Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wonder Twins – School’s Out – MK Stangeland Jr.

(2 Panels)

Panel 1: A city as engulfed in a massive snowstorm.

Panel 2: Outside the HALL OF JUSTICE. JAYNA is in the form of a Polar Bear, sitting and looking up at nothing in particular. GLEEK is noticeably not present, having chosen not to come out into the storm.

JAYNA: You realize you’re basically leaving pieces of yourself all over the city, right?

ZAN (1): I want a snow day, I’m taking a snow day.

ZAN (2): Just let me have this, Jayna.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wonder Twins - The Ones You Love - Grant McLaughlin

Years after the Super Friends. Zan and Jayna have met up to have lunch at a local diner. Jayna looks like a well-adjusted woman, wearing nice clothing and the like. On the other hand, Zan looks like hell. He is thin and unhealthy, with old and disheveled clothes, scruffy hair, a few days worth of beard growth, and pretty much any other characteristic of not doing well you can think of.

1 – Sitting across from each other at their table, Zan is demolishing his meal, as if he's never eaten before. Jayna watches pensively, as if she's trying to find the right words to begin a difficulty conversation. She has not touched her food.


2 – Jayna gives conversing a shot. Zan pauses, looking on warily at his sister.

JAYNA (1): So...

JAYNA (2): I went by your office the other day.

JAYNA (3): A-are you living out of there again?

3 – Zan puts down his fork. He doesn't make eye contact with Jayna. That said, his words put some hope and happiness on Jayna's face.

ZAN: I'm on a big case, you know.

JAYNA: Really? That's great news!

4 – Zan looks at Jayna, vitriol and combat in his eyes. Jayna deflates, realizing what's happening.

ZAN: Yeah, I'm looking for the foppy deadbeat who stole my sister.

JAYNA (1): I wish you wouldn't talk about Marvin that way.

JAYNA (2): He cares about you as much as I do.

ZAN: Is that why he keeps you all to himself?

5 - Jayna reaches for Zan's hand across the table.

JAYNA (1): Zan, we invite you over all the time.

JAYNA (2): The kids would love to see their uncle more often.

JAYNA (3) (quieter): I'd love to see my brother...

6 - Zan pulls away, angered; Jayna is hurt by his actions and words.

JAYNA (1): Why don't you come and stay with us?

JAYNA (2): Until you can get back on your feet.

ZAN: You'd love that, wouldn't you?

7 – Zan is starting to his raise voice. Other patrons might be starting to look in their direction to see what the commotion is all about.

ZAN (1): Well, I'm sick and tired of being your charity case!

ZAN (2): This is just liked when you'd say the Super Friends valued my unique contributions.  I know they only kept me around for your sake!

ZAN (3): I'm not an idiot, Jayna!

8 - Zan is up on his feet. He's knocked his chair over and is outright yelling at this point. Everyone is obviously staring.

ZAN (1): I don't need you.

ZAN (2): I don't need anyone!

9 – Zan has stormed off and slammed the restaurant door. Jayna sits at her seat, stunned and crying.


Why The Wonder Twins?

The Wonder Twins are two of my all-time favourite superhero characters.

I've always found the concept of inserting teenaged sidekick characters into superhero stories as a means to better appeal to younger viewers to be inherently fascinating.  It emerged almost immediately after the creation of superheroes.  Robin was created in 1940, barely a year after Batman was introduced to the world.  Bucky Barnes was invented concurrently with Captain America.  To say nothing of Speedy, Toro, Wonder Girl, and countless others.

And then you have the Wonder Twins.


I first encountered them while watching re-runs of the Super Friends TV show, which holds the impressive feat of being incredibly boring despite the fact that it featured pretty much all of DC's most popular characters (and Aquaman).  Everyone on that show was kind of a square, but the Wonder Twins stood out for being particularly lame.  Something about their extreme levels of earnestness and predilections for being pretty much useless just made them seem extra mediocre, which is saying something when the main cast had all the personality of cardboard.

