Commenter Rio Herrera clued me in about the two talented creators I met at the signing at Chuck Rozanski’s Mile High Comics Mega-store in Denver.
They are, far right, Scotlyn Xing Xin Bedford and far left, a young man who introduced himself to me as Phil. Rio also heard him called Phil. The Mile High Newsletter identifies him as Cory Watts, so I’m still not sure.
The guy in the white shirt is Chuck, and the looming ogre is me, of course.
But anyway, the property these two gentlemen were representing is called Ximphonia. You can find out more about Ximphonia and their other creative works on the Dreaming Symphonic-Beauty Empire website. Here’s a link:
Scot and Phil had a table near where Chuck stationed me. They drew quite a crowd—in fact, when I had a brief break and went over to see what all the fuss was about, I couldn’t get near enough to see. At the end when things were calmer, I finally did get to talk to them and they were, indeed, as mentioned above, gentlemen. Very smart and talented gentlemen. I wish them well.
Last Thursday evening, the gifted and irrepressibly creative J.C. Vaughn and his unindicted co-conspirator Rosina the Resplendent hosted a holiday gathering at Rosa Mexicano on East 18th Street in Manhattan.
J.C, as you may know, was my scripting partner on three issues of The Mighty Samson for Dark Horse. He’s done lots of stuff. Here’s his not-up-to-date CV:
J.C. Vaughn has written or co-written stories for renowned creator Billy Tucci’s highly successful series Shi published by Dark Horse Comics, Avatar, and Crusade Fine Arts. For IDW Publishing, he developed and wrote 24, based on the long-running Fox Television series; and also adapted one of acclaimed author Cory Doctorow’s short stories, “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth,” for Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #2. Working with Realm Press, he helped reintroduce the original Battlestar Galactica to comics.
Vaughn contributed to two high profile anthologies, More Fund Comics published by Sky-Dog Press in association with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and ACTOR Comics Presents, published by Century Comics in association with ACTOR (A Commitment To Our Roots). Currently known as the Hero Initiative, ACTOR was founded in late 2000 by a consortium of publishers including Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and others to assist comics creators in need.
He has created a number of notable comics properties including the Harvey Award-nominated Antiques: the Comic Strip, published in collected form by Gemstone Publishing; Zombie–Proof and Vampire, PA published by Moonstone Books; McCandless & Company published by Mandalay Books; as well as the upcoming Bedtime Stories For Impressionable Children (October 2010) slated for publication by Moonstone Books. He also created Secret Agent Vampire Gorilla and co-created Dirty Martini, both planned for release in 2011.
Vaughn also serves as Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of Gemstone Publishing, publishers of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Under his guidance, the 2010 hardcover edition soared to a day-of-release sell-out. He also wrote Gemstone’s well-received Free Comic Book Day entry, The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics.
Rosa Mexicano is where the restaurant America used to be. It’s a terrific place—MexEclectic, vast and extra snazzy.
Besides, J.C., Rosina and me, Joe James and wife Yamilca, JayJay and partner Freddy, Adam Phillips and wife Julia, Debbie Fix and J.C.’s long-time friend Rob were present.
|Yamilca and Joe James
|JayJay and Freddy with Adam Phillips
|Adam, Rosina, Julia and Yamilca
|J.C. and Rob
|Debbie, Jim and J.C.
Debbie, JayJay, Joe and me…! There we were as in olden days, happy golden days of yore—at DEFIANT and Broadway Comics. Debbie and JayJay, of course, were with me at VALIANT, too. It’s always great to see them.
Adam Phillips worked with me for a while at Marvel long ago and now works for DC.
We had a wonderful time. Thanks, J.C. and Rosina.
For me, the first Christmas Carol of the season is always The “Pogo Christmas Carol” by the great Walt Kelly. It’s sung to the tune of “Deck the Halls.” Everyone who works in the comics medium should know it!
The Pogo Christmas Carol
By Walt Kelly
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo!
Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Don’t we know archaic barrel
Lullaby, Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don’t love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!
There are many more verses. Elaboration upon the carol was a Christmas season tradition in the Pogo strip.
Pogo was nationally syndicated from 1949 through 1975. If you’re too young to be familiar with Pogo, it’s well worth checking out the collections, some of which can be found on Amazon.
