Been doing a lot of scripting recently.
Mark Millar brought something to my attention last week, that pulled me out of a creative vortex I’d stumbled into, while simultaneously causing me to rethink a series of articles I was fully prepared to write. For several months, I’ve been sitting on this high concept of an insider’s commentary that would’ve easily bred some nice material for my index, and as I confidently said to Markisan couple weeks back, “I think it’s time to do it”. With a degree of separation restoring my objectivity (or so I thought), it felt necessary to achieve a bit of closure on this secret project I’ve been laboring over. Problem being that Millar, in his Jedi Master style wisdom, sent me a few sentences that really challenged me to rationalize the decision, and in the wake of it, the less valid my reasons became, and the more self-indulgent they seemed. Not that I’m against that sort of thing, but it quickly stopped being a good idea, and never stopped being a dangerous one. So once again, the hesitation gets the best of me.
But enough about Epic…let’s move on to other things.
Format is the biggest thing I’ve started experimenting with, as a great majority of my stories turn into never-ending serials, or something where the ending is so distant, it might as well be. To convince myself I’m mentally capable, and that because the structure seems less constricted (at this point anyway), I started a couple things that would work best as original graphic novels. Every year, my bookshelf grows slightly denser in trades, so it was only a matter of time before I gave writing a completely self-contained one a shot. I’m allowing myself to write much more “freestyle”, foregoing the tight outline I usually cook up to keep me on track, and realizing that I’ll probably overwrite it, and then write down to a desired page count.
Thus far, it’s working out fairly well, and since I haven’t done this in a while, I thought it may be cool to run a few pages from the two GNs under heavy construction in “the lab” for your consumption. Let me walk you through these real quick.
First, we have five pages from something tentatively titled World’s Greatest Hero, with the eventual complement World’s Greatest Villain. Names will likely change, but this is one of those epic, high concept stories designed to hopefully explore an aspect of superhumanity from a different perspective. This whole things stands on a really shocking twist, that I’ll keep to myself for now, but the first five pages presented a challenge as I tried to quiet myself as long as possible. Always a problem, to be honest.
Next, there’s eight pages from Scorned, and that title is pretty much definite. This is what happens when I write something that has absolutely no superheroes or fantastical elements involved, replacing it with the heaviest of human drama. It’s loosely based on true events, so I always have to be careful about when I write it, because often it’ll leave me in a bad mood when I’m finished with a section. Eight from this one, plenty of tasty dialogue.
World’s Greatest Hero, pg. 1
(1) Panoramic shot. A suburban street in the dead of summer as kids play in the street, enjoying the weather. A baseball is being tossed back and forth, hopscotch is in full swing, and someone is riding their bike through the frame.
(2) Pan shot. A large shadow falls across the proceedings.
(3) Pan shot. Some of the kids have stopped dead, now transfixed on something massive that’s settled in the sky above them.
(4) Pan shot. A young boy, centered in the shot, is now standing in the front of the pack with big eyes and sweat on his brow. He points up.
CAP: IT RAINED TODAY.
World’s Greatest Hero, pg. 2
(1) Pan shot. Mirror of panel 4 on the preceding page, replacing the young boy with a man wearing a business suit, surrounded by a similar crowd of gawking onlookers. We’re in the city now, this is happening everywhere.
(2) Pan shot. A laser beam falls out of the sky, and cleanly slices off the man’s arm at the elbow.
(3) Pan shot. More beams fall in a rain of fire that cuts the city and its people into ribbons.
(4) Pan shot. The carnage continues, as the bystanders scurry, diving for cover.
World’s Greatest Hero, pg. 3
(1) Pan shot. A man’s legs are cut off as he runs toward the camera, while a nearby woman is bisected at the waist.
(2) A caped figure stands in the center, his back turned to us, the lasers bouncing ineffectively off him, tearing the street around him to shreds.
(3) On the figure’s feet, as they rise off the ground.
CAP: DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES A MAN CAN SAVE THE WORLD, BEFORE HE GETS BORED WITH IT?
World’s Greatest Hero, pgs. 4-5
(1) Beautiful double page splash as our lead (Pinnacle) enters the sky, looking incredibly small amongst dozens of armored alien ships hovering over the area, their cannons firing on anything in their path.
To be continued…
Scorned, pg. 1
(1) Establishing shot of the exterior of a small diner with a large sign on the roof that reads Mal’s Diner. It sits on the street, the curb devoid of parked cars, with large windows lining the side of the building so you can see inside the restaurant, and those sitting inside can look out onto the sidewalk directly outside their windows.
(2) Pull in closer, focusing on one of the windows. Through it, we can make out the form of a young man sitting inside the diner, alone in a booth.
(3) Tight on Jason Scott (white, early twenties, blond hair) staring out the window as someone rides past his window on a bike. J’s wearing a flannel shirt over a white T-shirt, with blue jeans and worn sneakers.
(4) Jason looks up at the waitress, who’s wearing a uniform and holding a notepad.
VOICE: YOU HUNGRY YET?
(5) Close on Jason.
JASON: NO, NO THANK YOU. I’M WAITING FOR SOMEBODY.
(6) The waitress walks off, leaving him.
WAITRESS: YOU BEEN WAITIN’ FOR THREE HOURS, HONEY.
(7) Jason stars out the window, no expression on his face.
