trace my lineage back for nearly nine-hundred-years. Do you really think I want some bastard to carry on the Kent name?

Martha: No… of course not… It’s just…

Martha: Please dear… Come to bed.

4/ Jonathan storms out.

Jonathan: I’m too angry to sleep. I’ll be in the study.

5/ Darkened study. Jonathan is front-lit by the glow coming off of his computer screen. He wears a scowl and continues to nurse his drink. Far off a doorbell chimes.

SFX (doorbell): ding-dong

6/ Same as previous panel. A maid (Lois) appears at the study doorway in silhouette. Jonathan growls
.
Jonathan: What is it Lois?

Lois: A man to see you Mr. Kent.

Jonathan: At this hour…? Who is it?

Lois: He wouldn’t say Sir. Only that it’s important and he would speak just to you.

Page three

1/ Jonathan descends a flight of stairs. At its bottom is man in a long overcoat and hat with his back to the reader. Jonathan speaks to him.

Jonathan: May I help you Mister…?

2/ The individual at the bottom of the stairs (Lex Luthor) turns while simultaneously removing his hat to reveal a baldpate with one hand and extending his other in greeting.

Lex: Doctor actually… Doctor Lex Luthor and it’s I that may be able to help you.

Jonathan: …how is that exactly?

Lex: I’m a colleague of Perry White’s. It’s come to my attention; the …difficulties that you and your wife have experienced while try to conceive under Doctor White’s care.

Lex: I believe I can succeed where he’s failed. All I ask is ten minutes of your time to explain.

3/ Jonathan’s face remains impassive.

Jonathan: Perry White is supposed to be the best.

Luthor: I’m better.

Jonathan: I’ll give you five minutes.

4/ Luthor breaks into a smile.

Lex: Super…

5/ Profile shot. Jonathan and Lex are sitting across from one another at the Kent’s kitchen table. Jonathan’s face is visibly excited as he gazes at an open folder that’s contents remain hidden.

Jonathan: Is… Is this possible?

Lex: More than. We’ve already done it, albeit to a degree that can be vastly improved on.

Jonathan: But why me? Why us?

Lex: May I be frank Mr. Kent?

Jonathan: Please

6/ Shot from behind Jonathan looking at Lex. The kitchen table discussion continues.

Lex: I am a realist not an altruist.

Lex: I can deliver what I propose. The methods I’ll employ however, stem from research that while sound remains unorthodox and therefore quite costly.

Lex: For reasons too myriad and inconsequential to elaborate, my original backer has …lost faith. The Kent fortune would undoubtedly rectify that, allowing me to complete my work… The kind of work that results in what you see in those photos before you.

Lex: It’s very simple Mr. Kent. Quid pro quo, you provide me a check…

Lex: I’ll provide you an heir.

7/ Shot from behind Lex looking at Jonathan.

Jonathan: Where do we go from here?

Page four

1/ Title Page. Shot of a black, stretch limo rolling onto Smallville’s Main St. A sign on a corner post reads “Smallville Kansas est. 1885”. A sports banner stretches high across the street from one side to the other and reads “Welcome to Smallville, Home of the State Champion Sentinels, Go Red & Blue!” A small picture of a Sentinels’ football helmet accompanies the banner (blue helmet with red faceguard and chinstrap. A black outline of an “S” in the familiar Superman configuration adorns the helmet’s side). Overtop of the banner is the story’s title “K.A.L.”

Caption (Lex): Kansas

2/ The limo pulls onto an unpaved driveway leading up to a small farmhouse with a large barn situated nearby. A mailbox sits on a post at the drive’s entrance with wooden letters spelling out the name “LANG” fastened to it.

Lex: Here we are.

Martha: Who are the Lang’s?

Lex: The property’s original owners… Not to worry, they were adequately compensated for its use.

3/ Lex has exited the limo with the Kent’s in tow. He goes to push on the high double doors of the Lang’s barn.

Lex: Mr. and Mrs. Kent… Allow me to introduce my assistants and co-creators of the process that is going to make you parents.

4/ The doors are wide open. An attractive, young, male and female couple stand inside wearing long, white, coats surrounded by a sterile-looking lab setup filled with strange, exotic machinery, test equipment, and patient exam tables. On one of the tables sits a ring-box.

Lex: …Jorel and Lara Kandor

5/ Jonathan appears confused.

Jonathan: but why are we here?

6/ Lex turns to Jonathan and Martha, the ring box open in his hand. Inside is a brilliant green crystal (pointed at the ends, wider at the middle, like a top).

Lex: because of this.

Page five

1/ Past image of men in Hazmat suits hold Geiger-counters over a small smoldering, meteorite embedded in a cornfield.

Caption (Lex): Nine months ago crystalline fragments were chipped from the remains of a small meteorite that crashed on this farm. Early spectrographical scans determined they were formed from an element not found on the periodic table.

Jonathan: Where’s it from?

2/ Lex shrugs.

Lex: Remnants of a star or world, perhaps millennia gone.

Lex: Our attempts to analyze the crystals proved futile for quite some time.

3/ Past image of Jorel and Lara in protective goggles hugging joyously in the lab. A laser in the panel’s foreground shows a beam of coherent red light impacting the crystal on one side and producing a yellow field of light that fans out in a wedge formation on the other.

Caption (Lex): That is until the Doctors, Kandor stumbled across the answers for us by way of a simple Krypton gas laser. This stellar material that heretofore had resisted all manner of investigation, finally revealed it’s secret.

4/ Past image of Jorel breaking a baseball bat over an apple sitting on a table bathed in the crystal’s yellow glow.

Caption (Lex): …and what a secret it was.

Caption (Lex): We discovered organic matter exposed to the crystal’s emitted yellow field is altered at the atomic level. Covalent bonds transform into ionic ones causing their strength and molecular kinetics to increase exponentially.

5/ Martha turns to Lara looking confused.

Lara: He means your child will be hardy and grow fast, very fast.

6/ Jonathan quizzes Luthor.

Jonathan: Can’t we do this in a hospital?

Lex: No. For a reason we have yet to discern, the transformative ability of the crystal becomes inert four hundred meters from the impact’s epicenter. The procedure must be performed here.

7/ Close-up on Jonathan’s hand holding the crystal.

Jorel (off-panel): We’re calling it Kryptonite.

Lex (off-panel): What do you say Jonathan?

Lex (off-panel): …ready to become a father?

Page six

1/ Jonathan lies nude and supine across the table. The yellow energy field emitted by the crystal radiates and obscures his mid-section.

Caption (Lex): Your Celiac disease stymies the production of testosterone, which limits the vigor of your swimmers. Using the process however, we can briefly increase their durability and velocity, make them “faster than a speeding bullet” if you will.

2/ POV through the eye-lens of a microscope. Martha’s ovum glows under the same yellow field while a needle is retracted.

Caption (Lex): Your Endometriosis Martha, results in a thickened, uterine wall generally unsuitable for a normal fertilized ovum to adhere to. What’s required in this case is something denser than it is to ensure viability… an “egg of steel” in a sense.

3/ Perspective is above and behind Jonathan and Martha gazing down into a glass enclosure with the yellow, Kryptonite field shining on what appears to be a large, basinet-sized, empty Petri dish. Luther is gazing at it through the lens of a large oculus headset.

Lex: Ah… there we are.

Jonathan: What now Dr. Luthor?

Lex: We wait. Your embryo is undergoing meiosis at a nearly incalculable rate. Your baby will reach a maturation equal to one year very rapidly.

Jonathan: How soon?

4/ Perspective is from the baby enclosure looking upwards. The child is hid from view. Jonathan and Martha beam with happiness. She clutches Jonathan’s arm, tears streaming down her face.

Caption (Lex): twenty-four hours

Martha: Oh Jonathan… It’s a boy… We have a son.

Jonathan: I suppose we’ll have to name him.

Martha: If… it’s all right with you, I’d like to name him after my father.

Jonathan: That would be fine my love… Clark it is.

5/ Profile shot, Jonathan turns to Lex to shake his hand. Martha stands behind them (further in panel) cooing to baby Clark behind his enclosure, still hidden from the reader.

Martha: I’m your Mama Clark… That’s right… Can you say Mama?

Jonathan: I can’t thank you enough. When can we take him home?

Lex: I… I’ll need some time to wean the field affect. Clark is still growing rapidly. I would wait another day to be safe. It will put his age around two but his development should return to normal after that.

6/ Jonathan turns to Jorel on his opposite side to also to shake his hand. The men share a hesitant, uncertain look at the moment of the handshake. Further into the panel, Lara has encircled her arm around Martha’s shoulder leading her away.

Jonathan: Wonderful

Lara: Come Martha… Let us find something for little Clark to wear.

Jonathan: and thank you too …Doctor Kandor.

Page seven

1/ Night-time shot of the front of the Smallville Motor Lodge.

2/ Close-up on Jorel’s hand knocking on a room’s door. Jonathan’s voice is heard from within.

Jonathan: Come in

3/ Jorel opens the door and we see a tense and wistful Jonathan and Martha sitting on the edge of their motel bed facing him. Jonathan holds up a triangular slip of paper between his fingers (inset picture of Jorel passing the note to Jonathan when shaking hands earlier).

Jonathan: Mind explaining this…

Jorel: It’s as I wrote… I believe Dr. Luthor plans to abduct your son now that his procedure has proved successful.

Jonathan: That’s irrational. He already proved it once. I saw the pictures.

Jorel: The early ones I assume.

4/ Jorel hands the folder to Jonathan.

Jorel: I seriously doubt you saw these.

5/ Jonathan and Martha’s stunned perspective. The left side of the folder shows the rapid development of a baby boy similar to Clark, the right shows what appears to be a monstrous, baby Doomsday creature.

Martha: gasp

Jonathan: my God

Jorel: K.A.L.

Jonathan: Cal?

Jorel: K-A-L, Kryptonite Augmented Life-form

6/ Jorel’s memory of Luthor in the Lang barn shaking hands with an army general wearing the nametag Zod.

Caption (Jorel): Luthor’s research began as a D.O.D. mission… An attempt to grow the perfect soldier in the Kryptonite field.

7/ Jorel’s memory of dead army soldiers strewn around the barn. Zod is pointing/giving an order to fire. A squad of sodiers are firing energy weapons at the baby creature.

Caption (Jorel): When K.A.L. mutated he went berserk, became an enraged animal. It took experimental weapons to finally put him out of his misery.

8/ Zod’s men are removing the meteorite from Luthor’s lab (in the panel rear ground). Luthor (in panel foreground) shakes one fist at Zod’s departure while hiding the ring box behind his back with the other.

Caption (Jorel): The military labeled the operation a failure, took the meteorite and left Luthor high and dry.

Caption (Jonathan) but you didn’t

Caption (Jorel): Lara and I knew Luthor would try again… and we owed it to K.A.L. to stay.

Caption (Jonathan): Why?

Page eight

1/ Night-time profile shot of Jorel, Jonathan and Martha stealthily creeping along the edge the Lang’s barn and lit only by the moon. Jonathan whispers to Martha who whispers back.

Caption (Jorel): because he was our son.

Jonathan: I wish you had remained at the inn.

Martha: He’s our child Jonathan… “We’re” bringing him home.

2/ Jorel at the head of the procession turns and addresses the others.

Jorel: Luthor will be asleep in the house. Lara’s waiting for us inside the lab. We take Clark, we go and we don’t look back… Agreed?

Jonathan: agreed

3/ Black panel. Perspective is from inside the darkened barn looking out. The moonlight outside and the stars in the night sky frame the open barn door. Jorel’s silhouette whispers his wife’s name.

Jorel: Lara?

4/ The lab’s lights click on. The trio views Luthor (facing reader) flipping the wall switch with the barrel of a gun. He stands behind Lara with his other arm bent around her neck, his free hand covers her mouth.

Lara: mpfh…

Jorel: Luthor!

Lex: Welcome

Jonathan: Luthor, you maniac… Give us our son.

5/ Luthor nods to his side. The Kent’s turn to see Clark’s enclosure is still illuminated by the Kryptonite’s emitted, yellow field. Clark remains hidden from view.

Lex: I’m afraid that won’t be possible

Jonathan: The process… It’s still running… Why?

Lex: Because I’m fairly certain General Zod would prefer an adult weapon to an infant one.

Martha: No!

Jonathan: Lex please… I can offer more money.

Lex: No offense Jonathan but I think Uncle Sam’s pockets run a bit deeper.

6/ Lex trains his gun at the trio.

Lex: You know, I have your’s and Martha’s poor genetics to thank for this. It was your illnesses that attenuated Clark’s embryonic development as I theorized it might… weakened it enough so that the Kryptonite matrix had time to stabilize and not mutate as it did with poor, little K.A.L.

Page nine

1/ Luthor stands further into the panel. His posturing is interrupted and he turns his head as he hears and sees Clark’s glass incubator (panel foreground) start to crack.

Lex: Ironic if you think about… It seems it’s rather the “weak” that will inherit the ea—

SFX (glass cracking): krik

2/ Lara seizes upon the distraction and bites down on Lex’s hand causing him to cry out in pain.

Lex: AIOWW!

3/ Jorel closest launches for the gun, grabbing Lex by the wrist. They fight in profile in the panel foreground. In the panel background stands tall, oblong gas tanks with diamond shaped “FLAMMABLE” warning signs.

4/ Close-up up on the men’s hands struggling for the gun as it fires.

SFX (gun shot): BLAM!

5/ Exterior shot of the darkened barn. A second and final gunshot is heard from within, its report interrupted by a tremendous explosion to follow.

SFX (gun shot): BLA-!

6/ Same as previous panel only now the barn explodes in a ball of fire and debris as a bullet strikes the gas tank inside.

SFX (tank exploding): KABOOOOM!!

Page ten

1/ Jonathan is on his hands and knees. Burning barn debris is all around him. He calls out to his wife who responds weakly.

Jonathan: Mar-- Martha!

Martha (off-panel): Here Jonathan… I’m here…

2/ Jonathan staggers towards Martha. She is pinned under a burning section of barn wall.

Jonathan: …no

3/ Tearfully, Jonathan grasps a corner of the flaming wood and attempts to lift it. Martha accepts her fate and attempts to calm him.

Jonathan: Ungh… I can’t… I—

Martha: shhh Darling… it’s okay just… just hold my hand.

