millarworld.tv Comics Creators

Writing for Feedback - The Shield Script - MLJ / Archie Hero reimagined


#1

Hi All,

Here is another writing sample I’d love critique on. Its the first 12 pages of a re-imagining of The Shield I wrote at college in 2002. I am hoping that the character involved will interest people. The Shield was the worlds first patriotic superhero created by MLJ / Archie and appearing months before Captain America. I discovered him when at college and inspired I started this piece as a way of re-imagining the character for the 21st Century. This was shortly after 9/11 and as the world was about to be dragged into war in Iraq etc. This script has just been sitting on an old hard drive but whilst I’m working on new projects I thought I would share it with the forum. I wrote it at the time so some I apologise. You can download the 12 page PDF below. I will also be pasting the script directly in a post below this one when I have time this evening.

At the time an artist created the sketch below when I was looking for collaborators on Digital Webbing, but my account was lost so I have no idea who he is. If anyone recognises the signature let me know so I can give them credit.


Cheers,
Stuart


#2

Hey all,

Here is the full script if anyone was interested and didn’t want to download a PDF.


THE SHEILD 2002 – A NEW KIND OF HERO

PAGE 1 (3 Panels)

Panel 1. Times Square, New York. It’s July 4th and the Independence Day celebrations are in full swing, crowds fill the streets and streamers fill the sky.

CAP: JULY 4th 2002 PEOPLE ACROSS AMERICA ARE CELEBRATING.

Panel 2. We see a large balcony high above the crowd, standing on it are two heroes that have served their countries loyally for the past 5 decades. The Shield and his English friend Union Jack stand alongside their nations respective leaders (George Bush and Tony Blair). From a distance the heroes look impressive in their shiny bright uniforms.

CAP: AT THE NEW YORK CELEBRATIONS, THE GUESTS OF HONOUR ARE THERE TO INSPIRE HOPE IN THE POPULACE OF A CITY THAT HAS SUFFERED SO MUCH IN RECENT TIMES.

Panel 3. We now see the heroes close up. Their faces are old their hair is grey their eyes are tired. Behind them we see an image of the two men when they were younger and more virile, back when they were fighting the Nazi’s during WW2.

CAP: BUT THE TWO HEROES STANDING HIGH ABOVE THE CROWD AREN’T CELEBRATING.

PAGE 2 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. The two heroes walking back in from the balcony. Union Jack is patting the Shield on the shoulder. Around them there is a party going on.

CAP: BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES THEY FEEL USELESS

Panel 2. The Shield fetches himself a drink. He has a sour expression on his face.

THE SHIELD: I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS!

Panel 3. We see the Union Jack, he has a concerned look on his face. He’s seen the Shield in one of these moods before.

THE SHIELD (OP): THESE DAMN PARTY’S AND CHARITY GALAS. TELL ME BEN WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE IN COMBAT?

Panel 4. Union Jack scratches his chin and contemplates the question. We see an image next to him of a battle from a month prior between Union Jack and villain in the colours of the Irish Flag.

UNION JACK: OTHER THAN THAT SCUFFLE WITH THE PATRIOT A COUPLE OF MONTHS BACK. I’D SAY THE LAST TIME I SAW PROPER COMBAT WAS YEARS AGO IN BOSNIA.

Panel 5. We see The Shield with an almost menacing look on his face.

THE SHIELD: SAME HERE. IT SEEM’S THAT OUR GOVERNMENTS FEEL THAT WERE MORE USEFUL BOOSTING MORAL THAN WORKING AS PART OF THE WAR MACHINE.

PAGE 3 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. Union Jack pours himself a drink.

UNION JACK: I HATE TO ADMIT IT BUT PERHAPS THEY ARE RIGHT. WE’VE HAD OUR TIME. MAYBE NOW WE SHOULD STEP ASIDE –

Panel 2. We see a banner hanging on the wall of the room, with a large image of American Shield, the younger counterpart of the shield, he is standing looking smug resting a foot on a couple of captured Taliban Soldiers that are tied up and lying on the floor.

CAP/UNION JACK: “–AND LET THE NEXT GENERATION TAKE OVER.”

Panel 3. A flustered looking presidential aide runs into he room.

Panel 4. The presidential aide whispers something to George Bush, the president doesn’t look pleased.

Panel 5. The president address’s everyone present.

