Original Script Sample: Dr. Octopus: Escape from Me

This piece is envisioned to be, in style and format, similar to stories by comics master Will Eisner. Tone is set by word balloons, emotion felt through fonts; angles will be less “heroic” and more human.  In anticipation of the upcoming movie sequel featuring him, this is the heart-wrenching tale of a man named Otto Octavius — one of the most vicious villains of the Marvel Universe.


(Submitted to Marvel Comics [by request] July 2003 — prior to Marvel’s own Doc Ock origin mini as part of a New Talent dept. request for scripts from me. The other script they requested can be read right here.)



Doctor Octopus: Escape from Me

[Compacted & problematic formatting is a result
of WordPress being run, I assume, by Cthulhu.]



Five panels, starting from a long distance, but with Lady Liberty present…each shot getting us closer into New York City…Maybe at night?  (See comment on page 4, and we’ll see if it has a better dramatic punch that way…)

Panels 1-4/ Captions are staggered on page…

TITLE: Doctor Octopus: Escape from Me

(1) CAPTION: This…

(2) Credits: Writer: K e i t h  P l a n i t   Artist: TBD

(3) CAPTION: …Was not…

(4) Credits (cont’d): Letters: TBD   Colors: TBD

(5) CAPTION: …The Dream.

Panel 5/ Last panel we’re deep into Manhattan, and we can see a piece of one of the metallic claws of Doctor Octopus which has grabbed  (and chipped) the side of a building in the foreground…




No Dialogue.

Big dramatic shot of Doctor Octopus being chased by Spider-Man — maybe Ock’s tearing away at some webbing with one ock-arm, tossing or fending off Spidey with another and running with the remaining two.

His human arms are clutched tightly around an old satchel.

We need to see Doc Ock’s face here.  This is not an angry Ock, this Ock is running — something he’s not wont to do — because, as we’re about to see, his whole life has put him in this moment, and he’s at a point where he needs to push forward, move on, and re-discover himself…



Five panels, starting close, inside of Manhattan, with Spidey and Doc Ock’s chase now moving into the background; as we pull out…

Panels 1-4/ Captions are staggered on page…
(1) CAPTION: I do…

(2) CAPTION: …Remember…

(3) CAPTION: …What…

(4) CAPTION: …The Dream was…

5/ Depiction of Lady Liberty, and — if it’s been nighttime — it is now day, the sunrise hitting her “statuesque” body…(maybe even have this shot from the POV of the rising sun — through it.  I think that’d be a first, and I have thoughts on how we can achieve this).



Panel 1/ Similar in size and shape to the panels on previous page.  Statue of Liberty should virtually be a dot on the horizon (but still recognizable), along with Manhattan.  We can see the top of a steam ship in the foreground.  Maybe a little more if you can make it work.

(1) CAPTION: So long ago…


We do away with panels now — by that I mean the actual lines that frame the shots.  This is supposed to have that feel of a Will Eisner tale.  I will still refer to each picture with a number and sometimes reference panels, but let’s think out of the boxes…


Panel 2/ The camera looks down upon the ship now.  It’s a ship of immigrants coming to America.  We’re talking somewhere in the 1940s here.  Maybe early ‘50s, but the image is still the same (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/7589/voyage.htm) — middle and upper class Europeans gathered on the deck looking out toward approaching NYC.  There’s clearly excitement amongst the throng.

(2) CAPTION: When there were dreams to be had.

Panel 3/ Close on a little boy, around 9 years old, with a Beatles-like hairdo, looking up.

This is young Otto Octavius.



Splash Panel 1/ We now get a better look at where Otto is — steerage (see previous link for reference).  It is dirty, dank, and nobody is happy.  Children are crying, parents look distraught.  People hold onto precious mementos like they are their lifeblood.  There are rats running around, and the people are sharing small scraps of food.


Otto, holding some kind of wood-carved toy (an old-fashioned looking monster with multiple arms perhaps?) is looking out amongst the crowd while his father, Barnard, stands at the foot of some stairs that lead up toward deck.  His mother — Maria — sits atop a large case nearby.  They look dirty, tired, their clothing laying damp upon their tired bodies.


(1) CAPTION: Escaping the ravages of Germany was not difficult, but the first journey of my life…

(2) CAPTION: …That first voyage, is still a painful memory.



