Saturday, December 31, 2011

The North Pole – Luke Cage’s Sweet Christmas Page 3 – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: LUKE CAGE stands in the snow and holds his arm in front of his face as a blizzard suddenly starts to blow.

CAPTION: Just when seemed his Christmas just might be ruined

LUKE CAGE: Now I have to deal with a blizzard that’s blowin?

Panel 2: LUKE CAGE begins to walk through the snow. The snow of the blizzard is thick now.

LUKE CAGE: I swear if I freeze to death, that fat man’s getting a poundin!

Panel 3: The blizzard begins to dissipate. The Avengers Mansion can be seen in the background through the snow.

CAPTION (1): But Santa had certainly not forgotten the hero,

CAPTION (2): He saw to it that Luke was whisked back so quickly, he said


Panel 4: LUKE CAGE runs back into the Avengers Mansion.

CAPTION: When inside he did run to get out of the cold, just what wondrous thing did his eyes then behold?

Panel 5: LUKE CAGE enters the room of the Avengers Mansion that has the Christmas Tree in it. Underneath the tree are a buttload of presents. Standing nearby are JESSICA JONES, who’s holding a sleeping DANIELLE in her arms. She looks surprised, but happy, to see LUKE CAGE. A fireplace nearby is lit up, providing the room with warmth and an ambient light source.

CAPTION (1): A reward from Santa, a huge bundle of gifts.

CAPTION (2): And waiting nearby were his sweetheart and his kid.

Panel 6: LUKE CAGE stands next to JESSICA JONES. He has his arm around her and holds her close. LUKE CAGE happily looks at the presents under the tree while JESSICA has turned to give her husband a kiss on the check.

CAPTION (1): As he stood with his family, holding them tight

CAPTION (2): Cage thought that he heard something from outside in the night

Panel 7: Outside shot of the Avengers Mansion. It’s a picturesque Christmas scene, with the area covered in white and a light snowfall. Santa’s silhouette can be seen flying across the moon.

CAPTION (1): It was a blessing from Santa, as he flew into the west:

SANTA: A good night to all, and to all a SWEET CHRISTMAS!


(And with the final THOUGHT BALLOONS scripts of 2011, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who read and/or participated at all this year, wish you all a belated Sweet Merry Christmas, and give you blessed tidings for a wonderful New Year!

Here’s to 2012!)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The North Pole - Blue Christmas - Grant McLaughlin

Three rows of panels, two panels of equal size per row.

1 – Santa stands in the doorway of one of his toy workshops. He is sweating profusely, only wearing an undershirt with his jacket draped over his arm. There's lots of melting snow and icicles.

CAPTION: The impacts of Global Warming were being felt all over.

SANTA: My, it's hot.

2 – This is the continuation of the image from panel 1, simply separated by the gutter. More workshops are visible in the background, but the focus of this panel is on Frosty the Snowman. Wearing his signature top hat, he is crawling towards Santa and is in the process of melting. The look on his face is not dissimilar to terror.

CAPTION: But no place was  affected more so than the North Pole.

FROSTY: You gotta do something, Santa!

3 – A meeting room. Santa (still sweating) stands pointing towards a blackboard with “TOO HOT!!!” hastily scrawled upon it in chalk. Sitting at a table in front of him are Rudolf, the Abominable Snowman, an elf or two, and a polar bear. Santa doesn't look hopeful.

CAPTION: Seeing the severity of the situation, Santa called together the best minds available to him.

SANTA: ...

4 – The same room. Everyone is tired. It's clear that some time has past (perhaps a night of hard thinking). However, the polar bear leaps upwards in jubilation: he has figured out a solution.

CAPTION: And just when it appeared as if all was lost.

POLAR BEAR: I've got it!

5 – The panel focuses on a sign above the entrance to Santa's area of the North Pole. “Santa's Village” is crossed out and beneath it “Welcome to the North Pool Resort!” has been painted in below by hand.

CAPTION: A solution was found.

6 – Santa stands in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. There's various people, elves, and reindeer lounging about, taking in some rays or jumping into the many pools. That sort of thing. There is, of course, no snow to be found.  Santa holds a glass of water that contains the remains of Frosty: there's some coal eyes, a carrot nose, and a small top hat on top.

CAPTION: ...sort of.

FROSTY (quietly): This isn't exactly what I had in mind...

SANTA: I'm just amazed they found so much sand on such short notice...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The North Pole - Luke Cage's Sweet Christmas Page 2 - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

From behind, we see Luke and the elf staring ahead towards Santa’s Grotto. It’s a ramshackle log cabin with Christmas decorations, twinkling lights and a huge fir tree outside. There’s a pack of reindeer standing to one side, looking grumpy. The door to the shack is opening…

The elf hands Luke a handkerchief. The snow has stopped but Luke is still shivering.

Elf: Your payment must wait, saving Santa’s the issue…
You’ll have to make do with this snotty old tissue.

Panel Two.

From out of the shack come a gang of supervillains, charging towards Luke, itching for a fight. (I'll tell you who they are in the next two panels, just play along, will you?) We don't need to see them all in this panel though.

Then faster than Quicksilver, the villains they came
And Luke, he did struggle to remember their names…

Panel Three.

Close on Luke, wracking his brains to identify the villains in the previous panel. He’s fighting while he does this, but we’re too close to see much of the action.

Luke: Erm… Trapster, and… Cancer? The Answer, and… Vixen?

Panel Four.

The four villains Luke has just named are laid out on the snow while Luke tackles another four in one big fight scrum. One of the villains is a famous film director, the rest are regular Marvel badguys.

Luke: Now, Batroc and Carnage, Richard Donner and… Blizzard?

Cap: That last one didn’t rhyme, but Luke didn’t care
He was just glad to get them out of his hair

Panel Five.

