Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ideas I'll Never Get To: The Globe

About ten years ago I wrote a proposal for a four-issue comic book series in which the ghost of Christopher Marlowe offers Shakespeare a chance to reunite with his dead son Hamnet, and in exchange, Marlowe will take Shakespeare's place on earth. Issue one was the exchange. Issue two showed the result of the exchange (Elizabeth has been murdered and Essex is on the throne of England). Issue three was the resolve (Shakespeare's widow Anne reverses the exchange, bringing Shakespeare back to life and sending Marlowe back to hell, and Hamnet with him). And issue four answered every troubling question ever asked about Shakespeare (was Shakespeare Catholic, why the second-best bed, who was the Dark Lady, how come there were no books in Shakespeare's will, what did he die of, you name it).

I know I mailed it out to Vertigo/DC, and never got a response; but after searching every floppy disc and old laptop I own, I can't find the thing anywhere, which means it was either on a work-computer hard drive and I never copied it (unlikely) or it was lost in the Great Storage Flood (bloody likely).

The only trace I could find anywhere was in an old dream notebook, where I drafted out the original idea for the opening three pages of the comic, which would illustrate the 14 lines of a sonnet (one line per panel, six panels per page for the first two pages, and then the final two lines and the title on a splash page picturing the Globe Theatre). But the only text is the first draft of the actual sonnet.

So imagine if you will, one comic-book panel for each of the first 12 lines below, in a sequence that pulls back from an overhead shot of the Globe Thetre in 1613, to an overhead shot of London, then England, then Europe, then the entire Eastern Hemisphere -- which becomes, in the last six lines, part of a painted globe, held up on the shoulders of Atlas, all of which is drawn on a bright red flag which is flying from the turret of the Globe Theatre in 1613.

A little O within a mighty wall
Beyond which curves a fickle, sullen river
Scarring an island in the sea’s blue ball –-
The greenest arrow in Great Ocean’s quiver.

See how a god’s eye view reveals earth’s wide
Circumference, where borders melt away
And angry nations side by warring side
Are all one land within the sea’s wide sway,

One patchwork hemisphere of sea and sod
Lit by the full moon’s mocking smiling face --
This shouldered burden of a straining god
Condemned to anchor earth in empty space --

    A motley player in a sovereign robe,
    Deep heaven’s jewel, man’s wheel of fire: the Globe.

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