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Write Off 9: Return of a Superman scripts


#1

Hi! The decision was made to open the scripts thread for Write Off 9 (whether or not there’s also a poll will be discussed here, too). Now, because the original host is not the one opening this, anyone (I think there was a reported three of us) who originally submitted scripts will post their material personally. That also means anyone who still wants to participate and perhaps wrote something later (this includes Bruce) can go ahead and post it here.

This is mostly a feedback thread. If there is a poll added later, we can declare a “winner” and if they so choose can host the tenth Write Off, or at the very least pick the topic. If there are no objections and no one else declares an interest to do so, I will reclaim full hosting duties.

As always, “winning” earns you nothing but the plaudits of your peers. Choosing to write anything at all, and sending it in, especially in these later Write Offs with far fewer participants than earlier ones, is its own victory. You’re gaining valuable experience! And finding out what others think of your work!

For the faint of heart, please remember that not everyone is going to like everything. Sometimes feedback can sound harsh. If you’re willing to engage in dialogue, you’ll learn a lot, both why someone didn’t like something and if it’s peculiar to their particular interests. That being said, it’s always wise, if you’re the one giving feedback, to be equally open, both in your original thoughts and willingness to provide follow-up, and yeah, to stay as civil as you can. (Again, I admit guilt in past transgressions.)

This thread will stay open at least two months. There’s no rush here. The next Write Off probably will accept submissions well into the start of 2019.


#2

TITLE: “Examplar – The Digital Age”
WRITER : Tony Laplume (FKA YoungDuke)

PAGE ONE

Panel One
A totally blank panel.

Panel Two
Pixels begin to appear.

Panel Three
The pixels begin to take shape. We see the vague outline of a man.

Panel Four
The vague outline begins to take shape. We see a bald man. This is Ryan Reece, Laureate, in a dress suit, bald as Lex Luthor. This is Examplar’s worst enemy, but he’s been better.

Panel Five
We see Laureate clearly for the first time. He is examining his hands and looking pleased. His face would look much as Jerry Ordway draws Captain Marvel, the squinting eyes, the smile.

LAUREATE: Fascinating. I always believed life was in the details.

PAGE TWO

Panel One
Laureate is turning around to see his teenage daughter run up to him. This is Tessa. She has dark hair, like her mother, Penelope Pequod (Lois Lane), and obviously adores her father.

TESSA: Daddy! Daddy! What just happened?

LAUREATE: My darling, my baby. I suspect we have just been absconded.

Panel Two
Father and daughter are sharing a warm embrace.

LAUREATE: The machinations of Calculo. He’s made a digital copy of the whole city, just as he long warned he would.

Panel Three
Tessa looks worriedly up at Laureate, who is confessing weakness for the first time in her young life. He has a blank look on his face.

LAUREATE: I couldn’t stop him. The so-called Renaissance Man was, in the final analysis, better than me.

Panel Three
Tessa is angrily pushing her father away.

TESSA: No! There’s no time for that. You have to put on the armor, daddy. Time for Laureate to save the day.

Panel Four
Laureate is reaching out to his daughter again, pleadingly.

LAUREATE: You don’t understand. I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough. We’re all copies, now. I don’t even know if the real Acropolis still exists, if the real Earth still stands. I don’t even know where we are. Our only hope…is him.

Panel Five
Close-up of Laureate’s face, which features a totally resigned look.

LAUREATE: My old enemy. Exemplar.

PAGE THREE

Panel One
Close-up of Tessa, with a determined look on her face.

TESSA: Daddy?

Panel Two
Same shot. Raising her eyebrows.

TESSA: If you won’t, I will.

Panel Three
Close-up of Laureate. A big frown on his face.

Panel Four
Same as previous panel.

LAUREATE: Very well.

Panel Five
Same as previous panel.

LAUREATE: But you are to stay here.

Panel Six
Same as previous panel.

LAUREATE: Am I understood?

Panel Seven
Same as previous panel.

LAUREATE: Tessa, am I understood?

Panel Eight
Close-up of Tessa, who’s now frowning.

Panel Nine
Same as previous panel.

TESSA: Fine.

PAGE FOUR

Panel One
Now we have our first exterior shot of the comic, the LaureateCorp (naturally spelled out in big lettering) building standing tall on the urban Acropolis landscape. We see a red streak jetting across the sky above the LaureateCorp building. We can also see a building with a sun spinning atop it, which is of course our Daily Planet counterpart, the Acropolis Times.

Panel Two
The red streak is moving low across the streets of Acropolis. We see various panicked citizens, including the traditional “end of the world” signs being held, and a bum with long shaggy dark hair and beard. This bum is secretly Exemplar, but we’ll revisit him a little later. The tell-tale clue is that he’s the only one looking at the blur, which of course isn’t Exemplar after all, but Laureate. But we’ll see what Laureate’s armor looks like soon enough!

PAGE FIVE

Panel One (splash)
Our first clear look at Laureate in his armor, in Superman’s traditional colors of red, blue, and yellow, generally in the configuration of Lex Luthor’s suit, with a big “L” emblem across the chest. No helmet, like Luthor. He’s got a fully benevolent look on his face, even a little happy. He’s touching down on the room of the Acropolis Times building, the big globe sun just behind him, and waiting for him is Penelope Pequod in the flesh, with a pragmatic grin on her face.

PENELOPE: Didn’t take you long, Fairborn.

PAGE SIX

Panel One
Laureate and Penelope are walking down a stairwell.

PENELOPE: Calculo. It has to be Calculo.

LAUREATE: I never could scoop you, Penny.

Panel Two
They continue their descent.

PENELOPE: Question is, how do we make things right?

LAUREATE: Question is, actually, how do we get the Acropolis Angel back?

PENELOPE: Back?

Panel Three
They continue their descent.

PENELOPE: Honey, didn’t anyone ever tell you?

PENELOPE: He never went away.

Panel Four
Laureate opens a door for Penelope. She isn’t immediately going into the offices. He’s in her way. He’s got a look of astonishment on his face.

LAUREATE: What are you talking about? I know everything there is to know about Exemplar. I knew his secret identity before you did. I knew you were in love with him. I knew you loved both of him. I knew you were the one who broke his heart. Both of them. I knew you were the one who defeated him, in the end. I know he finally went away. For good.

Panel Five
Penelope pushes her way past Laureate.

PENELOPE: Exactly, and you missed him so much you replaced him. Funny world.

PAGE SEVEN

Panel One
Penelope and Laureate walk past a framed Acropolis Times edition with a big headline reading “Why the World Doesn’t Need Exemplar,” with our first glimpse of Exemplar in costume. Alas, the accompanying giant picture is in black and white. Clearly, though, this guy looks a lot like Superman, arms crossed over his chest, classic pose. No beard, to be clear, despite how we’ve previously glimpsed him.

Panel Two
Penelope and Laureate walk through the bustling Acropolis Times newsroom. We see Jerry West (Perry White) yelling at a huddled group of newspaper people, Cam Coleman (Jimmy Olsen) among them holding his camera, in the background.

JERRY: …Standing around here for, get out there! Get me the story!

Panel Three
All Jerry’s newspaper people are choosing instead to gawk at Laureate walking through the newsroom.

JERRY: Pharaoh’s mummy! You people are acting like you’ve never seen Acropolis’s hero before!

Panel Four
Laureate and Penelope are standing in front of an enclosed office. The names “Penelope Liquor” and “Ryan Williams” are on the door, with the title “Publisher” below them. Laureate is reaching for the door.

Panel Five
Penelope is once again shoving her way past Laureate, who’s pulling back his arm in surprise. Laureate’s response will be in smaller lettering, as he’s speaking in a low voice, mostly to himself.

PENELOPE: Oh, for crying out…! Even Exemplar was never that much a misogynist!

LAUREATE: Misogynist? This used to be considered mere gentlemen’s behavior. My how times change.

PAGE EIGHT

Panel One
Penelope is sitting behind the desk, Laureate standing in front of it.

PENELOPE: I used to be a reporter, you know. I didn’t ask to be made co-publisher. I don’t know the first thing about the job.

PENELOPE: You think we need him back.

Panel Two
Laureate has located a chair and is attempting to sit down.

LAUREATE: You know, I didn’t design this suit for civilian affairs.

LAUREATE: Sitting. Laureate doesn’t sit. Laureate…swoops. Through the sky. Saves the day.

Panel Three
Penelope is staring at Laureate. She is not amused. He has given up trying to sit.

PENELOPE: Exemplar.

LAUREATE: Right. Exemplar.

Panel Four
Laureate has planted his hands down on the desk, having decided on a new way to level himself with Penelope.

LAUREATE: It was our daughter’s idea.

PAGE NINE

Panel One
Close-up of Jerry sticking his head into the office.

JERRY: Please tell me you have an idea how to make things right?

Panel Two
The whole panel vibrates. Otherwise it’s the same image as the previous one.

Panel Three
Jerry is withdrawing his head.

JERRY: You know what? I’m just going to assume you do. You always do. Play time’s over, though. Better make it count!

