A packed convention audience awaits as Peter David
steps to the podium and tests the microphone…
PETER DAVID: Hello? Testing…1,2,3…Okay, settle, people! We're about to start the next panel: ARE WRITERS NECESSARY? I'd like to thank the convention organizers for asking me to moderate this discussion, and you, the audience for all attending, and I'd like to thank our panelists for participating. And speaking of participating, what's up with airline peanuts? The bags are REALLY SMALL!
BRIAN PULIDO: HA!
JOE MADUREIRA: Good one, Peter!
ROB LIEFELD: …Huh?
PETER DAVID: Thanks! And another thing…ever notice how GUYS won't stop to ask directions when they're lost? It's like they're WORRIED about asking DIRECTIONS when they're LOST, or something!
BRIAN PULIDO: STOP! You're KILLING me with this stuff! Hahaahaha! "Directions!" Oh, my sweet JESUS that's funny!
JOE MADUREIRA: Hahaha! And it's so TRUE! ESPECIALLY that part about being lost!
ROB LIEFELD: Peanuts! That thing about the peanuts--I get it now! The bags ARE small. That's the joke, right? That the bags of peanuts are small, like he said? Ha. See? I'm laughing. I get it! Ha! Ha!
ERIK LARSEN: Rock ON, Peter! Don't EVER change!
PETER DAVID: But seriously, folks…this panel isn't about just my hilarious observations. It's ALSO about whether or not writers are necessary to the success of comics. Now, I've promised to stay impartial on this ridiculous, insulting question…so I'll just pass the question out to the panel. Let's find out what the panel thinks. Take Erik Larsen…PLEASE.
BRIAN PULIDO: Oh, my GOD! I'm WETTING myself here! I'm LITERALLY WETTING myself as we speak! "PLEASE!" Hahahhahaha! I'm SOAKING the front of my PANTS. I'm now SITTING in URINE! Hahahahah!
ERIK LARSEN: Hmmm. "Are writers necessary for comics." Hmm. Well, short answer? No. Wait. Is it too late for me to answer this anonymously? Anonymously, I say no, but I'm withholding my name. I'm just some guy, not Erik Larsen right now. The LAST person I am is probably Erik Larsen, who is paying his bills as a writer and not as an artist. In fact, Erik Larsen didn't even hear the question. My name is actually Name Withheld. Whoo! Good save!
ROB LIEFELD: I like to put a lot of sparkly things in my comics. SPARKLY!
BRIAN PULIDO: (Wiping away tears of laughter…) Writers ARE necessary, though. We tried an issue of LADY DEATH without a writer and while sales weren't affected, the story lacked the sophisticated drama and human conflict people expect in our comics. Plus, the artist just ended up drawing a lot of naked pictures of his cousin, who wasn't that stacked. A writer would've spotted that story weakness.
JOE MADUREIRA: I know how THAT can be! I once accidentally drew an entire issue of Battle Chaserswhere I forgot to give Red Monika a waist or a spinal column. She was just legs and a crotch, then straight on to tits, and then a head on top. In some panels, I forgot the head, too. Man, I'm getting hot just THINKING about it.
ROB LIEFELD: …Oh, my gosh! "Directions!" Hahahaha! You're REALLY funny, Peter! Say that thing about the peanuts again…you know, the bag thing? I can't do it as good as you, but that was funny!
Suddenly, a young man wearing an UBER-CON VOLUNTEER
STAFF t-shirt runs up through the audience, yelling
and waving a cell-phone…
VOLUNTEER: (Breathless, obviously distressed…)
Mr. David! Mr. David! Please, you've got to take
this call…it's an EMERGENCY! There's a pizza girl on
the phone and she's in trouble and didn't know where
else to call!
PETER DAVID: Did you say PIZZA? Give me that phone!
PIZZA GIRL: …You've GOT to help me! I'm all alone
and I don't know what to do! Oh, my god, he's all
BRIAN PULIDO: Ask her if she's stacked!
JOE MADUREIRA: Ask her if she has a spinal column!
PETER DAVID: (Into the phone…) Now, just calm down, young lady. What exactly is the trouble?
PIZZA GIRL: Oh, thank God! I didn't know who else
to call! I was delivering a pizza to this guy's
house, and he took a slice and went to go get his
wallet, and then he keeled over and he's barely
breathing! He says he writes GREEN LANTERN and his
deadline is TODAY and now I have to finish the script
and I DON'T KNOW WHO GREEN LANTERN IS!!! (sobbing…)
JOE MADUREIRA: What's a 'deadline,' anyway? I know I've heard that word before…
ROB LIEFELD: Telephones make it so you can HEAR people when they're not even THERE.
