Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Zatanna – Do geese see god? – Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Close on Batman (Bruce), grim-faced as usual, explaining a puzzling problem.

Batman: Every time I think I’ve put a stop to his insane plans… he somehow manages to get the upper hand again.

Panel Two.

Flashback. Batman has just defeated the Joker. He holds the clown prince by the scruff of the Joker’s crazy purple Abba T-shirt. Despite having just taken a good pummelling from the Batman, Joker is still quietly giggling to himself. General Joker-flavoured fight-scene carnage in the background.

Joker: Was it a bat I saw?

Joker: Heheh…

Panel Three.

Close on Zatanna, listening to Batman’s tale of woe. She wants to help. (Because, y’know, she secretly luuuurves him.)

Batman (off-panel): At first I thought it was just a really bad case of déjà vu… now I’m not so sure, Zee.

Panel Four.

Flashback. The Joker has broken into the Batcave along with the Floronic Man’s old henchwomen Eva Green and Holly Wood. All three baddies are hurling knives and daggers at a huge spinning wheel to which the Joker has tied Batman (Dick) and Robin. Batman (Bruce) is rushing in to save his friends. The two henchwomen are wearing black outfits with a large white ‘S’ on the front and back, the Joker’s black outfit has a large white ‘O’. He’s standing between them.

Joker: Eva – can I stab bats in a cave?

Joker: Ahahahahaha!

Panel Five.

Two shot of Batman and Zatanna, standing on a darkened rooftop.

Batman: The Joker once told me that he hates the way our encounters always follow the same predictable course.

Batman: He starts out on top, but in the end I always knock him down.

Batman: What if he’s found some way to reverse that pattern – hit rewind every time I win… so that he never really loses?

Zatanna: You think he’s using some kind of crazy backwards magic… that’s why you called me. You may be right.

Panel Six.

Flash forward. Zatanna and Batman (Bruce) are both tied to a huge firework-style rocket, about to be launched from atop a skyscraper somewhere in Gotham City. The Joker stands watching, grinning maniacally, arms aloft. The Joker’s shirt says ‘!Tut tuT!’

Joker: Reviled did I live ‘n’ evil I did deliver!

Zatanna: We were both wrong – it’s much worse than backwards magic, Batman – it’s palindromic… the one enchantment none of my spells can combat!

Joker: Party, boobytrap!

Zatanna – Some Of Them Want To Be Abused – Ryan K Lindsay

1. A round table of costumed freaks are assembled. There are no known villains here, all new guys. Have fun designing these guys. Use plenty of whips and zippered mouths. One man stands up addressing everyone else. Above them all, a young woman hangs upside down from a rope. She is bound in intricate knots.
Tekcor Niks: The trap is set, we must be prepared. Is everyone ready?

2. Another male villain stands near a chalkboard. On it are the names of these dastardly lads. You can read Teckor Niks, Sllab Yriah, Tohs Muc, Tfahs Drah.
Tohs Muc: Good question, Tekcor Niks, I believe we’ve got the names out there enough. The papers have been running them. Most believe the Egyptian backstory. Fool!

3. Another male villain stands from the table, a defiant fist thrust into the air.
Tfahs Drah: This foul wench will feel the beating of Tfahs Drah!

4. A female villain walks from the shadows. She is sultry and slutty. Mostly slutty.
Anigav Tew: Not before she’s enveloped by the villainy of Anigav Tew.

5. Zatanna’s hat has dropped from the ceiling and is settling on the table. All the villains look up. Teckor Niks is twiddling his fingers in a giddily anxious way.
Teckor Niks: Oh blessed, let the rapture begin.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Zatanna - Shake the Room - Ben Rosenthal

Premise - Zatanna wiped sompe people's minds a while back. You may have heard about it. This is what happens when one of those people realise it (you know, other than the ones we've already seen.)

1. Zatanna sits, bound and gagged to a chair. Even though it is dark, we can see that she is in a rundown apartment. Zatanna is looking at the person whom is speaking. We cannot see who it is, as they are off panel.

VOICE (off panel)

You see Zee, I’ve been thinking.