Panel 1/ Maria is reaching out toward Otto in this shot.  Father sort of looking over his shoulder at his son.


(Letterer: I’d like to do something new here in regard to the word balloons.  Instead of the old-fashioned “< >” implying another language, how about we print the foreign phrases in bold, but as a sort of light watermark shadow of the other words within the balloon.  OR: have a second balloon shadowing the first, w/the balloon and lettering lighter in color, maybe w/50% opacity. I’m open to other ideas. FYI: this is used only to end of pg 12.)


(1) BARNARD: Sit, boy.  And stop whining.  In America you must be a man.

Sitzen Sie, junge. Und halt whining. In Amerika müssen Sie ein Mann sein.

(2) MARIA: Come, Otto.  Leave your father alone.

Kommen Sie, Otto. Verlassen Sie Ihren Vater allein.

Panel 2/ Otto is looking over at someone who is getting sick (read as: barfing) into a sack of some kind.

(3) BARNARD: You coddle that child, it will get him nowhere.

Sie verwöhnen jenes Kind, es ihn nirgendwo wird erhalten.

(4) MARIA: We are already nowhere.

Wir sind schon nirgendwo.

(5) BARNARD: Oh, Enough!  Soon, Maria!  I think soon.

Oh, Genug!  Bald, Maria.  Ich denke bald.

(6) CAPTION: No one can know what it was like, unless they were there.


Panels 3 – 7 (more or less as you see fit)/Across the rest of the page, Otto is looking at the images listed below (Artist: I’m not concerned with how this is interpreted, as long as we truly feel the pain and difficulty of those suffering through the passage to America).  These are people from different parts of Europe — Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Norway, England, Italy.


(7) CAPTION: The heartache, the terror, the tears — thousands of people with the same hope, unable to communicate, unable to give up.

– Three people share a small bed.

– A Norwegian child is trying to fend off a rat:

NORWEGIAN CHILD: Get away! Bli borte!

– A man with a fever is being nursed by his wife

– An Italian mother holds two children closely:


ITALIAN MOTHER: We are almost there. Siamo quasi lí. We are almost there. Siamo quasi lí. We are almost there. Siamo quasi lí.

– A Jewish man prays.




Picking up the pace again, we go through the entrance into America rather quickly now…

Panel 1/ The Octavius family along with many others has crowded onto the deck to see the Statue of Liberty — a giant standing proudly above them.

(1) CAPTION: Life is a cruel game.  One moment, hope….

Panel 2/ They exit the docked ship at Ellis Island.  Young Otto is being pulled along by his father to the right, while his mother goes to the left — Otto reaching out for her.  They have tags and numbers on them — their luggage left on the ground for now.

Panel 3/ Otto is being examined by cloaked men in a dingy-lit room.

(2) CAPTION: The next, humiliation.

Panel 4/ We’re in a courtyard now (still on Ellis Island) — through a window up in the distance Maria is seen in a hospital bed.  Otto is looking up at her.  Barnard is near a gate looking out towards Manhattan.

(3) CAPTION: And after two days waiting on a docked ship, we were still being teased by freedom’s waiting arms.

Panel 5/ The family is now being ferried to Manhattan Island.

(4) CAPTION: When our release was granted to us…



Panel 1/ Close on hands holding money.

Panel 2/ The Octavius family stands at a tenement, a man (the owner or super) shrugging an apology.

(1) CAPTION: …We quickly learned…

Panel 3/ The intimidating power of the city around them is made clear here.  The large buildings surrounding the family which stands there, each person in their old clothes, their large case nearby.

(2) CAPTION: That with freedom…



1/ In modern-day Manhattan, a screaming mad Doctor Octopus has Spider-Man in his clutches — each of his mechanical arms grasped to an appendage of Spidey’s, hurling him spread eagle through the air.

(1) CAPTION: …Comes struggle.

2/ Slammed against a wall, Spidey’s had the wind knocked out of him; Ock is slipping away into a sort of pit created by two buildings.

3/ Ock is still on the move, running.

(2) CAPTION: Today, I have tired of the struggle.  It is time for me to take control, alter the path of destruction…

(3) CAPTION: on which I have plainly put myself.

(4) CAPTION: What I suffer in the present is nothing compared to what I suffered then.  That is why I return, each defeat by a masked simpleton bears no weight on shoulders already laden with chips of the past.

