In DCU: The Animated Series, we propose all-new animated series based on DC Characters. As with "Batman/Superman," these adaptations do not have to be in-line with current continuity or their in-continuity origins. And in this month's case, they don't have to have a chance in heck of being produced.
A proposal by guest writers Louise "Ann B." Davis and Marilee Stephens
and conceptual artist Bob Riley
PROPOSAL:To: Warner Brothers TV executives
From: April J. Ester, aspiring writer.
CC: All DC Comics editors
Enclosed is my idea for a new animated series that would truly set your cartoon division on the map. Although I've never written for television or comics before, I've been writing fan-fiction since before I could read and everyone who's ever used the Internet has told me I'm really talented and much better than any of the professionals who are working today. I'm confident that after you read my series proposal you will think so, too.
SELLING POINTSThis series has all the hallmarks of what viewers and networks are looking for in entertainment these days. Among its features are:
1) Nostalgia. It brings in the nostalgia craze that baby-boomers seem so obsessed with right now, harkening back to the shows of their youth, but also has a futuristic feel to it.
2) Versatility. It has the innocence that will attract a lot of the younger viewers, but also can deal with more pressing issues found in today's society. It can be used to bring in cosmic elements, while also keeping things very down-to-earth. It can be light-hearted, but can also be "grim-n-gritty." It can evoke laughter as well as tears.
3) Educational value. Plotlines deal with relationships between parents and kids, between siblings, and between couples. It is a show the entire family, super-powered or not, can watch together in the hopes of better learning how to relate to one another. You could probably even sell the syndication rights to Pat Robertson.
4) Trendiness. It does that whole super-hero thing that is so hot right now. It has some already recognizable characters in it. It even has Batman, as you've never seen him before. What more can you ask for?
5) Merchandising potential. The characters in this series will translate well to the popular and lucrative action figure market, and there are quite a few accessories (Batcave modular, Wayne Manor Dream Home) that could be sold separately. The technology of today's popular laser pointers could be implanted in the hands of the figures for added authenticity, with the added bonus of free publicity when the toys are banned from public schools. It is expected that the male action figures would be especially popular with boys of all ages. The female characters, on the other hand, lend themselves well to a larger, more elaborate series of collectable dolls, with more detailed, removable costumes, which would likely appeal to the American Girl crowd.
6) Fan fiction fodder. Both popular sitcom kids and modern-day superheros are frequent subjects of X-rated fan fiction on the Internet. (Not that I've read any personally, that's just what I've heard.) The combination of those classic themes within this series could very well have a synergistic effect and would undoubtedly generate even more erotic spin-offs. Such stories would be immensely popular and widely circulated by email, meaning extra advertising for the show at no cost to the network.
PREMISE AND CHARACTERSThe premise for this series is quite simple. One of the most popular characters to come out of Kingdom Come was Nightstar. Really, she's so awesome she could probably support an entire series on her own. But think how much better it would be if we gave her five brothers and sisters! The possibilities then are truly endless.
What I propose is a family-based series about 6 half-human, half-Tamaran siblings, and their day-to-day struggles as they deal with home life, school, and crimefighting. The children are:
1) Matthew Richard Grayson. Codename: NIGHTFIRE. Age 16. Handsome and likable high school student, very popular with girls. Fast developing a reputation as an effective crimefighter. Voice suggestion: Scott Wolf (Party of Five).
The rest of the cast includes their father, Dick "NIGHTWING" Grayson (Loren Lester); their mother, Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran, aka former supermodel Kory Anders, aka "STARFIRE" (Marina Sirtis); their grandfather, Bruce Wayne, who is secretly BATMAN (Kevin Conroy); the loyal family butler/housekeeper/cook, Alfred (Efram Zimbalist, Jr.) and the lovable family Rottweiler, Ace (Lassie, though for marketing reasons it may be preferable to change this character to a Chihuahua and hire the Taco Bell dog.)
SERIES PILOTOur working title for the series is "The Batty Bunch." It would launch with a two-hour premiere, entitled "A Very Batty Homecoming," which you'll probably want to run in prime time. Opening credits would be accompanied by the following theme music, sung by Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs, unless they're dead, in which case I suggest Charlie Daniels and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named 'Wings
The leader of the Titans, did all sorts of real neat things
But then he married Kory and at the risk of bein' crude
They started crankin' out a great big fire-shootin' brood
(Kids, that is. Flying toddlers, starbolt fights.)
Well the first thing you know, Titan's Tower 's all aflame
It wasn't Brother Blood, Grayson's young-uns were to blame
The Titans said, "Enough, Dick, these kids just can't remain!"
So they loaded up the jet and they all moved into Wayne .
(Manor, that is. Giant pennies, loyal butlers.)
Plot synopsis: Dick, Kory and family arrive in Wayne Manor with all six
Alfred: (standing in middle of the demolished Wayne Manor study) Sir, we simply can't abide this situation any longer.
Bruce: (seated in armchair, reading his newspaper ) Look, I know he kids can be bit of a handful
Alfred: A bit of a handful? With all due respect, Master Bruce, Bane and Two-Face proved more tolerable houseguests
Bruce: What can I say? They're my grandkids.
Alfred: I supposed this would be a bad time to remind you that you never officially adopted Master Dick. Technically, they aren't
Bruce: (interrupting ) Just give it a little time, Alfred. It will take some getting used to, but we'll adjust.
Alfred: Sir, I gave up a promising stage career to raise you after your parents' murder. During my years in your employ I have sewed your costumes, ironed your capes, polished your Batarangs, oiled your Batmobile, prepared countless meals that went uneaten, made excuses to innumerable women and board members, impersonated you on the telephone, patched up your gunshot wounds, emptied your bedpans when your back was broken, parented your sidekicks, arranged their funerals, been kidnapped by the Penguin, poisoned by the Joker, beaten by Bane, buried in an earthquake, transformed into the Outsider, and presumed dead for a number of years. I have never once complained or been disloyal. But this this I find absolutely unbearable. Regretfully, I am forced to give you one week's notice. In other words, sir, I quit!
