Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wheet! Wheet! Part 3

HAWKWORLD: "A Matter of Conscience" Part 3

© DC Comics


1 (BACK TO THE PRESENT, with a TIGHT-SHOT of HIRAM, smiling gently.)

Hiram: It wasn’t a lot, but... it was ENOUGH. Those acts helped sustain me, I think. Helped me SURVIVE.

Hiram 2: So I lived. I was liberated from the camps, I came to America...

2 (HIRAM is holding up his left arm, showing KATAR the camp number tattooed there.)

Hiram: ... Married... had children... a career... a LIFE... tried to put the horror BEHIND me. NEVER to forget it.

Hiram 2: But not let it rule my life with bitterness and MORE hatred.

3 (KATAR is looking a tad confused. HIRAM is still smiling gently, shrugging.)

Katar: Seven hells, man-- they BRANDED you like an animal. They tried to KILL you...

Katar 2: ... Their philosophical offspring came back last night to FINISH the job begun 50 years ago. How can you be so FORGIVING?

Hiram: How can I NOT?

4 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a synagogue somewhere in SKOKIE, in the dead of night. This is a fairly modern building, but obviously a synagogue, with a large, stylized Star of David over the entrance.)

Cap: “I’m not going to let the hate they’ve bred consume me as it does them...”

5 (WILKS and a horde of his skinhead buddies, in the dark of night, are leaping over the fence behind the synagogue, some carrying bats, others with cans of spray paint.)

6 (INSIDE THE SYNAGOGUE: the skinheads are busting through the back door, illuminating the interior with the beam from a flashlight one of them holds.)


1 (In the light of the flashlight, the skinheads are going about their nasty business, busting up the synagogue, vandalizing the place silly: tearing up prayer books, throwing around prayer shawls, etc. WILKS is in the foreground, working with a can of spraypaint on the wall.)

2 (Looking over WILKS’S shoulder as he spraypaints away like a demon. The message he’s spraying is a couple of swastikas and the words: “DEATH TO JEWS.”)

3 (CUT TO: several days later, with a TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL, showing a video of WILKS’S spray-painted handiwork. The words “WBBM 2 / FILE TAPE / CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL” are super-imposed at the bottom of the screen.)

From TV (elec): ... In the week since the vandalism of the survivor’s monument and the Skokie synagogue, anti-Semitic incidents have been on the RISE in the normally peaceful suburban neighborhood.

4 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL: CUT TO, a medium-shot of WILKS standing in front of Skokie City Hall, looking mean and angry as he talks to the microphone being held in his face. Super-imposed at the bottom of the screen are the words: DARYLL WILKS / America First Party Leader.)

Wilks (elec): ... The authorities can say whatever they want, but they have no PROOF we had anything to do with those attacks... no reason to DENY us a PERMIT to march here in Skokie!

5 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL: CUT TO a medium shot of a slick looking LAWYER, standing in front of Skokie City Hall, talking into the microphone being held in his face. Super-imposed at the bottom of the screen are the words: WARREN HARRIS / ACLU.)

Lawyer (elec): ... Doesn’t matter WHAT they’re saying, who they might offend, it’s EVERY American’s constitutional right to speak out!

TV (elec): And so the controversy continues...

6 (PULL BACK to see we’re in LT. KLEIN’S office, seeing the above scenes on a small portable TV on top of a filing cabinet. KLEIN is switching off the set as HAWK stands there, looking pissed.)

TV (elec): ... As all Skokie waits for the court’s decision as to whether a group most area residents have labeled as NAZIS will be allowed to... KLIK!

Hawk: Seven devils! WHY is this even an ISSUE...?!


1 (KLEIN is at his desk now, holding up a paper, looking like he’s just sucked a bushel of lemons.)

Klein: Because that’s the AMERICAN way, my friend.

Klein 2: Besides, it’s a DONE DEAL. The court just decided in favor of those slimebuckets.

Hawk: They... WHAT?

2 (KLEIN is tossing the paper on the desk for HAWK to look at.)

Klein: This freedom of speech thing of ours’s a real bitch, ain’t it?

Hawk: I’ve read your constitution. It doesn’t say anything about lowlife hatemongers trampling on the rights of the majority!

3 (KLEIN is putting a cigarette between his lips.)

Klein: You’re wrong, pal. That’s exactly what it DOES say. How’s it go?...

Klein 2: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

4 (CUT TO: the next day, on the streets of SKOKIE, along a neighborhood shopping district. The streets are lined with Skokie residents, most of them there to bitch, moan, and demonstrate against the Nazi/skinhead “march” scheduled to come down this way. There are people with signs and banners denouncing the Nazis. There are others, mostly older folks, in HIRAM’S age group, just observing. There are still others -- younger, members of the JDL, looking to kick some Nazi butts. There are also a good number of cops on hand, as well as TV and print journalists.)

Cap: “... Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble...”

Cap 2: “Pretty much covers the whole ball of wax where those Nazis are concerned, doesn’t it?”

5 (In the crowd, on the sidewalk, is HIRAM, still bandaged and bruised, but better than when we last saw him. He’s in a wheelchair being pushed by a neighbor of his, old IDA BERKOWITZ. IDA looks concerned. HIRAM’S dog is on a leash which is tied to the arm of the wheelchair.)

Ida: Hiram, I don’t LIKE this. After what happened to you, WHY would you want to be here...?

Hiram: I TOLD you, Ida. I’m NOT going to HIDE from these thugs.

Ida 2: A DAY out of the hospital and you’re...


1 (Angling from behind HIRAM and IDA, looking out towards the street, past the police standing between the crowd and the street.)

Hiram: Ida, darling, I appreciate you watched my dog for me. I’m grateful you’re helping me out now...

2 (CUT TO: a shot, looking head on down the street at the first “line” of Nazis/skinheads marching down the street. They’re carrying a crudely, hand-lettered banner that reads “AMERICA FIRST/ARYIAN AMERICA FOR ARYIANS.”)