GEORGE BUSH: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I’VE JUST RECEIVED SOME DISTRESSING NEWS. IT APPEARS THAT JOSEPH HIGGINS JNR, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE AMERICAN SHIELD HAS BEEN KILLED –

PAGE 4 (1 panel)
Panel 1. We see the Shield screaming in emotional pain. Around him the onlookers are shocked by his sudden outburst. All accept Union Jack who tries to console his comrade.

CAP/GEORGE BUSH: “–I’M VERY SORRY JOE”

THE SHIELD: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

PAGE 5 (4 panels)

Panel 1. We see James Russell running up to the back gate of a large Washington mansion. Home of the Shield.

CAP: TWO MONTHS LATER. THE SHIELDS WASHINGTON HOME.

JAMES RUSSELL (Thought): I THINK I LOST THEM, AFTER ALL I’VE GONE THROUGH TO GET HERE, I HOPE HE’S AT HOME.

Panel 2. James is climbing the fence when a beer can collides with his head.

SFX: THUD

JAMES RUSSELL: OUCH

HOODIE #1 (OP): HEY, WHERE D’YOU THINK YOUR GOING?

Panel 3. We see a group of ghetto street thugs. They are brandishing knives, chains, etc and looking mean.

HOODIE #1: WE HAVEN’T FINISHED WITH YOU YET!

Panel 4. James Russell stands on the other side of the fence. And motions towards the mansion.

JAMES RUSSELL: I’M GOING INSIDE

Panel 5. The street thugs start laughing.

HOODIE #2: HE THINKS THE SHIELDS GUNNA SAVE HIM!

HOODIE #3: YEAH WITH HIS SIDEKICK’S SANTA CLAUS, AND THE EASTER BUNNY.

PAGE 6 (4 Panels)

Panel 1. Hoodie #1 walks right up to the fence and laughs in Russell’s face.

HOODIE #1: YOU DON’T BELIEVE ALL THE CRAP THEY TAUGHT YOU IN SCHOOL DO YOU? HE HASN’T GOT ANY SUPERPOWERS. HE’S JUST AN ACTOR.

Panel 2. Hoodie #2 joins number 1 by the gate.

HOODIE #2: YEAH I SAW SOME TV SHOW THAT SAID HE’S A FAKE, LIKE THE MOONLANDINGS.

Panel 3. Russell looks annoyed that they’d insult his hero.

JAMES RUSSELL: YOU WON’T BE LAUGING WHEN HE COMES OUT HERE AND KICKS YOUR BUTTS

Panel 4. We see James’s silhouette approaching the mansion.

HOODIE #1 (op): WE’LL BE RIGHT HERE

PAGE 7 (5 Panels)

Panel 1: We see a dark corridor the only the only light is coming from an open door at the end.

CAP: INSIDE THE MANSION’S SOLE OCCUPANT IS UNAWARE OF THE EVENTS OUTSIDE.

MUSIC FROM RADIO(op): A BUZZARD TOOK A MONKEY FOR A RIDE IN THE AIR–

Panel 2. We pan across some photographs of The Shield with some of the main players of the 20th century. Dead Presidents (Kennedy), Prime Ministers (Churchill), Rock and Roll singers (Elvis) and actresses (Marilyn Monroe).

CAP: BECAUSE HE IS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH THE PAST.

MUSIC FROM RADIO (Op): – THE MONKEY THOUGHT THAT EVERYTHING WAS ON THE SQUARE –

_Panel 3._We see the silhouette of Joseph Higgins Snr (The Shield) sitting in his favourite easy chair with a bottle of whiskey in his hand.

CAP: HE’S ABOUT TO HAVE A RUDE AWAKENING

MUSIC FROM RADIO (Op): --THE BUZZARD TRIED TO THROW THE MONKEY OFF HIS BACK –

SFX: BEEP BEEP BEEP

COMPUTER (Op): INTRUDER ALERT!!

Panel 4. We see James Russell just climbing into the mansion through a ground floor window.

COMPUTER (Op): INTRUDER ALERT!!

JAMES RUSSELL (Thought): OH SHIT!

Panel 5. He falls and hits the floor hard.

JAMES RUSSELL (Whisper): SHIT!

PAGE 7 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. James looks up to find a shotgun aimed at his forehead.

JAMES RUSSELL: OH SHIT!

Panel 2. We see Joseph Higgins Snr in a smoking jacket and pyjamas aiming the gun with shaking hands at young James.

JOSEPH HIGGINS: GET UP!

JAMES RUSSELL: IT’S YOU. I MEAN IT’S REALLY YOU!