4/ Close-up on Martha’s legs as the huge section of debris lifts itself away. A tiny voice is heard off-panel.

Clark (off-panel): Muh-- Muh—

5/ Clark’s POV looking at his parents as the shadow of him hoisting the burning section of barn plays over their bewildered forms.

Page eleven

1/ Splash page, Baby Clark, two-years-old, stands atop a pile of flaming rubble holding the barn section high above his tiny head with his parents gaping in amazement from their positions on the ground. The fire backlights him and we see that he is clothed (facing reader) in a tiny Smallville Sentinels onesie with a blue top, red bottom and his one-day-to-be trademark “S” embroidered across his chest.

Clark: Mama

Martha: Clark?

Caption: The Beginning…


#5

THE MOTHER OF TWO FACES
By Glenn Francis Faelnar (francisg)
PAGE ONE
1/
A woman sits and waits anxiously.
Caption: I’m nervous. I’ve never been called by the school before. I hope my son didn’t do anything bad.
2/
A secretary emerges from a door.
Secretary: MRS. DENT, THE PRINCIPAL IS READY FOR YOU NOW.
3/
Mrs. Dent and the principal shake hands.
Principal: HELLO MRS. DENT. THANK YOU FOR COMING IN ON SUCH SHORT NOTICE.
Mrs. Dent: IT’S NO TROUBLE MS. ROSA. DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO HARVEY?
Principal: PLEASE HAVE A SEAT FIRST MRS. DENT.
4/
Mrs. Dent sits while facing the principal in the foreground. The principal, in the background, has her hands intertwined while her forearms lean on her table.
Principal: YOUR SON, HARVEY, HAD A FIGHT WITH ANOTHER STUDENT.
Mrs. Dent: I’M SORRY BUT HARVEY WOULD NEVER START A FIGHT WITH ANOTHER STUDENT.
Principal: I KNOW MRS. DENT. WE’RE AS SHOCKED AS YOU ARE WHEN WE FOUND OUT WHAT HARVEY DID.
Mrs. Dent: WHAT DID HE DO?
Principal: WELL…
PAGE TWO
1/
Harvey, at 9 years old, walks with his friend pass by the playground. He has his backpack with him. In the background, another student can be seen.
Caption (principal cont’d): “One of the students, Chris, who is one of Harvey’s friends, witnessed the incident. He said that both he and Harvey were just walking through the playground when another student, Billy, called him out.”
Billy: HEY DENT! NICE BAG YOU’VE GOT THERE. WHERE’D YOUR PARENTS BUY THAT, IN THE DUMPSTER? HAHAHA
Chris: DON’T LISTEN TO HIM HARVEY. HE JUST DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO. JUST IGNORE HIM.
2/
Same shot as the previous panel but now Billy appears farther away from Harvey and Chris.
Caption (principal cont’d): “Bullies are common in schools Mrs. Dent. But unlike most kids, Harvey seems mature enough to ignore their taunts. He’s a good kid and displays good behavior in class which is why it’s hard to believe what he did.”
Billy: MY DAD SAYS YOUR DAD IS A LOSER AND YOUR MOM IS A –
3/
Harvey grabs his backpack and quickly lunges towards Billy. His friend, Chris, can be seen in the background.
Caption (principal cont’d): “Chris said that Billy was about to say about to say something about you when Harvey just ran towards him. He said that Harvey hit Billy with his backpack.”
Chris: HARVEY, NO!
4/
Harvey is on top of Billy, hitting him with his backpack repeatedly. Chris is seen rushing towards him.
Caption (principal cont’d): “He did this repeatedly before he tied Billy up to side of the swing. We had no idea that he was bringing a rope in his bag. Chris said that he just pulled it out.”
Billy: AAHHH!
Chris: HARVEY, STOP! HE’S NOT WORTH IT.
PAGE THREE
1/
Billy is tied up to the swing post. He’s crying. Harvey is in front of him, flipping a coin.
Caption (principal cont’d): “After he had tied Billy up, Harvey was flipping a coin to decide what to do to him next. It was some sort of punishment for bullying.”
Harvey: SO, BILLY. LET’S DECIDE HOW THIS SAND ENTERS YOUR BODY. HEADS, IT GOES IN YOUR MOUTH. TAILS, IT GOES INSIDE YOUR BUTT.
2/
Harvey looks down on his hand with the coin in it. It was heads.
Harvey: HEADS! YOU’RE PRETTY LUCKY BILLY. YOUR MOUTH IT IS.
3/
A young boy grabs Harvey’s left arm where he holds a handful of sand. Billy is still crying in the background.
Caption (principal cont’d): “Luckily, young Mr. Wayne was there to stop whatever Harvey was planning to do. And then the other kids called one of the teachers.”
Bruce: THAT’S ENOUGH HARVEY.
Billy: I WANT MY MOMMY! WAAAA! SOB
4/
Harvey angrily looks at Bruce.
Harvey: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS WAYNE.
PAGE FOUR
1/
Mrs. Dent covers her mouth, in shock of what the principal had just told her.
Mrs. Dent: I’M SO SORRY FOR THE TROUBLE MY SON HAS CAUSED. HE’S HAD IT ROUGH GROWING UP AND I’M TO BLAME FOR THAT. I COULDN’T PROTECT HIM FROM HIS FATHER.
Principal: YOUR HUSBAND DIED TWO YEARS AGO, CORRECT?
Mrs. Dent: YES. HE…
2/
Mr. Dent raises his hand to hit Mrs. Dent. Harvey, standing in the background, would see this.
Caption (Mrs. Dent cont’d): “…wasn’t a good man. He was constantly drunk. He would hit me every day. Unfortunately, Harvey would witness all of it.”
Mr. Dent: YOU THINK I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM?! YOU BITCH!
Mrs. Dent: HANK, PLEASE!
3/
Harvey tries to shield his mom from his father.
Harvey: STOP THIS DAD. STOP HURTING MOM!
Mr. Dent: OUT OF MY WAY HARVEY!
4/
Mrs. Dent sits on the floor, crying. She feels powerless as his husband turns to punish Harvey instead.
Mr. Dent (off-panel): SO, YOU WANNA BE A HERO AND SAVE YOUR MOTHER, HUH, HARVEY? I’LL TEACH YOU A LESSON ON WHY YOU NEVER SHOULD BE A HERO.
Harvey (off-panel): PLEASE, DAD!
Mr. Dent (off-panel): HEADS, I USE MY HAND TO BEAT YOU. TAILS, I USE MY BAT.
Harvey (off-panel): NO DAD, PLEASE! MOM HEEEELP!
PAGE FIVE
1/
Mrs. Dent approaches slowly approaches their car.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): “This went on for too long. Harvey and I kept living in fear every day. That wasn’t until my late husband’s accident.”
No dialogue.
2/
Close in on Mrs. Dent’s hand as she’s cutting the brakes line.
Caption (Mrs. Dent cont’d): “I know I wasn’t supposed to be happy but I was.”
No dialogue.
3/
Mr. Dent’s car runs toward a cliff.
Caption (Mrs. Dent cont’d): “That monster got what he deserved.”
No dialogue.
4/
Mrs. Dent hugging little Harvey after both of them were told that Mr. Dent had just died.
Caption (Mrs. Dent cont’d): “He was gone from our lives for good.”
No dialogue.
PAGE SIX
1/
Mrs. Dent and the principal are standing and shaking hands as they part ways.
Principal: I’M SORRY THAT YOU AND HARVEY HAD TO EXPERIENCE THAT.
Mrs. Dent: IT’S OKAY. THAT’S ALL IN THE PAST NOW. I’LL TALK TO HARVEY ABOUT WHAT HE DID.
Principal: OKAY. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO COME MRS. DENT.
2/
Mrs. Dent and Harvey sit on their table across from each other. Both of them were having dinner.
Mrs. Dent: HARVEY, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE WHAT YOU DID TO THAT BOY.
Harvey: I KNOW MOM BUT HE WAS TRYING TO SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT YOU. I DON’T CARE IF SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT DAD. BUT IF HE INSULTS YOU, I CAN’T ALLOW THAT. I WANT TO PROTECT YOU.
Mrs. Dent: I KNOW SWEETHEART BUT I’M THE ONE WHO’S SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOU. I’M JUST GLAD THAT YOUNG BRUCE WAS THERE TO STOP YOU FROM WHAT YOU WERE ABOUT TO DO.
3/
Harvey suddenly throws a tantrum. He pushes the plate out of the table while he screams at his mom.
Harvey: WAYNE SHOULD’VE MINDED HIS OWN BUSINESS. BILLY DESERVED WHAT HE WAS ABOUT TO GET. HE’S MEAN AND DESERVED TO BE PUNISHED.
4/
Harvey, upon realizing what he had done, bows his head and cries.
Harvey: I’M SORRY MOM. I DIDN’T MEAN TO SHOUT AT YOU.
Mrs. Dent (off-panel): IT’S ALRIGHT HARVEY.
5/
Mrs. Dent kneels in front of Harvey and proceeds to comfort him.
Harvey: ARE YOU MAD? ARE YOU GOING TO PUNISH ME?
Mrs. Dent: NO, HARVEY. I’M NOT MAD AT YOU AND I’M NOT GOING TO PUNISH YOU. I’D NEVER HURT YOU.
PAGE SEVEN
1/
Mrs. Dent’s old and withered hands hold a framed picture of her standing beside Harvey on his college graduation.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): I believe that a mother should protect her child no matter what. I believe that she should overlook even the harshest things her child could do.
No dialogue.
2/
Mrs. Dent walks across the dining room holding a tray with a hot meal on int.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): That’s what I did. I protected my son. Even though I know there was something deep in him that wasn’t right, I didn’t care. I overlooked everything bad deed he has ever done in the past. I was there for him when other people judged him. They don’t know him. They don’t know the struggles we’ve overcome together.
T.V. Reporter (off-panel): THE ONE TIME DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS STILL AT LARGE. THE GCPD ARE DOUBLING EFFORTS. AND WE ALL KNOW THAT THE BATMAN IS OUT FINDING HIM AS WELL.
3/
Mrs. Dent walks down a flight of stairs.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): The cops came here earlier. I told them that I haven’t seen my son for years since his accident. They tried to search the place but found nothing. I made sure that this room was well hidden. No one knew about this room but me. I lied to the authorities to protect my son. That’s what you do, right? You lie for the ones you love.
No dialogue.
4/
Mrs. Dent stands holding the tray. She looks at Harvey sitting on a bed.
Mrs. Dent: HARVEY, I BROUGHT SOMETHING FOR YOU TO EAT. IT’S YOUR FAVORITE.
PAGE EIGHT
1/
Mrs. Dent sits beside Harvey. The tray is placed on a table in front of Harvey.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): The people of this city only see a man who has fallen from grace. They see a man who has become a cold blooded killer.
Mrs. Dent: C’MON HARVEY. YOU NEED TO EAT. YOU NEED YOUR STRENGTH. DON’T WORRY, THE COPS WILL NEVER FIND YOU HERE. EVEN BATMAN WILL NEVER FIND YOU HERE.
2/
Harvey then grabs his mother’s blouse and shouts at her.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): They no longer see a human. They only see a monster.
Harvey: YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO! YOU THINK BATMAN WON’T FIND ME HERE?! HOW CAN YOU BE SO DAMN SURE?!
3/
Mrs. Dent closes her eyes and tries to cover her face with her arms.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): But I don’t.
Mrs. Dent: HARVEY, PLEASE!
4/
Harvey’s face shows his regret and the sadness in his eyes when he realizes that he has become the monster that her mother always feared. He has become his father. He tears began to drop from his eyes.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): I only see my son. He’s broken. I’m the only one who understands him. He needs me now more than ever.
Harvey: I—I’M SORRY MOM. I DIDN’T MEAN TO –
PAGE NINE
Splash page
Mrs. Dent warps her arms around Harvey. He’s curled up like a child in need of his mother protection.
Caption (Mrs. Dent): I will protect my son. I don’t care who comes for him. I’ll protect him from the police or even from the batman.
Harvey: MOM, HAVE I BECOME LIKE DAD? HAVE I BECOME THE MONSTER THAT HE WAS?
Mrs. Dent: NO. YOU ARE A BETTER MAN THAT YOUR FATHER WAS AND WILL EVER BE. THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO REMEMBER.
Harvey: I’M SORRY FOR CAUSING YOU TROUBLE AND DRAGGING YOU INTO THIS MESS MOM.
Mrs. Dent: YOU DID NO SUCH THING. I LOVE YOU SON. AND I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT YOU NO MATTER WHAT.
END


#6

BEHOLD! The Cosmic Teen Years of Galactus
By Patrick Barb

PAGE 1 (4 PANELS)

PANEL 1: We start with three panels across the top of the page. First, close on UATU THE WATCHER decked out in his white toga, blue cape get-out. CHOWING DOWN on some SPARE RIBS.

1 SFX (EATING): nom-nom-nom…

PANEL 2: With barbecue sauce around his mouth, UATU flicks his eyes up and eye from the ribs, catching the eyes of our loyal readers.

2 UATU: Mmmf…Oh!

3 UATU: Hello! I didn’t see you there!

PANEL 3: The barbecue sauce and the ribs have magically disappeared because of Magical Cosmic Because Powers. Now, a clean and grinning Uatu addresses the audience.

4 UATU: Just kidding. I saw everything.

5 UATU: Because…I’m the Watcher…get it?

PANEL 4: Big panel at the bottom of the page here. The deep and utter surrealism of the Marvel Comics version of the cosmos. Or more exactly, Jack Kirby’s version…all swirling collage and cut-out comets. A hippy vision from an imaginary Hubble telescope. And standing…floating…float-standing: GALACTUS. Arms folded across armored chest, lips pursed under his purple helmet. In the foreground, Uatu points a thumb back toward Galactus—playing the role of narrator.