Fortunately, the two littlest Graysons are listening from the library balcony.
Alexandra: Oh, no! We can't let Alfred rethign! Mikey, what thall we do?
Michael: We'd better tell the others, and fast!
Hilarity ensues as the kids hatch a plot to prove to Alfred that he's truly needed. This later scene takes place in the main room of Wayne Manor. The kids cluster around Alfred, all hugging him gleefully. Kory stands to one side in a small bathroom with her hair in a towel and could cream on her face, as if she was dressing for some important occasion but got distracted by the kids' planned disaster. Similarly, Dick is there, in formal attire, but splattered with chocolate syrup. A large decorated cake is splattered on the floor, being devoured by Ace, as Grandpa Bruce wipes frosting off his face and exoskeleton with his handkerchief. Various pieces of furniture are smashed, several small fires are burning, and Baby Wildebeest sprawls on the floor, blissfully gnawing on a chicken leg. Outside a darkened window, the Bat-signal gleams in the sky.
Alfred: All right, gang, I'll stay!
Kids: (collectively) Yay!!
Alfred: After all, if you young hooligans went to such extreme measures to prove to be that I'm needed, you must really mean it.
Ryan: You mean, you were on to us all along?
Alfred: I knew something was up when the Wildebeest arrived.
Michael (to Matthew) See. I told you we were overdoing it!
Miranda: What does it matter? The important thing is, Alfred's not leaving!
Kids: (collectively) Yay!
Dick (nudges Bruce and whispers) what'd you do, double his salary?
Bruce: Tripled it.
Dick: Thanks, Bruce. It means a lot, to all of us.
Bruce: No biggie. It's your inheritance it's coming out of, after all.
BATTY BUNCH: THE ANIMATED SERIESNow, this special will probably be a major success, and you'll want to launch Batty Bunch: TAS as soon as possible. Fortunately, I've already come up with lots of episode ideas and even started scripting a few of them.
First, the new series deserves a new theme song., sung by the voice actors who play the kids.
There was a princess, her name was Kory
She got kidnapped and they pumped her full of volts
She had long red hair, her skin was golden
And she could hurl starbolts.
A young crimefighter; this is his story
He was busy being Batman's kid sidekick
He threw Batarangs, and led the Titans
Oh, yeah, his name was Dick.
Then the one day when the sidekick wed the princess
And they knew then that Fate had a special plan
You see the birth control devices just kept melting
That's the way they all became the Grayson Clan!
The Grayson Clan!
The Grayson Clan!
That's the way they became the Grayson Clan!
A Thlip of the Tongue:
Upset at being taunted for her lisp, little Alexandra practices tongue
twisters ("Thtarfire thoots thtarbolts by the theasthore"), then sneaks off to prove herself by capturing another speech-impaired villain, the Ventriloquist.
The girls' pink, flowered bedroom. Dick, Kory and Alexandra are present, Alexandra looking pained and considerably more pink-skinned than usual. Alfred enters with a tube of cream on a tray.
Alfred: Here you are, Miss Kory.
Kory: Thank you, Alfred. (Taking cream and dabbing it on Alexandra's cheeks.)
Alfred: Sure thing, Miss Kory! Oops, that reminds me, I have blackened catfish to fry up for dinner! (Exits.)
Dick: (sternly) Young lady, just how long did you spend in that tanning booth?"
Alexandra: Only thix or theven hourth, Daddy.
Kory: Sweetheart, you have to remember, you're half-human! You can get sunburned!
Alexandra: I know that now, Mommy! Owie!
Dick: Just what possessed you to try something like that, anyway?
Alexandra: I wanna thoot big thtarbolts! Like my thithters!
Kory: Why such a rush, sweetie? You'll get more powerful as you get older, just like Amanda and Miranda did!
Alexandra: But I wanna be a Thuperhero now! Tho everbody'll thop making fun of me!
Dick: Making fun of you? For what?
Alexandra: (Sniffles) For the way I talk!
Later that night, Alexandra dons a makeshift Wingstar costume and slips out if the house.
Alexandra: I'll thow them! I'll tho them all whoth the moth thenthational thuperhero in Gotham Thity!
Roaming the dark and crime-ridden streets, she has a chance encounter with a short, meek-looking man carrying a small wooden puppet with a disfigured face.
Alexandra: Hey, Mithter, can I play with your nithe little baby doll?
Ventriloquist: Oh dear, little girl, I'm afraid
Scarface: Hey, gonehead! Tell the little gitch that I'm not a nice little gagey doll!
Alexandra: Ooooh, thath not a nithe thing to thay! If my mommy was here, you'd get your mouth wathed out with thoap! (Turns on her heel and stomps off indignantly, and soon finds herself alone.) Now, all I need ith for thome thlippery thcumbag to ethcape from Arkhum Athylum! (She switches on her portable radio.)
Radio: Attention Gotham City! The archcriminal known as the Ventriloquist has just escaped from Arkum Asylum! He is described as a short, meek-looking man, carrying a wooden puppet with a disfigured face!
Alexandra: (clapping hands to her cheeks) Oooooh, wait! That wath him!
Wingstar quickly retraces her steps, locates the criminal, and corners him in an alley.
Alexandra: Thurrender, you thinister thwine! Or I'll thtun you with my thtarbolt, thummon Thuperman and thweep you off to Thing-Thing!
Ventriloquist: Oh, dear, Scarface, this sounds serious. We'd better do as the little girl says.
Scarface: Whadda you saying? We oughta gow down gefore this little gitty Gat-grat just gecause she goasts agout glowin' us to gits?
Wingstar summons her strength and fires one small starblot, forcing the Ventriloquist to dive to avoid it.