From behind, we see Luke standing outside Santa’s grotto. In the foreground, a pile of villains lay defeated. The elf runs past Luke towards Santa who’s tied up with tinsel and locked in cage just inside the shack’s doorway. Santa also has a bauble taped into his mouth like a ball gag.

Cap: So Santa was rescued, set free from his cage
And Luke, he did wonder what to buy with his wage

Panel Six.

Luke watches as Santa and the Elf zoom off on the sleigh (now loaded with presents), pulled by the reindeer. The Elf waves back at Luke from the sleigh, looking slightly embarrassed. The snow is falling again and Luke is left huddled and shivering, contemplating a long journey home.

Cap: But the old man was late, with no time to pay,
He just jumped on his sleigh and flew off on his way

Elf: Sorry!

Cap: …waved the Elf…

Elf: I guess that’s just snow business!

Leaving Luke to walk home, a’grumbling…


Monday, December 26, 2011

The North Pole - Luke Cage's Sweet Christmas Page 1 - Ben Rosenthal

When writing the following dialogue, those parts labelled CAPTION should be in the usual caption boxes, and the speech by the characters in a word balloon from the corresponding characters.

1. Luke cage is sits in a rocking chair in the nursery at the Avengers Mansion. He is facing a crib, a book in hand as he reads to Danielle as she falls asleep. The window behind him shows that it is snowing.


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung –

2. Same as Panel 1. However we can see two small hands appearing from underneath the cot. Luke Cage is standing, book in one hand while his other hand is gripped firmly on the back of the rocking chair.


“By Jiminy, who’s there?

Show yourself now, or you’ll be eatin’ this chair.”

3. A small elf is standing in front of the cot now. His head is bowed, hat in hands as he addresses Luke Cage. Luke has relaxed somewhat, as if he knows who this elf is (Pretty sure Luke has met one of Santa’s elves before).


His child sleeping all snug in her bed,

When out from under it came an elf with bowed head.


“Forgive me Luke Cage, I was looking for Cap,

It seems that dear Santa has fallen into a trap.”

4. Luke Cage has his hand on the elf’s shoulder, showing compassion as he talks.


“I’ll help little guy,”


Luke Cage he did say,


“You just have to make sure that Santa can pay”.


The elf looked confused, and then asked




Luke Cage looked down and said


“The Avengers pay squat.”

5. This frame should go the length of the page, as it shows the two teleporting from the Mansion to the North Pole. The elf has his eyes closed as it casts a teleportation spell. The background is in a transition of being the Avenger’s nursery room, and the barren arctic tundra.


The elf closed his eyes, and whispered a spell of old

Next thing he knew, Cage was at the North Pole!

6. A close up of Luke Cage’s face as he shivers in the cold. A string of snot dangles from his nose.


Luke was freezing, his nose all runny,

His teeth chattered loudly as he asked


”Where’s my money, honey?”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The North Pole - Where In The World Is The North Pole? - Ryan K Lindsay


1. A S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier fills the sky as we look up at it. Someone whom we cannot see yet speaks within the vehicle.
Voice: You're kidding, right?

2. Nick Fury looks down and out of the helicarrier, the wind from the open door whips his hair around a little.
Fury: You ever known me to kid, Drake?

3. Bobby Drake, the Iceman of the X-Men, looks down next to Fury - this panel might as well be the next section of the same image from Panel 2, just separated with a panel gutter.
Drake: I've never actually known you, sir.

4. We now look down at the helicarrier from above and see it is above pure green and blue ocean.
Fury: Well, I can assure you this isn't some practical joke cooked up by that blue doormat you call an intellectual superior.
Fury: You're to go down there and figure out what happened.
Fury: Maybe even fix it if you can, sure be appreciated.

Why The North Pole?

It’s a merry time of year and we should celebrate by visiting a merry place in this world.

The thoughtballoons wagon doesn’t stop, not even for the gift giving season, and so our gifts to you this week are some one page comic scripts straight from the North Pole. We Tenures don’t like to slow down for anything and so this week we’re still hard at work. Either that or we scheduled our scripts days ago and we’re sitting in a beach house with our loved ones kicking back and relaxing. It’s always one or the other, isn’t it?

Last year, we did Santa Claus and it was a lot of fun, so this year we’ve picked another festive treat. All our scripts will involve the North Pole and that’s about the only parameter to be met. It’s snowy, it’s cold, it may or may not house a slave laboured fat man who can travel faster than the speed of light and who watches you all year round, and it’s a place none of us have been, Well, I haven’t been there and I assume my friendly tenured pals are just as unsure of this location.

What the hell is Wonder Woman holding?
Socks do not have reservoir tips!
What really is at the North Pole? Well, that’s just something we’ll have to make up. I’m sure we’ll cook up some decidedly nasty ideas, as well as some saccharine slush, to get us through to 2012.

We wish you a merry Xmas, all the way from the magnetic north, and we’ll see you all in the new year ready to make with the words. As always.

Thanks for sharing 2011 with us, it’s been a roller coaster ride for us all, and I hope everything only trends upwards as we get past the next end of the world.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What If…? – What If Matt Murdock Had Died? – Ryan K Lindsay


When a radioactive isotope smashes into your face, you’re probably going to die a horrible death. In this world, Matt Murdock last a few months in the hospital, blind, scared, sad, and then he passes away.

Jack Murdock struggles to go on, alone.

1. Fogwell’s Gym is relatively busy, there are plenty of people there, but Jack Murdock is alone amongst it all. You could show this with colour or an inset border. Make sure he’s isolated. He’s standing at a punching bag, perhaps have him on one side of it, and everyone else on the other side of it doing their thing.

2. Jack finishes the tape on his hands.
Caption: So I’m just gonna keep on punching?

3. Jack stands in front of the bag, we look at him from behind. He’s a hulk of a man but he looks defeated.
Caption: I’m gonna punch everything and that’s gonna fix somethin’?