(5) CAPTION: Yes, I can change my path.  Now.  If only my father had had such convictions…



1/ The Octavius family lives in a hole-in-the-wall apartment.  Walls are cracked, the ceiling looks like it may come down at any moment.  We are in the kitchen (stove, counter, sink, small breakfast table…), but there is a small bed nearby, the toy Otto held earlier, sitting by the pillow.  In the background would be an entranceway to the small bedroom which belongs to his parents.

Mother is cooking, father is brooding.

(1) MARIA: You do not think about this family, Barnard!  You think of you!  I say goodbye to my mama in Germany, and it is not of concern to you!

Sie denken an diese Familie, Barnard nicht! Sie denken an Sie! Ich sage auf Wiedersehen zu meiner Mutter in Deutschland, und es ist nicht von zu Ihnen angeht!

(2) BARNARD: You are my concern, and I am providing for you and the boy as best I can.

Sie angeht meines sind, und ich liefere Sie und den Jungen, während am besten ich kann.

(3) MARIA: No, you provide as best as you choose!  A watchmaker.  A watchmaker! Some men build.  Others pick up the garbage.  There will always be garbage — there is not always need of a watch to be repaired!

Nein, Sie wählen so best wie Sie versorgen! Ein tragen-machen. Ein tragen-machen! Einiger Mann baut. Andere heben den Müll auf. Dort immer wird müll -es nicht Bedürfnis einer Uhr immer sein gibt repariert zu werden!

2/ The anger is clearly visible on the face of Barnard Octavius.  He is burning…

(4) BARNARD: I do what I am good at!  I provide for my family!  And I make the decisions!  I…

Ich mache was ich geschickt in bin! Ich liefere meine Familie! Und ich mache die Entscheidungen! Ich…

3/ Otto now enters the apartment (he has a black eye and bruised lip), witnessing the fight…

(5) BARNARD:  …am the one in control here!

…ist das eine in Steuerung hier!

(6) MARIA: You have no control!  You are nothing but a poor, weak watchmaker!

Sie haben keine Steuerung! Sie sind nur ein arm, schwach tragen-machen!

4/ Otto’s eyes grow wide with tears already beginning to stream as Barnard’s hand goes up to strike his wife.

(7) BARNARD:  And you are just nothing!  Every day it is the same.  I cannot take this!  I will kill you!

Und Sie sind nur nichts! Alltäglich ist es das gleiche. Ich kann dies nicht nehmen! Ich werde Sie töten!

(8) Otto (small): Kill?…

Töten Sie?…

5/ The parents notice their son….



1/ They have run to his side.

(1) MARIA (to Otto): These bruises!  What have you done?

Diese Quetschungen! Was haben Sie gemacht?

(2) BARNARD (to Otto): Where were you?!

Wo waren Sie?!

(3) OTTO: N-nothing…Sch-School…


2/ He holds a note out to them.

(4) BARNARD: Vas ist–?

3/ Mom and Dad Octavius look at one another, the note in the father’s hand.

4/ We see an older German man holding the note, reading it to the Octaviuses.

(5) CAPTION (in script):

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Octavius,

We were not aware of your German heritage when you or your family member enrolled little Otto into school.  To-day, when his name was called, Otto responded in German.  In the current climate of our world, you can understand how this can cause problems at a public school where there are many children from different countries, all who have been raised a certain way.  Children can be cruel, and we have contacted the parents of those who meant to harm Otto.  Please take care to see this sort of thing will not happen again.


5/ Close on impatient, angry Barnard…

(6) BARNARD: ‘Raised a certain way.’  That means to hate Germans.  Fine.  We no longer speak German.  We live like rats and take what we can get.

Einen gewissen Weg hat erhoben. Das bedeutet, Deutsch zu hassen. Fein. Wir sprechen nicht mehr Deutsch.  Leben wir wie Ratten und nehmen was, den wir erhalten können.

(7) BARNARD: But an Octavius is not without his strengths.  We will not let America defeat us.

Aber ein Octavius ist nicht ohne seine Kräfte. Wir werden Amerika Besiegung uns nicht lassen.



1/ Large panel.  It’s another big argument.

(1) CAPTION: But as my parents swore to fight America, I was left in the middle of the fray.

(2) MARIA: I do not want to live en a place like this my whole life!  You made us come here, and you haf provided nothing!