Ventriloquist: That might be the wisest course of action, Scarface. She seems quite powerful!
Scarface: Galoney! Have you heard the way she talks? Oh, little girl, I'm "thoooooo thcared" here
Alexandra: Ooooooh! Don't you teath me 'bout talking funny, you "gig gully!"
Scarface: Oh, that does it, kid! You're gonna get it now!
Ventriloquist: Now, Scarface, just settle down
Scarface: Shut up and ogliterate her, you gig gozo!
Wingstar fires a second, larger blast, which knocks the Ventriloquist flat as the Scarface puppet falls aside . Wingstar soars in and snatches the mannequin up by the throat.
Alexandra: Gotcha, you thleaze! (Spanking him soundly) Now, let that be a leththon to you, Mr. Thcarface! I'm going to take you home with me and dreth you up in thome pretty cloeth and teach you to be a nithe dolly! Kitty Carry-all will be tho thurprithed!
The Anti-Aunt Alliance
The kids are assembled on the main room sofa, in costume, as their parents regard them sternly.
Dick: Now, kids, I know you meant well, but you jumped to a hasty conclusion and made a very serious mistake here!
Amanda: (flipping her hair over her shoulder) We're sorry, Dad. But she did look a lot like those pictures of Aunt Komand'r
Michael: Yeah, how were we supposed to know she was really Grandpa's important business client?
Dick: Well, the fact that Alfred set out all these hors d'oeuvres (indicating the smashed and scattered trays of food) should have been a clue, Mike.
Kory: Fortunately, Baroness Schreeder was a good sport about being starbolted, tied up, gagged and suspended upside down from the chandelier, but if she hadn't been so understanding
Dick: then Wayne Foundation could have lost a very large donation! How would you kids have felt then?
Matt: We're sorry, Dad. I guess we acted before we thought.
Alfred: (calling from kitchen, as he bangs metal ladle against frying pan) Come on, kids! Soup's on!!
Dick: All right, go now and get your supper. But I expect you to clean this mess up right after you eat, and they'll be no dessert for any of you tonight!
Later, we find Michael and Alexandra in the Astroturfed Wayne Manor backyard, trying desperately to get the attention of Matthew, who's working on his Nightfirecycle.
Michael: But it really is her this time!
Matthew: Yeah, right. You two have been sniffing the Bat-gas again!
Alexandra: No, really! Thith time we thaw her tharbolt Mayor Lintheed!
Matthew: You're kidding me!
Alexandra: No, ith the truth! And the'th conthpiring with that mean ol' Lex Luthor to take over the Earth!
Matthew: If you two are right, this could be a real problem!
Michael: But Mom and Dad will never believe us now! What'll we do, Matt?
Matthew: We'll just have to stop her, ourselves!
Hooray for Robosaurs
The Wayne Manor backyard. A group of half a dozen uniformed cheerleaders are being entertained by Amanda, in civilian attire. However, a 30-foot robotic T -rex has just appeared and seized the head cheerleader in his jaws. Ryan stands in foreground, desperately fiddling with his control panel. Amanda is clearly furious. Overhead,we see a costumed Nightfire soaring to the rescue.
Cheerleaders: Eek! Amanda, make your creepy brother call off his dinosaur!
Amanda: Ryan Grayson, you turn off that creepy T-Rex right now! If it eats Kippie I'll never make the school pep squad!
Ryan: I'm t-t-t-trying, 'Manda! Honest! It won't work!
Nightfire: That's OK, miss, I've got you! (He plucks Kippie from the dinosaur's mouth, and starbolts the creature, knocking it over on top of the white wicker lawn furniture and spilling the groups's tray of cookies and lemonade. Nightfire sets Kippie down on the Astroturf lawn and waves gallantly at the awe-struck girls) That should take care of it. Good-bye ladies! See you around, Amanda! (He flies off.)
Amanda: (Hastily righting the chairs and smoothing her hair) I'm sorry about that, girls. I'm sure Alfred will be happy to get us some more lemonade
Cheerleader: No thank you, Amanda! I think this cheerleader interview is over, now, don't you, pep squad?
Kippie: Wait, girls! Hold on a second Amanda? Do you really know Nightfire? In person?
Amanda (sighing, dejected) Oh, yeah. He's practically one of the family!
Kippie: Woooow! He's sooooo dreamy
Later, Dick, Kory, Ryan and Amanda are in the living room.
Kory: I thought we had agreed you were going to do a crystal radio for your science project, Ryan.
Ryan: I know, Mom. I just wanted to be different.
Dick: That T-Rex was a little more "different" than your sister and her friends needed, Ry! And you know you're not supposed to take anything out of your grandfather's Batcave without permission. Now, I want you to take that thing back downstairs, disassemble the remote control, then you go to your room and think things over! Got it?
Ryan: Yes, Dad. (He trudges off, sullenly.)
Kory: We're sorry you didn't make the pep squad, dear.
Amanda: Oh, but I did, Mom! The girls all thought Nightfire was soooo groovy, and were so impressed that he knew my name, they voted me onto the team!
Kory: Amanda, that's wonderful!
Dick: Congratulations, honey!
Amanda: But I said no.
Kory: But why, dear?
Amanda: Well, I thought about it, and I decided I'd rather be friends with girls who like me for who I am, not just because I know some dumb ol' superhero that they think is dreamy. So I'm joining the Ceramics Club instead!
Dick: Amanda, I think you've made a very mature decision, here. I'm proud of you.
Kory: Whatever makes you happy, dear. You're sure the girls in the ceramics club appreciate the real you?
Amanda: Uh-huh! And besides, with me around, they don't even need a kiln! (She starbolts the living room table, and all three burst into laughter.)
Of Ace and Antihistamines
The kids, Alfred, Dick and Kory are assembled in the living room. Grandpa Bruce leads a cringing Ace in the front door and tugs him over to the children.
