The Joker’s Crusade

Author’s Note: I wrote this four page comic book script as part of a proposal for a limited series starring the Joker titled The Joker’s Crusade.  This was an audition piece for DC Comics and it was eventually rejected.  I learned a lot by writing it.  I’m posting it here as an example.  I do not own the Joker, Batman, or Kite-Man.  All rights belong to DC Comics.

The Joker’s Crusade

by Jason Andrew

Page 1

This page has five panels that are snapshots of a video.  The panels should be individually curved into a round shape that suggests that the reader is viewing this story through a camera or television screen.  There should be a small red bar noting that the camera is recording with a time index.

Panel 1

Nothing but static as though it is a television tuned to a dead channel with a green line through the center indicating that the camera is being turned on.

SFX:
Bleeep.

Panel 2

The camera focuses on a bank vault slightly ajar with scotch marks on the wall indicating that there has been some sort of firefight.  In the lower left corner of the screen, there is a foot barely in the shot.

(Voice Over with crazy green lettering)  JOKER:
A bank heist?  Really?  Some folks simply have no imagination these days.  My how standards have fallen!

Panel 3
The camera shifts to a close-up of very frightened blond man with a large welt under his eye and blood dripping from his nose.

(Voice Over) JOKER:
So I’ve been wondering why would you even bother to try to rob a bank in Gotham?  What were you thinking, man?

Panel 4
The camera pans back to reveal that the blond man is actually KITE-MAN without his helmet.  He is tied-up to a chair and completely helpless.  The terror on his face looks as though he is about to face the electric chair.

KITE-MAN (small letters indicating mumbling and fear):
I…I didn’t know you had plans for this bank, Mr. Joker.  Honest!  I have nothing for respect you.  Please don’t hit me again.  PLEASE!

Panel 5
The camera moves slightly to the right in a big panel.  There is a long shadow of the Joker that seems to be creeping towards KITE-MAN.  At the very edge of the panel you can see a bloody crowbar that is obviously being held by the Joker.

(Voice Over) JOKER:
Now, now, there will be a groveling portion of this interview later.  I asked you a question.  Perhaps you should answer in the interest of educating our viewing audience.

Page 2
This page has four panels that are snapshots of a video.  The panels should be individually curved into a round shape that suggests that the reader is viewing this story through a camera.  There should be a small red bar noting that the camera is recording with a time index.

Panel 1
The camera focuses on Kite-Man’s terrified face.

KITE-MAN:
I saw on the news that the Bat was out of town with the Justice League.

(Voice Over) JOKER:
Yes, I know.  Battling a vicious species of French-speaking velociraptors from an alternate dimension according to the Daily Planet.  Such a farce!  How’s an honest man supposed to complete with that, I ask?

Panel 2
The Joker steps into the shot.  The camera can only see half of him welding the previously seen bloody crowbar.  Kite-Man recoils as the Joker steps closer.

JOKER:
Why would you waste our time with a bank robbery in Gotham?  Surely you know that Bat will eventually look into it and then you’d be caught?  You can’t hide from the world’s greatest detective!  Why bother?

Panel 3
KITE-MAN isn’t sure if he should be terrified or confused.  This is the Joker.  When villains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories.  He knows that the wrong answer could mean his life or worse.  He doesn’t want to think too much about what worse thing the Joker can imagine.

KITE-MAN:
Gulp!  The bank has extra cash to pay out the monthly payroll from Wayne Enterprises.  I thought I could get a quick score and then be half way to Opal City before the Bat even noticed.  Outside of Gotham, I thought I might have a chance.

Panel 4
The camera turns towards the Joker with a perspective from just behind KITE-MAN.  The Joker is holding his head with one hand as though he has a splitting headache.  He holds the crowbar in the other hand as though it is starting to weight upon him.  Everything is starting weighing upon him.

To his left, there is a mook holding a television camera over his shoulder focusing upon KITE-Man.  Perspective-wise it should look like he is taking a shot directly at the reader.

JOKER:
You can’t see the joke, can you?  Sometimes I wonder why I even bother.  Alas, the show must go on!  They say that the key to comedy is timed repetition.  Why back in the Vaudeville days, the best performers knew to always follow the rule of three.

Page 3
This page is a giant splash page with only one panel.

Panel 1
The Joker is grinning maniacally while holding his crowbar menacingly as though to strike the reader.

JOKER:
Throwing a pie in a man’s face is funny.  HA!  HA!

Page 4
This page has four panels that show an action sequence of the Joker striking KITE-MAN three times and then pausing.

Panel 1
The Joker swings the crowbar into KITE-MAN’s stomach.

SFX: (Crowbar)
WHAM!

SFX: (Effect of the blow)
Ooofff!

JOKER:
HA!  HA!  HA!

Panel 2
The Joker swings the crowbar into KITE-MAN’s stomach AGAIN.

SFX: (Crowbar)
WHAM!

SFX: (Effect of the blow)
Ooofff!

JOKER: (Disappointed)
Meh!  The second time you throw a pie into a man’s face, the thrill is gone.  It’s still vaguely amusing, but you wonder if there is something better out there.

Panel 3
The Joker strikes the crowbar again at KITE-MAN, this time going for the head.

SFX: (Crowbar)
WHAM!

SFX: (Effect of the blow)
Aaaagggggh!

JOKER: (happy)
The third time the joke turns around and it’s funny again.  HA!  HA!

Panel 4
The Joker turns away from Kite-man very disappointed, like a child that just lost a brand new balloon.  Kite-man is bloody, beaten, and barely conscious.

JOKER:
Tell a joke too often and it goes stale.  The Greeks understood this about comedy and tragedy.  There’s a story about a naughty king named Sisyphus that terrorized the citizens of his city.  Not that much different than me.  He was condemned by the gods to continually roll a rock up a hill and then watch as it always rolled back down.  Sounds like the Bat, eh?

Page 5
This page has five panels that have returned to the camera view with the red recording bar.

Panel 1
Kite-Man has slumped over in the chair in tears.  The Joker is still facing away from him.

KITE-MAN:
Why?  Why are you doing this?

Panel 2
The camera swings over to the Joker.  His eyes are dead.  His gleeful nature diminished somehow.

JOKER:
Meh!  I spent six months on a specially wicked deathtrap and he leaves Gotham for French-speaking velociraptors.  And why shouldn’t he?  This is just the latest round of the same old gag.  The joke’s gone stale.  Always leave them laughing I say.

Panel 3
The Joker turns back towards Kite-Man gently caressing the crowbar as through it is a previous baby.

JOKER:
Do you know what’s it like to be demoted to second-string?  Of course not!  You barely register as a never-was!  I was his arch-villain!  And now I have to entertain myself with the likes of you.   Though, I admit that I can understand why he likes to hunt criminals so much.  HA!  HA!  This has been quite fun.

Panel 4
The camera focuses directly on the Joker.  He raises a finger as an idea comes to him.  The hateful glee has returned.

JOKER:
If the Bat is too busy to play, then I’ll find my own entertainment.  Costumed kooks of Gotham beware!  The joke has gotten old.  It’s time to let it go.  Best to move on to greener pastures like Star City or if you are brave Metropolis.  Otherwise, you’ll end up like Chuck here.  We wouldn’t want that, now would we?

Panel 5
The Joker steps closer to the camera sharing his gleeful hate with the world.  In the background, KITE-Man is weeping.

JOKER:
And now we turn to the groveling portion of the show!  HA! HA!  HA!

KITE-MAN:  No!  Nooooo!  Please no!

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