6 UATU: GALACTUS! Devourer of planets! God-being of the COSMOS!

7 UATU: Friend to some, enemy to others, FORCE above and beyond nature for all!

8 UATU: Doubtless you recall with terror and DREAD, the tales of the great GALACTUS’S clashes with Earth heroes…

9 UATU: Names that ring out across these spacious SPACE skies. The Fantastic Four, the Avengers, THE SQUIRREL GIRL!

10 UATU: But heed the words of UATU THE WATCHER, mortals. It was not always so.

11 UATU: Look ahead and…

12 UATU (TITLE): BEHOLD! THE COSMIC TEEN YEARS OF GALACTUS

PAGE 2 (6 PANELS)

PANEL 1: The middle of deep space–a GIANT WOMAN-GODDESS dressed up just like Galactus. Except she’s got a blond SUE STORM-STYLE BOB peeking out from under her helmet. This is…MA-LACTUS. And she’s standing in front of a GIANT WHITE BEDROOM DOOR…knocking.

1 MA-LACTUS: Galactus, honey, you in there?

2 MA-LACTUS: It’s me. It’s your mother.

3 SFX (DOOR KNOCKING): knock-knock-knock…

PANEL 2: Ma-Lactus leaning against Galactus’s white bedroom door. A frustrated sigh across her face.

4 MA-LACTUS: I just–I don’t understand why you have to be so difficult…

5 MA-LACTUS: Your father and I just expect you to eat planets. Like you always have…

PANEL 3: The next 2 square panels are set (stacked one on top of the other) beside the previous panel of Ma-Lactus. In this first one, Uatu has folded up a SLICE OF NEW YORK-STYLE PIZZA and is cramming it into his wide-open mouth with one hand. His free hand points back to Panel 2.

6 UATU: Observe! The concerned Mother of Mighty Galactus: MA-LACTUS!

PANEL 4: In this next panel, Uatu burps/talks at the same time. And gestures down to Panel 5 below him…

7 UATU: And look once more for now the pissed-off pater familias arrives in the form of PA-LACTUS!

PANEL 5: And that’s just who we meet in this large panel at the bottom of the page, having joined his wife outside their son’s bedroom door–PA-LACTUS. Again, he’s got the same Galactus-style armor. Except underneath we see a hint of brown hair and white temples ala Reed Richards. Pa-Lactus pounds his gloved fist against the door.

8 PA-LACTUS: Son, you open this door right this second or SO HELP ME…

PANEL 6: Like we’re getting a cut-away look at what’s behind the “bedroom door.” But it still looks like the inky, star-filled blackness of deep space. With piles of laundry–questionably crunchy socks, half-drank soda bottles, and a video game controller floating in the midst of it all. Galactus’s PURPLE-GLOVED hand is stretched forward reaching for the doorknob from his side of the door…

9 GALACTUS: SHEEEEESH!

PAGE 3 (6 PANELS)

PANEL 1: A large horizontal panel filling the top ⅓ of the page here. TEEN GALACTUS (with crusty, a half-developed, weak attempt at a mustache beneath his helmet) standing in front of his GIGANTIC BED in the middle of his OUTER SPACE BEDROOM. An “ETERNITY” poster hangs/floats in the background. He’s arguing with Pa-Lactus and Ma-Lactus who stand amidst the messy chaos of the “room.”

1 GALACTUS: Why can’t you guys respect my wishes and…

2 GALACTUS: LEAVE ME ALONE?!

3 PA-LACTUS: Respect your wishes?!

4 MA-LACTUS: Dear…

5 PA-LACTUS: We’re your parents, son. Your wishes belong to us as long you’re under my cosmic roof!

PANEL 2: Close on Pa-Lactus. Scoffing.

6 PA-LACTUS: Now you’re gonna stand there and tell us you don’t want to…eat planets?

PANEL 3: Teen Galactus can give just as good as he gets. Arms folded across his chest and a rebellious sneer on his lips.

7 GALACTUS: That’s right. I don’t wanna eat planets.

8 GALACTUS: I’ve gone planet-free.

PANEL 4: Close on Pa-Lactus. Laughing a big, sarcastic laugh right back at his son.

9 SFX (LAUGHTER): HA! HA! HA! HA!

PANEL 5: Now Ma-Lactus joins in the laughter.

10 SFX (PA-LACTUS LAUGHTER): HA! HA! HA!

11 SFX (MA-LACTUS LAUGHTER): HEE! HEE! HEE!

12 GALACTUS (OFF-PANEL): GET OUT!

PANEL 6: Pa-Lactus and Ma-Lactus back outside of Galactus’s room. The white bedroom door SLAMMING SHUT in their faces.

13 SFX (DOOR): SLAM!

PAGE 4 (5 PANELS)

NOTE: For this page, we’re looking at a 4 panel grid where panel 1 and 3 are opposite halves of a vertical scene (same for 2 and 4). Panel 5 sits in the center of the page (a small, square inset-like panel).

PANEL 1: Pa-Lactus throws up his hands in frustration. Hands balled up into fists. Cosmic energy crackling from his mouth as he speaks.

1 PA-LACTUS: Kids! Why must they vex us so, HERALD?

2 PA-LACTUS: I mean in MY DAY children respected their elders. Right, HERALD?

PANEL 2: Ma-Lactus is taking Galactus’s rejection a bit more forlornly. She rests her chin on her hand, gazing up at a SHOOTING STAR passing overhead.

3 MA-LACTUS: I don’t know. Maybe it’s my fault.

4 MA-LACTUS: Do you think we spoiled him too much? Is that it?

PANEL 3: Beneath the Pa-Lactus panel, a ROCK-LIKE CYLINDER extending straight up–impossibly straight up–from a nearby planet. The shadow of Pa-Lactus looms overhead. And on this outcropping, a MAN with GLOWING SKIN is on his knees begging. This is Pa-Lactu’s herald…HAROLD.

5 PA-LACTUS (OFF-PANEL, ABOVE): What’s that, HERALD? Speak up!

6 HAROLD: Please help me. My name is Harold Jenkins.

7 HAROLD: Oh my God, why is my skin glowing…

PANEL 4: The panel beneath Ma-Lactus. Here we see HER herald, THE IVORY INLINE SKATER (and do I REALLY need to describe a character with a name like that) in-line skating amid a field of asteroids.

8 IVORY: If you ask me, mighty mistress, what the boy needs is a hobby. Have you thought of in-line skating…

9 IVORY: Perhaps he would care for a lesson from THE IVORY INLINE SKATER!

10 MA-LACTUS (OFF-PANEL): Yeahhh. Probably not that.

PANEL 5: In the center of the page. Close on the Watcher. His hand reaching to a BIG TUB OF POPCORN. Just, y’know, watching and stuff.

No dialogue.

PAGE 5 (6 PANELS)

PANEL 1: Galactus’s bedroom door is slightly ajar. Ma-Lactus has the doorknob in her hand and she’s jusssst peeking her head in.

1 MA-LACTUS: Honey? You in here? I…OH!

PANEL 2: Teen Galactus is on his knees beside his bed. Trying to shove…SOMETHING UNDER THERE…before his mom can see.

2 MA-LACTUS: What is THAT?

3 GALACTUS: Ma, what? Aww geez!

4 GALACTUS: Can’t you KNOCK?!

PANEL 3: Ma-Lactus has shoved her son out of the way. She stretches her hand out under his bed to retrieve whatever it was he was just trying to hide.

5 MA-LACTUS: What is THIS?

PANEL 4: Ma-Lactus looks down at what she just retrieved. A GIANT, OPEN PLASTIC BAGGIE. Inside the bag: a shiny, shimmering, glittering, twinkling substance. Some of it even leaping out of the bag–as though alive, filed with energy…

6 MA-LACTUS: WHAT. IS. THIS?!

7 GALACTUS: I can explain, it’s…

PANEL 5: Ma-Lactus has some of the shiny, twinkling substance on her finger. And some on her lips, as though she’s just tasted it. (Because she has.)

8 MA-LACTUS: STARDUST???

PANEL 6: As Pa-Lactus’s voice is heard from the other side of the bedroom door, both Ma-Lactus and Galactus turn toward it.

9 PA-LACTUS (FROM BEHIND DOOR): Honey? Is there something wrong in there?

10 PA-LACTUS: I’m coming in!

PAGES 6-7 (DOUBLE-PAGE SPREAD, 5 PANELS)

Note: 4 panels across the top of the spread, with 1 large panel across the bottom ⅔ of the page.

PANEL 1: His face a mask of rage, Pa-Lactus holds the baggie of stardust by its bottom, spilling out the contents.

1 PA-LACTUS: STARDUST?!?!

2 PA-LACTUS: My son…with STARDUST?!

PANEL 2: A tearful Ma-Lactus holding up a hand, begging her husband to take it easy.

3 MA-LACTUS: Please dear, your temper…

PANEL 3: Pa-Lactus standing nose-to-helmeted-nose with his son Teen Galactus.

4 PA-LACTUS: Look at me, boy. Look at me!

5 PA-LACTUS: Tell me who–who taught you about this stuff. WHO?!

PANEL 4: Close on a tearful Teen Galactus. Ready to explode at his parents…

6 GALACTUS: You wanna know? You really wanna know?

PANEL 5: The large bottom panel covering the bottom ⅔ of the spread. Galactus bellowing. His parents on either side of him, in stunned silence. Their eyes wide and jaws dropped. In the foreground, the Watcher sucks the meat out of some lobster, the cheap plastic bib tied around his neck. He holds up a small hand-painted sign ala a Looney Tunes character as he eats.

7 UATU’S SIGN: IM WATCHING. I SWEAR.

8 GALACTUS: I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOUUUUUUUUU!

PAGE 8 (4 PANELS)

PANEL 1: Tears fall from the eyes of the once-mighty Pa-Lactus. He holds his hands out. Begging for forgiveness. Full on melodrama here.

1 PA-LACTUS: Son I–I didn’t-- I’m so sorr–

PANEL 2: Ma-Lactus at the side of her husband. Patting his shoulder.

2 MA-LACTUS: No dear. Don’t say it with words…

PANEL 3: Teen Galactus wipes his own tears away. Waiting for his parents to make the next move.

3 GALACTUS: Dad?

PANEL 4: Teen Galactus in the middle of a massive FAMILY GROUP HUG. Pa-Lactus and Ma-Lactus on either side of their son.

4 SFX (HUG): GROUPHUG!

INSET: In a small circular inset panel at the bottom of the page, inside Panel 4, Uatu polishes off some corn on the cob.

5 UATU: AWWWWWWW!

PAGE 9 (6 PANELS)

PANEL 1: A large horizontal panels across the top ⅓ of the page or so. Galactus and his parents separating from their just-finished hug. Looking down to see that they’ve inadvertently squashed Harold the Herald, The Ivory Inline Skater, AND a few nearby planets.

1 PA-LACTUS: Oh my. Will you look at that…squashed the dang heralds again.

2 MA-LACTUS: And those planets too…

3 GALACTUS: Hey guys?

PANEL 2: Pa-Lactus and Ma-Lactus both looking over at their son with nervous anticipation.

4 MA-LACTUS AND PA-LACTUS: Yes, Galactus?

PANEL 3: Close on Teen Galactus as a smile spreads across his face.

5 GALACTUS: Sure would be shame to let those perfectly edible planets go to waste. Just because they got a little squashed….

PANEL 4: Close on Pa-Lactus and Ma-Lactus. Eyebrows raised. Not quite sure how to respond or react.

No dialogue.

PANEL 5: Teen Galactus’s grin grows ever bigger.

No dialogue.

PANEL 6: And now his parents return grins of their own.

No dialogue.

PAGE 10 (SPLASH)

SPLASH: Teen Galactus and his parents sit around a large, cosmic dining room table in the midst of deep space. Their faces frozen in laughter like their in the end of a 1970s/80s sitcom. Heaping plates of planet sitting before them. In the lower righthand foreground, Uatu (looking a little green in the face) holds out a hand urging the reader to STOP.

1 SFX (GALACTUS FAMILY LAUGHTER): HA! HA! HA! HEE! HEE! HEE! HO HO HO!

2 MA-LACTUS: You know, dear, as long as we’re getting new heralds… Maybe it’s time for Galactus to get one of his own…

3 GALACTUS: You know I’ve always been partial to silver….

4 UATU: STOP! This is the end of our tale!

5 UATU: Also, I just ate wayyyy too much and I don’t want you guys to watch me get sick…

THE END


#7

STORY: “Manhattan, Manhattan”
WRITER: Tony Laplume

PAGE ONE

Panel 1
A very young Steve Rogers, we’ll say five years old, skinny as can be, obviously, is standing just in front of his father, Joe Rogers, staring up at him. The angle favors Steve, so that we’re looking from the ground level. They are in an alley. Joe’s expression is one of outrage, Steve’s one of awe, hero worship. Steve has his blond hair, and Joe’s is red. Because he’s Irish, remember?

CAPTION: To me, he was larger than life.

Panel 2
Now we see what Joe is looking at, which is a couple of punks (white) further back into the alley attempting to mug someone, a black man. It should also be clear from this more conventional perspective that Joe is not as big as Steve imagines him to be.

Panel 3
Joe is grabbing a trashcan lid. This directly evokes the scene from Captain America: The First Avenger that was meant to evoke Steve’s later adoption of the famous shield. Because this is foreshadowing.

Panel 4
Joe rushes the two punks.

Panel 5
One of the punks pulls a gun on Joe and is shooting him.

Panel 6
This shot is once again of Steve and Joe alone. Joe is dying in his son’s arms. Joe’s piece of dialogue comes in small letters, because he’s just barely getting it out, in part because he’s dying, and because he’s whispering it, to himself, probably.

JOE: Manhattan.

PAGE TWO

Panel 1
Joe and his mother Sarah dressed in formal attire, inside a funeral parlor, with the open casket of Joe Rogers behind them. They’re waiting for anyone to show up.

CAPTION: But life has other ideas.

Panel 2
Steve and his mother Sarah continue to wait.

Panel 3
Steve begins to cry, and Sarah bends down to console him.

Panel 4
Close-up on Sarah, fighting back her own tears.

SARAH: It doesn’t matter, Steven. It doesn’t matter.

Panel 5
Pulling back out to Steve and Sarah, waiting.

Panel 6
Steve and Sarah continue to wait.

PAGE THREE

Panel 1
Steve is fighting other kids at school.

CAPTION: It’s a hard thing to learn.

Panel 2
A teacher arrives to break it up.

Panel 3
Steve sitting outside the principal’s office, looking angry but again fighting back tears.

Panel 4
Sarah arrives and looks disappointed at Steve. They’re still outside of the principal’s office.

