Over at the Bendis Boards fans were treated to writer Dan Slott showing off a bit of his finished scripts for various Marvel books.

I’ve gotten a number of requests for both sample scripts/plots AND for peeks at dead/killed projects. And who am I to say no to Jinxworld posters? So starting today I thought I’d show you some scripts/plots of stories that have already seen print…

…or in, this case, projects that have been bought, paid for, and killed. This happens a LOT in this industry. In the case of Acclaim Comics, I had HUNDREDS of pages of material in drawers– all of it slated to come out… But then the company went through “restructuring period”… And “restructured” itself right out of existence. I probably won’t be posting ANY of that material, since there are a number of concepts and ideas that I can still use in other media.

Then there are certain ideas/concepts/pitches that are dead-dead-dead. Most of these are stories that were done ages ago– and while they languished out of sight– someone else produced something that was either TOO similar to the concept or completely invalidated it. (Check out the photocopier scene in today’s script. I wrote that back in ’94 and I’d never seen ANYONE do that bit before. Since then, I’ve seen it done a ba-zillion times.)

In the case of this PUNISHER story: “Serious Business”, this was produced for then Punisher Editor, Don Daley. It would have been my first full length, non-funny animal comic. It was penciled by Mike Harris and inked by Jimmy Palmiotti (the same team from my first Punisher short story). And it was slated to run in an issue of PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL. It was two or three months away from being solicited when Don Daley was let go from Marvel in the first editorial “purge” of the 90’s.

Click through for a Punisher War Journal script.
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL
“SERIOUS BUSINESS”
PLOT for 20pgs.
DAN SLOTT
4/15/94

PAGE ONE
SPLASH
Thirty stories up in a Park Avenue hotel, the PUNISHER chases a YAKUZA bag man through billowing clouds of tear gas. With a gas mask on, the PUNISHER looks almost insect-like. The bag man, JIRO, wears a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist.
TITLE: SERIOUS BUSINESS
CAP: The Brentmore Arms, a five star hotel, that caters only to the biggest movers and shakers.
CAP: People like Jiro Watanabe, a Yakuza bag man, on his way to make an important drop.
CAP: Time to show him a service I extend to world weary travelers like himself:
CAP: Express checkout.

PAGE TWO
PANEL ONE
PUNISHER continues to gun down coughing thugs and body guards as he races through the corridors, never taking his eyes off the bag man ahead of him. Mounted to the ceiling is a security camera.
CAP: Got to hurry this up.
CAP: Sooner or later, either Jiro rabbits, one of his buddies gets in a lucky shot…

PANEL TWO
On a higher floor, the YAKUZA head watches the PUNISHER’S rampage on surveillance cameras.
CAP: …or they send in “the calvary.”
LEADER: <He is four floors below on 30.>
CAP: Translated from Japanese.

PANEL THREE
The YAKUZA leader orders some of his men to take out THE PUNISHER from the outside. His troops are modern day ninjas, armed with laser sighted ordnance. (MIKE– let’s not make these big, red-hooded typical comicbook ninjas, but rather state of the art professionals, sleek and hi-tech).
LEADER: <Take out everyone on the floor if you have to.>
LEADER: <He is not to leave the building alive.>

PANEL FOUR
They begin to repel from the outside of the building.
TEXT: HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT

PAGE THREE
PANEL ONE
Meanwhile, PUNISHER has taken down JIRO with some crippling leg shots.
CAP: Finally!

PANEL TWO
He searches JIRO’S flailing body for a key to the suitcase handcuffed to his arm, but to no avail.
PUNISHER: The key! Give me the key!
JIRO: AIIIIII!
CAP: Don’t have time for this @#*!

PANEL THREE
Quick cut to the repelling ninjas.
TEXT: HUT HUT HUT HUT

PANEL FOUR
Back to the PUNISHER. He blows the suit case open….
CAP: This better be worth it!

PANEL FIVE
…and there’s his prize: a lone computer cd.
CAP: Bingo!
CAP: The Yakuza’s “books”! 64 megabytes of all their dirty dealings all down loaded onto one CD-ROM.