Dick: (takes leash from Bruce and drags dog toward Miranda) OK, honey, let's see if those shots Dr. Thompkins gave you are going to work!
Kids: (collectively) Come on, Miri, you can do it! Don't sneeze, Miri, don't sneeze!
Miranda: Hi, Ace! Hi, boy! (petting him enthusiastically) I'm so glad to see yo-- Ah Ah Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo!
Dick: (sighing and exchanging pained glance with Bruce) Well, there's no use putting this off any longer. Sorry, kids, but poor Ace is going to have to go.
Kids: (collectively) Aw, Dad, no!
Michael: Couldn't we get rid of Miranda instead?
Dick: I'm afraid not, Mike. Bruce?
Bruce: I understand, chum. If she were my daughter, I'd feel the same. (swallows hard) He's my dog. I'll do it. (Takes down a rifle from the wall, and leads Ace down through clock door to Batcave.) Say good-bye to Ace, kids.
Kids: (all waving sorrowfully) Good-bye, Ace. Yeah, 'bye (they glare at Miranda)
Miranda: (near tears) Guys, I'm sorry!
Kory: I know, sweetheart. It's not your fault. Right, kids?
Alfred: Right, kids?
Kids: (grumbling) Yeah, right
Dick: (clappng hands and grinning) Cheer up, team, he's only a dog! Now, about a nice anti-crime patrol to get our minds off of him?
Kids: (collectively) OK, Dad, I guess.
Kory: (perkily) That sounds like a great idea, honey! All right, now, the Scarecrow's still on the loose, so everyone line up for your dose of Grandpa's new fear-gas antidote!
Dick produces a small spray bottle from his utility belt and sprays each child in turn. When he gets to Miranda, she chokes up and begins sneezing again.
Miranda: Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo!
Alexandra: Hey! That anti-fear-gath thpray ith making Firewing thneeze!
Ryan: Hasn't Gramps been spraying Ace with that stuff, before patrol?
Dick: That's right! Ever since the Scarecrow escaped. That's every night this week!
Kory: Then it isn't Ace she's allergic to at all, or Grandpa! It's the new fear-gas antidote!
Dick, Kory and the kids Brainstorm's Corner, each trying to be the first to the clock door, all yelling, "Grandpa Bruce! Wait!! Waaaait!!!!" Alfred tries in vain to restore order by whistling through his fingers. Meanwhile, down in the Batcave, Grandpa levels the rifle barrel at Ace's skull
Note: This is a very special ratings-grabbing episode, with two alternate endings:1) a heart-warming finale where the kids reach Grandpa just seconds before he squeezes the trigger or 2) a grimmer, more life's- lessons-teaching tale where they arrive too late. Children will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite via a 1-900-number. The next episode will open either with Ace happily chasing a ball in the backyard, or a more somber shot of his doghouse draped in black crepe, depending on the outcome of the poll.
A Hero for Mikey
The doorbell rings and Alfred escorts Superman into the Manor parlor, where Bruce and Michael are waiting.
Michael: Wowie! It's sure great to meet you, Mr. Superman! Did you really know the Joker?
Superman: (removing his eyeglasses) I sure did, Mikey. So did your grandfather. But I'm afraid the Joker wasn't a hero to us.
Michael: He wasn't?
Superman: No. You see, Mikey, the Joker killed my wife.
Michael: (stunned) He did? Oh, no, I can't believe that
Batman: Superman is telling you the truth, Michael. And that's not all. You see, long before you were born, you had an uncle, named Jason
Later that night, after a nightmare involving himself, a 40-foot crowbar, and a lot of blood and skull fragments. a pajama-clad Michael slips into the study, where his parents and grandfather are sitting. Sheepishly, he sets his green wig and crowbar down on the table.
Michael: You can get rid of these, Dad. I never want to see another crowbar again. Ever.
Dick: (smiles knowingly) That talk with Gramps and Superman really got through to you, eh, son?
Michael: Did it ever!
Dick: I hope you've learned something from this, Mike.
Michael: I did, believe me. (brightens) in fact, I've got a new hero now!
Kory: That's wonderful, dear! Who?
Michael: That guy who killed the Joker! Magog!
Dick and Kory exchange horrified glances.
Dick: Magog? Did you say Magog?
Michael: Yep! Can Matt take me to Kansas tomorrow? Please?
Kory: Whatever for, hon?
Michael: I want to make myself a real Magog helmet, and there are lots of old dead cow skulls lying around there, right?
Dick: Well, yes, son, but
Michael: Great! Then all I'll need is some gold spray-paint! Thanks Mom! Thanks Dad! 'Night, Gramps! You'll have to invite Mr. Superman over soon so I can show him!
Michael scampers off, leaving Dick and Kory staring at each other.
Kory: (dismayed) Oh, Dick!
Bruce: (turning back to his newspaper and snorting) You two couldn't stop with five kids, could you? And you had to pick that one to name after me!
The Batty Bastards?
Matthew: (slumped at Batcave computer) I can't believe it, I just can't believe it.
Amanda: It's all there in Dad's records. Apparently mom did marry some Tamaran guy as part of a peace settlement.
Matthew: But he was supposed to be dead! If he isn't, Mom and Dad aren't really married!
Amanda: Does it really matter, as long as they love each other?
Matthew: It matters to me! Hey, wait a second what'd that guy say his name was?
Amanda: Hmmmm Ryand'r, I think
Matthew: Wasn't Mom's brother named Ryand'r?
Amanda: Hey, you're right that's who Ryan was named after! But wait that means--
Matthew: --either Mom married her own brother--
Amanda: --which she would never do! That's just . icky!
Matthew: --or we have an imposter upstairs! (scrolling through computer files) Look, right here! It says Mom's first husband's name was Karras!
Amanda: Ooooooh, that creep! Let's go get him!
Amanda, Dick and Kory are in the Manor family room
Amanda: You're being unfair! You let Matthew take that creepy little slut Tula to the pizza place!