Panel 5
A close-up of Sarah’s face again as we see her fighting back tears again. She knows that her son is only acting out his frustration.

Panel 6
Sarah holding Steve’s shoulders as they prepare to enter the principal’s office. She looks firm but is not angry at him.

SARAH: This is not what your father would have wanted, Steven. You know that. That’s not why we came to this country.

PAGE FOUR

Panel 1
Steve sitting at home in the kitchen at the table, listening to his mother Sarah. This is not the same day as the preceding page. Steve is wearing different clothes, but they’re torn up, because he’s once again been in a fight.

CAPTION: But there are always opportunities.

SARAH: We can’t keep doing this. I won’t always be here, you know.

Panel 2
Steve is fidgeting in his chair, looking at his hands clasped on the table. Sarah continues to lecture him, but she’s trying to be sympathetic. She’s finding it difficult to speak to him. She’s worried.

SARAH: We came.

SARAH: We came here because we wanted a fresh start.

Panel 3
Sarah is holding Steve’s face in her hands, so she knows he’s paying attention. He’s looking at her.

SARAH: Because we wanted to pick our battles. Not for ourselves. For others.

Panel 4
Sarah is still holding Steve’s face. He’s looking at her, still, but she’s waiting to see if anything has sunk in.

Panel 5
Sarah has released Steve’s face. He’s got a goofy smile on his face, like he’s beginning to understand. She’s got the same goofy smile on hers.

SARAH: Crazy ideals, Steven.

PAGE FIVE

Panel 1
Steve and Sarah standing at Joe’s grave. This shot features the Rogers from the back as they look at the grave marker, which is actually a plaque on the ground, because that’s all they could afford. It reads: Joseph Rogers 1887-1920

CAPTION: So I ask myself, what else is there?

Panel 2
Steve and Sarah as they continue to stand in the cemetery. Sarah is using this opportunity to further explain her husband’s ideas. It should be clear again that this is a different day, so that Steve, and Sarah, are wearing different clothes.

SARAH: Your father, Steven.

Panel 3
Sarah continues to explain.

SARAH: Your father was the bravest man I ever knew.

Panel 4
Sarah continues to explain.

SARAH: He died fighting for what he believed in.

Panel 5
Sarah and Steve from behind again, this time a long shot so that they’re small figures in the wider cemetery. It maybe helps the message in the accompanying line of dialogue to show that even compared to his mother, Steve still looks small.

SARAH: Do what your father did, Steven. Fight for the little guy. Do you understand?

PAGE SIX

Panel 1
Steve is at Sarah’s deathbed. He’s a few years older, but not that much bigger, naturally. He’s absolutely heartbroken.

CAPTION: Then it comes to me: What there always was.

Panel 2
Steve continues to sit at Sarah’s side.

Panel 3
Steve continues to sit at Sarah’s side.

Panel 4
Steve continues to sit at Sarah’s side.

Panel 5
Steve continues to sit at Sarah’s side. She has pulled him closer for her last words, reaching out with skinny arms to grasp him one last time. This is the end of the conversation they’ve been having since Joe’s death.

SARAH: Promise me, Steven.

Panel 6
Sarah has collapsed; she’s dead. Steve is crying profusely.

PAGE SEVEN

Panel 1
Steve at his mother’s wake. Again, he waits fruitlessly.

CAPTION: My father, and my mother. Both of them.

Panel 2
Steve sitting in a lonely pew at the funeral.

Panel 3
Steve at the cemetery again, watching as the casket is lowered into the ground.

Panel 4
Steve watching as the grave is filled in.

Panel 5
Steve looking down at the new placque, so that it now reads: Joseph Rogers 1894-1927 and Sarah Rogers 1895-1932

Panel 6
Steve from behind, as in the last panel of Page Five, looking very small in the cemetery. We don’t often think of Steve Rogers as an orphan, but he is, and this repeating image helps confirm that death is a big part of his life.

PAGE EIGHT

Panel 1
This whole page echoes the first page, and the scene from Captain America: The First Avenger. Steve in an alley, in this panel echoing the first panel, only Joe isn’t there, so that we’re looking up at Steve looking up, imagining that he is.

CAPTION: Both of them, larger than life.

Panel 2
Steve looking at a different set of muggers, this time preying on a young woman. He’s now teenaged, but of course still small and skinny.

Panel 3
Steve grabbing the trashcan lid.

Panel 4
Steve rushing the muggers.

Panel 5
One of the muggers pulling a gun, and the bullet deflecting off Steve’s “shield.”

Panel 6
Steve comforting the young woman as the muggers run away.

PAGE NINE

Panel 1
Steve at the army camp being escorted to the Super Soldier program, his fate finally coming into focus. He looks wary, and much, much smaller than everyone else.

CAPTION: They did everything they could to teach me how to be, too.

Panel 2
Being strapped to the table as the procedure begins. He looks terrified.

Panel 3
A close-up of Steve’s face as the pain sets in, his eyes tightly shut.

Panel 4
A close-up as he opens his eyes again.

Panel 5
Steve is sitting up as we see his new body for the first time. He looks amazed.

Panel 6
He looks in a full-length mirror to get a better look. He looks exactly the way his father did to him in the very first panel of this story. He’s fighting back tears.

PAGE TEN

Panel 1
From Civil War, we see a massive field of heroes. The fighting has stopped, and Steve, as Captain America, is standing opposite Iron Man, holding his hands out to be arrested. Steve looks to be the picture of resolution. No more tears. No more frustration. No more fear.

CAPTION: I’ve tried my best to follow their example.

Panel 2
Steve is being led away by the police.

Panel 3
Steve continues to be led away.

Panel 4
Steve reaches the court steps where he will be shot.

Panel 5
Steve reacts as Sharon Carter shoots him.

Panel 6
Steve lies dying on the steps. He’s uttering his last word, in a whisper, exactly like his father before him.

STEVE: Manhattan.


#8

“Lifeblood”
By I_Wumbo_You_Wumbo

Page 1 –

Panel 1 – Nighttime. A car is parked in the shadows of a small parking lot with two roads and a few alley’s connected on the side.

Panel 2 –Edges of a ransom note on a dashboard with the words “1 million” “Park Row” “Come Alone” in view.

Officer Chill (off-panel) –You have any kids Mr. Gordon?

Panel 3 – Bleed panel. Profile shot. Police Officer Chill, older, round officer with a mustache sits at the drivers wheel with a younger, suave 30-year-old, looking panic – stricken in the passenger’s seat. The 30 year old is clutching a large briefcase in his lap that says “Edward Gordon, First Bank of Gotham”, with his hands, wedding ring visible on his left.

Edward – Not yet. Not if….

Panel 4 – Edward hanging his head, contemplating the idea that he may never have a child and may lose his wife.

Edward - ……Rachel is due in a couple days.

Panel 5 – Chill looking over, smiling and asking a question, Edward looking over, discouraged and worried.

Officer Chill – Ahhh. Any ideas?

Edward – Uh…yeah…we’re hoping for a boy. James.

Edward - ….you?

Panel 6 – Officer Chill warmly laughing.

Officer Chill – Boy just turned 6. Little Joseph. He’s been quite the handful.

Page 2

Panel 1 – Front shot from outside the car, Edward freaking out in angst at Gordon. Gordon looking out the window, relaxed.

Edward – SIX?!

Edward – You have a 6 year old and you serve in extortion safety?!

Officer Chill – The force has been thin the past couple years, Maroni’s driving hard into the streets. None of the other boys wanted to protect all the rich wives getting ransomed for bank notes if they could be out getting their partner’s back. Shame. Like they forgot what being a blue is about.

Officer Chill –It’s pretty simple Edward. You didn’t ask for this. I’d rather get you and your wife home safe than protect some guy who knows what he signed up for.

Panel 2 – CU on Edward, nervous and timid.

Edward – Sorry I mean….

Edward – I just…you never worry that you’ll be…compromised?

Panel 3 – Officer Chill looking into the distance, kind of smiling.

Officer Chill – Shot?

Officer Chill – Killed?

Panel 4 – Officer Chill looking out into the distance with a now serious look on his face. Edward is watching in disbelief that Chill would treat death so small.

Officer Chill – Let me tell you something Ed. When I started, criminals had decency. They were scumbags, but they were laundering money and holding up banks, nothing like these boys we got out in Gotham now.

Officer Chill – 9 months into my first year, the whole station was up against a mob. Only these ones were different. They only ones that were more than scumbags. Killed cops for the heck of it. If somebody called an APB out on them, and we all knew what it meant.

Panel 5 - Bleed panel. Front view of Officer Chill with a bleed into his flashback of a speeding police car, lights bright and sirens loud. Young Officer Chill in the passenger’s seat, looking nervous. He’s sitting next to his partner, who’s hold a radio with one hand, yelling into it, and holding the steering wheel with the other hand, driving with determination and valor.

Officer Chill – So lo and behold, I’m sitting in the car and we get all officers radio signal. It was the mob, taken a bunch of kids for sick pleasure. I was terrified - it was my first year, I didn’t know how to handle this yet. So I look over to my partner to ask him what we’re gonna do.

Officer Chill –And he’s already putting us in gear to go.

Page 3 –

Panel 1 – Flashback. Chill and his partner in a shootout, his partner way out in front, running to protect a group of scared and crying kids.

Officer Chill – “We were just kids. ‘Least I was”

Officer Chill – “We get there and…”

Panel 2 – Flashback. CU on Chill’s partner kneeling, smiling and saying something to the kids, wiping tears from their eyes.

Officer Chill – “…he runs straight to the kids, and in a middle of a firefight jus’ takes a second.”

Panel 3 - Flashback. Officer Chill firing out of the car while his partner runs back with the kids, clutching some of them in his arms in a noble charge, shielding them from the gangster fire.

Officer Chill – “Then he just points them towards the car and holds them like they’re his last drink on a desert island”

Panel 4 – Flashback. Chill still shooting, Chill’s partner stuffing kids in the back of the police car, obviously bleeding and shot.

Officer Chill – “Tumbles over after loading them in the back”

Panel 5 – Flashback. Overhead shot. Police car pulling away in haste, Officer Chill’s partner lying in the alley, with blood trail just visible enough to see a distinct “…” present on the road to his now dead body.

Officer Chill – “Couldn’t believe he just fell over for a bunch of kids he didn’t know 10 minutes earlier”

Page 4

Panel 1 – Flashback. Far away view of a huge graveyard with an ocean of people at the funeral service. Coffin visible in the sea of people. Honor guard seen shooting.

Officer Chill – “Went to his funeral a couple days later”

Officer Chill – “And then I believed it.”

Panel 2 – Woman holding a paper, talking at a old microphone on a stage behind the grave, crying. Behind her is a huge line of people waiting to talk.

Officer Chill – “Nobody had anything to say ‘bout him that didn’t make him sound like the patron saint of Gotham”

Panel 3 - Young Officer Chill in the sea of people, looking around.

Officer Chill – “Don’t know much about it Edward…

Panel 3 – Bleed. Officer Chill, current day, looking out the window, lost in the past.

Officer Chill –….but I don’t think death is the worst thing if you’ve lived.

Panel 4 – Officer Chill looking over at Edward with serious, yet soft glance.

Page 5 –

Panel 1 – Edward, ashamed, looking at Chill, thinking about his words.

Panel 2 – Profile. Edward leaning against the chair, staring out into the night.

Panel 3 – Profile. Edward now leaning with his back against the seat. A bit more relaxed, he’s speaking softly.

Edward – About 4 weeks ago, a couple of days before she was taken, Rachel and I had a fight.

Panel 4 – Flashback. Edward reading legal documents at the table while Rachel, tall, young brunette, cooks dinner.

Edward – “She accused me of abandoning her.”

Panel 5 – Flashback. Half the panel is Edward at work late while the other half is pregnant Rachel alone at home.

Edward – “She asked me how I’m going to be a father to our child if I can’t be a husband to her.”

Panel 6 – Flashback. Bleed panel. Profile of Edward reading a note, crying.

Edward – “Then the note came and…and I knew she was right….”

Edward – “….because for the first couple of minutes I was just thankful that they hadn’t come for me.”

Page 6 –

Panel 1 –Edward looking hopeless, Chill sympathetically looking at him.

Edward – And now I’m here, still scared of what might happen to me.

Edward – What does that mean? I don’t have anything to live for?

Panel 2 – Wide view. Officer Chill looking straight at Edward, stern but kind. Edward half glancing at Chill, still in some shame.

Officer Chill – You’re here.

Panel 3 – Profile of both men talking to each other, Edward anxiously considering Chill’s questions, Chill firmly asking them.

Officer Chill –Let me ask you something, is your wife a forgiving woman?

Edward – ….yes.

Officer Chill – And is your kid gonna care about what kinda father you were when you didn’t have any kids to take care of?

Edward – I….no.

Panel 4 – Edward looking at Officer Chill. Offcier Chill is now leaning back, looking out the front windshield.

Officer Chill – Then you don’t gotta worry Edward, you still got a shot.

Panel 5 – Officer Chill and Edward both snap to attention.

SFX – Bbbrrrmm.

Page 7 –

Panel 1 – Four men getting out of a car, one man is dragging a woman out.

Panel 2 – CU on the woman’s arms as she’s getting out of the car, holding a young boy.

Panel 3 - Officer Chill’s face in happy surprise and Edward’s face in shock and awe.

Edward – Rachel…and….and…

Officer Chill – Little James, wasn’t it?

Officer Chill - Yeah Edward. You still got a shot.

Panel 4 – Seen from inside the car windshield, one man firing a gun into the air, obviously yelling something.

SFX - TTttthhfmm!

Panel 5 – Officer Chill takes the briefcase while smiling at Edward.

Officer Chill – That’s my cue.

Panel 6 – Edward struck with awe and guilt that Chill is putting his life on the line for him, Officer Chill stepping out of the car.

Page 8 – Panels 4, 5, and 6 laid out in one row across the page.

Panel 1 – Seen from behind Edward, out the windshield. Edward sits in the car, on the edge of his seat, anxious, and watches Officer Chill holding up the briefcase and calmly talking as he approaches the gangsters. The gangsters are settled two in front with guns, two in back, with one of the gangsters in the back holding Rachel, scared for her life, and baby James, crying.

