I was working on the book with about three artists, all of whom bailed on me. Possibly because the script for the #0 issue, a 10-page book that I was going to take around at the Cons in 1998 to try and sell the idea, was very cramped and needed some reworking. In fact, it still does. At any rate, this was to be the introduction to the series and the characters and a look at the tone of the series, which is light humor and high adventure.
Establishing shot of San Francisco.
The scene is a modern bar, filled with about a dozen people. They range from a man in a tattered trenchcoat with dreadlocks (WIGS) to a stereotypical computer nerd with pressed white shirt and crisp black tie (MARTY TENCTION). One person at the bar is a tall, skinny man with short, unruly hair. He is dressed in a worn suit and is looking nervously at his watch. This is HERBERT.
Cut to the door, which is open to reveal light streaming in, framing an imposing looking silhouette. A woman is silhouetted, with an automatic pistol at a holster on each hip. This should be a classic "Man with No Name" enters the bar moment. There is an air of menace about her.
A floppy-eared black dog goes charging in through the woman’s legs, his tongue lolling out as he happily runs in to greet the bartender. This is CORRIGAN. The silhouette loses its footing and one leg shoots out to the side while the arms windmill to keep their balance.
4 CAPTION: She also brought her dog.(5)
The silhouette, revealed now as SAM SPADE, walks into the bar with a grin on her face. CORRIGAN has hopped on the bar and is licking the face of the bartender, who is laughing and scratching CORRIGAN’s ears. SAM SPADE is dressed in her "work clothes," baseball cap, white shirt, and blue jeans. She also has on a bulky jacket. Her face and hands are obviously frostbitten. (Doing them in red would obviously be the easiest way to show this, but since we’re black & white…do what you can.)
SAM SPADE sits down at the bar and accepts a beer, producing a cigar from the inside of her jacket. HERBERT stands next to her nervously badgering her with questions. CORRIGAN runs down the bar and sits in front of SAM SPADE.
2 SAM SPADE: Well, let me tell you, Herbert…it wasn’t easy. "Find the Torch of Aegus. I think it’s somewhere in Alaska."
Flashback scene to a "Northern Exposure" type frontier town. SAM SPADE is walking into a store marked YANOFF’S SUPPLIES. On the shelves there is camping/hiking gear like backpacks and mini-stoves alongside more general supplies like toothbrushes and peanut butter. Behind the counter is YANOFF, a large bearded man wearing a flannel shirt and suspenders. He has a huge grin on his face as he sees SPADE.
4 YANOFF: Samantha! What brings the head of Spade Outdoor out here? Ice climbing, perhaps?
5 SAM SPADE: Actually, Yanoff? I heard that there was an expedition lost near here.
YANOFF tells SAM SPADE something that clearly irritates her, and she gets a very angry look on her face.
8 SAM SPADE: Great. Did he say anything else?
9 YANOFF: Only that if I had information, he’d be staying at the Klondike Hotel.
SAM SPADE gets a big grin on her face.
SAM SPADE is sitting outside the Klondike Hotel in a car driven by JORDAN. DECKARD THOMPSON walks outside.
The car turns across the street and swerves in front of DECKARD THOMPSON, who looks surprised. SAM SPADE jumps out with a length of rope and a sack and a really big smile on her face.
Show scene of Alaskan mountains, with SAM SPADE hiking alone through them, decked out in arctic survival gear. A short distance up the mountain, there is a cave entrance. A few broken pickaxes and abandoned parkas sit at the entrance.
SAM SPADE enters the cave, which slopes down into the mountain. It is fairly claustrophobic, just made of walls of ice and snow. She has her guns in both hands and a flashlight mounted on a shoulder rig.
SAM SPADE has gone down the hallway and is peering out at an open area. There are about six Ice-Worms gathered around a glowing torch, sitting in the ice. They all crowd in around it as if warming themselves. They are each about ten feet in length, three feet in diameter. They have circular maws filled with razor sharp teeth, used for burrowing through solid ice. They have no eyes or ears or any other kind of apparent sensory organs. Embedded in the icy walls are some chunks of meat, happily seeming generic enough that they might not be the remains of the expedition team.
