Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NOIR: It's not for everybody.

Second page after the bump!

If you saw the Marvel solicits for August (you can check them here at CBR) you may have noticed Punisher Noir and Luke Cage Noir. Not necessarily bad choices for that sort of thing, although I'm not sure is by Noir they mean stylistically noir, which would be a bit more downbeat than even the gloomiest Marvel book; or just set in a stereotypical noir time period of the thirties. (I haven't read any lately, but I've read most of Jim Thompson's books, which is like Noir 101.)

So far there's been X-Men, Spider-Man, and Daredevil Noir books: the Daredevil in particular is admittedly a regular DD story with the dates changed, and possibly a little more freedom in bumping off characters. So, who's left for a possible Noir book of their own? I keep thinking of characters that won't work: Captain America Noir doesn't sit quite right. Hulk Noir...boy, you'd have to jump through some hoops on that one. You don't have to start with the private detective or the grifter or the serial killer (I need to re-read the Killer Inside Me but I hate being seen reading it...) but it doesn't hurt.

Deadpool would work great as a Noir book, almost a gimme, if the writer is willing to go at it balls out. No heroics, no hearts of gold, no happy endings.

Open with establishing shot of a particularly crappy looking stretch of beach at night. Garbage floats ashore, and broken-down docks can be seen in the distance. And I don't care if the rest of the book is black and white, but Deadpool gets his traditional yellow caption boxes.

CAPTION: The papers call it "the Deadpool." On account'a it's a tidal pool and, duh. Why bother racking your skull for a clever name, when you can use the first thing some newsie shouts out?

(Seagulls circle the terrible looking water. Cans and debris float.)
CAPTION: So many stiffs are pulled outta here, the cops oughta spring for a full-time diver. Or at least a kid with one of those nets on a pole. Better'n nine times outta ten, it's a completely unrecognizable lump. Sometimes, if you squint, you can tell it usedta be a dame. Or a kid.

(Cops on a boat, ready to hook a floater out. This floater isn't missing parts!)
CAPTION: And once in a month of Sundays...

(Cops hook the body: as they pull it up, we see the terribly scarred face. Vomiting noise in background.)

(Still half-in the water with the hook in him, the 'floater' vomits up a gallon of seawater, then gasps in a lungful of air. More vomiting in background, cop chatter, whatever cursing as would be allowed for this thing.)
CAPTION: The catch of the day.

(Four panel grid for this page; Pool in hospital bed repeated four times with slight variations. Probably need some photo reference for the time period, but first Pool in bed, looking calm. Doctors and nurses obviously keeping their distance. Deadpool's face doesn't have to be the usual cancerpuss of the regular books, it can be scarred in a completely new fashion, as long as it's terribly scarred but still expressive. He is bald, though.)
CAPTION: Now, there's no law against doing the dead man's float in the middle of the night, but you couldn't tell that from the cops.
COP #1: Who are you?
POOL: I don't know.
COP #2: What do you remember?
POOL: Nothing.

(Panel two: Either the sun has changed position, or the cops have food and Deadpool doesn't: time has passed. Pool looks slightly agitated.)
COP #1: Where you from?
POOL: I don't know who I am, how would I know where I'm from?
COP #2: Where'd ya get them scars?
POOL: I don't know.

(Panel three: Dark. Possibly a janitor in the background. The cops are getting in Deadpool's face. Pool is mouthing off, not threatened by them.)
CAPTION: After running back through their questions for the third or fourth time, it became obvious the cops weren't gonna take "I don't know" for an answer. That's OK, I had lost my patience too.
COP #1: Why were you in the drink?
POOL: I. Don't. Know.
COP #2: Why would you be hanging around the deadpool?
POOL: Maybe I lost my lucky penny.

(Panel four: Cops are this close to beating Deadpool in his hospital bed. One may actually have some blunt instrument out--brass knuckles, a sap, a nightstick. Even scarred, Pool's smirk shines through.)
COP #1: Last time, punk! Who are you?
POOL: Why don'tcha just call me Mr. Pool?
COP #2: What's with the scars, you ugly piece of--
POOL: I didn't wait half an hour after eating before my swim.
COP #1: Where'd you come from?
POOL: I don't know, let's go to your mom's house and see if I can retrace my steps...

(Page three, full page with space for title, credits. Pool being thrown out of the hospital in a rugby-scrim of cops, doctors. A hypodermic is very obviously sticking out of Pool's shoulder, as he knocks a tooth out of Cop #1's mouth. Wait, did they use hypodermics for sedatives then? I'd have to research that. With or without the needle, the scene should establish Pool as tougher than the average mook.)
CAPTION: Before long, the cops and the doctors decided even with no identity, no money, and no prospects; I was well enough to leave the hospital. Funny thing is, they weren't wrong. Even with a face that looked like it'd been used as a butcher's block, I felt great. Better than a drowned corpse oughta feel, for damn sure. I didn't remember s#!*, but I knew I felt better than I had in a while. Maybe things were looking up.

That's where I would start, anyway. Would Pool go looking for his past? Would it come looking for him? I tend to think no to both. Maybe in a second book, if it came to that. I would definitely think twice about bringing in Noir versions of Wolverine (or Logan, in his own Noir book) or Weapon X. I might bring in a version of Hellhouse, from the early Joe Kelly issues. Pool would take various odd criminal jobs, most of which would be based on his ugliness; then later his fighting ability; slowly moving up the ranks of criminals. Hmm.

That's all for now, but since I hadn't read any in a little bit, I brushed up on a glossary of hardboiled slang from Miskatonic University Press. Check it out and call everyone you see today a dame or a palooka!


Daniel said...

I wish there was a school, or online class to learn how to speak in Film Noir only. I'd so take it.

Good stuff so far. You had me as soon as I saw "The Goon" figure in there, but the B&W stuff was good too.

Mmm...Film Noir...makes me all tingly inside.

SallyP said... nailed the lingo, that's for sure.

The Pretentious Fool said...

I would read this comic. Hell, I really want to read the rest already, from the little you have written.