4. Jack stands, ready to lay the first punch on, his fists up.
Caption: Even I’m smart enough to doubt that.

5. Jack punches the bag.
Caption: But not smart enough to know the other options.

6. Bare hands, small kid’s hands, grab the bag on the other side.
Lester: Need a spotter, mister?

Friday, December 23, 2011

What If Companies Cared About Good Comics and Not Just Good Sales? - Grant McLaughlin

A little late, but better that then never, right?

Four rows, each comprised of a single panel.

1 – The image for each panel will be relatively similar, being compose of three main elements: a comic book store, a newspaper box, and two comic book readers walking in the foreground of the panel. For simplicity's sake, let's call the store “Comic Books”. Picture your standard comic book store, and you've probably got a good idea as to what this one looks like. The headline of the newspaper reads “National Crime Rate Plummeting”.

CAPTION: Month 1.

COMIC BOOK READER: I still can't believe how awesome comics have been lately!

2 – Same store. Maybe have a few more cars in the parking lot, a few more bodies visible inside. Apart from that, virtually the same scene with two comic book readers coming out of the store. The newspaper headline now reads “World Hunger Solved!”

CAPTION: Month 3.

COMIC BOOK READER: Who would have known that giving creators so much freedom would have such positive results?

3 – The store has been expanded. It is now quite a bit bigger and the sign reads “Comic Books Plus” or something equally innocuous. The amount of cars in the parking lot and people inside has increased in a similar amount. The comic book readers walk along yet again. The newspaper headline now reads “All Diseases Cured!”

CAPTION: Month 6.

COMIC BOOK READER: In retrospect, it's crazy that this didn't happen sooner.

4 – The expanded store is still the same size, but its parking lot is overflowing and people are literally lined out the door. The comic book readers are once again in the process of exiting the store. The newspaper headline now reads “All Wars Ended Forever!”

CAPTION: Month 12.

COMIC BOOK READER: It truly is a perfect world.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What If Stan Lee Became A Plumber Instead Of A Comic Book Writer? - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

A computer screen shows an empty google search box.

Panel Two.

Fingers type on a computer keyboard.

Panel Three.

The google searchbox now displays the words "Thoughtalloons - One page of script a week. Every week brings a new character."

Panel Four.

A finger hits the return key on the keyboard.

Panel Five.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What If? - Harry Didn't Die - Ben Rosenthal

Back story – Harry never died. Yeah, I know that really happened. But in this tale, Harry wasn’t believed dead. Again taking on another familiar theme of his father, Harry slid in and out of the goblin persona as the drug which addled his system gave him a crude chemical amnesia. Probably a mistake....

1. Peter Parker is beaten. Badly. We are seeing him from behind, his head visible as he holds it up from the ground as he lay on his back. Hovering over him on his goblin glider is The Green Goblin – Harry Osborn. Goblin is crouched down, looking at Peter with cruel, mad eyes.


Why? You want to know WHY?

Well Pete, it’s as simple as this.

2. Same as Panel 1. The Goblin is now standing tall on his glider as he talks to Peter.


You took it from me.

My father was obsessed with you even before he found out you wore webs. Liz, Gwen, MJ – they all loved you. REALLY loved you.

3. The goblin has ripped off his mask. The madness in Harry’s eyes glistens as he leers as Peter.


You want to know why I hate you, Peter? I hate you because you already have too much love.

As an extra special bonus, I've decided to throw in the dialogue I was briefly working on before I wrote the above script. Was going for a slightly different angle, but the same idea.


Peter, I envy you.

Powers, loved by friends and family. Loved, full stop.

I don’t think I’ve ever been loved by anyone Pete. Not my father. Not Liz or Lilly.

What’s it like Peter? How *cough*

How does it feel to have unconditional love?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What If…? – Newest Fantastic Four – MK Stangeland Jr.

(A sequel to probably the favorite ‘What If…?’ comic I own (though, granted I don’t actually own that many issues), Newer Fantastic Four, which in turn is a sequel to the ‘Mike Wieringo tribute’ version of the New Fantastic Four ‘What If…?’ issue.

In this scene, the current version of the four – SPIDER-MAN, WOLVERINE, IRON MAN, and SHE-HULK (having replaced her cousin following the events of Newer Fantastic Four) have infiltrated a Kree command center in order to stop the SUPREME INTELLIGENCE before the final pieces of his plan for OPERATION: GALACTIC STORM can come together.)

(4 Panels)

Panel 1: SHE-HULK stands just on the outside of the doorway as the now wrecked doors come to a rest on the floor. A Skrull soldier can be seen halfway sticking out from under one of the doors. IRON MAN flies through the doorway right above her and provides cover fire. SPIDER-MAN has a webline attached to IRON-MAN’s boots which allows him to be pulled into the room. WOLVERINE is about to charge into the room from behind where SHE-HULK is standing.

SHE-HULK & SPIDER-MAN: Knock, knock!

Panel 2: Skrull soldiers fire on the FANTASTIC FOUR members as the SUPREME INTELLIGENCE operates from behind a shielded control panel.

SPIDER-MAN: Hey, that was my line!


SHE-HULK: I was going to say it first!

Panel 3: IRON MAN unleashes his UNI-BEAM on the shielding protecting SUPREME INTELLIGENCE.

IRON MAN: Bad news, Intelligence. Your plan’s already been interfered with.


SFX: (Impact with shield) ptsfffff!

Panel 4: CUT to scene of CAPTAIN AMERICA’s Avengers team and the STARFORCE launching an attack on the skrulls guarding the NEGA-BOMB.

IRON MAN: (Voice Over) As we speak, our friends are ensuring your Nega-Bomb is neutralized permanently.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Avengers, take ‘em down!



Why “What If…?”…?