Cut to HERBERT in the bar, wearing a shocked and horrified expression. The other people in the bar have crowded in closer and are listening intently to SPADE’s story now.
Cut back to the interior of the cave. As SAM SPADE looks on, one of the Ice Worms grabs a huge chunk of meat from the side of the cavern and puts it on top of the torch. Not as if it’s cooking it, but rather just slopping it down on top of it in a futile attempt to feed the torch. In the background, two other Ice Worms devour raw chunks of the meat.
2 HERBERT (VO): And didn’t they see you?
3 SAM SPADE (VO): Nope. Ice Worms have only one sense, and that’s the ability to sense warmth.
SAM SPADE looks at the wall of the cavern and starts pulling snow off of the walls. One of the worms starts moving slowly in her direction.
SAM SPADE sheds her heavy parka and gear, keeping only a tank top and shorts, plus her guns. On top of her now mostly bare skin, she rubs snow and ice, covering herself. The worm inches closer to her.
6 SAM SPADE (VO):
Better frostbite than messy death by worm incisors, Wigs. I figured if
I could grab the torch, its magic would keep me warm enough.
SAM SPADE, packed in snow,
slides up against the wall as the Ice Worm reaches her. It’s teeth begin
an almost buzzsaw-like rotation and it lunges at her now discarded jacket
The worm begins to slide back to the others, leaving SAM SPADE to contemplate the tattered mess that was her gear, and would most likely have been her.
SAM SPADE walks back, alongside the worm, toward the torch. Her face makes it clear that she is suffering from the cold. She pricks her ears up as a noise from a side tunnel catches her attention.
SAM SPADE gives a backward glance at the torch as she walks over to the tunnel. We can see that at the bottom of the tunnel, packed solidly in ice, is DR. STANZ, the only surviving member of the expedition team. He looks terrified and is yelling for help. Meanwhile, one of the worms is sliding toward another hole on the other side of the room.
3 SAM SPADE: Sorry. I’m all the cavalry you’ve got. Can you move?
4 DR. STANZ: No…they…they wedged us in here and they…they…took the others up there! I…I heard them screaming!
DR. STANZ continues yelling, and SAM SPADE pricks up her ears at a sound behind her.
5 SAM SPADE: What was that?
6 DR. STANZ : I don’t know! I’ve heard the splashing, but I don’t know what they’re doing!
7 SAM SPADE: If that’s what I think it is… Hold tight, Doc. And when you hear gunfire, get ready to move fast.
SAM SPADE moves in on the torch, still clad in snow. She is stepping right between the worms, but they don’t move or notice her.
SAM SPADE grabs the torch, which melts the snow off her hands, and throwsit down into the hole with Dr. Stanz. The Ice Worms rear up to their full height, surrounding her.
The worms lunge in at SAM SPADE, and she quickly draws and unloads both pistols at one of them while twisting to avoid the others.
10 SAM SPADE (VO): Here’s a previously unknown fact about Ice Worms…
The worm she shot has fallen down, but is otherwise unharmed. The others are swinging around for a second shot.
2 DR. STANZ: AIEEE! I’m going to burn to death!
SAM SPADE drops the guns and plunges her hands into the snow, causing the worms to attack the guns. It should be hard to tell, but the guns are completely undamaged by their attacks.
The worms turn their attention to STANZ, who is crawling free of the hole with the torch in hand. He screams. SAM SPADE is moving toward the hole leading to the underground river. Now we can see that the guns are unharmed, lying on the ground.
SAM SPADE holds her hands out as if she’s pointing both guns at the Ice Worms and the guns come flying toward her hands. The worms are only a few feet away from STANZ, who is still screaming.