Cap: “... But if you want to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich, I wouldn’t tell you no...

3 (CUT TO: On a rooftop overlooking the street where the march is being held. There we see HAWK, standing, watching the proceedings down below with a wary eye, waiting for trouble... hoping for it so he can kick some Nazi butt as well!)

Cap: “... So don’t tell ME I shouldn’t stand up and be SEEN...”

Cap 2: “As soon as Lt. Klein told me the Nazis were to be allowed to march, I KNEW it would happen.

4 (CLOSE-UP of HAWK’S hand, gripping the butt of his weapon in its holster.)

Cap: “I HOPED it would. I WANTED the excuse.

Cap 2: “Constitutional rights are fine, in theory. But you have to draw the line SOMEWHERE.

5 (Looking down to the street, past HAWK, as he looks over the edge of the roof, as the Nazis/skinheads start to pass by below. The anti-Nazi demonstrators, waving their signs, booing, calling out insults, are being held to the sidewalk by the cops.)

Cap: “I’d found MY line.” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal

From below: NAZIS GO HOME!

From below B: DROP DEAD!


6 (On the street, where HIRAM’S wheelchair is at the curb, the old man watching as the Nazis/skinheads parade by with Nazi banners and placards, shouting slogans with fists raised in the air. There are only a couple of dozen of them in the “parade.” IDA is standing behind the wheelchair, upset. The two old people are surrounded by angry, shouting younger people.)


7 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM, starting in surprise.)

Hiram: Gasp!


1 (CLOSE-UP OF WILKS as he walks along with his skinhead buddies, shouting, waving their fists in the air. WILKS is glancing over to the side, looking startled.)

2 (HIRAM is half-rising from the wheelchair, pointing a shaking finger at the passing WILKS. IDA is upset, her hand on his shoulder, trying to get him to sit back down. One of the angry young JDL-types is next to HIRAM, looking at the old man.)

Hiram: Th- that’s HIM! HE’S the one who did this to me...!

Ida: Hiram... SHUSH! Don’t... don’t make TROUBLE!

JDL-Type: Wait... you saying that man ATTACKED you?

3 (The JDL-TYPE is turning to his loudly protesting companions who are standing around them, working himself -- and them -- into a frenzy. HIRAM is speaking up, trying to keep this situation from exploding into violence.)

Hiram: Ye- yes! But, please, I don’t want any...

JDL-Type: YOU HEAR THAT?! That Nazi BEAT on this old man... and NOW he’s laughing at him-- at ALL of us!

4 (One of the JDL-TYPE’S friends is hurtling something -- a bottle, a brick -- at WILKS and the other Nazis/skinheads, who are reacting to the tossed brickabrack, starting towards the sidewalk. The rest of the protesting JDL BOYS are starting towards the street, to push through the cops and head towards the marchers. All hell is starting to break loose... and HIRAM is in the middle of it, trying to get someone to hear him!)

JDL Boy (burst): GET ‘EM!

Hiram: N- no... DON’T! This ISN’T what I...

Wilks: SON OF A... they wanna PLAY!

5 (From his perch over the street on the roof, HAWK sees the shit hitting the fan below, the two groups starting towards one another at the same time...)

Hawk: NOW!


1 (The JDL BOYS, the Nazi/skinheads, and the COPS are all clashing, everybodying coming together with fists, protest signs, and nightsticks swinging. It’s riot time... and HAWK is diving off the roof to dive down to join the fray.)

2 (We move into the fray, close-in on the violence with everybody swinging at everyone else.)

3 (And HAWK dives into this violence, bashing one of the skinheads who’s about to crack a cop in the head with his placard in the face as he swoops by.)


4 (HAWK is whipping out his nunchaka as he swoops around to go after another skinhead who’s kicking one of the downed JDL BOYS.)

5 (HAWK is swinging the nunchaka, smashing one end into the skinhead’s chest, driving him back away from the downed JDL BOY.)


6 (CLOSE-UP OF HIRAM, looking in wide-eyed horror at what’s happening.)

Hiram (whisper): No...


1 (More violence, right up close, as a cop’s billyclub cracks across the back of a JDL BOY’S head.)


2 (HAWK is using his wings to batter some more skinhead punks.)


3 (HIRAM, with the same look of horror on his face as in the last shot of him, only now in a MEDIUM-SHOT of him, pulling away from out, out into the street so that we start to see some of the violence that’s causing his reaction.)

Hiram: NO...

4 (More hitting, with HAWK dead in the middle of it, beating on one of the skinheads.)

5 (Now we’ve pulled back to another shot of HIRAM, this time in LONG-SHOT, the only still figure in this sea of violence, horrified by what’s going on around him as he gets up from the wheelchair, shaky.)

Hiram (burst): NO!

6 (HIRAM is pushing his way through battling protesters, towards HAWK, who’s comibg down from the sky, straight towards the fleeing WILKS.)

Hiram (burst): YOU CAN’T DO THIS... STOP IT! STOP!

7 (HAWK has grabbed WILKS by the arm, spinning him around, his fist cocked, ready to make a crater where WILKS’S face used to be. HIRAM is hobbling towards them, reaching out with his good hand to stop HAWK. The cops are starting to get the rest of the situation in hand, continuing to make progress throughout the rest of the story.)

Hiram (burst): STOP!


1 (HIRAM is grabbing HAWK, stopping him before he can deck WILKS. HAWK is looking at the upset old man while still holding on to WILKS.)

Hiram: My GOD, Hawkman... WHAT are you doing? Didn’t you hear ANYTHING I said to you?!

Hawk: This is DIFFERENT, Mr. Wyznowski! They STARTED it...

2 (HIRAM is shaking his head, looking older and sadder than ever.)

Hiram: They throw a punch... I retaliate... then they hit me... I hit back...

Hiram 2: WHERE does it end, Hawkman? When does the violence stop?

3 (HIRAM is pointing to the frightened WILKS, who the confused HAWK is still holding on to.)

