Hello, my name is Abhay, and it is my regret to inform you that this week at Comics of the Weak is going to be a little different, and being different, I hate and fear it as I’m sure do you. Your regular master of ceremonies, Dr. Tucker Stone, has unfortunately been waylaid by a nasty case of the scurvy that’s going around. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, specifically with Tucker, then Peter David, then all the impoverished children of the world, in that order.
Which leaves us with the question of how to proceed with our week’s business.
Unfortunately, I have never actually read a “koo-mik book” (Am I saying that right?) (Can you make a lot of money collecting them?), so this column’s usual hard-hitting, pulsating, rhythmic comic reviews, comic reviews that are like … like house music, that BOOM BOOM BOOM thumping kind of thing, where the music owns you and you want to take your shirt off and just dance — it is to our collective misfortune that I lack the ability to provide that to you. Our times are truly at their darkest.
… And this isn’t the only hard time I’ve had this week. As you may know, on Tuesday, pages of a Rob Liefeld screenplay were leaked to the public. The screenplay entitled Icons tells the story of the formation of Image Comics. Good times? Fun ha-ha’s? For you, maybe, sister. But I had my own screenplay I was working on about the formation of Image Comics. I’ve been writing it for years. For years. And Liefeld scooped me– he SCOOPED me!
And now it’s ruined, and all of my dreams are dead.
So it doesn’t go to waste, and since I lack the talent to try to fake a normal Comics of the Weak– “Oooh, wow, B.P.R.D., yay, whee, Guy Davis, you’re my hero”— here it is, my competing screenplay about the formation of Image Comics.
(I took some liberties with the years certain events happened in, allowing myself a certain poetic license with chronology, but besides that, I hope I came pretty close to being at least as accurate as ZERO DARK THIRTY…).
THE IMAGE NETWORK NIGHTS
EXT. A dirt road in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, at night. A Cadillac is the only life to be seen. It is ROB LIEFELD’s car. ROB is played either by Chris Pine, Robert Pattinson, Michael Fassbender’s penis, or the 2003 winner of the Mister Hot Buns Florida competition. ROB is driving. TODD MCFARLANE, in the passenger’s seat, and JIM LEE, in the rear seat, are dozing off– until their drive is suddenly interrupted by a THUMPING sound.
The car pulls over to the side of the road, and the three get out of the car. The THUMPING is coming from the trunk.
JIM LEE opens the trunk. Marvel editor RALPH MACCHIO is inside, tied-up, drenched in BLOOD and HIS OWN VOMIT.
JIM LEE rushes towards him and stabs him repeatedly with a knife, ignoring his screams. With each knife-stab, blood spurts out in a fountain and covers JIM LEE’s face and clothes.
TODD MCFARLANE pushes past JIM and unloads a revolver into the writhing body.
ZOOM ON ROB LIEFELD:
As far back as I can remember, I always
wanted to draw comics about
Captain America having big-old tits.
TITLE CARD : THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY — 10 YEARS EARLIER
A younger ROB is jumping on a teenage girl’s bed. Plastic toy horses line her bookshelves.
(holding a drawing of a disfigured cyborg with a
ponytail; the pose is swiped from Jack Kirby)
Everyone has one thing. Everybody’s got One Special Thing.
TEENAGE GIRL enters the room.
What are you doing in here? Who are you?
I’m calling the cops!
ROB screams and jumps out the window.
TITLE CARD: SAN DIEGO COMIC CONVENTION — 1980s
INT. Restroom. ROB is seated, on a toilet, in a toilet stall. A man bursts in, filled with intensity– think Alec Baldwin yelling on his daughter’s voicemail, or Naomi Campbell at a buffet.
It is TODD MCFARLANE. Picture Johnny Depp or Mark Wahlberg or … or picture Johnny Depp on top of Mark Wahlberg, locked in the throes of an erotic passion that seems to almost generate a halo of sex and sweat and small quantities of urine around them, disrupted only by Bradley Cooper arriving, wearing chain mail, holding a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake syrup that he’s just finished making love to, while Wilmer Valderrama watched, helplessly and involuntarily touching himself.
When TODD speaks, he sounds like Toucan Sam, the cartoon mascot for the Froot Loops breakfast cereal. He is an enigma wrapped in a mystery novel written by Sue Grafton entitled W Is for Who Is This Mysterious Guy and Wait, What Did You Say Is Going On with My Voice?
I’m out to meet all the boys, bud.
Boys. Young, fresh boys. Boy George. Danny Boy.
The Irish boy band Boyzone. Chef Boyardee. Myrna
Loy’s boy whose name is Roy, bud.
WIPE TO: EXT. Convention Floor. ROB and TODD approach a bald man, with hair erupting in long, luxurious strands from his ears and nostrils.