PETER DAVID: All right, all right, young lady. We're
going to help you land this script. That sick man is
obviously Ron Marz, and he's obviously got food
poisoning, possibly FATAL food poisoning…but let's
just not worry about him right now. I won't kid you
about your chances…you deserve that much. But if you
listen carefully, you've got a 50/50 shot of getting
out of there intact. Now when I tell you something,
you do EXACTLY as I say, and just maybe you'll get
down safely. I'm Peter, by the way. I've never lost
a script yet, and I don't plan to start now. What's your name?
PIZZA GIRL: *sniffle* …Tonya. My name is Tonya.
PETER DAVID: Okay, Tonya. How are you holding up so far…?
PIZZA GIRL: I'm so frightened, Peter! This script…there are so many plot holes…!
PETER DAVID: Now you listen to me. You're going to MAKE it, do you hear? We can get THROUGH this thing. Now, have you ever had any scriptwriting experience?
PIZZA GIRL: … Well, I…I did write a sketch about crop rotation in 4H when I was ten years old…
JOE MADUREIRA: That's more experience than I've got! She should write that book...you know, that one I do sometimes? Crap, what IS the name of that thing?
PETER DAVID: Good…good, Tonya. That'll be helpful. Maybe we can work in something about crop rotation in here somewhere. Okay, are you sitting at Ron's computer?
PIZZA GIRL: …yes, yes…I'm sitting in his chair. It's a really nice, really EXPENSIVE chair. His monitor is right in front of me…there's a bunch of typing on the screen. Some guy named Kyle Rayner is having a bunch of girls fighting over him, and there's some guy named Doctor Light shooting at him with light beams, I guess…
ERIK LARSEN: Wait…go back to the catfight. Describe the catfight. SLOWLY. Try to use a husky voice and lots of descriptive words…!
BRIAN PULIDO: TONYA! THIS IS BRIAN PULIDO, OF CHAOS COMICS. LISTEN, I DON'T READ GREEN LANTERN, BUT I KNOW THAT THE FEMALE LEAD'S BREASTS AREN'T BIG ENOUGH. YOU NEED MORE BUOYANCY.
PIZZA GIRL: Huh? Her breasts…?
BRIAN PULIDO: HER CASABAS. HER FUNBAGS. THEY'RE FAR TOO SMALL. A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS TO MAKE THEM FOUR HEADS BIG. YOU MIGHT CONSIDER GIVING HER ADDITIONAL BREASTS, AS WELL. TWO MAY SIMPLY NOT BE ENOUGH FOR THE NEEDS OF THIS STORY!! WHAT IF SHE HAD, SAY, NINE BREASTS? NOTHING OSTENTATIOUS, JUST FOURTEEN OR EIGHTEEN BREASTS…
JOE MADUREIRA: Why are you yelling? The phone's only a couple feet away.
BRIAN PULIDO: I get excited when I think about breasts. Sorry.
ROB LIEFELD: (To Brian...) You smell like PEE!
ERIK LARSEN: In the catfight, are the chicks really getting lathered up, Tonya?
ROB LIEFELD: I like breasts, too. On Captain America.
PETER DAVID: Tonya, it sounds like what you've got there is a classic plot/counterplot. We'll have to resolve both of those points. Now, see that keyboard in front of you? That's what you're going to use to bring this baby in safely. We just need to finish this plot and we're home-free, and you can see your family again…
PIZZA GIRL: All right, Peter…I'll try! What do I type first?
ERIK LARSEN: Have Green Lantern fight God! Give him a sidekick called Whale Boy! Give him his adamantium back!
BRIAN PULIDO: Have Green Lantern commit his soul to Darkness! Have him write a Dark Cookbook!
JOE MADUREIRA: I don't get the problem. The script is due today? Jeez, I wouldn't even start WORKING on it til November of next year.
PETER DAVID: Hold on, Tonya, we have a question from the audience…
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Stands, still raising hand…) Mr. David, I'm a member of H.E.A.T., and we're very concerned about the condition of Mr. Marz…
PETER DAVID: I don't want to alarm anyone, but it appears he's very gravely ill with food poisoning.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (High fives neighbor…) AWESOME!!!