JOSEPH HIGGINS: WHAT DO YOU WANT? AN AUTOGRAPH.

Panel 3. An awestruck James Russell.

JAMES RUSSELL: EVERYONE THINKS YOUR DEAD. SO…I THOUGHT I’D DO THE NEIGHBOURLY THNG AND CHECK UP ON YOU.

Panel 4. A close up on Joseph’s wiry old face.

JOSEPH HIGGINS: I AIN’T GOT NO NEIGHBOURS, NOT FOR A COUPLE OF MILES IN EACH DIRECTION. I LIKE IT THAT WAY. YOU WANNA KNOW WHY I THINK YOUR HERE?

JAMES RUSSELL (Op): UH HUH

Panel 5. Another close up on Josephs face.

JOSEPH HIGGINS: I THINK YOU’RE A VULTURE, A JACKAL. HERE TO TAKE WHATEVER YOU CAN FROM THE HOME OF SOMEONE YOU THOUGHT WAS TOO SENILE TO FIGHT BACK. AM I RIGHT?

PAGE 8 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. James is looking a little worried.

JAMES RUSSELL: PLEASE, I DON’T USUALLY BREAK INTO PEOPLES HOUSES. BUT I HAD TO…

Panel 2. Joseph Higgins stands proud.

JOSEPH HIGGINS: LIKE YOU HAVE TO MUG OLD LADIES SO YOU CAN BUY THE LATEST PAIR OF SNEAKERS. AND SHOOT YOUR TEACHERS BECAUSE THEY GAVE YOU A BAD GRADE. I KNOW WHAT YOU KID’S GET UP TO.

Panel 3. James pleads for understanding.

JAMES RUSSELL: YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. I AIN’T LIKE THAT. I’M A LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. I CAME HERE FOR YOUR HELP. MY FAMILY AND I ARE IN TROUBLE.

Panel 4. Joseph Higgins stands proud.

JOSEPH HIGGINS: MY HEART BLEEDS. NOW GET OFF MY PROPERTY BEFORE I START REDECORATING, I ALWAYS LIKED THE COLOUR RED.

Panel 5. James decides to stand his ground. Joseph Higgins has a bemused look on his face.

JAMES RUSSELL: WHAT’S WITH YOU MAN? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A HERO. HOW CAN YOU BE SO COLD? I JUST TOLD YOU I’M IN TROUBLE. AREN’T YOU GOING TO HELP ME?

JOSEPH HIGGINS: WOULD YOU HELP SOMEONE THAT’S JUST BROKEN INTO YOUR HOME?

PAGE 9 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. James Russell shakes his head.

JAMES RUSSELL: UH UH, BUT I AIN’T THE SHIELD!

Panel 2. Higgins lowers the gun.

JOSEPH HIGGINS (Mutters): NEITHER AM I, NOT ANY MORE.

Panel 3. Higgins turns away and waves back at Russell. As if he’s grown bored of their conversation.

JAMES RUSSELL (Op): WHAT DO Y…

JOSEPH HIGGINS: IF YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM DIAL 911 LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. NOW YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES TO GET OFF MY PROPERTY. OTHER WISE I’LL CALL THEM FOR YOU.

Panel 4. We see Russell standing alone in the room looking dejected. His hero has turned out to be a bitter old man.

JAMES RUSSELL: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU MAN? PERHAPS WHAT EVERYONES BEEN SAYING IS TRUE. PERHAPS YOU ARE JUST A FAKE!!

JOSPEH HIGGINS (Op): ONE MINUTE FORTY-FIVE SECONDS

Panel 5: A door slamming.

SFX: BANG

PAGE 10 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. Back outside the gates James Russell is surrounded by the Hoodies, the atmosphere is hostile.

CAP: MINUTES LATER

HOODIE #1: LOOKS LIKE YOUR FRIEND THE SHIELD COULDN’T MAKE IT. WHICH IS A SHAME COS I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO CAP HIS WHITE ASS.

JAMES RUSSELL: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

HOODIE #1: I’M GUNNA SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE THAT MESS WITH MY BRETHRIN.

Panel 2. Hoodie 1 pulls a gun on James two others grab James’s arms and pull them behind his back. Higgins is watching the events unfolding on a large screen. He looks depressed.

JAMES RUSSELL (Op): DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH ME JUST PROMISE YOU WILL LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE.

JOSEPH HIGGINS (Thought): JESUS JOE, HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH. WHY DIDN’T YOU HELP HIM?