Panel Four
We see that both Laureate and Penelope had been looking in Jerry’s direction.

Panel Five
They turn back to face each other.

LAUREATE: Please, tell me you know where he is.

PAGE TEN

Page One
Laureate is now holding Penelope and they’re flying through the skies of Acropolis together.

PENELOPE: Must be killing you. Having to admit you need him, after all these years, after everything that happened between you. Humiliating, I mean.

Panel Two
Same as previous panel, generally.

LAUREATE: You’ve no idea! But, times change. It’s time to put old grudges aside.

Panel Three
Same as previous panel, generally.

LAUREATE: Besides, we both know what really happened to him, and why. It was me who claimed victory, but it was you who defeated him. You gave up on him. You stopped believing in him. And you turned everyone else against him, too.

LAUREATE: Exemplar’s Achilles Heel. The public’s faith in him. And you took it away from him.

Panel Four
Same as previous panel, generally.

PENELOPE: And now only the great Laureate can give it back. Must be a real thrill for you.

Panel Five
Same as previous panel, generally.

LAUREATE: I don’t know when we became enemies, Penny.

PENELOPE: Funny how things happen.

LAUREATE: Tell me where to find him. Please.

PAGE ELEVEN

Panel One
The same bum we saw earlier, Exemplar in his current state. Head bowed low.

Panel Two
He sees two shadows fall across him.

EXEMPLAR: Spare a few…?

Panel Three
He’s looking up and of course we see the shadows belong to Laureate and Penelope.

EXEMPLAR: Oh. Never mind.

EXEMPLAR: I don’t need anything from you.

Panel Four
Penelope is bending down, Laureate remains standing firm (although we can probably guess that’s as much to do with the armor as his pride).

PENELOPE: Please. We need you. Laureate needs you. He said so himself. I need you. The city needs you.

Panel Five
Exemplar is getting up, away from his visitors.

EXEMPLAR: Forget it.

PAGE TWELVE

Panel One
As Exemplar walks away, we see Laureate has quickly walked past Penelope. There are still panicked citizens in the street, and no one here is paying attention to the great Laureate. They only recognize him in the sky, coming to their rescue.

LAUREATE: I was wrong about you, okay? I admit it, you smug, overbearing, flying savior complex!

EXEMPLAR: You’re as admirable as ever, Laureate.

Panel Two
The three are walking down the sidewalk. We still see panicked citizens around them. There’s an errant laser blast striking nearby.

EXEMPLAR: “Ryan Williams.” “Penelope Liquor.” Publishers of the Acropolis Times! Please.

EXEMPLAR: You have a lot of nerve. The world moved on. You won. Ryan Reece and Penelope Pequod brought down the great Exemplar. Then went and got married. Had a kid, too. And pretended for, what, fifteen years? That I never existed at all. You assumed new identities. Made a mockery of everything I stood for.

Panel Three
Penelope has stopped walking. She’s started to cry. Exemplar and Laureate haven’t noticed yet.

EXEMPLAR: And for what? To just pretend Fairborn never happened at all? To…punish me, for trying to have a private life? For not telling you sooner, Penny?

PAGE THIRTEEN

Panel One
Exemplar has stopped. He heard her crying, of course. He would’ve heard her tears a thousand miles away, but they still hit him like daggers. Laureate has stopped, too, but he’s looking at Exemplar instead of Penelope.

EXEMPLAR: Penny, I didn’t mean…

Panel Two
Laureate has finally noticed what Exemplar did, and is walking toward his wife.

PENELOPE: No, stop.

Panel Three
Penelope is now holding a hand pointed in Laureate’s direction, while Exemplar has gotten closer to her.

PENELOPE: I mean you, Ryan.

Panel Four
Laureate looks devastated. Exemplar looks at a complete loss as to what he should do next. He’s lifting his arms as if to embrace Penelope, unexpectedly experiencing the old feelings again.

LAUREATE: Penny, I never…

PAGE FOURTEEN

Panel One (splash)
Both Laureate and Penelope are looking up as Exemplar is streaking into the sky. Penelope’s words are in small lettering. She knows she doesn’t have to speak loud for Exemplar to hear her.

PENELOPE: One giant leap…

PENELOPE: Go save us all.

PAGE FIFTEEN

Panel One
We at last see Exemplar, in the sky, shed of his bum’s attire and once even though he’s still got the shaggy beard and hair, he looks positively splendid in his costume, a purple variant on Superman’s, with a purple cape, and really, only a green belt for any other color, no symbol, the Acropolis Times’ sun behind him, but behind the facsimile, the real sun shining brightly.

Panel Two
A laser shoots past Exemplar, his eyes trained on it.

Panel Three
Exemplar has moved to intercept the laser, and it bounces harmlessly into the atmosphere.

Panel Four
We see Exemplar turn his attention to Calculo’s automaton, the source of the laser. The automaton looks vaguely like the classic Brainiac skull-capped robotic form.

Panel Five
We see Exemplar rocket in the automaton’s direction.

Panel Six
Panning downward, with Exemplar battling the automaton in the skies, we see the formerly panicked citizens of Acropolis now cheering for their returned hero. We see at least one kicking at Laureate. Penelope has a lot of distance between herself and Laureate.

PAGE SIXTEEN

Panel One
As Exemplar continues his heroics, the limp and defeated automaton is hanging from one of his arms as he flies off to face Calculo himself, represented by a giant red glow we see on the horizon. We also see, for the first time, that Acropolis has indeed been split off from the rest of the world. There is nothing but black surface and blue sky around it.

EXEMPLAR: So you wanted to preserve a part of the planet, Calculo? You calculated wrong when you chose Acropolis.

EXEMPLAR: This city is under my protection. And it always was.

EXEMPLAR: But you didn’t account for me still being here, did you?

Panel Two
Exemplar is plunging into the red glow.

EXEMPLAR: Well, I did.

Panel Three
Exemplar is smashing through a larger version of the automaton, using the one he previously defeated as a kind of shield.

EXEMPLAR: I saw all this coming.

Panel Four
Exemplar is throwing a fist toward the real Calculo, who looks much like the Gary Frank version of Brainiac, that vaguely Darth Vader black outfit with the mask off, revealing a red face (instead of the familiar green, naturally), plugged into the giant robotic war suit.

EXEMPLAR: Laureate thought his betrayal of you had ended your threat, but I knew he was wrong.

EXEMPLAR: …He never could admit that sort of thing.

Panel Five
A slumped Calculo is in the background as Exemplar has located the control panel that will reverse the “digital download” of Acropolis.

PAGE SEVENTEEN

Panel One
Exemplar becomes pixelated.

Panel Two
Blank panel.

Panel Three
Exemplar is pixelating back.

Panel Three
Exemplar has pulled something from a hidden pocket in his costume.

Panel Four
He’s using his heat-ray vision to give himself a trim.

Panel Five
Now we see Exemplar looking a lot more like Superman, clean-shaven and the traditional hairstyle. He’s beaming at the reader.

EXEMPLAR: It’s all in the details. This is what they will expect.

PAGE EIGHTEEN

Panel One
Exemplar, Laureate, and Penelope are inside the publisher’s office at the Acropolis Times. Penelope is sitting, brooding silently.

EXEMPLAR: Fairborn was simpler times. I miss those days. I think we all do.

LAUREATE: Not me. I couldn’t wait to leave it behind.

Panel Two
The conversation continues. It’s much the same panel as before.

LAUREATE: Tell me you don’t feel invigorated by exploits like this! You were the first of us to come to Acropolis, after all. To claim the mantle, as it were.

EXEMPLAR: Exploits?

Panel Three
Exemplar is frowning at Laureate.

EXEMPLAR: That’s the difference between us, Laureate.

EXEMPLAR: I didn’t choose to be seen as a hero. This isn’t some endless adventure for me. This was never about a reputation.

Panel Four
Laureate has an astonished look on his face.

LAUREATE: But your powers…!

EXEMPLAR: Are only as strong as the faith that is entrusted in me.

Panel Five
Penelope has broken her silence at last. She’s rising to her feet as she speaks.

PENELOPE: He never got it. And I’m beginning to understand that I didn’t, either.

PAGE NINETEEN

Page One
Jerry is sticking his head into the office again.

JERRY: Quit lurking around in there, you guys. There’s a story, and you’re it. Unless one of you wants to write it…!

Panel Two
The door slams shut as abruptly as it was opened. Jerry is gone, and Exemplar, Laureate, and Penelope are standing around silently, staring at each other, Penelope at Laureate, Exemplar at Penelope.

Panel Three
Much the same as the previous panel.

PENELOPE: Faith is only as strong as we let it be. It was always our power. Not his.

Panel Four
The door bangs open again, startling all three of them.

Panel Five
We see that it’s now Tessa who’s interrupted them.

TESSA: What? Catch you at a bad time?

PAGE TWENTY

Panel One
Exemplar and Penelope are now alone on the roof of the Acropolis Times. The shadow of the sun globe falls on them.