Because I love a good alternate reality tale. I love finding out about alternate possibilities, to see people asking what might have happened if things had gone just a little bit or a lot differently, and then hypothesizing about the different paths that history might have taken as a result. What if Napoleon hadn’t lost at Waterloo? What if Captain America hadn’t been assassinated and fought in World War Hulk? What if Thought Balloons didn’t exist? What I had decided to pick a different topic for this week?

And so I decided that, to go along with the month that Marvel had been using as it’s ‘What if’ month over the past few years (even if they seem to be skipping it this year), I’d take the opportunity to ask “What If Thought Balloons did a ‘What If…?’ Week?” and see what kind of scripts might result.
It should be noted that while the topic is ‘What If…?’, this doesn’t mean that you have to use a Marvel story. Just as acceptable are stories by DC, Image, Red 5, or any other comic publisher. Want to write about what you think would happen if J. Jonah Jameson thought Spider-Man wasn’t a menace? Go ahead. Have an itch to write about what if Guy Gardner had gotten Abin Sur's ring instead of Hal Jordan? That’s fair game, too. Think you’ve got a good idea what things might be like if Nikola Tesla died before he could hit Atomic Robo’s “ON” switch? Knock yourself out. Often find yourself imagining a world in which Invincible followed in his dads footsteps and turned evil? Here’s your chance to write about it. As long as it’s a property that can be tied into comics, consider this a week to let your imagination run wild.
So what if I stop writing this ‘Why…?’ post and let the tenured writers and guest posters put some scripts together? Now that’s a what if we can start answering right now!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Judge Dredd – Judge THIS! – MK Stangeland Jr.

JUDGE DREDD is hunting down a crazed mutant cyborg serial killer that has been targeting Judges. They are currently in an abandoned, ruined section of Megacity-One. The serial killer wears a Judge outfit stolen from his first kill and goes by the name of JUDGE YOURSELF.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: JUDGE DREDD ducks behind cover as a grenade shoots past where his head was just a moment ago.

Panel 2: JUDGE DREDD pokes his head back out from behind cover, weapon out and aimed.

Panel 3: Close-up panel of the grenade as it impacts and explodes somewhere behind JUDGE DREDD, breaking some kind of mish-mash trigger unit.


Panel 4: A large tanker truck of some kind is seen suspended above JUDGE DREDD, and has started to fall as the trigger keeping it in place has been broken.

SFX: SkreeEE!

Panel 5: JUDGE DREDD looks up to see the truck falling towards him.

Panel 6: JUDGE DREDD leaps safely out of the way as the truck hits the ground.



(And once again, thanks to Grant for offering the switch.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Judge Dredd - Legion - Matt Duarte

Judge Dredd in Legion by Matt Duarte

Panel 1

Description: Judge Dredd is walking through a particularly nasty area of Mega-City One. He's talking away on his communicator as he walks to a crowd of people.

DREDD: No signs of the graffitiers. Are you sure we have the right block, control?

CONTROL (out of panel): Yes, it's that one. We got several reports of it, but nothing on the cameras.

Panel 2

Description: Judge Dredd has stopped walking. He is standing and looking up at something we can't see. He is clearly not happy right now.The crowd around him look in the same direction, their faces mixed in awe, shock and horror.

DREDD: Let me guess, all the cameras from around the area malfunctioned.

CONTROL: ...yes, how did you know that?

DREDD: They were hacked. I know who we are dealing with.

Panel 3

Description: From behind Judge Dredd's back, he is staring at a huge public service announcement display. In it, there's group of judges looking sternly at the viewer, pointing their fingers in an accusatory way (think of the classic Uncle Sam poster). Underneath it, it says “Follow the law!”. However, the sign has been graffiti on it, it now has a few extra letters so that it reads “Follow the lawls”, and the Judges on it are now sporting troll faces.

DREDD: Send in reinforcements. We are facing a legion.

Next: Judge Dredd vs. Anonymous.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Judge Dredd - Ego-a-go-go - Sime McDonald

Inside the Justice Department’s armoury, Judge Dredd stands with the armourer. Dredd’s outfitted in his uniform, weapon holstered by his side, iconic helmet plonked atop his head, his holding another helmet in his outstretched arms, slightly more advanced than his own, a few more bells and whistles, a little more extravagant. Dredd’s mouth is twisted into a sour grimace; he’s not impressed by this piece of new technology. The armourer, beside him, is far more impressed.

- - all the customary features of course, night-vision, thermal-vision, and something else - -


- - an inbuilt fMRI scanner, that’ll display activity in the brain’s amygdala and anterior insula.

If looks could kill, the armourer would be sliced in half by Dredd’s; thusly, his complexion has paled and he’s lost a degree of composure, nervous now.

Which tells me what?

Uh – well, er, increased activity in these parts of the brain indicate an anticipation of pain, a belief that a person is under threat - -

Dredd casually tosses the helmet into the air. The armourer watches on, fingers arms splayed, wide-eyed.

- - meaning you could scan a crowd, and anybody displaying heightened activity as a result of your presence could, potentially, be a threat and duly brought in for - -


Small panel of the helmet clunking down onto the asphalt floor.


Dredd holds his weapon up in front of the armourer’s face. It's

People see me coming, I expect them to fear the worst.
If they don't, I'm not doing my job.
I don’t need to see brain activity to validate my effect on people.
On Dredd, walking away.

My ego doesn’t need a boost.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Judge Dredd – Quick Response – Ryan K Lindsay


1. Angle aimed at about mid-chest and down on a flat level. A young boy sits a little bit away from some London rioters, his nose is dripping blood, his shoulders sloop, a bag hangs from his back. A rioter is helping him up.

2. The young boy is being led away but we can see another rioter behind start riffling through the young boy’s bag, pulling out headphones, etc.

3. The rioter is now walking away from the boy. He is holding headphones in his hand and tossing a plastic container away.

