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Who wrote the first issue of The Spirit: The New Adventuresr? (Answer at bottom of the page)
Iced? is the title of an unpublished Spirit story intended for publication in an issue of The Spirit: The New Adventures.

The story is written by Peter Hogan, who had already penned the story "To Silken, From Santa", which was going to be published in The Spirit: The New Adventures #9. Peter has written Durham Red and Strontium Dog for 2000AD and several of DC's Vertigo titles, including The Dreaming and The Sandman Presents: Love Street.

The tale was intended to be drawn by Charlie Adlard, but unfortunately Kitchen Sink ceased operations before the script was sent to Charlie. This artist is perhaps best known for his work on the X-Files for Topps Comics although he has also worked on several stories for 2000AD and the excellent Astronauts in Trouble: Space:1959 series is in the process of being released as a trade paperback.

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to contact Peter, and he suggested that I also contact Charlie to see if he would be willing to perhaps draw an illustration to go with the script. To my delight Charlie agreed, and this new illustration appears below.

Iced? is a ten page story, Peter has graciously allowed me to publish the first two pages here. With the success of DC's publication of The Spirit Archives I hope that it is possible that this story will be published in the future, to find out what Miss Case is up to...


PAGE ONE

Panel 1.

Large panel : You don't have to get everything in this panel, but I'm going to describe the room in full : we're in a study or library - the walls are lined with books, and there's one largish window (with curtains drawn shut).

Large patterned Persian carpet on the floor, with wooden boards visibly extending beyond its edges. The room's only door has been kicked in, the lock splintering the doorframe. Seated behind an ornate desk is the slumped body of a middle-aged businessman, a pistol in his right hand. He's slumped forward on the desk - if you want to be gruesome, maybe there's a small trickle of blood on the desk near his head. In front of him on the desk is a note reading "I'm sorry …" Just those two words, at the top of an otherwise blank sheet.

The only vital things for this panel are that we should be looking head on at the corpse slumped at his desk, with rows of books visible behind him.

DOLAN (off) : LOOKS PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD

THE SPIRIT LOGO is formed of books on the shelves behind our victim. If we have three shelves of books (some straight, some leaning) you should be able to do it i.e. three books leaning diagonally will make an 's'. The only one which might be difficult is the 't', but maybe one volume can be balanced on top of another - wedged in, as it were - to make the crossbar. (This is just an idea - feel free to disregard if you can think of something easier/better).

TITLE : ICED ?

TITLE could possibly be formed by ink spilling from an overturned bottle of ink on the desk, ink dripping down the desk front. (Again, just an idea).

Panel 2.

Medium panel, showing us the whole scene : Dolan's puffing on his pipe, grim and authoritative ; the Spirit's pushing his hat back and looking contemplative. Also in the room is the victim's secretary, who's in her late twenties or early thirties. Now, she's going to be revealed in due course as the glamorous villainess of the piece, but here she's in a dowdy disguise, in a frumpy tweed suit with no make-up and her hair pulled back into a severe bun (but don't give her glasses - my other Spirit story had the bespectacled Silken Floss). Hand covering her mouth, seemingly sobbing with grief. And finally, standing in that (broken) doorway, is a uniformed cop, at ease but alert and sombre, his hands behind his back.

DOLAN : SUICIDE, PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

SECRETARY : < sob >.

PAGE TWO

Panel 1.

Medium two-shot : secretary dabbing at her eye with a lace handkerchief ; Dolan's behind her, puzzled. To one side the Spirit is stroking his chin, one eyebrow raised sceptically.

DOLAN : YOU WERE HIS SECRETARY ?

SECRETARY : YES. I JUST CAN'T < sob > BELIEVE IT …

DOLAN : HE NEVER MENTIONED ANY MONEY WORRIES ? OR ANY < ahem > PERSONAL PROBLEMS ?

Panel 2.

Similar size two-shot : in the foreground the secretary is still quietly sobbing ; behind her, Dolan is scratching his head, philosophical.

SECRETARY : NO. HE WAS SUCH A < sniff > CONSIDERATE EMPLOYER.

DOLAN : YES, WELL, IT'S ALWAYS THE QUIET ONES …

Panel 3.

Medium panel : A rear view of Dolan escorting the secretary towards the door, where the officer is waiting (with a kindly but self-conscious smile) to usher her out.

DOLAN : YOU'VE BEEN MOST HELPFUL, MISS …

SECRETARY : CASE.

DOLAN : WELL, YOU'RE FREE TO GO. JUST GIVE YOUR DETAILS TO THE OFFICER HERE - IF WE NEED TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN, WE'LL BE IN TOUCH.

Panel 4.

Smallish two-shot : Spirit bending over the desk/body, examining it/them ; Dolan shuffling towards him with hands in trouser pockets, puffing on his pipe and glancing back at the doorway absent-mindedly.

DOLAN : SEEMED LIKE A NICE GIRL …

SPIRIT : I WOULDN'T BE TOO SURE ABOUT YOUR SUICIDE THEORY, DOLAN …

Panel 5.

Small/medium close-up of The Spirit. A grim half-smile.

SPIRIT : MY MONEY'S ON MURDER.

Panel 6.

Medium two-shot : Dolan startled, jaw dropping open ; the Spirit facing, waving his arms in the air with frustration.

DOLAN : WHAT ?

DOLAN : WHY, FOR PETE'S SAKE ?

SPIRIT : BECAUSE I DON'T BUY THIS - IT'S JUST TOO NEAT.

TO BE CONTINUED - HOPEFULLY IN A NEW SERIES OF THE SPIRIT!

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