Pogo is an American cultural treasure and Walt Kelly was a genius. I never met him, but I met his widow, Selby Kelly several times at National Cartoonist Society events. Selby was very creative and had a background as an animator. Along with some of Walt’s assistants, she continued Pogo for a couple of years after Walt’s death in 1973.
For me, it’s not Christmas season till all of us are decked with Boston Charlie.
One More Thing
There has been a great deal of discussion here recently regarding religious beliefs. One of the most interesting books I’ve read about such things is The Physics of Immortality by Frank J. Tipler. It’s a daunting read, but worth the struggle, I think. Tipler is a Ph.D. mathematical physicist and cosmologist at Tulane University who hangs with big brains like Stephen W. Hawking and Roger Penrose. He offers a scientific theory of existence of God. The second half of the book is “An Appendix for Scientists,” consisting mostly of equations. I’m not necessarily endorsing what is proposed therein, but like I said, it’s interesting.
There isn’t enough sex in comics. There’s too much stuff like this:
I came across that site recently. What is shown there paints a pretty sad picture, I think, of what passes for sex in comic books (or in some cases, merely genitalia-related scenes). To me, most of it doesn’t really seem to have much to do with sex or sexuality. It’s there for shock value: “Bet you thought you’d never see THIS in a comic book!”
(P.S., the Hulk and his ball-batterer later shack up in a motel and get it on a different way.)
Or, worse, “Bet you never thought you’d see insert-name-of-character doing THIS!”
I find those sorts of things asexual. It’s so blatantly a gimmick or so out of character that it falls flat for me. My reaction is less “wow” or “ooh-la-la” or “glorioski!” and more a disappointed “good grief….”
Sometimes it seems to be all about the writer proving how clever he or she is by inventing some way that a super character’s power could be an advantage during a sex session.
Sometimes it seems to be all about the writer proving how clever he or she is by inventing some way that a super character’s power could be a disadvantage during a sex session. As we learn later, Kitty Pryde uncontrollably becomes immaterial when she climaxes.
But isn’t the art nice on this one?
All of the above, I believe, are examples of what the erudite Mr. Marc Miyake referred to in a comment once as “stimuli.” Stimuli as opposed to story. Elements inserted that do not serve the story, solely for the purpose of drawing a gasp. Like this one:
I haven’t read this story. I’m willing to bet though, that Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s bedroom preferences don’t have any bearing on the plot or any sub-plot. I’ll bet nothing established in this scene about their relationship or anything else has anything to do with the story. Irrelevant is my guess. So why is it there? For a wow? An ooh-la-la? A glorioski? Not from me. And what’s up with the Pepé le Pew accent? Good grief!
I’d venture a guess that Peter Parker could probably have sex with Mary Jane while sticking to the ceiling. That would be irrelevant, too. Unless, say, it served to set up some later scene in which, as Spider-Man, Peter’s ability to stick to a ceiling while bearing Mary Jane or a burden weighing as much as Mary Jane plays an important role. Or something. A reason.
Some writers go to great lengths to trump up a reason to have characters act out a sex scene on the printed page. “Hey, what if Superman and Big Barda made a porn film?!” It’s part of the story, yes, but is the story really about Superman and Big Barda or is it about getting that little personal fantasy into print?
Think about good (or at least well-crafted) movies you’ve seen. Raiders of the Lost Ark, for instance. Every time Spielberg and Lucas show you anything, it is relevant to the story. Think about what they show you. Indy has a fear of snakes, demonstrated in an early scene. Later, trying to retrieve the Ark, he is surrounded by…snakes! Also, think about what they don’t show you. Maybe Indy is an expert ballroom dancer, but it’s irrelevant so they do not establish it. There is not a drop of fat on that film. Everything shown serves a purpose relevant to the story at hand. Same with Rocky. Or The Wizard of Oz. Or any story written by a skilled professional.
If it’s not necessary, leave it out.
In Body Heat the sex was absolutely germane. So it was there, and done with steamy effectiveness. In Cat People sex is the core of the conceit.