Well, I’ve been trying to think. But I noticed something. There are holes in my thoughts. Gaps, if you will.

Almost like it has been....erased.

2. A close up of Zatanna’s face, mouth bound with duct tape. Her eyes are squint shut in discomfort. The same look one would get on their face if they were pricked by a needle.

VOICE (off panel)

So the hundred dollar question is, Zee – why did you erase my memories...

But left the image of you doing it?

3. The same framing as Panel 2. Zatanna’s eyes are open, staring at our unseen individual. Her face shows a sternness. She is determined.

VOICE (off panel)

I can see your hands moving, Zee. I can assure you that you will not be able to get through those enchanted ropes.

4. A shot of Zatana’s back, arms tied behind her, and then tied to the chair. One of her fingers is bloody, having been cut open. On the back of the chair is the word ‘moob’ written crudely in her blood.

VOICE (off panel)


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zatanna - 'Nuff Said? - Maxy Barnard

The Premise: Oh come on, now. You know the idea here, right?


(note: instead of dialogue in the speech balloons, I will instead describe the objects to put in there in place of actual speech, contained within []. e.g [UPSIDE DOWN TOILET]. Figure it'd be the best approach to doing her magic without saying anything, and it should add a nice touch to it all.)

Zatanna is chasing an imp down a new york alleyway towards a dead end.

The imp's back is pressed against the wall of the dead end, panicked. Zatanna is striding over, one hand on her hip.

Close on Zatanna as she points to the ground, mouth all agape and surly as if saying something really unpleasant to the imp.


The imp flails in pain and grows in size as it's pulled by an unknown force through a dark portal on the ground.

The imp has grown into a large fire demon, a fair foot or two taller than Zatanna and is pulling itself out of the hole, lunging towards Zatanna, who is jumping as if surprised.

Close on Zatanna as the imp/fire demon's shadow falls over her, backlit by his bright orange flames. One of her hands is up on her mouth in shock.

Zatanna: [A PILE OF POO]

‮Why Zatanna?

‮What an interesting question! To be honest a lot of this comes down to me being REALLY into choosing female characters for this site. They're usually a lot more involving and take far more creative 'umph' for our group of manly men to write.

‮But just saying that would be a great disservice to such an enticing character. Zatanna Zatara is notable AMAZING. A backwards talking magician(really? Who woulda guessed that from this horrifically hard to read why post?) by trade, and frequent Justice Leaguer, Zatanna is the go-to character when dealing with anything mystical in nature in the DC universe. Which totally puts her ahead from the competition. I mean is Doctor Strange this attractive? No, but then they're both drawings so WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!

‮Anyway, all of this is doing a fair old job of bigging her up, but what stuff is their to mine when writing about Zatanna? Answer: A BUNCH OF STUFF. First and foremost she's been known for having a relationship with recent re-addition to the DCU and former Thought Balloons choice John Constantine, so any Alphas can just straight up resort to doing a script about the two of them. Secondly, she rather famously erased the JLA's memories following the horrific Dr. Light rape storyline in Identity Crisis, and though she's gone through a lot as a result of it, her guilt is still out there, ready for plucking if you want to make a more tragic storyline. Other than those two there's always her relationship with the Gotham City Sirens and more specifically Catwoman to play about with if you want to go all out girl power, as well as elements from her Seven Soldiers miniseries and her current ongoing to pluck at.

‮Still, I won't tell you what to do. I just hope that you all have something brilliant to bring to the table at the proper start of year two of Thought Balloons!

You can buy the first volume of Zatanna's latest series HERE (UK) and her Seven Soldiers mini can be found amongst the others in these various collections (UK), and of course there's Identity Crisis HERE (UK) and her famous storyline Zatanna's Search HERE (UK).

And if you want to kill me because I wrote that whole Why post using Cyrillic Millions then... I'm sorry.

Double Shot Of New Tenures

Up in the Tenured Writers page, you’ll see down the bottom we talk about what you can do if you want tenure with the site. You upload your own scripts (of quality), you comment on our scripts, and you generally make yourself such a piece of the furniture around here that we have no choice but to bring you into the fold. Better to harness your energy than have you as a scorned enemy.

