Monday, August 22, 2016

Powers - COPS - Grant McLaughlin

As the title implies, the conceit of this page is that Walker and Pilgrim are on COPS, so all panels should be framed as if they are being filmed.  Kinda grainy, placement of people sometimes a little off-kilter, and a TV network logo in the bottom right corner (perhaps "Action 5" instead of FOX?).

1 - On Walker's car driving along a downtown street.  It's kind of dark and the car headlights (and any other lights) are over-saturated against the night.


WALKER (from within): I still can't believe Cross signed us up for babysitting duty.

2 - On Christian Walker, filmed from the backseat.  He's looking back towards the cameraperson, one hand off the wheel as he points accusingly.  The "camera" isn't completely level.

CAPTION: Detective Christian Walker

WALKER: Your show is pathetic.  It trivializes policework and implies that only the poor could ever commit a crime.

3 - On Deena Pilgrim in the passenger seat (still filmed from the back).  She's looking at Walker, who is off-panel.

CAPTION: Detective Deena Pilgrim

PILGRIM: Come on, Walker.  You don't have to give the camera crew a hard time.  They're just doing their job.

4 - Back on Walker.  He's back to focusing on the road ahead, although his body language is still frustrated and tense.


WALKER: Maybe I would be more impressed if "their job" didn't consist of taking advantage of society's most vulnerable and marginalized peoples for cheap entertainment.

5 - Back on Deena.  She's taking a sip of a coffee, maybe not looking entirely serious.


PILGRIM: Well, maybe this could be a learning experience for everyone.  Give the world an idea of the kind of work we really do.

6 - Focus on the radio between Walker and Pilgrim as it crackles with speech.  Walker and Pilgrim could both be partially on-panel.

WALKER: Pfft, I hardly doubt that's why Cross agreed to this.

RADIO: Shots fired at Dallas and 34th.  Nearest officers, please respond.

7 - On Walker's car again, but from behind as it drives away, sirens flashing.


WALKER (within): But looks like they'll be getting a chance nonetheless.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

POWERS - The Multiplying-Man - Perry Kent

Panel 1
Detective Walker faces the Multiplying-Man, a man in a crazy purple costume, as he shouts and struggles against the restraint of two other cops. The interior of the room cannot yet be discerned, except for maybe some blood on the ground.

1. MULTIPLYING-MAN: He did it! He's crazy! An absolute lunatic!

2. WALKER: You have the right to remain silent...

Panel 2
Detective Pilgrim has her knee in the back of another Multiplying-Man as she cuffs him. This Multiplying-Man is identical in every regard. The leg of a purple-costumed leg can be seen poking into view.

3. MULTIPLYING-MAN: You got the wrong guy!

4. PILGRIM: ...anything you say can and will be used against you...

Panel 3
The two Multiplying-Man clones are lead away from the house, by two cops apiece. They are both still shouting.

5. MULTIPLYING-MAN 1: You can't take me away!

6. MULTIPLYING-MAN 2: I'm a hero dammit!

Panel 4
Walker and Pilgrim stand in the middle of a room full of carnage talking to each other. Several dead bodies lay around them, all having been murdered in grotesque fashions. All of the bodies are those of Multiplying-Man.

7. PILGRIM: Is this even murder? Suicide?

8. PILGRIM: Are the clones human?

9. WALKER: Hopefully that's someone else's job.

- END -

Why Powers?

Powers is a hit independent series by the prolific Brian M. Bendis. The series takes place in a world where it is not uncommon for a person to have extraordinary powers. Some of these people end up as heroes or villains.

What makes this world unique is the approach to the story. The protagonists are two homicide detectives tasked with investigating deaths relating to those with "powers". This puts a much more realistic spin on the concept of a world where some people have powers that others do not. The impacts to society are something that would be intensely wide-spread and touch more territory than most comic books dare to tread. Powers goes into that territory and goes deep.

This week let's explore the underbelly of a world where there are powers. Even better if you can filter it through the eyes of law enforcement.