Hiram: This one... he wants to TAUNT the victims of the HOLOCAUST with his hateful talk? LET him! I don’t have to LIKE what he says--

Hiram 2: -- But if I want to be able to say the things I believe, then I’ve got to acknowledge HIS right to do the same.

4 (HAWK is shaking WILKS in anger.)

Hawk: That doesn’t make SENSE. He can’t preach prejudice and hatred... that kind of talk means he’s given UP his rights!

Hiram: Because YOU don’t agree with him? Who made you... who made ANY of us judge?

5 (A cop is standing nearby, waiting to take WILKS out of HAWK’S hand, although HAWK isn’t quite ready to let him go. HIRAM is patting HAWK’S arm.)

Hawk: How can you STILL believe that after all that’s happened to you?

Hiram: How can I NOT?

Cap: “So many people on Earth remind me of the WORST I’ve seen on Thanagar.

6 (The cop is taking WILKS away. HIRAM is taking HAWK’S arm, so that HAWK can help him hobble back to his wheelchair.)

Cap: “But before I can dispair TOO deeply, I meet someone like Hiram Wyznowski. A victim who can find it in his heart to defend the victimizer.”

Hiram: So, you gonna help me back to my wheelchair or what...?

Cap 2: “Because it’s RIGHT... because it’s what he came to this country to find. It’s almost enough to JUSTIFY a faith in humanity...” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal

the end

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Farewell to White Fang and Black Tooth's Arms

Milton Supman meant a lot to me when I was a kid. He was another crazy Jewish guy, a wacky, manic machine gun of stupid jokes, bad puns, ridiculous pratfalls and old bits that should have been anything but the mesmerizing experience it was for me. Supman was funny. He knew it and he couldn't stop laughing at himself and at the ridiculousness of the world. He was an anarchist and an absurdist. He was a human cartoon aimed directly at the hearts and minds of his audience and he won me over big time.

Soupy Sales, along with White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie, and Hippy the Hippo, appeared in 1961's Lunch With Soupy Sales (syndicated, I believe, on ABC-TV, Channel 7 here in New York) and then made it to town in 1964 on WNEW-TV (Channel 5), and I was a regular viewer. The Soupy Sales Show was primitive, even for the time, held together by the grinning, rubber-faced, do-anything, say-anything Soupy in front of the camera while a crew of unseen stagehands, cameramen and other technical people roared with laughter and interacted with the star, all off-camera. In a day when state-of-the-art childrens programming was the calm, rational of Romper Room and Captain Kangeroo (and don't get me wrong...I loves me my Captain!), Soupy was off the charts. And on the charts, with recorded hits like "Do the Mouse" and "Pafalafa-ga" (they whisper it all over Turkey, you know), not to mention a book, and appearances all over TV. He was, for a while, a very big star, complete with controversary; on New Year's Day morning, he told kids to sneak into mom and dad's room and send him the "funny green pieces of paper" with the pictures of presidents on them from their wallets and he'd send them a postcard from Puerto Rico, at which point he was hit with one of the 25,000 pies he'd taken to his face in his career; a few days later, money started to arrive and Soupy was suspended for two weeks. It was a funny, if ill-advised, bit.

Soupy died today at the age of 83. His model for kids TV gave rise to everything from Chuck McCann to PeeWee Herman and he was, by all accounts, a hell of a nice man as well.

Forty-five years later, I can still sing "The Mouse."

Bye, Soupy. Love you, big kiss!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wheet! Wheet! Part 2

HAWKWORLD: "A Matter of Conscience" Part 2

© DC Comics


1 (SCHINDLER is shaking hands with HAWK, still flustered by his presence, as KLEIN makes the appropriate introductions.)

Schindler: Uhm... yes, well... you’re HAWKMAN, aren’t you?

Klein: Yeah. This’s Mel Schindler, of the B’NAI B’RITH ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE.

Hawk: Nice to meet you. Excuse me, but I’m not from around here... what’s a B’nai B’rith...?

2 (CLOSE-UP OF SCHINDLER, recovering his equalibrium as he speaks to Hawk.)

Schindler: Uh, yes... we’re an American Jewish service organization, involved in relief work and vocational training.

Schindler 2: I represent our Anti-Defamation League.

Hawk: I see. Do many people defame the B’nai B’rith, Mr. Schindler?

3 (SCHINDLER is looking at HAWK like he’s from another planet... which, in fact, he is. KLEIN is rolling his eyes to the heavens.)

Schindler: Not the group ITSELF, Mr.... er, Hawkman. Jews. And, yes, quite a few people do just that.

Schindler 2: Which is what I want to talk to YOU about, Lt. Klein. What are your people DOING about the vandalism of the memorial?

4 (CLOSE-UP of KLEIN as he reaches into his shirt pocket to extract a cigarette from the pack there. He looks tired.)

Klein: What’d you WANT from me, Schindler? Some loon takes a can of spray paint to the statue... no witnesses... no NOTHING.

Klein 2: All I CAN do is put a man on patrol in the park so it doesn’t happen again.

5 (SCHINDLER is angry, pointing a finger at KLEIN as HAWK looks on.)

Schindler: I thought you, of ALL people, would understand what vandalism of this sort MEANS. I suppose I was WRONG...

Klein: SAVE the GUILT okay? I KNOW... a damned sight BETTER than you--

6 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, angrilly clamping his teeth down on the cigarette.)

Klein: -- But what I feel doesn’t mean SQUAT here. This sort of crap turns my stomach...

7 (CUT TO: to an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a small, tidy house on a street of similar houses, somewhere in SKOKIE. This is a heavily residential area of quiet streets lined with homes with their neat little patches of lawn out front. Very quiet, very nice... one of those ideal American communities in which to bring up the kiddies. Or live out your retirement years.)

Cap: “... But I can’t materialize a perp out of thin air with nothing to go on but my OUTRAGE...