Kory: Amanda, your father just wants what's best for you!
Amanda: (sobbing in her mother's arms) But Ibn's just the dreamiest, and Dad won't let me go steady with him just because he beat Matt out for football captain!
Dick: Amanda, that's not true! You don't know the full story here!
Amanda: I know all about his grandfather kidnapping you and trying to take over the world! Is that why I can't go out with him? But, Dad, that was years ago! None of that was Ibn's fault!
Dick: No, Amanda, that has nothing to with it! I don't want you going steady with Ibn al Xu'ffasch because he's your uncle.! Now, no more arguments, young lady, or you're grounded!
Making the Grade
Ryan sprawls on his twin bed, reading a book. There is a knock on the door, and Dick enters.
Dick: Son, I want to have a little chat with you, man-to-man.
Ryan: (sitting up) Sure, Dad.
Dick: Ryan, I'm a bit disturbed by what Seora Lopez told me this afternoon. She said she's been keeping you after school every day this week, for some extra help.
Ryan: That's right, Dad. What's wrong?
Dick: Son, be honest with me. Do you think Seora Lopez is pretty?
Ryan (shrugs) She's OK, I guess. Can I go now? Grandpa said he was going to show me how to fingerprint DNA and-
Dick: Hold on there a second. Seora Lopez wanted me to make a few things clear to you.
Ryan: I didn't know you spoke Spanish, Dad.
Dick: I don't, Ryan. This is a very different language we're dealing with, here, I'm afraid. The language of love.
Ryan: You want me to transfer into French?
Dick: No! (Pause, as Dick shifts uncomfortably.) Look, Ryan, at your age, it's perfectly normal for you to be experiencing certain new feelings. Especially towards women. Now, it's nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn't mean you can act on everything you feel.
Ryan: What do you mean, Dad?
Dick: Ry, Seora Lopez told me you tried to kiss her in the classroom.
Ryan (wincing) She told you that, huh?
Dick: You don't have to be embarrassed; I understand what it was like for you. An attractive, exciting young teacher, singling you out for special attention. It's perfectly natural that you would
Ryan: Young and attractive? Dad, Seora Lopez is 75 years old and has big hairy warts on her chin!
Dick: 75? You have a crush on a 75-year-old woman?
Ryan: Crush? I can't stand the lady!
Dick: So why'd you try to kiss her?
Ryan: Well, I'm flunking Spanish! I figured if I kissed her, maybe I'd absorb all her language knowledge! The way Mom did when she first met you ! Then I'd have an easy A, right? (Pause) So, can I go help Grandpa now?
Dick: (dazed) Sure, son. Go on. (As Ryan bounds out, Dick rubs his temples and eyes wearily, then heads for his own bedroom.) KORY! Where's the aspirin?
Her Sister's Keeper
Firewing: All I hear all day long is how beautiful Nightstar is . how many criminal Nightstar's captured how many disasters Nightstar's averted! It's just not fair!!! Nightstar, Nightstar, NIGHTSTAR!!!! (Flies up the Manor stairs in tears, purple flight trail streaming behind her.)
Nightstar: (Looking at her parents sorrowfully) If I thought it would help, I'd happily set loose all the criminals I've captured.
Dick: That's very sweet of you, Amanda, but that isn't going to solve the problem.
Kory: I'm afraid this is something your sister's going to have to work out for herself.
The Starwing Six
Kory enters the kitchen to find the five kids (minus Ryan) sitting around the kitchen table, counting small folded pieces of notebook paper.
Matthew: Keep Firenight keep Firenight dump Firenight
Kory: What's up, kids?
Miranda: We're trying to decide whether to let Ryan stay on the team, Mom.
Kory: He still hasn't gotten control of his powers back, has he?
Amanda: We know it's not his fault, but he's blowing up everything in his path! He's going to ruin everything!
Michael: I don't care! He's our brother! The whole team was his idea in the first place, so I say he stays on, no matter what! Even if he does ruin everything.
Alexandra: What thould we do, Mommy?
Kory: I can't make this decision for you, kids. I know what the team means to you, and catching evildoers and saving the planet is important work. But other things can be just as important. Like people's feelings. (Smiles softly and exits)
Amanda: So, do we vote again?
Matt: What's the point? We can't be an effective superteam if Firenight just goes around randomly blowing things up. (Pause) Or can we? I got it! I GOT it! (He pulls off his orange and brown polyester shirt, revealing his Nightfire costume underneath, and soars off, leaving his bewildered siblings behind.)
Later, the kids are all out on the street, in full costume, except Ryan, who stands in the middle wearing Damage's old costume.
Ryan: I don't get it. You say this outfit belonged to a guy named Damage?
Matt: Yep. I looked it up in Dad's old files. He blew things up, just like you do. But they let him be a Titan. Twice! Now, let's try it. OK, gang, pretend Vandal Savage's in that building over there! All right, Firenight, let 'er rip!
He shoves his brother in the shoulder, and Ryan careens over to the building, which explodes into smithereens on impact. When the smoke clears, Ryan is sitting amongst the wreckage, stunned but unhurt. A collective shout of delight from the rest of the kids.
Matt: Perfect! Now we move in to pick up the pieces!
Amanda: That was dreamy, Firenight! Just dreamy!
Miranda: I hope he never gets back to normal!
Michael: Yeah! How long before I hit puberty?
Alexandra: Yay! The Thtarwing Thix is back in buthineth!
A Resurrection for Alfred
One evening in the Wayne Manor study, Alfred and Bruce are having a quiet conversation.
Alfred: Sir, long ago I vowed to continue serving you and your family for as long as I was able. However, given that my eightieth birthday is fast approaching, and that I've recently been diagnosed with MacGregor's disease
Bruce: I understand, Alfred. If you'd like to retire, just say the word. You'll always have a home here with us, old friend.