CAPTION: Later.

PENELOPE: About her.

Panel Two
Exemplar moves to take hold of Penelope, but waits for permission.

EXEMPLAR: I am not going to get in the way.

Panel Three
Penelope has assented, and they have just left the surface of the roof.

PENELOPE: She’s his.

EXEMPLAR: I know.

Panel Four
They fly, quietly.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE

Panel One
It’s now nighttime and the stars are their backdrop as they continue their flight.

PENELOPE: I don’t regret any of it, you know.

Panel Two
They continue their flight.

EXEMPLAR: I know.

EXEMPLAR: I could never ask you to.

Panel Three
They continue their flight.

PENELOPE: She adores him, she really does.

PENELOPE: I am going to tell her the truth. I don’t think it will change anything.

Panel Four
They continue their flight.

PENELOPE: How she feels about him.

EXEMPLAR: But what about you?

Panel Five
They have touched down at Penelope and Laureate’s home, which is a gated mansion, as you would expect, with a big “L” in the gating. The gate is just in front of Penelope and Exemplar, so that for a moment it’s as if they’re out of view.

Panel Six
Now we’ve passed beyond the gate and see Penelope and Exemplar clearly again. They have let go of each other.

PENELOPE: I’ll never stop believing in you.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO

Panel One (splash)
Exemplar flies off into the night sky, alone. His words are in small lettering. These words are meant only for him, but he knows Penelope already understands.

EXEMPLAR: I know.

EXEMPLAR: I never stopped believing in you, Penny.

EXEMPLAR: Thank you.


#3

http://forums.millarworld.tv/t/final-attempt-artisanal-hand-spa/11326

I’m not sure if this will work or not. I had the usual formatting problems. Please let me know if you can read it or not. If you can’t, I will resubmit.
Thanks, Jason.


#4

You probably need to paste it here.


#5

Exemplar in: Last gasp
Written by Jason Hazardpay Bonine
ONE
Panel 1/ An early 2000’s Hyundai parked in a garage. Car is facing us. We are looking through the windshield at the driver, also facing us. STEVE STONEHEART is mid-30s. Jet black hair. Steely blue eyes. Classically handsome save for the unusual breathing apparatus strapped to the lower half of his face.

CAP1:THIS ISN’T WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
Panel 2/ C/U blue gloved hand turning the key in the ignition.

SFX (BIG): RRRRRR
Panel 3// C/U of blue boot pressing down the accelerator.

SFX: VROOOOM! VROOOOM!

Panel 4/ C/U driver’s side quarter panel, headlight, and tire… All shot from the side. The room fills with exhaust.

SFX: RRRRRRUUMMMRRRUMMM

Panel 5/ EXEMPLAR stands besides the car, having just got out. He is gently closing the car door. Car is still running, garage door closed. We see the costume for the first time, but only in profile. Not straight on. It’s an inversion of Big blue’s colors, so bodysuit is red. Gloves and boots are blue. NO CAPE.He wears an oxygen tank on his back.

CAP2: O.K. IT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE…BUT…THERE ARE EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES.

CAP3: AREN’T THERE ALWAYS?
SFX RUUUUUUMMMMMMMM
EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP

TWO
Panel 1/ Close up of EXEMPLAR’s face as he looks downward, undoing the straps behind his head.


EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP

THREE
*the first four panels act as a series of memories, with Exemplar in the foreground at the bottom of the page. We see him in profile, sitting on the couch, watching television. Mask/tank is off, laying beside him on the couch. Flashback panels should be in black and white to differentiate them from the last panel.

Panel 1/ Inside an alien throne room. A sinister looking king sits, hands folding Monty Burns style. Blood red robes. A crown with an ornamental serpent weaving through the crown’s arches. He’s watching two large men (Dressed like executioners, black hoods, no shirts.) drag away a man dressed in a white lab coat. The man is screaming at the top of his lungs, fighting in vain to escape.

CAP 1/ MY FATHER WAS KING ARGON, OF THE PLANET Pi Odysseus 10. HIS CHIEF SCIENTIST WARNED HIM OF THE PLANET’S IMMINENT DESTRUCTION, BUT MY FATHER HAD THAT MAN SILENCED.

Panel 2/ A young, Gen X couple stand over the crashed rocket Baby E lays in. HE his wearing a BUTTHOLE SURFERS t-shirt, with a flannel shirt wrapped around his waist. Rat tail hairstyle. SHE is flat out goth. Heavy eye make-up. She is dressed in all black. Baby E wails, frightened.

CAP 2/ MY STEP-PARENTS (THAT’S TECHNICALLY THE CORRECT TERM.) WERE NOT FARMERS. THEY WERE LOGGERS, CLEARING THE LAND FOR MALLS AND STADIUMS AND THE LIKE.

Panel 3/ BABY E struggles to breath in the back of a pick-up truck. He is pressed up against a few chainsaws. Blades touching his bare skin, but not cutting it.

CAP3: AND FINALLY, THEY NEVER LET ME RIDE IN THE FRONT CAB WITH THEM. WERE IT NOT FOR MY IMPERVIOUS SKIN, I WOULDN’T HAVE SURVIVED THE RIDE TO THE HOSPITAL.

Panel 4/ Inside the NCIU of a hospital . Mother, father, and a doctor stare at an incubator in disbelief. Baby E is thriving in a smog filled incubator. He is sitting up, smiling, clapping his hands.

Panel 5/ Exemplar sitting on the couch, looking very content. CO tank sitting on the floor. Mask laying on the couch cushion beside him.

CAP5: THERE’S A FOURTH THING, BUT, THAT’S PRIVATE.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
FOUR
Panel 1/ A giant cyclops menaces the city. Bare chested, fur loin cloth. It stands astride gigantic skyscrapers. It is on it’s haunches, bearing it’s teeth, ready to attack. A familiar red and blue streak rockets towards it, moving too fast to be seen with the naked eye.

Panel 2/ EXEMPLAR wraps it’s mid-section In a two ton steel girder. We see the blu tooth wedged in Exemplar’s ear. HE IS WEARING THE MASK ON HIS FACE/TANK ON HIS BACK.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) FINALLY! HE CALLS ME BACK!

FX:ZEE ZEE ZEE ZEE!

PANEL 3/ EXEMPLAR flies away, towards us. One hand cupping the ear piece, the other one stretched out in front of him. Steering. . The giant remains in the background, literally stomping on the city, only it’s hands are bound to it’s sides.

EXEMPLAR: SO, WHAT’S THE GOOD WORD?

DOCTOR NOCTURNAL: (OS) IT WAS A SIX TO ONE VOTE AGAINST YOU.

PANEL 4/ C/U of EXEMPLAR’s face. Even with the mask on, we can tell he is enraged.
EXEMPLAR: WHY?

DOCTOR NOCTURNAL (OS) OFFICIALLY? MORE MONSTER FIGHTS UNDER YOUR BELT THAN HOT REPORTER RESCUES. YOUR M TO HR RATIO IS ALL JACKED UP!

EXEMPLAR: AND THE UNOFFICIAL REASON?
DOCTOR NOCTURNAL (OS) LET’S TALK IN PERSON. YOU KNOW WHERE.

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
FIVE
PANEL 1/ The rooftop of a run-down diner. DOCTOR NOCTURNAL stands in the foreground. He is facing us, sipping holding a travel mug. DR. NOCTURNAL basically has PAN GOAT HORNS atop the Zodiac Killer’s mask. The rest of the costume, sleeveless garbage bag torso. Cross-hair symbol. Gun hostler, black jeans, combat boots, are the same. EXEMPLAR lands softly behind him. Agitated look on his face.


DR NOCTURNAL: YOU’RE LATE.

EXEMPLAR NOOOO. YOU’RE SIX BLOCKS SOUTH OF THE MEETING SPOT.

EXEMPLAR 2“WHERE IT BEGAN.” REMEMBER?
DR NOCTURNAL 2 DO YOU REALLY THINK I WANNA HANG OUT IN THE SPOT WHERE MY PARENTS WERE MURDERED? NO THANKS, MISTER SPACEMAN.

DR NOCTURNAL 3 BESIDES, THE COFFEE’S BETTER HERE.

Panel 2/ E and DR NOCTURNAL stand alongside one another, eyes trained on the horizon, not looking at one another.

EXEMPLAR: SO…

DR NOCTURNAL: WE DID A PSYCHIC SCAN OF YOUR BRAIN. WE DO IT FOR EVERY CANDIDATE. UNBEKNOWNST TO THEM.
EXEMPLAR: AND?

DR N: WE DIDN’T LIKE WHAT WE SAW.

PANEL 3/ C/U of DR NOCTURNAL speaking. He looks somber, even in a full facemask.

DR NOCTURNAL: YOU HAVE A DARK SIDE. THERE’S A LOT OF ANGER, A LOT OF UNRESOLVED ISSUES….AND THAT’S VERY DANGEROUS FOR SOMEONE AT YOUR POWER LEVELS.

PANEL 5/ EXEMPLAR laughing.