Now, we Tenures discuss things behind the scenes constantly. Sometimes it’s just slagging each other off in crude, but well written, emails but sometimes it’s business and every now and then we discuss the site. Future plans, manifestos of purpose, that sort of thing. Then, sometimes, we discuss bringing in new tenures. It’s not something we can do all the time but periodically, seems about every six months, we like to shake things up.

Consider yourselves shaken now as we add two new tenures to the group, everyone welcome MK Stangeland, Jr and Grant McLaughlin. These rising stars took our notice as Play-At-Home scripters because of both their consistency with addressing nearly all characters with scripts (especially MK with a 100% strike ratio for 2011 – better than some established Tenures) and by weaving such fantastic words together that it came to a point where I was looking forward to their contributions each week.

If you go back through all the Why…? posts of this year you’ll see MK and Grant doing some awesome things with their ideas and layouts and captions and so it seemed like the smart thing to align them both officially with the site before they splinter celled off and took us down.

I’m excited to see how they continue to grow on the site, and what characters they will choose when their times come up. Welcome, lads.

As for the rest of our PAHs, we love you guys. Your scripts amaze us constantly, your dedication is astounding, and we want you to stick around. I hope no one sees the ascension of these two lads as their own descension (were such a word to exist – it does now, copyright, ME!). We notice every PAH script and we really try to get the opportunity to comment on them all. It’s surprisingly hard to critique at least 6 other scripts a week and give honest feedback, no less more scripts. The fact this PAH culture only continues to grow makes me extremely proud and I hope we get more and more as the months, and years, roll by.

For any further information, hit up the Tenured Writers page above, hit us up on our own sites through that page or the hot links at the top right of any page – most of us are active on Twitter. You can also keep abreast of all things thoughtballoons by following the thoughtballoons tweetbot @Thought_Balloon and having one eye on the #thoughtballoons hashtag on Twitter where a lot of chatter gets caught.

I hope you are all still enjoying the site and seeing two more guys make Tenure just makes me see an even grander and more awesome future for this site.

Good night, and good writing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Steve - Reflection - Danial Carroll

So the set up? Being a Page One, there's not really anything for me to set up. Basically, I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic tales (Fallout 3, The Book of Eli), and this is my attempt at one...

PAGE ONE (four panels)

In night tones, we see a close-up of a hand holding a dictation machine—aka a Dictaphone.

DICTAPHONE: I’m not entirely sure why I’m recording this…

DICTAPHONE: For future generations? Or perhaps just catharsis.

DICTAPHONE: Either way, I feel it’s a story that needs to be told.

We now see a darkened room with moonlight coming in through an un-curtained window. There’s a 23-year-old man (Steve) sitting in a chair, holding the recorder. He has stopped the playback.


STEVE: Hmpf, that’ll do.

Closer on Steve. He has started the Dictaphone recording, notable from a red LED now visible.


STEVE: I can still recall the events of that day--five years ago now--with the vividness and lucidity of this morning’s.

STEVE: Being the most traumatic day of my life, I guess it’s no wonder.

Close-up on the Dictaphone again, the red LED glowing brightly.

STEVE: It was November 14, 2012…

STEVE: … which was a Wednesday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Basilisk - Arcadia - Matt Duarte

Basilisk in “Arcadia” by Matt Duarte

Note from the Author: This is a character that I came up years ago. The whole concept strikes remarkably close to a close of Proof and Greek Street, though both series came into existence after I originally had the idea. This means that I will probably never take this story very far, but you do get to gaze at this one page teaser. Enjoy!

Panel 1

Description: A large man with a muscular upper body stands behind a bar. He has long black hair that reaches his shoulders in a ponytail, and a big fuzzy beard. Despite his intimidating appearance, he has a welcoming smile on his face and is gesturing with his arms wide open. He is the barman of a very classy and expensive looking drinking lounge, which is remarkably empty.

BARMAN: Well, well, well... if it isn’t my favorite new stranger! Back for some more after last night?

