The scene is a darkened soundstage, dressed up to look like a teenager’s idea of a demonic hovel…A single man sits at a table, reviewing a series of note cards, each with a reminder written in black Magic Marker: “LOOK SERIOUS”, “APPEAR SMART”,”ACT SPOOKY” and “REMEMBER WHOSE (sic) BOSS”. He regards each card with sepulchral intensity. A film crew is setting up nearby…
DIRECTOR: (Walking over cheerfully to shake the man’s hand…) Hello, Todd. Thrilled to meet you! I’ll be the director for this series of intros to your wonderful show. I’d like to thank you for the opportunity, and it’s exciting to be working with you. I’m not sure what happened to the last director, but…
TODD: (Unmoving…slightly hostile) I fired him. He was stupid.
DIRECTOR: (Momentarily nervous, but eager to please…) Ah. Yes. Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but these things happen. Now, do I correctly understand that you have no script for these intros?
TODD: The scripts were stupid. I fired the scriptman…the screenist…whatever. The writer guy. You know who I mean. The word guy. He was stupid. I fired him. I can write just as good as a writer. I write Thpawn every month.
DIRECTOR: (Puzzled, but polite…) Excuse me?
TODD: (Impatiently) What?
DIRECTOR: Did you say “Thpawn”?
DIRECTOR: (Understanding, suddenly…) AH! I see! You mean SPAWN.
TODD: I SAID Thpawn!
DIRECTOR: Of course you did, my boy! I must have misheard you. My mistake. Well, okay…you’re the creator, so I suppose you know what you’re doing. Heh heh! You know, I took the opportunity to read one of your comic masterpieces last night. I must say, I was reminded of Goethe, in the sweeping struggle of good and evil, and the masterfully conceived temptation of the protagonist…
DIRECTOR: (Waiting patiently for a response…)
TODD: You TALK funny.
DIRECTOR: (Cheerily…) RIGHT! Well, let’s get on with it then!
ASSISTANT: SPAWN INTRO #301, take one!
DIRECTOR: And….we’re ROLLING!
TODD: (Woodenly…) Picture, if you can, having the power to do great good…or great BAD. THPAWN lives with this choice every day…
TODD: (Annoyed…) What? Why did you stop me?
DIRECTOR: Todd, baby…you’re saying “THPAWN” instead of “SPAWN”. Do you have a cold or something?
TODD: That’s the character’s NAME. S. P.A.W.N. THPAWN. Are you stupid or something?
ASSISTANT: (Whispering to the director…) Ix-nay on the isp-lay!!!
DIRECTOR: OH! Uh…pardon me, Todd, baby. My fault completely. I’ve got…um…swimmer’s ear. Yes. I have swimmer’s ear, and I thought you said “Thpawn” but of course you said “SPAWN” quite clearly, and not at ALL like that kid we all used to beat up in elementary sch…never mind. It’s just this dratted swimmer’s ear. (Starts shaking his head trying to dislodge imaginary waxy buildup…)
ASSISTANT: SPAWN INTRO #301, take two!
TODD: (Deathly serious…) Imagine, if you must, being a creature of the dark, yet wanting to be bright…this is Thpawn’s conflict every day. But being bright is unhappenable for Thpawn, for his darkness is WITHIN. He can punch bad guys and his fist goes RIGHT THROUGH with blood and stuff DRIPPING and a big HOLE where their HEADS used to be, but such power always comes at a PRICE…
TODD: (Even MORE annoyed…) What was wrong with THAT one? I was just getting warmed up!
DIRECTOR: Todd, sweetie, I’m sorry. Maybe it’s the swimmer’s ear talking, but first, you said “unhappenable” and there’s no such word…
TODD: (Impatiently…clearly peeved…) It means something can’t HAPPEN!
DIRECTOR: (Quickly agreeing…) And it’s a GREAT word, Todd…a TERRIFIC word. Smashing, really. It certainly SHOULD exist, but…well, dammit, you know how strict these DICTIONARY people are…
TODD: Yeah, I HATE the dictionary. It’s STUPID.