Panel 2 – Same view, behind Edward, out the windshield. The lead gangster in rage, yelling at Officer Chill, firing a 45 caliber submachine gun. Chill surprised they have shot.

SFX – TTttthhfffm!!

Panel 3 – Chill in fear, behind cover in the alley, shooting back.

SFX – SPACK PEW BANG BANG

Panel 4 – CU on Edward staring out the window in disbelief, we can’t see what’s happening outside the window, only his face.

SFX – BANG BANG BEW BANG FAK

Panel 5 – CU on Edward looking out the window in a twist of rage and fear, still not able to see what’s happening outside.

SFX – Tthhfffmmm PEW SPACK BANG BANG

Panel 6 – CU on Edward staring in determination out the window, still not able to see what’s happening outside.

SFX – BANG BANG BANG TThhhmmffmm!

Panel 7 – View from the middle of the firefight, we see Chill shooting from cover and far behind him, Edward jumping out of the car.

SFX – RAK RAK PEW BANG BANG

SFX – SLAM!

Panel 8 –Chill looks over his shoulder in surprise and sees Edward charging.

Officer – Ed! No!

Panel 9 – Chill holding out his arm to stop Edward in mid charge, Edward in mid-trip over Chill’s arm.

Edward -
SFX – BANG BANG PEW SPACK

Page 9 – Everything on this page can be small, but Panels 2 and 3 need to be be able to house the expressions in both Edward and Chill that communicate both their understanding of each other; that Edward has something to live and die for, and that Chill won’t let him do so and will gladly sacrifice for him.

Panel 1 – Edward on the ground, connecting eyes with Edward. Bullets flying overhead.

SFX –TThhhfffmmm BANG SPACK!

Panel 2 – CU on Chill’s eyes, imploring and given a sad truth.

Panel 3 – CU on Edward’s eyes, in frightened understanding.

Panel 4- Edward on the ground, looking dazed, with Chill’s gun laying right beside his hands, we can see just in a foggy near distance Chill is running towards the gangsters, yelling back at Edward.

SFX – SPACK PEW BANG BANG

Officer Chill - Get back to the car!

Officer Chill (separate balloons from each other)- GO!

Panel 5 – Edward still fallen on the ground, now with gun in hand, firing at the gangsters. Chill, with blood on his shirt now, running towards Rachel and baby James, uppercutting a gangster in the way.

SFX – KERING BANG PEW BANG

Panel 6 – Chill bloodied on his back and a bit on his front, running toward the car now in a noble sprint, clutching baby James and Rachel running in front of him, shielding them from the fire of the three remaining gangsters. Edward shooting at the gangsters while running back to the car.

Panel 7 – Edward ducked low in the driver’s seat, trying to avoid fire, starting the car, Chill falling over while loading baby James and Rachel into the back.

SFX – BANG BANG TTThhhffmmm!

SFX (from car)- VVVrrrmmmm

Panel 8 –The car in reverse, wheels with smoke, Edward over the gunfire and car engine, Chill yelling back, smiling.

Edward – Chill! I-

Officer Chill (cutting off Edwards words) – Get out Gordon!

Panel 9 – The car reversing out of the edge panel, while Chill’s body lies in the road.

Officer Chill (exasperating the words with his last breaths)(weak, shaky) – Go live.

Page 10 –

Panel 1 – As if we are lying on the road looking at him, Chill, with eyes open, smiling.

Panel 2 – Same view. Now with Chill, smiling, eyes closed.

Panel 3 – Bleed panel taking up the rest of the page, with a overhead shot of Officer Chill lying in the alley, with blood trail just visible enough to see a distinct “…” present on the road to his now dead body.


#9

Maria and Tony’s Big Day Out

By Simon Jones

PAGE 1

PAGE 1

PANEL 1
We open in the middle of a chase in a Hanna Barbera/Tom and Jerry cartoon world. Two anthropomorphized cartoon mice are in the foreground, are running towards us panicked. They are being chased by a hovering Cartoon Cat. The Cat is wearing a Cartoony approximation of the War Machine armour…but you know for a cat.

We are in a living room. As we are at the same level as the mice, the household stuff in the background, like furniture or doors should look huge. As this is a cartoon world, the colour palette should be bright primary colours. The background doesn’t need too much in the way of detail.

The mice are a mother and son. The mother is an adult and is wearing a dress and has long black hair. The son has short black hair and is wearing a Stark Industries T-shirt.

PANEL 2
The mice run into a corner.

PANEL 3
Iron Cat looms hovers slightly over the mice. The mice are huddling together in the corner. They look very frightened.

PANEL 4
Front shot of Iron Cat. The armour deploys an absurd array of machine guns, death rays and missles ready to fire.

PANEL 5
We see the mice through Iron Cat’s on screen display. The infrared heat signatures of the mice are all we see of them.

ON SCREEN DISPLAY: Destructify all Meeces? Yes/No.

PAGE 2

PANEL 1
The male mouse steps forward making the Time out signal with his hands.

PANEL 2
The mouse shows the hovering cat a small handheld black box with two buttons. It has a handwritten label “Anti-Destructifier”

PANEL 3
Iron Cat tilts his head. He’s not sure what this means. The mouse smirks, pressing one of the buttons.

PANEL 4
A robotic arm descends from the ceiling above Iron Cat, holding a giant U Shaped magnet.
Attracted by the magnet, Iron Cat’s armour streams off him in pieces.

PANEL 5
The cat is on the ground now sans armour. He is wearing a pair of stripy boxer shorts and sleeveless vest. He is red faced and embarrassed. He has brought his knees together and he is covering his crotch.

PANEL 6
The mouse gives and presses the other button. An anvil drops from the ceiling on top of the cat

PANEL 7
We only see the cat’s feet sticking out at the side. Both mice are laughing

MARIA (Female mouse): Tony. That’s fantastic.
TONY (Male mouse): Just getting started Mom. JARVIS. Track 3 please.

PAGE 3

PANEL 1
We are now in the England of Robin Hood and The Sherrif of Nottingham and King John…more specificallly we are in a very 1930’s technicolour Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood version of Norman England.

Maria is riding sidesaddle on a horse. She is wearing a long flowing dress. Her hair is in soft curls, flowing down her back. She is looking pretty confused by the change.

She is surrounded by Norman soldiers.

MARIA: What the? Tony? Tony? What have you done to me?

PANEL 2
Maria breaks the Fourth Wall slightly by looking up at the on screen caption.

ON SCREEN CAPTION: Ye Merry Olde Englande…in ye olde times of yore

MARIA: England. Ok…Gotcha. Thanks kiddo.

PANEL 3
Basil Rathbone as The Sheriff of Nottingham draws his horse alongside.

THE SHERIFF: Doth something trouble you milady?

MARIA: Ok. Right. Sheriff of Nottingham…No my dear Lord Sheriff. All art fine. How are thou?

PANEL 4
THE SHERIFF: Keep close milady. Notorious Bandits run riot in these woods.

PANEL 5
An arrow is fired into a tree right beside the Sheriff’s head.

PAGE 4

PANEL 1
Standing on a large tree branch we see Robin Hood or Robin Hood if Robin Hood was played by an adolescent Tony Stark. He is about 10 years old. He is wearing the Lincoln Green and the tights and the jerkin of Errol Flynn, but he has the smirk and the swagger of the Tony Stark that we know and love. He has a sword in a scabbard at his belt and he is holding a longbow.

TONY: Good morrow my Dear Sheriff. Don’t go by without saying hello now. And don’t forget, all who pass through Sherwood must pay a toll…Not you Mom. I mean him.

PANEL 2
The Sheriff is incensed. He is drawing his sword. Maria is turned to him. She is quite laidback. She is enjoying what’s going on around her.

THE SHERIFF: Robin Hood. I should have expected you.

PANEL 3
Maria coughs.

PANEL 4
Tony, still standing on the branch, speaks to Maria below.

TONY: Sorry Mom, are you ok?

MARIA: You’re planning on having a sword fight with Pointy McBeardly here? And I’m going to sit here like a simpering damsel, am I?

PAGE 5

PANEL 1
Tony is thinking about this.
TONY: Ok.Sorry. I can fix this…JARVIS, remix element BR_delta5…element Mom. Execute.

PANEL 2
With a shimmer of energy Basil Rathbone is now sitting sidesaddle on Maria’s horse with a long flowing gown and soft curls, but with his sharp features and pointy beard obviously. Maria is dressed in the garb of the Sheriff of Nottingham and holding his sword.

MARIA Ok…This is weird.

PANEL 3
Maria swings her sword at Tony, who just about blocks. She has a huge smile on her face.

MARIA: Have at thee, thou nefarious knave.

PANEL 4
Montage of a an epic Tony/Maria/Errol Flynn/Basil Rathbone sword fight in silhouette.

PAGE 6

PANEL 1
Maria disarms Tony and has him at her mercy. Tony is backing off from back from her.

MARIA: A ha Robin Hood…I have finally defeated you with my superior swordfighting skills.

TONY: But my dear Mom…I mean Sheriff, you have not factored in my army of Merry…

PANEL 2
TONY (off panel) : Ninjas.

From nowhere, an army of rather camp looking ninjas, dressed in Lincoln green.

PANEL 3
Maria is a bit annoyed by this.

MARIA: Oh, come on… JARVIS, could you pause please? Tony, you know that there weren’t ninjas in medieval England, right?

TONY: There were. You just didn’t know about them because they were masters of stealth and concealment.

PANEL 4
Tony getting back to his feet now.

TONY: Ok. Fine. Goodbye Ninjas.

MARIA: Thank you. So, tell me what we do now?

PANEL 5
Tony giving his best, RDJ “I have a plan” grin.

TONY: Mom, that’s not the question you should be asking. You should be asking…

PAGE 7
TONY (cont’d) : (off panel) what are we not going to do?

This page is a montage of Maria and young Tony doing various things including:
Riding elephants.

  • Driving carts in a Mario Kart world.
  • Maria dances a tango with a swarthy Argentinian tango master, while Tony looks on embarassed.
  • Tony as the Gravedigger while Maria holds Yorick’s Skull for the Alas Poor Yorick speech from Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1.
  • A snatch of the Bayeux Tapestry with Tony and Maria running from arrows.
  • Maria as Doctor Frankenstein and Tony as her Igor standing over their Monster in a black and white bit reminiscent of the Universal Studios horror movies from the 30’s.

PAGE 8

PANEL 1
Large image of Tony and Maria in space suits with umbilical lines linked to an unseen space shuttle. We see them from behind. Maria has an arm around Tony, hugging him close. In the foreground we see Planet Earth as seen from space.

MARIA (off panel): Tony, my love…I’m tired…We need…I need to go.

PANEL 2
All Black panel.

TONY: (off panel) JARVIS. Disenage simulation please.
MARIA: Thank you.

PANEL 3
All black panel

MARIA: Help me get this thing off, would you please?

PAGE 9

PANEL 1
And we’re in the real world.
We are in a hospital room. It is a private room, but with a low ceiling. Everything is neat. There are flowers in a vase at the bedside.
Maria is lying in a bed and is wearing a hospital issue gown. Tony is helping her take off a helmet. The faceplate of the helmet should look like a prototype for the Ironman armour, as if this was a design that has been sitting in his head for years.
The colour palette should be much less vivid than the previous pages as this isn’t a world that has been designed or stylised. Everything should be a little less fun.

MARIA: So how did you make that happen young master Stark?

TONY: I may have used Dad’s computer. Without his permission.

MARIA: The one in his study?

PANEL 2
With the helmet off, we see the real Maria for the first time. Her head is covered with the pale fluff that grows back after chemotherapy. She is pale and drawn. She has lost muscle tone and looks diminished compared to her healthy avatar in the VR world.

Tony is determined to brazen his way through this.

TONY: Uh, no…the other computer.

MARIA: Ah, You mean the 80 million dollar mainframe, on load from SHIELD?

TONY: Yup, that’s the one.

PANEL 3:
Maria reaches out and touches Tony’s face.

MARIA: Well, thank you for a lovely afternoon out…and for making me an accomplice to treason. Nick Fury will be pissed. Thanks kiddo.

PANEL 4:
Tony takes her hand.

TONY: Well, I just knew that you wanted to go outside and I know that you’re not well enough, so I thought I could bring the outside inside.

PAGE 10

PANEL 1
MARIA: All I wanted to do was breathe some fresh air, feel some grass between my toes, look at the sky.
TONY: Yes Mom…but would there have been ninjas?

PANEL 2:
Maria arches an eyebrow and flashes Tony a smile.

MARIA: Yes. They’re masters of stealth and concealment…Thank you kiddo. Best. Mother’s Day. Ever.

PANEL 3
Maria gives Tony a kiss on the forehead.

MARIA: Tony…Don’t ever stop trying to make things better. Promise me that. Won’t you?

TONY: Yeah Mom. Of course I promise.

PANEL 4:
Tony’s face fills with excitement as an idea floods into his head.

TONY: You know what we could do you’re better? We could go on a road trip. Or sailing.

PANEL 5:
Focus on Maria’s face. She has something to say, but is holding back.

MARIA: Tony…I…have something to…I don’t…

PANEL 6
A tear is flowing down her face.

MARIA: Yeah. When I’m all better. You and me. Now scram. I gotta sleep.

PANEL 7
Young Tony in silhouette is walking through a door marked “Oncology ward”

THE END.


#10

Chamber Piece
by Adam Goldstein

PAGE ONE

Panel 1: Extreme Wide on Chamber (http://www.uncannyxmen.net/characters/chamber), in his late teens, standing on the tarmac at London’s Heathrow Airport. Late evening. His legs firmly planted, his back arched, his fists clenched, psionic energy erupts from Chamber’s torso like fire, engulfing three grounded jetliners in a brilliant display of raw power.

CAPTION: Heathrow, 1994.
CAPTION: Jonothon Starsmore, aka Chamber.
CAPTION: One of the most dangerous mutants on the planet.

Panel 2: Wide on Chamber, but closer than before. The planes are framed out now, it’s just him, in leather jacket and black jeans – the fire still streaming forth. Total badass pose.

CAPTION: He can’t yet control his power – it’s too raw, too immense.
CAPTION: Like his pain. Like his anger.