EXEMPLAR: YOU’RE TELLING ME ABOUT MY DARKSIDE? THAT’S HILARIOUS ! HAHAA!
PANEL 5/ DR NOCTURNAL glares at Exemplar.
DR. NOCTURNAL: YOU SOUND LIKE A BUSTED LAWNMOWER WHEN YOU LAUGH. HA-HA-HAHA!

PANEL 5 C/U EXEMPLAR’s face. He is legitimately hurt by these comments.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
SIX
PANEL 1/ EXEMPLAR in the foreground, looking forlorn. DR NOCTURNAL placing his hand on E’s shoulder.

EXEMPLAR: I DON’T GET WHY EVERYONE LOOKS UP TO YOU. YOU’RE SUCH A DICK! PETTY AND CONDESCENDING…!

DR NOCTURNAL: HEY. I WAS JUST JOKING. I HAVE AN IDEA. DO YOU WANT TO HEAR IT OR NOT?

Panel 2/ EXEMPLAR bursting through the wall of the heroes ‘ HQ. It’s the trophy room, so there are a dozen glass display cases containing a death-ray, a UFO warp drive, and a glowing chunk of meteorite, respectively.

CAP1: YOU BREAK INTO THE JUSTICE SPIRE DURING MY NIGHTLY WATCH.

Panel 3/ DR N is the midst of throwing a punch, but E caught his fist. EXEMPLAR is CRUSHING DR N’s fist into so much wet meat and bones.
CAP2: WE FIGHT. THERE ARE CAMERAS EVERYWHERE, SO, IT’S GOT TO LOOK REAL.

Panel 4/DR NOCTURNAL lays on the floor, while EXEMPLAR operates a massive super computer.

CAP3: YOU MANUALLY OVERRIDE THE GUIDENCE SYSTEM ON ‘OL DEEP BLUE. IT’S THE ONLY NUCLEAR POWERED SHIP CAPABLE OF INTER-STELLER TRAVEL. NO ONE CAN CHASE YOU.

Panel 5/C/U EXEMPLAR’S face. Tears stream down his face, while he operates the computer.
CAP4: WHERE AM I GOING?

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
SEVEN
PANEL 1/The inter-Steller rocket hurtling through space. The ship has collapsible lasers that spring out of the side. Based on the ‘cosmic key’ pictured here.

CAP1: THE PLANET TURANGA. IT’S GOT A CARBON MONOXIDE RICH ATMOSPHERE. SIMILAR TO YOUR HOMEWORLD.

PANEL 2/ INT COCKPIT. It is only big enough for one man. EXEMPLAR pilots the ship. Chocking up on the yolk as he peers at the planet below him. His expression is calm/detached.

CAP2: ARE YOU AND THE OTHER GATEKEEPERS KICKING ME OFF EARTH?

PANEL 3/E’s ship is being fired on by a swarm of small drones.

DRONE#1: UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT ENTERING TURNGA ‘S ORBIT!
DRONE#2: NO RESPONSE FROM THE PILOT! EXTERMINATE!

CAP3: WHAT’S KEEPING YOU HERE? A TEAM THAT WON’T TAKE YOU? A WOMAN THAT DOESN’T LOVE YOU? MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT DON’T TRUST YOU?

PANEL 4/ Wideshot of a city on the planet TURANGA. .the terrain is rocky and the skies are hazy. Large cliffs stand beside tall crystalline skyscrapers. Imagine they built a futuristic city around a Roadrunner cartoon desert. Lots of rock formations and cliffs. Green skinned citizens run for their lives. The atomic powered ship rips through the sky. A crash landing is immanent.

CAP3: YOU DON’T FIT IN. YOU NEVER HAVE, AND YOU NEVER WILL. SO, WHY NOT JUST GO?

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
EIGHT

PANEL 1/ Wide shot The ship has crashed, nose first, into the base of a cliff. NO SIGN of EXEMPLAR. Dozens of Turanga police, firemen, paramedics, sealing off the area, aiding people that were injured. A crane is extracting the badly damaged ship from the rock it hit.

Panel 2/ C/U of beautiful, green-skinned woman closing her eyes as she puts i-pod-like earbuds in her ears. She doesn’t have a care in the world. Her name is ALEXA.

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
NINE
PANEL 1/ The green skinned woman is jogging on a beach. Dressed in athletic top and shorts. Running shoes. This is not a desolate, scary place. Behind her is a calm, pink ocean. Puffy clouds. Exotic birds flying through the air. The footprints in the sand are not hers.

PANEL 2/C/U EXEMPLAR’s oxygen mask laying on the ground.

PANEL 3/C/U of EXEMPLAR’s CO tank half buried in the sand.

PANEL 4/ C/U of EXEMPLAR’S super-hero costume laying on the ground.

PANEL 5/ WIDESHOT. Far right is the beautiful, young ALEXA. She is jogging in place, and has a bemused smile on her face. Far left is EXEMPLAR. He is sitting on the beach, hugging his knees to his chest. Only wearing underpants. He’s happy to be here, but, rather badly shaken by the crash and unsure of what to do with himself right this second.

ALEXA: HI. NICE DAY, ISN’T IT?

EXEMPLAR: WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW GLORIOUS THIS DAY IS.

ALEXA2: DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CRASH LANDING?

EXEMPLAR 2: NO. NO, I DO NOT. I’M OUT HERE FOR A RUN, JUST LIKE YOU.

ALEXA3:OOOKAAAYYY….

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
EIGHT

PANEL 1/ Wide shot The ship has crashed, nose first, into the base of a cliff. NO SIGN of EXEMPLAR. Dozens of Turanga police, firemen, paramedics, sealing off the area, aiding people that were injured. A crane is extracting the badly damaged ship from the rock it hit.

Panel 2/ C/U of beautiful, green-skinned woman closing her eyes as she puts i-pod-like earbuds in her ears. She doesn’t have a care in the world. Her name is ALEXA.

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
NINE
PANEL 1/ The green skinned woman is jogging on a beach. Dressed in athletic top and shorts. Running shoes. This is not a desolate, scary place. Behind her is a calm, pink ocean. Puffy clouds. Exotic birds flying through the air. The footprints in the sand are not hers.

PANEL 2/C/U EXEMPLAR’s oxygen mask laying on the ground.

PANEL 3/C/U of EXEMPLAR’s CO tank half buried in the sand.

PANEL 4/ C/U of EXEMPLAR’S super-hero costume laying on the ground.

PANEL 5/ WIDESHOT. Far right is the beautiful, young ALEXA. She is jogging in place, and has a bemused smile on her face. Far left is EXEMPLAR. He is sitting on the beach, hugging his knees to his chest. Only wearing underpants. He’s happy to be here, but, rather badly shaken by the crash and unsure of what to do with himself right this second.

ALEXA: HI. NICE DAY, ISN’T IT?

EXEMPLAR: WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW GLORIOUS THIS DAY IS.

ALEXA2: DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CRASH LANDING?

EXEMPLAR 2: NO. NO, I DO NOT. I’M JUST OUT HERE FOR A RUN, JUST LIKE YOU.

ALEXA3:OOOKAAAYYY….

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
EIGHT

PANEL 1/ Wide shot The ship has crashed, nose first, into the base of a cliff. NO SIGN of EXEMPLAR. Dozens of Turanga police, firemen, paramedics, sealing off the area, aiding people that were injured. A crane is extracting the badly damaged ship from the rock it hit.

Panel 2/ C/U of beautiful, green-skinned woman closing her eyes as she puts i-pod-like earbuds in her ears. She doesn’t have a care in the world. Her name is ALEXA.

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
NINE
PANEL 1/ The green skinned woman is jogging on a beach. Dressed in athletic top and shorts. Running shoes. This is not a desolate, scary place. Behind her is a calm, pink ocean. Puffy clouds. Exotic birds flying through the air. The footprints in the sand are not hers.

PANEL 2/C/U EXEMPLAR’s oxygen mask laying on the ground.

PANEL 3/C/U of EXEMPLAR’s CO tank half buried in the sand.

PANEL 4/ C/U of EXEMPLAR’S super-hero costume laying on the ground.

PANEL 5/ WIDESHOT. Far right is the beautiful, young ALEXA. She is jogging in place, and has a bemused smile on her face. Far left is EXEMPLAR. He is sitting on the beach, hugging his knees to his chest. Only wearing underpants. He’s happy to be here, but, rather badly shaken by the crash and unsure of what to do with himself right this second.

ALEXA: HI. NICE DAY, ISN’T IT?

EXEMPLAR: WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW GLORIOUS THIS DAY IS.

ALEXA2: DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CRASH LANDING?

EXEMPLAR 2: NO. NO, I DO NOT. I’M JUST OUT HERE FOR A RUN, JUST LIKE YOU.

ALEXA3:OOOKAAAYYY….

EXEMPLAR IN LAST GASP
TEN.
PANEL 1 EXEMPLAR’S POV as ALEXA reaches down to us, offering her hand. She smiles playfully.