Friday, August 19, 2016

KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH-"Water Me"--David Press


1.1: A BOY, probably between the ages of ten and twelve, walks with a GIANT PANDA next to him in a green field. The boy wears overalls and a baseball hat. The Panda is carrying a basket—let’s called the boy ZACK and the Panda is MERTON.

ZACK:                                    Ma needs us to pick the apples for my birthday desert.
MERTON:                              Well we better get on it!

1.2: They stand in front of a creek, their basket filled with green and red apples. Zack is skipping rocks across the pond—we can see the little puddles stretching out into the lake.


1.3: Merton picks up something from the rocky shore. It’s GOLDEN. Just focus on his furry palm.

ZACK [O.P.]:                         Whatcha got?

1.4: In a Tarantino-style shot, they look down at the golden pebble in Merton’s hand.

ZACK:                                    We’re rich!

1.5: They’re on their hands and knees filling up their basket with gold stones and TOSSING the apples.

ZACK:                                    This is the best birthday ever! Wait’ll Ma see.
MERTON:                              I think we may be on our way to subsidizing the national debt!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Klondike Gold Rush - The Great Alaskan Pickaxe - Perry Kent

Please forgive me for the sin of this comic. I had a much more serious, thought provoking one, but this one kept making me smile. Ergo I thought to inflict it upon the world.

Panel 1
Frankie, a rough looking miner with worn out coveralls, comes running into a small camp scared out of his mind. The small mining camp is occupied by Billy Bob and Herb, two nearly identical miners distinguished only by the color of their hair (Billy Bob has red, Herb has blond). The identical miners are startled at the intrusion of the shrieking man.

1. FRANKIE: BEAR! There's a bear out there!

Panel 2
Billy Bob has a hold of Frankie as the two men question the terrified man. Frankie looks scared out of his mind.

2. BILLY BOB: A bear? Where?

3. FRANKIE: At the panning site! Has ol' Louis and really ol' Louie up a tree!

Panel 3
Herb and Billy Bob shout at each other as they work up a solution.

4. HERB: This is a job too dangerous for mortal miner!

5. BILLY BOB: We need a hero!

6. HERB: A legend!

7. BILLY BOB and HERB: We need The Great Alaskan Pickaxe!

Panel 4
Herb blows furiously on a whistle that is shaped like the head of a moose with it's jaw open.


Panel 5
The Great Alaskan Pickaxe sits atop a muscular mule listening to the wind. He has a large brown beard and stocking cap. He wears a red and black flannel shirt that is bursting with muscles. Sticking above his shoulder is shining pickaxe.

9. PICKAXE: Hark! I hear the Axe Call.

10. PICKAXE: Come little Mallet, we must attend!

- END -

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Klondike Gold Rush – 8-16-16 – MK Stangeland, Jr.

(3 Panels)

Panel 1: SNOOPY is walking along, outfitted with assorted prospecting gear, with WOODSTOCK and a team of birds following behind carrying other supplies.

SNOOPY: Here’s the world-famous Gold Prospector, marching to the Klondike with his loyal prospecting team.

Panel 2: SNOOPY and the BIRDS stop and watch as LINUS walks on by.

LINUS: You’re going to need a lot more clothing if you don’t want to freeze in the frozen wastes of the Klondike.

Panel 3: SNOOPY and the BIRDS keep on marching forward, a large smile on each of their faces.

SNOOPY: Beagle fur and bird feathers are far more potent than any clothing we could possibly be carrying.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Klondike Gold Rush - Tabula Rasa - Grant McLaughlin

1 - On George McPhee, standing next to a recently hammered claim stake.  He wipes his brow with one hand and holds the tool he used to hammer in the stake with the other (possibly resting it on the stake's top).  He looks towards a voice calling him from off-panel.  We're in late Fall-ish weather here.

CAPTION (GEORGE): It's amazing, really.

LEONARD: George, get over here!