PETER DAVID: You people aren't helping! This girl is all alone, she's scared, and she doesn't know if she's going to be able to MAKE it and all you do is give these crappy suggestions! She needs our HELP. Now, pipe down unless you have something USEFUL to say! Well…anyone?
BRIAN PULIDO: …
ERIK LARSEN: …
JOE MADUREIRA: …
ROB LIEFELD: I have four movie deals!
PETER DAVID: Oh, you people are useless…All right, Tonya. I know what to do. But you're going to have to TRUST ME, completely, understand?
PIZZA GIRL: …All right, Peter…I trust you. I just want to get home, see my cat again…*sobbing*
PETER DAVID: You will, Tonya, if you keep your cool. Here's what you do. I want you to put an ending in that doesn't really explain anything, and just sort of let the plot drift away and forget about it and not refer to it again. Oh, and put in lots of in jokes. Do you watch Lost In Space? Stick in something about Dr. Smith. The fans love that. Then just wash your hands of the whole thing and go write a Babylon 5 novel. Can you do that for me Tonya?
PIZZA GIRL: No. What the ****? Babylon 5?
PETER DAVID: I thought you TRUSTED me, Tonya! I do this ALL THE TIME!
PIZZA GIRL: WAIT! WAIT! Don't we need to break this down? Shouldn't we analyze the plot and the subtext? What sort of commentary is the story making on the human condition in the context of a struggle between good and evil? What thematic elements are inherent in a conflict between two characters who use light as a weapon? What about the gender conflict in the subplot? What about the nature of the hero's quest and his personal growth? What about characterization?
BRIAN PULIDO: I already SAID bigger hooters!
PETER DAVID: For the love of GOD, Tonya! You're coming in MUCH TOO FAST! This is COMICS, not aviation! You've GOT to SLACK OFF! You don't understand how low the expectations are out here!
PIZZA GIRL: NO! I'm NOT going to give this script a half-assed ending! The Green Lantern fans expect a real ending, and they're gonna get one. I work for DOMINO'S, Peter, and at Domino's, WE ALWAYS DELIVER.
PETER DAVID: Tonya, no! Take the easy way out! You'll never make it! Please, I'm begging you! PULL BACK!!!
BRIAN PULIDO: She's screwed. An ENDING! In this day and age! Unthinkable!
JOE MADUREIRA: I haven't understood a WORD of this conversation. An ENDING? What the HELL is an ENDING?
ERIK LARSEN: (Weeping…) Oh, that brave, plucky little girl. Godspeed, Pizza Girl. Godspeed! …Hey! This means Green Lantern is available! Screw Tonya, GIVE ME THAT PHONE!
ROB LIEFELD: I found some gum under my chair. It's crunchy, but it still tastes good!
PIZZA GIRL: Okay…weird costumes, goofy nicknames…this is just like wrestling, right? I can do this! I know what to do! It's just like crunch time back at the 4H Exposition! The girls both tell Kyle to go to Hell and…I'm sticking in a FIGHT SCENE!
PETER DAVID: Tonya…SAY AGAIN, PLEASE! Did you say, "a FIGHT SCENE?"
JOE MADUREIRA: My God! She's a GENIUS!
ERIK LARSEN: She's going to MAKE it! A FIGHT SCENE! (Hugs Joe Madureira…)
BRIAN PULIDO: That is EXTRAORDINARY, Tonya! A fight scene is the PERFECT resolution! Why didn't WE think of that? She's the comics find of the century! Now I have TWO reasons to change my pants!
ROB LIEFELD: I'm cranky. I want to have snacktime and then take a nap. I'd leave, but I accidentally tied my shoes to the chair. And I accidentally tied the chair to that guy who smells like pee.
PIZZA GIRL: It's WORKING! It's WORKING!!! I'M HAVING THEM FIGHT…AND…GREEN LANTERN WINS!! Did you HEAR me, Peter? GREEN LANTERN WINS!!!
PETER DAVID: (Voice hoarse with emotion …) Tonya, I know a few guys up here that'd like to buy you a beer when you get that script down. You're one helluva scripter, young lady.
PIZZA GIRL: It's DONE! I'm FINISHED! We MADE IT!!! And the ambulance is here for Mr. Marz!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Dammit!
PIZZA GIRL: IT's DONE! Oh, my sweet merciful God, it's DONE! Haha! Okay, okay…the fight is done. Do I need a denouement, or something?
ALL: A denou-WHAT?
PIZZA GIRL: Well, it's just that this ending seems a little abrupt.