I just discovered my original script for a story called “The Old Ball Game.” It ran in Archie’s Pal Jughead Comics #87 (December, 1996). As it happens, this was actually one of my earliest Jughead stories. A few months later, my tenure as the regular Jughead writer would begin. (As of issue #89, I’d be teamed with new regular penciller Rex Lindsey for over 100 issues!)
I was especially glad to locate this particular script. I was able to see the pencils for the job before they were sent to the inker; a rare occasion for me. The great Stan Goldberg, who illustrated the story, had kindly gifted me with photocopies of his pencils.
I thought it might be interesting to show the progression of a story from script, to pencils, to the page, with inks by Mike Esposito, colors by Barry Grossman and letters by Bill Yoshida.
As you can see, I write (sketch) my Archie scripts in storyboard format as opposed to screenplay format. In my mind, this makes my intentions for each panel absolutely clear to the penciller, and reduces the risk for misinterpretation.
I never assume or expect that the penciller will follow my panel layouts, but they’re always welcome to.
I’m continuing to sift through boxes of stuff that was salvaged from my house flood, and the item that surfaced today coincidentally ties in to my weekend’s television viewing.The Decades TV network fills each weekend with a marathon of a different vintage television series. This time around, the selection was The Millionaire, an anthology series that ran on CBS from 1955 to 1960. The premise of the show was that an unseen multi-billionaire called John Beresford Tipton (voiced by animation actor Paul Frees), each week tasked his executive secretary, Michael Anthony (played by Marvin Miller), with delivering a $1,000,000 cashiers check to a random person of Tipton’s selection as a gift. The remainder of the half-hour dramatized how these people from all walks of life were impacted by their unexpected windfall.
I parodied this series in my work for Archie Comics through a character I called The Elevenaire. The late great Stan Goldberg brought The Elevenaire’s visuals to life, and Stan was kind enough to send me copies of his pencils for the inaugural story of this occasional series. Those photocopies turned up in a box stored in my basement today, so I thought I’d share some samples.
Jughead and Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #15 is in the stores currently, and for those who follow my work, this issue contains around eight of my Jughead stories — most of them illustrated by my trusty collaborator, Rex Lindsey, who always manages to get the most out of whatever humor is in the scripts with his linework.
Please note, there are a couple of incorrect credits on the stories in this issue, as is often the case in these digests. One of my Archie stories, “Unbalanced,” is incorrectly credited to my friend George Gladir. Sorry to saddle you with that, George! This story was drawn by Stan Goldberg, whom I only got the chance to partner with on rare occasions, and that’s probably a factor in how the credit got mixed up. This story has to do with a large piece of artwork, a metal mobile of the type designed by Alexander Calder. In this story, the artist’s name is Wilder.
And then I am credited with writing a story called “Showdown At the Mall,” which I did not write. The art on this one is by Doug Crane. To my knowledge, Doug and I have never been paired up on a story. I’m Guessing that George Gladir wrote this one. The title sounds like one of his.
Also of note is a story of mine called “Pop Goes Jughead!” I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of stories I’ve written where the plot was dictated to me by my editor, Victor Gorelick. But this is one of those. Victor had somehow ended up with a gadget that was designed to eat popcorn with — It was like a modified set of chopsticks — and he decided that a Jughead story could be written around the invention. He actually sent me one of these things to try out, and here is the story that resulted. In the story, I called them ‘Popcorn Pincers.’ I forget what they were known as in real life. Anyway, the Archie characters are such that you can give them any object and they can get into trouble with it for at least five pages, so no problem there.