Castiglia Proposal

The Mighty Crusaders (relaunch story)

         Chapter One: “A Call To Action”

                  By Paul Castiglia

PAGE ONE

PANEL ONE

(NOTE: NO credits on Page One– save them for Page Two!)

Exterior shot of a city street.  Most prominent is a high-rise, modern office building with the words “Reilly Securities” on the glass doors.

CAPTION (TOP OF PANEL)

           Thursday night, 8:30 PM at Reilly Securities…

CAPTION (BOTTOM OF PANEL)

           Editor’s note: this story takes place before the

            events in Archie’s Weird Mysteries #3 and #14

PANEL TWO

A uniformed man sits at his post and stares as if in a trance at his flashing wristwatch.  He is not in the best of shape, but not in the worst– his beer and pasta belly is offset by large biceps (think John Goodman).  His desk contains a bank of monitors and a large keypad with visible numbers– this is the alarm.  His name-tag reads Bo Witt.

CAPTION

Night watchman Bo Witt’s watch alarm chirps, which means…

BO WITT

It’s time for the weekly withdrawal from the safe deposit box!  Those guys should be here any…

PANEL THREE

We see a bespectacled, mousey man peer through the windows of the front door.  He is Mr. Krandall.  On each side of him are big, burly men with crew-cuts one Caucasian, one African-American.  They wear black suits and sunglasses– think “Men In Black.”  All have impatient sneers… Krandall cups his hands as he looks in; the big men stand with arms folded.

  1. KRANDALL

Seconds… we’re losing precious seconds, here!  Stop daydreaming, Bo and buzz us in!

PAGE ONE CONTINUED…

PANEL FOUR

Bo frantically presses the numbers on the keyboard, opening the doors so that the trio can come in… and they do.  The two big men carry duffle bags.  THE DOORS ARE OPEN and a graphic on Bo’s screen says “open”…

BO WITT

Yes, sir… right away, Mr. Krandall!

  1. KRANDALL

Right away would have been the right way… open the bags, men…

PANEL FIVE

(Long panel) Krandall’s men have opened the safe deposit box and are filling their duffle bags with money, but all have turned their heads around in surprise as two men wearing full orange ski masks and olive green ninja outfits burst into the room.  They sport maroon belts with what appear to be ordinary beepers clipped onto them.  Bo is pretending to be surprised as he inserts an ear plug into one of his ears (we see the other one in the container).

SKI MASK MAN #1

Let’s get this party started!

SKI MASK MAN #2

Rock on, brother!

  1. KRANDALL

Blazes!  Bo, how could you let these thugs simply waltz in here like this?

BO WITT

Honest, Mr. Krandall– that door should have locked behind you… just like always!

PAGE TWO

PANEL ONE

Long panel.  The ski mask men have removed the beepers from their belts (we see the motion of them removing the beepers) and are pressing the buttons on them.  THIS LETS OUT A PIERCING SQUEAL LOUDER THEN A LED ZEPPELIN CONCERT!!!  Show this visually with sound wave rings.  As they press the beepers, Mr. Krandall and his men crash down to the ground, holding their ears in agony.  Bo is surprisingly smiling, huge grin on his face, both ears with wearing plugs!

SKI MASK MAN #1

Why so surprised, Mr. Krandall?

SKI MASK MAN #1

Haven’t you ever heard of a routine security breach?

  1. KRANDALL

Don’t just stand there grinning like a hyena, do something, Bo!

BO WITT

Sorry, Mr. Krandall– can’t hear a thing with these ear plugs!

PANEL TWO

2/3 panel takes up rest of page.  A ski mask man has taken the duffle bags away from Krandall’s men and is continuing to stuff them while the other ski mask man continues to press the beeper.  Bo is in the process of gagging and tying up Mr. Krandall and his men (who remain bound and gagged and watching the action in succeeding panels). THE FOX makes a dramatic entrance, swinging through the doors, much to everyone’s surprise!  CREDITS GO IN THE BOTTOM OF THIS PANEL!

SKI MASK MAN #1

Your boss ain’t too swift, Bo.

SKI MASK MAN #2

We figured he would have realized you were in on this from the start!

THE FOX

Guess he’ll just have to live and learn… same as you fellas, come to think of it!

PAGE THREE

PANEL ONE

The two ski mask men surround the Fox.

SKI MASK MAN #1

And you’re gonna’ teach us, right?  Well, just how sly are you, Fox?

SKI MASK MAN #2

Now that you’ve been cornered by hostile prey, that is!

PANEL TWO

One ski mask man charges at the Fox but the Fox ducks, sending him flying over his head.  The other ski mask man is headed toward the fox and tosses his beeper over to Bo.

THE FOX

Rule #1: Never charge a super hero head on.

SKI MASK MAN #2

Catch, Bo– and let ‘er wail!

PANEL THREE

Long panel.  The Fox is down on the ground holding his ears, getting mercilessly pummeled by the ski mask men as Bo stands by sounding the beeper.  Black Jack has stepped into the room behind him– he holds his ears, too but hasn’t hit the ground yet.  THERE IS AN INSET PANEL that shows Black Jack snatching the beeper away from Bo– close-ups of their hands.

THE FOX

Arghhhhhhhhh!

SKI MASK MAN #1

Rule #2: Don’t trust guys wearing ski masks!