In comics…? I’m trying to think of good examples. Hmm. Jaime Hernandez did some sweet, elegant, usually brief, intrinsic sex scenes in early issues of Love and Rockets. David Lapham did some well-crafted, germane sex scenes in Stray Bullets. I’ve been told that Bill Willingham’s Fables had some good and necessary ones. In Elfquest, Wendy and Richard Pini did some nice scenes. Others? Help me.
Anyway…the subject of sex in comics gets me right back to my usual rant, bad writing in comics.
I think that too often these days, characters are twisted to serve the whims, puerile fantasies and personal proclivities of the creators. Ignoring or perverting the nature of the characters is bad writing.
As for sex in comics in general, if portrayed skillfully and well, if it is absolutely germane, in character and essential, there is nothing that can’t be done. It doesn’t have to be sticky-gooey-graphic. Whatever is necessary, I suppose, that is non-actionable.
What about my handling of sex in comics, you may be wondering. Here’s a comment and answer pertaining to my Dark Horse and Legion work from a while back:
Defiant1 has left a new comment on your post “Legion of Super Heroes Overview, Part 3“:
My understanding is that you want your characters to have real motivations and sex or sexuality is a real motivation you’ve opted to include. From what I can tell, your latest work has been a tad bit heavier using sex or sexuality as a component when compared to your previous works. It also seems to have extended towards a seedier portrayal of sex. This has prompted some some criticism from a couple of people online. I am not offended, but I felt it’s been a little heavy at a time when comics need to appeal to the largest demographic audience possible. With some major titles from Marvel even struggling to sell 50,000 copies, wouldn’t it be better to write a story that can appeal to the largest demographic audience? I’d like to see mature comics that didn’t require parents to censor their kids from reading them. I’m not an advocate of turning comics into a mindless “Barney the dinosaur” feel-good experience to rot children’s brain cells, but I think it is possible to to write great stories that don’t have half naked women draped over the heroes shoulder.
I was curious about your thoughts regarding mature themed comics vs. appealing to a wider and inevitably more conservative audience.
Posted by Defiant1 to Jim Shooter at May 27, 2011 2:24 PM
I don’t know. To me, opting to include sex and sexuality as motivation for human characters is like opting to breathe if one wishes to live.
I doubt that cutting back on half naked women would have increased sales, and perhaps would have decreased sales. Lots of half naked men in my stories, too, by the way. If there are parents who believe that my stories are unsuitable for their children, I completely respect that. In my opinion, we’re going for the meat of the market these days, which is, for better or worse, adults. And still, I have done nothing in any story for DH that can’t be shown on prime time TV. In my scripts, I am constantly urging the artists to be careful, to keep it reined in. Have you seen what’s on prime time and daytime? The reality shows? No “seedy” subject off limits. Twilight has a great deal of sexuality, and it’s a kid favorite. And if you choose to consider HBO, Showtime and the rest…wow.
If the sexuality seems “seedier” to you, sorry. That’s not what I’m going for.
Criticism online and otherwise has been a fact of life for me for nearly 47 years. I listen. Really. I try to glean from it any points that will help me, any enlightenment there is to be had. Then I march on.
I try to tell the best stories I can, suited to the characters and their milieux.
Mainstream comics. Nothing seedy here….
I would add that the hand I was dealt at Dark Horse included The Mighty Samson, featuring a barbarian in a post-Apocalyptic primitive world—no modern day PC sensibilities there. Also, Turok Son of Stone, featuring a couple of Native Americans trapped in a Cretaceous-Era parallel dimension along with many other ancient peoples (and a few modern ones)—very few modern day PC sensibilities there. And Magnus Robot Fighter, which, in the tradition established by Russ Manning, is set in a future time full of beautiful people who dress sexy. It’s also inherently a romance. Lastly, Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom, featuring a scientist my age, Doctor Solar, who is transformed into a far younger (and super-powered) man. Like Magnus, it is also inherently a romance.
And, the Legion is about “underagers” full of raging hormones. Anyone writing such characters without addressing sex and sexuality never was a teenager.
Regarding the LSH, here’s a comment made a while back by a misinformed Anonymous regarding my analysis of Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 as related to my LSH work, and my answer:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “DC Comics the New 52“:
Waaaaaaiiiit a second…
Aren’t you the guy that turned Saturn girl from a confident leader into someone with really low self-esteem, who can’t understand why leadership is more important than relationships, and sleeps around instead of talking about it? The one who had Night Girl’s outfit shred to pieces in her first appearance? Aren’t you the one who had Brainiac 5 sleep with an unconscious woman (which is rape, by the way, maybe look that up).
