Thursday, January 31, 2008

Santa, Baby

People seem to enjoy the little peeks into my day job, so tonight, on the brink of potentially a major winter storm, here is a screen cap of Santa and I doing a live phone-in show on TV a week before Christmas, in happier times.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hoop Dreams

Directing live college basketball at the day job. The audio guy slipped away and snapped this shot from our perch above the scoreboard in the arena.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Could Be Heroes, Just For One Day

I am trying to spend out the rest of my Christmas money collecting up a Heroclix team based on my Lost JLA fan fiction I have been brewing up. I got a Firestorm, Firehawk, Hourman and Bulleteer in one swoop, then a Zatanna; Green Arrow is hard to find, and the price points on Golden Age Flash, John Stewart Green Lantern, and especially Ambush Bug are a little rich. But I am working on it.

I had my interest renewed in Heroclix after my Little Brother Harold's birthday. He has been wanting to play for a while and said that was all he wanted on Earth, so what else could I do. I got him a starter and a couple of boosters, then after taking him out to lunch on his birthday we went to a gaming store in search of a few more. I have been going to this place ever since I wasn't much older than Harold and it was fun to stop in. We began rooting through the big commons box (where I found much of the aforementioned Lost JLA) looking for a Superman. There was not going to be any Superman Heroclix in a commons box and my heart sunk a little.

But a college-aged dude gaming at a nearby table opened up a tacklebox full of Heroclix and handed my Little Brother a very nice Superman. That pretty much typlifies what's cool about gamers, no matter what other stereotypes might apply.

We ended up buying a few more boosters and Harold, as luck would have it, also got a Bizarro Superman (the "slow and misunderstood" Superman, according to Harold) and a Superman Blue. This League of Supermen, with the help of Flash, Hawkman, and Aquaman, later took on a rather robust Suicide Squad team of my own devising and beat them fairly mercilessly. But it was still fun.

Give me a yell at

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Looking Out of My Lonely Room, Day After Day

The Giants and the Pats in the big game. Flipper-armed, wobbly-legged Eli Manning plays while brother Peyton watches from the skybox in some sort of Bizarro Super Bowl. And yet I would rather cheer for the Taliban than the hated Patriots.

My fantasy team didn't do too great either, though I was predicted to do well and have never finished below third until this year. But Peyton's numbers weren't always the best for fantasy (my backup, Jon Kitna, had better!), Lavuernes Coles and Marvin Harrison had injuries, and my running back platoon of Edgerrin James, Warrick Dunn, Fred Taylor, and Julius Jones were hit and miss or all miss.

So I went to frost-blasted Michigan to escape the blues, and may have actually done so. Now this was a good place to eat, and we had some good wine here. And it is worth driving here, even on a sheet of ice.

It is early 2008, and the mind turns to new projects, in the meantime getting fed with books and movies and ideas. Until later, give me a yell at

Monday, January 21, 2008

Straycationing #1

I read an article which said that the new trend is "straycationing," taking long weekends instead of longer vacations. So now there's a name for something we've done for a long time, and finally I am ahead of the curve on something. We decided for the long MLK weekend to tour the southern Michigan wine country, something we've wanted to sample for a while. As you can see, besides the subzero temperatures and whiteout conditions, we picked an ideal time to go.

Straycationing #2

...but of course we could warm ourselves with wine and good food. Here I am in the delightful St. Julian's Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan. I would recommend the Chancellor and the Meritage.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You're the Hardest Thing I Ever Tried to Get Off My Mind

I have been sick all week. And no, it's not because the Colts lost.

Well, maybe a little bit.

Oh, my beleagured Colts, down in flames. I thought my devoted father-in-law was going to stroke out, but somehow he and most of the rest of us survived. We went out grocery shopping afterwards and everywhere we went people had expressions on their faces like the president had been shot.

There's always next year. Until then, go Packers!

There are a lot of people that want to do something in 2008 all of a sudden, so hopefully there will be some good work this year. I'm trying some new ways of working, especially on GHOST SCREAM with New Zealand director Amit Tripuraneni. Hopefully we'll get some neat results.

Until then, shout at me at

Sunday, January 13, 2008

When the Days Get Rainy and the Nights Get Long

Yes I know I am wearing the same sweater in almost all of my Christmas pictures. It was my holiday sweater dammit! Now it is retired for the season.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny crisp January day and I saw my new California neighbors down at the coffee shop, and though it's wrong I couldn't help but needle them a little bit that winter has hardly begun.

I logged my first entry in my reading blog and the first salvo in my new JLA fan fic blog and also updated The Homemade World Review, so feel free to sally forth from here. But come back, because this place will get updated the most.

And then go look at this for some great web comics (and thanks to Bill Cunningham for the link).

Give me a shout at

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tinfoil Hat Theatre Presents #2: Beelzebub, Jr. #1

Another trip to the misspent decade of the 90s--in 1999, I started on a new project with an artist who later went on to some fame and fortune while I continued to live in squalor and regret. Close readers of my spindly zine VOLUNTEERS will see some ideas that I later pillaged, as well as a few things that occurred to better writers than me in later years.

SPLASH PAGE: A scene from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, done in low-rent high school production style. Feature SCOTT COLSON front and center.

NARRATOR: That’s me and Bill Shakespeare, chillin. It’s the last happy moment I remember.

SCOTT: And as I am an honest Puck, if we have unearned luck now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, we will make amends ere long; else the Puck a liar call. So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, and Robin shall restore amends.

CUT TO MRS. LI, standing up in the front row of an empty auditorium, clapping.

MRS. LI: Good dress, folks. The show’s day after tomorrow. Now get home and do some homework! Scott, I need to talk to you.

SCOTT comes down from the stage as the other students mill about.

SCOTT: Whazzup, Mrs. Li?

MRS. LI: Principal Rand stopped down here a few minutes ago. He says you haven’t been going to class.

SCOTT: I’m here for the play, aren’t I?

MRS. LI: That’s not the point. You can’t pick and choose.

SCOTT: I’m just tired of jumping through hoops, that’s all.

MRS. LI: It’s not “jumping through hoops”, it’s called an education. Maybe we need to bring your parents in on this.

SCOTT: Lotsa luck.

MRS. LI: I’m sorry, Scott, but you’re not giving me much room to maneuver here. I’m afraid Ben Fuentes is going to have to come in and take your role.

SCOTT: What? Fuentes is worse than a freakin’ sock puppet!

MRS. LI: Scott! You need to think of your priorities. You’re so full of potential—

SCOTT: Don’t bother with giving me the props, Mrs. Li. I already got the message.

SCOTT chucks down his Puck costume and storms out.

FEATURE SCOTT, MOONSHOT, and C.P. sitting on a graffitti’d drainage pipe down by the river. They are in a blasted landscape of empty factories, an industrial wasteland. C.P. is a long-haired teen with a heavy metal T-shirt and a beat-up skateboard, MOONSHOT is a wiry African-American teen with flashy hip-hop clothes.

C.P. That was whack, man.

SCOTT: Ain’t no thing. I’m not goin back to that school anyway.

MOONSHOT: Hey, man, why don’t you come kick it with me for a while? I’ve got a crib over on the southside, it used to be an old factory or somethin, there’s plenty of room.

SCOTT: I don’t know what’s up yet, let me just sit here and chill for a while.