Panel 3: Tight on Chamber’s face – the lower half, below the nose, is only fire, and his eyes glow hot white, pupils invisible.

CAPTION: A boy alone. An uncertain future awaiting him at Charles Xavier’s Massachusetts Academy.

Panel 4: Wide again, high angle, behind Chamber, as seen over the shoulder of someone watching from the terminal window. The destruction is something to behold, the planes torn apart, smoldering debris flung all about. Later panels will reveal that the person watching is Jono himself, that the exploding planes are a reverie.

CAPTION: But, it’s not what’s before him that haunts young Starsmore – it’s what’s behind.
LAUREL STARSMORE (OFF): Jono, dear, look here.

PAGE 2

Panel 1: Medium two shot of Laurel and Charlie Starsmore, Jono’s parents, early 50’s, sitting next to each other at a small table in the Heathrow terminal, facing camera. Charlie’s wearing glasses and a sport jacket with a football jersey underneath. Laurel, wearing a pastel floral windbreaker and looking desperately cheery, holds up a packet of crisps.

LAUREL: Haven’t had these in a while, eh?

Panel 2: The same angle as Page One, Panel 2, but the planes are undamaged, and there’s no angry mutant torching the tarmac. Jono can be seen, reflected in the glass, black wraps covering the bottom portion of his face – he’s looking out the window. Charlie and Laurel’s reflections are also visible behind him – Laurel’s extending the crisps.

NO COPY

Panel 3: Wide shot on the family sitting at the window-side table. Jono is sitting sideways in his chair, head turned away from his parents, gazing out the window, slouching like a bored teenager – a stark contrast to the figure he cut in his mental rampage. Laurel, arm outstretched, has the crisps almost in his face. In the background, we see the usual sights one expects inside a terminal at night – passengers, airline personnel, luggage, magazines. No one’s looking at their phones though – 1994.

When Jono speaks, it’s telepathic, so the speech bubble should reflect this – grey or green, reduced opacity, or the absence of a line toward his mouth.

LAUREL: They used to be your favourite.
JONO: You know I don’t eat anymore, Mum.
LAUREL: But, you haven’t even tried.

Panel 4: Close on Jono as he whips his head around to face his mother, the bag of crisps peeking into the foreground from the bottom of the panel.

JONO: I haven’t got a mouth or a bloody throat, have I?

PAGE THREE

Panel 1: M2S on Laurel and Charlie, with Jono in CU in the foreground. He’s turned away from them again, facing the reader, looking out that window. Laurel looks a bit sheepish, fiddling with the bag of crisps, holding it to her chest. Charlie looks like his trying to lighten the mood.

LAUREL: Doesn’t keep you from talking.
JONO: Not really talking though, am I?
CHARLIE: Brilliant that. Telepathy. Tell someone a secret from all the way across a room.

Panel 2: CU on Laurel. She’s ripping the bag open.

LAUREL: Go on dear, it’s just a crisp. Have one for me.
SFX: krrrp

Panel 3: M2S on Charlie and Laurel, in profile. Laurel’s closer to camera, Charlie turning his head toward her with gentle disapproval. Jono’s arm reaches in from out of frame, his hand dipping into the crisp bag.

CHARLIE: Leave him be.
LAUREL: That’s your solution to everything, innit? Just leave it be.
CHARLIE: Oh, come off it.

Panel 4: Medium close on Charlie and Laurel facing camera, looking at Jono with startled expressions. In the extreme foreground, a single crisp is held between Jono’s thumb and forefinger.

NO COPY

Panel 5: CU on Jono. With one hand, he’s pulling down the wraps around his face a little, exposing a swirl of psionic flame where his mouth should be. The other hand flings in the chip, where it disappears with a sizzle and a wispy line of smoke.

SFX: pffft

Panel 6: CU on Laurel looking at Jono expectantly, as if to say, “well, how was it?”

NO COPY

Panel 7: CU on Jono, wraps back in place, failing to muster false enthusiasm.

JONO: Yum.

PAGE FOUR

Panel 1: Wide on all three at the table. Jono’s looking at Charlie, who’s shrugging in commiseration. Laurel’s digging through her purse. The crisps sit on the table.

LAUREL: You see? Bag’s right there if you want some more.
LAUREL: Oooh, I’ve got something else for you.

Panel 2: Medium on Laurel over Jono’s shoulder. She’s handing him a paperback copy of “The Celestine Prophecy.”

JONO: The Celestine Prophecy?
LAUREL: I hear it’s very popular in the States right now. Especially with the girls, eh? Give you something to chat about.

Panel 3: Medium of Jono, over Laurel’s shoulder. Leaning back, looking straight at his mother, he incinerates the book – eats it – just like he did the crisp.

SFX: ffffssshht
LAUREL (OFF): Oh!

Panel 4: Medium on Charlie and Laurel. He looks shocked and angry. She’s tearing up, shutting down, starting to get out of her chair.

CHARLIE: Jono!
LAUREL: Of course, I suppose I’m just being daft again.

Panel 5: Extreme wide as Laurel walks off into the heart of terminal, away from the gates. Jono’s walking the other direction. Charlie stands awkwardly at the table, unsure whom to talk to first. There should be a lot of headroom in the panel, making them seem small relative to their surroundings.

PAGE FIVE

Panel 1: Wide on Jono and Charlie. Jono’s standing with his back to camera, arms crossed, staring out the window again. Charlie’s standing next to him, talking to the side of his son’s face. There’s a plane on the runway in the background.

CHARLIE: You will apologize to your mother before you get on that plane.
JONO: Why would I want to be mates with anyone who’s read that drivel?

Panel 2: MS on father and son. Same angle as the last panel, but tighter, and they’ve turned to face each other, so they’re both in profile.

CHARLIE: For Pete’s sake, don’t be so hard on her. She’s doing her best.
JONO: Her best? She’s a right loon, Dad!

Panel 3: CU on Charlie, earnest, imploring.

CHARLIE: She’s your mother, Jono. The only one you’ve got.

Panel 4: Same as Panel 1. Jono’s turned away from Dad again. The plane’s taking off.

JONO: What do I need a mother for?

Panel 5: Same as the previous panel. Jono hasn’t moved. Dad walks off sadly, shoulders slightly hunched, shaking his head. The plane diminishes in the distance.

NO COPY

PAGE SIX:

Panel 1: Wide on Laurel, over Charlie’s shoulder, as he approaches her. They’re in the airport bookstore. Her back’s to camera, scanning the shelves, her finger running along book spines. She’s mumbling to herself.

LAUREL: No, not that one. Too pulpy.
CHARLIE: Talking to yourself again, love?

Panel 2: Medium close on Laurel and Charlie, facing camera, book’s-eye-view, as Laurel continues her search. She looks rattled, trying to maintain her composure after a slap in the face. Charlie’s right next to her, and just slightly behind.

LAUREL: He’ll need something to read on that flight.
CHARLIE: He won’t say it, but you know he’s sorry.
LAUREL: He’s just so angry all the time.
CHARLIE: Tries to act the lone wolf…

Panel 3: Medium wide on Laurel and Charlie, as she turns to face him. Laurel’s angry now too.

LAUREL: And why shouldn’t he be? Poor Gayle in a chair for the rest of her life – blaming him. He’s blaming himself, god knows.
CHARLIE: Laurel…
LAUREL: Leaving his home for a bunch of American muties, and all his mum can do is shove crisps in his…

Panel 4: CU, low angle, on Charlie wearing a pained expression. In the extreme foreground, part of Laurel’s face is visible as she lowers her eyes.

LAUREL: …face.

Panel 5: CU on Laurel, looking up at her husband – tears welling up again, smiling weakly.

LAUREL: He was such a handsome boy, wasn’t he?
CHARLIE (OFF): Yes, he was.
LAUREL: And he knew it too. So vain.

Panel 6: Wide on Charlie and Laurel from just outside the bookstore. She’s thrown herself into his arms, head buried in his chest.

LAUREL: Oh Charlie, what’s he going to do now?

PAGE SEVEN

Panel 1: Medium on Jono leaning against a column, near the gates. Two old ladies stare at him as they walk by, so Jono’s flicking them the Vs. In the background, Charlie and Laurel approach, arm in arm.

NO COPY

Panel 2: Wide on the family, standing together awkwardly. Jono’s rubbing the back of his head. All three look at the floor.

CHARLIE: Listen, son…
GATE ATTENDANT (ON THE PA): Now boarding Flight 232 to Logan International Airport…

Panel 3: Medium on Charlie and Laurel. Dad seems relieved for the interruption.

CHARLIE: Logan Airport? You think they named it after that Badger bloke?
LAUREL: Course not, Charlie. Named it after an American general, didn’t they? Second World War.

Panel 4: Medium wide on all three of them, tighter than Panel 2.

JONO: That so, Mum?
LAUREL: Your harebrained mum isn’t just flipping the pages of all those library books, you know. I make sure and look at what’s written on them first.
JONO: Always said you should go on Fifteen to One.

Panel 5: CU on Laurel. Emotional, but holding it together. Perhaps a little proud even.

Laurel: Tell you what. You graduate from the Academy, and I’ll audition.

Panel 6: CU on Jono, looking down at his mum with kind eyes.

JONO: Deal.

PAGE EIGHT

Panel 1: Medium wide on Jono, Laurel and Charlie, still standing by the column. Charlie’s got a hand on Jono’s shoulder. Laurel’s digging through her bag.

CHARLIE: It’s good to see you smile, son.
JONO: Oh? Am I smiling now?
CHARLIE: I can see it in your eyes.

Panel 2: Medium on Laurel as she pulls another book out of her bag. She’s looking at her hands, maybe hiding a swell of emotion.

LAUREL: Now, you’re going to need something to pass the time. And no eating this one.

Panel 3: Close on the book as it changes hands. It’s a copy of Paradise Lost.

NO COPY

Panel 4: Medium on the three of them. Jono’s holding the book. No one’s looking at each other.

LAUREL: It’s full of battles and bluster. And, I fancy you’ll relate to Satan.
JONO: Touché, Mum.
CHARLIE: All right. Give us a hug.

Panel 5: Wide, behind Jono, who has an arm around each of his parents. They’ve each got both arms around him. Charlie’s kissing his cheek. Laurel, shorter, has her face in the crook of Jono’s arm – breathing in his smell.

PAGE NINE:

Panel 1: Extreme Wide as Charlie and Laurel watch Jono walk toward the jet bridge, a short queue of passengers waiting at the entry.

NO COPY

Panel 2: Medium on Charlie and Laurel, arms around each other, looking at their son.

NO COPY

Panel 3: Wide on Jono, from his parents’ POV, back to camera, handing the gate attendant his boarding pass. He’s already holding the book up in the other hand, reading it as he walks.

NO COPY

Panel 4: Same as previous. Jono disappears onto the jet bridge as another passenger presents his pass – the edge of Jono’s shoulder is Charlie and Laurel’s last glimpse of him.

NO COPY

Panel Five: Wide on Charlie and Laurel framed by the entry to the jet bridge. They’re not ready to leave.

NO COPY

PAGE TEN

Panel 1: Medium on Charlie and Laurel, slightly low angle to favor Laurel. Charlie’s looking at her sympathetically, and she’s looking at the jet bridge, like she’s waiting for something.

NO COPY

Panel 2: CU on Laurel, eyes widening – a genuine smile emerging through the tears.

JONO (OFF): Love you.

Panel 3: Medium close on Laurel, higher angle, over Charlie’s shoulder. She’s looking up at him.

LAUREL: You hear that?!
CHARLIE (OFF): Hear what, love?

Panel 4: Wide on Charlie and Laurel as they walk away from the gate, holding hands, backs to camera.

LAUREL: Never mind. Got a secret is all.
CHARLIE: I swear, I think Jono’s right about you sometimes. Loony.


The Millarworld Writers 'International Research Thread'
#11

A Canary Cries

Script by Becca Lee Gardner

10 pages
Final Draft: March 31, 2016

Page One

1/ Open with a farmhouse without a single pane of glass in its windows or doors. Instead the empty spaces are covered with sheets stapled to the window frames. A 60’s Chevy truck sits in the gravel driveway. It’s night and the full moon illuminates the scene.
2/ Cut to Dinah Drake Lance lying in a king-sized bed alone. She’s asleep, though the disheveled covers and the distress in her expression indicate it’s not a restful sleep. Beside the bed is a nightstand with an alarm clock and a corded telephone.
3/ Sitting on the floor beside the bed is seven-year-old Laurel Lance. She has her knees drawn up to her chest, her eyes squeezed shut, and her lips tight.
4/ Framed in the window is Aquarius. He is a living star, but this is a diminished version of him, so his brilliance is somewhat blurred. His gaze is clearly on the room’s occupants.

Page Two
1/ Morning light falls from the now empty window. Dinah lifts herself to an elbow and notices Laurel for the first time. Laurel is unmoved from before, her legs held tight to her body, her arms rigid, and her face clenched tight.
3/ Cut to Dinah kneeling and holding Laurel’s face in her hands. Laurel remains unchanged. Her expression is a mix of anguish and concentration.
DINAH : Laurel! What’s wrong? Can you hear me? Laurel!
4/ Cut to Dinah cradling Laurel on her lap. Laurel does not look any more relaxed. Dinah has the phone to pressed to one ear.
DINAH : Officer James Gordon, please. Yes, I can hold.

Page Three
1/ Cut to a cop car beside the truck on the farmhouse’s gravel drive. A very young James Gordon exits the driver’s side. He is thin and solemn in his Gotham P.D. uniform.
2/ James holds open the cruiser’s back door and a cuffed Ted Grand (Wildcat) exits. He is as massive and relaxed as James is thin and solemn. Ted also bears the bruises and swollen jaw of a recent fistfight.
TED : Do all cruisers smell like vomit?
JAMES : Larry never mentioned your charm. Or you at all, actually.
3/ Dinah exits the farmhouse before them. She’s changed from her nightgown into high-waisted Levis and a cut-off T-shirt. Ted’s gaze is on Dinah, concern tightening his features.
TED : I ain’t a friend of Larry’s.
4/ Cut to inside the farmhouse. Laurel is curled up on a sofa, her eyes and mouth are still shut, but she looks a bit more peaceful than before. Ted is kneeling before her, his hands still cuffed. Dinah and James look on from the room’s entryway, giving Ted and Laurel a bit of privacy.
TED (mutters) : You are in the safe room. Unlock the door. The house is clear.
5/ Closer shot on Dinah and James, with Ted and Laurel still in the background.
JAMES : What is he doing?
DINAH : He’s talking her out of her mind fortress.
JAMES : She’s seven and HE’S a criminal.