ALEXA: SO, RUN WITH ME.

PANEL 2/ She helps him to his feet. He has sand stuck to his legs, lower back. He also has some cuts and bruises from the crash. Marks in his hands, arms, and back.

EXEMPLAR: JUST THAT SIMPLE, EH? RUN.WITH. ME.

ALEXA: YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE. STOP MAKING EVERYTHING SO COMPLICATED.

PANEL 3/ ALEXA running, about ten feet ahead of EXEMPLAR. Both of them grinning like idiots.
NO DIALOGUE.

PANEL 4/ EXEMPLAR and ALEXA are exhausted from running. They are underneath a pier. Both out of breath. She’s working a kink out of her leg, he’s resting against a support pillar.

ALEXA: I DIDN’T THINK YOU’D HAVE THE ENDURANCE TO KEEP UP WITH ME.

EXEMPLAR: I’M FROM HEALTHY STOCK.
ALEXA2: MY NAME’S ALEXA. I DIDN’T GET YOURS…?

PANEL 5/C/U of EXEMPLAR’s face. Confused. Tired. Frustrated.

EXEMPLAR: STEVEN? SEPHREN? EXEMPLAR? I- I DON’T REALLY KNOW ANYMORE. PICK A NAME, ALEXA. PICK A BRAND NEW NAME AND I WILL LEGALLY CHANGE IT AND LEAVE THE REST BEHIND.

PANEL 6/ECU of ALEXA’s toothy grin.

ALEXA1:OOOH. AN AMNESIAC?

ALEXA2: THIS IS GOING TO SOUND CRAZY, BUT. …I ALWAYS HAD A CRUSH ON THAT GUY IN THE MOVIES. THE DAMAGED GUY WITH A MYSTERIOUS PAST….

ALEXA3: MARRY ME?

EXEMPLAR LAST GASP
ELEVEN
Panel 1/ C/U of EXEMPLAR and ALEXA’ wedding photo. It’s sepia-toned. She is a beautiful bride wearing a space-age bridal dress i.e spacesuit bedazzled with jewels, bridal veil, etc. Etc. EXEMPLAR wears an all black spacesuit complete with a clip on bow tie.

NO DIALOGUE.

PANEL2/ the framed wedding photo hangs on the kitchen wall. EXEMPLAR and ALEXA washing dishes. She washes and he dries.

ALEXA: YOU KNOW WHAT BRESDEN TOLD ME AT LUNCH?

EXEMPLAR: HM. NO. WHAT?

ALEXA2: THAT EARTH WAS CONQUERED LAST WEEK. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? LIKE, WHO WOULD WANT IT? HAHAHA!

PANEL 3/ EXEMPLAR is shocked to his core. Mouth open, but also trying not to show how he really feels.

EXEMPLAR: WHO?
ALEXA (OS) WHO WHAT?
EXEMPLAR2 WHO DID IT?

PANEL 4/C/U of a coffee cup striking the floor. Bottom half shattering. Cup reads: Turanga’s greatest step-dad.

ALEXA: THE MARTIANS.

PANEL 5
EXEMPLAR bending down to sweep up the shards. ALEXA eyes him suspiciously.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
TWELVE
Panel 1/EXEMPLAR pokes his head into a darkened bedroom.

ALEXA, ARE YOU ASLEEP? WE’RE OUT OF MILK. I’LL JUST RUN TO THE STORE AND BE BACK BEFORE…

Panel 2/ ALEXA laying in bed. Eyes open. Staring at the ceiling.

ALEXA: I HEARD YOU TALKING TO YOURSELF WHEN YOU WERE IN THE BATHROOM, STEVE. YOU WERE TRYING TO WORK UP THE COURAGE TO LIE TO MY FACE.

EXEMPLAR: OH, THAT…I…

ALEXA1: STEVE, I’VE LET YOU KEEP YOUR SECRETS. YOU HAD SOME KIND OF POLICE JOB ON EARTH. YOUR CO-WORKERS DDIN’T RESPECT YOU. YOU SERVED THE PUBLIC AND YET, THEY HATED YOU.

ALEXA2:I UNDERSTAND ALL THAT, AND THE HEART ACHE YOU MUST HAVE ENDURED. BUT…HAVING SAID THAT…

PANEL 3/ALEXA sits up talking to EXEMPLAR. Wearing one of his over-sized T- shirts. Shirt reads: DR.NOCTOURNAL FAN CLUB.
ALEXA: YOU SWORE TO ME THAT NONE OF YOUR ENEMIES COULD FIND YOU. I’M HOLDING YOU TO THAT. IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE FIGHT TO THEM, SO BE IT.

PANEL 5/ Alexa rolled over on her side. Face to the wall.
ALEXA1:GO TO EARTH AND NEUTRALIZE THE THREAT. DON’T COME HOME UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE.

ALEXA2: IF YOU DON’T COME BACK, I’ll KNOW YOU WERE KILLED IN ACTION.

PANEL 6/ EXEMPLAR stands in near darkness. Only the light coming from a window illuminates his face. Determined look on his face.
EXEMPLAR:I’M COMING BACK.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
THIRTEEN
Panel 1 /A heavily damaged intergalactic spaceship , flying through space. drifting off course.

Panel 2/ Inside the ship. Warning sirens blaring, red lights blinking. Exemplar sits at the helm, trying to land safely. His expression is aghast. He’s not in control of this situation. He wears his badly sun bleached blue and red costume. The CO mask is battered, but functional. Behind his head is essentially an electronic stock index sign. The words scroll by quickly. Very little breaks them up. It reads: RIGHT THRUSTER OPERATING AT 30% COMM SYSTEMS OFF-LINE. INTERNAL TEMPERATURE REACHING THREE HUNDRED DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

EXEMPLAR: WHY?! WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS?!

Panel 3/EXEMPLAR pokes at the controls. He understands them well enough to fly it, but not to fix anything.

EXEMPLAR: THE EARTH COULD GIVE TWO SHITS ABOUT ME! I OWE THEM NOTHING!

Panel 4/EXEMPLAR grasps a locket by the chain. We only see the back of it. Cannot see the picture he is looking at.

EXEMPLAR: YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO SHOWED ME KINDNESS AND COMPASSION. I’M SO SORRY I LEFT WITHOUT SAYING GOODBYE.
Panel 5/EXEMPLAR fights with the controls.
Electronic sign reads: SPACE MADDNESS IMMINENT.

Panel 6/we are now on Earth. Specifically, the rural town of Fairborn. The damaged ship has landed. It Sits quietly in the background. In the foreground , is EXEMPLAR, examining his surroundings. All the plant life is brown, but nothing you wouldn’t see during a drought. The STONEHEART house is a three bedroom farm house… A small garage with a working neon MICHELOB beer sign hanging on the side.

EXEMPLAR: HM. FAIRBORN IS ABANDONED, BUT STILL STANDING. WHY WOULD THE MARTIANS…?
ZOMBIE (OS): RRRRRAGGHHH!!

EXEMPLAR in: LAST GASP
FOURTEEN
PANEL 1/ Two zombies emerge from the withering trees. The shambling corpses wear the clothes the Stonehearts wore on page three. Mr and mrs Stoneheart are wielding glowing green chainsaws.
FX: RRRRRUMMMMM! RUMMM!

Panel 2/EXEMPLAR shooting heat vision from his eyes.

EXEMPLAR: OHHH. ZOMBIES GUARDING THE PERIMETER! I GET IT!

PANEL 3/Zombies taking the hit, flesh roasting, clothes in tatters.

PANEL 4/ EXEPLAR’s back is to us, as he walks away.

EXEMPLAR: I’M HAPPY TO OBLIGE YOUR FINAL WISHES. CREMATE YOUR BODIES, AND SCATTER THE ASHES.

EXEMPLAR2: PAX VOBISCUM.

PANEL 5/ The hairless, badly burnt zombies attack him from behind. EXEMPLAR faces us, arms out. MA has left flank, PA has right. MA STONEHEART digs her chainsaw into his arm. PA pulls E’s hair, snapping his head back, ready to cut his throat.

PANEL 5 ECU of EXEMPLAR’s eye wide open in fear.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) SUPER HYPNOSIS? TACTILE TELEKINESIS?

PANEL 6/EXEMPLAR is on the ground, clutching his injured arm. In a sitting position. His mask is OFF and he is blowing a massive toxic cloud at the zombies. They are disintegrating before our eyes.

EXEMPLAR (In thoughts) SUPER DEATH BREATH.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
FIFTEEN
PANEL 1/ EXEMPLAR picking himself off the ground.

FX: ZEE ZEE ZEE! (Blu tooth ringing)

PANEL 2/ EXEMPLAR standing. One hand cupping the ear piece.

EXEMPLAR: HELLO?

LAUREATE: EXEMPLAR, YOU BIG RED WEBELO, YOU! I KNEW YOU WEREN’T DEAD!

EXEMPLAR: WILLIAMS!

