Thursday, September 22, 2011


Part Six of Six

What I’m doing in this week’s blogs is bringing you a page-by-page
look at an Ant-Man story I wrote for The Amazing Spider-Man Annual
#24 [Marvel; 1990].  I’ll be showing you my index card breakdowns
for the story, my plot, my script, and my placement of the script
copy on reduced photocopies of Steve Ditko’s pencils for the tale.
This story is © 1990 Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. and is being
presented here for educational purposes.

The index cards were a guide to help me stay within the five pages
I had been allotted for this story.  As you’ll see, I ran a couple
panels over.  Which was not a major concern.  I course corrected as
I wrote the finished plot.

Above is the published fifth and final page of this Ant-Man story
and below is my index card breakdown for that page:

In case my tiny printing on this scan is difficult to read clearly,
here’s what I wrote:


Scarlet Beetle slashes Ant-Man’s chest

Wounded Ant-Man uses helmet

Insects in chaos

Tunnel starts to collapse

Ant-Man frantically digging his way out

Ant-Man passes out

Scott Lang wakes up


Scott figures he might as well pack

Scott sees ripped costume

From the plot that was sent to editor Jim Salicrup and then Ditko,
here’s what I wrote for this final page:

PAGE FIVE: The chamber starts to collapse around a screaming Beetle
as he is smothered by the confused and panicked bugs.

Ant-Man is digging his way from the collapsed chamber.  He is
frantic. There isn’t much air left.

Ant-Man passes out.  We can’t tell here if he dug his way out or
not. It’s the suspense that gets me.

Cut to Scott Land waking up with a start in his dark bedroom.  He
hasn’t had a nightmare like that since he was a kid.  He’s glad no
one else is around.  He’d never live it down.

Scott gets out of bed.  He might as well finish packing.  Not much
chance of getting a good night’s sleep now.

Scott turns on the bedroom light and looks surprised.  He has on
his Ant-Man costume and it’s ripped where the Beetle had slashed
him.  But if it wasn’t a dream...

Extreme down shot of a dark corner of Scott’s bedroom.  There is a
glow visible.  It’s the same kind of glow that surrounded the
Scarlet Beetle. Boo!

With apologies for the quality of the scan, here’s Ditko’s pencils
and my copy placements:

And here’s the script for that page:

Rereading this story and script package for the first time in many
years, I think it turned out pretty good.  But I can’t believe that
I was able to type “confused and panicked bugs” without giggling.

About the only thing I would change is to have the story lettered
the same way those great “shock ending” stories were lettered back
in the 1960s.  Alas, neither Art Simek or Sam Rosen were still with
us in 1989.

I hope you enjoyed this series.  Come back tomorrow and I’ll give
you a quick update on this and that before heading to the Detroit

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Hey, Tony!

    How WERE those "shock ending" stories lettered back in the 60's? I really wish I had known what you wanted. I received no "special instructions, so I treated it like a normal job. I would have been very happy to try and accommodate you. I know it shouldn't bother me so many years later but I can't help it. Deeeeeep breath. =phew= I'm okay, now.... for a minute there I was transported back two decades. There I was sitting there at my drawing board lettering your story. It may even have been a Saturday night.... gee, I could have been out having a good time! I was still young then! I made my bed and now I have to sleep in it. But it ain't so bad....except for these damn ANTS!

  2. Rick...have always loved your lettering. I had a conversation with Jim about having someone ape the old Art Simek or Sam Rosen style. Back then, there was one guy - Don Simpson, I think - who was great at doing those old styles. But the failure of communication lies on Jim and myself, neither of whom communicated this to you. But, the important thing is, I love your lettering.