Hello, ERIK LARSEN. This is ROB LIEFELD.
Let us all eat sandwiches together.
Todd was like a dragon shitting volcanoes,
screaming in agony as each volcano emerged
flaming from its rectal cavity. He was like the
professor in an X-rated movie that just
caught a nubile student cheating on her
astronomy exam. And me, I became — like when
the professor spits on his hand?
I was like that spit.
Draw Spider-Man like me and Erik, bud. I’m drawing
all the stuff the fans can’t get enough of, the
stuff that drives fans crazy, that blows the fans’
brains up. Like clouds in the sky. Windowsills.
Awnings. Manhole covers. Street signs. Patio
furniture. Traffic lights. Cornices. Exterior
staircases. Garbage cans. Chimneys. Fire hydrants.
And you have to find your writer, bud, and hunt
them. Hunt them through the streets, bud, with a
trident. You hunt a writer, then you eat their pie.
And the pie is sweet because the pie is your
victory, bud. Are you married, bud? My wife is
(whispering to ROB; played by John Cho)
Is this about about his wife?
Yer missin’ the point, bud. My wife is a METAPHOR.
Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten rid of my writer. Shit.
(whispering to ROB; seriously played by John Cho)
Is this about about metaphors?
Okay, I got it– I got it: it’s all a metaphor for
slavery. We are all slaves, and Marvel Comics is a
plantation, and I can’t see any way in which this
metaphor is offensive, whatsoever.
(whispering to ROB; played by John Cho)
Is this about about cotton? Help me. Just please
explain things to me, Rob Liefeld.
We have to form Image Comics. That way, instead of a
plantation hiring us to write and draw comics for
them, we can become the people who hire other people
to write and draw comics for us, because that would
be better, for reasons.
WIPE TO– MONTAGE:
– YOUNGBLOOD #1 and WILDC.A.T.S #1 come out and are huge successes.
– 29 months pass.
– YOUNGBLOOD #2 and WILDC.A.T.S #2 come out.
– ROB stands in a crowd of 11-year-olds, and spins in slow-motion in a circle, with his arms outstretched, until he becomes dizzy and falls down.
WIPE TO: INT. NEW YEAR’S PARTY
The crowd celebrates the formation and early massive success of Image Comics. Everyone is drinking champagne. TODD and ROB stand next to a white tiger. Above them is a blimp with the words “NOW YOU OWN A TIGER FOR SOME REASON” on it. JIM LEE sits in the corner and thinks about money.
(leaping into a writhing pile of naked women)
Shadowhawk has the HIV virus, but me– I’M
GONNA LIVE FOREVER!
(snorting cocaine off of Marc Silvestri’s stomach)
WildStar is going to be around for years. This
is our time. The time of WildStar.
ERIK LARSEN weaves through the crowd, walking down the hallway to a closed bedroom door. He opens it. Keith Giffen is there with a copy of TRENCHER #2, discussing it eagerly with LARRY MARDER. ERIK closes the door, distraught. The camera follows him as he walks to his station wagon and retrieves a .38 REVOLVER.
People begin counting off to the New Year: 10… 9… 8 … 7…
ERIK LARSEN walks into the house, down the hallway …6…5…4… smashes open the bedroom door and shoots everyone inside the room.
Everyone at the party jumps at the gunshots.
ERIK turns and faces the people …3…2…1… He smiles briefly, then shoves the revolver into his mouth and blows the back of his skull onto the wall behind him.
TITLE CARD: “1990s”
WIPE TO: INT. Image Comics Warehouse.
TODD and ROB stand over a crate of DEATHMATE:RED comics that are shipping five years late.
You’re purportedly using your ability to write checks
for Image to pay your personal debts! And you’re
publishing comics on your own through something called
Maximum Press, then allegedly using Image staff to
promote Maximum Press titles. And you associate with
Scott Rosenberg? And– good lord, have you ever read
your Wikipedia entry? If I’m reading your Wikipedia
entry correctly, there’s a 28% chance that you’re the
Green River Killer.
Our relationships! We are coming to blows, emotionally!
Before you fire me, I quit! You’re not my dad! YOU’RE
NOT MY DAD! I invented the Rub the Blood cover. What
did you ever do? I came up with the characters Shaft,
Die Hard, Vogue, Wayne’s World 2, Entertainment
Weekly, and Riptide. What’s Image Comics going to do
without Knightsabre? Or Psi-Fire? Or Photon?
Do I have a God Complex? Do you have any idea the
kinds of grades that need to be accepted to a top
medical school, how talented someone has to be to
lead a surgical team? I don’t. But I was on an
episode of the Dennis Miller Show, you piece of shit.