PANEL 2/ LAUREATE stands in his battle suit, hiding behind an overturned car. A giant,-Praying mantis, with an armored green skinned Martian with webbed fingers riding on top, scuttles past in the background.

LAUREATE: THERE’S NO TIME TO PLAY CATCH-UP, STEVE! SUFFICE TO SAY, I’M THE LEADER OF THE HUMAN RESISTANCE, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP!

EXEMPLAR: HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER?
LAUREATE:CAMERON COLEMAN GAVE IT TO ME BEFORE HE DIED.

PANEL 3/ EXEMPLAR stands in an untouched, peaceful setting. Looking towards the house as he talks.

LAUREATE: NOW, ABOUT HUMANITY’S LAST CHANCE?

EXEMPLAR: HOW’S PENELOPE?

LAUREATE: SHE’S AT BASE CAMP! DOCTOR NOCTURNAL AND ROTUNDRA ARE RETRIEVING THE SPEAR OF FATE! I NEED YOU TO…

PANEL 4 C/U EXEMPLAR talking. Eyes narrowed. Looks pissed.

EXEMPLAR: DID YOU CONSUMMATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

LAUREATE: WHAT?

EXEMPLAR2: DID YOU FUCK HER?

SIXTEEN
Panel 1 FLASHBACK. Rendered in sepia tones. INT. NEWSROOM. Steve Stoneheart wears a janitor’s jumpsuit. He also wears the oxygen tank on his back/mask on his face. He is SCRAMBLING to change into his alter ego. Penelope sits at her desk, working for a laptop. She stares intently at the screen, paying little mind to Steve. She is smartly dressed in a white blouse, black skirt. She has one blonde streak going through her all black hair.

STEVE1/ GOTTA GO, PENELOPE! UNION MEETING!

PENELOPE1/ THERE GOES THE WORST KEPT SECRET IN ACROPOLIS.

STEVE2/ PENELOPE! I’M NOT EXEMP…
PENELOPE2/ WHATEVER, SMALLWOOD.
PANEL 2 BACK TO THE PRESENT. EXEMPLAR hurls the ear piece into the air.

PANEL 3 C/U Of EXEMPLAR removing his Co2 mask.

PANEL 4 C/U OF EXEMPLAR whistling. He places two fingers in his mouth and blows hard.
F/X: TWEEET TERWEET!

PANEL 5 A scrawny, sickly dog has emerged from the house. It’s a black BASSADOR It’s mangy , but, looks up at us with big brown eyes. The dog is wearing it’s own CO mask and tank.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
SEVENTEEN

PANEL 1- EXEMPLAR has scooped the dog up in his arms. The dog tries to lick his face, but the mask prevents him from doing so. EXEMPLAR laughs and smiles. Overjoyed to see his only friend.

EXEMPLAR: AGNEW! YOU LITTLE SCAMP! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!

PANEL 2- EXEMPLAR cradles the dog in his arms, while walking back to the ship.

EXEMPLAR: YOU’RE GOING TO MEET ALEXA, AND THE KIDS! READY TO GO HOME?

PANEL 3- EXEMPLAR and the dog stand beside his disabled ship. It is badly damaged and not going to fly anywhere.

DR NOCTURNAL (OS) CHECKMATE, MR SPACEMAN.

EXEMPLAR in: LAST GASP
EIGHTEEN

PANEL 1/ EXEMPLAR’s back is to us. Facing him (and us) is DR NOCTORNAL. He is pointing at us using his metallic replacement hand. Next to him is ROTUNDA. She’s a 400lbs Valkyrie. See example.

DR NOCTORNAL: YOUR SHIP IS DISABLED, AND LAUREATE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN FIX IT.

ROTUNDRA: LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO HELP US AFTER ALL.

EXEMPLAR: LOOKS LIKE.

PANEL 2/ The three of them are wordlessly marching in a line. EXEMPLAR is bringing up the rear. He is already sweating under his armpits, staining the suit.

PANEL 3/ Medium shot of EXEMPLAR.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) IT’S PROBABLY TIME FOR ME TO DIE. AGAIN.

PANEL 4/ C/U of EXEMPLAR’S face. He is extremely tired, fatigued.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) …ABANDONING THE PEOPLE OF EARTH…MAIMING MY BEST FRIEND…LEAVING MY DOG ON THIS PLANET…YEAH. THIS HAS REDEMPTIVE SELF-SACRIFICE WRITTEN ALLLLL OVER IT…

PANEL 5/ ECU of EXEMPLAR’s face. Contemplative look.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) ALEXA AND HER KIDS WILL MISS ME…BUT THEY’LL GET OVER IT. SHE’LL RE-MARRY. SHE’S TOO HOT NOT TO.

EXEMPLAR IN: LAST GASP
NINETEEN

PANEL 1/ The three heroes and the dog are walking through the burned up country-side. Demolished homes/barns dot the landscape.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) I HAVE NO IDEA HOW OLD I REALLY AM. LIKE, THE LAST TIME I DIED? I WAS GONE FOR A YEAR…DO I INCLUDE THAT TIME? DO I SUBTRACT A YEAR? IT’S SO CONFUSING! I’M THIRTY-TWO AS BEST AS I CAN FIGURE…JUST LIKE MY MAN J.C.

PANEL 2/ The heroes stand on the edge of ACROPOLIS. I.E.CITY LIMITS. A few warehouses (on fire) amid grass and trees that are also blackened.

EXEMPLAR: I WISH IT DIDN’T SOUND SO PRETENTIOUS… BUT…IT’S TRUE! HE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT I CAN RELATE TO! SO MANY SIMILAR EXPERIENCES… WE’RE PRACTICALLY TWINS!

PANEL 3/ INSIDE THE RUINED CITY. Overturned cars in the road, buildings reduced to rubble. ROTUNDA shields DR NOCTORNAL and EXEMPLAR with her body as laser blasts tear up the ground around them.

EXEMPLAR: IS HE THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN JUDGE ME? LET’S HOPE SO. MY LAST GO- AROUND IN HEAVEN WAS SO NICE.

TWENTY

TWENTY

SPLASH PAGE. Heaven is CENTERAL PARK on a beautiful spring day. BELVEDERE CASTLE is prominently displayed in the background. EXEMPLAR and JESUS are decked out in matching football jerseys. They are red and gold and read: ACROPOLIS SPARTANS. (no helmets, no pads, but they are wearing sweat bands.) Jesus is NOT the anemic version. He is in good health. 20 something young man at his physical peak.

They are playing touch football, and EXEMPLAR is tagging Jesus in the back with a small NERF football. A small crowd of people are gathered around, watching them play. Dressed in their Sunday best. They politely clap for the players.

EXEMPLAR (in thoughts) NO DRAMA. NO BULLSHIT. LET’S HOPE I GET TO STAY THIS TIME, AND NOT HAVE TO FINISH OUT MY SENTENCE ON EARTH.


#6

I’m on my 3rd re-reading of Tony’s story, and putting my thoughts together…aren’t we expecting two more stories?


#7

At least one more.


#8

Yes.

‘’A new Recurrence ’’ by Reda Wahbi

Page 1

Ext.

Dusk.

CAPTION: Acropolis. Now.

We see the legs of two kids standing in front of a cross made of sticks and shoelaces. Leaning on the cross there’s a card that says:

Steven Stoneheart

known to the city of Acropolis as ‘’Exemplar’’

(11-10-1991 - 08-14-2018)

On the side of the cross we can see the graveyards of his parents: Mecartney Stoneheart (09-01-1957 - 08-14-2018) and Megan Stoneheart (02-27-1961 - 08-14-2018).

Kid #1: Come on, hurry up, dude. We can’t stay here forever.

Kid #2: Do you think he will ever come back?

Kid #1: I don’t even know if that’s really his grave, how would I know…?

Same panel.

Kid #1: He’ll be back. I know he will.

Kid #2: Don’t hold your breath. Even if he would, he will have his ass kicked again. Now come on, I don’t want to be here when it gets dark.

Kid #1 runs away, leaving kid #2 alone. We can see from his silhouette that he’s holding something on his hand.

The Kid kneels and puts an Exemplar action figure next to the cross.

Kid # 2: Ignore him. I know you will.

Page 2

Same panel, but we see only the cross and the action figure placed under it. The sun is setting down and a shadow starts covering the ‘’tombstone’’ and its gift.

Same panel, at night. It starts to rain.

Same panel but this time the cross and the action figure are trembling.

The hand of Exemplar emerges from the ground, covered in mud. It grabs the cross and it smashes it.

CAPTION:‘’I failed’ em, mom–’’

Page 3

EXT. DAY.

CAPTION: THREE YEARS AGO

Exemplar flies unconscious against the window of a skyscraper. His eyes are closed and the mouth half-opened, while his arms and legs are floating in the void. Behind the windows, we can see the shadows of the employees in the offices running scared while he’s approaching towards them.

CAPTION ‘’–I failed’ em again’’

The unconscious body of Exemplar files across the room, crashing a desk after the other. The employees are running around, screaming in panic, jumping behind desks and doors seeking refuge.

