Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doctor Strange - Fabric Doesn't Crack - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Close on Dr. Strange’s hand. He is falling and his hand is reaching upwards. A playing card peeks out of his sleeve. It is the Ace of Spades.

CAP (Strange): Tuesday night poker game with the Omnipotent Oshtur did not turn out well.

Panel Two.

Pull out to show Dr. Strange falling through space – crazy Ditko dimensions of space with whirling pathways, nowhere doorways and snaky tendrils of sinister all around.

CAP (Strange): I should have heeded the Ancient One when he warned me never to play five card stud with an all-seeing Elder of the Universe. But I’ve felt so lost lately, my every endeavour doomed to failure and bitter recrimination…

Panel Three.

Pull out even further to show the scale of the insane universe Strange is falling through. It's a whirling maelstrom of Ditko madness… but an end to his fall is in sight. Along the bottom of the panel we can see the horizon of a planet – a small town landscape with buildings and shopfronts in silhouette. Having seen the ground rapidly approaching, Strange begins to cast spells to slow and break his fall.

CAP (Strange): I thought perhaps Oshtur could show me why. I should have known better. With her, nothing comes without a price…

CAP (Strange): And once again my arrogance has been my downfall.

Panel Four.

Strange’s efforts to slow his fall are only partly successful. While mystic bands of spellcasting energy erupt in the air around him, he still crashes to the earth with a painful bump in the middle of a deserted small town high street. It’s early morning, the sun is rising, and the Ditko dimension absurdity is fading with the final stars of night.

Strange: By the Craven Cushions of Caramagglio, I command cottony comfort--


Panel Five.

Bruised and battered, but not completely crippled by his crash landing, Strange sits up and looks around. He attempts some spells to heal his injuries, but his fingers give out little more than insipid sparks.

Strange: B-by the... ragged runes of... ah...

CAP (Strange): From Oshtur’s palace, I fell through a crack in the fabric of reality… I should have known then that something was wrong.

Panel Six.

Struggling to his feet, Strange staggers towards the entrance of a nearby building. It is a Doctor’s Surgery. We can tell this because a sign on the wall reads ‘Ordinary Medical Practice’, and in smaller, almost unreadable letters, ‘S.O. Nothing-Strange MD’.

CAP (Strange): Fabric does not crack. It tears. Wherever I am now, nothing works the way it should…

Panel Seven.

Strange enters the surgery. A receptionist greets him from behind her desk. She has no face. She has no face, yet still she is scowling. (Hey, I like to give my artists a challenge.) Faceless townspeople sit around in the waiting room, nursing a variety of everyday ailments.

Receptionist: Can I help you, sir?

Strange: Yes. Yes, I’m injured. I… I had a fall… I can’t…

Receptionist: Well, Dr. Nothing-Strange is very busy today…

Panel Eight.

Close on Strange’s face. He is angry. Preparing himself for a fight.

Receptionist (off-panel): Perhaps you could make an appointment for later in the week?


  1. Rol - there's some interesting ideas at play but ths page needs editing. It's more like 2 or 3 pages crammed into one. You either needed to pick Strange's fall, or his arrival in the town, both would never fit together.

    The other world, is a good idea, the receptionist without a face is a creepy visual, the whole crack/tear in the fabric of reality work - but you need to pick only one and run with it. Or boil it down, go simple, don't explain everything on your page, let it act as a snapshot if in doubt.

  2. Ah, it's the old decompression argument. Stan would have fit this all on one page, Ryan.

    You're right, if I was writing this for a regular comic I'd break it down differently, but I get greedy given the restrictions of this site sometimes. I try and reign myself in, but sometimes I'm having too much fun to stop.

  3. That was very creepy-cool. Made me think of the Silent Hill film, which, despite its flaws, was very creepy.

    I agree that there was a lot crammed in, but that does seem to fit with the style of older comics, which is the impression I got from all the Ditko references. Probaby could have just started at Panel 4 if it was a modern page. We didn't really need to know why he was falling, as being a Doctor Strange tale, you already know it's going to be due to some crazy interdimensional tussle :)

  4. You're probably right, Danial - however the script wouldn't even exist without that opening line. I'd been struggling with what to do with Strange but once that line arrived it gave me the whole script.

    Ironically, it's the least Dr. Strangey line in the script, but I always prefer it when writers make him a little more human and approachable. If I'd had the discipline, I could have convinced myself to cut that and start later (kill your babies and all that) but I felt bad cutting the line that gave me the whole story.

  5. The whole decompression argument is interesting, because when I read your script the first time, I automatically imagined it as an old school comic, so the length didn't stand out. This was probably because your panel descriptions did a good job of "setting the context" for me. When I went through it more critically the second time, I came to the same conclusion as Ryan.

  6. Count me as another one who thinks the page feels a little too compacted. I initially liked it, with talk of poker between Dr. Strange and this supposedly nigh-powerful being I've never heard of, but about half way through when it became clear about how long it would be it started to become a bit much for me.

    I like the idea, the execution is just feels off.


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