So, I ask you– when someone goes into that chapel
and falls onto their knees and prays to God that
they can buy a comic where a character with two
ponytails wearing shoulder armor and little pouches
around their thighs can save the Earth from evil
Prince Genocide, who do you think they’re praying
Go ahead and read your Bible, and you might win
the annual raffle. You ask me if I have a God
Complex? Let me tell you something– I AM GOD.
And this sideshow is over.
WIPE TO– MONTAGE #2:
— Things become dark and pathetic.
— So: basically just a montage of Rob Liefeld’s career from 1996 to the present, I guess…? Basically all of that.
TITLE CARD: ONE LAST THING (LONG WAY DOWN)
ROB sits behind a flea market table at a comic book store. EAZY-E, the NOTORIOUS B.I.G, TUPAC, CHUNKY A, and that one guy with the big nose from DIGITAL UNDERGROUND approach. They are ROB’s favorite rappers, so why wouldn’t they be in this screenplay, really?
(giving out assault rifles; transmitting
AIDS to everyone in the comic shop)
Keeping things real. Play on, player.
Getting jiggy with it. Word to your
mother. In the club with shorties. I
thought I told you that we won’t stop.
Please stop begging me to make comics
with you, TUPAC SHAKUR. It’s making me
And no, I will not date you, Christie
Brinkley. You’re embarrassing
yourself, Christie Brinkley!
A MEGAPHONE squawks loudly from outside the building.
We finally caught up with you and have
you surrounded. Once you rapped that you
wanted to FUCK THE POLICE. Now, you will
be murdered by the very same police who
you previously wished to fuck! Oh, the
irony of it all!
POLICE OFFICERS rush in and a massive gun battle erupts.
The guy from DIGITAL UNDERGROUND spin-kicks a police officer in the crotch, but as he begins to Humpty Dance in celebration, police officers unload their UZI’s into his mortal frame. His dead body rattles about like a lifeless rag doll as bullets pour into it, before finally falling onto the ground. All around the world the same song– THE SONG OF DEATH.
The POLICE OFFICERS are momentarily happy– but only because they don’t see CHUNKY A coming at them with a samurai sword. Five police officers drop to the ground, decapitated, until finally a member of the LAPD finds a fire-axe and slams it into CHUNKY-A’s skull, splitting it in twain.
Fucking cops! You fucking cops will
never take me alive–
Bullets riddle SAMMY HAGAR, spraying his dying blood all over the latest Greg Land and Sal Larroca comics, improving those comics immeasurably.
A bullet streaks through the air like all slow-mo Matrix-style and hits ROB LIEFELD in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. From the ground, he is forced to watch as all of his favorite rappers are murdered by the police: TUPAC, NOTORIOUS BIG, EAZY E, YOUNG MC, TONE LOC, ANOTHER BAD CREATION, whoever did YOU MAMA’S ON CRACK ROCK, those guys who did WHOOMP THERE IT IS– that was good one, FREAK NASTY– he had that song Da Dip…? Remember that one? You put your hand upon my hip, you dip we dip I dip we dip, or something like that– Anyways, Freak Nasty, sure, he buys the farm, too. It’s a real loss for music.
Everything goes dark.
FADE TO BLACK.
… Long pause…
… Milk the tension…
EXT. Suburbs. White picket fences. Green lawns.
ROB LIEFELD is there, in a blue bathrobe, bandages covering his shoulder. He now walks with a limp and his left ear is no longer fully attached to his head.
After that, it was easy for me to disappear.
I just went to work for DC Comics. Nobody
knows who makes those. Nobody cares. Even
the people making them aren’t sure if
they’re actually making them. It’s worse
than the Witness Protection Program.
The hardest thing for me was leaving the
life. We were treated like D-list movie
stars by cretins and people with horribly
low standards. I had paper bags filled
with YOUNGBLOOD Gold Foil Variant Cover
back-issues. Anything I wanted was phone
call away, especially if I wanted something
stupid or pointless or not very difficult
to obtain. It didn’t matter. Everybody had
their hands out.
And now… it’s all over.
Today everything’s different. Nobody cares
who draws their comics. Every comic puts
out 20 issues a year– the artist changes
every three panels. You could spend all day
swiping a Frank Miller drawing from RONIN
into an X-Men comic and weirdly, nobody
would hoist you onto their shoulders. They
still have holofoil covers and everyone
still rips off their fans constantly, and
sub-mediocrity still prevails, but none of
the characters have bizarre ponytails, or
superfluous knives, or superfluous knives
that inexplicably have bizarre ponytails.
WHERE ARE THE GODDAMN POUCHES?
There’s no action. I have to wait around
like anyone else. I’m an average nobody,
a schnook. Seriously, a real schnook.
DC had me drawing HAWKMAN. HAWKMAN.
Hawkman is the capital city of Schnooks.
Only schnooks need apply. Oh, the pathos
of it all.