Friday, January 23, 2004

Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra
Beat sheet for 1st issue of the 2nd story Arc
Bill Jemas (February 24, 2003)

Scene 1

Open with a college couple, nice-looking kids, especially her, all blonde and glandy.
He is just a regular guy, a nice person, and they look anything like Matt and Elektra.

In a modern, clean Laundromat, the couple happily chits, chats and washes their clothes.
Until a two big punks come in with their boom box and cigarettes

The guy lies low, but the girl gets angry both at the punks for stinking up everybodyís laundry and at her boyfriend for not doing something. The guy lies low, but the girl reprimands the big nasty guys for smoking right in between two no smoking signs.

We get to watch urban and suburban worlds collide.

The punks are just doing the kind of stuff that urban punks do in public places. Just because they can.

The girl is just doing what suburban girls do, insisting, demanding that people follow the rules. What the girl doesnít get (doesnít want to get) sheís not in Kansas any more and the rules donít apply where there is nobody to enforce them. This ainít no play date, no nannies nearby; this ainít her school, no teachers, no principal.

All she has to back up her big mouth is her little boyfriend.

Boyfriend knows heíll get his ass kicked if things donít cool down. And, the more he tries to be cool, the more everybody heats up. He says ìquiet downî Judy; she gets shrill. He says ìcome onî guys; they know heís scared.

No need over dramatize or over explain. This is life on earth; every couple has been through this. Girls start fights that their boyfriends have duck out of or finish.

Donít overdo the bad guys, they were stuck doing laundry on a sunny Saturday afternoon, now they are having some fun. Now they are thinking, ëthank you godí for sending these white kids to for us to fuck around with.

But one thing does lead to another itís clear that the couple has three choices (a) complete humiliation or (b) butt whipping (c) all of the above.

But just as it looks like (c) is the answer, the biggest punk looks down to see a nasty drippy gray mop head pointed right at his chest. He looks up to see Elektra at the other end.

He says ëgrossí and pushes the mop away. It comes right back.

He grabs it, saying ëcut the shití. She spins it 360 vertically, breaks his grip, and back goes the mop head, right in his face.

He says, Electra, you dumb bitch keep your Kung Fu crap out of my area.

Elektra says, Jamul, you big dork, this is my area, you start a fight in my laundry, Iím going to finish it.

He says they started it.

They eyeball the terrified couple cowering in the corner. They both laugh.

Tight on Elektraís big smile.

Scene 2

Same shot of Elektra, then pull back to see sheís walking out of the her tough neighborhood and into the Columbia campus.

Matt M. is waiting for her on the steps of his dorm building. Heís in workout gear, but has a couple of big brail books and is engrossed in one.

Please do not drop hints about any history between the two. Treat this like two friends meeting up to go to the gym to work out, you know, ìHey, Elektra, your late.î ìSorry Matt, I had to mop up at the laundry. (That name Elektra Nachios does sound like a Mexican snack food, Matt should call her Lex or Elly or something).

Mattís carries those big old books to the gym with him.

Scene 3

State-of-the-art athletic facility with separate rooms for gymnastics, fencing, weights aerobics, Olympic pool etc.

Matt and Elektra, (theyíve been wearing workout clothes all along) have donned headgear and gloves and do some Martial arts sparing on mats in a corner of the huge basketball court. Pickup hoops and volleyball games go on in other areas of the gym floor.

This all starts slowly with Matt and Elektra doing boring/mechanical sparring. Then she starts busting his chops, saying there is no such thing as pre-law:

Pre-Med students take courses that are REQUIRED for Medical school.
Law schools donít have requirements; you can study ballet and go to law school.

During this scene, the sparring gets out of hand and their fight spills all over the facility. Every time Elly makes a point, she also throws a punch or a kick. When Matt argues back, (like saying, ìthere are courses you can take to better prepare for Law Schoolî), heís shown blocking a blow.

As the fight spills off the mat and onto the basketball court, Elly points out that you are either pre-med or no med, itís binary and says ìpre-law is something you brag about to impress girls, and whips a ball at him.

Again, only blocking, Matt says, ìyou are my girlfriend, you butthead and it doesnít impress you at all.

ìOKî, she says as she smashes a foot to his stomach, OK, ìthen to impress everybody except me, so you donít have to walk around looking like a liberal arts slacker. Matt keeps blocking and asking her to cut him some slack. Elly keeps pushing, ìyou just canít have people at you saying ëlook at blind Matt Murdock. He must figure heís gonna slide through life on his disability.î

Eric, please toss a couple of gags - she pulls down his gym shorts in front of a dance team practice, and a dancer earnestly observes, ìHe compensates for his blindness in other waysî.

