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Sketch Time Machine: Three Variations on the Death of Superman

Because hey, why not, I thought I’d start posting some of my old/never performed/never to be performed again sketches online, with commentary about them. And I will call it, “Sketch Time Machine!” And it will be good. Hopefully.

Year Written: June, 2003

As opposed to 90% of these sketches, I actually kind of like this one. There are problems, not least of which is the build of the trilogy, but I think it could work, conceivably. Maybe. The big reason this never got done was because of the build, in fact.

Over the course of a trilogy, you want the energy – and the hilarity – to go up. But this clearly peeks in part two, and though I really, really like Part 3, it’s a large step down from the energy of the second part. I guess I could revisit this and play around with it more… But I probably won’t.

NOTES:

  • More specifically, you don’t get much bigger than breaking a baby in half.
  • If I remember correctly, the original version of Part 3 just had Jor-El saying, “Wait, let me grab a condom,” and then the music cut out, and that was it – but we decided that approach was too subtle. So I added the end lines, which meant I had to add end lines for all three, which meant that…
  • …I’m eh on the endings of all three of these, I think – that would be another area to focus on.
  • As a general rule, I have far too many sketch ideas about Superman.

Here’s the sketch(es):

THREE VARIATIONS ON THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN

A red sun by Alexander Zalben

CHARACTERS: MA KENT, PA KENT, JOR-EL, MOTHER, ALIEN 2, KAL-EL

PART I

Superman theme plays lightly in the background. A small, baby-sized space pod is on the ground. MA and PA KENT enter.

MA

Sweet lord, Pa, what was that?

                         PA

I think your answer is sitting over there.

                         MA

Is it—Is it a spaceship?

                         PA

I think so.

          (THEY open up the pod. Sweet gurgling

is heard from inside.)

                         MA

Look, Pa, it’s a baby.

                         PA

It is… A baby from outer space.

                         MA

Oh, Pa, we should—

                         PA

Kill it. I know.

          (He snaps the babies neck. The gurgling

& music stops.)

                         PA

Always kill the aliens young, or our yellow sun will make them invincible.

                         MA

Sometimes I wish we weren’t alien hunters.

                         PA

But we are. We’re professional alien hunters.

                         PART II

Superman theme plays. JOR-EL enters, with MOTHER. Sweet baby gurgling is heard, from the baby they are holding.

MOTHER

Oh Jor-El, quickly, send young Kal-El away before all of Krypton is destroyed.

                         JOR-EL

No, I can’t bear to part with him.

                         MOTHER

But—

                         JOR-EL

It’s okay, Kal-El should die here with us.

                         MOTHER

You’re right.

          (JOR-EL smothers the baby, the gurgling &

music slowly stops. Pause. They glance

at each other.)

                         JOR-EL

Just to be sure.

          (He breaks the baby in half.)

                                        PART III (VERSION 3)

Superman music plays. Jor-el and Mother are in bed.

MOTHER

Oh Jor-El. I love you so much.

                         JOR-EL

I love you too.

          (THEY kiss.)

                         MOTHER

Wait…

          (HE pulls out a condom. Music cuts off.)

                         JOR-EL

Let’s always use condoms.

                         MOTHER

Agreed.

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