NARRATOR: I don’t know how long I would have sat there. Maybe forever. I had no home to go to, not really. And the one thing I cared about was yanked out from under me. But the world creeped in anyway.

FEATURE A POLICE CAR on the horizon.

MOONSHOT: Check it, 5-0.

THE COP pokes his head out of the window, looking around nervously.

COP: What are you kids doing down here, didn’t you hear they’re clearing the area?

SCOTT: What?

COP: It’s The Command. They’re engaging some supervillians downtown, and heading this way!

C.P.: That rules!

COP: Get in the squad car, kids, and I’ll get you out of here!

MOONSHOT: Yeah, right. We out.

COP: You goddamn punks! I said, get in the goddamn car!

The trio look at each other and shrug.

MOONSHOT: It’s all good!

THE KIDS pile in the back and the squad car peels out.

COP: Jesus, kids today!

SCOTT AND C.P. hang on the mesh between the front and back seats, MOONSHOT leans back, feigning disinterest. THE RADIO CRACKLES TO LIFE.

RADIO DISPATCHER: All units, all units. Be advised The Command has broken into two groups. Several costumed vigilantes have apparently gone rogue. Approach any costumed individual with extreme caution.

THE COP picks up the microphone.

COP: This is Charlton in Unit 23, heading uptown with three youths. What’s the location of The Command?

Suddenly the squad car rocks as a streak of red and yellow flashes by.

C.P.: I think that was The Red Rip! That rules!

THE COP stares out of the windshield.


Square in the center of the road, the sun at his back, is THE AMERICAN CONSCIENCE. He is six-and-a-half feet of star-spangled muscle, with a lantern jaw and a shock of blond hair. THE COP SLAMS ON THE BRAKES, and the squad car skids out. The car plows into AMERICAN CONSCIENCE, crumpling the front end, but the hero doesn’t flinch. He seems to be scanning the distance.

THE COP’S HEAD has smashed the windshield, leaving a bloody smear. The back door has crumpled open, and the three teens ease their way out, wide-eyed. AMERICAN CONSCIENCE turns his attention to the trio. His eyes glow with an unnatural fire.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Get out of here, kids.

MOONSHOT: We’re ghosts, sir!

THE THREE take off, but SCOTT and C.P. draw up alongside an abandoned building.

NARRATOR: I should have gone home and watched it on the news. But I’d never been this close to a real superhero. And American Conscience was one of the greatest—I thought.

SCOTT: I gotta see what’s goin on!

MOONSHOT: It’s your funeral, dogs! I’m out!

MOONSHOT zips off. SCOTT carefully peers around the corner.

SPLASH PAGE: The street has filled with flying, standing, crouching, heroes, including one riding a motorcycle, a dozen together. AMERICAN CONSCIENCE stands against them all.

NARRATOR: I got more than I bargained for. It was The Command, America’s team since back in the day. And the teen team, the Kid Command, right alongside.

DOC OCCULAR, a hero with two long cybernetic stalks jutting out from the eyeholes of his mask, steps forward.

DOC OCC: You know this has to end now. You can’t stand against all of us. Dr. Devil Dog told us the truth.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Truth? You think you know the truth?

Suddenly a blur flashes to the side of the hero. AMERICAN CONSCIENCE plucks THE RED RIP out of the air in a flash, and holding him aloft, snaps his neck.


The masked heroine falls down retching as AMERICAN CONSCIENCE casually tosses THE RED RIP aside.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Christ, that was your big plan? Have Larry run at me at super speed while you distract me? Kinda old school, dontcha think?

NIGHT WOLF, a leather-jacketed vigilante with a steel mask, revs up his cycle.

NIGHT WOLF: He killed Double-R! Let’s rock!

NIGHT WOLF roars after AMERICAN CONSCIENCE, who rather casually swats rider and cycle aside. He then grabs DOC OCCULAR by his cybernetic eye stalks, spins him over his head, and smashes him against a wall.

THE GOLDEN BEACON, an older hero in a yellow-finned helmet, flies overhead. He unleashes a blast of energy from his eyes that splashes harmlessly off of AMERICAN CONSCIENCE’S chest.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: I can’t believe I used to look up to you, back in the day.


MASTERSTROKE: You will end this assault, villian! So says—Masterstroke!

MASTERSTROKE, a female ninja, runs at AMERICAN CONSCIENCE, samurai blade shining. It breaks off on his back. AMERICAN CONSCIENCE snaps his elbow back and smashes it into her face.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: I can’t believe this is so easy! I shoulda done this years ago!

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE scorches SNOW SENTINEL with eye-beams as she tries to use a cold-gun against him.

DR. DEVIL DOG, an older, goateed figure in flowing black robes, lifts his arms in supplication, his amulet swinging and flashing.

DR. DEVIL DOG: I call upon thee—


AMERICAN CONSCIENCE picks up the old sorcerer and flings him toward the alley where SCOTT and C.J. are hiding. DR. DEVIL DOG hits the wall with a sickening thud.

C.J.: Aw man! This rules!

SCOTT: Chill, this guy is really hurt. Something isn’t right about this.

C.J.: I think he’s dead, man. That’s cool, though. I ain’t never seen a dead body before.

SCOTT creeps up.

C.J.: Stay away from that dude, man, that amulet is glowin’. I think he’s a villian, man.

SCOTT: Reformed villain…I think it’s Dr. Devil Dog.

NARRATOR: In retrospect, my whole whack life seemed to be leading to this moment in time.

Suddenly DR. DEVIL DOG’s hand shoots out from his cloak and grasps SCOTT’s arm weakly.

CUT TO AMERICAN CONSCIENCE ripping the metal wings from IRON OWL as EAGLE EYE tries to fell him with a variety of arrows.


DR. DEVIL DOG: You…you know of my reputation, young man?

SCOTT: Yeah, a little. I know you’re kind of a mentor to the Kid Command these days.

DR. DEVIL DOG: A lot of good that did….they’re all….all going to be dead….

DR. DEVIL DOG takes the amulet off of his neck and holds it out from shaking fingers.

DR. DEVIL DOG: Take it, young man…take it, and give it to somebody who has the guts to do… what I don’t….

FEATURE SCOTT holding the amulet, wide-eyed.

C.J.: Aw, man. He really is dead, man. And it’s awful quiet out there.

SCOTT AND C.J. peek around the corner in time to see AMERICAN CONSCIENCE squeezing the life out of THE BLUE MASK, an older costumed hero.

THE BLUE MASK: Little…punk….gonna…kick…your…


CLOSE UP of AMERICAN CONSCIENCE looking out of the corner of his eye.

FEATURE SCOTT’S AND C.J.’S hair getting blown back as something streaks by.

C.J.: Let’s ghost, man.


AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Hey, American Conscience! You just killed The Command and the Kid Command! What are you gonna do now?

C.J.: Ulp—

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: I told you kids to blow. You think you were hiding from me? Your heartbeats are pounding in my ears.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE’S eyes light with an unholy fire.

NARRATOR: The power came off him in waves. I knew that was the end of the line.

CUT TO A NEWSVAN screeching to a halt, then another right behind it, at the mouth of the alley.


He turns his back on the two kids and strides out to meet the news crews.

REPORTERS: American Conscience, what has happened—how many dead—how did this—

SCOTT: Jesus, let’s get outta here—

THE TWO KIDS lope down the alley and away.