4. The rioters legs are still walking but now blood spatters the sidewalk behind him and mists in the air, we can’t see what’s happened to his head, though. Not yet.

5. The rioter has fallen to the ground, his head is pretty well decimated by a bullet. Judge Dredd’s boots are walking over his body, perhaps stepping on him directly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Judge Dredd - Reality is - Ben Rosenthal

1. Judge Dredd is sitting, his helmet in his hands. He looks at it, thinking, although shadow covers the upper half of his body so that we cannot see his face.

CAPTION: How many times have I stared death in the face? How many times have I dodged that bullet?

2. Judge Dredd is standing now. We see him from behind as he places his helmet over his head.

CAPTION: Now, death has caught up.

3. Judge Dredd’s arm reaches for his Lawgiver pistol.

CAPTION: Unfortunately for the scum of this city...

4. Half body shot of Judge Dredd in full light. Lawgiver in hand and what we can see of his face showing a grim determination.

CAPTION: I’m taking them with me.

Just a bit of housekeeping - Judge Dredd has been recently diagnosed with a form of brain cancer.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Judge Dredd - Writing For Creeps - Maxy "Drokk" Barnard

What follows is a comic script version of real-life events, and as such must be taken very seriously, else history repeat itself. This is the tragic elimination of one of the original Thought Ballooners. He will never script again. It's a packed record, but with the right representation, we believe the tale can progress neatly, especially if the inset panels were kept as small as possible.


Inset within panel 2. DREDD's boot kicking through the front door to MAXY BARNARD's flat, splinters flying every which way.

DREDD stepping through the door, gun in hand, as MAXY is at his desk, mid-way through panickedly falling from his chair.


MAXY: Drokk!

DREDD picking MAXY up off the floor by the collar with ease.

MAXY: I didn't do anything, man, I swear I haven't written a word in weeks!

DREDD: That's just it...

Having pulled MAXY closer to his face, DREDD is yelling, spittle flying, point blank. MAXY is flinching away best he can.


Inset into panel 6. DREDD throws MAXY to the floor.


MAXY scuttling into the corner away from Dredd, reaching out for something.

MAXY: You don't understand, I had STUFF going on...

Inset into panel 9. MAXY swinging round with a gun.

MAXY: You just do-

Inset into panel 9. A bullet passes through MAXY's head.

JUDGE DREDD, gun smoking, pointed at the reader.

DREDD: No excuses for breaking the rules, kid.


Why Judge Dredd?

It may be a shocking realisation to people who only partake in the US comics scene, but we brits have the main pillar of our comics in sci-fi, as far removed from cliché superheroics and companies like Marvel and DC as you could possibly get, outside of arty indie books no-one sincerely wants to read. The biggest and... probably only... mainstream sci-fi series over here is 2000AD, the weekly prog where characters like Strontium Dog, Nikolai Dante and, yes, Judge Dredd get their mad-on in distinctly british and mildly insane adventures. I am a fan of this, and moreso the huge monthly injection of amazement that is the Judge Dredd Megazine, the sort of comics mag that puts all others to shame.

Which is the obvious reason to choose Dredd. The OTHER reasons to choose him and why he's a perfect choice for Thought Balloons is a little less personal and a lot more brilliant.

See, the world of Dredd is a brilliant mirror of the world we live in today, and is constantly adaptable to whatever surreal commentary is required. Adolescence, immigration, celebrity, reality tv, Dredd's world can address all of this, usually from the perspective of the unflappable man-chin that is Dredd himself. A man of the law unlike any other, unwavering in his loyalty to it in the face of whatever may come his way, his straight approach to a bent world is both comedic and capable of providing clarity to the messages and situations being bandied about in the stories.

Also there was that one movie no-one liked that is endlessly quotable and quite awful, so the lazier among us may choose to, I don't know, castrate Rob Schneider or something. Something that I'm sure won't be necessary for anyone in the upcoming Karl Urban-fronted film, which looks to be amazing, and enough of a reason for me to go "It's timely! There's a thing and so it works!", even if said thing is still far off on the horizon.

Dredd is one of my favourite comic characters of all time, and hopefully this week you'll get a glimpse into why.

If you want to read up on Dredd, check out this here WIKI page, and if you want to buy any of the superb 2000AD trades, progs or megs, then your local comic shop or the 2000AD website should be your suited ports of call.

So drokkin' get writing creeps. It's the law!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nova – Eulogy – MK Stangeland Jr.

The scene takes place within the relatively short span of time between the end of THANOS IMPERATIVE and the first ANNIHILATORS miniseries.
The location is aboard a large observation area on a starship that is currently orbiting the wreckage of XANDAR. Present are most of the members of the NOVA CORPS as well as a select group of other cosmic heroes.
(4 Panels)
PANEL 1: COSMO stands as best as a dog is able at a podium overlooking the crowd assembled on the observation deck.
COSMO: Richard Rider was good man.
PANEL 2: Panel overlooks crowd as COSMO continues to address them with his telepathy.
COSMO: He came from humble origins on planet known as Earth. It eez planet familiar to Cosmo. It has strange role of being both far from cosmic affairs and yet play big role in them.
PANEL 3: Panel shows the ship as it orbits the ruins of XANDAR.
COSMO: When given power of last member of Nova Corps, Richard prove zat great man can come from anywhere.
PANEL 4: Panel shows a distance shot of XANDAR and the ship orbiting it. Edge of panel should suggest that the following page will transition to a flashback or images of scenes that COSMO will be describing. As he continues.
COSMO (1): He show it eez not important where person come from zat eeze important, but what person do with life.
COSMO (2): Richard show one must seize opportunities presented in life and make most of zem.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nova – What’s A Cosmic? – Ryan K Lindsay


1. We are in Mary Jane’s apartment. Nova is wearing his suit, but his helmet is off and underneath his arm. He looks down at the bench, Mary Jane stands next to him and also looks down.