1 (AROUND BACK of the house, by the back door to the kitchen: the light is on in the kitchen and, through the window, we can see old HIRAM moving past the window, carrying a dinner plate. On the wall of the house, we can see the shadows of three men moving towards the back door.)

Cap: “... And no matter how loud you HOWL for me to go rounding up the ‘USUAL suspects,’ I don’t PLAY that way--

2 (INSIDE THE HOUSE, in the kitchen, where HIRAM is just about to sit down at the small kitchen table to eat his dinner. His little dog is sitting on the floor beside the table, looking expectantly up at his master. HIRAM’S back is to the door, so he doesn’t see the silhouettes against the curtains on the kitchen door moving up towards the door.)

Cap: “-- So unless you’ve got some USEFUL information for me, you’re just WASTING my time...”

Hiram: STOP begging, Cassie. You have YOUR dinner, I have MINE.

3 (HIRAM is turning to look towards the kitchen door, brow furrowed, surprised. All he can see through the sheer curtains over the door’s window is a vague silhouette.)

Hiram: Eh? Who’s THERE...?


4 (HIRAM is standing before the kitchen door, hesitant, unsure. The dog is sniffing at the bottom of the door.)

Hiram: I said, who’s there? I... I was just about to sit down to my dinner...


5 (Suddenly, a baseball bat is smashing through the door window, sending glass flying at HIRAM who is recoiling, covering his face with his arms in surprise.)


6 (Now the door itself is flying open, kicked in from the outside by a blackbooted foot.)


7 (Standing framed in the doorway are three skinhead Nazi punks, dressed in leather and denim, torn t-shirts, and liberally festooned with a wide variety of Nazi symbols. Mean as can be... and meanest of them is the leader, WILKS, who’s at the fore of the group, tapping his baseball bat on the palm of his hand, a nasty smile on his face, directed at the scared, shocked old man.)

Wilks: I got something for you to CHEW on, pops!

Hiram: M- my... god... what... WHAT do you WANT...?!


1 (WILKS, with his two goons right behind him, is stepping into the kitchen, pointing at old HIRAM with the baseball bat. HIRAM is backing away, frightened. The dog is snarling and growling at the skinheads.)

Wilks: Wanna TALK to you, old man. We HEARD what you said about us on the news. Didn’t like it.

Hiram: You... you get OUT of my house... right NOW, you HEAR me!

2 (FLASHBACK PANEL: HIRAM -- once as a teenager in the late-30s, early-40s -- is shielding his mother and sister from flying splinters as uniformed and heavily armed Nazis kick open the door to their apartment.)

3 (WILKS is poking HIRAM in the chest with the end of the bat, smiling coldly at the old man.)

Wilks: Not yet, Jew boy. Not till we discuss a few things... like your calling us ANIMALS. We think that’s real FUNNY--

Wilks 2: -- Coming outta a LOWER LIFE FORM like a JEW. Know what I mean?

Hiram: I... I KNOW... I know all ABOUT you... and your KIND...

4 (WILKS is looking over his shoulder at his two friends, smiling. He’s got HIRAM pinned against the wall now, holding the old man there with the end of the bat pressed against his chest.)

Wilks: Hear that? He knows us. That makes it EASY, don’t it?

Punk A: Yeah, Wilks. REAL easy.

Hiram: You... you’re a bunch of THUGS, you hear me?! You imitate a MONSTER... but HE couldn’t kill us all... YOU’LL never do it...

5 (WILKS is shouldering the baseball bat as he returns his gaze to old HIRAM, still smiling his cold-as-ice, hateful smile.)

Wilks: You gotta understand something here, Jew boy. Old Adolph-- he was on the RIGHT track, but he was TOO soft on all of you...

6 (Without warning, WILKS is swinging the bat, at old HIRAM, off panel.)

Wilks (burst): ... JUST TOO DAMNED SOFT!

Cap: “I find this whole situation AND your attitude DEPLORABLE...”


7 (CUT TO: back to the police station, where an irate SCHINDLER is storming away from a fed-up KLEIN and a slightly confused HAWK.)

Schindler: ... And you can be sure the mayor and the media’s going to hear about this, Lt. Klein. COUNT on it!

Klein: Yeah, give hizzoner a big WET one for me while you’re at it.

Hawk: What was that all about, Lt.?


1 (KLEIN is dropping his cigarette to the floor in disgust, shaking his head in annoyance.)

Klein: Ahh, just some LOCAL trouble. You know anything about World War II? The Nazis?

Hawk: Some. But that’s history, isn’t it?

2 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, looking down at his feet as he speaks.)

Klein: Not around HERE it isn’t. Anyway, the short of it is, part of the Nazi gameplan was the eradication of the Jewish race...

Klein 2: ... Mostly in CONCENTRATION CAMPS-- extermination centers where they worked European Jews to the brink of death--

3 (TIGHT ON KLEIN’S foot, as he grinds out the cigarette with the toe of his shoe.)

Klein: -- Then gassing or shooting the one’s who didn’t drop from starvation or exhaustion... 6 MILLION Jewish victims... probably the SAME number of other ethnic or racial UNDESIRABLES...

4 (KLEIN, pain and sorrow showing on his face, is looking up at HAWK.)

Klein: But, you know, try as they might, some of their victims SURVIVED the camps... 45 years later, a lot of them live here in Skokie.

Hawk: I appreciate the history lesson, but I don’t understand what that’s got to do with TODAY.

5 (KLEIN is looking over at a uniformed COP, who’s calling to him from across the room.)

Klein: Because you don’t FORGET something like that...

Cop: LT.! We got a call in... ASSAULT-- victim’s that old guy who reported the vandalism at the Memorial.

Klein 2: HELL!

6 (KLEIN, pissed, is reaching inside his office, grabbing up his jacket from inside. HAWK is looking on, clearly not sure what’s going on here.)

Klein: I don’t like the VIBES I’m getting here, Hawkman. I gotta GO... want to tag along?

Hawk: If I won’t be in the way.

Klein 2: You WON’T be--


1 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of HIRAM’S house. There are several police cars and an ambulance outside the house, cops all over the place, some keeping the curious neighbors back.)