FEATURE A SERIES OF SQUARE PANELS FILLED WITH TELEVISION SCREENS. AMERICAN CONSCIENCE is talking on each one, with a variety of people watching in a variety of settings. His speech is broken up over several panels.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: I am sad to report this tragic news to the American people. It is indeed a terrible day. Just a short time ago a situation arose where myself and the rest of The Command were forced to fight the Kid Command to the death. We believed that Dr. Devil Dog, the reformed villain who had been mentoring the Kid Command, had embraced the side of good. How wrong we were. He warped the minds of these young heroes to evil.

FEATURE an aging, overweight hippie, TONY RICHMOND, who is watching a small TV in his record store with a multiple-pierced employee.

RICHMOND: Wow, man. I guess that’s it.

PIERCED GIRL: What’s up?

RICHMOND: Hey, listen, can you run the shop for me for a few weeks? I got some places to be.

PIERCED GIRL: What are you going to do, follow The Dead?

RICHMOND: Yeah…yeah, I guess you could say that.

TONY RICHMOND shuffles through a beaded curtain in the back. Looking around carefully, he lifts a panel in the floor and descends down stony steps. At the bottom, RICHMOND opens a rusty chest, and begins wrapping himself with tattered rags, like a mummy.

RICHMOND: Damn, that’s snug. It’s been a while.

Soon RICHMOND is fully garbed as a mummy, with a pair of goggles over his eyes. He steps out of the back door and takes off flying.


CUT BACK TO others watching television.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Team leader Doc Occular tried to turn our younger team back to the law with words. But when Dr. Devil Dog ruthlessly slew the venerable heroes Golden Beacon and Red Rip, then all bets were off. Sadly, I stand here as the sole survivor. God rest their noble souls.

FEATURE BILLY JACK PIERCE, a hugely muscled older man with a burr haircut in bed with a sexy younger woman. He is watching the end of AMERICAN CONSCIENCE’s speech. He clicks off the T.V. with the remote in a huge heavy hand.

PIERCE: I can’t believe it. I can’t freakin believe it.

WOMAN: Billy, let’s order room service and forget about all that.

PIERCE: Hey, baby…didn’t you say you were studying journalism?

WOMAN: That’s right, Billy.

PIERCE: You said college, not high school, right?

WOMAN: Of course, big silly!

PIERCE: Well, get some paper and a pencil. I’ve got a helluva story for ya…

FEATURE C.J.’S MOM, a haggard and shopworn older woman, drinking beer and watching T.V.

AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: That is all I have for now—but rest assured I will look in the coming days and weeks to build a New Command.

SCOTT, C.J., and MOONSHOT creep past her and up to C.J.’s room with the amulet.

NARRATOR: We had to kick back, chill, and figure out what to do. But it wasn’t like I had the Presidential Cabinet to help or anything.

FEATURE THE THREE KIDS looking at the amulet in C.J.’s messy upstairs room.

C.J.: I say give it to John Elway. He knows what’s up.

MOONSHOT: Nah, man, Ice-T. That brother is righteous.

SCOTT: Sure, and let me page Bruce Willis while I’m at it. You two are so whack. Where would I ever find these dudes, at the 7-11?

C.J.: Well, we got to think of something. That American dude will be out lookin for us.

MOONSHOT: He’s lookin for you two fools, ain’t no thang to me.

SCOTT: He won’t be able to find us that easily. It’s a big city.

CUT TO AMERICAN CONSCIENCE perched on top of a tall building like a gargoyle, his stars-and stripes cape snapping in the wind. World balloons are bubbling all around him.

VOICES: with meatloaf with green beans—asked me to the—a gallon of milk—the deal around six—a big city.

FEATURE AMERICAN CONSCIENCE UP CLOSE, a cruel smile playing on his lips.

FEATURE AMERICAN CONSCIENCE’S POV as we see the city wide, then a residential neighborhood closer, then a street of two-story row houses closer, then a single weed-strewn yard and peeling home, then a cheap plywood door.



MOM: Hold up a sec.


AMERICAN CONSCIENCE (SMILING): Good afternoon, ma’am. Are the boys here?

MOM: Hey—you’re the sooperhero from the tee-vee! Come on in! (TURNS AND BAWLS) C.J.! GET YER BUTT DOWN HERE!



C.J.: This is whack, dude, he found us. Now what?

SCOTT holds the amulet out thoughtfully.

NARRATOR: Then things started REALLY getting whack.

DR. DEVIL DOG APPEARS over his shoulder.

DR. DEVIL DOG: You better think twice about that.

SCOTT is startled.

SCOTT: Wha—I thought you were dead!

DR. DEVIL DOG: Who, me? Well, I am. But my spirit is apparently linked with the amulet. That’s one of the many things I didn’t find out until it was too late.

SCOTT: But—but I’m afraid if I don’t try to use its power, my friends will all be dead!

DR. DEVIL DOG: That’s true enough.

DR. DEVIL DOG GESTURES, and suddenly the pair are standing in the living room, where C.J., his MOM, MOONSHOT, and SCOTT all are dead from gunshot wounds. SCOTT looks shocked.

DR. DEVIL DOG: Right this moment, American Conscience is using his X-ray vision to find a pistol C.J.’s mother keeps in a drawer by the bed. He’ll shoot you all, ransack the place, and slip away at super-speed. In this neighborhood, the cops will chalk it up to the terminal problems of the inner city. Sorry.

SCOTT: Dr. Devil Dog—how do I use the amulet?

DR. DEVIL DOG: If you use it at all…you must use it to its fullest!

SUDDENLY THE PAIR are standing in the ruins of a city in the desert. A young DR. DAWES DEVILLE is excavating a site nearby.

DR. DEVIL DOG: I found the amulet at this site in Egypt in ’68.

SCOTT: Hey, I thought you were some sort of medical doctor!

DR. DEVIL DOG: An archaeologist. Somehow, “Devil Dog, PhD” didn’t have quite the same ring to it. But I must hurry, the moment is almost upon us. I realized the power in the amulet, and refused to turn it over to the university.

FEATURE DR. DEVIL DOG AND SCOTT watching a younger version of himself getting beat up on by DR. A-BOMB.

DR. DEVIL DOG: I was fired, of course, and decided I must earn a living somehow. I began to cautiously use the amulet to conduct a number of modest crimes. I fought all the good ones, in my day.

FEATURE DR. DEVIL DOG getting worked over by DR. APOCALYPSE.

SCOTT: Yeah, it looks like you were a regular “Punching Bag to the Stars”.

DR. DEVIL DOG: Painfully true. I skirted around the power of the amulet. I sensed it, but feared it. My God, I could have ruled the world. But I was content, for the most part.


DR DEVIL DOG: But losing to the Kid Command was the unkindest cut of all. So I decided that if you can’t beat them, join them. I was a foolish old man. And now they must be avenged. But you must have the strength to do it right. Do you, boy?

SCOTT: Just tell me how.

DR. DEVIL DOG: Embrace it, boy!

SUDDENLY SCOTT is back with C.J. and MOONSHOT.

MOONSHOT: Whazzup, Scott? You looked like you were trippin out there for a second! We don’t got time for that!

SCOTT: I’m on it.

SCOTT puts on the the amulet.

NARRATOR: Nothing.

SUDDENLY SCOTT begins writhing in pain.

NARRATOR: Then everything.

