In the process of getting ready to relaunch Fleischer & The Group, our later issues have greatly influenced the earlier ones. In translation this means that we realized that the scripts for issues one and two (the art for which had already been done) required extensive rewrites and, in the case of Issue 2, several new pages of art. When it came to issue 3, we basically did a top to bottom rewrite and jettisoned art that had been done. That artwork consisted of an opening sequence that hewed much more closely to our original conception of Fleischer as a Superman parody. Much of that has gone away over time, but we thought it would be amusing to present that sequence below. Each script page is followed by the art of Fernando Sosa.
Panel 1: Close-up image of Fleischer with a stupid grin on his face. His hair is pushed back as though he is flying at a great speed. The skin on his cheeks are also being pushed back from the impact of wind on it.
Fleischer: Sometimes I just need to stop and smell the roses or take a walk through a field of lilies in my bare feet.
Panel 2: Basically the same image, though now Fleischer is looking down.
Fleischer: Guess that’s why the North Pole is so close to my heart….
Panel 3: A pterodactyl is in flight. Along its side is a sign that reads Pterodacyl Airlines. On the center of the bird’s back, made out of leather, is a sort of plane cabin, through the windows (which have no glass), we see the richer breed of Flintstones cave-men. On the wing of the Pterodactyl are a number of customers. Closest to the reader is Fleischer, and sitting next to him are Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Fleischer is leaning over, looking down.
Fleischer: Hey, this looks like my stop!
Panel 4: Same image as above, only this time, Fleischer is at the bottom of the frame and is falling, ass first, and screaming like a little girl. Fred and Barney are looking at him fall. The Pterodactyl is looking at and talking to the reader.
Fred: Look, Barn, it’s a bird….it’s a plane…..
Barney: ….I think it’s a stone.
Pterodactyl: And they call me a dodo.
Panel 1: Below on the snow covered ground is an Igloo. Scrawled on top of it are the words Igloo of Solitude. Fleischer is still falling ass-first and screaming. His outstretched hands are coming right towards us, as is his cape, which flies over his head. He’s looking up at us, screaming with seeming fear.
Panel 2: Interior of the Igloo of Solitude. Fleischer has crashed through the ceiling, leaving a hole in his passing. We see him smashing into the ground. Hard.
Fleischer (thought balloon): Grace, they name is Fleischer!
Panel 3: Fleischer has gotten to his feet and is grimacing in pain as he rubs his ass. He seems to be talking to the Igloo of Solitude itself.
Fleischer: I’ve come to seek your guidance, Father. There are so many questions I have; so many choices, and I just don’t know if I have the wisdom to do it without you…..
Panel 4: Fleischer is smiling as he reaches out a hand, as though trying to touch someone.
Fleischer: As always, Father, your silence is filled with wisdom. Thank you for the gift of self-reliance.
Fleischer: I guess I’ll just have to pick a cell phone on my own.
Fleischer: Oh, before I go, there is one more thing, Father. I’m a little behind on my rent.
Panel 2: The barrel of a shotgun has come into frame. Fleischer’s back is to the barrel, still seemingly talking to the Igloo of Solitude.
SOUND EFFECT: CLICK!
Voice From Off-Panel: Damn right you’re behind on your rent!
Panel 3: Rest of Page
Fleischer has turned around and for the first time we realize exactly who, or what, Father is: a movie poster of Marlon Brando as the Godfather, sitting on an easel. Standing in front of Fleischer is Santa Claus, shotgun aimed right at Fleischer. Standing to the left and right of Santa are a pair of angry-looking elves, one with chains in his hand, the other with a nasty looking switchblade. Fleischer looks scared; he’s got a hand out as though it would hold them back.
Fleischer: S…S….Santa. I’ll get you your money, I swear I will.
Santa Claus: You’d better. With interest!
Panel 1: Santa Claus has approached Fleischer, the shotgun barrel is now under Fleischer’s chin.
Santa: And if I don’t get my money, Daddy over there is gonna eat some lead. You dig?
Fleischer: You would threaten my….FATHER? What kind of demented madman are you, Santa?
Panel 2: Santa delivers a booted kick to Fleischer’s crotch, sending him down, groaning through gritted teeth.
Santa: I’m the demented madman with the list.
Panel 3: Santa is crouching down. He is lifting up Fleischer’s head by pulling up on his hair with a black-gloved hand, and punching him in the face with the other. There’s a maniacal smile on Santa’s face.
Santa: ….and you can be sure I’ll be checking it twice. For the sake of you and Daddy, it better say “Paid in Full”.
Panel 4: Fleischer is down on his back. Santa and the Elves are walking away. One of the Elves is slapping Santa on his back. Santa calls back over his shoulder.
Elf: “Daddy over there’s gonna eat some lead…” Good one, Santa.
Santa: And don’t forget my milk and cookies!
Panel 1: Fleischer is sitting on a block of ice, hunched over, looking kind of sad.
Fleischer: Maybe I’ve taken this superhero thing as far as I can….maybe it’s time I hung up my cape…. Maybe I should embrace the cliché and proclaim “Fleischer No More.”
Voice: Maybe you should give that a second thought…..
Panel 2: Fleischer’s eyes are wide open, he looks surprised. On the ground, looking up at him, is a parody version of Jiminy Cricket. He should be brown instead of green, and we should come up with a couple of other differences (take a look at Jiminy and see what you can come up with)
Fleischer: Criminy Cracket!
Criminy: The one and only.
Fleischer: Nobody’s gonna believe this.
Criminy: But they’re gonna believe that Santa Claus just kicked your ass?
Fleischer: Good point. So what are you doing here?
Panel 4: Criminy, looking up and talking to Fleischer.
Criminy: I just want to say you can’t worry about what Santa said, or the fact that your….er, father, over there gives you the silent treatment, or that pretty much everyone on the planet thinks of you as a putz. You are here for a reason…..
Fleischer: Right, and it’s NOT to score touchdowns, is it?
Criminy: Actually , that’s about as good an explanation as anything I’ve got.
Panel 5: Criminy snaps his fingers.
Criminy: Oh, I’ve got it. Here’s something you can do: You can leap back to Generic City and take care of that little situation you left behind.
Fleischer: What situation?
Panel 6: As Criminy is speaking, Fleischer slaps himself in the forehead with a goofy smile on his face. Between them a giant thought balloon of the giant monkey from the last page of issue two is there.
Criminy: That giant robot monkey that is laying the city to waste. Remember?
Fleischer: Holy baloney, I forgot! I swear, if my head wasn’t screwed on…..
Fleischer: You’re right, Criminy. I’ve got a job to do.
Panel 2: Fleischer is standing on the block of ice he had been sitting on.
Fleischer: I think I’m gonna need an extra powerful Wowsa-Leap to get there quickly.
Criminy: That’s the spirit, big guy!
Panel 3: Fleischer has jumped off the block, hit the ground and has begun a leap into the air.
Fleischer: Up, up and I’m outta here!
Panel 4: This image is from the ground looking up as Fleischer is in the air. Filling a good portion of the frame is the bottom of his slippers, the sole of the left one of which shows a squashed Criminy, who’s now very much dead.