Alfred: Yes, Master Bruce, about that. You see, I've recently been pondering spending my last remaining years in a place a bit more Peaceful?
Bruce: You mean, away from the kids?
Alfred: I wouldn't have put it so bluntly, sir, but yes. As far away as possible.
Bruce: Say no more. I'll arrange for a private villa in the South of France. Dick's friend Mr. Harper knows a few scantly clad nurses who I'm sure could use a job. You be well cared for there, for the rest of your life.
Alfred: That would be delightful, sir. Thank you.
Bruce: No, Alfred, thank you. I'll break the news to Dick, Kory and the kids, but trust me, they're going to throw you the biggest farewell birthday bash this house has ever seen!
Alfred: I assume you will grant me the privilege of making the preparations, and all of the clean-up, one last time?
Bruce: You'd better believe it, Alfred!
Fortunately, the two littlest Graysons are listening from the library balcony.
Alexandra: Oh, no! We can't let Alfred retire and move to Franth!
Michael: I'll say! I don't want to eat Grandpa's cooking!
Alexandra: Mikey, what thall we do?
Michael: We'd better tell the others, and fast!
Later, the kids assemble in the boys' bedroom.
Matthew: So, we're agreed? We have to keep Alfred here, no matter what?
Amanda: Of course, Matt, but how do we stop him?
Alexandra: Ethpethially when he hath that awful fatal ditheathe!
Matthew: (thinks) Hmmm OK, what if we got Mom and Dad to make this party into a carnival instead?
Miranda: How will that help, Matt?
Matthew: Because 'Manda here is going to call Uncle Ibn, and get him to send us a big vat of those Lazarus Pit chemicals!
Amanda: Why me, Matt?
Matthew: 'Manda, I think it's obvious why Uncle Ibn likes you best!
Amanda: (Shooting her brother an annoyed look) All right, but don't tell Dad!
On the day of the carnival, the backyard is decked out with balloons, streamers and "Good-bye Alfred" banners. The five grinning kids, (minus Matthew) drag a protesting Alfred towards the dunking booth they've set up.
Alfred: Now, children, are you sure this is safe?
Ryan: Sure, Alfred. That smoke and the flames are just some special effects I learned about in science class. Perfectly harmless.
Alfred: I've heard about your science projects, Master Ryan.
Amanda: Oh, get in, Alfred, it'll be fun! Are you ready, Matt?
Matthew: (Picking up baseball and eyeing the target with a gleam in his eye.) Ready, 'Manda! Everybody, stand back!
The five kids don safety goggles and dive for cover as the ball strikes its mark and Alfred plummets into the fuming mixture..
Sometime later, a rather woozy Alfred lies on a lounge chair, as the family physician, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, takes his vitals.
Dr. Thompkins: (Folding her blood pressure cuff and replacing it in her black bag) Well, I'm not sure I understand it, but somehow that dunking booth de-aged you, by about 30 years! And you're completely cured of the MacGregor's disease, so I'd say you have a long life ahead of you!
Kids: (collectively) Yaaaaay!
Alfred: But my retirement? The South of France? The Nurses?
Miranda: You said you'd stay and work here "for as long as you were able," Alfred! Those were your exact words! Right Grandpa?
Bruce: She's got you there, Alfred. I'll go cancel your plane ticket. (Exits)
Alfred (Sitting up) But Master Bruce Doctor, are you sure I'm entirely able?
Dr. Thompkins: Perfectly good for the next 30 years or so, I'd say.
Alfred: (sits back, dazed) Thirty more years Thirty more years of this
Dr. Thompkins: Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if you made it for forty!
Alexandra: Oh, Alfred, thath fantathic newth! You'll thill be here when all uth kidth move back in to Thately Wayne Manor with our children!
Kids: (collectively) Yaaaay!!! (They exchange high fives and starbolt blasts in celebration.)
Ryan: So, Alfred, what's for dinner?
Amanda: And can you hem my new dress? I've got a date tonight and I what Robert to see my whole thigh!
Alfred: (Burying face in hands) Doctor, before you leave, could you write me one small prescription?
Dr. Thompkins: Why, Alfred? What do you need?
Alfred: Just a small dose of cyanide!
A Midsummer's Miracle
Alexandra: Oh, pleathe, Mr. Highfather, thir You gotta help my Mommy, you jutht gotta! Everyone will be tho dithappointed if Mommy can't thoot tharbolts for the thummer tholthith thelbration!
Highfather (in booming voice): Well, I don't know, little girl.
Alexandra: Pleathe. I'll do anything
Nobody Nose the Troubles I've Seen
Amanda (excitedly): Oh, wow, Dad. Thanks. You're just the coolest.
Dick (sternly): Well, it's only for the one night, Amanda. Just remember, Ibn is still your uncle! And you still have your 10 o'clock curfew.
Amanda (flipping her hair over her shoulder): I know, Dad. I know. But this will be so outta-sight. I just have to phone Avia to tell her. And decide on what dress to wear. And how to do my hair. And what
Kory (smiling softly): You do that, dear.
As Amanda flies up the stairs, Kory gently pats a worried-looking Dick on the shoulder. Later that night, Dick and Kory climb into their king-sized bed, Dick wearing a pair of light blue men's pajamas, Kory in a floaty gold chiffon nightgown. Dick keeps brooding over his decision.
Dick: It will be fine. Won't it?
Kory: Of course it will, dear. You'll feel much better in the morning.
Dick: You're right. Night, sweetheart
After a brief kiss, they turn out their respective lights. Five seconds later, Dick sits up and turns his light back on. Opening her eyes, Kory does the same and leans back into bed.
Dick: But what if he tries something with her? She seems to be quite taken with him.
Kory: Amanda's a smart girl, Dick. She knows how to take care of herself.
Dick: Yes, you're right. And he seems to be the responsible type. It will be fine.
