So what do you do when you’re asked to script comic pages plotted by another writer years ago, with no copy of the original plot available to work from? Improvise, of course.
Marvel’s solicitations for July revealed a new/old project yesterday — Defenders: From the Marvel Vault #1 by Fabian Nicieza, Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. Fans might remember that Busiek once worked with Erik Larsen on a Defenders title circa 2001. Busiek explains on his blog that the book’s editor, Tom Brevoort, had commissioned Nicieza and Bagley to do a fill-in issue just in case the regular team fell behind, and after Bagley drew it based on Nicieza’s plot, it went into a drawer, unscripted, and wasn’t used.
And when Marvel decided recently they wanted to publish it, Nicieza was unavailable to do it because he’s exclusive to DC. So they recruited Busiek, who wrote the script based on the art without a copy of Nicieza’s original plot (which Nicieza lost in a hard drive crash years ago):
So I have to come up with a story to fit the art. A new story. One that might bear some resemblance to what Fabian intended, at least at the big structural moments, but other than that, it’s wide open.
And as I keep looking through the art, I get an idea. A pretty demented idea, really, based on one cryptic panel late in the book (You’ll know it when you see it. The script for that panel is “HTNN–!”). But it’s an idea that, demented as it is, won’t go away. And actually, I’m thinking, it could be kinda fun…
I tell Fabian the idea, mostly as a joke. But he laughs, and says that it sounds like a hoot, and it might even be better than whatever his original story was.
And I tell Rachel Pinnelas, who’s editing it, and she cracks up, and says “Do it, do it.”
So I do it.
It’s not what Fabian plotted, not by any means. It’s very strange. It has a very old, very dumb joke about a hot dog vendor in it. It has the Hulk building sandcastles. A near-pointless cameo by Empress Lilandra. And I had a blast writing it.
It sounds like it oughta be fun to read for no other reason than to see what Busiek came up with.