(3) BARNARD: I haf provided nothing?! Nothing?! Then you go and work! You collect money for zhe food on our table! Then you will have nothing to complain about!  You will have your riches! And if you cannot do that and be the mother to my son, I will find someone who can!

(4) MARIA: Do not threaten to leave unless you mean it!

2/ Close on Otto, about a year older (same face but cut his hair perhaps?), parents standing over him, arguing. Their fingers poking him as, in their “discussion,” they’re referring to him.

(5) MARIA: And what is it now “my son” — always before “the boy”!

(6) BARNARD: Someone must look out for him! You do not. He comes home beaten by zhe school children every day!

(7) MARIA: A fazher should teach his son to defend himself!

(8) BARNARD: A mother should teach her son how to act!

(9) MARIA: You twist the world to fit your argument! You make the false true to exert your power!

3/ Another shot of the ever-angry Mr. O.

(10) BARNARD: That is because in this family, I am the power!! I have earned that right.  I have worked hard for that right!  You do as I say as long as you live under a roof with me…

(11) BARNARD: I have earned that!

(12) BARNARD: I have earned it!!

(13) BARNARD (small): This life, it kills me…it…it kills me!



1/ Maria Octavius is washing clothes in a basement somewhere. Otto is nearby.  Stacks of clean and dirty clothing are all about.

(1) MARIA: How are you, teacher?

(2) OTTO: How are youse…teacherr.

(3) MARIA:  Do you want to be a nothingk, like your fazher? You will always be a nothingk if you do not improve of yourself! Now try and get it right!

2/ A woman enters the room — MRS. HILLPOT — she’s clearly upper class.

(4) MRS. HILLPOT: Mrs. Octavius, I was not expecting to have to search every building on your block in order to get my dress from you for this evening.

(5) MARIA: I am zorry, Mrs. Hillpot, I am vorking on it just now.

(6) MRS. HILLPOT: And you think that is good enough?

(7) MARIA: Vell, but–

(8) MRS. HILLPOT: No wonder your country is a mess — something as simple as washing a dress becomes an onerous task to you people.

3/ Hillpot has left and Mrs. O. is gritting her teeth.

4/ Mrs. O. is now screaming in Otto’s face:

(9) MARIA: Life is not free! Why do you sit there?! You want to eat, you want to live someplace nice, be warm in winter? You help!

5/ Otto grabs a piece of clothing…

6/ …Stands over the wash basin, holding the article of clothing over his head…

7/ …He has slammed the clothing into the tub, splashing himself — water streaming down his face can be tears or water from the tub…it’s hard to tell.



1/ Otto is walking from school, kids picking on him…

(1) CAPTION: Spider-Man drew my bloodlust upon him…and I know that it was not always the Spider at which I was truly angry…

(2) KID #1: Otto is blotto!

(3) KID #2: Otto Octopus!

(4) KID #3: Heil, Otto!   Heil, Otto!

(5) CAPTION:  And my life was about to take a great turn for the better.  The path of my life…

2/ Otto has begun to run, the kids are throwing garbage at him.

(6) CAPTION: …About to change course…

3/ He runs into a small shop: Octavius Watch Repair…



1/ Big panel of Otto’s father, wearing headgear to magnify the watch parts, bent over his table, various tools in his hands — he almost looks like the future Dr. Octopus.

(1) BARNARD: Vas ist?

2/ Otto is holding out a note.

3/ A curious expression on his face, Mr. O. reads the note.

4/ Mr. O. is laughing and dancing, the note has been tossed into the air.  Otto looks on, confused.

(2) CAPTION: That was the first and last time I saw father happy.

5/ Close on the note, floating in the air, where we can see, in part, that it reads: Your son Otto has a 185 intelligence quotient which is a highly unusual number and puts him in the category of genius.



1/ Father Octavius, manic, talking to mother Octavius at home…

(1) BARNARD: We will take our son out of the public school and enroll him in zhe private! He is going to make us rich! He is going to take his mama and papa out of zhis rat hole! I am going to find ways to have him make us money, he will do us wonderful things…

2/ Father has grabbed hold of a nervous Otto…

(2) BARNARD: Don’t you worry, Otto. Everyzhing will be good from now on, everyzhing will be good…

3/ It is nighttime.  His mother sits lovingly next to him on his bed — this should look purely innocent, mom consoling son….

