Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Alfred- Once Upon A Time -Dan Hill


Five wide panels followed by a single tier of two smaller panels.

Page One, Panel One
POV SHOT from an adult’s perspective looking down towards a dark haired YOUNG BOY aged around 10 years old. The boy is barefoot and dressed in tatty clothes. We can’t see where he is yet, but there's soil beneath his feet, as if he’s standing in a jungle clearing. He has black stains from smoke and dirt on his face. He looks up at us with a blank expression.

1) Caption: Once upon a time there was a boy, a boy who had lost everything.

2) Voice(off): Do you know, little one?

Page One, Panel Two
From the boy’s POV looking up at a YOUNG ALFRED (aged somewhere in his early 20’s). He’s dressed in military gear appropriate for the jungle and time period (early 1950’s).

He looks down towards us with concern.

3) Caption: I watched anger and grief battle for his soul.

4) Alfred: Do you know where the man is who did this?

Page One, Panel Three
Profile shot on Alfred crouching down so he’s at the boy’s eye level.  In the background we can see we’re in what’s left of a tiny village somewhere in the Burmese jungle. Everything has been burnt. Fire has claimed everything. A few other Marines and members of the SAS mill about in the background looking for other survivors. They aren’t finding any.

5) Caption: I tried to reach him.

6) Alfred: He may hurt more people if we don’t find him.

Page One, Panel Four
Looking over Alfred’s shoulder towards the young boy. The young boy’s expression remains blank. There's nothing left.

7) Caption: But he was too far gone.

Page One, Panel Five
Alfred has his hand on the boys shoulder. He looks down at the floor defeated. He knows the boy is a lost cause.
8) Caption: I will always remember that boy, Master Bruce.

9) Caption: And so many more just like him.

Page One, Panel Six
CUT TO Alfred in the present day standing in the Batcave. He has a tray with breakfast on it-- slices of toast, tea, the morning papers, etc.

10) Caption:  Every day I see that battle for the soul start afresh...

Page One, Panel Seven
From Alfred’s POV looking down at Bruce sitting in a chair at the Bat-Computer. He's wearing the Batman costume, the cowl down around his neck. He studies the screen intensely.

11) Caption:  ...and pray I never have to see a victor.


  1. Wow. Great exploration of Alfred's military background. Absolute humanity in a hellish environ. Great choice on Burma, as well; it's a warzone not to many people are familiar with or aware of. Fantastic work.

  2. Nice tie-in with The Dark Knight and some excellent parallelism going on too. As AZ says, also an excellent exporation of Alfred's past. The flashback scenes felt heavy and slightly intense, which lent those qualities to the present bit at the end too.

  3. Kudos, Mr. Hill, for putting together a top notch Alfred piece. Really good use of the character's background to tie-in to his life and work in the present. The parallelism is spot on, making the transition back to the present all the more powerful.

  4. Those first five panels are simply breath taking, your choice of location, set up and use of Alfreds past say more about the man than any full size comic I have ever read. Then you knock it out of the park with those final two panels.

    Panel 5 is a haunting piece of writing that will stay with me a long time.


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