Hi. Mark Waid and Tom Peyer here. You may remember us from such comics as SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #1, SUPERMAN #114, and other such Eisner-worthy instant classics of yesteryear. Lately, however, you may have said to yourselves, “Gee, the Waid/Peyer team hasn’t screwed up any of my favorite characters for a while now. Don’t they have anything else to punish us with?”
Well, never let it be said that we don’t listen to the fans! In fact, it was late last year that we once more struck the comics gold we’re about to unveil just for you. There we were, side-by-side at an upstate convention–if memory serves, we were there giving out refunds on SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #1 and SUPERMAN #114–when the subject of conversation turned, as it invariably does whenever Tom and Mark are together for more than nine seconds, to that most wondrous of all comics-to-film adaptations, that pinnacle of spandex entertainment, that shining moment in television–nay, American–history.
We speak, of course, of the 1960s Batman TV show, cultural springboard of all that is holy.
The origins of the show, while likely apocryphal, are nonetheless a national legend worthy of inclusion in any galactic time capsule. It’s said that producer William Dozier came across a Batman comic book while on an airplane flight and, suitably entertained by some story Bob Kane drew all by himself, decided to make the Caped Crusader his next smash tv series–or should we say, “Smash! Pow! Zap!”?
What came of that chance encounter with a four-color pamphlet, of course, yielded 120 half-hours of pure entertainment. And a two hour movie. 120 hours plus two. 124 half hours. A movement that united us as a people and as a nation. Together, we watched as a 25-year-old man donned green shorts and booties. We saw the Joker as we’d never seen him before–with a mustache. We believed Liberace and Aunt Harriet could, really could, fall in love. And who among us doesn’t remember the exact moment in our lives when we learned Robin had been swallowed by a giant clam?
“But,” Mark and Tom got to wondering…”but suppose Dozier had picked up something else to read on that long flight? Suppose…just SUPPOSE…he’d picked up an issue of SUPERMAN instead?”
Before you could say “Stately Wayne Manor,” Mark had his laptop open and Tom began scribbling notes. We’d knew we’d caught lightning in a bottle–a surefire Prestige Format mega-hit for the 2001 DC publishing schedule–a comics adaptation of that never-produced ratings blockbuster, SUPERMAN–IN COLOR! In a delirium fever, we assembled within the hour a full proposal and six pages of sample script, mailed it to DC, and calmly sat back waiting for an editor to call. It was a perfect pitch. A dream project. A guaranteed green light. There was only one thing we hadn’t taken into account.
We were the only two human beings on Earth who’d want to read it.
In the end, DC did offer to buy the series just so they could pulp it…but how do you pulp a dream? What do you do with six pages of script that so perfectly answer the hopes and desires of two (and only two) grown men?
Well, when your pal Gail calls in sick, you foist it on her YABS audience.
And it goes a little something like this….
A proposal for a 64-page one-shot
By Mark Waid and Tom Peyer
note TO ARTIST:
Most pages have a standard six-panel grid, reflecting
the unchanging size and shape of a TV screen.
The standard Superman logo, slightly loosened and distorted to reflect the Pop-Art Sixties.
logo : superman
type : in color
High angle. Overdressed pedestrians and 60s-vintage cars crowd a busy Metropolis intersection.
caption : COMES THE DAWN…a BRIGHT, SPRING DAWN OVER metropolis! BIRDS SING…SWEETHEARTS PITCH WOO…AND, at THE WORLD-RENOWNED metropolis labs, A YOUNG MAN’S FANCY TURNS…
Interior, a 1960s laboratory. A nerdish, bespectacled, labcoated Poindexter is feverishly studying a complex mathematical problem on a blackboard. The boy’s clearly baffled.
CAPTION : …TO ADVANCED CALCULUS!
SCIENTIST : hmmm…IF TORQUE THE VECTOR BY NINE ANGSTROM UNITS–
FROM OFF : DON’T STRAIN THAT MAGNIFICENT BRAIN, DOC! SPECIAL DELIVERY!
The scientist turns to see a BEAUTIFUL, MINI-SKIRTED MESSENGER GIRL entering. She’s toting a small package draped with a velvet cloth.
SCIENTIST : WHY–WHAT’S THIS?
GIRL : A LITTLE SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE YOUR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF EXCELLENCE, PROFESSOR EISENSTEIN!
The messenger girl flirts with the nervous scientist, tickling his chin, as he accepts his gift.
SCIENTIST : YOU–YOU’VE HEARD OF ME?