SCOTT’S shoes split, and a pair of cloven hooves burst out. He begins to bulk up and shred his shirt and pants. MOONSHOT is looking on in panic, C.J. is waving the eternal “heavy metal” insignia with both hands.

C.J.: This rules!


AMERICAN CONSCIENCE: Don’t make me come up there, boys!

CUT BACK TO SCOTT as two long horns burst from his forehead. He lets out a HOWL.


MOM: I’ve tried to keep him away from the mary-juwana, sir.

CUT BACK TO SCOTT’S teeth growing out. CUT TO a wide shot of SCOTT, now seven feet tall, filling the room. MOONSHOT is in complete shock.


SCOTT looks at his hands, now capped with long steely claws.

SCOTT: Wh-what happened to me?

THE BEDROOM DOOR BANGS OPEN, AND AMERICAN CONSCIENCE shoulders his massive bulk through.


FEATURE LARGE PANEL WITH SCOTT in all his demonic glory.

SCOTT: So—you want a piece a this? What you got?

NARRATOR: They were brave words—though I was scared numb. But I knew I was all that stood between my friends—and death!

Saturday, January 05, 2008


The next trip to the Island of Misfit Scripts brings us BORN LOSERS, a comic-book script I wrote as a prequel of sorts to a three-issue series I wrote and drew myself, shaky felt-tip marker in hand, in the late-late 90s. I had originally called the series THE LOSERS, but certain DC comics characters made me change my way of thinking. Thinking I might be able to improve on my suspect storytelling by acutally writing a script beforehand, I penned this little outing to bring myself back to the world of the All-Hit Squad.

So, for your dubious reading pleasure....



A splash page with Steelbreeze front and center, fighting street toughs. Steelbreeze has a snappy costume festooned with lightning bolts, and a pointed metal wraparound mask/helmet that covers half of his face, almost like a bird mask. Wild hair, standing straight up, comes out of the top of his helmet. Mosquito is alongside blasting with his “sonic sting” gun. He is a helmeted and goggled hero in a jump suit, laden with gadgets, and sporting a jetpack with an unlikely pair of insect wings. Skytiger, in traditional 70s kung fu attire, is karate-chopping some others behind them.

CAPTION: What am I doing here?

Lower third box includes credits, and ALL-HIT SQUAD ROLL CALL: Mosquito, Steelbreeze, Skytiger, Moonmask, Gatecrasher, Lookout, and introducing the stompin’ Saturn Man!


PANEL ONE: Feature DARREN MEISLE, aka Steelbreeze, out of costume, with normal hair, looking like a typical Gen-Xer. He is working in a video store, helping customers.

CAPTION: Nine months ago, I was perfectly happy working in a video store in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

DARREN: “Seven Samurai”? Excellent choice. It’s in our foreign film section.

PANEL TWO: Darren looking at video boxes.

CAPTION: Okay, mostly happy. Sometimes, I’d get a little bummed out over in the heroes section.

PANEL THREE: CU Darren holding “Ballad of the Brigade” box.

CAPTION: We had “The Ballad of The Brigade”, of course, the old Nam movie with John Wayne as The Patriot and Jim Hutton as Sub-Zero Man. Cool movie, and of course the Brigade wins.

PANEL FOUR: CU Darren looking at more tapes.

CAPTION: Then there’s all those 70s “Black Gulliver” movies with Rudy Ray Moore. Pretty funny.

PANEL FIVE: Darren looks at another box.

CAPTION: And there’s “All-Hit Squad ‘76”, the TV-movie with Joe Don Baker playing my dad, The Mosquito, and Cathy Lee Crosby as Ms. Mosquito.

PANEL SIX: Darren’s pained expression.

CAPTION: No, she doesn’t play my mom. They didn’t have a part for the showgirl dad met in Vegas.


PANEL ONE: JERRY OWENS, a tall, muscular man who bears some resemblance to Darren, fills the panel.

CAPTION: So I was pretty happy. Then one day my half-brother walked back into my life.

JERRY: Hi, Darren.

PANEL TWO: Darren looks displeased.

DARREN: Jerry.

PANEL THREE: Jerry and Darren talk.

JERRY: I just thought you’d want to know I’m starting up the old team, and there might be a role for you on it.


DARREN: As what, waterboy?

PANEL FIVE: Feature Jerry.

JERRY: No, of course not! You know, though, that I’m taking up dad’s mantle. But there are other…opportunities.

PANEL SIX: Darren and Jerry.

DARREN: I’ll think about it.

PANEL SEVEN: Feature Jerry.

JERRY: Well, just come by dad’s old HQ if you want to know more.

PANEL EIGHT: Feature Darren, fuming.

DARREN: You know I don’t know where that is.

PANEL NINE: Jerry and Darren.

JERRY: Got a pen?


PANEL ONE: Darren standing at the doorway of a high –tech underground lab.

CAPTION: Of course I went. So call me a loser.

JERRY (OFF-PANEL): Hey, Darren!

PANEL TWO: Feature Jerry in the Mosquito costume and DR. LOTHAR HAND, a bald,
diabolical-looking scientist. They are shutting the door to a room with a big, bubbling vat. Something huge is growing inside.

PANEL THREE: Zero in from Darren’s POV on something bubbling.

PANEL FOUR: Closer. Human shape.

PANEL FIVE: Closer. A heavy-browed face peers out.

JERRY (OFF_PANEL): Darren? Earth to Darren!

PANEL SIX: Jerry stands next to Hand.

JERRY: Come on over, and meet Dr….Smith.

PANEL SEVEN: Darren’s surprised face.

DARREN: Huh? Uh—okay.

PANEL EIGHT: Darren shakes hands.

DARREN: How’s it goin’? So—uh--what are you cooking in there?

PANEL NINE: Feature Jerry, grinning.

JERRY: Never mind that. Darren…would you like to be a speedster?


PANEL ONE: Darren gets a hearty BZZAP while hanging onto two Frankenstein lab-type poles.

CAPTION: I’m not sure what I was doing, or who I was doing it for.

PANEL TWO: Darren on a treadmill, while Hand clocks him.

HAND: Fifteen miles per hour.

PANEL THREE: An angry Darren.

DARREN: Great, so now I’m fast enough to run and get a beer during commercials! Come on, Jerry!

PANEL FOUR: Feature Hand, smiling evilly, and Jerry.

JERRY: Crank it up.

HAND: Certainly.

PANEL FIVE: Darren gets the juice, big-time.

CAPTION: They say be careful what you ask for. No kidding.


PANEL ONE: Darren steps off the platform, and is vibrating so fast he’s a blur.

CAPTION: I felt like I got pimp-slapped by God.

DARREN: Jzswhtddudutumeyusshlll

PANEL TWO: A close-up of Jerry’s face.

CAPTION: I watched a nose hair grow in Jerry’s nose for a hundred years.

PANEL THREE: Darren stops vibrating, but now his hair is sticking straight up, and sticks up for good.

CAPTION: But when I came down, I had made the team.

DARREN: Wow, man! I’m going to call myself “Steelbreeze”—you know, like the Pink Floyd song!

PANEL FOUR: Jerry and Dr. Hand look happy.

JERRY: Welcome aboard, brother!

PANEL FIVE: Jerry and Darren are walking arm in arm, with sparks coming off of Darren.

CAPTION: It was a great moment--

JERRY: The new All-Hit Squad will be great! We’ve got the new Skytiger, and Moonmask’s son—some real franchise players!