2 - George approaches a group of three other prospectors - Leonard Kensington, Philip Prince, and Alfred Trent.  The three are holding celebrator drinks aloft, ready to toast their new gold claim.  Leonard holds a drink out to George for him to share.  They all wear big smiles.  In the background, elements of their camp are visible: a few tents, equipment, the river / creek, and so forth.

CAPTION (GEORGE): We all thought it was the start of something new.

LEONARD: The claim's staked, but we need to christen it properly.

3 - The same claim site, but it's a few weeks / months later.  Winter has come, the site covered in snow.  The four men are present, but are in a bloody fight.  Red blood is all about the otherwise white ground.  Alfred is already dead.  Leonard is on top of George, trying to choke him to death.  George tries to free his throat / push Leonard away.  Both look terribly worn and injured, with lots of cuts and bruises.  Philip weakly tries to wrench Leonard from George's throat, to limited success.

CAPTION (GEORGE): Not the beginning of the end.

LEONARD: It's all your fault!

CAPTION (GEORGE): But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why the Klondike Gold Rush?

Over 130 years ago, a small family of prospectors discovered a rich vein of ore along Bonanza Creek, deep in the Yukon. News of their findings spread quickly, and before the end of the month, all of Bonanza had been claimed, as well as its tributaries.

By July, almost a year later, two ships came in to Seattle bearing nearly one billion dollars (adjusted) in gold, further enticing those brave enough, foolish enough, or both, to pack up their homestead and get moving.  And though an estimated 100,000 made the trip to the fabled Canadas, roughly 40,000 ever arrived, and fewer still made their fortunes.

Historian Pierre Berton described the Klondike as "just far enough away to be romantic and just close enough to be accessible", which sounds an awful lot like another industry we promote here on Thought Balloons.  If you're likewise inclined, grab your gear and mine along with us.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Robot Fighting Sports - Steeldriven - P. A. Nolte

1/ It's the turn of the century in the seedier part of a crime-ridden city.  Down a dark alley where the cobbles are worn slick is a stone arch set with a thick wooden door.  In front of it stands a small figure who, from behind, looks like any one of the nameless poor living among the Maschinnemen in the years since their arrival. There is an unreadable poster on the wall. From the other side of the door booms a metal voice.

Bouncer (OP): Password?

2/ Filling the bottom 3/4ths of the page is the poster. Now easily read.  On the left, a wiry man with thick muttonchops throws a victorious arm into the air.  He is somewhere between smiling relievedly and shouting boastfully.  On the right is what looks to be a steam engine given a rough humanoid shape.  It has no discernible emotions.  Under the two are a brief tag, the fighters' names, and other details common to promotional materials:  The Duel for The Docks!!! Heinrich Johannes vs. Locomotor!!!

Heinrich (OP): I dinnae ken.  I'm here ta fight the robit.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Robot Fight Sports--Something in a Club--David Press.

We'll cut forward into the fight sequence.

1.1: DJ sets his robot down. DJ’s robot looks like a collection of NANOBOT DRONES, taking the shape of a small baby. The Nanobot Baby Drone has a fog like structure—in the sense that there shouldn’t be tendons or anything that connect its individual parts, but it has arms, legs, chest and head, and floats around like fog.
            Across from DJ’s bot is ANDERS—who looks like the Android phone software character. You know this guy:


1.2 Half-size: The fight commences! Anders strikes first with his Electro-wand, but DJ’s Fog Drone disperses itself.


1.3 Same: FOG DRONE flies like a horde of BEES into the open chest cavity of Anders.


1.4: Anders looks full and its head has exclamation marks for eyes in the sense that it seems to be panicking. Let’s tease this one a little to the left, so we can see Anders’s human PILOT kind of panicking and pressing buttons on his remote. The pilot should wear a similar expression to Anders.

PILOT:                                    Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.

1.5: Anders EXPLODES in a shower of Fog Drones. Let’s tease to the left now and we can see DJ super-happy that he won.

SFX:                                       BOOM!