GIRL : WHY, WHAT AVAILABLE YOUNG METROPOLITANESS HASN’T, HANDSOME?
GIRL : WHY DON’T YOU PEEK UNDER THE cLOTH AND TAKE A GANDER–
Pulling away its covering, he sees that it’s a football-sized model of a BRAIN on a lucite stand (w/small plaque).
GIRL : –WHILE I DUCK!
SCIENTIST : A–A TROPHY OF A BRAIN! IT’S MAGNIFICENT! IT’S–
PLAQUE : FOR PROF. EISENSTEIN
COGITO ERGO EXCELLENTUM
Without warning, the brain suddenly emits jets of PINK-COLORED GAS, choking the scientist–
CAPTION : WHAT’S THIS? KNOCKOUT GAS? IS THERE MORE TO THIS AWARD THAN MEETS THE EYE?
SCIENTIST : =KOFF= =CHOKE=
–who falls unconscious to the ground even as TWO BURLY THUGS enter. They’re wearing domino masks, mortarboards, and black long-sleeve t-shirts with their names–NOGGIN and NOODLE–printed across their chests in plain white type. They’re carrying a big burlap bag and rope.
CAPTION : INDEED! FOR THIS IS NO DELIVERY–
CAPTION : –IT’S A PICKUP!
NOODLE : NICE GOIN’, DOLLBRAIN! HE’S OUT FASTER’N A PHILCO!
NOODLE : C’MON! LET’S GET HIM TO THE VAN!
Outside the lab, Noggin and Noodle load the scientist into the back of a van–
CAPTION : HOW CAN THIS BE? WHAT DASTARDLY MASTERMIND COULD BE KIDNAPPING THE GREAT GENIUSES OF METROPOLIS? WHY, NONE OTHER THAN…
–while Messenger Girl–henceforth known as CEREBELLA–clambers into the van’s passenger seat next to its driver–none other than BRAINIAC. In a domino mask. [Note: upon very close examination, Brainiac seems to sport a mustache under layers of caked green makeup.]
CAPTION : …THE BALEFUL BRAINIAC, THAT sinister space-CALCULATOR FROM THE ARCH-PLANET COLU!
CERE : MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, BRAINY-POO!
BRAINIAC : EXCELLENT, CEREBELLA! IF MY ARITHMETIC IS CORRECT, =DEET!= WE HAVE PRECISELY TWELVE-POINT-NINE MINUTES UNTIL SECURITY NOTICES THE GOOD PROFESSOR’S ABSENCE!
BRAINIAC : EVERYTHING PROCEEDS ACCORDING TO PLAN!
BRAINIAC : =DEET!=
Cere plants a big kiss on Brainiac’s cheek, but he pays her no heed.
CERE : OH, BRAINY…I JUST LOVE A MAN WITH A GREEN HEAD ON HIS SHOULDERS!
SFX : SMAK!
BRAINIAC : OUR EQUATION IS NEARLY COMPLETE! THE MOST BRILLIANT MINDS OF METROPOLIS ADDED TO MY OWN CRIMINAL GENIUS–
BRAINIAC : =DEET!=
The van–emblazoned “SARAH BELLA AWARD DELIVERY SERVICES” –pulls away.
BRAINIAC : –EQUALS UTTER DEFEAT FOR A CERTAIN MAN OF STEEL!
BRAINIAC : AH HA HA =DEET!= HA HA!
Interior, Perry White’s office. Perry grimly reads copy pouring out of a ticking teletype machine. Jimmy Olsen watches and listens to his boss; he’s as excitable as Burt Ward and as shocked by evil as Chief O’Hara. (Somewhere in the office is a telegraph key under a bell-jar. A plaque at the base of the jar shows a Superman S symbol and the inscription SUPER-SONIC TELEGRAPH.)
caption : meanwhile, in the well-appointed office of metropolis’ leading citizen, daily planet editor perry white…
PERRY : great caesar’s ghost! six prominent SCIENTISTS KIDNAPPED in the last three hours!
JIMMY : sufferin’ heat-vision, chief! do the police have any leads?
We’re looking right at Perry as he grimly stares out his window, contemplating this situation’s terrible gravity. Over his shoulder, a shocked Jimmy reacts to Perry’s dire news.
PERRY : i’m afraid so, olsen… and they all point to
the CUNNING super-electrical mind of brainiac!
JIMMY : you mean… that conniving computing machine is back on earth?
Jimmy turns on his heel toward the exit. Perry stiffly lays a hand on the excited cub reporter’s shoulder.
