Yonkoma is a 4 panel comic format from Japan. «Yonkoma Pitch» is a project where through that format I explore on possible IP ideas that have been brewing on my mind. An illustrated «I have a great idea for an X» if you will.
In a world dominated by superhero media, be it earnest or deconstructive, it is necessary to deconstruct certain tropes of the genre. One particularly insidious one is WHO violence is perpetrated against.
There have been many deconstructions brushing on the topic of collateral damage and how the heroics of vigilantes end up causing more problems. But what rarely gets questioned is the role of the henchman. Who would be so desperate as to accept work from a villain? Well, most likely someone in such precarity to get radicalised by some costumed extremist or simply unemployable to the point to accept such a job as fodder for the «good guy» to beat to a pulp.
The Pitch: A heart warming deconstruction on violence and inequality
It's Batman, you know it I know, we're deconstructing the rich vigilante trope. As a fan of Batman (or any work for that matter) critique is one of the highest form of praise I can hand it. This is a feature or limited series that deconstructs criminality, poverty and the growing schism between the haves and have nots. Think of it as The Wire but with superheroes.
The Henchman is a burly man from an underprivileged background, his is not a sob story just a story lack of opportunity. Think of it as Cherry but instead of bank-robbery he ends up as a Henchman for some villian as a result of PTSD and exorbitantly priced healthcare that doesn't allow for its proper treatment. One day on the only job that will take him, he gets beaten to a pulp and left for dead on the street by a masked vigilante.
Not through plot contrivance but solidarity, he is adopted and tended to by a poor family, this isn't idealised or seen as virtuous. Together they navigate food insecurity, addiction, and a series of predatory forces, including the companies owned or partially owned by the billionaire vigilante.
Finally the last arc of the story should be a confrontation between the Henchman and the «Hero» who with the help of his found family and the neighbourhood (a lá Raimi's Spiderman) subdues the vigilante and unmasks him. The denouement could be a comeuppance to the «Hero», whose supposed heroics lead to a class action lawsuit by all the people his beaten up with the excuse of criminality.
This IP has to be heart warming in order to explore heavier themes without fatiguing the audience. We don't want superhero misery porn, rather we want raw but optimistic. A tale about the human condition's harsh realities with as close a happy ending we can muster (like a Hans Christian Andersen story).
I think this concept has the right amount of edge, homage and critique to freshen up our screens that are over saturated with superhero media. If you're interested in learning how to elaborate a pitch you can sign up to the newsletter and get notified of when a free workshop is coming up, or you can contact me for a mentorship.