Panel 2

Description: The character known as Basilisk has just walked in through the door of the same bar. There is plenty of light coming in through the open door, since it is mid-morning, and we can see a sign on the door that says “Arcadia”. He is wearing a simple, plain black t-shirt, clearly worn jeans, and a big coat on top of it all. He has short brown hair that looks unkempt and is wearing a big set of dark sunglasses.

BASILISK: Cut the pleasantries, Argios. Where’s the girl?

Panel 3

Description: Basilisk has walked up to the bar, pointing his finger to one side where there are some stools, speaking rather loudly to Argios, the barman. Argios, meanwhile looks confused with a dash of guilt.

ARGIOS: Girl? Erm... What girl?

BASILISK: The girl that was sitting on the far end, on that last chair, last night.

BASILISK: The girl with the long blond hair, couldn’t have been more than 19.

BASILISK: The girl that you were chatting up while you kept serving her drinks.

Panel 4

Description: Basilisk has grabbed Argios, who is considerably bigger, by the neck of his shirt with one hand. Any sign of constraint is now gone and he is almost shouting into Argio’s face. With the other hand, he is grabbing the side of his glasses.

BASILISK: I just came to check out this place, to make sure you were keeping your nose clean. I stayed outside all night, and she never left Arcadia.

BASILISK: I know who you are and you know who I am, and even then, you couldn’t keep it in your pants long enough until I left.

BASILISK: So, tell me: WHERE. IS. THE. GIRL?! Or the glasses are coming off...

Panel 5

Description: Seen from behind the bar, we can see Argios being let go by Basilisk. Argios’ lower body is the same as a goat’s, as he is a satyr. Basilisk has sunken into one of the stools.

ARGIOS: Alright, fine! I’ll tell you! But you won’t like what I have to say...

ARGIOS: She is a nymph, name of Amymone. And I don’t have her. Didn’t do anything to her except pour some drinks. One of the big bosses took her, didn’t see who.


ARGIOS: Exactly... Wine?

BASILISK: I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Next: The Missing Nymph!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

John Crais - The Man Who Has Everything - Sime McDonald



Bradley Thorland is sprawled on the ground, staring up at the ceiling, unblinking, the detonator inches from his hand on the polished floor of his opulent penthouse. Not that the detonator's proximity matters. Thorland is dead. Blood is oozing from the back of his head. John Crais is kneeling beside the body, in the pool of blood, exhausted, slightly bruised and battered from his earlier confrontation. Nearby, where he dropped it moments before, is his cell phone. It's lit up, beeping.


*Panels TWO to FIVE are small and compact*

Front-on shot of Crais holding the phone, staring at the screen. He's holding back tears.
Now looking at the phone screen. It reads:

John holds the phone to his ear.
Now the tears are cascading freely. He's slumped to his knees, phone clasped firmly in his hand. John Crais, the hero of our story, the man of granite we've known him to be throughout this tale, is finally broken.

Hi, you've reached Amy Crais. I can't
take your call right now...

Pull back. Just blackness; and the lifeless corpse of Bradley Thorland and the sobbing John Crais. And in a call-back to the opening page, the issue ends with the same dialogue that began our tale.

... but if you leave your name and number,
I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Department of the Peculiar - Rol Hirst

As well as my ongoing short story anthology book, PJANG (People Just Ain't No Good), I'm currently working on two new comics: Too Much Sex & Violence (still in the planning stages, but it's the biggest comics project I've ever attempted) and Department of the Peculiar (which has sat in my drawer for some years before finally finding an artist brave enough to tackle it - the excellent Rob Wells).

I've chosen to post a page from Department of the Peculiar as that's currently being drawn. The book is a weird superhero title - the premise being that in the UK superpowers are treated as a disease you really need to go see a doctor about. (We must be the most hypochondriac country on the planet... except maybe Sweden.) Department of the Peculiar is the goverment taskforce in charge of finding and curing sick "peculiars". But they're pretty short-staffed, due to spending cuts, so they need to recruit new members.

On the page below, we meet one potential new recruit - Malcolm 'Viral Mal' Drake, a former US superhero now living in the UK. If superheroes really are a disease, Mal has the perfect power set... you get a clue about his special abilities below.