JIMMY : i’ll write it up, chief! we’ll put out an extra, and —
PERRY : not so fast, cub reporter!
PERRY : while it’s true that the planet has a responsibility to keep the good people of metropolis abreast of current events…
Perry puffs on his cigar as he looks dramatically down at the telegraph bell-jar, which looms huge in the foreground. Jimmy punches his palm and cries out.
PERRY : …for the WELL-BEING of all mankind, there is one MAN who should be… must be… informed first!
JIMMY : sufferin’ super-breath! of course!
JIMMY’S PALM SFX: SMAK
Perry gravely and solemnly lifts the bell jar.
PERRY : man of steel, i don’t know who or where you truly are…
PERRY : …but i devoutly hope your fantastic super-hearing receives our urgent cry…
Perry’s index finger works the Super-Sonic-Telegraph key.
PERRY : …that this…
PERRY : …is a job…
PERRY : …for superman!
SFX : deet-da-dee-da-dee-deet
Cut to the interior of CLARK KENT’S office–small, housing merely a desk and chair and a wall of filing cabinets. Clark, hard at work, looks up from his typewriter to see Lois enter. She’s carrying a plate of cookies.
caption : And elsewhere in the magnificent edifice KNOWN AS THE DAILY PLANET BUILDING, the workday of reporter Clark Kent is interrupted by the arrival of COMELY news-hen Lois Lane…
LOIS : clark! you’re getting so scrawny, i whipped you up a batch of coconut macaroons!
Clark looks dubiously at the cookies.
CLARK : why, that was very kind of you, lois!
LOIS : go on! dig in!
CLARK : well, lois, i generally don’t indulge in sweets before i’ve had a nutritious lunch…
SFX : de-deet-a-deet-deet
Close-up of Clark, listening with grave concern.
Lettering Note: All SFX overlap.
SFX : de-deet-a-deet-deet
SFX : This is a job for Superman!
SFX : job for Superman!
SFX : for superman!
SFX : superman!
As Lois momentarily looks out the window, Clark gorges himself on the cookies at super-speed.
CLARK : THEN AGAIN…
CLARK : GOSH, LOIS! THESE REALLY HIT THE SPOT! THEY’RE POSITIVELY–
CLARK : oooooohhh…
Lois, surprised, turns to see the empty plate in front of Clark, who looks pained, feigning a stomach-ache.
LOIS : CLARK KENT! YOU ATE THE ENTIRE PLATE? HOW DID YOU–?
CLARK : COULDN’T…RESIST…
CLARK : OHHH…MY STOMACH…
Lois leaves, disgusted. Clark wipes his forehead with relief.
LOIS : =SIGH=
LOIS : WELL, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKES, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? SOMETIMES YOU DO THE STRANGEST THINGS! THAT’S YOUR THIRD ATTACK OF INDIGESTION THIS WEEK!
LOIS : HOLD ON, CLARK…I’LL SEE IF I CAN FIND YOU SOME BROMO…
As Clark’s door closes, Clark lifts his typewriter, pivoting it (and the small square of desk upon which it sits) back on a hidden hinge–
CAPTION : AND WITH THAT, AS HE HAS DONE SO MANY TIMES BEFORE…
–to reveal a BUTTON which Clark thumbs–
CAPTION : …OUR MILD-MANNERED REPORTER SPRINGS QUICKLY INTO ACTION!
–which causes the FILING CABINETS along the wall to pivot OUTWARD–
–revealing a horizontal cinderblock tunnel!
TUNNEL WALL : SECRET ABANDONED ELEVATOR SHAFT
Standing in front of the secret exit, tugging at his tie, Clark casts one last glance around to make sure he’s alone.
CLARK : UP…UP…
Still holding our POV, we see Clark jump down the elevator shaft.
CLARK : …AND AWAY!
Stock “animated” credit sequence with story credits overlaid on shots of a lamely cartooned Superman emerging from the Planet building flying toward us, punching bad guys, etc.
What? Stop NOW? Not so FAST, faithful one! What IS Brainiac’s nefarious scheme–and how will it unlock for him the gilded door to the fabled ARCTIC FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE? What elaborate TRAP has Brainiac planned for the Man of Steel–and how will Cub Reporter JIMMY OLSEN act as BAIT? And with Superman out of the WAY–what can possibly keep this sinister space-calculator from conquering the EARTH? And what of…KRYPTO? Stay WITH us–because the WORST is YET TO COME!