PANEL ONE: Darren bursts into the lab, where Jerry sits morosely.

CAPTION: --but it was short-lived.

DARREN: Jerry, where’s the doc? I’m kinda bottoming out, and might need another jolt—


JERRY: He’s gone, Darren.

PANEL THREE: Darren’s disbelieving face.

DARREN: Gone? Gone where?

PANEL FOUR: Jerry and Darren together.

JERRY: Well, to Alcatraz. With the other supervillians. He got caught by Captain Speed and The Sponge.

PANEL FIVE: Darren throws his hands up in the air.

DARREN: Supervillians? Who was he REALLY, Jerry?


JERRY: Dr. Lothar Hand.

PANEL SEVEN: Darren’s eyes bugging out.

DARREN: Wasn’t he some sort of mad geneticist, that killed a bunch of people? What were you thinking?

PANEL EIGHT: Jerry shrugging.

JERRY: Well, he signed a contract.

PANEL NINE: Darren’s disbelief.



PANEL ONE: Jerry stalks out.

JERRY: Your experiment’s over, Darren. They’re ALL over.

DARREN: You mean I was just an EXPERIMENT to you?!

PAGE TWO: Darren stalks by a sealed vault door.

CAPTION: I thought about what he said. But I didn’t THINK about it, you know?

PANEL THREE: Darren comes up on Jerry, as Mosquito, and STEPHANIE POPE, the teleporter known as Gatecrasher, talking. Gatecrasher is a bold, African-American woman with long dreads. Jerry is holding out a skimpy uniform. In his other hand is a fast-food bag.

STEPHANIE: What’s this noise? I’m not wearing that. I used to be a cop.

PANEL FOUR: The pair argue.

JERRY: I have to look at the big picture. The marketing aspect.

STEPHANIE: I don’t play that.


JERRY: I see your perspective—

PANEL SIX: CU Stephanie.

STEPHANIE: My perspective? You’re a rich boy dressing up in your daddy’s clothes and play-acting. Don’t try to guess my perspective.

PANEL SEVEN: Stephanie smacks the costume away and stalks past Jerry.

PANEL EIGHT: Jerry leaves the costume where it is and carries the fast food bag away.

PANEL NINE: Darren ducks behind a conduit as Jerry walks by.

CAPTION: I know, sneaky. But wouldn’t you?


PANEL ONE: Jerry types in a code on the vault door’s security panel.

CAPTION: 1111? No points for originality, Jerry.

PANEL TWO: The door creaks open, and Jerry disappears inside.

PANEL THREE: The open door, from the front, with solid black through the doorframe past stairs going down. Silence.

PANEL FOUR: The same, except a single word balloon comes out.

SATURN MAN: Is there a new toy in this one?

PANEL FIVE: Darren’s head is framed in the door, from the POV of the bottom of the stairs.

JERRY (OFF-PANEL): Don’t know.


PANEL SIX: A huge hand is holding a tiny burger.

SATURN MAN (OFF-PANEL): You know, I’ve read all the books down here…all the old casefiles.


PANEL SEVEN: A lantern jaw sipping a tiny cola.

SATURN MAN (OFF-PANEL): Well, um—you know—can you bring me some newspapers or comics or something?


PANEL EIGHT: A heavy brow and two black eyes are featured as Saturn Man’s face is caught in a beam of light from the door. It is a monstrous visage, pebbled skin over an overhanging brow and beady little eyes, with no nose visible above a jutting jaw.

SATURN MAN: I mean, you know, if you have time.

PANEL NINE: Darren bugging out.



PANEL ONE: Darren races off in a blur.

CAPTION: What WAS that thing? What is Jerry doing?

PANEL TWO: Jerry peeks out the vault, looking around curiously.

PANEL THREE: Jerry stops outside the building, clutching his heart and wheezing.

SKYTIGER (OFF-PANEL): Hey, Steelbreeze!

PANEL FOUR: Skytiger and Lookout and looking at him curiously. Lookout is a tall, thin,
African-American man with a huge pair of goggles on, wired to a rubbery exoskeleton spouting cables from every possible location.

SKYTIGER: Are you ready to go out on patrol, buddy?

PANEL FIVE: Darren’s stricken face.

DARREN: Yeah, let’s get out of here.

PANEL SIX: A large panel of the city skyline, with the three heroes highlighted against it.

LOOKOUT: I hope we fight some supervillians soon. I feel stupid being the only ones wearing costumes.


PANEL ONE: Skytiger kicks back.

SKYTIGER: Me, I like it. Better name recognition.

PANEL TWO: Feature Darren.

DARREN: You don’t need that! There’s been Skytigers since what, the 1700s?

PANEL THREE: The trio on the roof.

SKYTIGER: Yeah, but I’m branching out more than that. I’m going to do this a year.

PANEL FOUR: The three figures, smaller, on a roof from POV across the street.

SKYTIGER: Then it’s endorsements, and infomercials. I’ve got a workout tape called Sky-Ti—

PANEL FIVE: Lookout looks nervous. His goggles are scrolling 1s and 0s.

LOOKOUT: Hey, guys…I’m picking up two people right below us…it sounds like a deal is going down.

PANEL SIX: Skytiger hoists a leg over the edge of the roof.

SKYTIGER: Cool, let me lay a little David Carradine on them. Race ya, Steelbreeze.

PANEL SEVEN: Two punks exchanging drugs, looking up in surprise.

SKYTIGER (OFF-PANEL): That filth will NOT poison these streets!

PANEL EIGHT: A large panel with Skytiger diving from the roof in full karate mode.



PANEL ONE: The dealer tries to whip out a pistol.

DEALER: Yeah, kung fu THIS!

PANEL TWO: Darren snatches it out of his hand in a rush of movement. The dealer registers surprise.

CAPTION: I can’t believe I’m doing this. Just don’t think about it.

PANEL THREE: Skytiger delivers a stunning blow to the dealer.

PANEL FOUR: Skytiger turns around and deals out another to the junkie.

PANEL FIVE: Skytiger is standing between two inert bodies. Darren is looking at the gun in dismay.

SKYTIGER: How do you like me now?

CAPTION: What do I do with THIS?

PANEL SIX: Skytiger drags the sputtering dealer up by his shirt.

SKYTIGER: One question…where?

PANEL SEVEN: The team meeting in the HQ. Steelbreeze, Mosquito, Skytiger, Gatecrasher, Lookout, and Moonmask are sitting around a table. Moonmask is Newton Pierce, a powerfully-built
African-American man with a crescent-shaped insignia on his mask and costume, and sporting a number of pistols, grenades, and other weapons. Mosquito is looking at a report.

JERRY: Good intel, Skytiger. Can you ‘port us to the location the dealer gave us, Gatecrasher?

PANEL EIGHT: Stephanie and others.

STEPHANIE: No problem.


JERRY: Okay, then. We have a meth lab to take down!


PANEL ONE: Darren moves away from the group, head hanging.

CAPTION: Oh, God. A meth lab! What am I doing?

PANEL TWO: POV Darren as he sees the sealed vault down the hall.

PANEL THREE: Jerry and others.

JERRY: You ready, Steelbreeze?


CAPTION: Steelbreeze? What happened to Darren? I’m supposed to be your brother!

DARREN: Just a sec.

PANEL FOUR: Darren moves away down the hall.

