Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why The Riddler?

Riddle me this, boy and girls...

Which Batvillain walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs at night?*

Which Gotham rogue ties up Batman's brain more than his body, has a mysterious pun for a moniker, and makes question marks almost as fashionable as bowler hats?

Who's the one Batfoe even Jim Carrey couldn't kill? (Though he gave it a pretty good shot.)

He's a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, called E. Nigma.

Why The Riddler? Hey, I'm not giving you all the answers...

(*In the morning he's crawling through sewers to escape Arkham Asylum. In the afternoon he's standing tall as he launches his latest diabolical plan. At night he's hobbling about on his cane after taking another beating from the Batman.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey, guess who's back from the land of no internet access?

    So this is based on the cool Dini premise of a reformed Detective Riddler and ignores the terrible Tony Daniel Long-hair-silly-sunglasses return-to-evil Riddler. And just to be totally clear, because one page can be ambiguous, this is not a return to evil story.

    Wolf Gang's Beloved

    Layout. Seven panels. Panels 1-4 are tiny, cascade formation. While dialogue is assigned to panels, it should really weave through it, giving the imagery a stream-of-consciousness feel. Panel 4 is inset into Panel 5, transitioning the page into traditional, larger panels.

    Panel 1: Extreme close-up on an ashtray resting on Nigma’s desk. It’s straight-up packed, full of crushed-out stubs, ash staining even the outside of the small bowl.

    PHONE (Off-Panel): Arkham Asylum, mental health hotline. May I ask who’s calling?

    NIGMA (Off-Panel): The Perforater.

    Panel 2: Extreme close-up of Nigma’s hand, clutching the receiver. The receiver, dirty and ramshackle, stands in sharp contrast to the bloodless white of Nigma’s knuckles.

    PHONE: Excuse me, sir?

    NIGMA: A twist on imagine!

    Panel 3: Close-up of several mugs on Nigma’s desk. They all have coffee in them, and they’re all partially empty.

    PHONE: Is this a prank call?

    NIGMA: As in, in other words—

    SFX: *Click*

    Panel 4: Extreme close-up of Nigma’s head. He’s gripping his face with one hand, his forehead and eyebrows screwed up in pain and concentration. This is inset into Panel 5.

    NIGMA: —i.e. Nigma

    Panel 5: Front view of Nigma behind his desk. He’s wearing a classy-looking private-eye outfit, replete with trenchcoat. His workspace looks like it used to look good—before Nigma went on a crazy-bender. Strange things are scrawled on the wall behind him. Green glyphs, odd number-codes, bizarre streetmap-looking diagrams. Nigma, though dressed well, is disheveled as hell. He’s been awake for days, surviving on coffee and cigarettes. His head is made up of Panel 4, inset. While it essentially forms a normal, complete panel, the goal is for the reader to follow the tiny panel trail down to Panel 4, and the widen their view to take in all the accumulated crazy of Panel 5.


    Panel 6: Same panel, but a surprise voice from the doorway startles him, making him look up.

    VOICE (Off-Panel): Channeling your neuroses into positive energy? Oh, Eddy!
    Voice (2): The crazy always finds a way!

    Panel 7: Head and shoulders shot of the Joker standing in front of Nigma’s open office door, silhouetted by lightning. He’s wearing a doctor’s lab coat, is soaking wet, and has a straightjacket draped over his shoulder. His face is set at maximum crazy.

    JOKER (Psycho lettering): DON’TCHA KNOW THAT BY NOW?!

  3. Aryeh, I haven't even read your script yet, but I just want you to know, you've already earned a minimum three star rating by ignoring Tony Daniel's take on the character...

  4. Aryeh, very moody piece. I liked it!

  5. Welcome back, Aryeh, and thanks for the great opening page. I want to read on.

  6. The Riddler – A Meating – Shaun Richens.

    One Page. 7 Panels. The top half of the page is made up of six panels, two rows of three all equally sized. Panel seven takes up the bottom half of the page.

    The story so far: Riddler has lured Batman to a meat factory on the edge of Gotham. Riddler has caught and trapped Bats in the freezer room of the complex and his throwing one last riddle at him.

    1. A close up on the Riddler shoulders up. He is wearing a very dark green suit with a black tie; His face is slightly covered but his domino mask. His black hair is slicked back. He has a rather large grin on his face.

    RIDDLER: So riddle me this.

    2. A closer shot on the Riddler. Just his head in shot now.

    RIDDLER: Two bodies have I.

    3. We pull in even tighter. Mainly the Riddlers features left in shot.

    RIDDLER: Though both joined as one.

    4. Just a shot of Riddlers Nose and eyes.

    RIDDLER: By night I am one.

    5. Now we just see the Riddlers piercing eyes through his domino mask.

    RIDDLER: The other brought by sun.

    6. Just the Riddlers lips forming the words.

    RIDDLER: Who. Am. I?

    7. A half page splash. We see Riddler from the lower back down; he has his back to us. He leans on his question mark topped cane. Batman kneels in front of him. His mask lies on the floor in front of him; his hands are tided behind his back. Huge slabs of beef and pork hang from hooks all around him. Batman’s breath can be seen in the air as the room’s temperature drops.

