Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why Ben Reilly?

I’m going to explain the Clone Saga as quickly as I can. Deep breath now....

He was Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man’s clone. An exact duplicate of Peter, implanted with his memories and feelings by the morally corrupt lecturer Miles Warren. Then he died in an explosion. Or did he?

No. Peter’s clone awoke from his death-like state and took to the road. Realising that he was but a replica of the person he believed himself to be, he hit the road, spending five years travelling from town to town, trying to find a purpose for his fake life.

On returning due to Aunt May’s rapidly deteriorating illness, the clone who was now calling himself Ben Reilly, could not resist the urge to web sling, donned a hooded jumper and became the Scarlet Spider, Spider-Man’s amazing clone. Or was he?

No! Tests confirmed that he was the real Parker, and the Parker who had married Mary Jane and was expecting a child was the clone! EGAD!

Do not fret – turns out that Norman Osborn was behind it all, and had been planning the whole thing since his apparent death. Norman revealed himself to Ben, beat him up, donned the green and told Parker that he was the real deal, not Ben.

Ben died saving Peter, and disintegrated as a result forever proving that the Peter Parker we knew and loved has always been the real deal.

Man, Norman is a douche.

That was as simple as I could make the Clone Saga, a storyline which was meant to run through the Spidey titles for two years ended up going for almost five. The reason? At the time, Spidey was the only character making money, and Marvel had a bankruptcy to (at the time) avoid.

So what’s the difference between Ben and Peter, I hear you think. Ben is a darker, more moody than Peter. He constantly reminds himself over, and over, and over, that he is nothing but a worthless clone as he tries to justify a life for himself.

Ben was originally designed to replace the married and soon to be father Peter, once again making Spidey single and carefree, while Peter went on to live happily ever after. Not happy with having cake and eating it too, fans cried out in anger, and the plan was scrapped. Thus ends a very confusing, but somewhat awesome chapter in Spidey’s history.

I’m just happy that we got Norman back, no matter how big a douche he is.


  1. Can I just recycle my Spidey script from back in July? :)

  2. Sure it may read the same, but I can assure you it's not ;)

  3. Ben Reilly, Scarlet Spider - Family Dis-Reunion by MK Stangeland Jr.

    Due to the nature of Toxin, TOXIN/T is meant to indicate the Toxin symbiote itself as represented by darker speech bubbles, while TOXIN/P is meant to indicate Patrick Mulligan as represented by normal white speech bubbles.

    (4 Panels)

    Panel 1: Panel should take up the top third of the page. SPIDER-MAN, SCARLET SPIDER, and TOXIN are swinging along the skyline of New York. SPIDER-MAN and SCARLET SPIDER are swinging out in front, almost as if casually racing against each other, while TOXIN follows along behind.

    SPIDER-MAN: Wow, aren’t you just the cynical little negative Nelly.

    SCARLET SPIDER: Being dead can have that effect on a person.

    SPIDER-MAN: I thought you said you were technically never dead in the first place.

    SCARLET SPIDER: Yeah, if you want to get technical about it. But just who is these days?

    TOXIN/T: (Smaller text, as he’s mostly speaking to TOXIN/P) Daaaaad…Uncle Spidey and Uncle Scarlet are fighting again.

    TOXIN/P: …

    Panel 2: Panel takes up the middle third of the page. SPIDER-MAN, SCARLET SPIDER, and TOXIN land on the side of a building, with SPIDER-MAN and TOXIN on opposite sides of SCARLET SPIDER. SCARLET SPIDER indicates to TOXIN as he looks towards SPIDER-MAN.

    SCARLET SPIDER: Oh, and for the record...

    SPIDER-MAN & TOXIN/P: Again?

    SCARLET SPIDER: Yes. Again.

    The whole thing with a symbiote hanging out with us all buddy-buddy like this? Really creeping me out here.

    TOXIN/P: I think ‘buddy-buddy’ is overstating things.

    Panel 3: SPIDER-MAN casually tries to put SCARLET SPIDER at ease.

    As he does, TOXIN gives an over-exaggerated, cartoonish glare, complete with humorously over-glaring eyes and his bottom jaw stretching out extra far. SCARLET SPIDER reacts by leaning his body back away from where TOXIN sits on the wall.

    SPIDER-MAN: Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll get used to it eventually.

    TOXIN/T: Watch, Spider-boy. I will eat you…

    Panel 4: SPIDER-MAN plants his face into his hand in embarrassment. SCARLET SPIDER glares at TOXIN. TOXIN looks away from both of them as TOXIN/P scolds TOXIN/T.

    SPIDER-MAN: (Each line of SPIDER-MANs words should be a little smaller than the words above it, indicating that SPIDER-MAN is slowly trailing off as he continues to talk.) Mostly.



    (Uh boy…)

    TOXIN/P: No! Bad Toxin!

    TOXIN/T: (Just kidding.)

    (END PAGE)

    And yes, for anyone who’s wondering, I did mostly use this as an opportunity to write Spider-Man and Toxin. Spider-Man especially, since I didn’t know about this site yet when he was picked as the character of the week.

    So, yeah.