2. Nova continues to look down. Mary Jane looks at him.

3. Nova looks up, Mary Jane looks down.

4 Nova and Mary Jane face each other.
Nova: You don’t really know what it is I do, do you?

5. Nova looks up at the ceiling, exasperated, Mary Jane looks down again.
Mary Jane: So ‘cosmic’ doesn’t mean you can hook my iPad up to my wi-fi. Cool, I get it now. Fine.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nova - Up - Ben Rosenthal

1. The streets of Manhattan. Everyday citizens are looking up to a bright light in the sky. Some are pointing, while others look worried.


Look! Up in the sky!


It’s a Bird!

2. Still on the street, however the light in the sky has gotten much bigger, and looking rather ominous. The people in the street all look worried now, with some beginning to run away.


It’s a plane?

3. Inside an air born ship, in the control room. We see the back of a figure, but cannot work out who it is. They are standing with their hand to chin, observing the bright light from the control room window.



4. A close up of the bright object. It is Nova, bursting with energy. His face is of intense concentration as he tries to contain the immense power that threatens to erupt from him, destroying the planet.

CAPTION: It’s a super Nova.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nova - Just a Small Town Boy - Matt Duarte

Nova in “Just a Small Town Boy” by Matt Duarte

Panel 1

Description: Nova is flying through a gravimetric stargate (what he uses to travel around space, basically a giant wormhole). Behind him, open space flows by, peppered by hundred if not thousands of stars and other galactic bodies.

NOVA: You know, Worldmind, I still remember the first time my parents took me to Jones Beach to see the 4th of July fireworks.

NOVA: I was so scared, I asked them if those were the stars exploding.

Panel 2

Description: Nova coming out of the Stargate, rocketing across the vastness of space.

WORLDMIND (CAPTION): That's ridiculous, Richard. If a star exploded in such close proximity to Earth, the planet would be decimated by its aftermath.

NOVA: I was just a boy, you know?

WORLDMIND (CAPTION): And they did not teach you this in your educational facilities? In Xandar, Space Geography was one of the earliest subjects we would teach to our young.

NOVA: I don't think that was in the curriculum, no.

Panel 3

Description: Nova flying past a planet with several large space ships flying around. They are evacuating this alien planet.

NOVA: By the way, Worldmind, you can tell them to call off the evacuation, and inform them that I am responding to the emergency.

NOVA: Anyway, what I was trying to say...

Panel 4

Description: A huge star is glowing an eerie and unnatural red. Wild lashes of fire are going off in all directions. Nova is dwarfed by its enormity as he flies towards it.

NOVA: Now that I'm actually preventing a star from exploding, I have to say that the fireworks were more impressive-looking.

WORLDMIND (CAPTION): Why were you so impressed by simple explosive pyrotechnics?

NOVA: I guess you wouldn't understand, Worldmind. Back then I was just a boy from the unpopular part of New York. I would have never dreamed I'd eventually punch my way through a star.

Panel 5

Description: A close up on Nova's face. He is smiling.

WORLDMIND (CAPTION): We are not “punching” our way through it. We are tactically using gravimetrical force to release tension from the core of this very unstable star.

NOVA: Yeah, but my way sounds much more fun.

NEXT: What dangers await at the core of a star?

Why Nova?

Somewhere along the mid-2000's, someone at Marvel decided that the company should do a space-themed event series. It would include almost all of the companies cosmic heavy hitters. Popular characters like Galactus, Silver Surfer and Thanos showed up on it, but there was also some oddball choices and C-list characters.

One of them was Nova, also known as Richard Rider, who had his last solo series years ago and was in the popular-at-the-time New Warriors, but not much else. Under the dexterous hands of Keith Giffen and the duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, in the pages of Annihilation and later his most recent solo series, Nova flourished into a much more interesting character: a seasoned war horse that left his wide-eyed days in the past, but with a sense of humor nonetheless. His rise in status is perhaps summed up best by the time he ripped out Annihilus entrails from the inside, effectively ending a threat that killed millions of beings in the universe.

Nova went on to live a long and productive life as a space cop. That is, until (Spoilers from years ago) Richard died. A new one has recently showed up, but he is going to be written one by Jeph Loeb, so perhaps the dead one is better off.

So, in short, expect to see many space adventures, explosions, and "Blue Blazes!" this week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pet Avengers – Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers Versus Red Ghost and The Monsters of Evil! – MK Stangeland Jr.

(2 Panels)

Panel 1: Small, thin panel as Pet Avengers LOCKJAW, THROG, LOCKHEED, REDWING, HAIRBALL, MS. LION, and TIPPY-TOE stand in shock and look upon the full team that RED GHOST has assembled.

RED GHOST: (Off Panel) Pet Avengers! Prepare to face your utter annihilation at the hands of...

Panel 2: SPASH PAGE!

RED GHOST is at the center of THE MONSTERS OF EVIL as they assume battle poses and prepare to do battle against the PET AVENGERS. The names of the members are bolded next to each of them.



RED GHOST (3): DOG-HULK! (A comic version of one of the hulk-powered dogs from Ang Lee’s HULK movie)

RED GHOST (4): ROBO-HIT-MONKEY! (HIT-MONKEY re-built as a superpowered monkey cyborg.)

RED GHOST (5): SQUIRRELPOOL! (The Squirrel in a Deadpool mask that Marvel previously used on one of its covers and temporarily on their website when the Konami Code was entered.)

RED GHOST (6): PREDATOR Y! (A humanoid version of PREDATOR X, but with wings.)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Pet Avengers – Valhalla Interrupted – Ryan K Lindsay


1. Establishing shot of Central Park in Manhattan. Take whichever panel size or perspective angle you desire. Just make sure this isn’t a massive panel, we need more room below.
Caption-Throg: You should be happy I’m here.