I mean, being able to turn into any animal imaginable is a pretty decent power, but being able to turn into water doesn't quite have the same ring to it.  I know that they've pushed the boundaries of what that includes, but at the end of the day, Zan still needs to be carried around in a bucket when Jayna turns into an eagle (to say nothing of the fact that they have to touch to activate said powers).  None of that exactly elicits respect, you know?

Riding a giant pelican isn't much better.

So the Zan and Jayna are perhaps the least successful attempt at creating teenaged sidekicks in all of comics (and we haven't even mentioned their pet alien monkey, Gleek), but that's also a big part of the Wonder Twins' charm (at least from my perspective).

Like pretty much everyone (including Harvey Birdman and the entire Cartoon Network), I've always found them to be extremely laughable, but they still have a special place in my heart.  It's similar to how I feel about C-list villains - they're so incredibly ridiculous and foolish and barely sensical that there's a strange perfection to them.  They couldn't be more madcap if they'd been planned that way, which is kind of wonderful.

So I hope you'll join me this week in exploring the many possibilities of what and who the Wonder Twins can be.

All together now:

"Wonder Twin powers activate!"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Darkwing Duck - Mistaken Identity - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: Full-body focus on an extremely put-out DARKWING DUCK pulls his way free of the coils of rope that encircle his body. He doesn't seem to be in any danger. He just seems aggravated.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): But, seriously, I’m really very terribly sorry about all this confusion.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): Although if you think about it – I mean – It’s sort of funny, right?

Panel 2: Pull back further to show the coils of rope now in a loose pool. Darkwing Duck is now squeezing through the bars of a cage that had been placed around his roped body.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): You have a hat, he has a hat.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): It’s not like there’s NO resemblance.

Panel 3: Pulling back even further we can see Darkwing now fully free of the trap, and standing, hands on his hips, glaring accusingly at DOCTOR DOOFENSHMIRTZ. Doof is sitting on the ground, being tied up by PERRY THE PLATYPUS / AGENT P.

DOOFENSHMIRTZ: Who would have thought that a Duck-Billed-En-Trap-Inator would trap an actual DUCK, right?

DOOFENSHMIRTZ: Who would have thought it?


Darkwing Duck - The Madding Crowd, Epilogue - Ray Wonsowski

Set-Up: Our heroes have finally defeated ECLIPSO, trapping his aetherial form in the Area of Madness, and scattering his Black Diamonds across infinite dimensions...


Panel 1- Night. The skyline of St. Canard, seen through the windshield of Launchpad McQuack's chopper. LAUNCHPAD, foreground left, looks out the windscreen, cupping his billed chin in his wing/hand.

CAPTION: Ever since the TaleSpin case, that treasure hunt out of Cape Suzette, DW's been acting...

Panel 2- Interior, bank vault. Moneybags with dollar signs are piled up by a hole in the vault floor, leading to an escape tunnel. Three of the BEAGLE BOYS (BURGER, BANKJOB, and BOUNCER) are throwing more cash into the last of their sacks.

CAPTION: ...weird.
BANKJOB:  Let's go! Ma sez we're on a tight schedule!
BOUNCER:  Keep yer shirt on! I'm hurryin'!
(OFF-PANEL): Yes, to your DOOM!

Panel 3- The BEAGLE BOYS point, looking toward us in palpable fear, dropping their money sacks.

(OFF-PANEL): I am the terror that flaps in the night!

Panels 4, 5, and 6 are linked by a tailless speech balloon, spoken off-panel, and another that looks electric, like signal coming over an earpiece.

Panel 4- BURGER gets a purple fist landed square in the eye, but there are brass knuckles on the fist, and blood flies.

Panel 5- BANKJOB's head is twisted around by a blur of purple crossing his jaw, teeth flying from his mouth.

Panel 6- BOUNCER loses consciousness as a purple-gloved hand tightly grasps his throat.

(OFF-PANEL): I am the seagull that bullseye's your beachside pink drink!
(OFF-PANEL, signal): Big D! Everything OK down there?

Panel 7- Close-up on DARKWING DUCK's mask. The right one-third is purple silk, but the left two-thirds are black, revealing a red eye. Purple-gloved fingers hold up a sliver of Black Diamond up to the "Eclipsed" eye.

