Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reed Richards - The Science of Silence - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Close on Reed Richards, sitting in his lab, his chin resting on one hand like Rodin’s The Thinker. We can’t see his other hand.

CAP: Be very, very quiet…

Panel Two.

Big panel. Pull out to show the scene behind Reed. A huge fight is trashing his lab. The Fantastic Four versus the Frightful Four. Ben is punching a big hole through Sandman. Sue has Trapster caught in a force bubble – he’s firing his paste gun to no avail. Johnny is flying flaming rings round Titania... though they may be more heart-shaped than ring-shaped. Reed’s other arm (his non-Thinker arm) is wrapped around and around and around the Wizard who is struggling to get free. Reed's hand stretches away from the wrapped up Wizard towards a blackboard where he's writing the following message for his captive: "This really is most tiresome, Bentley - can't you see that I'm VERY busy?"

Ben: Y’know why I hate fighting you, Sandy? Takes ages to get you out of the carpet when we’re done.

Sue: Seriously, Peter, when will you learn not to attack my family’s home?

Johnny: No, really, what are you doing tonight?

CAP: …Reed Richards is thinking.

Panel Three.

Extreme close up on Reed’s face, still deep in thought. Complex equations scurry across his forehead to illustrate his thought processes.

CAP: Right now he could be solving world hunger… colonising the Milky Way… finding a way to get spiders out of the bathtub without hurting them…

CAP: Just imagine how much more he could achieve…

Panel Four.

Pull out slightly, but still keep tight focus on Reed’s face. A lightbulb moment – without the actual lightbulb. He’s smiling. He has the answer.

CAP: …if you’d all just… Shut. Up.

Panel Five.

No art, just a handwritten note, signed by Reed himself. The note reads…

This comic strip incorporates a combination of subliminal and supraliminal suggestions coupled with autonomic neuroscientific stimuli devised to reduce unnecessary interruptions and disturbances in the life of Dr. Reed Richards. In the interests of experimental and deductive research, exploration, discovery, achievement and the overall betterment of mankind, copies are being sent to all members of the Fantastic Four (except Susan), all employees of Fantastic Four Incorporated, the entire superhero and supervillain community, Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, Jonathan Hickman and everyone at Marvel Comics, our esteemed fanbase, Willy Lumpkin, and the man who sells hotdogs outside the Baxter Building.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours sincerely,

Reed Richards.


  1. Nice work Rol. I think you nailed each character here. I think it nicely sums up the duality within each character: Reed = superhero/scientist; Sue = Superhero/mother; etc...

  2. Great script, Rol - as usual.
    I'm not a huge fan of meta stuff, but those first 4 panels won me over, regardless!

  3. In this context, I believe "meta" refers to an abstract or post-modern interpretation of the form. So in this context I'm writing a comic strip that ends up being about comic strips - the "science" that Reed invents to solve his quandry is spuriously contained within the actual strip - so Reed has created his own strip to solve his own problem.

    Grant Morrison is the master of meta-comics. At the end of his Animal Man run, the title character meets his own creator (i.e. Morrison himself), allowing Morrison to comment on the art of writing comics, controlling character's lives etc.

    Similarly, Morrison suggested that his entire run on Invisibles was actually some kind of complex spell, that if used correctly by the reader could grant them their heart's desire (or somesuch). I tried it. I didn't work.

    Not to compare the bungling cop-out above to anything Moz ever wrote.


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