2. Throg sits in a majestic throne amidst the trees made of branches and leaves. His Mjolnir sits by his right hand in a cradle made of leaves and his left hand holds a tiny goblet with red wine sloshing around in it.
Throg: My mere presence recognises this locale is a prosperous ecosystem.

3. Lockjaw looks up at Throg, he’s making a point.
Lockjaw: *this speech bubble holds some kind of crazy symbol, do with it as you wish*

4. Throg points at Lockjaw with his goblet, he’s making a point of his own.
Throg: Neither I nor my associates have rained down on this city, been vomited up by fair maidens, or imposed ourselves in any malicious manner.

5. Large panel. Throg sits back in his throne, Lockjaw looks small before him. Behind and around Throg, the trees fill with tiny Gold Frogs (about 1cm in length). Their eyes hint mischief and the amount of them is intense.
Throg: If you wish to lead my army away then you should find us a suitable battleground to inhabit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pet Avengers – I’m a Bad Man - Ben Rosenthal

1. Redwing is in midflight. However an arrow has pierced one of its wings. It cries it pain as it begins to fall.

2. A raging river. In the middle of the river is a burlap sack, tied up. It is in the process of sinking below the surface. From the hole in the sack we can see the paw of Hairball, reaching out for help.

3. Thog is hanging by the neck near a small lake. One hand clutches at the strand around his neck, while his other reaches in vain for his hammer, lying on the ground bellow his dangling feet.

4. Lockheed is on all fours, head held low. On the wall behind the dragon we can see the shadow of a man with a sword raised above his head. He is about to bring it down on Lockheed’s neck.

5. Lockjaw stands centre panel, looking scared. He is being tracked. Behind him leaping from the shadows is Kraven the Hunter, knife in hand.

Poor Pet Avengers - they more than anyone has suffered from my bad moos while writing this. I'll make it up to them, one day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pet Avengers - A Friend in Need - Grant McLaughlin

I'll stop giving you these classic 3 by 3 grid pages one of these days, but today is not that day.

Ms. Lion and Hairball are together on Christmas Eve. Ms. Lion has asked Hairball what he hopes to get from Santa, to which Hairball has responded that Santa doesn't exist, much to Ms. Lion's dismay.

1 – Hairball casually licks a paw as he just as casually dismisses Ms. Lion's innocent beliefs.

HAIRBALL: Think about it. How could one fat man possibly give presents to every single person in the world in one night? Not even Lockjaw could do that – and he can teleport!

2 – Ms. Lion is totally crushed. Hairball continues to lick his paw, not looking at his companion.

MS. LION (quietly) (1): I hadn't thought about it that way.

MS. LION (quieter still) (2): I-I guess you're probably right.

HAIRBALL: Probably.

3 – Ms. Lion flops onto the ground, despondent. Imagine the saddest dog you've ever seen, and you're getting close to what Ms. Lion should look like right about here. Hairball starts licking his other paw.

MS. LION: *sniff*

4 – Ms. Lion starts wailing. Exaggerated tears stream from his doggy eyes. Hairball continues licking his other paw, but his eye are now open wide is surprise.


5 – Hairball is taken aback and visibly feels bad about this turn of events. He frantically tires to think of something to assuage Ms. Lion's incredibly grief.


6 – Hairball, still concerned, has an idea.

HAIRBALL: I, uh, I hope that Santa brings me some tuna?

7 – Hairball is in the same position, waiting to see what comes of his gambit. Ms. Lion is still lying on the ground, but his entire demeanour has changed completely. He perks up his head and ears, looks at Hairball, and wears a huge doggy grin. Above his head are some Christmas-themed sound effects.


8 - Ms. Lion happily skips around a surprised and sheepish Hairball.

MS. LION: Oh, I'm sure he will, Hairball! How could he not when you're such a good friend! The best friend a dog could ever hope to have! The bestest of best friends!

9 – Ms. Lion continues to skip around, nattering on about how great Hairball is. Hairball looks thoughtfully at his doggy partner.

HAIRBALL (quietly): Merry Christmas, Ms. Lion.

Why the Pet Avengers?

Because the Avengers were busy.

I kid, I kid.

I'm picking the Pet Avengers because comics are supposed to be fun, and that's exactly what the Pet Avengers are.

In theory, the Pet Avengers are completely ridiculous. And frankly, in practice, they're still pretty ridiculous. But that's a big part of their charm.

Where else will you find a teleporting dog, a Mjolnir-wielding frog, a fire-breathing dragon, a heroic falcon, a sabre-tooth tiger, a telekinetic fielded cat, and a second, non-teleporting, regular dog? And all on the same team to boot?

I'm going to go with “nowhere else”.

I first came into contact with the Pet Avengers while reading Alex Zalben's fantastic Thor and the Warriors Four. While these amazing animals were confined to a cameo role, I immediately fell in love with. To be honest, I rushed to my local comic book store to find what else this team of super pet has been in. There wasn't a ton at the time (although there have been a few series since then), but it was all a joy to read.

These aren't necessarily the most intellectually challenging books you'll ever encounter, but darn if they don't make for some darn good reading nonetheless.  Each character has their own distinct personality, and like any team book worth its salt, their sum is very much greater than their individual parts.

Seriously, if you haven't encountered these craft critters before, you have been missing out.

So in the interest of adding a bit more Pet Avenger goodness to the world, let's do our part and whip up a few more fun stories for these endearing animals to star in.

And let's not forget:

Beginnings - A Comics Anthology - Support Us

I'm part of a Drink 'n' Draw group in our nation's fair capital and we've decided to pool our talent and produce a comics anthology. We also put out the call across Australia (easily done with some tin cans and taut string) and took in some other huddled and poor masses of creators. The result, in 2012, will be:

Beginnings - A Comics Anthology

This 100 page paperback book, with full colour gloss pages, is going to be one hell of a product. It will look amazing, it's going to feel great, and the content within is going to be glorious. It's all going to happen but first we need to get some funds and we're looking global for investers. We've launched a crowd source fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo and all we need is $2000. It's not much and by the time you're reading this we'll nearly be halfway there. We want to make sure we get past the post and take this book to some cons and show our stories around the world.

