Script Files

Paper Heroes

Mad Men at the early days of the comic book industry. Heroes aren’t born — they’re made, by a motely crew of immigrants, outsiders, and mad dreamers. PAPER HEROES is an hour long drama that focuses on the stories of comic book WRITERS and ARTISTS inspired from actual history through the lens of the Kurtzs, one family who we follow decade after decade.

In the pilot "Heroes and Villans", young Jewish American Benjamin “Benjy” Kurtz dreams of drawing his way out of the Lower East Side. When the animation studio he works for is shut down by a strike, he seizes the opportunity to create his own comics studio with his own team of undervalued artists -- with seed money from his minor mobster brother Eddie. PAPER HEROES is a story of how the legends of our youth don’t come out of nowhere, but from flesh and blood people, and the price those people pay striving to be a hero in villainous times.

Each season of PAPER HEROES focuses on a different decade from the dawn of the superheroes, to the golden age of comics, until present day. The stories of comic book WRITERS and ARTISTS inspired from actual history come to life through the lens of the Kurtzs, whose dynasty impacts everyone's lives as Benjy climbs to the top decade after decade.

  • Crystal Skillman
    Eat Fighter (WebToon). Theater: NY IT Award Winner; Currently a 2017 O’Neill Semi-Finalist, 2017 Blue Ink Award Winner, 2016 New Harmony Project Writer, E.S.T/Alfred P. Sloan New Play Commission
  • Fred Van Lente
    Cowboys & Aliens (book, basis for 2011 film) , Ten Dead Comedians (novel, Quirk Books 2017), The Con Artist (Quirk Books 2018), Lucky Spot (short film [screenwriter], 2017), Archer & Armstrong (Harvey Award nominee, Best Series)
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Genres:
    Historical, Comic Book, family, drama, generational, gangster, judaica
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Launchpad
  • Big Break Final Draft Contest
Writer Biography - Crystal Skillman, Fred Van Lente

Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente have been writing together steadily creating work for TV, comics, and the stage for three years. Their work as co-writers was launched with the premiere of their play King Kirby, about the life of comic book artist Jack Kirby now a popular four part podcast out from Broadway Podcast Network. Crystal is a four time NYTimes Critics' PIck as a playwright and was just selected for the Orchard Project Lab with her new podcast. FRED VAN LENTE is the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning writer of comics like Odd Is on Our Side (with Dean R. Koontz), Archer & Armstrong (Harvey Award nominee, Best Series and Special Award for Humor), Action Philosophers! (American Library Association Best Graphic Novel for Teens) and The Comic Book History of Comics. He co-wrote the original graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens, the basis for the feature film starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

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Writer Statement

As a writing team we are dedicated to creating new, diverse, and innovative work that exposes untold stories about lesser known lives. From stories about comic book creators that spans to current day, to the last days of Storyville New Orleans, or be it plunging into the world of Wiccans in Brooklyn, our work often explores those who use fiction to escape their reality, and the power dynamics of those who exploit them.