The women you write are sex objects and clusters of soap opera like cliches and offensive stereotypes strung together nonsensically.
I have no issue with a lady being depicted as wanting to have sex without commitment. But I forgot that a lady sleeping with two people is only okay if she does it out of a lack of self-esteem rather than her own desire. I forgot it’s only okay if she behaves immaturely and nonsensically (low self esteem + telepathy? Really?).
Like wow. PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF.
For the record, I had absolutely no problem understanding the paneling and what was happening. It was cinematic and very clear to me. The fact that you can’t follow along is amazing and sad.
Posted by Anonymous to Jim Shooter at October 8, 2011 3:39 AM
RE: Saturn Girl: Affairs of the heart have a way of troubling even the most confident leaders. Saturn Girl did not sleep around. She didn’t sleep with anyone except Lightning Lad. Maybe you missed this scene in LSH #49:
Scene: In the hallway, outside the Infirmary, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl confer. Saturn Girl is shrugging in a “beats me” way. Lightning Lad is confused and distraught, running one hand through his hair—a classic confused-and-distraught gesture. Like he needed another crisis….
NOTE: Embarrassing photo or ugly sketch of LLad’s gesture available on demand.
I agree. It’s…suspicious…but that’s what she remembers.
Why does everything have to go wrong at once…?!
Scene: Silent panel. Acting and body language are everything, here, Francis. Lightning Lad looks at Saturn Girl, struggling with the decision to ask her about her “fling” with Ultra Boy. Saturn Girl—perhaps sensing what’s coming—stares at the floor, awash in shame and guilt.
Scene: Lightning Lad goes for it. Saturn Girl still looks down, guiltily, ashamed, possibly crying.
Imra, Ultra Boy is insisting to everyone who will listen that nothing happened between you two. That’s what Element Lad told me.
Well…? Did anything…happen?
Yes. No. I don’t know…it doesn’t matter.
Scene: Two-shot of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. He’s pressing for answers. She’s still crying.
I invited him…no, I dragged him into my mind…and what happens there is real…to me.
Did he actually touch you…physically?
I…don’t know. Maybe not. I think.
Scene: Two-shot. Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl face each other, look into each others eyes. To LLad, only physical counts—that Jimmy Carter “…committed adultery in my heart…” stuff is meaningless. SG sees in his eyes/senses forgiveness.
Scene: Saturn Girl picks up a disturbing vibe from Lightning Lad. He’s suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. Busted!
Garth, who have you been with?
None of your business. And don’t look!
Then stop thinking about her so loud!
Scene: In the middle of Saturn Girl’s starting to be outraged and jealous; and Lightning Lad starting to be busted, embarrassed and contrite, the SCRAMBLE SIREN established at the end of #47 and the beginning of #48 goes off. Lightning Lad is saved by the bell!
Saturn Girl, after being ignored, taken for granted and worked near to death precisely because of her leadership abilities by Lightning Lad had a moment of weakness (while under the influence of an intoxicant) and the thought of a fling with Ultra Boy crossed her mind. She almost did it, but stopped short. The point was that a) Saturn Girl has to have an incredibly disciplined mind due to the nature of her power, b) what happens on the mental plane, i.e., in thoughts, her own and others, is as real to her as physical things are to normal people, and c) a moment of weakness of no consequence to folks like us is a very big deal to her.
RE: Night Girl: Much set up had been done regarding the Legionnaires’ new, super-durable costumes, a key element in the arc. Night Girl’s clothes being torn was meant to be a further illustration of that and a realistic touch. To people of Superboy-level strength any ordinary cloth would be gossamer. Yes, it was meant to be a sexy scene. I repeatedly told Francis to be careful. Look at what he drew. Did he go over the top?
RE: Brainiac sleeping with unconscious Dream Girl: I wasn’t the one who did that. I think it was Mark Waid. There was no suggestion of sex, as I recall. Was there? Anyway, I didn’t write that. Dream Girl was long dead when I started.