PAGE FOUR
PANEL ONE
Suddenly, all around him, the YAKUZA’s shock troop burst through every available window.
SFX: KRAAAASHHH!

PANEL TWO
They land on their feet, laser sightings on and primed.

PANEL THREE
BIG PANEL. We see a reaction shot of THE PUNISHER, he’s covered head to toe in “red dots.”
PUNISHER: @#*!

PAGE FIVE
PANEL ONE
PUNISHER runs down the hallway, taking fire left and right. The air is filled with big HOWARD CHAYKIN-ish sound effects.
CAP: Four yards from the planned exit…

PANEL TWO
He makes a wild dive, and disappears down a laundry chute.
CAP: …thirty stories to the basement floor…

PANEL THREE
He falls down 30 floors of chute, bumping, slamming, and sliding the whole way.
PUNISHER: @#*!
PUNISHER: @#*!
PUNISHER: @#*!

PANEL FOUR
He lands in a laundry basket on the basement level. All the white sheets around him bleed to red.
SFX: WUMPH!
PUNISHER: …and knee-deep in the sheets.

PAGE SIX
PANEL ONE
MICRO is there, dressed as someone from the laundry service. He leans in, looking down at FRANK.
MICRO: Bleedin’ on the linnens again, Frank.
MICRO: You know how hard it is to get that stuff out?
PANEL TWO
MICRO wheels the basket into the back of a waiting laundry truck…
MICRO: Maybe a good pre-soak. Who knows?

PANEL THREE
…then hops into the front seat.
MICRO: Lucky for you, Frank…

PANEL FOUR
CUT to his foot hitting the gas pedal.
MICRO: Getting things out is my specialty.

PANEL FIVE
The truck bursts through the hotel’s security gates and screeches off towards one of the PUNISHER’S safe houses.

PAGE SEVEN
PANEL ONE
At the safe house, PUNISHER peels off his kevlar. It’s riddled with slugs, and he’s riddled with bruises.
CAP: Later, at the safe house.
PUNISHER: (eyeing the kevlar) Micro, easy on the starch next time!

PANEL TWO
MICRO, though at his computers, is still in his laundry uniform. He�s lit by the computers green light. Columns of numbers are reflected in the planes of his glasses.
MICRO: You should take laundry more seriously, Frank.
MICRO: It looks like the YAKUZA do.

PANEL THREE
This has the PUNISHER’S attention. They’ve been trying to find the YAKUZA’S money laundering connection for a dog’s age. MICRO shows FRANK the info he’s dug up from the CD.
PUNISHER: It’s there?
PUNISHER: Tell me you’ve got the name of the Yakuza’s money launderer.
MICRO: OMNI-MART. American owned supermarket chain. Their organization circulates billions of dollars on a monthly basis.

PANEL FOUR
PUNISHER: I say we blow up the corporate HQ.
MICRO: That shouldn’t be necessary, Frank.
MICRO: After all you own a controlling share in their stock.

PANEL FIVE
CLOSE UP on THE PUNISHER’S confused and shocked face.
PUNISHER: What the @#*?!”

PAGE EIGHT
PANEL ONE
MICRO explains.
MICRO: Over the years I’ve shrewdly invested money from the warchest into some big business ventures.

PANEL TWO
He gestures around to all the equipment in the warehouse. We see the vast scope of all the equipment THE PUNISHER uses.
MICRO: You don’t think we could afford all this with just the money you’ve managed to steal from the mob, do you?

PANEL THREE
PUNISHER still wants to take them down hard and fast, with force and firepower.
PUNISHER: Look, Micro, I don’t care. Just give me a gun and point me in the right direction.
MICRO: Frank, there’s no need for all of that.
MICRO: Really. Trust me.

PANEL FOUR
ESTABLISHING SHOT of OMNI-MART corporate headquarters in midtown Manhattan. It’s a tall gleaming building with a statue of the company logo standing proudly in the outdoor plaza.
CAP: “Just attend the next shareholders meeting, exercise your options…”
CAP: “And you’ll take ‘em all down, without firing a single shot.”