DIRECTOR: It sure is! No argument there, Todd. It’s a stupid book for stupid people, for sure! But, let’s just HUMOR those old bastards at Webster’s and try it again, and maybe stick to smaller words on this one, okay? Okay? All right? Okay!
ASSISTANT: (Sensing impending firings…) SPAWN INTRO #301, take THREE!
TODD: Think, if you do, that you are Thpawn. Imagine how it would feel to be filled with dark darkness, and every day, a little bit of your humanity is taken away from you, like as though your punk-ass junior partner started giving you lip every time you had a meeting and was wearing 501 jeans all the time and smelling like Taco Bell. How would you handle this encroachant evil? Would you talk the other partners into firing him? This is the choice THPAWN must face every day…
DIRECTOR: CUT! Todd, dear…isn’t this episode supposed to be about corrupt cops? I’m not sure I get the jeans reference…
TODD: (Angrily…) I was just GETTING to the corrupt cops! That was NEXT!!! You INTERRUPTED me!!
ASSISTANT: (Trying to hurry things along…) SPAWN INTRO #301, take FOUR!
TODD: (Still a bit frazzled…) Conceive, if you should, of the eternal struggling of the light and the darkness. Now imagine that, AND your face looks all shredded and scraped up and has stitching in it from that crossover with Batman. Now imagine the face thing PLUS being given powers by an evil demon from Hell or something. How would that change your life? What would your life be differing? Would you be jealous if one of your former partners left the company you started together and took all his books to DC and didn’t return your calls, even the ones with no cuss words? This is why Thpawn can never again step into the light, even though his wife is HOT, I mean, tits out to HERE… (makes circular hand motion indicating large breasts…stares off into the distance, eyes go glassy…)
TODD: (Defensively…) CONCEIVE is a REAL word! It means THINK!
DIRECTOR: Of course it’s a real word, Todd honey! Really, it DOES mean think. Excellent use of “conceive”, seriously. I noticed that right away…
ASSISTANT: I noticed it too, how you said “conceive” just then!
TODD: (A bit mollified…) Well, then what was wrong THAT time?
DIRECTOR: Well, it’s just that…well, you seemed to stray just a WEE bit from the point of this episode, which, and correct me if I’m wrong, is about corrupt cops?
TODD: Some corrupt cops have big tits! I was GETTING to that! I was going to tie it all in together! I was foreshortening! QUIT INTERRUPTING ME!!!
ASSISTANT: SPAWN INTRO #301, take FIVE!
TODD: (Glaring…) Hypothenate, if you be, that you are a creature born of hate and dark and blood and fire and pain and evil, and you buy some really expensive baseballs, and pretty soon it’s, “boy, what an idiot” and “that guy must be retarded” and some nights you even AGREE with them, I mean, stupid goddamn baseballs, what was I THINKING, and you start thinking of your soul and how you sold it to get THPAWN popular in the FIRST place, and you’re getting calls from your Lord and Master, Malebolgia, all the time, saying, “You drew me so I look too fat” and “Quit having the Violater in there so much…I barely ever get any panel time any more” and you wonder if it was all worth it since you’ll spend eternity in Hell and all the Spawnmobiles in the WORLD won’t make THAT go away,and you’ve alienated everyone you’ve ever worked with and to be honest I miss drawing Spider-Man and his web shooters…thip! thip! Advantageous! And plus Peter David and John Byrne hate me and that stings a LOT. Every day Thpawn is faced with this dark versimillitude. The end.
TODD: (Remembering…) PS. Corrupt cops. The end.
DIRECTOR: (Confused and a bit frightened…)
TODD: (Coming to a sudden realization…) Hey. I don’t need a director. I directed KORN! You’re FIRED, stupid! Get out! You HACK!
Director leaves in tears…
TODD: (Eyeing assistant…)
ASSISTANT: (Trying not to be noticed…smiles hugely while perspiration beads on his forehead…)
TODD: (To assistant…) I’m conceiving a soda and YOU’RE getting it for me!