CAPTION: Let me do one good thing before I die.

PANEL FIVE: CU Darren’s hand typing in the code.

PANEL SIX: Darren cracks the vault door open, and walks away.

PANEL SEVEN: The door stands ajar.

PANEL EIGHT: The same, except:


PANEL NINE: Darren rejoins the team.

DARREN: Let’s do it.


PANEL ONE: Darren blasts through a window, breaking glass in an explosive shower.

CAPTION: Jerry sent me in first. How did I get stuck with the speed powers again?

PANEL TWO: Darren punches out several thugs in a blur of motion.

CAPTION: I just gotta hit people, and hope the others get in here before it got too heavy.

PANEL THREE: Skytiger kicks in the door. Lookout and Moonmask crowd in around.

SKYTIGER: Lay down your arms—

PANEL FIVE: Skytiger flies in.

SKYTIGER: --or face the wrath of SKYTIGER, MASTER of the MARTIAL ARTS!

PANEL SIX: The thugs start busting shots at the team.


PANEL SEVEN: Lookout is surveying the room through his high-tech goggles.

LOOKOUT: We’ve got eleven perps standing, moderate ord, two next—

PANEL EIGHT: A bullet nips Lookout’s arm.



PANEL ONE: Lookout goes running out the door in a panic.

LOOKOUT: Blood blood blood blood—

PANEL TWO: Mosquito takes a shot with his sonic gun at the lab equipment.

MOSQUITO: You won’t be needing THIS where you guys are going!

PANEL THREE: Stephanie tries to grab his arm.

STEPHANIE: Jerry, don’t—

PANEL SIX: The lab apparatus explodes with a mighty KRAKABOOM, and Stephanie and Jerry are knocked unconscious.

PANEL SEVEN: Skytiger is surprised.


PANEL EIGHT: Suddenly a hood creases Skytiger’s skull with a broken slat of wood. He falls unconscious also.

PANEL NINE: Moonmask cuts loose with a pistol in each hand.

MOONMASK: Get in the game, Steelbreeze! We’re getting whipped up on by a bunch of crackheads!


PANEL ONE: Darren rooted in place.

CAPTION: What does he want me to do?

PANEL TWO: A thug brings a pistol to bear on Jerry.

CAPTION: I’m going to die!

PANEL THREE: CU thug and his evil grin.

PANEL FOUR: Suddenly, a ham-sized fist slams into the thug, spraying his teeth.

PANEL FIVE: Feature Saturn Man in all his glory, a massively-muscled seven-foot tall monster dealing death to the shocked thugs.

SATURN MAN: Evil-doers fear! The Saturn Man is here!

PANEL SIX: Mosquito and Gatecrasher sit up. Mosquito is holding his head.

JERRY: Oh God…

PANEL SEVEN: Saturn Man gets sprayed by machine-gun fire.

SATURN MAN: Hey! That tickles!

PANEL EIGHT: Saturn Man punches a guy through a wall.

SATURN MAN: Don’t worry, guys! I’ll save you!

PANEL NINE: Darren, wide-eyed.

CAPTION: Well, this is a twist.


PANEL ONE: Saturn Man sends the thugs running.

SATURN MAN: Go back to your holes, you rats!

PANEL TWO: Skytiger stands up.

SKYTIGER: You saved us, my friend. And for that, SKYTIGER, MASTER of the MARTIAL ARTS, is grateful!

PANEL THREE: Moonmask crowds him out.

MOONMASK: Chill, Sky. So who are you, man?

PANEL FOUR: Why, I’m Saturn Man, hero for the oppressed and stuff!

PANEL FIVE: Darren’s hand touches Saturn Man’s massive arm.

PANEL SIX: Darren is dwarfed by Saturn Man.

DARREN: And he’s trying out for the team. Isn’t that right, Jerry?

PANEL SEVEN: Jerry looks sick.

JERRY: Uh--yeah, that’s –uh—right.

PANEL EIGHT: Saturn Man looms large.

SATURN MAN: So what do you say, guys?

PANEL NINE: Skytiger, Moonmask, Gatecrasher, Mosquito all standing together. Lookout is seen BG, peeking in the door.

SKYTIGER: What can we say? Welcome aboard, friend!

PAGE EIGHTEEN: A single panel, featuring everybody. Moonmask and Skytiger are slapping Saturn Man on the back. Jerry and Darren are hanging back. Lookout stands tentatively on the outskirts. Gatecrasher is bemused. Everyone has a caption over their heads, except Steelbreeze’s whose is last, in the bottom right corner, above “End”.

CAPTION (LOOKOUT): I’ll tell them I had to change batteries! That’s it!

CAPTION (MOONMASK): NOW we can kick some butt! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

CAPTION (SKYTIGER): I need to sign this guy to my agency!

CAPTION: (SATURN MAN): They like me! They really like me!

CAPTION (GATECRASHER): Just keep cashing the checks, Stephanie…

CAPTION (MOSQUITO): Nice, deep breaths, count backwards from twenty—

CAPTION (STEELBREEZE): What am I doing here? Maybe some good. And that’s all a guy can do, I guess.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Tinfoil Hat Theatre Presents: CAPES #1

I'm starting 2008 by going through the ol' Archives and presenting some of my old scripts and stuff from the wayback.
Here is a project I was working on back in 1999--a comic book series called CAPES, a riff on COPS but with a REAL WORLD twist as a group of young heroes on a reality show face off against a criminal mastermind.
I probably wasn't the first to think of some of these ideas and I know I wasn't the last--look at Todd Nauck's WILDGUARD and Brian Michael Bendis' "Retro Girl" in POWERS, for instance. Careful readers will note that I cribbed some of these ideas for my current comic book zine VOLUNTEERS, obviously the "first to market" stuff via Bendis and Nauck had to be set by the wayside, a curse that many creators face.
So, for your dubious reading pleasure...



VISOR: Electronic space-aged visor over stunning good looks, over a giant ego

RETRO GIRL: Has the power to speed up or slow down time, but prefers the 60s pillbox hat look

SPITBALL: The son of two Silver-Age heroes (The Silver Spitfire and The Red Ball), he has taken his father’s amazing rebounding technology to bounce off of crime

THE HARD-WIRED KID: Spockian cyborg

LEMMING LAD: Morose fraidy-cat who writes a lot of bad poetry

CATNAP: Former bad-girl trying to go straight with modest success

SLINGSHOT: Former teen sidekick of 40s hero The Crack Commando, who has recently been unfrozen and is learning way too much about the 90s

I see this first sequence featuring several long, narrow panels. Feature two sets of hands, one holding a photograph. The teen in the picture has a shock of blond hair and white, straight teeth.

VOICE ONE: This kid will have to be the leader. He used to be in that singing group, you know the one all the teeny-boppers went for? My daughter loved that group. Plus, he’s done soaps.

VOICE TWO: What’s his powers, though?

VOICE ONE: Powers? Screw that. Give him that visor we found, call him Visor or something.

VOICE TWO: That artifact came from a wrecked spaceship! It’s untested! It’s—

VOICE ONE: Did someone ask you a question?

Feature a photo of a young adult in a mummy costume.

VOICE ONE: Nah. Looks ratty, looks like he smells, would scare the kids.

Feature a photo of a young woman in vintage clothes, with a “Jackie O” pillbox hat.

