Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why “What If…?”…?

Because I love a good alternate reality tale. I love finding out about alternate possibilities, to see people asking what might have happened if things had gone just a little bit or a lot differently, and then hypothesizing about the different paths that history might have taken as a result. What if Napoleon hadn’t lost at Waterloo? What if Captain America hadn’t been assassinated and fought in World War Hulk? What if Thought Balloons didn’t exist? What I had decided to pick a different topic for this week?

And so I decided that, to go along with the month that Marvel had been using as it’s ‘What if’ month over the past few years (even if they seem to be skipping it this year), I’d take the opportunity to ask “What If Thought Balloons did a ‘What If…?’ Week?” and see what kind of scripts might result.
It should be noted that while the topic is ‘What If…?’, this doesn’t mean that you have to use a Marvel story. Just as acceptable are stories by DC, Image, Red 5, or any other comic publisher. Want to write about what you think would happen if J. Jonah Jameson thought Spider-Man wasn’t a menace? Go ahead. Have an itch to write about what if Guy Gardner had gotten Abin Sur's ring instead of Hal Jordan? That’s fair game, too. Think you’ve got a good idea what things might be like if Nikola Tesla died before he could hit Atomic Robo’s “ON” switch? Knock yourself out. Often find yourself imagining a world in which Invincible followed in his dads footsteps and turned evil? Here’s your chance to write about it. As long as it’s a property that can be tied into comics, consider this a week to let your imagination run wild.
So what if I stop writing this ‘Why…?’ post and let the tenured writers and guest posters put some scripts together? Now that’s a what if we can start answering right now!

8 comments:

  1. [Title Below]

    Premise: Up to this page, it looks like the usual retelling of Superman's origin; Ma and Pa Kent, driving along, spaceship crashes, they walk over to it...

    1) Jonathan and Martha looking down on the spaceship. It should be an original design, not something seen in previous retellings. You'll see why.

    JONATHAN: Looks like... a spaceship...

    2) Jonathan and Martha are startled by the ship opening (just a crack) and a recording speaks to them.

    SFX: HSSSSS

    SHIP: Our planet *fzzzz* is doomed.

    3) The ship has opened wider now, but we still can't see inside. Jonathan and Martha look on in wonder.

    SHIP: I haven't much time before we are all wiped out by *fzzzz* And so I send to you our last hope...

    4) Looking up at Jonathan and Martha, from the ship's POV. They are wide-eyed.

    SHIP (O.P.): The last surviving *fzzzz* and my only son...

    5) Close up of a green Martian baby.

    SHIP (O.P.): J'onn J'onzz.

    END OF PAGE.

    TITLE: "The Martian of Steel!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting concept. It'd be kind of interesting actually to see what a Jonn raised by the Kent's would be like.

    Solid script with a nice build to the last panel.

    My own effort this week combines my love of history and espionage.

    Premise: The fateful meeting between a young Johann Schmidt and Adolf Hitler did not take place. Instead Schmidt works his way through the ranks of the German resistance movement, specifically the KPD (‘The Red Orchestra’ a group with strong ties to the Russians).

    This page takes place in the days following the end of hostilities in World War 2.

    NB: I have not read Red Skull: Incarnate yet. But having just gone to check out a review/synopsis of it to make sure I didn’t contradict anything I’m definitely going to be giving it a read soon.

    1.1
    We open on NICK FURY sitting down at a metal table. He’s wearing a smart, black suit (though it’s somewhat ruffled). The famous eye patch is notable by its absence.

    We are in a stark looking interrogation cell.The table and two fold up chairs are the only furniture in the room. A one way mirror runs down one side of the room.

    FURY: Are you sure?

    CAPTION: Nick Fury, Office of Strategic Services.

    1.2
    CUT TO JOHANN SCHMIDT wearing a black turtleneck and khakis. He’s sat opposite Fury and leans back in his chair, arms folded.

    SCHMIDT: I barely escaped Berlin with my life.
    (link)
    I’m sure.

    CAPTION: Johann Schmidt, former head of the KPD.

    1.3
    TIGHTER on Schmidt.

    SCHMIDT: The Russian’s have people in place. Buried deep.
    (link)
    FBI, your OSS, Weapon Plus...S.H.I.E.L.D.

    1.4
    CUT TO a WIDE PANEL, a PROFILE shot of the table. Fury is on the left side of the panel, leans forward eagerly. Schmidt, on the right, continues to act nonchalantly. He knows he has what Fury wants.

    FURY: Wait, how do you-

    SCHMIDT: Because as head of the KPD they trusted me.
    (link)
    But I have little interest in their cause. Communism will fail.

    1.5
    CUT TO a CLOSE UP on Fury.

    FURY: So, what do you believe in, Schmidt?

