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.


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