Page Four
1/ Cut to a view of Ted as James must see him. He is all bulk and muscle, especially compared to the petite girl before him. He has scars that speak to years of fights much rougher than the most recent one.
DINAH : Not everyone in Gotham’s jails are criminals and not everyone on Gotham’s streets are innocents.
JAMES : Larry wouldn’t—
DINAH : He’s dead, Jim. I’m doing my best.
2/ JAMES rubs a hand across his face.
JAMES : I’m sorry, Dinah. Hell, I could have used Larry’s advice this week.
DINAH : I heard about the Waynes.
LAUREL : Mom?
3/ Cut to Dinah at Laurel’s side. The girl is upright, her bright eyes open, though her face is a bit pale. Ted is sitting rocked back on his heels.
DINAH : Hun, are you okay?
LAUREL : Yeah, Mom.
TED : She hasn’t been that locked up tight, not even when . . .
4/ Dinah pulls Laurel into a tight embrace.
DINAH : Did you have a bad dream?
LAUREL : No, Mom. He was here. He tried to get into my mind.
5/ James steps closer, his face in a deeper frown.
JAMES : Who was here?
LAUREL : The bright man. The one who killed Daddy.

Page Five
1/ Dina has Laurel at arm’s length, her expression serious. Ted is on his feet, pacing the room. James is crouched beside Dinah, his notepad and pencil in his hand.
DINAH : How do you know it was the man who killed Daddy?
LAUREL : He told me.
JAMES : Did he say anything else?
2/ Close up on Laurel’s face. She has a spit-fire personality, defiant and stubborn.
LAUREL : He told me to scream at you. To scream until you were bleeding. I hid from him.
3/ Close up on Dinah as a flash of fear crosses her face. Ted halts his pacing behind her.
TED : Son of a Bitch!
DINAH : That’s good, baby. It’s okay to hide. I’m going to go make you some cocoa, okay?
4/ Cut to kitchen where Dinah is warming cocoa on the stove. James is slumped in a chair at the table. Ted is right behind Dinah, obviously aggravated.
TED : Aquarius is back to KILL you. That’s a big deal!
DINAH : If he’d been at full strength, you’d be looking through the ashes for our bones.
TED : Dinah!
5/ Dinah hands a mug to Ted, there is no remnant of fear in her expression.
DINAH : We’re strong. We have to be.
TED : You’re outmatched, Dinah.
DINAH : Maybe. Maybe not. Give this to Laurel.

Page Six
1/ Ted exits the room with the mug held in his cuffed hands. James straightens in his chair.
JAMES : He’s right.
DINAH : I know.
JAMES : Don’t you have friends with powers or something?
DINAH : None close enough to help.
2/ Dinah crosses her arms. James removes his keys from his belt.
JAMES : I’ll leave him in your custody.
DINAH : I can’t ask that of you, Jim.
JAMES : Just for the night. Just in case.
3/ James stands and Dinah smiles.
JAMES : I’ll be back for him in the morning.
DINAH : Thank you.
JAMES : Jail’s crowded anyway.
4/ Cut to Dinah fishing a pair of handguns out from under the sofa. A bag full of weapons lies open and waiting for the last additions on the floor beside her. Laurel is sitting on the sofa eating pizza and watching cartoons.
5/ Cut to Dinah dropping the bag into the bed the old Chevy truck. Ted’s in the driver’s seat. It’s dusk.
DINAH : That’s all of it.
TED : You sure about this?
DINAH : He’ll try to turn us on each other. Leave the truck down the lane. Be back before the stars come out.

Page Seven
1/ Cut to Dinah and Laurel on the porch. It is full night now. Dinah is standing, tense and waiting. A large figure walks down the driveway toward them.
DINAH : It’s him!
LAUREL : No, it’s not, Mom.
2/ Close up of Ted’s face as he advances on the house, his eyes are the same burning yellow of Aquarius and he has an eager, blood-thirsty twist to his lips.
DINAH (off panel) : Get inside, Laurel. Hide!
LAUREL (off panel) : No, Mom.
3/ Dinah steps off the porch to confront Ted. She’s crouched into a fighting stance. Laurel is still sitting on the porch behind.
DINAH : Fight him, Ted!
TED : He’s not as strong as you or the girl. Some can teach, but not perform.
4/ Ted lunges at Dinah.
5/ Ted and Dinah fight.

Page Eight
1/ Dinah is quick and disciplined, but Ted is much faster than his brute-build would suggest.
2/ Ted lands a devastating blow on Dinah.
LAUREL (off panel) : Mom!
3/ Dinah raises her bloodied head toward Laurel.
DINAH : Run, Laurel!
4/ Dinah tries to dodge the next blow, but Ted anticipates her move.
5/ Dinah is unconscious and bloody.
LAUREL : No!

Page Nine
1/ Ted turns toward Laurel. Laurel is on her feet, her little fists balled. She takes in a deep breath.
TED : Don’t scream, girl.
TED : You’ll hurt your mommy.
2/ Close up on Laurel’s face as tears fall down her cheeks.
3/ She lets out a sonic scream. Ted collapses. Dinah writhes on the ground in agony.
4/ Laurel keeps screaming until a wisp of light leaves Ted’s body.
5/ Cut to Laurel cradling Dinah’s bloodied head, tears falling freely from Laurel and onto her unconscious mother. Morning is just starting to warm the sky.

Page Ten
1/ Cut to full morning. A police cruiser is parked haphazardly in the drive and James is at Dinah’s side, checking her pulse. Laurel is still holding her mother’s head.
JAMES : She’s alive! It’s okay, Laurel. She’ll be okay.
2/ Cut to an ambulance now on the scene, taking a conscious Dinah away. Ted is in the back of James’ cruiser. His ears are bloody and his head held low in shame. James is talking with one of the EMT’s in the background. Laurel walks beside her mother’s stretcher.
DINAH : It’s okay.
LAUREL : No, it’s NOT. I made you bleed. I hurt you.
DINAH : No, Laurel. You fought when you could have run.
3/ Dinah closes her eyes with a peaceful smile.
DINAH : You’re a fighter and fighters don’t hide. Not anymore.


#12

A Legacy to Forget
By Eric Bitmanis

Page 1 4 panels

Panel 1 The muzzle of a pistol flashes before us. It
dominates our view.

Caption: All I remember hearing was the sound of a
gun…

SFX: BANG!

Panel 2 An old man, UNCLE BEN, stands before us. His
hand outstretched holding a wrench towards a
dark haired man who is bent down over a
workbench. We can’t see the dark haired man or
what he’s working on in this panel. It seems
that these men are situated in a giant
warehouse.

BEN
…And then I was here. Not much more to it
then that.

DARK-HAIRED MAN
My time was similar. Will say, we were luckier
than Jason. He took quite the beating before
getting here.

Panel 3 We finally see the dark-haired man’s face. It’s
THOMAS WAYNE. He is hunched over a small, metal
discus working at it with a wrench. Ben is in
the background yelling over his shoulder.

BEN
Oh, I know. I give him a hard time about it.
Watch this–

BEN
Hey, Jason. Can ya pass me that crowbar?

JASON TODD (OFF-SCREEN)
Screw off, Parker!

Panel 4 Ben is laughing to himself. Thomas beams down at
the discus before him. Titles/Credits.

BEN
Poor, little bugger. He’s gotta learn to laugh
at it sooner then later.

THOMAS
Ben. Ben! I think I have it working. I–

THOMAS
I think we can get back to our kids!

Page 2 5 panels

Panel 1 Thomas stands at a podium. Ben stands at his
side. There are many figures seated in front of
them.

THOMAS
…Yes. Yes. I realize you are all very
excited, but we have to think about this
cautiously –

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
Shut up, ya DC rat. We just want to see our
kids.

Panel 2 Focus on Ben, he’s pointing angrily at someone
off to our right.

BEN
Mr. Murdoch, you’ll get your turn to speak. Let
Thomas finish.

Panel 3 Thomas continues his speech.

THOMAS
We also have to consider that the device –

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
Time Machine!

THOMAS
… the Time Machine. Is even capable of
getting each of us back to varying points of
origins. We’re talking different universes
entirely. I’m unsure if anything could operate
under such conditions.

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
Let us try it!

Panel 4 Ben has his hand around the podium microphone,
bending it away from Thomas and towards himself.
Ben’s free hand is out before him like he is
trying to soothe a wild beast.

BEN
People, please! Both Marvel and DC based people
will both get a shot at using the device. We
are just trying to finish testing –

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
I want to see my child!

Panel 5 The crowd has surged forward. Shadowy
silhouettes now approach the stage like a
cresting wave. Hands grabbing and pointing at
Ben and Thomas.

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
You have no right to keep me from him –

VOICE (OFF-SCREEN)
My daughter, I want to see my daughter –

BEN
Everyone, calm down!

THOMAS
Calm yourselves!

Page 3 7 panels

Panel 1 Thomas and Ben sit at a pair of bar stools. Each
holding an ice pack to a different bruise or cut
on their face.

THOMAS
That could have gone better.

BEN
Ya. Jor-El was pissed.

THOMAS
Maybe we should have waited to tell them?

Panel 2 Ben looks down at his ice pack pensively.

BEN
Nah. I think we made the right call. Better to
be forthcoming with stuff like that. Just
didn’t think…

THOMAS
Didn’t think we’d cause our own small scale
riot?

Panel 3 Ben and Thomas both laugh. Propping themselves
against the bar for support.
SFX: Hahaha!

BEN
There’s something I can cross off the bucket
list.

BEN
Wait, can we still call it a bucket list?

Panel 4 Thomas removes the discus device, from page one,
from inside his coat. Ben looks on with
nervousness.

THOMAS
Not sure. But while you ponder that, I was
going to give this… Time Machine, the old
college try.

BEN
What?.. Tom, we haven’t done any testing–

Panel 5 Focus on Thomas Wayne. A sly smile daringly
plays across his face.

THOMAS
What do you think I’m about to do?

Panel 6 Ben looking down at the device in Tom’s hands.
Ben is not comfortable with this, but Tom seems
defiant to press on.

BEN
Tom, I really don’t think this is a good idea.

THOMAS
Well, we’re already dead. So how much more do I
have to lose?

Panel 7 Close on the metal device as Thomas presses the
button in it’s middle.
SFX: Click.

Page 4 5 panels.

Panel 1 Ben and Thomas sit still on their bar-stools
staring at each other in confusion.

BEN
How will I know it works?

THOMAS
Well, I don’t think it’s working now.

Panel 2 We are looking over Ben’s shoulder as Thomas
places the metal discus on the bar behind him.

THOMAS
That’s slightly disappointing.

BEN
Tell me about it. Didn’t realize how much I
missed Peter til now.

Panel 3 Ben picks up the discus. Examining it. We don’t
see what’s on the discus’ front face display.

THOMAS (OFF-SCREEN)
And I, Bruce. I guess we’ll have to tweak some
settings –

Panel 4 Ben looks shocked. He stares at the bar stool
where Tom just was. The bar stool sits empty.
The discus still held in Ben’s hands.

BEN
Tom? Tom?!

BEN
Holy shi – It worked.

Panel 5 Ben looks at the numbers of the discus’ display.
The display reads “September 26” “Gotham City”
“10:00pm”.

BEN
I really think it worked.

Page 5 6 panels

Panel 1 Ben peaks through a pair of large swinging doors
into what appears to be an empty theatre room.

BEN
Hey, anyone in here?

Panel 2 Ben strides down the aisle to the big screen at
the front. He holds a T.V remote in his hand.

Panel 3 Ben with the T.V remote pointed at the big
screen. The screen glows with life.

BEN
Let’s see what you’re up to Tom.

BEN
Hey, uhhh… Screen. Can you show me Gotham
City, September 26 at… 10:00 PM?

Panel 4 The screen fuzzes before Ben, and speaks.

T.V SCREEN
Scanning libraries. Your selection will be
view-able shortly.

Panel 5 Over Ben’s head we can see the screen. It has
snapped to a crystal clear picture now. On the
screen we see Thomas and Martha Wayne walking a
young Bruce Wayne down an alleyway outside a
theater. A scene we should all be familiar with.

BEN
This has to be the wrong time –

Panel 6 On the screen, a shadowy figure is walking down
the alleyway. We know him as Joe Chill. Over his
shoulder we see the Waynes who seem to be
cowering from the oncoming figure.

Page 6 6 panels

Panel 1 The shadowy Joe Chill is tackled by another
shadowy figure. We do not see what it is. Thomas
and Martha Wayne grab Bruce and hurry away from
the commotion.

THOMAS WAYNE (ON SCREEN)
This way, Bruce. These men have no need for us.

Panel 2 Focus on the screen. Thomas holds the door of a
cab open for Martha and Bruce. Bruce is already
crawling into the back of the vehicle.

BEN (OFF-SCREEN)
Oh, my God! They got away.

Panel 3 Ben cheering in front of the screen.

BEN
Tom, you did it! You lunatic genius. I can’t
believe –

T.V SCREEN
New footage available from Gotham City
timeline. Would you like to view it?

Panel 4 Ben looks puzzled at the screen.

BEN
New footage?.. Alright, toss it up there.

T.V SCREEN
Warning, the new footage has been
marked…disturbing.

Panel 5 On the screen, a panoramic shot of Gotham on
fire in the background. It’s tall towers acting
like giant torches light the night’s sky. The
border of the screen has the red recording
square that pops up from an older video
recorder. A face sits in the middle of the shot.
It’s ghastly grin dominates the screen. THE
JOKER addresses our captive audience as he looks
directly into the lens.

JOKER
Greeting, Gothamites! This is your mayor
speaking…

BEN (OFF-SCREEN)
What is this? Where did you get this?

Panel 6 Ben’s face responds in horror to the T.V
screen’s response. The T.V screen glows
indifferently behind Ben.

T.V SCREEN
This is Gotham’s new future. This is the last
recording before the city falls.

BEN
Oh, sweet Lord.