DARKWING: Oh, yes...
DARKWING: Let's...get...dangerous....


Big thanks to all of you, dear readers, and all my friends at ThoughtBalloons, for humouring me the last 5 (!) months, to tell this meandering story. It taught me a lot about plotting ahead, getting to the gist in a one page framework, exposition, dialogue, research, and adaptability. I hope everyone enjoyed it.  I'll be back to done-in-one's next week. See you then.  CHEERS, everybody!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Darkwing Duck – Darkwing, INC. – MK Stangeland Jr.

(St. Canard Billionaire ROBERT OILER – new character, done in the Disney style as a reptile-type character, possibly a limbed snake if it can be pulled off – is announcing the ‘Darkwing Initiative’, a project not unlike BATMAN, INC. Problem is, DARKWING DUCK was not actually consulted on the matter.)

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: DARKWING DUCK stands on top of the giant sign that ROBERT OILER was using to display the announcement logo for the DARKWING INITIATIVE.

DARKWING (1): I am the terror that flaps in the night!

DARKWING (2): I am the legal minefield that gives copyright a bad name!



Panel 2: An alternate version of DARKWING DUCK (DARKWING II) stands on the stage in front of the real DARKWING DUCK. He wears a more heroic, professional looking version of DARKWING’s normal costume, but he looks as if he could easily pass for the real DARKWING if he wore the ‘correct’ costume. Next to him is an alternate version of LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK (LAUNCHPAD II) that similarly looks far more heroic than the real launchpad, complete with a pair of goggles that he’s actually wearing as if to actually protect his real identity. He, too, looks like he could probably pass for the real LAUNCHPAD if he wore LAUNCHPAD’s normal clothing.

DARKWING (1): IMPOSTER! How dare you!

DARKWING (2): And right in the middle of my big entrance!

DARKWING (3): Just who the quack do you think you’re fooling?!

Panel 3: DARKWING DUCK is now on the stage as DARKWING II is about to launch into his own version of DARKWING’s entrance routieen.

DARKWING II (1): Fool? The only fool here is you!

DARKWING II (2): For I am the terror that flaps…

Panel 4: DARKWING pulls out his gas gun and aims it at DARKWING II.


Panel 5: DARKWING fires at DARKWING II, filling the stage with smoke. DARKWING II raises his cap as a shield against the attack. OILER is in the process of retreat at this point.

DARKWING: Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope!

Panel 6: DARKWING leaps into the air as he’s about to attack DARKWING II, his cap flowing outwards dramatically.

DARKWING: St. Canard isn’t even big enough for one Darkwing Duck!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Darkwing Duck - The Imitation Game - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Quackerjack, Dr. Reginald Bushroot, the Liquidator, and Megavolt are in a secret hideout, making fun of Darkwing Duck.  Quackerjack is sticking out his tongue, crossing his eyes, and generally making a silly face, as he walks around with his hands above and around his head in a classic "moose antlers" pose (like, making antlers with his hands).  The other villains are laughing - tears in their eyes, slapping their knees, etc.

QUACKERJACK (1): ...I am the goof who is awful at improvising clever secondary lines.

QUACKERJACK (2): I am Dorkwing Duck!

OTHERS: hahaha!

2 - Liquidator goes to the nearby lightswitch, an excited look on his face.  The others are still recovering from their laughing fit.

LIQUIDATOR: Okay, I've got one!

SFX: flik!

3 - The panel is all black, with only the eyes of the four villains visible (Quackerjack's regular large ones, Bushroot's green corneas, Megavolt's beady little ones, and Liquidator's empty blue ones).  Liquidator's are squinted, as if he's concentrating, the other three are done up to show that their mirth / laughter continues.  All balloons are tailless.

VOICE: Ooo, nice atmosphere.

VOICE 2: I am the terrible sap who is never right!

4 - Still all black, but for the eyes.  A fifth pair of eyes appears next to Liquidator.  Liquidator's eyes are now wide in surprise.  The remaining three haven't caught on that something is amiss.

VOICE: I am the unseen interlocutor who is actually quite skilled at coming up with clever witticisms on the fly, thank you very much.