    RIDDLER 1: Come on. You must know this Bats? I’ve given you all the clues for free.
    RIDDLER 2: It’s you isn’t it. Can’t you see?
    RIDDLER 3: Bats and Bruce. Bruce and Bats. One and the same you and he.

    NEXT: Riddler in Questions & Answers.


    Really enjoyed writing this piece. Not sure if it is my best work but I liked having to write a riddle.

    @Aryeh really enjoyed your page. Strong visuals throughout, the riddlers get up would have looked so great on page. You built up a lot of mood and tension then had a cool reveal at the end, this would work great at the end of issue. Great work.

  7. @Aryeh - cool little page. Nice work. And welcome back :)

    @Shaun - this felt like a Dini page. I can't even pin down why but it did. I like the riddle, I like the pacing of the page. Nice.

  8. @Aryeh Nice page, and you build mood really well with a good final panel/page turn at the end.

    @Shaun I tried and tried to come up with a riddle but just couldn't do it, so kudos for succeeding where I failed. Like Aryeh's page you build tension well, leading up to a solid final panel and pay off.

    I had great difficulty coming up with something for this weeks character. That said, I thought it best I show something rather than nothing at all:

    PAGE 1

    A top tier made up of three panels, followed by a second tier of two with the rest of the page taken up by a final, large panel.

    1.1 We OPEN on a CLOSE UP of THE RIDDLER as he stares at CAMERA, a puzzled look on his face. He's wearing his trademark domino mask and a white wife-beater. His hair is tousled and sweat sticks to his forehead.

    CAPTION: Honestly, Lenny, I haven't a clue.

    RIDDLER: Hmm.

    1.2 CUT TO, a view from behind the Riddler as he looks over his shoulder. He's also wearing a pair of green trousers with some braces that fall slack at his waist.

    Stood behind him are his buxom hench-women, QUERY and ECHO, their backs to CAMERA. Both are dressed in green catsuits with black net stockings-- one blonde, the other a brunette.

    The shot is framed as such that we can't see what Riddler is standing in front of or what he was looking at in the last panel.

    CAPTION: I don't know what any of it means.

    RIDDLER: Watching girls? I'm-

    1.3 Similar in viewpoint to the first panel. This time the Riddler, looking at CAMERA, holds a finger aloft-- a eureka moment.

    CAPTION: I mean, I don't think I want to know.

    RIDDLER: Aha!


    The Riddler turns, his arms raised aloft in triumph. Query and Echo are approaching him applauding and beaming. We can see huge question marks on the front of their catsuits.

    CAPTION: The guy creeps me out.

    RIDDLER: I did it!

    1.5 CUT TO: a darkened security room. The only light in the room comes from a monitor with two security guards sat in front of it-- ex-cop's growing fat on easy money.

    On the monitor we can see the Riddler stood alone in the middle of the room, arms raised aloft. Query and Echo are notable by their absence.

    SECURITY GUARD: I mean, look at him...



    CUT TO: the Riddler's room (or, as it's now revealed to be, a cell). Query and Echo are still nowhere to be seen. The Riddler continues to beam in triumph, and gestures towards the wall behind him.

    On the white wall behind him, written in green marker, are fragments of words and phrases juxtaposed next to mathematical equations, formulas and question marks.

    Madness and genius.

    RIDDLER: The formula for the perfect riddle.

    CAPTION: Who's he even talkin' to?
    I'm tellin' ya, Lenny. . .
    The world's gone mad.

  9. @Dan Thanks for the feedback, I started with the visual and then got a riddle together then the script fell into place. It was a different approach to how I normally write.

    As for your page mate, I thought the concept was strong. It was great to have a look into the Riddler who has gone off the deep end. You built up nicely to the reveal with some good panel layout and use of imagery to throw expectations.

    Your page also highlights that you don't need to have a written riddle on page to capture that mood, you used the character and his mind set as your riddle which I enjoyed.

  10. Very good scripts all around guys.

  11. Shaun - great pacing and a clever riddle. I'm not sure you needed the final two lines of Riddler dialogue though - by that point the answer should be plain to everyone.

    Dan - so this is how the Riddler plans a breakout? Great idea. I'd want to know what those words and phrases he'd scribbled on the wall were though... I wouldn't be able to leave that to the artist.

  12. This is why I love Thoughtballoons. I re read my page so many times trimming and changing dialogue and felt I had t pretty much bang on then Rol comes in and edits just a line or two and makes the page punch even more.

    ThoughtBalloons making us better writers everyday.

  13. @Aryeh - Welcome back! And a quality page to return with. I really like the opening of Riddler calling up the help line, and the sudden entry by the Joker only makes me want to read more.

    @Shaun - A nice page. Impressed that you managed to write up a riddle (something that I was unable to manage). I must echo Rol's suggestion, but it's still a mighty fine piece.

    @Dan - Love it. Nice build up and good reveal of the hallucination / prison guards. Good concept and some good dialogue to go along with it.


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