JASON: I’M EARLY.
Scorned, pg. 2
(1) Jason checks his watch.
(2) His face resting on his fist.
(3) His eyes fixed on the ceiling.
(4) Jason grabs a couple napkins from the dispenser on the table, just past an ashtray.
(5) He wipes his face with them.
(6) Jason snaps to attention as the bell above the diner’s door sounds. Someone just walked in.
Scorned, pg. 3
(1) From the POV of the person that just walked in, looking out on the diner. On his immediate left a couple booths filled with a few lunchtime patrons, and on his immediate right, a couple guys sitting at the main counter, flirting with the young waitress behind it. In the far left corner of the shot, about four booths down, is a smaller figure that we can’t quite make out yet. (Jason)
(2) The person looks left, getting a closer look.
(3) They look right.
(4) Same as panel 1.
(5) Pan shot. Our POV fixed directly on Jason Scott, who’s looking right at the camera.
(6) The figure approaches Jason.
VOICE: YOU JASON?
(7) Jason frowns back.
Scorned, pg. 4
(1) Splash. Jason Scott is now standing, firing a bullet through the head of the man approaching him, the projectile exiting out the back of the man’s skull in a horrible display of sudden violence. (Note: Every once in a while, we’ll travel into Jason’s head and visually depict some of the disturbing reactions or dark thoughts he’s having. They’ll always be splash pages, and always be somewhat shocking, but not quite real.)
JASON: …THAT’S ME.
Scorned, pg. 5
(1) Identical to pg. 3, panel 7.
(2) Jason looks down.
JASON: BRAD, RIGHT?
(3) Brad Tyson slides into the booth, across from Jason. Physically, Brad is the total opposite of Jason, styled black hair and designer shades, draped in a black leather jacket with a T-shirt underneath it. Ty’s style of dress is super cool, next to Jason’s hopelessly sloppy.
BRAD: YEAH. SO WHAT UP?
(4) Profile shot of both men in the booth, neither saying a word.
(5) Same shot.
JASON: HOW LONG?
(6) Brad looks confused.
BRAD: HOW LONG WHAT?
(7) Close on Jason, silent.
(8) Jason answers back.
JASON: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN FUCKING MY GIRLFRIEND?
Scorned, pg. 6
(1) Pan shot of the booth. Uncomfortable silence.
(2) On Brad.
BRAD: YOUR GIRLFRIEND?
(3) Back on Jason.
JASON: YOU HEARD ME.
(4) Brad takes off his sunglasses.
BRAD: IS THAT WHAT THIS IS? YOU WANNA FIGHT ME?
(5) Jason staring back across the table.
(6) Brad starts to leave the booth.
BRAD: THAT’S COOL. LET’S GO OUTSIDE…
(7) Jason looks up at him.
JASON: I’VE BEEN IN LOVE WITH HER FOR TWO YEARS.
(8) Brad slides his glasses into his jacket pocket.
BRAD: WELL, FOR THE LAST EIGHT MONTHS, I’VE BEEN LOVING HER BETTER THAN YOU.
Scorned, pg. 7
(1) Another silent panel.
(2) Brad produces a pack of cigarettes.
BRAD: SHIT, I’M SORRY. I’M A DICK.
BRAD: YOU SMOKE?
(3) Hold on Brad.
BRAD: LOOK MAN, SERIOUSLY, MY BAD. I SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT SHIT.
(4) Back on Jason, looking down at the table.
JASON: SHE USED TO SMELL LIKE SMOKE SOMETIMES.
(5) Brad lights a cigarette.
BRAD: NO SHIT?
(6) Jason rubs his forehead.
JASON: IT ONLY HAPPENED A COUPLE TIMES. THERE’S THIS SPORTS BAR SHE’S OBSESSED WITH…
(7) Brad slides back in the booth.
BRAD: THAT’S WHERE I MET HER. I HAD THIS CLASS THAT LET OUT EARLY, AND ME AND MY BOYS GOT TOGETHER, AND WE WENT TO…WELL…NEVERMIND.
BRAD: BUT THAT’S WHAT SHE USED TO SAY? BLAMED IT ON A BAR OR SOME SHIT?
Scorned, pg. 8
(1) The waitress from earlier dashes by the booth, carrying a tray.
BRAD: YOU BELIEVED HER?
JASON: WE USED TO GO THERE.
(2) Brad takes a puff.
BRAD: SHIT, EVERYBODY ON CAMPUS DID. WHEN’D YOU STOP?
(3) Jason looks out the window, silent.
(4) Brad reaches for the ashtray on the table.
BRAD: SO, WHAT’D YOU ASK ME HERE FOR? I MEAN, YOU ALREADY SAID IT, I’VE BEEN FUCKING YOUR GIRLFRIEND FOR EIGHT LONG MONTHS. CEPT I THOUGHT SHE WAS MY GIRLFRIEND.
BRAD: THIS THE PART WHERE YOU TELL ME TO STAY AWAY FROM HER?
(5) Jason runs his hand over his short hair.
(6) Brad taps his ashes into the tray.
(7) He blows smoke back into Jason’s face.
To be continued…
Okay, hope you enjoyed the sneak preview, as by the time I’m done, all this will likely be completely rewritten. Back in seven, most likely with an interview with Mr. John Layman…