Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Iron Man - Life of the Party - James McNeill

(For context -- earlier on in this imagined issue, Tony as Iron Man prevented a lone robot from destroying the home of a business acquaintance, who had invited him earlier to a party. Back at Stark Enterprises, a small group of them have attacked Tony's labs, and Pepper Potts is on the scene.)

1. Tony Stark socialises at a swank party. He has a drink in one hand, almost empty. Though he's talking to an attractive woman, he looks at Happy Hogan, who stands in the background, waving him over.

...sure your bodyguard can't join us today?

2. Tony puts down his empty glass, Happy behind him. Tony looks apologetic. He is speaking to the host of the party.

-- very sorry. Business calls.

3. Outside, Tony climbs into the back of his car, waving, still smiling. Happy holds the door. In the far foreground, a man makes a phone call.

4. Inside the car, his entire demeanor changes. He slumps in his seat, undoes his tie.

Sorry to drag you out of there, boss, but Pepper said it was important...

5. Happy looks back, concerned as Tony raises the divider between front and back of the car.


6. Tony pulls off jacket, shirt, and tie, revealing the chest-encasing underneath. His posture is tense; he's in pain. Next to him, covered partially by his jacket, is the Iron Man briefcase. Tony's sweating, reaching the end of his charge. He picks up his helmet to put it on.

Just drive, Happy.

I need a drink.

(To give you an idea of the rest of the story: the cover probably has a whole army of robots attacking Iron Man, who is of course hardly able to stand up straight, with some mysterious villain's silhouette in the foreground. "YOU'LL NEVER SAVE THE LIFE OF THIS PARTY NOW!" the villain cries.)


  1. In today's decompressed stories i can imagine the tension felt towards the end being used up on a splash page with him in pain as a whole page. But that's beside the point, I love this opener, it's strong and clearly has somewhere to go. the only clear issues I'd have is stuff like Panel 6, where he's both being in a painful, tense posture and picking up his helmet. it might be hard to envision those two things at once without seperating them. Still, that's probably more a flaw of my own ability to visualise than anything.

  2. James, of everyone who's contributed so far, I reckon yours is the script that most accurately resembles a page ripped from a classic Marvel comic.

    You haven't tried to tell too much story, you've provided us a nice moment that combines characterisation with a plot-twist/reveal, and the dialogue is entirely in service to the plot, without showing off. In essence, you've answered the brief perfectly. A pity so many of the rest of us (myself included) have cheated somewhat in that regard! Good work... I like the cover image you suggested too.

  3. This is a quiet moment, and one that works. Not every page has to be this massive thing with seventeen reindeer, forty firecrackers, and three descending villains. You've done well capturing the empty life of Stark.

    I love your idea for a cover, very Silver Age, very cool. You set up an interesting beat here. Bloody well done.

  4. James, great script man. Simple and delivers the point well. I will be looking at this format for my next submission. Thanks!

  5. Thanks, everyone! I'm relieved the script went down so well, as I had some serious standards to meet. Ryan and Rol, I think the difference was really made by my approach -- I didn't try to tell a whole story in the space I had, but rather tried to depict a moment of a wider story. (And I had a feeling you lot would be breaking out the reindeer and firecrackers, so I figured I'd try to explore a different side of the Iron Man story.)

    Flip, thanks for catching that! I was trying to consolidate, and reverted to film-script descriptions on that last panel. I think perhaps, were I to continue working on this, I would have the Iron Man helmet on the seat next to Tony, more background.

    Ben, I'm glad I could be helpful in my example. Thanks again!


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