Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.
Back when I worked for Marvel Comics in the ’70s, the Dreaded Deadline Doom was (to steal a phrase Stan Lee often used in comics) wreaking havoc. Late writers and artists were resulting in thousands of dollars in penalty fees from the printer. And it was no fun for readers either, who wanted their comics on time. The only ones who benefited were beginning writers like me, who thanks to Marvel’s attempts to prevent those delays from messing up publishing schedules got to write fill-ins and back-ups.
That’s how I got to script issues of Master of Kung Fu and Omega the Unknown, as well as countless shorter stories, such as John Romita, Jr.’s first published piece.
But not every story I pitched or plotted made it to the page. Amazingly, there were a few, approved by editors, which were never turned in by the artists, creating their own Dreaded Deadline Doom. You wouldn’t think a new artist would blow a chance to get published by Marvel, but several did.
One pitch, however, meant for a fill-in issue of Marvel Team-Up, never made it to an artist, for it was presumably rejected. I have no memory of the circumstances, and only know that it was submitted on August 14, 1978 because that’s the date written on it.
As it’s the only Marvel method plot in existence for any of my published comics (none of my DC Comics full scripts survive either), I thought it worth sharing here to give some idea of how I worked back then, when I was 23 and still trying to figure out how to write comics. (And just in case it’s not obvious—the images below that I grabbed to break up the text here were not a part of my original proposal.)
And so …
Spider-Man’s Lonely Hearts Club Fans!
SPLASH: Spidey is swinging by the main branch of the New York City Post Office. His patrol is interrupted by a cry for help coming out of an upper window of the building.
THE STORY CONTINUES: Spidey-sense tingling, Spidey swings in the window. From inside we see a costumed goon with a futuristic gun on either side of the window. Spidey, still holding onto the webbing, does a split-kick, knocking each thug back off his feet. Spidey sees no sign of the person he’d heard cry for help just seconds before, and he thinks this odd. Spidey disarms the crooks with webbing and a tug. He grabs an empty mail sack and then, flipping over so that his feet are holding him to the ceiling directly above the two crooks’ heads. he grabs them by the scruff of their necks and stuffs them in the sack as they protest:
“Wait, Spider-Man, you don’t understand— ”
“I only understand that something wacky’s going on here!” says Spidey, as he holds the sack out the upper story window and begins questioning the crooks. Suddenly, from behind Spidey, a dry, cracked, withered, and shaking voice says:
“Stop that right now, y’hear, you young whippersnapper!”( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )