Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why Black Manta?

You see that image to the right? Yeah, that one. The one with Black Manta surfing on the head of a shark that’s got a frikken LAZER BEAM attached to its head.
THAT’s why Black Manta.
Background information, for the uninformed. That image is of a miniature from a game called Heroclix. It’s a collectable miniatures game that’s largely focused on Superheroes (but Halo and Street Fighter and Lord of the Rings have made appearances as well) in which you put together teams of figures and have them fight other teams. That Black Manta piece is an actual, real figure in the game. And it’s sculpt is pretty much the most awesome sculpt in the whole game, if you ask me. I have one, and I keep it on my desk.
But here’s the problem - while Heroclix Black Manta gets to do stuff like surf around on sharks being a bad***, comics Black Manta…not so much. Sure, the adaptations have done a good job of making him a credible villain, like in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the Justice League cartoon (even if it technically wasn’t Black Manta), but it hasn’t done a whole lot to improve his standing in the comics. All he’s really know for is ‘that guy who fights Aquaman’. That, and maybe that he’s the new Aqualad’s dad.
But as far as villains go, that’s a pretty pathetic track record. Hardly anything like what you’d expect from a character who gets a miniature where he’s riding around on top of a shark (which has a frikken LAZER BEAM attached to it’s head!)
Which is why I picked Black Manta. Because I want to see some scripts worthy of a man who can surf on the head of a shark.
Make it happen, people!


  1. Black Manta – Rise of The Black Manta – Shaun Richens.

    PAGE 22.
    2 PANELS.

    1. Page wide panel. Black Manta is holding a bloodied and bruised Aquaman by the scruff of his neck. Aquamans eyes are closed; blood runs down his face. This is the turning point for Black Manta in his latest and most intense confrontation with Aquaman.

    BLACK MANTA 1: I’m glad you’re here to share this moment with me.

    BLACK MANTA 2: With us.

    2. This panel takes up at least three quarters of the page. Black Manta is stood on a black sand beach in Alaska, something like this . He has his back to the camera facing out to the sea. His arms raised up above him in victory. In each hand he holds one of his long shark tooth like short swords. Aquaman slumped over on his knees by Black Mantas side in defeat.
    In the ocean visible on page we can see that it is filled with shark fins as they circle waiting on Black Mantas command. Slowly walking up out of the sea are an army of men dressed in similar outfits to Black Manta but with smaller simpler head gear. They have their arms raised in the air as they chant Manta.

    MANTA ARMY: Manta. Manta. Manta.

    BLACK MANTA: The time has come. We will flood this world and watch it drown.

  2. Black Manta: To Kill a King

    PAGE 22

    1) Large panel. Overhead view of Atlantis.

    MANTA (CAP): What news from Atlantis?

    2) A street or marketplace in Atlantis. Maintain the usual ancient/futuristic look. There is a crowd fighting.

    MINION (CAP): Civil unrest. Random acts of violence. Terrorism.

    3) Aquaman and Mera, trying to calm everyone down, fend off rocks (coral?) from an angry mob.

    MINION (CAP): The people turn to their king for answers and find him wanting. There are already talks of a revolution.

    4) A dark room in Black Manta's secret hideout. (The reader doesn't know it's him at this point.) Close-up on Manta steepling his fingers evilly, his red eyes glowing. The minion stands in the background.

    MANTA: Excellent.

    MANTA: The best way to kill a king is with his own kingdom.




    1. J.D Nice page. I like the use of Black Mantas as an almost Bond like villain with his minions and steepled fingers. The final piece of dialogue is really strong.

      My only issue is coming in on this last page leaves me with lots of questions which takes away some of the impact for me.

    2. Thanks for the feedback, Shaun! As for those unanswered questions; doesn't that just make you wanna pick up the next exciting issue? ;)

    3. It does indeed get me interested for the next issue. I am just very intrigued as to what has caused this civil unrest in Atlantis?

    4. I imagined that Manta would be stirring up fear via his minions. You know, the same way modern terrorists/anarchists/politicians do. Perhaps some kind of inciting incident, like a bombing.

  3. @Shaun Sharks seem to be a reoccurring theme this week (my own effort included) but they make for such cool visuals, especially with your script here.

    All that chanting gave off a Dark Knight Rises vibe too. Nice page!

    @J.D Nice idea, well implemented. It'd be kind of interesting to see an Arab spring style revolution happening to Atlantis/Aquaman with Manta at the source of it all.

    There would probably have to be less Social Media though (they don't have Twitter and Facebook in Atlantis, right?)

    1. I think they write their status updates on fish and just let them swim around for all to read.

  4. @ Dan: Given the 'Why' post, a heavy use of Sharks doesn't surprise me.

    @ JD: One of the things that's constantly nagged at me is that it seems like nearly every major fictional nation that pops up in comics is a kingdom or empire of some kind. Wakanda, Atlantis, the Shi'ar/Kree/Skrull Empires - it's hard to find new nations that are created as any kind of democracy or republic. So regarless of the reasons, the fact that this page at least suggests a shake-up of the norm (even if things go back to the way they were in the end) makes me a happy camper.

    1. Thanks! I'd also like to see Atlantis (or any other comic book kingdom/empire) get modernised.

  5. Shaun - really dramatic and very visual, cool.

    JD - there's something quite Shakespearian about this page, partly your use of dialogue, but also the scheming use of the villain.

    In Atlantis, they have Splutter and Plaicebook.

  6. @Shaun - I really dig the imagery you have rolling on this page. The shark / alaskan shores / manta-minions all add up to a solid visual. I also like the dialogue. It's concise, but it works.

    @JD - I really like the idea (perhaps unsurprisingly, considering my contribution for the week), and I find your execution to be spot on. As Rol says, your dialogue is top notch on this one. I'm especially fond of the final line that Manta throws out there. Awesome stuff.


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.