Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why Red Hood? - Phillip Butehorn

Growing up, Kyle Rayner was my Green Lantern, Wally West was my Flash and Tim Drake was my Robin. Yes, I am a loyal 90s fan. In my opinion (I have done zero research on this), the 90s ended death in comic books. For years, no one touched the resurrection of Jason Todd, Barry Allen, or Bucky. However, death was defeated by Superman. Soon after, everyone returned. Like I said before I was Team Tim Drake, but when Jason Todd first “returned” in Hush and then later in Under the Red Hood, I was muddled by Jason Todd’s return, his history, and character.

Even though Tim Drake will always be my first, I think Jason Todd is the Robin that got away from me. I say that because he is the middle Robin (I know that is no longer true, but that’s not the point here.) and I am a middle child. However, our similarities end there.

Jason Todd wasn’t born with acrobatic skills or money. He was poor, orphaned, and had a special set of skills. Those skills involved theft and survival. One might say Robin #2 was Aladdin meets Robin Hood. Instead, DC’s creators of the 90s made Jason Todd unlikable. What a waste. Dick made Robin likable, fun, and for some, (those outside comics) a joke of a sidekick. Jason Todd could have added even more layers to Robin’s legacy. Give the role to a brat and watch it transform even the worst of kids. Instead, they brutally killed him. They made jokes about how they killed him. When he returned, he was a still a joke, but over time they developed him and made him even more likable. He looks too much like the other Robins and his personality is sort of like the annoying brother everyone has. The sad thing is that he still hasn’t found his place. Maybe this week we can help him take a step closer to doing just that.


  1. Love Red Hood. I think the Arkham Asylum games did a great job with this character, too.

  2. This was a great prompt. Thanks for posting!

  3. This was hard, because like you guys I great up on Tim Drake, Wally West, and the rest and never really could get my head around Jason Todd or Barry Allen returning. It seemed like it was more significant that those folks died than anything else that happened in the comics. In this one, I jumped on the idea of Hood as a reformist, Robin-Hood type who gives to the desperate.

    David Press. 7 panels.
    1.1: We’re opening on BATMAN and RED HOOD, side-by-side, surrounded by a bunch of muggers. The Captions could be dyed RED to show that it’s Hood telling the story.

    NARRATIVE CAP [RED HOOD]: I just wanted him to understand, y’know?

    1.2: Action shot: RED HOOD and BATMAN punching out the muggers.

    NARRATIVE CAPTION [Hood]: He was always like: “Don’t do this; don’t do that.”

    1.3: Cutting away, we see RED HOOD walking down the street with a grocery bag full of goodies.

    CAP: But a lot of these sidekicks and heroes come from a place of privilege.
    CAP: They don’t know what it’s like to go hungry, to wait in line for approval for food stamps, or wait at a clinic for medical care—

    1.4: Now we have a full profile shot of RED HOOD. I’d like to try to get his mask to do a similar thing that Deadpool’s mask does—in the sense that it changes to show his expressions. Let me know what you think about that—I know, traditionally, it’s like Iron Man’s headpiece so a way to show his expression is probably difficult. In this case, I’d like Hood’s eyes to be turned in a frowning expression, his hands extended out at his sides in a What’re ya gonna-do? expression. He’s sitting in a cheap, blue school chair.

    HOOD: --they get their butlers to patch ‘em up.
    HOOD [cont’d]: You see they fight for the poor, the desperate, but they do it by punching out the truly desperate without—

    1.6: HOOD is now at a line of people waiting for the FOOD PANTRY to open up outside of a church. Off to the side we see a SANDWICH BOARD that displays: Food Pantry open at 6am.

    He’s handing a bag of apples to an EMACIATED MAN wearing a rotting hoody. Clearly he slept rough tonight.

    CAP: --knowing what it’s like to be desperate.

    1.7: Pan completely out to see RED HOOD in the center of a round circle in a BASEMENT. Behind him is a SHEET OF PAPER, written in black marker is “VIGILANTES ANONYMOUS,” which, obviously, is an oxymoron.

    HOOD: I guess we all fight the fight in our own ways.
    HOOD: My name is Red Hood and I’m just trying to do what’s right my way.

    --END OF PAGE--

    1. Damn, I typo'd. It's six panels. I thought so. (Hangs head in shame.)

    2. Lovely page, David.

      I really like the way you take advantage of Jason's background to take an opposite and critical perspective on Bruce's approach to crime fighting. Along with the focus on him helping that poor man, it goes a long way to humanizing Jason and making him a sympathetic character in the space of this single page.

      The whole thing is a bit full - I'd maybe suggest cutting some of the dialogue or tightening it up, particularly panels 4 and 6 (as written) - but the page doesn't feel overfull.

      Also: on the mask question, you could easily go with the interpretation of him wearing the material headmask and not the helmet that he often gets for that effect. Although just having the eyes emote on a solid mask could also be done to great effect.

    3. Thanks so much for your comments, Grant. I thought about cutting that last piece of dialogue, because the way I thought about the page would be a kind of AA/NA scene. I had another dialogue piece where the people at the AA scene welcomed Jason.

      Thanks again!

  4. Solid choice, Phillip. It's elicited some excellent scripts this week!

  5. Thanks! It was a character I was dying (no pun intended) to write.


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