Monday, May 24, 2010

Iron Man - The Mask in the Iron Man - Ben Rosenthal

TONY STARK and PEPPER POTTS have just finished ‘expressing’ their feelings for each other, in the naked way. Pepper rolls to her side of the bed, as we look down on the two exhausted individuals lying COVERED in bed. Pepper is giddy, Tony's wrist resting upon his forehead as he stares at the roof with a distant look on his face

PEPPER: That, Mr Stark, was your best performance yet

TONY (obviously not as satisfied as Pepper): Glad I could rise to your expectations

PEPPER (picking up on Tony’s non-plusness): What is it?

TONY (realising he is not in the moment snaps back to reality): Oh no, it was great, you were great. I didn’t know you were double jointed...

PEPPER: So great that you couldn’t help but look bored straight after? Was I that bad?

TONY: No, it wasn’t you, I was just thinking about.....nothing

PEPPER: Nothing?

TONY: Nothing.

PEPPER: You’re Tony Stark. You’re always thinking something. If I was that bad you can just let me know, I mean I’m not Madam Masque but I could grab some tin foil and...

TONY: I was thinking about my father

Silence as both Tony and Pepper think about this statement.


TONY: Not like that.

PEPPER (smirking at making Tony uncomfortable): Like how then?

TONY: Where do I start? We could skip all the “he was to interested in his work to pay any attention to me” part of the conversation, not to mention the whole “I became great with machines to get my father’s approval” section, and go straight to – I think my father created Iron Man

PEPPER (confused): I don’t want to sound insensitive as you’re obviously having a post-coital moment, but huh?

TONY: He may not have made the suit, but I was already Iron Man long before it came along. My father never gave me the attention I craved so badly from him, never showed the affection I needed. I turned to machines in order to gain his approval, but I think I a part of me found them so appealing because they are emotionless.

PEPPER’s smirk fades as she realises that TONY is being serious

TONY: They can never judge you, never make you feel inferior. There was never a threat of rejection with machines as there was with people. As such, I became comfortable, enjoying the company of machines over real people. (Turning to PEPPER) Or have you never noticed that a multi-billionaire in his 40’s only has one friend, and has had just under that number of serious relationships.

PEPPER looks at TONY, looking at the man she has known for years, but is only seeing for the first time. TONY returns his gaze to the ceiling.

TONY: I have always been a man of iron. By keeping all relationships plutonic, I prevented anyone from ‘getting in’, protecting myself so I would not fall short of someone else’s idea of what I should be. Thanks to my father, I have always been Iron Man – the shrapnel just gave me an excuse to make it official.


  1. I'm down with this Ben. I like the idea a lot. I'm not sure how well it would fit on a single page, because its fairly wordy, but heck, Bendis and Johns do this every week don't they?

    I like how you've injected some humor here, but once it gets serious, its all serious.

  2. Thanks. Yeah, I'm a regular Kevin SMith...who wants to see art anyway right?

  3. At first reading I really dig the vibe of this. It's an interesting scene, though static, and the pay off at the end is worth every second of the exchange.

    But the exchange could be modified. Thinking about it actually needing to fit on a page, one page, a stack of dialogue needs to be dropped, and I'd drop it from the start. You could begin with this line:
    PEPPER: So great that you couldn’t help but look bored straight after? Was I that bad?
    And then continue from there, and even then I'd modify some for tightness.

    You show excellent use of build up and interplay, now you just need to tighten your comic script structure. This feels more short flick style, so start thinking about panels, and don't be afraid to enter the scene really in the middle (because technically this seems to start at the start of the scene after sex, it's the middle of the whole interlude but the start of this scene.

    Good work, Ben, I'm impressed that anyone could give Tony Stark such heart so quickly in a scene. Love that payoff line.

  4. Quieter moments in comics are nice when they're done well, so I like this. Only yes, it's a bit wordy, lol. Could definitely tighten it - eg, in that "Where do I start?" line you could cut out all that exposition and just have him say "I think my father created Iron Man." Tony's line right after that pretty much repeats all that exposition, so having it twice is a bit redundant.

  5. Whilst this is pretty great I'd have to suggest you research some of the scripting methods used by creators for the big two, see how they compress or shape matters into something more controlled.

    I mean I love it, A LOT, but it's a bit scattershot and jam-packed

  6. I quite enjoyed this script, of course it can be cut down to less wording but the overall design and plot is intensely entertaining, and positively an issue that is very good to explore.

  7. Ben, I'm going to have to echo everyone's sentiments, the idea is great, and you have a good handle on the personalities, plus some great lines, but there's no way all of this could fit into a single page. Even though it is not a writer's job to draw the page, it is incredibly important to think visually. What works on a page, and what doesn't? How much space do you have in each panel for the text? You also need to consider that a page with too much text is uninviting to certain readers, who will just see a wall of text and skip either the page or the comic altogether.

    Something else I noticed is that there are a couple of punctuations missing, and I noticed some spelling mistakes. For example, not all the sentences have periods at the end of them. If it is in the text describing the image, then it doesn't really matter because the public will not see it, but in the speech/text that will actually show up in the comic, it is important to look consistent and professional. Editors obviously might catch it and fix it, but if it is your first assignment with someone, they might overlook your writing skills and just notice all the extra job they had to do (which would not be good for your prospective career).

  8. Thanks for all the feedback guys. I must admit, after reading Simon and Ryan's additions, mine is waaaaaaaaay to long.

    I just have to say, what a fantastic place this little blog has already turned out to be. Already I feel I have gained valuable advice in regards to my writing/scripting. As for my spelling/typing - yeah, it sucks.

    Thanks again all!

  9. Ben, as someone who struggled to get his own script down to one page (and probably failed, you can judge that tomorrow), it's obvious that this works better as a film script than a comic page.

    That's not to say I didn't enjoy the hell out of it, and found it a really strong bit of character work. You captured both voices well, the banter was playful and witty but with that darker shadow that particularly haunts RDJr's performance, and that final line was an excellent point to work towards.

    Like Matt (and as a trainee proofreader myself), I'm a stickler for spelling & punctuation (I will have to resist the urge to become the site proofreader), so that last "plutonic" really stood out for me. (Another reason I'm cautious about setting myself up as the Thoughtballooners' Guardian of Grammar is that you can guarantee I'll embarrass myself with a really obvious typo... probably in my first post.)

    Anyway, looking forward to reading more scripts from you in the future.


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