PANEL FIVE
CUT to the OMNI-MART corporate boardroom, the PUNISHER shows up clean shaven, suit, tie, and Punisher-skull cuff-links. With his index finger he tugs his collar away from his neck.
CAP: This is stupid.

PAGE NINE
PANEL ONE
THE PUNISHER feels ridiculous. At a long conference table, everyone at the meeting waits for their new, mysterious, majority shareholder to talk. He begins to read from note-cards MICRO has prepared for him.
CAP: Much rather blow them all away, instead I’m drinking Bavarian Mocha with them!
FRANK: Gentlemen, I’m sure most of you are surprised to discover you have a majority stockholder…
FRANK: …as I have gathered my holdings through numerous companies and second parties.

PANEL TWO
Over the shoulder shot. We see FRANK fumbling through the cards.
FRANK: But no more shocked than I am, at OMNI-MART’S lackluster performance of late…
FRANK: …in the market place.
CARD (typeset): BUT NO MORE SHOCKED THAN I AM, AT OMNI-MART’S LACKLUSTER PERFORMANCE OF LATE, IN THE MARKET PLACE.
CARD (handwritten note): –having fun yet, Frank? –M.C.
CAP: I’ll get you for this, Micro.

PANEL THREE
FRANK: That is why I am sad to announce, that I will be selling my shares…
FRANK: …to our note-worthy competitor, PATHWAY INC.

PANEL FOUR
The board members are aghast. One spit-takes with his Bavarian Mocha.
CAP: According to MICRO, if PATHWAY has controlling shares…
CAP: They’ll replace all the OMNI-MART board members with their own suits…

PANEL FIVE
CLOSE UP on GARDNER NASH, chairman of the board, an old, but stocky man, an impressive power figure. He keeps his best poker face as he ponders not only the collapse of his power structure, but also the YAKUZA’S reactions.
CAP: Doubt the YAKUZA will be happy about that.

PAGE TEN
PANEL ONE
NASH takes FRANK aside and tells him of a complication. He can’t exercise that particular option at this point in time. FRANK looks at him suspiciously… MICRO didn’t mention anything about this…
NASH: Look, it’s well within your rights to make this decision.
NASH: But I must invoke the rules of the company charter…

PANEL TWO
NASH firmly holds FRANK on the shoulder. FRANK would much rather shoot him than have to talk with him.
NASH: …when you took on enough stock to become the majority shareholder,
NASH: you signed a clause allowing us to convene an emergency meeting of the board–
NASH: A chance to woo you back to the OMNI-MART way of thinking.

PANEL THREE
NASH: This weekend we’ll hold a retreat in one of the corporate owned lodges out in the country.
NASH: If we can’t convince you by the start of the working day Monday.
NASH: Then for all means, continue with your current course of action.

PANEL FOUR
As FRANK takes his briefcase and heads out, NASH pulls one of his VPs over, PETE GROSSMAN, a clean-cut, healthy looking yuppie, the up and comer you’d find driving home the winning run at the company softball game.
NASH: Looks like were going to be having an emergency retreat in the country this weekend…
GROSSMAN: And let me guess, you want me to keep a close eye on our majority shareholder?

PANEL FIVE
NASH: Of course, make sure he doesn’t have any accidents…
GROSSMAN: Like Jensen had on that white water rafting trip… Or Davis on the rock-climbing jaunt in Yosemite.

PANEL SIX
GROSSMAN sighs.
GROSSMAN: The mortality rate at this company…
GROSSMAN: You know it’s going to send our insurance premiums through the roof.
NASH: Lighten up. We’re making a killing.
NASH: ‘Thought this year we could go… duck hunting.

PAGE ELEVEN
PANEL ONE
CUT to the duck pond near the retreat, the sun’s just coming up. Those annoying little bugs, midges, are all catching the sunlight. GROSSMAN, in duck hunting gear is loading up his shotgun. He talks to his one of his cronies.
GROSSMAN: After our little mishap, I’ll stay with the body�doing everything in my power to try to “save” him.
GROSSMAN: You go with some of the boys to get help.

PANEL TWO
GROSSMAN: Be sure to get Sheriff Roberts. He’s the one we’ve made “special arrangements” with.
CRONY: God I hate this crap.
CRONY: It’s gonna blow the whole weekend.

