Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America - Making Sense of Memories - Ben Rosenthal

1. A tv studio. Steve Rogers sits on a stool, being interviewed about his time in World War II. He is on his Military uniform. Steve is not very comfortable talking about it, which can be seen in his face. He is addressing the host of the show (off panel).


Smell. It’s the sense that most closely links us to memory. A whiff of perfume reminding us of a girl we loved. A bakery door that smells like grandma’s kitchen. Then the smells that we will never be able to forget.

2. A close up of Steve’s face. He is recalling a memory.


After 64 years I can still recall it clearly.

I put it down to the odour caused by their wet field grey uniforms, mixed with their pink disinfectant and black bread that was part of their rations.

3. A shot of Steve’s hands. The stiffness of his cuffs is visible, with his hands open. His palms are facing upwards, fingers upturned. They are loose, as if his body is remembering the story as well as his memory.


Near the Chateau de la Londe we came across a German dug out, only recently vacated. It was constructed as a square room, cut into a steep bank of earth.

It was a complete home. Tables, chairs and bits of furniture. In the far corner was a stove. But the smell. That German smell. It was very strong. Pungent.

4. Same as Panel 1. Steve is now back to addressing our host (off panel). He is rigid, looking uncomfortable.


I have not smelled it since. And hope that I never will.

It has been documented that Allied troops reported a distinct odour from both German troops and their vehicles. It is unknown whether this is due to the uniform of the German soldier getting wet in the rain, or their diet. However, this smell is what helped many Allied troops locating German’s during night raids in WW2. It has been reported that this distinctive smell has not been encountered by Veterans after WW2.


  1. Nice script, Ben. I just hope your artist would be able to appropriately illustrate the emotion on Cap’s face. It’s all very subtle, his movements, his expressions. Done properly, it could be an amazing page.

    Good stuff, mate!

    But I was hoping for more controversy, a ’la last week?

  2. On the next page he reveals that HE was Hitler.

  3. 3 star Rosenthal - the concept is really strong, but your delivery makes me want to get out a red pen and just chop some superfluous words away. It's only 4 panels so I think all the words would actually fit - but I ask myself (and you) if they are ALL necessary. Steve drops too much exposition (telling us about how smell works, and where the black bread came from). This script comes across as good and with another pass could have achieved greatness.

    But, complaints aside, it is still a pretty sweet page. Emotional, restrained, well researched. Who wrote it for you? BA-BUM-CHA!

  4. YOu know what - I purposely put all that exposition in there. I wanted to make it sound like these memories were etched into Steve's brain, so that he couldn't forget it as much as he wanted to. From the few veterans I have spoken to (my Grandfather was one), hey speak in exact detail, without missing a thing. I think it comes from baring witness to so many horrific things. So yes, the exposition was quite intentional. I felt it was needed to get the point across - this is something that he will never, ever forget...and if he remembers this, imagine all the other things he would remember in great detail.

  5. A way around it may have been introducing more panels and spreading some of the text across the page, evoking more of the images Cap is seeing in his minds eye as he talks about all of this.

  6. Ben, I really liked the dialogue here. As you say, the detail of Steve's memory conveys just how vivid it still is to him. It's emotional dialogue - and there are some big name comic book writers who still don't know how to do this effectively. They just get every character to say everything three times. Three times. THREE times. Like that conveys anything.

    But I digress, I agree that you could probably have broken up the talking heads with a little flashback imagery - give the artist something to go to town on.

  7. I can get behind the talking head idea. There are plenty of artists who could nail the haunted look you'd need for this page.

    I like most of the dialogue and I see what you're doing with it, but I feel like it would be slightly improve if, in panel 2, Cap didn't have a theory for what caused the smell. He can still remember it exactly, but even after all those years, he still hasn't managed to get so much as a theory as to what could have caused it. But maybe that's just me.

  8. Nice concept. I think I would have switch panel 2 and 3's dialog.


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