Kory: Of course it will, dear. And just remember, they're not blood relatives.
After another brief kiss, they then both turn off their lights. This time, Kory snuggles her head down on Dick's shoulder. Ten seconds later, Dick reaches over and turns his light back on, dislodging Kory's head. She sighs frustratedly but does the same with her light.
Dick: Still, he is Ra's grandson. If he's anything like his grandfather and mother, he can be very charismatic. And if he wants something, he'll probably won't stop until he gets it.
Kory: He's also Bruce's son. Maybe he's inherited a sense of honor along with the rest of his "talents".
Dick: Of course. He wouldn't try anything. Not only would he have to worry about what I would do to him, but also what Bruce would.
Kory: Of course, dear. Plus, I don't think I would be very happy with him myself. Now, can we finally go to sleep?
Dick: Sleep? You sure you want to sleep after all of this?
Kory: Why? Got any other suggestions?
With that, Dick pulls the covers up over the both of them. However, almost simultaneously, a knock comes on their bedrooms door. This time, both of them throw frustrated glances to the ceiling.
Dick: This better be good. Come in!
The door opens and Alexandra appears in the doorway.
Alexandra: Mommy? Daddy? I have a question.
Kory beckons to the little girl, who flies over and sits on the bed, between them.
Kory: What is it sweetheart?
Alexandra: Why don't you like Uncle Ibn?
Dick and Kory exchange looks.
Dick: It's not that we don't like Uncle Ibn, Alex. We just don't know him that well. And we don't think Amanda does either.
Alexandra: Oh, so you think thomeone thould get to know thomeone elthe well before they go out with them?
Kory: Well, yes. To some extent, sweetheart.
Alexandra: Ethpethially if they might really like each other?
Dick: That's it.
Alexandra: Then how come you didn't?
Alexandra: Uncle Gar thaid
Kory sees the dark red flush starting to cover her husband's cheeks.
Kory: Uncle Garfield said what, honey?
Alexandra: Uncle Gar thaid that you and Daddy were "thwapping thpit" practically ath thoon ath you met.
Dick rolled his eyes heavenward. Kory just gives them both an understanding look. But Alexandra just continues.
Alexandra: Mommy, what'th "thwapping thpit" anyway? Uncle Gar talked like it wath really interethting, but it thounds pretty grothe to me.
Later that week, two days before the big dance, in the Manor parlor, Ryan tosses off a starbolt to Michael, who ducks. The bolt catches Amanda right in the face as she enters the room.
Michael: Oh, man, Ryan, are you gonna get it! You know what Mom always says: Never throw 'bolts in the house!
After a visit from Dr. Thompkins, a bruised and battered Amanda is nearly inconsolable. Kory tries to comfort her in the girls' bedroom.
Amanda: Look at me. He'll never want to be seen with me at the dance now!
Kory: That's not true, dear. If he's as groovy as you say he is, he'll understand.
Amanda (looking in her mirror) : No, he won't! Who wants to be seen with the ugliest girl in school? I'm ugly ugly UGLY!!!
Dick: (entering through front door) Hi, honey, I'm home!
Kory: (sadly) Hi, honey.
Dick: What's wrong?
Kory: I got this subspace communication from my father today.
Dick: Uh-oh. Bad news? Komand'r again?
Kory: No, worse (hands him printout)
Dick: (reading) Hmmm, Citadel invading Omega Men defeated oh, he says his starship fleet's just about destroyed Sorry to hear that, honey. I wish there was something we could do.
Kory: Well, actually, dear, I was thinking
Dick: Uh-oh, you've got that look in your eye
Kory: You have diplomatic experience from all that time in South Africa. Couldn't you negotiate a peace treaty?
Dick: Me? But honey, the Vegan star system's awfully far away!
Kory: Please, Dick? For me?
Dick. (muses a moment) Well, why not! We'll take the kids and make a family vacation out of it!
Kory: (throwing her arms around him) Oh, Dick! Thank you!
Dick: Kids! Alfred!
Kids: (All appearing from various doorways) What is it, Dad?
Dick: Pack your suitcases, gang! We're all going to Tamaran!
The family and Alfred arrive at the palace, where they are greeted
Myand'r: (after making introductions) So, Tarras here will be glad to show the kids around the city, while we go over the plans for the peace talks. Right, Tarras?
Tarras (gazing at Amanda) Riiight, your Majesty
Kory: That would be lovely, Dad
Amanda: Right, Grandfather . that would be just dreamy
Dick: (snatching Kory's arm and whispering) Wait a minute That's Karras's son? He had a child with another woman while he was married to you?
Kory: It was a marriage of state, dear, I told you that's how it's done on Tamaran.
Matt: You mean, it's OK to have sex without being married here? I like this planet!,
Amanda: (waking up from a daze where she was imagining fireworks) What? Did you say something, Matt?
Dick: No, he didn't, young lady! (Glares at Tarras then whispers to Kory) I liked it better when she was dating her uncle!
While touring the city, Matt becomes interested in an athletic competition sponsored by the Warlords of Okaara, and decides to enter. Tarras a Amanda's infatuation increases, and they soon head off together, leaving the four younger siblings alone in the marketplace. Miranda and Ryan go off alone to buy some souvenirs for friends, while the littlest two are hungry and go in search of a snack. They agree to meet back at the palace for lunch.
While buying a holographic poster of the Tamaran monkey-god, Gleek, Miranda learns of the theft of the statue from the temple of X'hal, and the local superstition that the entire planet will have bad luck unless the statue is returned. She and Ryan decide to search for it, hoping to prove themselves as competent crimefighters, like their older siblings.
The youngest kids are approached by an old Tamaran woman, who claims she has a special item for sale. They buy a small monkey statue from her, but are rather ineffective bargainers, so they wind up giving her all their money. As they walk away, the "old woman" slips off her shawl and reveals herself to be secretly Komand'r, Kory's villainess sister and deposed ruler of the planet.