VOICE ONE: This speaks to me. It’s trendy, it’s post-grunge, it’s today.

VOICE TWO: Her powers—

VOICE ONE: Powers? She’s the love interest for Visor, ‘nuff said.

Feature a photo of a young African-American with cyborg-enhanced features.

VOICE ONE: He’s hip! He’s urban! I love it! He’s in!

Feature a photo of a powerfully-built Black hero.

VOICE ONE: Don’t show this to me, I just picked a Black kid. I need an angst-ridden kid. Any reformed villians in there? That’s dramatic tension.

VOICE TWO: Just what are you looking for?

VOICE ONE: Ratings, baby.

Feature a splash page, with a majestic hovercraft over a shining skyline. People young and old are smiling and pointing.

CAPTION: The Superstar Seven in “My Three (Alternate Universe) Sons” (Writing and Art credits)

CAPTION: When people see the hovercrafts, their hearts and spirits lift. For these powerful ships are owned by The Volunteers, the world’s premier team of heroes.

Feature the high-tech interior of the ship, where five teen heroes sit.

CAPTION: Unfortunately, this hovercraft was “borrowed” from The Volunteers.


VISOR: H-W, fly by that apartment building on 8th and Charlton, let’s see if we can catch those sunbathers out again. I wanna try out my X-ray vision.


RETRO GIRL: Dream on, Viz.


HARD-WIRED KID: Visor, I believe there is an anomaly below us that deserves investigating.


SPITBALL: It’s all good, H-W, it’s just me. I’ve got my Game Boy hooked into the main viewscreen.


LEMMING LAD: That’s not Game Boy, that’s King Wave! Now we’re all going to die!

Feature a heavily-muscled reptilian man, wearing a giant fishbowl on his head, directing a bevy of claw-clacking and tentacled creatures through the streets.

KING WAVE: Spread out, my minions! This time, the surface world will be ours!

Feature the interior of the ship.

LEMMING LAD: I got dibs on staying behind and flying the hovercraft!


VISOR: This one’s for Sweeps Week, baby! Let’s roll tape!

Feature Visor, Spitball, the Hard-Wired Kid, and Retro Girl bailing out of the ship, outlined against the skyline. A flurry of little flying, robotic cameras follow in their wake.

SPITBALL: I got the bread crumbs!

VISOR: I got the butter! Let’s do this!

Feature King Wave, buggle-eyed.

KING WAVE: Not you meddling kids!

With a mighty CLONG, King Wave separates the Hard-Wired Kid’s head from his body, and it goes skidding off down the sidewalk.


Feature H-W’s head.

HWK: Not—tcchh—so. If somebody would bring me my---tcchh—soldering iron—

Spitball, curled up into the fetal position, ricochets off of King Wave’s helmet with a teeth-jarring KABONG.

SPITBALL: I’ll catch you on the rebound!

Visor’s goggles flare up.

VISOR: Now let’s put the heat on!

Retro Girl stands holding H-WK’s head.

RETRO GIRL: I can’t believe you two! Our friend is hurt, and you’re just trying to plant a new catch-phrase into America’s subconscious!

Spitball gets snatched out of mid-air by a huge claw, and gets dragged down toward a gaping maw.


Visor is tangled up with a tentacled monster and is getting squeezed mercilessly as he tries in vain to fight back.

VISOR: Don’t get all touchy-feely on me! I’ve got butts to kick!

Another tentacled monster grabs Retro Girl around the neck. A little kid standing nearby watches with interest.

KID: Hey, aren’t you guys the ones on TV all the time?

RETRO GIRL (gasping) Yes, now get outta here, kid!

KID: Why? This is all fake like wrestling, right?

A monster whacks the kid with a scaly tail, sending him ricocheting down the street.

Suddenly, twin bolts of fire scorch the monster, and Retro Girl wiggles free.

RETRO GIRL: What the—

Feature The Volunteers, broad-shouldered heroes with their hands on their hips. Their roster: The Star-Spangled Fist (Standard patriotic hero), Visor Man (looks suspiciously like an older Visor), Scarlet Scorcher (flame-control powers), 0-2-60 (high-strung speedster), Targeteer (aggressive-looking weapons master with Robin Hood hat and moustache). (Note passing resemblance to 60s-era Avengers)

FIST: You’re all washed up, King Wave!

SPITBALL: Damn, I wish I had thought of that one!

Feature a few panels of The Volunteers mopping up the undersea invaders. Targeteer shoots one full of arrows, 0-2-60 whips the spears out of several creatures’ hands at super-speed, Scarlet Scorcher throws a fire-ring around several more, Visor Man blasts a few, Fist goes toe-to-toe with King Wave.

Feature The Star-Spangled Fist dragging King Wave by the scruff of his neck as Spitball approaches.

SPITBALL (sarcastically): Ooooh, it’s The Volunteers! We would have had this wrapped up in a minute, but you just had to come along and take sloppy seconds, huh?

Feature a close-up of Fist in full glower.

SPITBALL: Er—it’s all good, though, we don’t need the publicity. Later—

He turns around and bumps into Targeteer’s chest.

TARGETEER: There is, of course, the small matter of the hovercraft.

Visor bullies his way in.

VISOR: Hey, screw you, pal! I call it an eye for an eye! What’s up with “Visor Man’? What about copyright infringement? I’ve got merchandising to think of, man!

Visor Man steps forward.

VISOR MAN: I-I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to introduce myself to you, father. I—

VISOR: Whooooah! What did you say?

VISOR MAN: I—I said “father.” You are my father, and I traveled back in time from an alternate future hoping to one day meet you, and have since been trapped here—

SPITBALL: You mean Viz is actually going to get some action?!

Visor elbows Spitball in the gut.

VISOR MAN: I have tried to live up to your legacy, father. I have made improvements on the visor—

SPITBALL: Yeah, yeah, that’s all good, but I got to know—who wins the next 30 Super Bowls?

Retro Girl steps up, still holding the Hard-Wired Kid’s head under her arm.

RETRO GIRL: More importantly…who’s your mother?

Cut to the team bursting through the doors of the team’s clubhouse.


CATNAP is polishing her claws.

CATNAP: What’s this?

VISOR: Never mind. Where’s Slingshot?

CATNAP: Where he always is, surfing the ‘Net for porn.

VISOR: It’s time to call a team meeting. The Volunteers took their hovercraft back.

CATNAP: Yo, popsicle! Get out here!

Slingshot walks through the door.

SLINGSHOT: Gosh, gals sure have changed since I got frozen in that iceberg back during the War!

SPITBALL: Well, this will knock the freezer-burn right off ya, big guy. It turns out that Visor and—


CATNAP: What’s bouncy-boy talking about, Visor?

VISOR (visibly nervous): Nothing, it’s just that…well, you know that new guy Visor Man in The Volunteers? Well, heh—he was telling us today he’s from an alternate future, and he’s—heh, heh—our son.

Feature several panels in a row of Catnap’s stony expression. Finally:

CATNAP: He did say an alternate future, didn’t he?

Lemming Lad and Spitball fall down laughing. A camera with a blinking light watches from the corner.

Feature the same scene on a television monitor.

VOICE ONE: Thank God! I think the show is saved!