The guns land in SAM SPADE’s hands and she fires, knocking the worms’ off course as they attempt to snack on DR. STANZ. Instead two of them bury themselves about two feet deep in the ice walls.
Cut back to the bar,. The others are now very close, all gathered in a huddle around SAM SPADE, hanging on her every word. WIGS asks SAM SPADE how she does the trick with the guns.
2 SAM SPADE: What, the guns? Enchantment. Mostly I work for you guys for the action and because you’re helping me track down my parents. But I won’t deny that access to magicians has its perks.
Back to the ice caverns, as a terrified DR. STANZ, holding the torch aloft, runs toward SAM SPADE. She continues to give him cover fire, and while the bullets don’t penetrate the Ice Worms’ hides, they do knock them back a little bit.
SAM SPADE kicks STANZ’s legs out from underneath him so that he trips and falls into the hole leading to the underground river. She fires one more shot from each gun, which empties out the clips on both.
SAM SPADE dives into the hole, sliding down the slope of the tunnel and toward the water, which STANZ is just hitting.
SAM SPADE plunges into the water as well, holstering her pistols as she goes. SPADE and STANZ are floating in an underground river, with clear ice above them. The worm that dove in here earlier is coming toward the torch, with it’s mouth wide open. Think "Jaws."
5 SAM SPADE (VO): Shut up, Marty.
6 CAPTION : *Incredibly bad rendition of the "Jaws" theme.
SAM SPADE grabs the torch from DR. STANZ and holds it up to the ice above them as the worm closes in. A hole starts to appear in the ice.
SAM SPADE chucks the torch up through the hole so that it lands on the ice above, causing the Ice Worm to divert its course and try to bite the torch, which is now above the surface. Its head cracks on the ice.
SAM SPADE pulls herself up to the surface using the hole she burned and dives for the torch, which is quickly melting its way into the ice again, and is almost through to the water.
STANZ pulls himself up to the surface, as SAM SPADE stands up, holding the torch triumphantly. It’s important that this is a close enough shot that we can’t see much of the air around them. And if at all possible, we should see the spot were the torch just was. The ice is very thin due to the melting, and the ice worm is coming towards it from below at a pretty good speed.
The Ice Worm bursts through the ice, towering over STANZ and SPADE. It’s maw is open wide, and it will undoubtedly come down in a second and devour one of them. They are, without a doubt, doomed. This should be a big, impressive panel.
A bullet line enters the Ice Worm’s mouth from above and behind SAM SPADE and STANZ, blowing it’s head off from the inside.
2 SAM SPADE (VO): …and two…
Show a helicopter hovering overhead from where the shot came from. JORDAN is sitting in the open door, a smoking sniper rifle in her arms, giving SAM SPADE the thumbs up. The corpse of the Ice Worm slides slowly back into the underground river.
4 SAM SPADE: Thanks, Jordan! You want to lower down and pick us up? I’m freezing my a…
Back at the bar, SAM SPADE reaches into her coat and produces the Torch of Aegus, which she uses to light her cigar.
SAM SPADE hands the torch to HERBERT, who looks almost giddy. CORRIGAN jumps down from the bar and runs out.
As SAM SPADE walks toward the door, HERBERT looks up nervously to ask what.
3 HERBERT: What’s that?(4)
4 SAM SPADE: I’m the best Merlin’s Progeny has got, and I don’t need back-up from mercenaries like Thompson. Don’t call him again.
SAM SPADE gets outside and opens the door of a waiting car. JORDAN is driving, and in the backseat we can see DECKARD THOMPSON, hog-tied and gagged. She is out of sight and earshot of the bar crowd now, but is just finishing her sentence.
6 SAM SPADE: Herbert’s always been the nervous type. Besides, it’s not like Thompson gave us any problems.
The car drives off down the street, into the sunset. From inside the car, there comes yelling and talking.
8 SAM SPADE: Oh pipe down, Thompson. We’ll drop you off at the nearest leather bar. I’m sure they’ll love that get-up.