By this time, they are bouncing off the walls and around the gymnasts in the gymnastics equipment area, and Matt has started to blast back. Finally, they stop to catch their breath and, Elly puts her arm around him, gives him a peck on the cheek and says, ìThat was great. I have to get you really pissed off to get a good fight out of you Mathew, you always hold back.î

They take a break. Heís gulping Gatorade; sheís sipping Poland Spring as they peel off couple of layers of sweats. She gets down to her sports bra. Matt says he has to hold back to keep from injuring her. Elly says the whole point is to training for a real fight where the injuries would be far more serious. Then Elly canís help but let on that she had been taunting him to get him angry to get him to let loose ñ clearly proud of herself, because it worked.

Matt says he understands, he loves her anyway and wishes he could see her now, ìI bet you are beautiful when youíre madî Elly, puzzled says, ìIím not angryî. Matt grins, splashes Gatorade on her hair and asks, ìHow about now?î and dumps her on her butt.

She gets up swinging and he goes back on the defensive. We are going to take the reader through the same cycle of Elly getting Matt angry enough to let loose.

Playing dumb, but not obviously dumb, Elektra explains that she knows all about lawyers because she dated one when she was working as a paralegal last summer. One weekend during document production, she showed up ìdressed pretty much like I am nowî. She was 17 and he is 45, but he respected her and listened to her opinions. His wife is a bitch and he needed someone who could really understand him.

Mattís buys this crap and gets pissed off enough to start fighting again.

Scene 4

Showered, dressed and walking back into the neighborhood. Elektra confesses the affair part of the story was BS, but that she really did work as a paralegal for a small husband and wife firm who needed help on their Legal Aid cases.

The husband is a salt-of-the-earth, TV-dad kinda guy, and the wife is a ìspitfire.î

ìSpitfireî Matt notices that sometimes Elly talks like a 40 year old. She recalls that when her mom died, she started hurrying up to grow up. They kiss.

Elly reveals that sheís had thinking about becoming a lawyer too, and the wife told her that pre-law courses were all bull.

They decide to go visit the little law office.

In a story pitch, it is a good idea to explain the springboard, character bios, the high concept, and character profiles AFTER the story beats.


All of this has been set up for Matt and Elektra to strike up a relationship with the couple and to get involved with the Legal Aid practice.

The husband is trying to run a business. Time is money and he will invest no time on a case than he can make back. The wife gets her blood boiling when she sees and injustice and wants to take the bad guys to the carpet.

The kids intern in the law office and are assigned to factual investigation of cases. This makes the husband happy (because they are cheap) and the wife happy (because they will help take on more bad guys). Every issue, they will run into a problem that the legal system canít handle.

Matt and Elly dig through files and talk to witnesses. They juggle schoolwork, legal work, and each otherís private parts.

Daredevil and Elektra take the law into there own hands - when the legal system has washed its hands of an injustice.

These are small, neighborhood legal aid issues. Please donít deal with corporate takeovers of small businesses or huge drug operations. Donít do anything beyond the comprehension/interest of a bright teenager. We want small story arcs, one to three issues long that can be collected into 6 book trades.

High Concept

The high concept (enlightened vigilante justice) is not unique to Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra. What is unique, and hopefully interesting, is how we can use these characters to turn stereotypes upside down.

Women do not believe in violence ñ youíve seen the movies - they call the police, they run, they hide. Men fight, women negotiate.

But Elektra, Elektra is a city girl, yea she goes to Columbia, but she was raised in Harlem in and around Puerto Rican and Black city girls. She knows how to scrap, she believes in it. Elektra looks to violence as the first solution for every problem. Moreover, and more importantly she flat-out enjoys fighting the process of fighting and will happily take 10 punches to land one good one. Do not try to dig deep with this character. Just fill her pockets with a couple of cans of ass whip and turn her loose.

Frankly, none of our white, upper-class comic-book writers has been able to handle Elektra. She is a bad ass, but our writers want to turn her into a ballet teacher.

Handicapped people are supposed to be politically correct. They rely on the government to provide wheelchair access and good parking spaces. They need the legal system to protect them. But Matt, Matt is the Daredevil; his fists were forged in hot Hellís Kitchen summers. He knows how to fight to defend himself. He is prepared to fight to defend and avenge others.

Ultimate Daredevil/Elektra is not about scrutinizing or evolving these characters. Just establish them as fast as you can and send them out into real world situations.

Hi-jinks to follow.

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