Panel 3. James gets his arm free and whacks Hoodie #1’s hand sideways causing the gun to go off.

SFX: BAM

Panel 4. He elbows the two hoodies that were holding his arms in the gut causing them to keel over.

SFX: OOMF

Panel 5. They collapse to the floor and Russell strikes a combat ready pose.

Panel 6. The hoodies all look scared.

PAGE 11 (5 Panels)

Panel 1. We see James Russell still in his combat pose, acting quite smug. Standing behind him is The Shield, the true source of the Hoodies fear. James is unaware of the Shields presence.

JAMES RUSSELL: YEAH BRING IT ON SUCKERS!

Panel 2. A close up shot of one of the Hoodies eyes. In it is the reflection of Russell and the Shield.

HOODIE #1 (Op): WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

Panel 3. Russell noticing that the hoodies are looking and talking to someone behind him turns around. And is startled by The Shield.

THE SHIELD: THE BOY AND HIS FAMILY ARE UNDER MY PROTECTION. IF ANY HARM COMES TO THEM YOU’LL FIND YOURSELVES IN BIG TROUBLE.

Panel 4. Hoodie #1 raises his gun. The initial shock of being confronted by a super hero has seemed to have worn off.

HOODIE #1: WHAT ARE YOU GUNNA DO POPS?

Panel 5. The Shield grabs the gun with one hand and punches upwards with the other causing the hoodies elbow to snap the wrong way.

THE SHIELD: THIS!

SFX: CRUNCH

HOODIE #1: ARGGH

Panel 6: The shield takes the gun and shoots the rest of the hoodies in the legs. The Shield looks like he’s enjoying it.

SFX: BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG

PAGE 12 (5 panels)

Panel 1. The Shield puts the gun to Hoodie #1’s head. The hoodie is really scared.

THE SHIELD (Op): HAVE I SHOT 5 OR HAVE I SHOT SIX –

Panel 2. We see the Shield and Russell in the living room of the mansion. Its very well furnished. Russell is excited because he’s gotten to see the Shield in action. The Shield is fetching some drinks.

CAP/THE SHIELD: “—YOU FEELING LUCKY PUNK?”

JAMES RUSSELL: MAN THAT WAS SO COOL. I’VE SEEN YOU ON TV BEFORE BUT THAT WAS JUST WOW. I JUST HAVE ONE QUESTION…

THE SHIELD: WHY’D I LET THEM GO?

Panel 3. The Shield hands James a drink.

JAMES RUSSELL: YEAH, YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED THEM WHILE YOU HAD THE CHANCE.

THE SHIELD: JUST BECAUSE I CAN KILL PEOPLE DOESN’T MEAN I SHOULD. WHY WERE THEY AFTER YOU ANYWAY?

Panel 4. James Russell looks at the floor; worried that what he is about to tell the Shield may change his impression of him.

THE SHIELD: GO ON, IT CAN’T BE THAT BAD. NOTHING YOU’VE DONE CAN BE WORSE THAN SOME OF THE THINGS I’VE DONE OVER THE YEARS.

JAMES RUSSELL: THOSE BOYS OUT THERE BELONG TO A GANG CALLED THE BLACK KNIGHTS. ONE OF THE KNIGHTS RAPED MY SISTER, SO I PUT HIM IN THE HOSPITAL.

THE SHIELD: AND NOW THEY WANT TO PUT YOU IN THE GROUND.

Panel 5. The Shield consoles Russell.

THE SHIELD: WHERE ARE YOUR FAMILY NOW?

JAMES RUSSELL: THEY ARE SAFE FOR NOW. STAYING WITH A FAMILY FRIEND. BUT ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE KNIGHTS FIND THEM.


Hopefully people found this an interesting read. Was meant to be about Joe Higgins finding purpose again by teaching James how to take up his mantle. A bit like Batman Beyond really.

Cheers,
Stuart


#3

Have you considered reworking this with your own characters?


#4

Hi @JRCarter,

Thanks for your suggestion. I hadn’t actually considered this but after reading over it again it wouldn’t take much to adapt it to be my own characters. I’ll see if any artists are interested in working on it with me.

Do you think it would be worth updating the time period to now?

I can’t believe I wrote this when I was 16!

Cheers,

Stuart


#5

You could probably update it to this point in time. It could also work as a period piece.


#6

Thanks @jrcarter. I think it was a product of it’s time (9/11, Iraq War etc) and might not work as well today. It’s probably too soon after the fact to be a period piece.