PANEL THREE
They spot the PUNISHER sitting in his duck blind.
GROSSMAN: Trust me. You’ll be home in time to catch all the sports highlights…
GROSSMAN: There he is, just where we left him….

PANEL FOUR
GROSSMAN takes aim…

PANEL FIVE
…and blows the PUNISHER away.

PAGE TWELVE
PANEL ONE
…But it’s not really FRANK, just his hunting jacket, hat, and rifle, propped up in a makeshift scarecrow.
GROSSMAN: Huh?
GROSSMAN: It was just some kind of…

PANEL TWO
He sees a duck decoy hanging from a tree. In its beak is a folded note, on the outside it reads “HEY!”
GROSSMAN: …decoy?

PANEL THREE
GROSSMAN pulls the decoy down, snapping the wire. He holds the note, now unfolded in his hand.
NOTE: DUCK (A crude PUNISHER SKULL is also scrawled over the unfolded note.)

PANEL FOUR
Suddenly, a tree-branch loaded with spiked stick, swings around and gores both GROSSMAN and his buddy. Their eyes are wide open. It’s obvious that they’re both still alive.
SFX: SKRUNCHHH

PAGE THIRTEEN
PANEL ONE
BIRD’S EYE VIEW looking down from the branches of the trees around the duck pond. Two other members of the board are walking around with their shotguns at the ready. Suddenly, they hear GROSSMAN and his buddy’s death screams.
TEXT: AAAAHHHHHHH

PANEL TWO
They start heading in that direction.
GUY #1: Was that it?
GUY #2: I didn’t hear a shot…

PANEL THREE
As they make their way across the forest floor, crunching through leaves and sticks, we can see a figure following them high above in the canopy of the trees’ branches.
GUY #1: It was over this way…

PANEL FOUR
It’s the PUNISHER, decked out in a makeshift mud/camo-paint. (MIKE– feel free to put a makeshift skull emblem on his chest.)

PAGE FOURTEEN
PANEL ONE
Outside the woods, the remaining board members drink thermoses of coffee on the hoods of their trendy jeeps. They hear some screams coming from the forest.
GUY #3: Something must’ve gone wrong…
GUY #4: You don’t think…
GUY #5: Oh come, he’s just one guy.

PANEL TWO
One of them opens up a trunk at pulls out a bunch of semi-automatics assault rifles.
GUY #5: Here. Now, if something’s the matter, I’m sure we can sort it all out.
GUY #3: Where’d you get a hold of these?
GUY #5: Hey there perfectly legal. I use ‘em only for hunting.

PANEL THREE
They walk into the forest.
GUY #4: Wonder if he’s still alive.
GUY #5: Half hope he is…
SFX: CLIK-ECHH (GUY #5 locks and loads the gun)
GUY #5: It’ll be a slaughter.

PANEL FOUR
Long shot of the woods. It’s dead silent.

PANEL FIVE
Suddenly, there are burst of gunfire. From everywhere ducks fly out of the brush…

PANEL SIX
The ducks disperse. And silence returns.

PAGE FIFTEEN
PANEL ONE
Monday morning. FRANK, in the business suit again, stands across from NASH, the long boardroom table in between them. No other board members have shown up… as they’re all dead.
FRANK: Well, I’ve had some time to think about it…
FRANK: My fellow board members made some convincing arguments this weekend…
FRANK: A number of power plays…
FRANK: But nothing I couldn’t fill with a lot of holes.
PANEL TWO
FRANK: I’ve decided to follow through with my original plan of action.
NASH: No. I don’t think so.

PANEL THREE
NASH pushes a button. A sliding panel opens, revealing the YAKUZA head and his shock troop.

PANEL FOUR
Reaction shot of THE PUNISHER. His face has that “I told you so look.”
PUNISHER: Damn.
CAP: Knew I should’ve nuked this place! But no!
CAP: “Trust me.” Micro said. Thanks a lot, pal!

PAGE SIXTEEN
PANEL ONE
PUNISHER jumps for cover, going straight through the meeting room window…
SFX: KASSSHHHH
CAP: Definitely the last time I take my business here!

