Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Batman Inc - Advertising Is Killing Us All - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

A cosy apartment in Gotham City. Chintz wallpaper and ornamental nick-nacks surround a sofa, fireplace and TV. We're looking at the scene from behind the TV set which is casting a sickly light on the apartment's two residents, an elderly couple who have recently died on their sofa. Their heads have set on fire, faces charred, hair burnt, spectacles melted.

Behind the sofa, Batman (Dick Grayson) looks on with Commissioner Gordon at his side. A CSI team is also present.

Gordon: …Crime Scene's best guest at this point, electrical activity in their brains went haywire - all their neurons fired at once…

Batman: …and you think this was triggered by something in our commercial?

Panel Two.

Red Robin examines a separate crime scene with Harvey Bullock. They’re inside a large office / conference room which has become a scene of bloodthirsty carnage. The office has been wrecked, there’s blood everywhere, and a number of taped silhouettes where bodies have been removed.

Bullock: was booked anonymously for a focus group concerning the “marketing strategy, corporate synergy and brand awareness...”

Red Robin: …of Batman Inc?

Bullock: Yup.

Panel Three.

A huge billboard advertisement for Batman Inc. in a prime location above Gotham City (think Gotham’s answer to Times Square). The advert has an image of Batman and Robin in action, along with the Batman Inc. logo and the strapline: “Saving the world is our business!” Much of the poster is however obscured by the five bodies hanging in front of it.

Above the billboard are a number of poles with spotlights (used to light the poster at night). From each pole hangs a noose, with a corpse on the end. Five bodies in total, each with a one word note stitched to their clothing. The notes read "Batman" "Inc." "Couldn’t" "Save" "Us”.

Robin (Damian Wayne) stands on a nearby rooftop, surveying the scene with a dismissive expression on his face.

Robin: Suicide? Cretins…

Panel Four.

Batman Inc. headquarters. Bruce Wayne’s office. Bruce sits at his desk, frowning over steepled fingers, while Dick, Tim and Damian (out of costume) relate their day’s investigations. Tempers are frayed, but Bruce remains stoic.

Dick: …our marketing department’s obviously gone kill-crazy!

Tim: ...could ruin Batman Inc’s reputation before we even--!

Damian: …gullible saps, I have no sympathy…

Bruce: When you’re all quite finished...

Panel Five.

Close on Bruce, holding in his anger.

Bruce: Batman Inc. has no marketing department. Bitter experience has taught me the people who work in that particular field are no more trustworthy than the residents of Arkham, so I handle all such tasks myself.

Bruce: Whoever is responsible for these tragedies does NOT work here.

Panel Six.

Pull out for a longer shot of Bruce at his desk, seen over the shoulders of Dick, Tim and Damian. Bruce thumps his fist down on the desk.

Bruce: Gentlemen - I believe it’s time to re-establish our core values in an increasingly fractured marketplace...

Tim: Did Bruce just make a funny?

Dick: I hate it when he does that.


  1. Great set-up! Personally, I would have left it at the end of the 5th panel, which is a pretty good cliffhanger.

  2. Very nice! I'd like to read that story, actually!

  3. Really liked it. A tight, efficient setup that hits all the right notes for each character. You write a mean Damian. I have to agree with Matt on the last panel, though. The phrase "made a funny" really hits me the wrong way, and I think the punchline hits harder when played totally straight.

  4. Rol - you working out some more work anger - advertising fools at work lately...?

    I dig this page - the hangings with the signs is particularly haunting. I also like Damien's voice, you nail it.

    But I agree also about the last panel. The rest is too good for it.

  5. I concur. Fifth panel doesn't really add to it.

    Love the idea that someone is out to ruin Batman Inc's reputation.


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