VOICE TWO: Saved? We haven’t been doing that badly—

VOICE ONE: We were getting killed by “Matlock” reruns in Philly! I mean, look—Retro Girl can hardly stand Visor, there’s no sparks there—I thought the kid we thawed out would turn out to be gay, that didn’t fly—the “bad girl” hasn’t slept with anybody--the robot kid, what’s his name, he doesn’t act Black at all—but this alternate future thing?….now we got something.

Feature the clubhouse again.

SPITBALL: Yeah, I don’t have any alternate universe kids—that I know of! Heh heh.

SLINGSHOT: Did she have any alternate-universe sisters?

VISOR: Will you guys shut up, you know I haven’t been to any alternate universes!

SPITBALL: Whatever you say, playa.

CATNAP: I am really, really starting to hate myself.

Suddenly an alarm blares.

VISOR: The intruder alert! Everybody scramble—YOU!!

Feature Visor Man.

VISOR MAN: I’m sorry to break in, but I had to talk to you, father—mother.

Feature Catnap and Visor.

VISOR: Jeez, now what?

VISOR MAN: I—I just wanted you to know how much—how much I missed you after you—er--

VISOR: Whoa, whoa, hold up. We get—killed?

VISOR MAN: I—I can’t say any more.

Catnap puts her fingers in her ears and closes her eyes.

CATNAP: Not listening, not looking, not listening—

VISOR: You’d tell you dear old pops, wouldn’t you?

VISOR MAN: It…it started with the murderous rampage of a giant robot—

Suddenly, a giant robot fist smashes through the roof and snatches Visor Man up in his grasp.

Visor and Catnap look up and see the twenty-foot tall monster, with “ennui” stenciled on its chest, begin to lumber away.

LEMMING LAD: Dibs on monitor duty!


Feature a restored Hard-Wired Kid.

H-WK: Excuse me, team-mates, but that robot displays many of the characteristics exhibited by previous robots constructed by Dr. Cybershatter, The Volunteers’ greatest foe.

VISOR: Visor Man…he said it started with a robot!

CATNAP: And Moby Dick started with “Call me Ishmael”. Who cares? Let’s rock!

Cut to the team, minus Lemming Lad, racing down the street, following the robot’s path of destruction. A flurry of little flying cameras follow behind.

VISOR: Retro Girl—use your power to speed up and slow down time to allow us to catch the robot!

RETRO GIRL: Okay, okay, but easy on the exposition! It’s ten weeks into the season, everybody knows my powers by now!

Retro Girl puts her fingertips to her head, and waves of energy come out. Feature a panel of the background whipping by in a blur, as Retro Girl speeds the group up through time. Suddenly they have caught up to the robot, who is disappearing into an old warehouse. The team regroups.

CATNAP: There he goes!

H-W K: It appears to be an abandoned warehouse.

SLINGSHOT: You know, if somebody would just tear down all these old warehouses, our jobs would get a lot easier!

RETRO GIRL: Ooooh, now I’ve got a headache. And I left my purse back at HQ. Anybody got an aspirin?

SPITBALL: Aspirin? We don’t even have pockets!

VISOR: Okay, team, here’s the plan. Catnap and Slingshot, you—OH SH--!

KABOOM! Suddenly, a wall comes down, and a bevy of robots spill out from behind it, swinging fists and shooting lasers. The teens fall into a full-scale fight. Retro Girl grabs the Hard-Wired Kid by the back of his shirt and pulls him through the warehouse door.

RETRO GIRL: C’mon, H-K, let’s get to the real plan.

The duo stops short just inside the door, eyes wide. POV Retro Girl as she surveys the scene: five glass tubes, each housing a member of The Volunteers in suspended animation. On a raised dais, Dr. Cybershatter is cackling insanely. The giant “ennui” robot stands at attention nearby.

DR. CYBERSHATTER: Finally, the moment of my greatest triumph is upon us—the utter defeat of The Volunteers! And you think you—you TV personalities—are going to stop me?

Feature the fight outside. Slingshot gets socked in the jaw, and flies through the air. Spitball bounces up with a mighty SPROING and catches him in mid-air.

SPITBALL: Tuck in your chin, Slingshot! It’s a wonder the Nazis aren’t in New York today!

SLINGSHOT: Hey, I got frozen before the war was over!

SPITBALL: Good thing!

Catnap claws the guts out of a robot. Visor is blasting one alongside her.

VISOR: Great fighting form, Catnap!

CATNAP: It ain’t gonna happen, Visor.

Another robot gets ready to club Catnap down, and Visor intercedes with a laser blast.


The robot explodes, showering them with parts. Catnap still looks unconcerned.

VISOR: Are you okay? I’m just thinking about our—

CATNAP: Still not gonna happen, Visor.

Feature the interior of the warehouse.

CAPTION: Meanwhile…

RETRO GIRL: You know, doc, this is a real waste.

DR. CYBERSHATTER: You are speaking out of turn, child! This is my life’s work!

RETRO GIRL: You know, that’s great, but did you patent any of this stuff?


Feature H-W Kid sneaking off and extending a finger into a nearby control panel.

RETRO GIRL: The licensing on the inventions in this room alone could bring you millions! And just think if you floated stock on the market! When you knock over a bank with these robots how much do you clear?


RETRO GIRL: Don’t forget to subtract your personal market value, some of which is lost every time you do a year of two in jail, because you pretty much get busted by The Volunteers every time you try something.

DR. CYBERSHATTER: Not this time! This time I triumph!

RETRO GIRL: So then what? Do you even have a 401K?

Feature the Hard-Wired Kid.

H-WK: Processing the XY-02 constructs….bypassing the atari subroutines…

DR. CYBERSHATTER: But…what about taxes?

RETRO GIRL: Everything goes off-shore, to Bermuda or somewhere. Tax shelters in the Pacific, and the Swiss handle your savings. Sub-contract the labor in Mexico and Viet Nam. You’ll have buyers in every country in the world. Of course, you’ll need to build a web site.

DR. CYBERSHATTER: Good Lord, child. I never realized—

Suddenly the Hard-Wired Kid springs the suspended animation chambers, and The Volunteers step out in a daze. The next moment, Visor and the others burst through the door.


Spitball takes a tremendous bounce off of Dr. Cybershatter’s head. Visor finishes him off with a sizzling blast, and he falls. Spitball lands alongside as Slingshot bursts in the door.

SPITBALL: Now that’s one for CNN, baby.

RETRO GIRL: You idiots! I had him talked out of it!

VISOR: Talking doesn’t sell t-shirts, Retro Girl.

The Star-Spangled Fist steps up and clasps Visor’s shoulder. Catnap crouches warily nearby. Visor Man stands behind, smiling.

FIST: Your team—you—well—good work, son.

VISOR: Ah, bite me. Hey, you okay, Visor Man?

VISOR MAN: I am well, father, thank you.

VISOR: Hey, what’s your real name, anyway?

VISOR MAN: It is Bernard.

VISOR: Bernard? I’m sorry, man, Catnap must have stuck you with that one. Hey, Bernard, you’re old enough to buy beer, right?

Feature Scarlet Scorcher, Retro Girl and the Hard-Wired Kid.

SCARLET SCORCHER: You know, I thought your team was just “The Real World” with capes. I guess there might be something more to you than that.

RETRO GIRL: Yeah…there might.

POV FLYING CAMERA, showing Retro Girl in a fish-eye lens. Her hand grows big as she reaches for it. The next panel is all wavy lines, as she grabs the camera. The last panel is black.

CAPTION: Fade out.