Meet The Press
This page should be a singleton -- alone rather than facing the next page. Second and third pages overleaf.
Open with a fellow in a trench coat walking up to the door of a darkened and mysterious mansion. It is daylight, but the mansion looks as if IT is thinking midnight. He opens the outer door and goes inside; as he passes by the doorframe we see a small metal plaque that says "SUPER-HEROES' CLUB". Standing in the small anteroom, he knocks on the inner door. A tiny panel opens; beady eyes peer out, and the panel slams. The man in the trench coat falls through a trap door which suddenly opens under his feet.
Full page of him landing on a trampoline and bounding through a room filled with assorted dangers, exaggerated to the point of silliness. One of the early and easy-to-reach dangers is a pool of crocodiles. There are also banks of sharpened spikes. He finally lands on a platform supported by a huge spring, which catapults him right into the first panel of the next page, facing, which is:
The bar-room of the Super-Heroes' Club, filled with heroes and heroines. Even the bartender wears a cape. At the bar is ICARUS. There are bottles of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, sulfuric acid, rum, etc. The fellow in the trench coat bounds through a hole (surrounded by a brass rail) in the floor at the left of the panel. His hat is above and slightly behind his head and his coat is streaming behind, to reveal ROCKETKING.
RK: "Rum and carrot juice, Sam!"
Icarus: "So I sez to Commissioner Gorgon...."
Rocketking throws coat and hat at a coat-rack as he walks up to a table of friends: DARKMASTER and MIRA.
RK: "How's the night shift, Darkmaster? MIRA, honey!"
Darkmaster: "Mighty gloomy, Rocky."
Rocketking, seated by Mira, is looking at the entrance hole in the floor. Screams and splashes come through it.
RK: "Sounds like a reporter trying to get in."
Mira: "It's not shrill enough to be a groupie."
RK dives down the hole, trailing smoke. His abandoned drink sits in midair where he left it; Mira rescues the drink telekinetically.
Scream: "Help! Crocodiles!"
RK: "Woops! This week I'm the rescue detail!"
Rocketking plucks Jimmy Crockett from the jaws of a crocodile.
RK: "New kid in town? We don't mind reporters..."
RK chewing out Jimmy in foyer; has him by shirtfront.
RK: "...but they gotta be SUPER reporters!"
Jimmy being shoved out the door by Rocketking's hand (all of him that shows).
RK: "You didn't even get past the front door!"
Rocketking back in the barroom with his friends, tossing off his drink.
RK: "Enough peace and quiet. I think I'll patrol for a while."
Rocketking bends over and kisses Mira.
RK: "See you tonight?"
Mira: "Ten o'clock."
(Splash): Rocketking flying high over the city. Smile of steely determination on his face.
SPLASH CAPTION: This is Rocketking, respected local superhero. He has the awe and affection of the populace, one of the highest Rescuing Averages around, and an extremely super girlfriend. The only fly in his otherwise perfect ointment is the cost of keeping his super-equipment going on his secret identity's salary. He thinks he's found a way to fix that....
Rocketking meeting with bureaucrats. City maps on the walls, area marked out near river. Rocketking holding papers and gesturing at map, while others look skeptical.
Caption: The City Manager's office the next day.
RK: "...and that's my plan for the clearance project."
Lawyer: "The unions won't like this!"
Comptroller and City Manager (they sit in the softest chairs) gesture decisively.
Comptroller: "His bid is lowest."
C.M.: "Accept, with a penalty clause guaranteeing timely completion."
Rocketking leaving a door marked "City Manager", carrying a portfolio.
RK (thought): "That's stage one. Now..."
RK talking to receptionist at Amalgamated Insurance Trust.
RK: "Hi, Kathy. What are the Top Ten villains worth today?"
Kathy: "There's a $37 thou reward out for Captain Mercaptan, 24 for Prof. Wadleigh, 15 for..."
Small panel. Rocketking dialling the phone.
RK (thought): "Mercaptan can empty a building okay, but if I wanted to demolish one, I'd pick Wadleigh!"
Small panel. Rocketking leans forward with phone.
Phone (electronic): "Supers Desk."
RK: "Howdy, John, this is Rocketking."
Leans back, feet on desk, talking on phone. Large panel, to give room for text.
RK: "Could you get it in tonight's Trumpet that I consider Prof. Wadleigh a wart on the nose of Science, and challenge him to a fight Friday Morning in the Westbank Clearance Project?"
Rocketking and Mira flying high above one of the city parks. They have different styles: he jets along, while she floats. He is trying to get solace from her. She's fond of him, but thinks he HAS done smarter things in the past.
RK: "So there I was at dawn Friday, on top of the highest building in the Project."