VOICE 2: Uh...

VOICE 3: Guys, that's not me.

5 - One more all black (save for eyes) panel.  The other three eyes have caught on that all is not right.  They look as worried as Liquidator's eyes (perhaps have a two or three pairs right up close to each other, to show that the villains are huddling close out of fear).  That fifth pair of eyes grows large (as do the letters for the first voice, to emphasize the passion behind the words).

VOICE: I am...

VOICE 2: You mean --

VOICE 3: Yeah...

SFX: flik!

6 - The lights are back on.  Let's say Quackerjack, Bushroot, and Liquidator are all huddled together in fear, while Megavolt is trying to beat a hasty retreat.  Darkwing Duck stands revealed, striking a sufficiently impressive and intimidating pose.

THE VILLAINS (all together in fright): DARKWING DUCK!

DARKWING DUCK: Let's get dangerous.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Darkwing Duck?

I am  the terror that flaps in the night!

I am the electric pencil sharpener that never releases it grasp.

I  am

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Doop - The Madding Crowd, Part 18 - Ray Wonsowski

See last week's post for previous chapter links...


Panel 1- The dark side of the moon, the crater where Eclipso's castle has crumbled to rubble. ECLIPSO towers over the debris, a hundred feet tall, struggling and swatting wildly as he is losing his fight.  In the lower corners of the panel, HARRY DRESDEN and WILLIAM GRAVEL gesture magic with their left hands, firing large automatic pistols with their rights; the bullets curve and twist on arcs of magic.  The DARKNESS lets loose a wave of knife-like tendrils through a swarm of Darklings, both of which tear at Eclipso's legs.  ANDREW BENNETT has transformed into a were-bat, teeth bared at an exposed part of Eclipso's flesh.  HAWK lands a haymaker as DOVE shoves the CREEPER out of the way of one of Eclipso's swinging arms. SHADE unleashes a torrent of Madness from behind ECLIPSO, taking him by surprise, the tide finally turning in our heroes' favor...

CAPTION: (doopspeak, ellipsis at the end)

CAPTION: Waitaminnit...

Panel 2- Schoolroom at the Jean Grey School. Should be elementary school style chipper, you know, kids' art on the walls, alphabet cards that read "A is for ATOM" and "B is for BEAST", colorful carpet.  Panel left are a bunch of grade school mutant kids aged 7 to 10, one has antennae, another with scales, another with blue skin, etc, all sitting cross-legged on the floor, about half waving their hands in the air.  Panel right is DOOP, breaking the 4th wall by looking at us exasperatedly, steamlines from the top of his head.  He is wearing a mortarboard and tassel, and holding a storybook open to the page showing the above panel.

MUTANT KID 1: How're they able to breathe on the moon?

MUTANT KID 2: (to Mutant Kid 1) Mebbe its the Blue Area, yo...

MUTANT KID 3: How come there isn't any girls in the story?

MUTANT KID 4: Whatabout the Dark Ryu part, where he mentioned Dr. Wizor? Whatabout...

MUTANT KID 5: Why can't we read anything by Mark Waid?

DOOP: (grumbly doopspeak)

Next episode: ?!?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Doop – Doop For You – MK Stangeland Jr.

Doop – Doop For You – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: An armored truck, flanked from the from the front and rear by unmarked black vans pulls into a nondescript warehouse. In the lead van is BATROC THE LEAPER.

BATROC (1): Muah ha!

BATROC (2): Success!

Panel 2: BATROC and his armed henchmen load out, with BATROC heading for the back of the armored truck.

BATROC: A successful heist, and not un signe of any heroic interference!

Panel 3: BATROC opens the truck, but is taken aback by what’s inside.


Panel 4: BATROC holds up a DOOP squeaky toy. It turns out the truck is full of similar toys, rather than the valuable goods that BATROC thought he had stolen.

BATROC: I spoke too soon!

SFX: SqueEEa

Panel 5: DOOP is in front of the REAL armored truck, shaking the hand of a security guard over a job well done. He wears a security hat, but mostly just for kicks.

BATROC: It looks as though we have been…Dooped.