I never complained about the writers’ treatment of women in the course of the reviews. Afterward, in a subsequent column, I said this:
“The first two of the New 52 I reviewed, Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 and Catwoman #1 were suggested by JayJay, because they were generating the most discussion online.
I tried to confine my analysis to Comics 101 basics, how the efforts compared to DC’s stated goals and how well each succeeded at what, in particular, they seemed to be trying to do. A lot of the discussion about those books both here and elsewhere online seems to be about the depiction and behavior of the female characters. I didn’t weigh in there. To me, that’s an evaluation each reader has to make for him or herself, not one I am more qualified than any other individual to pontificate about. One person’s Good Girl Art is another person’s “demeaning to women.” Etc.
The publisher has the right to publish any non-actionable material it wishes. Then we get to pick. The DC brass apparently thought the content of the two books I reviewed served their goals or would appeal to a large enough segment of the market to be worth doing. Whatever.
For many reasons having nothing to do with the controversies over the depiction and behavior of the female characters, I found a lot wrong with Red Hood and Catwoman.
But, let it be known, personally, I didn’t like the way the female characters were portrayed. It’s not that I think that there is anything, any situation or any type of character, male or female, that cannot be done if it is done with rare excellence and surpassing skill. The problem is that, too often, comic book writers and artists who belong in creator kindergarten think they’re already Ph.D’s.”
So, heal myself of what?
I’m sorry you don’t like the way I write women. I’m always trying to do better.
I’m glad you have the acumen to understand “paneling” that you call “cinematic” and I’m sorry that I don’t. If I don’t, however, I will say so.
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the above.
And, by the way, here is the continuation of that Lightning Lad/Saturn Girl relationship drama from my unpublished script for LSH #50:
Scene: Cut to the WAR ROOM in the UNITED PLANETS DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BUILDING. This is a new location, a big, high-tech command center.
Present are PRESIDENT KIN’THEA KIESELBACH, henceforth called KIN’THEA, Councilwoman SYDNE ARDEEN, Deputy Chief of Staff ZILYA POPOFF, Science Police Sector chief LON NORG (Invisible Kid’s father), the President’s Chief of Staff M’LEE SHURIFF, and Supreme Commander of the U.P. Military GENERAL OH, other MILITARY OFFICERS and a few miscellaneous government and military aides. No need to try to cram all these people into this shot. I’m just letting you know who’s there. Make the place seem busy, though.
(NOTE: No NIMRA LaFONG! Remember, she’s dead!)
Everyone present is involved in some bit of business—conferring re: some report, studying a screen or chart, speaking on a comlink, etc. Again, try to give a sense of busy-ness and urgency. There’s a war on.
In particular, General Oh, Kin’thea and M’lee Shuriff are looking at a screen that shows the fleet battling in space against the Destroyers. If you like, use a stat of Panel 1 of Page Five. If you prefer to draw a new scene, please make sure that the screen shows one huge space-battleship being destroyed. General Oh is explaining the progress of the battle to Kin’thea and Chief of Staff M’lee Shuriff.
IMPORTANT: Do not show any Legionnaires fighting on the screen! Just U.P. ships versus the Destroyers.
In addition to the screen Kin’thea and company are looking at, dominating the room there should be the futuristic, 31st Century equivalent of one of those table top maps often seen in war movies, on which military officers push model ships/planes and tanks around using croupier sticks:
Remember, a 31st Century version would have to be 3D. Holographic? A few military officers would be pointing, conferring and maneuvering the (holo?) models around, possibly using high-tech “sticks” of some sort—maybe sort of light-sabre-ish? Dunno. Good luck.
IMPORTANT: Anyone in this room who does not wear a uniform should have on different clothes than when last we saw them, except Kin’thea, who should have on the same outfit she wore in #49.
The United Planets Department of Defense Building. The War Room.
General Oh…! How are we doing?
These monsters adapt to overcome any force used against them, Madame President. Setting our shields to oscillating frequencies and our heavy weapons to variable energy spectra has helped….
Scene: Close, two-shot of Kin’thea and General Oh. Kin’thea looks a little smug (in a dignified way), rubbing it in to Legion-hater General Oh that input from the Legion has empowered his fleet. General Oh isn’t moved. He still hates the Legion.
A stratagem based on intelligence provided by the Legion…correct?
Hmh! It’s not enough. They’re wearing us down. We’ve lost the cruisers Moon E and Geo-Cline…and now, the capital ship Winm’r Tim’r.
Scene: Angle to include Kin’thea, General Oh and to introduce M’lee Shuriff. M’lee Shuriff is reading from a futuristic Blackberry-type device. General Oh looks grim, resigned to defeat—which angers Kin’thea (in a dignified, understated, Presidential way—nothing too extreme, please).
The crews transmattered out in time. Casualties are light…so far….
But the fleet is slowly being driven back. I fear that defeat…is inevitable.
Defeat means the annihilation of all life, General.
Scene: Saturn Girl is being ushered in by the same ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT seen in Panel 2 of Page Ten of #45. I’d angle this to include Kin’thea, M’lee Shuriff and enough environs to reset the locale. I’d also do it at eye level and hang all the heads on the horizon, but that’s just me. Please put Kin’thea and M’lee Shuriff in the foreground. Therefore, Saturn Girl and the Administrative Assistant are in the background, so we can see the door through which they’re entering. M’lee Shuriff is turning toward the door, noticing Saturn Girl’s arrival. Kin’thea has not yet. She’s still facing away (toward us), agonizing over the looming possibility that the U.P. is going to be wiped out.
IMPORTANT: M’lee Shuriff is pleased to see SG (or any Legionnaire). Kin’thea will be too, when she finally sees SG next panel. If we can see Sydne Ardeen and Lon Norg in this panel—not necessary—they’re looking up from whatever they’re doing, also pleased to see SG. As in #45, again, if seen—not necessary—Legion-haters Zilya Popoff and General Oh pointedly ignore SG.
IMPORTANT, TOO: Please put Kin’thea and M’lee Shuriff on the left side of the panel, so the reader’s left-to-right visual/verbal progression is first Kin’thea’s despair and then the arrival of SG representing the “way” she’s wishing for, i.e., the Legion!
(anguished in a dignified way)
Madame President, ladies and gentlemen, may I present Legionnaire Saturn Girl.
Scene: Close medium on Kin’thea introducing M’lee Shuriff to Saturn Girl, though SG is glancing toward her mother, Sydne Ardeen, approaching from the background. Kin’thea, M’lee Shuriff and Sydne Ardeen are politely smiling, but the situation is too grave for big grins. Saturn Girl looks sort of cold and serious.
NOTE: Actually, inside, SG is boiling with anger at Kin’thea for making out with her love, Lightning Lad. SG is restraining her rage—so far—but if you can give her a little edginess, a little flicker of jealous wrath, that would be wonderful. I don’t ask much….
Welcome. I am Kin’thea Kieselbach. This is my Chief of Staff M’lee Shuriff.
Madame President, Ms. Shuriff.
(telepathic balloon, closely
Hi, mom. Or should I call you Madame Councilwoman here?
This is no time for needless formality, Imra. Mom will do.
Scene: Two-shot of Saturn Girl and Sydne Ardeen. SG is grim and serious, but her expression softens somewhat while telepathicomming with her mother.
I hope you’re bringing us good news.
I’m afraid not. Brainiac 5 says more Destroyers have attacked here than in any other system. They know that the U.P. command center and Legion HQ are here.
Scene: Another angle on Saturn Girl and Sydne Ardeen, possibly including Kin’thea, that also includes and features a screen showing Sun Boy blasting the Destroyers near Ganymede—a stat of Panel 3 of Page Five, if that works. If you want to also show a screen or a bit of one that’s a stat of Panel 3 of Page Six, that’s cool, too.
Legionnaires are helping out where needed most. But, Destroyers always concentrate their power where resistance is strongest…
…so, more and more of them will flow from other U.P. systems to this one. We won’t be able to hold them off for long.
Scene: Close up two-shot of Saturn Girl and Sydne Ardeen. Saturn Girl is sad but resolute. Sydne Ardeen is reacting to her daughter’s revelation that she’s about to go on a suicide mission. Sydne Ardeen is shocked and anguished, but don’t overdo it.
We have one hope. Six Legionnaires, including me, are going to attack the beings behind the destroyers, where they live.
Brainy says it’s a suicide mission even if we succeed.