Cap: “-- And you might just LEARN something about us Earth folk...”

From house: ... ASSAULT, my rosy butt! This is as far past assault as you can get--

2 (INSIDE, in HIRAM’S kitchen, which is full of cops and detectives, including KLEIN and HAWKMAN, as well as a DOCTOR and two emergency medical technicians. The DOCTOR is helping the emergency techs load the battered HIRAM on a stretcher. Some detectives are searching the room for evidence, taking pictures. The table is overturned, the kitchen pretty savagely vandalized, everything smashed up... and the walls and other surfaces covered with spray-painted graphetti: swastikas over a Jewish star, anti-Semitic slogans. KLEIN is surveying the damage, seething with suppressed rage.)

Klein: -- This is TERRORISM, plain and simple.

Klein 2: Bastards!

Hawk: This isn’t just ANOTHER case to you, is it?

3 (The ambulance technicians are lifting up the stretcher with HIRAM on it in the foreground. Beyond this we see KLEIN turning to look at HAWK.)

Klein: You think? Maybe it’s got something to do with my being Jewish, huh?

Hawk: Maybe. But ANY decent man’s going to feel outrage at such a crime, regardless of religious affiliation.

4 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, barely restraining his rage as he bites down on the filter of a cigarette he’s putting in his mouth.)

Klein: Maybe... or maybe not ENOUGH people get angry enough.

Klein 2: I don’t know... I suppose it’s better where you come from?

5 (CLOSE-UP OF HAWK, not looking all too happy himself, looking down, avoiding KLEIN’S eyes.)

Hawk: Uhhh... no...

Hawk 2: No. In some ways, Lt. Klein, it’s a whole lot WORSE...

Cap: “I didn’t tell him about the places BELOW on Thanagar--

6 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of the park and the Survivor’s Memorial statue. It’s dawn and the park is empty... except for the winged figure of HAWK standing before the statue.)

Cap: “-- The places where living, sentient beings are DISPOSED of once they’ve served their purposes.

Cap 2: “Thanagar’s policy of conquest, domination, and enslavement of alien races.


1 (Move in on HAWK, standing before the statue, grimly looking up at it.)

Cap: “Thanagarians accept it.

Cap 2: “It allows them their lives of luxury and ease.

2 (CLOSE-UP of HAWK, his face shadowed, sad.)

Cap: “If they don’t think about it, they don’t have to DO anything about it.

Cap 2: “And if the price of their privilege is the suffering of a few alien inferiors--

3 (HAWK is walking away from the statue, towards a public telephone that’s conveniently located on the edge of the park.)

Cap: “-- So be it. It’s nothing I can understand or accept... MY race JUSTIFIES the destruction of DIFFERENT species...


Cap: “... While Earthmen destroy their OWN. People whose ONLY difference is the shading of their skin or the gods they worship.

Cap 2: “It’s beyond insanity. BOTH our systems... sheer insanity.

5 (HAWK is at the phonebooth, dailing a number.)

Cap: “How... WHY do they erect monuments to the VICTIMS, rather than the victors, or those who SAVED them from their fates?

Cap 2: “I wish to hell someone could EXPLAIN it to me...”

6 (HAWK on the phone.)

Hawk: Let me speak to Lt. Klein, please.... Hello, Lt. Klein... no, I was just wondering if you had heard about Mr. Wyznowski...

Hawk 2: He’s conscious? That’s good news... yes... yes, thank you, lieutenant. Good-bye.

7 (HAWK is hanging up the telephone, looking back over at the statue)

Cap: “I suppose I’ll just have to find someone to ASK.” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal


1 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a CHICAGO neighborhood saloon... kind of like Bucket of Suds, in a residential neighborhood, the next day.)

From bar: ... It was WAY cool, man! Should’a seen how that old man went down. Learned him to lip off, eh, Wilks?

2nd from bar: That’s the TRUTH, man...

2 (INSIDE THE BAR: a real redneck joint, specializing in beers and shots and sports events on the TV set over the bar. Majorly working class. Seated in the back around several tables are WILKS, his buddies from before, and a half dozen other skinheads, all gathered around to hear the story of beating up the old man from WILKS’S own mouth. Bottles of beer litter the table tops, cigarette butts overflow ashtrays, and the bartender and couple other customers are keeping away from the boys in the back.)

Wilks: ... Figure every 40, 50 years, you gotta beat some RESPECT into ‘em. Learn ‘em RESPECT for their white, Christian BETTERS!

Thug: Right ON, man!

Thug B: Sheeny bastard knows who’s boss NOW!

Wilks 2: Yeah, the old man got the message--

3 (TIGHT ON WILKS, looking mean and tough as his buddies look on, hanging on his every word.)

Wilks: -- But what about the REST of ‘em? Man, hitting that old man really opened my eyes.

Wilks 2: I mean, we TALK about the problem, but what’d we DO about it?

4 (WILKS is snarling, holding up a fist in front of his face.)

Wilks: We been slackin’ off something FIERCE, guys!

Wilks 2: Well, no more, y’understand? We’re gettin’ ACTIVE, dig? We’re going HUNTING--


Cap: “-- To put the fear of the WHITE MAN’S GOD into Jew town!”

From hospital: ... Mr. Wyznowski? I hope I’m not disturbing you, sir.

6 (INSIDE THE HOSPITAL: KATAR is standing in the doorway of a private hospital room where old HIRAM is laying in the bed. He’s pretty badly beat up, his face a mass of bruises, one eye swollen closed, bandages on his head, his right arm in a cast. A uniformed COP is stationed outside the door in the hallway.)

Hiram: What else do I have to do? No, no, come right in, Mr....?

Katar: HOL, Mr. Wyznowski. Katar Hol.

Hiram 2: You’re with the police, Mr. Hall?

7 (KATAR is standing awkwardly by HIRAM’S bedside.)

