Monday, May 18, 2015

Spider-Man - Those Who Can - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Daytime. Peter Parker stands on the viewing deck of the Empire State Building, gazing out across the
city. He’s just another member of the public – it’s pretty crowded up there, but we’re focusing on
him. Head & shoulders shot, we can’t see who he’s talking to, or who’s behind him.

This isn’t the Peter Parker we know, however, it’s the Peter of Earth 181512. He’s in his 40s now, greying at the temples like Reed Richards. His nose has been broken a long time ago but it’s still noticeable, and one of his ears is cauliflowered. There are a couple of old scars on his face too: not fresh, faded by the years.

CAP: Earth 181512

CAP (Peter): I used to dream I could be a hero.

Panel Two.

Flashback. Young Peter (10, 11?), sitting on his bed, reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The bookshelves in his room are crammed with fading, tattered paperbacks. Uncle Ben stands in the doorway, smiling, holding a brown paper bag containing more old books.

CAP: When I was a kid, I was always reading fantastical stories about people who made a difference.

Ben: Petey, I picked you up some more books from the thrift store…

CAP: You read enough of those, you think maybe one day you will too.

Panel Three.

Flashback. The moment at the science exhibition when 15 year old Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider.

CAP: I don’t know what I was doing there, I guess I was just trying to impress some girl – I didn’t even like science!

CAP: Maybe if I had…

Panel Four.

A montage of young Spider-Man getting clobbered by Sandman’s block fist, squeezed to unconsciousness by Doc Ock’s tentacles, dropped from a great height by the Vulture, electrocuted by Electro… In each image, his Spider-Sense is going mental. No webbing: this Spidey doesn’t have it. And his costume’s not half as slick as the one we’re used to: this Peter’s no seamstress either.

CAP: I never won a fight, you know? Yeah, I was strong. Yeah, I could jump around and stick to walls… and I always knew when something bad was going to happen.

CAP: But if I’d been smarter, maybe I could have invented my own spider’s web… or come up with some fancy doohickey to counteract my enemies’ weaponry…

Panel Five.

Slightly older Peter (mid-20s now) stands in a cemetery, surrounded by gravestones.

CAP: Maybe I could have saved Uncle Ben…

CAP: …or Aunt May. Or Betty, or Flash, or Jonah, or Mary Jane…

Panel Six.

Back up on the Empire State Building. Old Peter turns to face his class: a group of wannabe teenage heroes, out of costume, but loaded with attitude. This Peter walks with a cane, stooped, tired.

Peter: That’s why the Avengers gave me this job: because not all of you will make it. Some of you shouldn’t even try.

Peter: Only a very fortunate few actually get to fly, and they’re the ones with great confidence, great determination… great power.

Peter: For the rest of us… the responsible thing, it’s just to keep our feet on the ground and stop dreaming. I wish somebody’d told me that when I was your age…


  1. A truly breathtaking page. Perfectly paced. You manage to dance between a wide range of scenes and timelines with ease keeping the reader right there in each moment. You have created a compelling and interesting take on a classic character and use are pre-existing knowledge of the original Peter to make us instantly care for your version.

    The montage panel, had a great classic superhero comic vibe and your choice of action snippets made for visually compelling panel set up in my mind.

    Hot damn man, when you cut to that final panel and the whole reveal I was floored. Beautiful dialogue, both in keeping with the character and delivered with raw honesty.

    I don't think a one page story could be done any better frankly Rol.

  2. This is a heartbreaking little script you have here, Rol. It's hard to follow Peter through the summary of his failed career and broken dreams, but that's what makes this script so powerful. I know that putting your characters through the wringer can make for some incredibly effective writing, and you've absolutely demonstrated that here.

  3. Agreed. That last panel is just heartbreaking. Not because its so crushingly honest, but because it isn't said enough to young people. Pragmatism at its finest through great character. Nice piece.


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