Scene: Another angle to include Saturn Girl, Kin’thea, General Oh, M’lee Shuriff and Sydne Ardeen. Eye level shot, please, all figures cropped at bust level. M’lee Shuriff and Sydne Ardeen are both still troubled by SG’s suicide-mission revelation. M’lee Shuriff is comforting Sydne Ardeen. SG is staring with thinly disguised hostility at Kin’thea. Kin’thea is staring, sternly, at General Oh, who, once again, feels trumped by the Legion.
In order to have any chance at all, we need time.
We’ll buy you every second we can. Won’t we, General Oh?
(humbled again, and seething about it)
Scene: Focus on Saturn Girl hugging her mother, Sydne Ardeen.
I came to say good-bye, Mom. I love you.
Scene: Feature Saturn Girl and Kin’thea, facing each other at arm’s-length range. Saturn Girl looks like she’s barely restraining the urge to punch Kin’thea in the nose. Kin’thea looks a little freaked, as would anyone, if someone right in front of them were talking about punching them in the nose. Intense, but no overacting, please.
And, I wanted to get one look at you, Madame President, up close, in person before I die…
…and punch you in the nose.
Scene: Saturn Girl punches Kin’thea, the President of the United Planets, in the nose. If seen, M’lee Shuriff and Sydne Ardeen react—they’re totally shocked.
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE TO FRANCIS: Please do not make this a comic-booky punch. Kin’thea does NOT go flying. No blood, spittle or flying bits of stuff, please. Think of a real 125 lb. girl hitting a real 140 lb. woman spontaneously, without a big wind-up. Think what that would look like, and draw that.
ANOTHER NOTE TO FRANCIS: In #45, you drew Kin’thea approximately as tall as 6’2” Lightning Lad. Assuming that she’s wearing 3” heels, hidden by her flowing robe, that would make her 5’11”, a fairly tall woman. Of course, you also drew 5’10” Element Lad roughly the same height as LLad, too, so what’s it all mean? I don’t know. I give up.
Anyway, Saturn Girl should be about three inches shorter than Kin’thea, barefoot. If Kin’thea is wearing 3” heels again, SG is 6” shorter, since, from what I can discern from your drawings, there seem to be no heels on SG’s boots, like sneakers.
Scene: Pull back. Saturn Girl flies quickly toward the exit—feature her, here. SG is telepathically commanding everyone in the room to forget what just happened—except Kin’thea. SG wants her to remember. Sydne Ardeen, being a telepath, isn’t affected by her daughter’s commands. Anyone else seen here, including M’lee Shuriff, should look unaware of what happened and totally unconcerned.
Kin’thea holds her bloodied nose, staggered for a few seconds, as you or I would be. Sydne Ardeen looks flabbergasted. She’s staring, slackjawed, in disbelief at her daughter.
A couple of SECRET SERVICE GUYS and a miscellaneous COLONEL speak. They’re completely blasé, showing that they are totally influenced by SG!
You didn’t see what happened! There’s no problem here! Stay out of my way!
I didn’t see what happened.
(NOTE: In my scribbles, panels 1-3 form the first tier, i.e., three 1/9 page panels, which provides a lot of room for the establishing shot that follows.)
Scene: Close on Kin’thea, Sydne Ardeen and M’lee Shuriff. Kin’thea is holding her painful, bleeding nose. Don’t overplay it. This isn’t a catastrophic injury. It hurts, yes, and it’s messy, but no major damage.
M’lee Shuriff is noticing that Kin’thea’s nose is bleeding. She has no idea why. She looks mildly nonplussed and has a sort of “Oh, dear!” motherly expression.
Sydne Ardeen is pondering a thought-snippet she picked up from Saturn Girl. Possibly, she’s looking at Kin’thea quizzically, wondering if the disturbing thing she sensed in her daughter’s mind could possibly be true.
Grife! What was that about…!?
I’m not sure, Madame President…but as Imra left, I caught a thought….
Scene: Two-shot of Sydne Ardeen and Kin’thea. Sydne Ardeen is a little freaked. Kin’thea is a little freaked, too. Who knew Lightning Lad had a girlfriend? Or that she, SG, would find out? And punch her, Kin’thea, in the nose? Owww….
Did you have a…romantic liaison with her boyfriend, Lightning Lad?!