    1.6
    CUT TO Schmidt, smirking.

    SCHMIDT: Winning.

    CAPTION: Next. Johann Schmidt, Agent of Shield?

    ReplyDelete
  3. @JD - The convenient buzzes in the playback were either completely hack examples or else a hell of a lot of fun...I think we can all agree on which side we'll fall. You set up an interesting scenario and that's cool with me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Dan - you get your own comment because your script was just that good. A standard set up to a massive final reveal and yet the build was great and the reveal was a line that got me all tingly in the right parts.

    This script is terse, intriguing, filled with the sort of dazzling shortness I want my Fury scenes to hold, and it pits a scenario that is simply astounding. I would buy this issue (or preferably OGN) in a heartbeat - especially if it's all this well written.

    You officially win this week. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cheers for the feedback Ryan. I had a lot of fun with this one and the concept kind of appeared in my head fully formed.

    I basically just wanted to write a Le Carre style story set post WW2 but in the Marvel U. Double crosses, dead drops and mole hunts etc.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ JD: That's a great twist. I can't say I ever would have seen that one coming. You handled the idea well, too.

    @ Dan: I like this one as well. Can't help but wonder what the trigger was that sent him from one side to the other.

    ReplyDelete
  7. by: zu
    for: belano

    Ever see the Killer? You know the big epic gun battle in the church? About five minutes after the characters leave the church is what the interior of this abandoned, deconsecrated church location should look like.

    Tracy Lawless and Casanova Quinn are on opposite sides of the place, with a shot-up altar, busted pews and punctured support pullers between them. They are both behind cover, with their backs to the cover and each other. Nine panel grid, first row is one panel. next row is three panels, final row is one panel.

    Both Brubaker and Fraction are fans of Hong Kong cinema, so I figured that would be the bridge between the two characters. Also, I'm straight up stealing an idea from Hong Kong film director Johnny To, via Brubaker's Criminal backmatter. If you've got the issue in which Brubaker talks about To's work, or the deluxe hardcover, you'll know just how much I'm cribbing.

    Oh. Brief note on the guns. Lawless should have a larger, higher caliber gun than Casanova, who, should still have his trusty pistol with a silencer. Genre demands it but also it informs the reader's understanding of the characters. (I read this somewhere and I forget where.)

    1.1 Casanova, yelling behind him over his cover.
    CASS: What can I say, Earthman? I'm here to kill you.

    1.2 LAWLESS, trying to relax.
    LAWLESS: If you say so.

    1.3 Classic Casanova "WHAT?" reaction. No background, just Casanova's head, neck and upper shoulders at the top of the white panel with WHAT? at the bottom. For reference, Casanova #6, page 3.
    CASS: What?

    1.4 LAWLESS, smiling ruefully.
    LAWLESS: You would have shot me when I moved from the pillar.

    1.5 Wide shot of the ruined, deconsecrated church.
    LAWLESS: You don't miss unless you want to.

    ReplyDelete
  8. (Sorry for the double post, guys. My internet's not wonky, I just forgot to add the title. Delete the top one, please?)


    What If...Luther Desmond Diamond was Tracy Lawless?

    by: zu
    for: belano

    Ever see the Killer? You know the big epic gun battle in the church? About five minutes after the characters leave the church is what the interior of this abandoned, deconsecrated church location should look like.

    Tracy Lawless and Casanova Quinn are on opposite sides of the place, with a shot-up altar, busted pews and punctured support pullers between them. They are both behind cover, with their backs to the cover and each other. Nine panel grid, first row is one panel. next row is three panels, final row is one panel.

    Both Brubaker and Fraction are fans of Hong Kong cinema, so I figured that would be the bridge between the two characters. Also, I'm straight up stealing an idea from Hong Kong film director Johnny To, via Brubaker's Criminal backmatter. If you've got the issue in which Brubaker talks about To's work, or the deluxe hardcover, you'll know just how much I'm cribbing.

    Oh. Brief note on the guns. Lawless should have a larger, higher caliber gun than Casanova, who, should still have his trusty pistol with a silencer. Genre demands it but also it informs the reader's understanding of the characters. (I read this somewhere and I forget where.)

    1.1 Casanova, yelling behind him over his cover.
    CASS: What can I say, Earthman? I'm here to kill you.

    1.2 LAWLESS, trying to relax.
    LAWLESS: If you say so.

    1.3 Classic Casanova "WHAT?" reaction. No background, just Casanova's head, neck and upper shoulders at the top of the white panel with WHAT? at the bottom. For reference, Casanova #6, page 3.
    CASS: What?

    1.4 LAWLESS, smiling ruefully.
    LAWLESS: You would have shot me when I moved from the pillar.

    1.5 Wide shot of the ruined, deconsecrated church.
    LAWLESS: You don't miss unless you want to.

    ReplyDelete

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