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 Most of the found items have been in the form of unpublished scripts, both my own and copies of the works of others. Among those I written but unpublished were several fill-in stories, including a mid-80s Green Lantern fill-in, and a couple from the early-90s for The Doom Patrol and, this one, for Hawkworld.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:
(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.)
SFX: WOOF! WOOF WOOF!
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…
SFX: grrrRRRRR WOOOF!
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.
Title: A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE
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.)
Thug B: GHAGGK!
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.)
Hawk: SEVEN HELLS…!
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.)
SFX: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
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.