Scene: Pull back to reveal that we’re in the Hallway. Lightning Lad is looking up, reacting, as he sees SG hurrying toward the Lab Complex door (and him, since he’s standing next to the door). Colossal Boy is still “on the line,” but LLad is now paying no attention to him whatsoever. Our POV is probably too far from LLad to see the Holographic Image of Colossal Boy, but at least indicate a glow around LLad’s Flight Ring to indicate activity.
Imra! Where have you been?!
Brainy said we had ten minutes while he made final preparations. So I went to say good-bye to my mother…
Scene: Saturn Girl is trying to brush past Lightning Lad and enter the Lab Complex, but LLad is (gently!) trying to stop her, maybe grabbing her softly by the upper arm. She’s averting her face, trying to hide tears. Here are the mixed, myriad emotions to attempt to get across:
- Saturn Girl is still hurt, jealous and angry that LLad had a liaison with the President last issue.
- Saturn Girl also feels very ashamed of what she just did—punching the President in the nose. How low-class, how Neanderthal, how utterly trashy-stupid!
- Saturn Girl also still feels lower that a slime-worm’s gut about her moment of needy, self-pitying weakness with Ultra Boy—even though the infidelity took place mostly in her mind!
Bottom line, she feels miserable, guilty and detestable. He desperately longs for her and what they once had. Give it your best shot. Good luck!
Lightning Lad is apprehensive and a little shocked by what SG tells him—as I might be if I found out that my girlfriend had just paid a visit to the “other woman” I was fooling around with last night.
If seen, LLad’s Ring is still glowing. If seen close enough, possibly the Holographic Image of Colossal Boy can be seen, small. Not necessary. Might even be too distracting.
…and…to see…President Kieselbach.
Scene: Cut back to the Hallway Outside the Lab Complex. Two-shot of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, but show enough environs to reinforce where we are. SG is contrite, ashamed. LLad is (gently) holding SG by the upper arms, (gently) making her stay. We should get the feeling that if he weren’t she’d run away and crawl under a rock somewhere. She’s still somewhat averting her face, not wanting to look LLad in the eye.
LLad is shocked to learn that SG poked Kin’thea in the proboscis.
- Lightning Lad feels bad that he made out with the President, but with an excuse—remember, at that point he thought he and Saturn Girl were through. (P.S., FYI, he and Kin’thea didn’t get too far before being interrupted by the Flight Ring panic alarm, anyway.)
- Lightning Lad just wishes it was all over and that they could pretend it all never happened. He really loves Saturn Girl.
I thought it would make me feel better, but…now I feel worse. Like a foob.
Scene: Close up, two-shot of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, now looking into each others’ eyes. Supersaturate this with emotion, please. It’s a prelude to a kiss.
Imra, I screwed up…but I thought we were finished, and….
No, it was my fault. I cheated on you first.
But…it was just in your mind. Not real. Anybody can have a weak moment. Even a telepath.
Scene: Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl kiss. If seen, LLad’s Flight Ring is still glowing.
Scene: Angle to place Lightning Lad’s Flight Ring close enough to our POV so we can see the Holographic Image of Colossal Boy shouting at Lightning Lad. LLad is startled out of his romantic moment with Saturn Girl, jolted back to reality. Saturn Girl, too, is jolted back to the here and now. [One has to wonder what was happening between them in her mind during that kiss…. ; ) ]
(Flight Ring communication balloon)
Lightning Lad! We need you NOW!
Oh. Yeah. Destroyers. Right. Um….
Scene: Foreground, Lightning Lad quick-flies down the Hallway, presumably on his way to the aid of Colossal Boy. Background, Saturn Girl is entering the Lab Complex, but her head is turned toward LLad and the camera, watching LLad depart. Both of them are subtly smiling. Content. At peace.
That’s it. I’ll stand by that.
I am fully prepared for questions and challenges about my work with regard to sexual content. Remember, please, that some of my stories were written long ago when I was young and foolish. All right, more foolish. Also, remember, I didn’t draw the stories and I was often at the mercy of artists who did things differently than I would have liked. I am prepared to defend or apologize for anything I did.
That said, you may fire when ready, Gridley.
NEXT: And So This Is Christmas Plus More Sex