BLACK JACK

Oh, goody– a high-pitched, deafening beeper!

INSET PANEL

BLACK JACK

I love tech toys!

PAGE THREE CONTINUED…

PANEL FOUR

Long panel.  Fight scene– The Fox and Black Jack each take on one of the ski masked men.  The heroes are back to back, speaking to each other as they pummel the bad guys.

THE FOX

How’d you find out about this, Black Jack?

BLACK JACK

Open doors at securities firms after hours tend to make me suspicious.

PAGE FOUR

PANEL ONE

Black Jack questions the guard.

BLACK JACK

Tell us what happened– how did these men get in?

BO WITT

I was manning my station waiting for Mr. Krandall when…

PANEL TWO

The Fox has karate chopped Bo!  He falls to the floor.

BO WITT

Oof!

BLACK JACK

Hey… why’d you…

THE FOX

It wasn’t forced entry.

PANEL THREE

The Fox points to Bo’s security station, specifically to the graphic on the screen that still reads “open!”  Black Jack has a hand under his chin.

THE FOX

Look– he never closed the doors after Krandall got here.  He’s in cahoots with these goons!

BLACK JACK

We still should have questioned him…

PAGE FOUR CONTINUED…

PANEL FOUR

A more heated exchange.  Black Jack has arms outstretched in an open-minded pose; The Fox is finger-pointing, accusatory.

BLACK JACK

Maybe he simply forgot to close the doors…

THE FOX

The only thing he forgot was not to brag about this caper on the internet!

PANEL FIVE

Long panel.  The Shield has leaped into the room!

THE SHIELD

I never knew there was a wanna-be burglar chat room!

BLACK JACK

Shield!  Well, this sure is a bad night… and bad place… to be a bad guy!

THE FOX

Isn’t this small fish compared to the power-mad despots you usually chase?

PAGE FIVE

PANEL ONE

Long panel.  The crooks are all bound with the empty money sacks.  Krandall’s men stand guard over them and Krandall shakes the Shield’s hand.  The Fox is heading off panel, splitting the scene, as Black Jack asks where he’s going.

CAPTION

After exchanging pleasant-and-not-so-pleasantries, the heroes free the captives and subdue their captors…

KRANDALL

I used to wonder whether costumed heroes were even necessary in this modern age… thank you.

THE SHIELD

Just doing a job that needs to be done.  This age needs as many heroes as it can get, sir.

BLACK JACK

Hey, where you going, Fox?

THE FOX

I sense a Mighty Crusaders recruitment speech coming on…

PANEL TWO

The Fox swings from ropes– basically, he’s leaving… this should be like a classic 1970s Spider-Man shot… he’s seen either up overhead or through the door or the window.  If room, Black Jack can be looking on…

THE FOX

…Been there, heard that.  I’m gonna’ grab a knish around the corner.  Meet me there… if you don’t enlist first.

PAGE FIVE CONTINUED…

PANEL THREE

Back to The Shield talking to Krandall, who has a cell phone to his ear.

SHIELD

You’ll follow up with the police then?

  1. KRANDALL

Already dialing them!

PANEL FOUR

The Shield and Black Jack are on a rooftop.  NOTE: There should be one of those protruding doorways on the roof– we learn later The Fox has been hiding behind it!

CAPTION

Soon, high above the city streets…

SHIELD

It’s true– we’re reforming the Crusaders.  The Black Hood caught wind of a plot that could shut down the city… maybe the whole nation.

BLACK JACK

So why ask me?  I wasn’t an original Crusader.

PANEL FIVE

Still conversing; maybe a different angle.

SHIELD

One of our founding members has been called back to the planet that bestowed him his powers… indefinitely…

BLACK JACK

But I still don’t get why you need me… what with all those alternate Crusaders running around?

PAGE SIX

PANEL ONE

The Shield hands Black Jack a business card.  (Shield’s dialogue should be 2 word balloons)

SHIELD

The alternates are only back-ups.  They have their own problems.

SHIELD

Here’s our contact info.  Think about it…

PANEL TWO

The Shield bounds off the roof-top.  Black Jack stares at the business card.

SHIELD

We really need a dependable full-timer.  Besides, legend has it you know all the best jokes!

BLACK JACK

As long as I can convince myself I’m not the butt of one…

PANEL THREE

The Fox walks out from behind the door area and surprises Black Jack.

THE FOX

So, kid… you ready to give up the life of an independent adventurer?

BLACK JACK

You… how long have you been…?

PAGE SIX CONTINUED…

PANEL FOUR

More conversation.

THE FOX

Do you really want to follow a strict code of rules?  The bad guys certainly don’t.

BLACK JACK

But they even have the Black Hood back on the team…

PANEL FIVE

Long panel.  Full body shots of the 2 heroes on the rooftop.  An inset panel will show Black Jack bowing his head in contemplation, and the majority of this panel shows the clouds of the night sky shaped in such a way as to foreshadow the character of Synapses– shaped like his head.

THE FOX

I’m surprised… he likes to work in the shadows, too.  You have to if you want to defeat the evil in today’s world.

BLACK JACK

That’s the reason The Shield said they were reforming the Crusaders– to face such evil.

INSET PANEL

BLACK JACK

Whatever it may be…

CAPTION

Curious, readers?  Read on… if you dare!