(3) MARIA: Don’t you worry, Otto. Everything will be good from now on. Who lufs you? Who lufs you like fazher does not? Who’s the only one you share secrets vis?

(4) OTTO (small): Mother.

4/ Closer on Maria, wild-eyed.

(5) MARIA: Yes. Your…vile…impotent fazher will be left vis his little watches, his little home, his little mind…We will do so very much with that brain of yours…We will get out from under his reign.  We will escape.  And you will do what I need, what I say —

(6) MARIA: — For us, of course.



1-3/ Outside on the street, Otto is crouched down on the sidewalk torturing an insect.  He is very meticulous at his craft.

4/ A hand has grabbed little Otto by the collar, scaring him.

5/ It’s his father — in a good mood, but not dancing like earlier.
(1) BARNARD: Do you know what a “scholarship” ist?  Ist a way that you get to go to private school free! Would you like to go to private school, Otto?

6/ Otto smiles.

(2) BARNARD: Good! It is very simple for you!…



1/ Father’s got his finger pointed at the boy’s nose…he is more intimidating than anything else.
(1) BARNARD: …You just have to have perfect grades for two years.  And you must be an upstanding young man in your community.  Zey like that.  You will do that, yes?  Yes you will.

2/ Another angle on Mr. O raising his fist, making a muscle — all proud-like.

(2) BARNARD: And that is how you will attain greatness, and me, power!  Great, great power, my boy!  You will be the weapon the Octavius family needs to defeat the oppression fate has dealt to us!

3/ Otto’s father is patting him on the head, walking away — whistling.

4/ Otto looks up to the window of his home, Mrs. O is looking down at the scene…

5/ Otto crushes the insect in his fist.



1/ It’s a school science lab.  A teacher is talking to 7 or 8 nerdy kids — one of them being Otto, who is now closer to twelve.  At least half the kids look interested in what the teacher has to say — Otto is not part of that half.

(1) TEACHER: Welcome everyone to the Science Club!  What we will be doing here are some rudimentary experiments that I think will excite all of you sciencephiles!  Once a week you will stay two hours after school, but only so that we can have lots of fun!  Is everyone ready to have fun?

2/ The school is in the background; Otto — wearing a winter jacket and bundled up —  is walking down the street examining some object apparently used in his experiments earlier in the day.  It is dark.


3/ Otto has peeked around a corner (putting the science object back in his book bag/satchel) to witness someone getting his butt kicked by three guys — two of them with guns.  It’s a gruesome sight.

4/ They’re dragging the guy away (opposite direction of Otto) to a car with its trunk open — we can assume the guy is dead.  A gun can be made out on the ground.  It belonged to the dead guy.

(3) MAN: Okay, fellas, let’s drop him somewhere safe.

5/ Otto runs over to the crime scene.  The car the guys went into now speeding away.

6/ Otto stares at the gun.

4) CAPTION: That day, I learned two things…



1/ Dr. Octopus is hiding in an abandoned building.

(1) CAPTION: First and of paramount importance —

2/ With his human arms, Doc has opened the satchel he was clutching earlier — it’s the one seen on the previous page by the way but much dingier and worn. One of his metal claws has grasped a sheet out of the satchel.

The sheet is dated Oct.’03 and has lines and lines and lines of mathematical formulas on it.

(2) CAPTION: — I am a scientist.

3/ The sheet back in the bag, Doc has pressed himself against a wall and is looking for his best escape route…

(3) CAPTION: I learned that I want to bring majesty to our deplorable humankind. I want to discover, create!



1/ Large Panel…Doctor Octopus has dived out the side of the building (either an old boarded window or bursting through half-torn bricks).  Below him, policemen shoot, some just look on in awe.  Spider-Man can also be seen — he’s spun around having heard the action!

(1) CAPTION (atop panel): And I still want it! I will do it!

(2) CAPTION (at bottom): And the second thing I learned?…

2/ Large panel.  Young Otto Octavius sits, with his satchel, in the alleyway, cross-legged,  staring wondrously at the gun.

(3) CAPTION (atop panel): With the right tools, great power can be at your disposal. Mother’s wants and father’s needs taught me this simple life-lesson…

(4) CAPTION: “With great power, comes great possibilities.”

(5) CAPTION: I would become a killer.


All characters TM and Copyright Marvel Entertainment

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