Katar: In a manner of speaking. But I’m not investigating your attack... not exactly. You see, I was there with the police at your house last night...


1 (HIRAM is smiling, pointing the finger on his good hand at KATAR.)

Katar: They tried explaining it to me. The REASON for the attack, I mean. I’m not from here, and...

Hiram: SURE... I THOUGHT you looked familiar! You’re that HAWK fella from outer space, no?

2 (KATAR is sitting down on the edge of the bed, where HIRAM is patting the bed.)

Katar: Yes, sir. I suppose that’s why I can’t quite understand WHY things are as they are.

Hiram: Sit down, sit down.

Hiram 2: Oy. To ME you came for those answers?

3 (HIRAM is smiling gently, patting KATAR’S knee.)

Hiram: Let me tell you something, Mr. Hawk-person... I’ve lived with such hatred all my life, and I couldn’t BEGIN to tell you WHY it exists.

4 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM’S battered, bandaged face.)

Hiram: Don’t look so glum. Look, who can say why somebody hates? In 1938, I was a young man in Poland and I didn’t hate ANYBODY.

Hiram 2: Then Hitler and his Nazis came in and, suddenly, because I was a Jew, I was no good!

5 (FLASHBACK PANEL: It’s the early-40s and we see young HIRAM, gaunt, half-starved, wearing a ragged striped concentration camp uniform, one of many working with picks and shovels on a road or digging a ditch. They are all under the hostile guard of Nazi soldiers. HIRAM is glaring up at the nearest Nazi as he works.)

Cap: “They locked us in ghettos. They starved us. They whittled away our number. They sent us to their hellish camps...

Cap 2: “... And they taught me how to HATE. Sure, who wouldn’t hate them for exterminating my family, friends... my race?

6 (FLASHBACK: Inside the barbed wire of the concentration camp, a sympathetic teenage German boy in a uniform too large for him is passing the only slightly older HIRAM a hunk of bread.)

Cap: “But even then, not everything was so black and white. In the heart of hell, I found the occasional act of KINDNESS.”


Sunday, October 18, 2009

George Tuska, 1919-2009

I've always said that I was lucky to get into comic books when I did. The giants of the Golden and Silver Ages were still working and I was getting to work with them. One of my earliest jobs for Charlton Comics was drawn by Steve Ditko, and once I got to DC Comics, my scripts would be handed to the likes of Curt Swan, Gil Kane, Kurt Schaffenberger, Carmine Infantino, Irv Novick, Rick Estrada, Bill Draut, Don Heck, George Evans, Dick Giordano, Jim Aparo, Jerry Grandenetti, Jose Delbo, Dick Ayers, Win Mortimer...

...Or George Tuska.

George was, without doubt, one of the greats. Pete Morisi, a Golden and Silver Age great himself better known as the creator of Charlton's Peter Cannon Thunderbolt under the pseudonym P.A.M., told me how in the early-1950s, George was the artist to emulate (i.e., copy) by younger artists. Pete felt that he had taken so much from George that it was only right to go to the veteran artist and ask if he minded, homage. George did not mind.

You'll read details of George's resume in obituaries elsewhere. For me, George Tuska was Marvel's Iron Man (1968-1978) and, later, collaborator on a couple of extended projects at DC: the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic book miniseries, and the Superman syndicated newspaper strip. I knew how Pete Morisi must have felt looking at George's work for Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay and on such syndicated strips as Scorchy Smith and Buck Rogers. His line was simple and direct, his style a mix of cartoony (in the best sense of the word) and dynamic action, with an ability to lay out a page -- or a comic strip tier -- and tell the story that was usually pitch perfect. He might have gotten the costume details wrong (reference just slowed him down), but he drew the hell out of every page and made me happy to see what he had done with my scripts.

George Tuska died last week. He was a sweet man and a giant in the industry (literally and figuratively; George was very tall). I will miss his presence in this world, but I'm glad that his work, and our brief collaborations, remain behind to remind me of the man and his talent.

Wheet! Wheet!

I've recently had occasion to dig through a few old file drawers and I've come up with some interesting "lost" items from my 30+ years in the funny book business. Most of the found items have been in the form of unpublished scripts, both my own and copies of the works of others. Among those I written but unpublished were several fill-in stories, including a mid-80s Green Lantern fill-in, and a couple from the early-90s for The Doom Patrol and, this one, for Hawkworld. It was to be pencilled by my pal Rick Stasi, but it never got that far (the DP fill-in was pencilled, by Rick; I'll run that one of these days). It's full script, so I'll run it in three installments:

HAWKWORLD: "A Matter of Conscience" Part 1
(c) DC Comics


1 (We open with a tight-shot of a pigeon perched on a statue, although we can’t see what that statue is just yet. It’s early evening.)

Cap: Skokie, Illinois:

Cap 2: Birds of a feather, they say, flock together.

2 (Close-up of the pigeon as it looks up into the sky, where a flock of his fellow pigeons are taking off, as pigeons are wont to do, disturbed by something passing by.)


3 (Now the pigeon is taking off, flapping towards its fellows.)

Off panel: CASSIE! STOP that...


4 (The pigeon is joining the flock that’s winging up into the sky as we pull back to see that it had been perched atop the HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL in the square in Skokie. There’s a little mongrel dog, trailing its leash behind it, jumping at the statue, barking wildly at the retreating birds. The dog’s owner, HIRAM WYZNOWSKI, is calling to the dog as he hurries towards it. HIRAM is mid-70s, slightly stooped, whatever hair he’s got left is white.)

Hiram: ... Stop that, right now, you BAD girl!

Cap: That’s true not only of birds. People will do the SAME thing.

Cap 2: The ties that bind people together can be just about anything...


5 (HIRAM is stooping over to pick up the end of the dog’s leash as it continues yapping away at the fleeing pigeons.)

Cap: Social. Economic. Racial. Ethnic...

Hiram: Cassie! How many time I have to TELL you, eh? LEAVE the birds alone.