FX: THUM! THUM! THUM! THUM!

CAPTION ‘’Dry your tears, little man, and tell me what happened’’.

A flashback from the past.

A 12-year-old Steve is crying. He’s wearing a baseball uniform covered in dirt and hides his eyes with the visor of the cap.

Steve: I failed’em, I said. They were counting on me. I should have make them win, but…

Megan Stoneheart (O.P.): but… ?

Back to the present. From under the skyscraper, we see the body of Exemplar shot out from the other side of the building. From that POV we can see just a black dot with a cape surrounded by shards of glass. People on the streets are watching the scene shielding their eyes with their hand.

CAPTION ‘’But I was terrified.’’

Page 4

Close-up on the closed eye of Exemplar.

CAPTION ‘’I froze.’’

Flashback.

From Steven POV, we see the baseball flying towards him.

CAPTION ‘’I could even feel the pain before it even hit me–’’

Exemplar opens an eye, scared and surprised by what he’s seeing.

CAPTION ‘’–And the other kids’ laughter in my ears.’’

From Exemplar POV, we see Ruination flying towards him, ready to hammer-punch him with both its fists.

CAPTION ‘’I was powerless’’.

Ruination hits Exemplar, pushing him towards the street beneath them.

CAPTION ‘’Because you asked me to remain powerless .’’

Page 5

Flashback.

Steven and Megan Stoneheart are sitting on the porch. Steve looks still glum from the defeat. Now we can clearly see the black eye that the baseball left on his face. His mother sits next to him with a hand on his shoulder.

Megan: You know why we asked you that. We still don’t know what you can do with your ‘’abilities’’. What if you hurt someone? How do we know that you can’t take the entire stadium down and all the people in it with a single hit?

Steve: I don’t know, but I know my powers could have make us win. I would have be their hero for once.

Megan: You can’t rely only on your powers, Steve. That’s not what we taught you. We’re teaching you to be our son. A Stoneheart, and a Stoneheart is not what he can’t do.

Exemplar crashes on the road. Cars and buses jump from the ground. The windows of the drugstore explodes and shards of concrete jumps up in the air as water.

FX: TWOOOOOOOOOOOM!

CAPTION ‘’But you have to believe it first.’’

Exemplar lays in the middle of the hole generated by the impact. He’s worn out. His costume is reduced to shreds and blood.

CAPTION ‘’Otherwise, no one will’’.

Page 6

INT.

DAY.

From inside a classroom, the kids are all bend down under their desk with the hands on their heads. The room trembles under the punches Ruinator is inflicting to Exemplar across the town.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): I can fell it like a river slowly drying under my back.

Two kids that we saw at the beginning are talking to each other from under the desks.

Kid #2: Don’t worry, he’s gonna deal with it. A couple of minutes and it’ll all over.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): People’s hope–

From inside a classroom, the kids are all bend down under their desk with the hands on their heads. The classroom trembles under the punches Ruinator is inflicting to Exemplar.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): –-People’s dream for tomorrow.

From inside a pub in another city, everyone is watching the city destroyed from a news broadcast on television.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Their faith fades slowly as they see the blood dripping on my suit.

From inside an office in another building, a group of people gathered in front of the window. They watch the entire fight in awe and fear.

Employee: Oh, my god…

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): And as soon as I realize I can’t open my eyes I realize…

Page 7

Examplar is still on the ground, powerless. Ruinator grabs him by the neck.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): That I failed’em.

Ruinator lifts Exemplar off the ground.

We see the shadows of the two from afar, standing in the middle of the destruction.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): They know I can’t protect them from this–

Ruinator crashes him down in the hole in the street.

Close-up on Exemplar face covered in bruises and blood. Ruinator still has its hand around his neck. Exemplar’s grabbing his gigantic arm in a last, desperate effort to fight him.

CAPTION: --And that I won’t have a chance to fail’em again.

Page 8

Ruinator gives him the first punch. It hits him so hard that it looks like Exemplar’s head is sinking in the street.

Ruinator: NO.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): I can hear everything distinctly. The sound of my skull cracking under its knuckles–

Close-up on Ruinator ready to blow the second hit.

Ruinator: MORE.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Its growl slithering through its crooked jaws–

Close-up on a puddle of blood on the crack on the street. It trembles under the vibrations of the third punch. Around the puddle there are pins and stickers of Exemplar smiling as a Golden Age superhero.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): --The echo of windows and cars trembling in fear.

Ruinator: EXEMPLAR.

Page 9

From inside the same building, the Employees are watching in terror. Some of them keep their heads down, acknowledging the end of their last hope.

Ruinator: NO.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Then, the last echo of this cacophony fades away through the ruins of the skyscrapers–

Same scene from the same pub of Page 7.

Ruinator (From the TV): MORE.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): --and the first glimpses of silence coming from the deranged mouths opened in awe.

In the classroom, the kids are looking in the void, stunned, with their hands still crossed on their heads.

Ruinator (From outside): HEROES.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Even if it’s the first time, I can recognize –

Page 10

From above. Exemplar laying in the hole. His suit is cut in shreds and smeared in blood. The skin exposed is heavily bruised and scratched.

Ruination stands victoriously in front of him.

CAPTION: --the sound that hope makes when it dies.

Page 11

CAPTION: 3 YEARS LATER…

We see Ruination’s minions wandering around the ruins of what was once Acropolis. These creatures look like four-legged, anthropomorphic fangtooths. They’re wandering the same street where Exemplar ‘’died’’ (There’s still the hole when Ruination trapped him a couple of pages ago).

All the skyscrapers now look as the ghost of the symbol of progress and prosperity that once was.

The sky above the city is red with dark, purple clouds floating inside of it.

The creatures are walking in packs towards what it looks to be some kind of desert at the edge of town.

Close-up on the shoe of one of the kids, wandering for the desert. They are the same kids that went to pay visit to Exemplar’s grave.

Kid #2: Do you remember Tomorrow City? It’s the same thing. After a couple of years their hero came back, saving everyone.

Kid #1: Which one? The evil cyborg or his crazy version in the leather jacket?

The kids walking on the red earth of the desert.

Kid #2: Ok… what about Sun City, uh?

Kid #1: You mean the dude that destroyed it and then became some sort of gigantic, evil ghost and then a hero again?

Kid #2 keeps talking, looking irritated by Kid #1’s negativity. Kid #1 points something in front of them, terrified.

Kid #2: What it matters is that they all came back in the end. We just have to hang on, and…

Kid #1: Shit!

Kid #2: What?

Page 12

From their point of view, we see the pack of Minions coming towards them.

The two kids find shelter behind a rock. Kid #2puts a hand on Kid #1’s mouth.

Kid #2: Don’t. Make. A. Sound.

A shadow behind the last minion of the pack starts to rise over the pack of minions.

Same panel. Now the shadow covers the entire pack. We see the boot of Exemplar and an angle of his mantle flying above their heads.

Page 13

With the sun shining behind him, we see the Exemplar in full figure floating above the pack, holding the action figure in his hand.

Close-up on the Exemplar’s action figure held in his hand.

Close-up on the minions growling enraged, ready to fight.

The kids are looking at the scene from behind the rock, stunned.

CAPTION (Danae): ‘’You’re an idiot, Steve Stoneheart’’

Page 14

Steven and Danea are sitting on the porch. Steven is still down for the game he lost.

Danae: What doesn’t mean that you won’t play the next game?

Steven: What I said. I won’t.

Danae Speaking. She shows a sly smile.

Danae: Oh, I see. It’s because mommy said you can’t be ‘’Super-Steven’’, right?

Steven looking offended and embarrassed

Steve: It’s not only that.

They’re talking sitting on the porch. From this shot, we can see the rest of the yard: the tree with the swing obtained from a tire and a couple of baseballs and a bat.

Steve: I’m a joke. Next time, they’ll come to the game just to see ‘’the next stupid thing Stupid-Steven will do’’.

Danae speaking

Danae: Yeah, probably. Someone will. But not everyone.

A slight smile on Steven face.

Danae (O.P.): I won’t. Super-Steve is boring. He always wins. Steve Stoneheart is funnier to watch.

Page 15

Exemplar flies towards the horde of minions.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Suddenly, I can feel it flowing again in my body.

Exemplar amidst the horde, throwing punches against the minions.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Hope. The light of someone’s belief running like an electric shock through my body.

Close-up on Exemplar fighting, with stains of green blood squirting on his face.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): For a moment I can feel the eyes of those kids hiding behind the rock.

Close-up on the kids. Kid #2 watches the scene in awe and fear. Kid #1 it’s filming everything with a smartphone.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): I can sense the traces of fear slowly fading away in their in their glaze.

Exemplar astride on the last minion standing.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): And as I feel their faith restored, I punch harder and harder.

Page 16

Heightened shot.

Exemplar on his knees, totally worn out, among the bodies of the minions laying on puddles of green blood.

The kids scared as Exemplar calls them.

Exemplar (O.P.): Hey, you got the whole thing?

The two kids nodding, still with a slight scare on their face.