Back at the palace, the family meets for lunch and tells of their day's adventures. Matt is scheduled to fight an Okaaran warlord that afternoon, while Miranda excitedly shows off her poster and talks her dad into giving her one of the tubes he's carrying the peace treaties in. Amanda is excited about her date with Tarras that night. The little kids, having been cautioned not to spend all their allowance at once, decide to tell the family about the monkey statue later and keep it hidden in Michael's backpack.
That afternoon, disasters start happening. Matt's injured in the fight, and Amanda's date goes sour, as she experiences a bad case of food poisoning from roast slaarck and her flight power kicks out, leaving her to plunge several hundred feet into the Seven Waterfalls. While searching for the lost statue, Ryan and Miranda get lost in the wilderness and a Tamaran monkey-bird swoops down and snatches the poster tube away. Then, at the negotiations, Dick unfurls his peace treaty, only to discover that the two poster tubes have been mixed up, as a 3-D Gleek merrily cavorts across the table.
Citadellian delegate: Infidel! You dare to mock us with evil Tamaran monkey-demon, Earthling?
Dick: Sir, I'm terribly sorry about this, but I assure you there's an explanation--
Citadellian: Silence, blasphemer! We launch full scale invasion at once! Death to Tamaran!
All Citadellians: (chanting) Death to Tamaran! Death to Tamaran!
Dick: Please, if you'll give me just a little time to find my kids, I'm sure we can straighten this whole thing out.
Citadellian: Very well! You have one hour, Earthling! But just to make sure you will return
(claps hands and signals to guards)
Dick: Never! Let them go!
Kory: It's all right, Dick. Just find the kids and the treaty!
Dick: But, hon--
Kory: We'll be fine! But you have to hurry; the future of my planet is at stake here!
Outside, Dick swiftly assembles his kids, and is appalled when he finds out Miranda has lost the poster tube. He sends them out in groups of two, with orders to "Find that monkey-bird!" Meanwhile, Kory and Alfred are locked in a cell and overhear Komand'r conspiring with the Tamaran enemies. The cell,though equipped with bars resistant to Kory's starbolt, fortuitously has a key hanging on a nail at the end of a long hallway.
Alfred: Miss Kory, if I may be so bold as to ask, what do you think your sister intends to do with us?
Kory: Well, if we're lucky, she's conspiring with the Gordanians to sell us into slavery.
Alfred (looking pale) I see. And if we're unlucky?
Kory: The she's conspiring with the Psions to sell us as experimental subjects. (concentrating her firepower and blasting the key off its hook) There! Got it! Alfred, take your jacket off! (Begins stripping off her clothes)
Alfred: (aghast) Miss Kory!
Kory: Hurry, Alfred! There isn't much time!
Alfred (red-faced and stammering) Miss Kory, I realize our situation looks dire, and yes, I have always found you an attractive woman. I am flattered that you would consider me a suitable candidate for a "final fling," as it were, but on the slim chance that we might be rescued, I would find it hard to look Master Dick in the face if I succumbed to the--
Kory: Alfred! I need your jacket and shirt to make a lasso to snag that key!
Kory: Of course! What did you think I wanted?
With a rope made of Kory's costume, and Alfred's jacket, shirt, tie and pants, tied end-to-end, they get the key, free themselves and capture Komand'r in the nick of time. Unfortunately for Alfred, there's no time to retrieve their clothes, and a Kory flies Alfred back to the palace in his underwear.
The youngest two kids locate the monkey-bird perched outside the temple of X'hal. Unable to capture it, they finally trade their monkey statue for the poster tube, and fly back to the city with it. The monkey-bird climbs into the temple and replaces the statue, appeasing X'hal.
Dick arrives back that the palace that the same time as Kory and Alfred. He has the treaty, and with Komand'r's treachery exposed, Dick is able to negotiate a settlement under very favorable terms. In gratitude, the Tamarans hold the Sacred Feast of the Vowel Removal, and the kids, Dick and Alfred are all given proper Tamaran names.
In the final scene, the family arrives back at Wayne Manor.
Kids: Grandpa! We're home!
Bruce: Hi, gang, good to have you back!
Alfred: Believe me, Master Bruce, it's good to be back!
Bruce: So, Alfred, how was Tamaran?
Michael: You can't call him that, Grandpa! He's "Alfr'd" now!
Alfred: Long story, sir. And if I may make a suggestion, might our next family vacation be held someplace a bit safer? Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, New Genesis, perhaps?
Bruce: Now, now, Alfred, a little exposure to a different culture is good for everyone.
Alfred: Sir, I had quite enough "exposure" on this trip, thank you!
FUTURE SERIES PLANSNow, I know this is extremely unlikely to happen, but if, after six or eight seasons, we run out of ideas, a new character can be easily introduced.
Dick enters the manor front door, accompanied by a small, nerdish, red-haired boy in glasses, who carries a suitcase.
Dick: Kids, your Uncle Tim called me last week and said he had to go on a sudden top-secret mission for the CIA. Your mother and I talked it over, and decided it would be best if his son stayed with us while his father's away. So meet your cousin, Oliver Drake!
The introduction of this character, I hope, will lead to a series of new, even funnier adventures as the Starwing Six becomes the Starwing Seven, and the non-athletic, non-powered Cousin Oliver (voice suggestion: Nancy Cartwright of The Simpsons) is maimed weekly in his new identity of "Cousin Cannon Fodder Lad."
I hope you will give this proposal careful consideration and I look forward to working closely with some talented professionals in the field, assuming you can find some, to make it a reality. Please send my contract to me as soon as possible, so I can hire a agent to look it over.
April J. Ester
All characters are DC Comics
The Brady Bunch is © 1970s by Sherwood Schwartz
This columnis © 1999 Marilee Stephens and Louise Freeman Davis
Artwork is © 1999 by Bob Riley