6 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM’S LEFT forearm as he reaches down to pick up the leash. His sleeve is pulling up, revealing his forearm under his jacket... and the concentration camp number tattooed there, slightly faded but still visible.)

7 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM, glancing up at the off-panel statue as he rises, looking shocked.)


1 (FLASHBACK PANEL: it’s 1940ish, and HIRAM is in his late-teens, part of a pack of bewildered and frightened men, women and children being herded towards railroad cattle cars by uniformed Nazis.)

2 (Looking from behind HIRAM, up at the statue before him, looking shocked, because spray painted on the statue in bright yellow paint is a Nazi swastika.)

Cap: ... Or shared experiences.

Hiram: My... god...!

3 (CUT TO: A TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL and a shot of the statue, focusing on the spray painted swastika. At the bottom of the screen the words “WBBM 2 / LIVE FROM SKOKIE” are super-imposed.)

TV (electric): ... Don’t know what kind of person would DO such a thing... HERE, of all places.

4 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL, with the words “WBBM 2 / LIVE FROM SKOKIE” super-imposed at the bottom of the screen: the ‘camera’ is pulled back to show the REPORTER interviewing old HIRAM, who’s very upset, standing in front of the defaced statue.)

Hiram (elec): This is a MEMORIAL to people who DIED under the Nazis. To deface it like this... I don’t understand such a thing.

5 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL, with the words “HIRAM WYZNOWSKI / Skokie Resident” super-imposed at the bottom of the screen, which is showing a CLOSE-UP of the very upset old HIRAM.)

Hiram (elec): What kind of HATEFUL mind would even THINK to do this... what kind of ANIMAL...?

From TV (elec): Once again, the peaceful suburb of Skokie has become the focus of ANTI-SEMITIC activities...

Off panel: Who’s he calling an ANIMAL?

6 (Now the TV-SHAPED PANEL is on an actual television -- now showing the REPORTER talking into the microphone, addressing the camera; old HIRAM standing beside him -- sitting on a rickety old dresser in a rickety old room. The wall behind the dresser is decorated with Nazi memorabilia: old propaganda posters, a swastika flag, etc. Extending into the panel from the foreground is a hand holding a remote control, pointed at the TV, clicking the off button. The hand holding the remote has a crude prison-tattoo of a swastika on it.)

TV (elec): ... A particularly HEINOUS crime in this predominantly Jewish community, home to one of the largest groups of World War II concentration camp survivors in the... klik!

Off panel: Somebody ought’a teach that old hebe some MANNERS--

7 (SAME AS ABOVE, except the TV screen has gone black.)

Off panel: -- Somebody like ME...


1 (SPLASH PAGE: up in the skies over CHICAGO, where we see HAWKMAN, sailing along through the skies, just behind a formation of birds winging along, trailing at a discreet distance, as though wanting to be part of the flock but afraid to get too close. Big, panoramic shot, with the Chicago skyline in the background.)

Cap: “What’s that expression they have? Something about... birds of a feather? It has to do with companionship and sharing, I’m told. Nothing I’ve ever been very good at.

Cap 2: “I’ve always been more of a loner, both home on Thanagar and here on Earth. But I’m learning... at least I’m TRYING to learn, but the odds have hardly been in my favor.

Cap 3: “I thought I was breaking through in my relationship with SHAYERA... but then she was ordered HOME, escorting the captured BYTH back to Thanagar. That was just their EXCUSE, though.


Credits: PAUL KUPPERBERG * guest writer

RICK STASI * guest penciller

THE INKER * inker

TIM HARKINS * letterer

SAM PARSONS * colorist


1 (TIGHT-SHOT of HAWK, as he flies along, looking grim.)

Cap: “It was really all about politics, the tenuous diplomatic dance between Earth and Thanagar.

Cap 2: “Shayera wasn’t what could be called an IDEAL ambassador of goodwill--

2 (HAWK is still trailing behind the flock of birds, a lonely figure in the sky.)

Cap: “-- Especially not to a world whose memories of Thanagar’s part in the INVASION of their planet is still fresh.

Cap 2: “So they sent her away, to give Earth time to FORGET how she dealt with criminals.

3 (CUT TO: a bird’s eye view of an elevated train station platform [the HOWARD STREET station, which is the northern terminus for trains in Chicago proper, and the station where people switch over to trains into the suburbs] crowded with commuters headed home for the evening. But there are two THUGS who are bursting onto the platform, leaping the turnstiles, guns in hand, their presence creating quite a disturbance among the startled and frightened commuters. A train, with its doors open, is standing at the platform.)

Cap: “The THANAGARIAN way. Swiftly and, by Terran standards, BRUTALLY.

Cap 2: “Just as she and I were starting to come to terms with one another.

4 (STILL ON THE PLATFORM: as the THUGS push their way roughly past startled commuters, diving into the waiting train -- the two-car “SKOKIE SWIFT” -- whose doors are just starting to close. A Chicago COP in pursuit of the two THUGS is just leaping the turnstile himself, his gun drawn, shouting.)

Cap: “I miss her. MORE than I thought I would. Maybe more than I SHOULD.”

Cop (burst): STOP... OUT OF MY WAY--!

5 (CUT TO: HAWK, in the sky over the el station, looking down, hearing the commotion.)

Cap: “Maybe not... maybe it’s all part of my learning to NEED people.


1 (HAWK is diving down towards the elevated train station, cutting through the flock of birds and sending them scattering in all directions, breaking their formation.)

Cap: “So I look for ways to keep myself from thinking about Shayera...” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal

2 (CUT TO: the station platform, where the frustrated COP is watching the train pull away. He’s unclipped his radio microphone from his pocket, talking into it.)

Cop: This’s O’Rouke, at the HOWARD STREET EL... I lost two armed perps on the northbound SKOKIE SWIFT!

Cop 2: Notify the CTA... and have the SKOKIE P.D. ready at the DEMPSTER stop--

3 (Suddenly, HAWK is swooping by, right past the amazed COP and the startled commuters, following the tracks at platform level, and trailing a strong breeze in his wake.)