Panel 7 Close on the device. It reads "September 26"
“Gotham City” “10:00pm” as Ben clicks it.

BEN (OFF-SCREEN)
I’ve got to warn him.
SFX: Click.

Page 7 5 panels

Panel 1 A glow illuminates a dim, Gotham alleyway.

Caption: When I was young, If you had asked me how I
wanted to be remembered…

Panel 2 Ben appears from the glow to stand in the dim
alley.

Caption: … I would have never thought of this. Not in
a million years.

THOMAS (OFF-SCREEN)
Ben?

Panel 3 Out of the shadows, Thomas reaches out to Ben.
Concern on his face, Ben seems slightly startled
from Thomas.

THOMAS
Didn’t think you’d be following me in here –

THOMAS
Is something the matter?

Panel 4 Ben has grabbed Thomas be the shirt. Ben’s
knuckles white as he grips the fabric.

BEN
Tom, I’ve –

BEN
We have to go back. We don’t belong here.

Panel 5 Thomas removes Ben’s grasping hands from
himself, a weird concoction of annoyance and a
slight hint of fear cross his Thomas’ face.

THOMAS
Ben, I have no idea what you’re talking about

BEN
Your boy, Tom. Bruce. He’s needed here. This
city will burn without him.

Panel 6 Thomas is moving away from Ben, almost turning
away from the man. Ben reaching for him like one
might reach for a warm breeze. He is bound to
leave empty handed.

THOMAS
Ben, you’re rambling like a mad man.

BEN
Thomas, if you stop what happens tonight,
Gotham dies. The screen, it showed the timeline
after tonight. All these people die without
your son.

Page 8 5 panels

Panel 1 Anger flashes across Thomas’ face. It looks as
if he’s ready to strike Ben, who stands
defiantly up to the younger man.

THOMAS
And what about my son? Who thinks of him?!

THOMAS
This city sits and watches as he bleeds. The
gutters full of his pain, his suffering. I… I
am ending this tonight.

Panel 2 Thomas skulks away from Ben. Ben eyeing him
down. It starts to rain…

BEN
I’ve watched Peter bleed too, Tom.

BEN
But I know he’s become more than I could have
ever taught him.

BEN
Don’t rob your son of his potential –

Panel 3 Thomas has whirled around, striking Ben across
the face. Ben’s face twisting with the force,
spittle flying from his lips.

THOMAS
I know what’s best for my son!

Panel 4 Thomas is running away from Ben’s crumpled body
staring at his watch. Ben can only look at his
friend run away, powerless to stop him as blood
drains from his swollen lip into a forming
puddle on the pavement.

THOMAS (OFF-SCREEN)
Damnit! He’s almost to Bruce now.

Caption: It was at this moment where I knew I was
alone.

Panel 5 Ben has risen to his feet, and has trudged off
in Thomas’ direction.

Caption: This sacrifice was mine to bear.

Page 9 6 panels

Panel 1 Martha and Thomas Wayne protect Bruce from the
shadowy Joe Chill, just as we saw on the T.V
screen. The shadow of Chill’s gun cast over the
family.

THOMAS WAYNE
What is this?

JOE CHILL
What’s it look like? This is a stick up!

Panel 2 Joe is tackled by a shadowy figure who we see
now is Thomas from our timeline. Chill’s gun is
knocked from his hand.

Panel 3 Focus on Martha, Thomas Wayne, and Bruce as they
turn from the struggling two men on the ground.
Thomas Wayne’s face looks slightly confused as
he thinks he sees himself tackling Joe Chill.

THOMAS WAYNE
Martha, take Bruce…

THOMAS WAYNE
This way, these men have no need of us.

Panel 4 Our Thomas has Joe Chill pinned to the ground,
his hand over Chill’s throat. Thomas glares down
at the would be murderer of his family.

THOMAS
Did you even think before pulling the trigger?

THOMAS
Did you?!

Panel 5 Chill’s gun lying on the concrete in our
foreground, it occupies most of the panel. In
the background we see Thomas has landed a solid
right cross that even Jack Murdoch would
compliment him on.

SFX: Crccck!

THOMAS
I asked you a question!

Panel 6 Again we are focused on the gun, but this time
we see an old hand has grasped its handle and is
pulling it, dripping, from it’s resting spot on
the ground.

Page 10 5 panels

Panel 1 Ben has the gun in his hand, he is staring
straight ahead. Straight at us! Like a man on a
mission, he doesn’t appear to be aware of the
world around him, or Thomas still on top of Joe
Chill but frantically waving at Ben from the
background.

THOMAS
Ben!.. Ben, what are you doing?!

Panel 2 Rain belting down onto Ben’s shoulders, hoping
that their force may drive him back to his
knees. Ben has trudged through the alley, and is
almost to the street. Thomas runs after him, but
will never catch Ben in time.

Caption: I know I said all I remembered was the gun.
The gun that killed me.

Panel 3 Martha and Thomas Wayne are hurrying Bruce into
an open cab door. Bruce crawling into the
backseat of the vehicle.

Caption: Well, I lied.

Panel 4 Thomas and Martha Wayne have a look of horror as
they stare at Ben. Ben has the gun raised and is
pointing it in their direction.

Caption: The gun is there, but it is fuzzy compared to
the face.

Panel 5 A focus on the gun like the very first panel in
the story. The gun’s muzzle flashing. On either side of the gun, half a face is illuminated. On the right, we have Uncle Ben. And on the left we have the face of the
burglar that killed Uncle Ben.

Caption: You never forget the face.

THE END


#13

A Safer World
By Jim O’Hara

Page 1.
Panel 1. Opening panel of a father holding his infant son. The baby is only a few days old, wrapped in a white blanket, tiny in the strong arms of his father. The father is in his mid 30’s with a shaved head and also wears simple clothing so we can’t tell very much about him.
Caption: You’re never able to imagine what it’s like to be a father until the day it happens. On that day the world changes.

Panel 2. View of the sleeping boy, restful in the arms of his Dad.
Caption: On that day all the dangers and terrible things in life suddenly magnify. And you know you’ll do everything to keep them from touching your family.

Panel 3. The father leans down and gently kisses his son on the top of his head.
Caption: You’ll build them a perfect world. You’ll devote every day to keep them safe. And the horrific truth is it might never be enough.

Page 2.
Panel 1. Several years have passed, and the father sits under a blanket of stars with son, now a 7 year old boy.
Boy: But who’s out there Daddy? In all that space, there’s got to be lots of people out there!
Caption: They have an insatiable curiosity. They can’t help themselves. They’ll go seeking danger no matter what you say.

Panel 2. The father rubs his hands through the boys hair.
Father: Maybe there’s whole worlds out there son, but our world here is what’s important. This is where everyone who loves you is.

Panel 3. The boy looks up in wide eyed wonder.
Boy: But I want to see it all. I want to meet them!

Panel 4. View from above looking down on the two, both sitting in a quiet field on a summers night. One yearning to explore the universe, the other hoping that never happens.
Caption: You’ll try to hold onto your child. You can’t help yourself. Maybe that’s what ends up driving them away.

Page 3.
Panel 1. The boy is a young man now, graduated from university full of his own ideas. He and the father are arguing. At this age the boy has shaved his head too. He’s in his fathers study. They’ve been talking but the conversations have been getting more and more heated.
Boy: The world’s become lazy Father. How can’t you understand this? We’re not challenged any more! We live for pleasure. We don’t strive or fight! This isn’t how it’s meant to be!
Father: My son, you shouldn’t wish for those things.

Panel 2. The father tries to explain things to his rebellious child.
Father: You grandfather, and his grandfather and all the way back. Those men lived in worlds full of war and dangers. They fought to make our lives safe. To make lasting peace and give you every opportunity to enjoy your life.
Father: You live a life better than any of them could have dreamed. We don’t know hunger or suffering. We can learn what we want, do what we want. It’s Paradise son. You won’t find happiness elsewhere.
Caption: But it was no use. Some things can’t be explained.

Panel 3. View from the fathers perspective, looking at his son, still arguing with him in animated fashion. We don’t hear the conversation, but we can imagine how it goes.
Caption: It’s a terrible thing to see someone you love make themselves unhappy. To go searching for something they shouldn’t. But that was who you were, and it was only a matter of time before you found it.

Page 4.
Panel 1. A TV is reporting a shot of a strange device floating in the sky.
TV Announcer: We repeat, the object entered our orbit this morning. It is undoubtedly alien in origin and at this time we don’t know their intentions.
Caption: The morning the ship appeared in the sky our world started to fall apart.

Panel 2. More images of the TV, this time panic in the streets.
Caption: You were right that we’d become too comfortable. We hadn’t had to learn to fight. We hadn’t learned how to live with adversity. We were masters of our world, but we’d made our world weak.

Panel 3. Pull back from the TV to show the father sitting in a chair, watching intently. Behind the TV is a window showing the city from his apartment window, a collection of gleaming skyscrapers, some of them now on fire. Flying cars are everywhere, flying without order. Civilization is losing its grip.
Caption: We threw everything we had at this ship, but we’d never seen anything like it before. The stranger in the dark we’d all feared was here.

Panel 4. The father reaches for a stiff drink, an empty bottle already on the table.
Caption: And we all knew it was here to destroy us. God had arrived to pass his judgement.

Page 5.
Full page shot of a rocket ascending into the daytime sky, one single pilot going to confront the ship in orbit. The intention is to show how small a force this really would be, how one brave man standing against an impossible foe looks like the most hopeless battle.
Caption: I should have known you would be the one to try and save us. But when they announce your name it wasn’t pride I felt. It was horror like you can’t imagine.

Page 6.
Panel 1. All Black.
Caption: Within a matter of hours it was announced that you had succeeded. The whole world was repeating your name. You’d become the greatest hero we’d ever had.
Caption: And I wept and wept and wept. For all I wanted was my baby boy to return to me.
Caption: I thought you were dead.

Panel 2. Still mostly black, but there’s a light source just off panel that illuminates the side of the panel.
Caption: It was 12 hours before you came to visit me. And you confirmed that the boy I knew had died.

Panel 3. We see the edge of the light source, a bright silver light, but we can’t make it out from this shot.
Speech Bubble (off panel): Father. It’s me. I’m back.
Panel 4. Pull back to show the boy, now transformed into the Silver Surfer.
Surfer: It’s me. It’s Norrin.
Father (off panel): Oh son, what have you done?

Page 7.
Panel 1. The Silver Surfer turns away from his father, angry at his response. He looks out the window at the city, now at peace.
Surfer: I saved the world Father.
Surfer: The creature, the pilot of the craft…he came here to consume our world and kill every living thing. But now he’s agreed to leave.

Panel 2. The Father collapses back in his chair, trying to process what he’s heard, the Surfer off panel.
Father: And he did this to you? Is that a suit of some kind?
Surfer: He changed me for what’s to come. He spared the world, but there was a cost.

Panel 3. The Surfer looks out the window at his home world, for the last time.
Surfer: I have to serve him. I have to leave and never come back.

Page 8.
Panel 1. The father rises from his chair in fury. He can’t accept that he won’t see his son again.
Father: Are you his slave? Who is he to do such a thing? What can he want with you?
Surfer: He calls me his herald.

Panel 2. The Surfer looks down at his feet now, shame creeping in.
Surfer: I…I am to find worlds for him to consume. His hunger is endless. He’s as ancient, as old as the universe and he will do anything to survive.
Father: Why? Why does he need you for this?

Panel 3. The Surfer stands silently. Eyes still downward.

Panel 4. He raises his eyes to meet his fathers gaze. The last tears of the Norrin Radd fall down his cheeks. What was left of his mortal life, of his connection is about to end.
Surfer: I must choose for him. I will tell him which world’s to consume.

Page 9.
Panel 1. The Father falls to his knees, devastated. His voice trembles.
Father: Why? Why would you agree to do this? This is not for you!
Surfer (angrily): That was the price! I saved the world. I saved you! I couldn’t let everything I’ve known get destroyed.

Panel 2. The father’s head drops. He doesn’t want to look up at his son.
Father: Better we had died than your soul be damned. He’s made you a monster. Nothing will separate you and him. You’ll be feared.
Father: You’ll be alone.

Panel 3. The Surfer bristles in anger. Raw cosmic energy radiates off him, lighting up the room.
Surfer: I KNOW WHAT’S TO COME! THIS IS MY BURDEN! YOU THINK I DON’T UNDERSTAND?

Panel 4. The light fades, the anger leaving quickly as the Surfer sees his Father pull back in fear.
Surfer: I…I couldn’t let you die.

Page 10.
Panel 1. The Surfer turns away from his father.
Surfer: I have to leave. I wanted you to know that I still live. Perhaps one day I will be released.

Panel 2. The Surfer looks one last time at his father.
Surfer: Know that my burden will be lessened knowing that you still live.
Surfer: Goodbye Father. I love you.
Panel 3. The Surfer disappears like a ghost, leaving his father still on his knees on the floor.

Panel 4. We pull back from the same shot to show the Father in this large empty apartment, knowing he’ll be tormented for the rest of his days, always wondering about his son and the burden he carries.
Father: I love you son.
Caption: When you have a child you’ll do anything to protect them. But you can’t protect them.
Caption: It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.


#14

Ma-lactus? Pa-lactus? This had me in stitches. Very creative and hilarious… Reminded me of the old Marvel “What if?” Loved the inclusion of the anti-drug PSA from the 1980’s. That stardust is bad news… Great job.

Mike


#15

Great, very poignant… Excellent job of using Tony’s technical wizardry to create the contrast between a fun VR adventure and a stark (see what I did there) reality… I really liked your ending… Well done.


#16

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I’m really pleased that you liked it.

The inspiration for the story came from a true story.

I am little bit anxious about how it is going to be received. I haven’t really done any comic writing in a long, long time. Any notes anyone can offer would be very welcome.


#17

This is great @JimOHara! As a parent myself, I related to the anguish and vulnerability of the dad. It was a fun read!


#18

Awww yeah! Time for some good old fashioned reading. Looking forward to checking out everyone’s work. :smiley:


#19

I am looking forward to reading though them this evening.


#20

These captions had a nice cadence and were my favorite part of the script. I was unclear as to why Namor brought Leonard to Atlantis in the first place. It was some beautiful writing, though. Well done!