  4. MK - now you're acting like a tenure, barely using the actual character but slipping in the real characters you want to write, I love it.

    This page it good, though I had to go slowly to make sure I had the flow all in mind, this exchange would definitely work better visually. I like that this doesn't have too many issues and doesn't try to cram too much in. It works well to your benefit.

  5. @MK - I like the page, and the banter between the three. You captured SPidey's voice really well, although without his jaded view of the world, Ben does seem a little off. OR maybe I'm just not used to reading him as being happy.

    Good stuff.

  6. @ Benjum - So you're thinking I didn't make Ben negative enough?

    I suppose I probably should have read up on Ben more before writing it, especially since I've never really read any of the clone saga or anything else with Reilly in it. I'm pretty sure I was in grade school at the time, well before I started reading comics on a regular basis.

    I mostly used your statement on what differentiates him from Pete as a guide for him and tried to write him as a more negative/upset Spidey, though I suppose I didn't consider just how dark he should really be, and once I got the scene in my head, I didn't think too much more about it. Or maybe it's the scene just isn't well suited for bringing out the more negative outlook of Ben's personality.

    Either way, thanks to both of you for the feedback. :-)

  7. At some point during Ben Reily's years on the road.

    1 – An apartment building sitting alone in the middle of the night. It is stormy, with rain and occasional lightning. All of the building's lights are off except for one.

    CAPTION (BEN): Here were are again.

    2 – Interior shot. An empty bed. The covers are rumpled and thrown away, evidence that someone has been trying to sleep. The room's lights are off, but a column of light pours onto the bed from an unseen source.

    CAPTION (BEN): Another sleepless night in another sleepy town.

    3 – The bed remains in the foreground, but the source of the light is now visible in the background: the lights are on in the bathroom and Ben is washing his face.

    CAPTION (BEN): Every time I think I've made peace with the man in the mirror...

    4 – Over-the-shoulder shot of Ben Reily looking at the mirror. Staring back at him is a tired and confused Peter Parker.

    CAPTION (BEN): ...I remember I'm not quite sure who is looking back.

    BEN: Who am I?

  8. @Grant - Nice. Very nice. Simple and effective, getting Ben's whole character down effectivly and simply. Good stuff.

  9. @Grant: Great page. Simple, yet emotional. I do have a nit-pick, however, to do with Panel 1: How can you show "occasional lightning" in a still frame? :)

    @MK: I have no idea who Toxin is, but does he usually talk like Deadpool? :)

  10. If what I've read about him is correct (since although I've yet to read either of the comics he's been in, I'd really like to at some point), he's a symbiote where unlike grandparent Venom or parent Carnage, he maintains a distinct personality from the guy who wears him (Pat Mulligan, former(?) member of the NYPD). That allows them to have conversations as two different individuals.

    So I suppose that long story short, yes, he does kind of talk like Deadpool. You know, if Deadpool wasn't in the running for mayor of crazytown.

  11. @Danial: You got me there. In my mind it was direction for a potential artist as to what kind of night it is, but it really isn't all that necessary.

    Speaking of nit-picks, how does one do bold and italics and underlines and all that? I can't seem to figure it for the life of me.

  12. @Grant: In the comment section, it's probably with HTML tags, though they sometimes don't work properly. If you want to, what you can do is use Google Docs (which has a full selection of formatting), and share the document with a link in the documents section.

  13. @Grant: Matt's right, the comment section allows basic HTML. Things such as bold, italics, and even links can be added... though for some reason, underlines are disabled :/

  14. @Grant - I like that script. It's like a Reilly 101 script and that's great work to boil it down so effectively.

    As for putting in formatting to the comments section, I know it can be done, I've seen it done, Danial does it all the time, but I have no idea how to do it. And neither do you because these gentlemen aren't giving you the html code to use for italics and bold and etc. Maybe they could give you the basics...?

  15. Sorry, I just assume everyone knows HTML :P

    Bold = < b > word/sentence < / b >
    Italics = < i > word/sentence < / i >

    ... without the spaces ;)

  16. That's what I was doing wrong! I kept trying () and [] and even {}, but for some reason <> did not come to mind. As you can see, my HTML is a bit rusty.

    Thanks for the tips and thanks for the feedback! I was a little concerned because I've never really read Ben Reily before, so I went a bit more with a theme of the character, as some of you have mentioned. Glad it came through.

  17. MK - loving the banter. We don't get enough banter on this site, and that was excellent.

    Grant - here's another script I'm glad I hadn't read before writing my own, since I used a mirror as a way of tackling Ben's identity problems also. It must be weird looking at a face that both is and isn't your own (especially seeing how, strictly speaking, you shouldn't even have a face).

  18. Rol - Thanks. I'm really glad about how well I was able to play these three off of each other, especially given that I originally tried to add Spidey and Toxin just so I had an excuse to write them.

    I think I read somewhere that a lot of times (and I'm not quoting directly, just trying to get the jist of the statement down), entertaining writing can come from just having good characters together and having them react in their natural way towards each other (It was probably something I read from Scott Clevinger, though it's also possible he got it from somewhere else), and I'd say that stuff like this gives me a good reason to believe it.


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.