Mira: "I saw it on TV."
Flying over the business district now. Far below, very small, three men are robbing an armored car. Mira gestures indefinitely at it, while Rocky is waving his arms.
RK: "So I wait all morning -- me, and the spectators, and the reporters, and the cops..."
Mira: "Yeah, uh, there's a robbery down there."
The two of them are diving towards the robbers, who are looking up in utter horror.
RK: "...and the bastard doesn't show!"
Mira: "Some people have no sense of honor. Villains, mostly."
Rocketking cracking two heads together. Mira gestures at the third robber (effect, like shimmer of air above a hot pavement) and he falls over in a faint.
RK: "Not only that, he pulls a BANK ROBBERY using the excitement as a cover!"
Rocketking is flying along with one unconscious villain under each arm; Mira's villain is levitating along behind. (He's flying awkwardly enough to make it plain it's not under his own power.) They're descending towards a police station.
Mira: "You simply are going to have to do something about Wadleigh!"
Flying up from the police station after depositing the crooks.
RK: "Wadleigh? I'm going to have to do something about those BUILDINGS!"
Rocketking standing next to a sign, "Westbank Clearance Project". He is looking over the dilapidated buildings with a calculating eye. A lawyer approaches, bearing papers.
RK (thought): "Dammit, WADLEIGH usually did the wrecking in our fights. Oh well, clear the area and..."
Lawyer: "Ahem -- Rocketking?"
Rocky turns towards the lawyer, who hands him a sheaf of legal papers.
Lawyer: "I have here an injunction forbidding you to wreck these buildings."
Rocky, reading the papers and thinking of tearing the lawyer to bits.
RK: "...the Demolition Workers Union?"
The door to the City Manager's office, with voices coming through.
Voice: "... the penalty clause ...."
Full-width panel. Rocketking in the bar of the Super-Heroes' Club with Mira. Drunk, and drinking more; morose, and looking for a reason to kill somebody. Most of the heroes and heroines at the bar are trying to ignore it, but Icarus has a superior look on his face and is talking behind his hand to somebody else.
RK: "...so I can't touch those buildings unless I'm in hot pursuit of a supervillain -- 'cause villains are MY union's line of work. And the villain won't cooperate!"
Rocketking mooning into his drink. Mira, disgusted.
RK: "Enforce their laws for years, 'nen they screw me!"
Rocketking and Mira both disgusted.
RK: "I got half a mind to take off my Rocketking suit, STAY meek, mild George Spelvin, and let 'em WHISTLE for their penalty!!"
Mira: "You get this way every time you drink too much."
Rocketking looking Mira up and down as she sweeps off in a huff.
RK: "YOU get this way every time I drink too much, too."
Mira: "Call me after you get this mess straightened out."
Rocketking waving at the bartender.
RK: "Hey Sam, leave out the carrot juice this time."
Bartender: "Give me the rockets first -- you're barely in shape to fly NOW."
Rocketking coming out of the men's room. (Three rooms: men, women, aliens.) He is looking further down the hall at a door that says "Communications".
RK (thought): "Why not?"
Radio waves going up from dish antenna to satellite, then being beamed back down.
Rocky is talking on a phone labelled "HOT LINE, emergencies only".
Phone "Super-Villains' Club."
RK: "Professor Wadleigh, please."
The interior of Professor Wadleigh's machine shop. Wadleigh is customizing a stolen army tank. The cannon is lying to one side, and a ray-gun is suspended from a chain hoist above the turret. Wadleigh is on a crawler under the tank; his hand is groping from beneath for a ringing phone which has been brought to him by his robot butler, Rhett.
Wadleigh (thought): "Always when I'm busy!"
He's rolled out from under the tank, grimy and annoyed; but curious who would be calling on the hot line.
Wadleigh: "Wadleigh here."
Phone: "Sputter, crackle."
Wadleigh: "Rocketking? You're a wart too, buddy!"
Sitting on crawler, talking on phone.
Wadleigh: "I KNEW about that contract. You think I'm going to get me and my crime-mobile beat up so you can make a buck?"
More of the same. Wadleigh leaning forward, interested.
Wadleigh: "A fifty-fifty split?"
Jimmy Crockett lurking between the panels, listening on a telephone tap.
Headphones (electronic): "A fifty-fifty split? About the details...."
Caption: "The next day...."
More buildings crumbling, alongside the first; explosions, power effects that make it obvious there's a whale of a battle going on.
Rocketking sitting on a pile of rubble, all that remains of the buildings, watching the Wadleigh Crime-Mobile scurry off through the devastation.
RK: "Shucky-darn, he's getting away."