If you are a fan of thoughtballoons then you owe it to yourself to pre-order this book - a number of tenures will have their work showcased within. I have a 10 page short called 'The Big Day' that I'm sure you will love.

$20 is all it takes to get a copy of the book. More money will see you get some of these perks:

There are also a few other amazing perks we'll be unlocking as these ones sell out. We are determined to reach our goal and also give the investers as much as possible for their buck.

Personally, I figure if you visit this site then you write comics, right? If you want to improve writing comics why not chat to some of the guys who do it best (and if you've read either Luther Strode or Green Wake you'll know these guys are top of the game and sure to break some end of year lists)? Not only will you improve your writing but you'll have made a connection in the business, someone you can network with later. That's easily worth the money. Scoop on in before someone else does...

If you do contribute any money to our anthology, be it $1 or $100, I thank you immensely. It's always so greatly appreciated when independent comics are supported.

Hit the link and help us out - if you like this site then you'll love this book!


Thank you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Barry Allen – The Flash: Earth One – MK Stangeland Jr.

BARRY ALLEN and IRIS WEST-ALLEN are in a police laboratory that looks like its seen better days.
(5 Panels)
Panel 1: BARRY ALLEN walks across the laboratory floor as he heads for a computerized machine. IRIS WEST-ALLEN is right behind him.
BARRY ALLEN: Wally may have completed the experiment that turned him into The Flash, but it was my research he used as a foundation.
Panel 2: BARRY ALLEN leans up to the machine and retrieves a mysterious looking vial.
BARRY ALLEN: I wanted to make sure his powers weren’t going to do more harm to him than good, and in the process, I was able to created this formula.
Panel 3: BARRY ALLEN holds up a vial filled with a reddish liquid.
BARRY ALLEN: This “Speed Force” should allow me to copy Wally’s powers in their entirety, at least temporarily. Hopefully, long enough to turn things around.
Panel 4: BARRY ALLEN and IRIS WEST-ALLEN head towards another set of machines.
IRIS WEST-ALLEN: But that Zoom person already beat Wally. Not to mention doing who knows what to that old friend of his. And Wally actually knew how to use his powers. How do you expect to beat him?
Panel 5: BARRY ALLEN hooks up the red vial to one of the machines.
BARRY ALLEN: I don’t have to beat him, not on my own. That’s why my first goal is to save Wally
This is part of my own idea on what The Flash might look like if I were given the job of writing the Earth One graphic novels for the character (in line with the already written Superman: Earth One and the upcoming Batman: Earth One).
In it, Wally West actually becomes The Flash first, with uncle Barry Allen having served as a powerless metor-type character and Wally’s own personal Commissioner Gordon with more emphasis being put on Barry’s brain as a police scientist than his power of RUNSFAST. The scene above is something that would take place in a potential follow-up book where the above is a result of him having studied Wally’s own powers to see how they work and things getting particularly bad.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Flash - Time Catches Up - Grant McLaughlin

I don't think anyone should be surprised when I say that I imagine this page being drawn by Francis Manapul.  At this point, I don't want anyone else to draw the Flash ever again. His work is too beautiful and too perfect.  In my mind, his style is exactly how the Scarlet Speedster should look. But enough about my crush on Manapul. Here's a script for your reading pleasure.

Three rows of panels. Row 1 has three panels of equal size. Row 2 has two panels. Panle four is the size of two panels. Panel five is the size of a single panel. The third row is a single panel.

1 – A close-up of a handwritten “To Do” list. It's really full – excessively full. The reader can't even see all the items on the list it's so long. It's titled “TO DO – TODAY!!!” and “today” is underlined three times. Items on the list include Silence the ShadeRepel the RoguesPut a stop to GroddDate with IrisClose five casesGet dry-cleaningFinish that book, and so forth. The first item is crossed off. If desired, you could have some of the Flash's gloved fingers on-panel, holding the list.

CAPTION (BARRY): “Not enough hours in the day.”

BARRY (off-panel): Okay, Barry. You can do this.

CAPTION (BARRY): It's a truism we all face, but as the Fastest Man Alive, I discovered that I have a bit more wiggle room than most.

2 – The Flash running towards the lefthand side of the panel (to denote he's going backwards in time). Have a whackload of speed-lines here, some lightning bolts emanating from his person, and some “shadow” Flashes to show how quickly the Flash is going.

CAPTION (BARRY): It's pretty crazy when you realize for the first time that you can literally run back in time.

3 – The same close-up of the “To Do” list. The first two items are crossed off.

CAPTION (BARRY): That's something that comes in handy pretty often.

BARRY (off-panel): *sigh* This is going to take a while.

4 – Another panel of the Flash running back in time. Same idea as panel two, but this time, there are lots and lots of Flashes. Like, way too many. They are all generally going towards the lefthand side of the page, but their routes, positions, and closesness to the “camera” on the page are all different. There's enough of them that it's getting pretty chaotic. Additionally, show the Flash running harder and harder, exhausting himself with the effort.

CAPTION (BARRY): And while I realized that I was depending on it more and more.

5 – Switch angles to show Barry (still in Flash costume) standing in a nondescript room, next to one of the walls. Visibly drained, he's looking down at his “To Do” list, which is now clearly all crossed off.

CAPTION (BARRY): I had no idea to what extent I relied on it to fit everything in.

BARRY: There. All done.

(off-panel): Barry...

6 – Switch angle. We see that the room is full of dozens of Flashes, all of them holding their own “To Do” lists.

BARRYS: I think we have a problem