4 (CLOSE-UP of the COP, smiling as he speaks into the radio mike.)

Cop: -- And you might wanna tell ‘em to have an AMBULANCE standing by for the perps...!

5 (CUT TO: HAWK, speeding along right behind the train, bearing down on it as it rumbles down the tracks.)

6 (CUT TO: inside the train. The two THUGS are standing by the door of the train as it speeds along. The commuters in the train are cowering, keeping as far away from the two armed men as possible in the crowded train. THUG A is smiling, but THUG B is looking through the window, as though checking for pursuers.)

Thug A: We DID it, man! We LOST the heat...!

Thug B: Yeah, right-- you ever hear of RADIOS, dummy? There’s gonna be a TON’A cops waitin’ on us at the end’a this ride!


1 (TIGHT ON the THUGS, standing in front of the doors, their backs to it, so they don’t see HAWK starting to pull even with the door.)

Thug A: Yeah... yeah, that’s right. What’re we gonna do...?

Thug B: I dunno... but we got a whole TRAIN full’a HOSTAGES, man! There ain’t gonna be no shootin’ long as we got ‘em.

2 (SAME AS ABOVE, as THUG A looks around the train, starting to smile. Behind them, through the windows in the train doors, we see that HAWK has pulled abreast of the train doors and is looking in, at the two THUGS.)

Thug A: Right, okay... then they GOTTA give us anything we WANT!

Thug B: It ain’t that EASY... we gotta play it SMART or we’re dead...

3 (SAME AS ABOVE, except now HAWK is swinging a nunchaka at the window in the door, smashing the glass. The THUGS are reacting, lunging forward, putting their arms up to protect themselves from flying glass.)

Thug B: ... MEAT!


4 (OUTSIDE the still-moving train, as HAWK keeps abreast of the door: he’s reached through the shattered door, grabbing THUG B by the scruff of the neck.)

5 (CUT TO, inside the driver’s compartment at the front of the train: we’re looking from behind the DRIVER’S head, out at the tracks ahead. Just ahead, there’s a signal light on the side of the tracks -- like a traffic stop light -- with the signal changing to RED, indicating that the train should stop.)

6 (CLOSE-UP of the DRIVER’S hand, pushing the controller lever to the “stop” position.)

7 (OUTSIDE THE TRAIN: HAWK, still holding tight to the back of THUG B’S collar, is yanking THUG B hard up against the door.)




1 (The train is screeching to a stop... but HAWK keeps moving forward... but he hasn’t let go of THUG B. The force of his forward momentum is ripping open the train doors.)



2 (HAWK has released his hold on THUG B so that he can extract his arm from the broken window. This results in his dropping THUG B to the ground alongside the tracks. THUG A is appearing at the door, gun in hand and ready to use it.)

Thug A: SONOVA... JEEZ-- WHO...?!

Hawk: Name’s HAWKMAN, meat--

3 (HAWK is pulling up, going straight up and twisting around to head back towards the open door, to stop his forward momentum. THUG A stands framed in the doorway of the train, aiming his gun at HAWK.)

Hawk: -- But you’d know that if you read the newspapers... IF you could read!

Thug A: Yeah, I heard’a you... the MARTIAN guy...

4 (THUG A has opened fire at HAWK, who’s diving back down towards the train door. HAWK still has the nunchaka in hand and is whirling them around.)



5 (HAWK is letting the nunchaka fly, the end of the handle catching THUG A on the chin, snapping his head back, the gun falling from limp fingers.)


6 (HAWK is landing beside the train. THUG B is sprawled on the tracks at HAWK’S feet; THUG A is laying unconscious, half-hanging out the open train door.)

Hawk: -- But I don’t imagine that makes much difference to you now, does it, meat?

Cap: “... Just as soon hand ‘em over to the Chicago boys, sir--”


1 (CUT TO: later, as night starts to fall, with an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a police station in SKOKIE -- a new, low, modern building, with cop cars parked in the lot out front.)

From station: -- THAT’S where they did the crime, let the city have ‘em...

2 (CUT TO: inside the station, in the office of Skokie Police Det. Lt. Barry Klein, who’s about 40-ish. He’s on the telephone, not all that pleased with whoever he’s talking to at the other end. HAWK is also there, standing with arms folded across his chest, leaning against the wall.)

Klein: ... ‘Cause, frankly, I don’t NEED to hassle the paperwork if we’re going to be giving them up down the line ANYWAY. I... uh-huh...

Klein 2: Yessir.

Klein 3: Understood, sir.

3 (KLEIN is taking the phone from his ear, looking sourly at it. HAWK is amused.)

Klein: ... Jerk!

Klein 2: You couldn’t’ve caught those creeps BEFORE they crossed the Skokie line, could you, Hawkman?

Hawk: Sorry, LT. KLEIN. NEXT time, I’ll pay CLOSER attention to territorial boundaries.

4 (KLEIN is rising, waving his hand in dismissal, still not happy, but forgiving HAWK.)

Klein: Not your fault. The prosecutor wants to hold them on hijacking, kidnapping and discharging weapons... CHICAGO wants them on assault and attempted murder.

Klein 2: Guess I’ll let the POLS fight it out, eh? I’ve got my OWN problems.

5 (OUTSIDE THE OFFICE, in the squad room, looking towards the door as KLEIN opens it for HAWK. Hurrying towards the door is MEL SCHINDLER, a 30-ish, angry looking man in a suit.)

Klein: Oh, cripes... and HERE comes my problem NOW...

Schindler: LIEUTENANT! I’ve been looking for you!

6 (SCHINDLER is stopping short as HAWK steps from the office, surprised to see a winged man standing there. KLEIN is looking at SCHINDLER like SCHINDLER is the cause of every trouble he’s ever had.)

Schindler: I’ve been trying to get some ANSWERS to... to... OH!

Klein: Hey, good work, Hawkman. This’s the first time I’ve seen him at a loss for words.