Facial and torso of Rocketking cracking his knuckles like Wonder Wart-Hog preparing to disassemble a pervert.
RK: "Now that they're softened up, let's get RID of these buildings!"
Rocketking back in the City Manager's office, being paid in cash.
Manager: "You WERE fortunate in Prof. Wadleigh's choice of an escape route. Now, as we agreed ..."
Rocketking sitting on top of a building counting money, a mid-size robot hovering behind him watching. He is finishing off two piles of cash.
RK: "$499,000, $500,000."
Rocky feeds one of the wads of bills into the robot's mouth (it yawns obligingly).
RK: "Here y'are, Zeppo: $500,000. Now run on home to Papa Wadleigh."
Rocketking talking to Mira over the phone.
RK: "C'mon over, Mira, it's all straightened out. And pick up some steaks at the SuperMarket."
Rocketking (in his civilian guise) opening the door and squeezing Mira (who is in hers). Middle America house. She nearly drops her shopping bag.
RK: "Mira, you look good enough to eat!"
Mira: "I DO eat. Let's get cooking!"
The two of them watching TV; popcorn, snuggled on the couch. Rocketking's cat, Puff, is curled up with them.
Making love in the bedroom; grunts and oohs.
Night, silhouettes; the two of them sleeping cuddled together. The sleeping body naturally forms little 'coves'; Puff is curled in one of them.
Sun shining outside; the two of them stretching and getting ready to meet the world. Mira is a lark; Rocketking an owl, and grumpy.
RK: "Grmph, okay, you LIKE mornings."
The living room. Mira, nude, is heading for the kitchen; Puff prances along trying to draw her attention to the cat-bowl. Rocky (in bathrobe) is aghast at the morning paper he just took in.
Mira: "I'll start coffee, you get the paper."
RK (thought): "Oh, lordy...."
Mira has taken the newspaper from Rocky, who is still looking blank. Headline "Collusion Alleged in Clearance Project", subhead "Million Dollar Payoff". Photos of devastation, Rocketking, Wadleigh (mug-shot).
Mira: "You did it. You really did it!"
Mira, naked and indignant between panels.
Mira: "It's been nice, so long."
Door slamming closed, Rocketking reaching out in confusion. Mira's voice drifts back thru door.
RK: "But -- you're NAKED!"
Mira: "I'll cloud their minds so they don't notice. Good-BYE!"
Puff (off-panel in the direction of the kitchen): "Rrreow??"
Rocky (in his super-suit) kicking dispiritedly down the street, hands tucked in the sides of his belt. Chihuahua barking at him.
RK (thought): "Bloody Hell. Guess I'll go down to the Club for a drink."
The lawyer again, at the Club doorstep, handing Rocky a legal document.
Lawyer: "Judge Anderson REALLY would like to speak to you about that injunction, in court, on the tenth."
Jimmy Crockett pops up from behind a bush, all bright and eager.
Jimmy: "Rocketking, can you comment on the city's decision to sue for its money back?"
Jimmy (foreground) and lawyer (background) are staring open-mouthed at a pillar of smoke heading straight up from the doorstep of the club. Inside the pillar is an "aaaaarrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhh" trailing off into the sky.
Rocketking in court, being lectured by Judge Anderson (who looks not unlike the Dreddful Judge of the same name). The scene itself is barely visible, crowded out by the judge's word balloon. Jimmy Crockett and the lawyer are in the foreground.
Judge: "...and so you are directed to return the full million dollars to the city, plus an equal amount in punitive damages to the Demolition Workers' Union, Local 328. Let me comment, Rocketking, that you have not been upholding the standards Twinopolis expects of its heroes. Always keep in mind the distinction between the civil and the criminal laws; for your immunity to prosecution under the criminal laws as a practicing super-hero does not extend to the civil law. Indeed...." (use as much as will fit).
Rocketking leans on the judge's bench with one hand.
RK: "Wadleigh has half the money, so I can't possibly pay. I guess I start my career as a lawbreaker by defaulting on a court judgement."
Rocky gives (shocked) judge the finger.
RK: "For my second crime, I think I'll try public obscenity."
He addresses the courtroom as well as the judge.
RK: "As for my third crime, I warn you that you are now locked in a room with an enraged supervillain."
RK yells off-page towards the back of the courtroom where the door is; a "crunch" floats back.
RK: "Okay, Dick!"
Rocketking has Jimmy Crockett by the neck, and is pointing towards the back of the courtroom, splintered open by the Crime-Mobile. Its doors are open, revealing a bare and spartan interior. Entire population of the courtroom looking at it, aghast.
RK: "Kindly file into the Wadleigh Crime-Mobile there; I can't think of a crew anywhere I'd rather hold for ransom."