PANEL TWO
…and into the office area in the next room. A hail of gunfire follows behind him. Office workers duck and scatter. (IMPORTANT– in the office area we set up all of the weapons the PUNISHER will use in PAGES SEVENTEEN and EIGHTEEN. For example, one of the workers who ducks is pouring piping hot coffee into his “World’s Greatest Dad” cup.).
CAP: Don’t they know this is no way to treat a majority shareholder?

PANEL THREE
FRANK lands and pulls the handle out of his suitcase.
CAP: They should realize…

PANEL FOUR
The handle’s a concealed weapon. When it retracts from the suitcase, we can see that there’s a long blade on either side.
SFX: SHKKKT

PANEL FIVE
He sinks it deep into the first ninja to reach him. SPLUTCHHH!
CAP: …I’ve got leverage.

PAGE SEVENTEEN
What follows is a whirlwind of action as the PUNISHER flows from panel to panel dispatching all the ninjas with items from around the office work area, while dodging hails of gunfire.
PANEL ONE
He pushes the next ninja aside, impaling him on a memo-spindle.
PUNISHER: Take a memo.
PUNISHER: Re: accidents in the work place.

PANEL TWO
The next ninja is shoved backwards. An open file catches him behind the knee, resulting in his head falling back into a file as well.
PUNISHER: Or on second thought…

PANEL THREE
Before the ninja can react, THE PUNISHER slams the top file shut, snapping his neck.
PUNISHER: …let’s file that for later…
SFX: RRRRUNCH

PANEL FOUR
PUNISHER then grabs a steaming mug of coffee (World’s Greatest Dad), and tosses it into the second to last ninja’s face!
PUNISHER: …and break for coffee!
NINJA: EEIIIIYEEE!

PANEL FIVE
Finally the PUNISHER’S luck runs out. The last ninja (the YAKUZA head from PAGE TWO) grabs him, and…

PAGE EIGHTEEN
PANEL ONE
…throws THE PUNISHER back onto the top of an open Xerox machine, his gun rammed under the PUNISHER’S chin.

PANEL TWO
Quick cut to PUNISHER’S hand as it slams down on the Xerox machine’s big, green starter button.
CAP: Wonder how they’ll write this up?

PANEL THREE
“AHHH!” The ninja recoils as the light from the Xerox blinds him. PUNISHER grabs the back of his head…
CAP: Work related death…

PANEL FOUR
And repeatedly smashes it over and over into the copier’s glass.
CAP: …copycat murder…

PANEL FIVE
Last shot: A series of photo-copies of the ninja’s face, getting more and bashed, and the glass getting bloodier and bloodier.
CAP: …or multiple homicide?

PAGE NINETEEN
PANEL ONE
CUT to NASH, cowering under his desk.
PUNISHER’S VOICE: I’ve recently met with my financial consultant…

PANEL TWO
PUNISHER pulls him out from under the desk….
PUNISHER: He told me I have the option of throwing out the chairman of the board…

PANEL THREE
PUNISHER hefts NASH up above his head.
NASH: Wh-what are you doing?
PUNISHER: Exercising my option.

PANEL FOUR
PUNISHER tosses NASH through a window, already weakened by bullet holes.
NASH: Noo!

PANEL FIVE
PUNISHER leans out the window and watches.
CAP: That’s the problem with big business.
CAP: One day you’re on top of the world… Next you’re at rock bottom.

PAGE TWENTY
PANEL ONE
ESTABLISHING SHOT. As police and emergency vehicles circle the building, the PUNISHER and other OMNI-MART employees exit out the main entrance. FRANK’S the calm one. The police try to hold them all back, but it’s no use.

PANEL TWO
A policeman stops him.
COP: Hey Mac, what’s going on? We’ve had reports of gunfire, ninjas, you name it!

PANEL THREE
THE PUNISHER looks nonchalant as he straightens his tie.
PUNISHER: Don’t look at me…

PANEL FOUR
Briefcase in hand, PUNISHER walks off into the distance.
PUNISHER: …I just work here.
THE END!

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