Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mephisto - Collision - Ryan K Lindsay

1. It’s all one big splash page, I want this to hearken back to the sort of openings Eisner did on The Spirit. There’s text up the top which is maybe 30% of the page, and then there’s the image which fills probably 60% of the page (and some text can overlap onto the image), and then the final line can be the last 10% or so at the bottom.
Text: Who is Mephisto?
*the first use of Mephisto should be large and old school, like an iconic logo for him.
Text: It’s a question scholars have laboured centuries trying to ponder, and it’s a problem that even Mephisto himself doesn’t bother to spend time analysing.

Text: All that matters is what Mephisto can do. The answer there is painfully easy. Anything. There is nothing outside of his wheelhouse, the only wall or barrier known is by delineating what he wants to do.

Text: Approaching the intersection of 51st St and 10th Ave we have a multitude of everyday people living their lives. A single mother, struggling to appreciate and understand her child’s tears, doesn’t look where she is going; a truck driver, carrying a payload he’d prefer not to have within his vehicle, lets his foot drop down just a little bit harder than usual just so he can be rid of such filth; a young boy walks along, not a care in the world; and a blind old alcoholic stands and waits, every care in the world has already had its way with him and left him a hollow shell of a man.

Text: No one could guess how these people will meet seconds into their future. And none of them will ever know why.

Image: We have a bird’s eye view of a usual New York intersection, it’s the aforementioned 51st and 10th, and we should see maybe one block more on each side, this isn’t extreme close up time for the intersection, the people should be small but clear enough to make out what we are seeing. I’m thinking a pretty good level of detail is going to be needed here, Seth Fisher style if you can. We want to see trash in the gutters, other characters standing around and adding depth. I want the mentioned characters all slowly converging on the intersection, though the old man is already there. The mother and child are coming from the top of the image, the truck from the bottom, the boy from the right, and the old man already standing on the right in front of the boy. The boy also needs to have red hair. And on the left side of the intersection I want to see a familiar man in a red coat with a high collar and black/red hair. We all know who he is, but we don’t get a great look at him. Have a dog barking at him from behind.

Image: Also, feel free to sneak some Easter eggs into the scene, perhaps a trenchcoated Travis Bickle, maybe even Sport standing nearby in the stoop of a building. A young soup nazi is working a mobile soup stand, like those hot dogs stands. You know, that sort of thing. Make the page come alive, the audience only gets one page, and one image, make them appreciate it.

Bottom Text: But one person knows why. And he’ll be the only one to ever know. You’d have to ask really nicely to find out why, and maybe even offer something, because when dealing with the black hole of Mephisto’s soul no light gets in or out for free.

Strangely enough, this was the third script I wrote for Mephisto. As usual, whenever a character is chosen for the week I take a day or two to just mull it over. If inspiration strikes, cool, if not then I wait some more. I do a bit of research online, Wikipedia is a glorious resource, and something always sparks while reading the character's history. Then I just start typing and see what flows out.

I wrote my first Mephisto script pretty quickly. It was a simple and fun little riff on a certain Charlie Daniel's Band, and telling the big red man to yell out "Boy, let me tell you what!" was fun, but the script just didn't feel good enough for me. It was a gag, and I wasn't certain a perfect one, so I pushed it aside and looked for more inspiration.

My second Mephisto script was a bit more serious. It faded in on Mephisto sitting on his throne and a certain X-Man coming to him for a favour. A bit of a strange favour, and one Mephisto would not acquiesce to, but it piqued his interest and that's where we'd leave him. I liked the script but found that it focused more on the delicious dialogue from the prim lady with the X on her instead of our dead devil. So I shelved it, and hoped I'd get something else.

And I did, which you read above. Hope you liked it.


  1. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan...I really want to turn the page. And that's what matters in the grand scheme. Having not read any of Eisner's Spirit (I know, I know) I'd really like to see this on paper so I can make out where the text is located. I totally see this in my head though, and I dig it. When I saw that the kid had red hair I immediately thought that he was Mephisto, and I still like to imagine that he is a part of the demon's master plan.

    Spot on, bro.

  2. I'm with Brandon on this one, I'd like to see what this page you are referring to looks like.

  3. Thanks lad, always nice to have some smiles after the page. Though I will say...I'm not sure EXACTLY what happens next in this issue, but with just this information you should be able to work out one of the main players in the scene (not including Mephisto on the left) and what is going to happen next. I'll be giving out No Prizes all week for those who can guess...

  4. Great opening page, Ryan. Left me wanting more.

  5. I was wondering how long it would take for one of us to do a single splash page :P

    Great job again, Ryan. For whatever reason I had the Twilight Zone narrator's voice in my head as I read this. As said by others, it is a great setup and left me wanting to continue reading the story.

    Well done.

  6. Great splash. A special edition A3 fold out poster in HiDef would work for me!!!

    Definition and vibrant colours would be key! A visual page, I like it!!!

  7. Blind man, truck, The Man Without Fear? Or am I wrong?

  8. @Forte Dante - you, my good man, win the first No Prize that I'll be handing out. That is indeed Matt Murdock walking along and the truck full of radioactive gear is bearing down on his destiny.

  9. Awesome stuff here, Ryan - my biggest fear if / when I script a splash page, it's going to be a fairly formulaic action moment; but this one, you've told a story within a single image. Seriously, great stuff.

  10. Ah, Ryan, I wondered how long it's be before you brought in Matt Murdock. This is the kind of retrospective origin meddling that'd have the fanboys foaming at the mouth. Love it.

    That said, I get a hankering to see the Charlie Daniels script too.

    If I had one criticism, and it's a minor one, it's that the text felt a little overwritten for modern tastes. I kept thinking "he could have cut that word and not lost any of the impact". Maybe you were going for a wordier, old-school narrative, but considering how much text there was here (even for an Eisner-inspired splash page), I did feel it could have been trimmed.

  11. Rol, you had to know I'd put ol man Murdock in pretty quickly, ha. also think that sort of meddling retcon action can be awesome, or completely decide...haha

    Yeah, I certainly was going for that old school approach, very much a Rod Serling type of intro. Felt I could get verbose just this once, though you could take to it with a hedge trimmer and still get the same page.

    As for my other two scripts, I might put them up on my site one day as a B-sides compilation.

    @Simon - if I do another splash it'll be all about the captions again, not the image. I think with this process the image needs to be completely lifted by the words (and not necessarily the amount of them but the quality or punch of them). I'm looking forward to doing another splash.

  12. Man, I can't believe I only just got around to reading this. It's amazing the sheer amount of detail you've managed to put into this single page, and it works clearly in my imagination.

    AND you managed to fit in Matt Murdock, which is always a good thing


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