Close-up on Exemplar showing a tired smile.

Exemplar: Do you mind doing a little favor for me?

Page 17

People who took shelter inside a ruined building. their cellphones are ringing all at once.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Today would have been the third year since ‘’The Hero of Acropolis Died’’

Close-up on one of the refugees face brightened by the blue light of the screen. He’s smiling in disbelief.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): No one talks about it. They didn’t even dare whispering about that day.

Ruinator sits on a throne in the middle of the ruins of the town square. The throne is made of scraps from cars, television screens, arms and heads ripped off the statues of the city.

It’s sitting pensive holding a skull, but something distracts it from its thoughts.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): But today, Acropolis celebrates a new day.

From the windows, people starts put out sheets and shirts with the Exemplar symbol drawn on them.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Something they can speak out loud. Something that could stick in their memories–

The corpse of a minion falls not far from Ruinator’s throne.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): --deleting the bad ones.

Page 18

SPLASH PAGE

Ruinators stands looking above at the minions’ bodies raining on its head.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): I can hear everything distinctly.

Page 19

Flashback.

Little Steve is holding the bat, waiting for the ball. He has an apprehensive look on his face, there are still traces of insecurity.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Their whispers flowing into my ears.

Present.

Close-up on Exemplar’s hand holding the action figure.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): The wind whistling through the wreck of the cars.

Flashback.

Danae sits in the audience cheering for their team. she’s looking towards Steven, smiling.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): The silence of hundreds of mouths holding their breath–

Present.

The people gathered on the windows, watching at the new encounter between Ruinator and Exemplar.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): --ready to explode like a grenade when this is over.

Flashback.

Close-up on the pitcher’s hand holding the baseball.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Louder than any punch.

Close-up on Ruinator’s hand crushing the skull.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): Louder than bombs.

Flashback.

Close-up on Steven’s face. He’s smiling sure that he will hit the ball and win the game.

CAPTION: Today Acropolis celebrate a new recurrence–

Present.

Close-up on the spark of energy glowing from Exemplar’s eye.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): --a new, forgotten sound.

Page 21

Exemplar flies towards Ruinator with his fist ready to hit it. Ruinator jumps high, pointing both its fist towards him. They’re both screaming, shouting some sort of battle cry.

Around them, we see peoples at the windows holding their makeshift flags with the Exemplar symbol.

A yellow sun is rising behind behind what’s left of the skycrapers wiping away the black clouds off the red sky above Acropolis.

CAPTION (EXEMPLAR): The sound Acropolis does when it rises.

The End


#9

For both scripts I will talk briefly about one difference I think would’ve improved them. This is not to be construed as a criticism, but my perspective, what I would’ve done, maybe, with the same basic operating principles.

Jason’s - The breathing mask. I would’ve used that as Bruce’s idea of the belief that fuels Exemplar, rather than a hangover from his homeworld. I love the emphasis on it, but that one difference would’ve deepened the story just a little. Watching him finally remove it, when he finds faith restored in him, would be a killer climax.

Reda’s - Juxtaposing the young Examplar’s narrative with a deeper insight into the two kids who help him rally from the grave would have the same effect I talked about with Jason’s script. If you’d spent a little time developing the lives of those kids beyond that particular moment in time, it would’ve deepened their significance and the reader’s connection to them. Otherwise they read one-dimensionally.

Otherwise these were pretty good efforts.


#10

Tony, I thought about the faith aspect a lot. I knew I was only a soft edit away from aligning my story with the assignment…but I could not bring myself to write that “clap for tinkerbell moment”. You guys pulled it off. It can be done…I was just afraid of coming off as schmaltzy. And the story is not as strong as it could be as a result.

It dawned on me, yesterday, that maybe he would be the people’s champion of Turanga, and has to find a way to hold on to that faith when he returns to an Earth where everyone hates him…That’s the better third act. Not that jesus mumbojumbo…

Anyways, thanks for your insight. I should have my critique done by Monday night.
Thanks, Jason.


#11

Tony,

First and foremost, losing his powers because of a broken heart is inspired. I toyed with the idea, but, I couldn’t come up with anything. So. Kudos to you.

I think the page limit killed you. You had to fit a metric ton of story into 22 pages.
Having said that, I’m left wondering why PL would betray EXEMPLAR. . .it seems really out of character? I get that she would either a) say he’s irrelevant in her newspaper AND/OR b) Leave him for RR, but to also c) expose his secret identity? It’s like she’s turned evil! I’ve rationalized it a few different ways…hey, people fall in and out of love everyday…but I’m also expecting something grandiose. Aliens, brain-swapping, shape-shifter. Something. The
Motivation in the unseen first act is rather murky. But I also have a history of misunderstanding your work…help me out? Explain it?

What I said above, also applies to the ending. I know they haven’t been reunited, exactly, but it seems like the spark has been rekindled…without the explanation for her actions, his forgiving her seems really odd. Borderline unbelievable.

And while we get his POV during the monologue…there’s not much afterwards. What does he think about her? About RR? About returning to his role of super hero? We don’t know.

I’ m not trying to belittle your efforts. You are a great writer. Pacing, plot, believable dialogue.These are your strengths. I just find a few parts confusing, and that’s more my problem than yours. AND, I’m pretty confident these problems exist soley because of page constraints. It’d make a great mini-series, I’m sure.
Thanks, Jason.


#12

Among the many Superman stories I drew from was Superman Returns.


#13

I saw it, but don’t recall…googling…


#14

Hey Tony,

you’re absolutely right, I don’t feel Iike I used the two kids as I should and they seem a bit flat. I’ll try better the next time :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback!


#15

Thanks for checking in!


#16

Red,

I love the central theme of the faith of one child vs. The detachment, aloofness of the people of ACROPOLIS…I would urge you to focus on that. That is the heart of your story. What's the kid's connection to Exemplar?

I like the structure a lot. The PAST/PRESENT interspersed works really well. All the stuff with his mother and the Danae works. It feels very natural.

There’s two things going on here. One, you’ve got some purple prose going on. I borrowed this definition from Wikipedia: “ In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the excessive use of adjectives, adverbs, and metaphors.”

It’s stuff like pg. 11: “All the skyscrapers now look as ghosts of the symbol of progress and prosperity that once was.” How is an artist supposed to draw that? I get what you mean, but I would try to keep art directions simple, so as to avoid confusion.

The second thing…is that it feels rushed. Maybe it’s the lack of panel by panel breakdown, but it feels like it was transcribed rather than written. I do like the loose feel of it, but, just remember that writing is re-writing. Slow down. I think rushing got you in trouble at least twice:

"We see the boot of Exemplar and an angle of his mantel flying above their heads…"

I don't understand what this means. I think it means we're seeing part of his boot + The symbol on his chest? Is that right? Indicating we only see a bit of him, and the kids take up most of the panel? Clarity above all else.

Why is there no description of Ruination? I pictured Doomsday, of course, but you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to be creative.

All in all, I enjoyed it. There are just moments that take me out of the story. It's mostly nit-picky technical stuff. Love to see another story properly formatted.

Thanks for sharing this story.
Jason.


#17

Was I overly harsh?


#18

Absolutely not, on the contrary. I’ve just been away from the internet for a while :slight_smile:

I’m glad you liked the central theme and, I think you’re right: it’s been rushed and I believe I didn’t put enough thinking where It had to be (the kids especially… Actually, I also regeret the cellphone bit at the end). Time constraints and the 25 page spaces quite killed me. Reading it now, I’m wondering it if could have been better by doing ‘‘less is more’’ and not putting the children, but I felt like it was a necessary component of hope speaking of superheroes and Superman in particular.

About Ruination, I wrote assuming that everyone whould have pictured Doomsday, which makes me think right now ‘‘how stupid was I?’’

Anyway, thanks for the feedback (the purple prose thing was a good feedback, I’m rewriting the scripts I’m working on now and it feels better both for me and the artist :P).

See you next time!


#19

In earlier Write Offs, before I started hosting and had the opportunity to clean up scripts to a standard style, I would have a problem if the script itself was hard to read. I didn’t say anything about Red skipping labeling each panel. It seemed self-evident. With fewer scripts to read, it’s just not worth getting worked up about. It’s not even that previously there were too many scripts. I worked as an editor for a literary journal (that blew up before the first issue was ever released), and in that capacity I took entries for their ultimate clean-up worth, not the mess they might’ve been in. I guess it’s a matter of responsibility, which to my mind gives me more responsibility than the person handing in a submission. That’s one of the things that bugs me about the publishing industry, that nobody seems to see it that way. What are editors for if they refuse to do their job? So that’s why story logic itself is what concerns me, if the writing style is any good. Because the rest of it can be fixed.

All that being said, I also didn’t think you had anything to worry about in your comments. You’ll know when someone’s just being mean to be mean.


#20

Do we want to vote? Or everyone submit a writing prompt and we vote on that? I 'd hate to see this thing die on the vine. Very motivating for me to have a deadline, have other people reading, an open dialogue about writing, etc etc.