Panel One.

Manchester City Centre. Establishing shot. A tram moves quickly through the streets.

CAP (carried over from previous page - DotP member Karine has had a premonition): Bad, bad, bad – this afternoon - in Manchester.

Panel Two.

Inside the tram. Close-up on a young couple (students), passionately kissing – lots of tongue.

Panel Three.

Across the aisle from the couple, Mal watches the couple kissing. He’s not happy about this going on right in front of his face, so early in the morning. A couple of other commuters are frowning at the display also. (Mal is listening to music on his iPod.)

CAP (Mal): God, it's way too early for love's young dream...

Panel Four.

He stares at his hand, stretching his fingers, considering whether to act.

CAP (Mal): Now I don't want to seem churlish, but..

Panel Five.

He reaches out and flourishes his fingers in the direction of the kissing couple. Some kind of effect from the end of his fingers (not a major effect) as he uses his powers.

CAP (Mal): Hell with it.

CAP (Mal): They brought this on themselves.

Panel Six.

Suddenly, the girl pulls away from the kiss, a look of revulsion on her face… a look that’s echoed in the face of her boyfriend.

Girl: God - your breath stinks!

Boy: My breath--!?

Panel Seven.

As the couple glare at each other, Mal appears satisfied with his work.

Boy: You been eating catmuck or what?

CAP (Mal): Yep. Back to full strength.

CAP (Mal): Look out, world...(!)

And to finish, as a special treat for those of you who don't want to waste time reading my script directions... here's the page as drawn by Rob. Like all great comic artists, he makes it SO much more entertaining than it originally was...

(Click to see it full-size.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blocked - Roots - Max Barnard

The Premise: Ever spent days, weeks, even MONTHS trying to come up with an original idea, only to come up against writer's block? That dreaded thing that stops you coming up with a story or concept that you so desperately need?

Arséne Langlinais knows what it's like. He's known it for years now. A former best-selling horror writer, Arséne hit his block after announcing he would write the quintessential horror story of the 21st century. Since then he's fallen apart, unable to even move his pen or type a word whenever he as much as thinks about writing. He's tried everything he can think of, from therapy to a relaxing holiday, but nothing's coming out. His career is on the verge on being in tatters and he only has one course of action left to take: going home to Thibodaux, Louisiana.

See, Arséne hates his roots but at the same time, in his desperation, he thinks connecting with them again, in an area with plenty of supernatural sightings under its belt will help him overcome his writer's block.

As we join the story in progress Arséne has settled into his new living space and is finally trying to write again.


Time has passed. It is a week later and Arséne has cleaned himself up some. Where there was once an unkempt beard and shaggy shoulder-length hair is now a clean-cut face with a neatly cropped haircut. He is sat at a typewriter in his Motel room, cigarette in mouth and fingers hovering at the keys.

Caption: A week passes...

Arséne(caption): I'm sat at old faithful again, ready to see what's changed.

Close-up on Arséne's fingers shaking above the typewriter keys.

Extreme close-up around Arséne's eyes, small beads of sweat forming.

Close-up on Arséne's mouth as he grits his teeth, biting through the cigarette.

Arséne(caption): Nothing.

Arséne roaring with anger as he throws his typewriter down onto the floor.


Arséne(caption): Nothing changes.

Arséne kicks his chair, breaking it in two. In the corner of the room, shadows rise up.

Arséne: STUPID! *&%#ING! AAARGH!

Arséne(caption): Why would anything change in this place?

The shadows form into a demonic shape, reaching towards Arséne as he crumples onto the floor, tears in his eyes.

Arséne: Why?

Arséne(caption): In this godforsaken town.

[for those interested the next page has him catch a glimpse of the demonic shape out the corner of his eye, as the first encounter he has with the horrors lurking in the city. As he more clearly encounters these phenomena he becomes a man obsessed, driven to madness by this one dark possibility for inspiration. But that's a tale for another time. Hope you enjoyed this and HERE'S TO OUR FIRST DAMN YEAR!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Alternate - Page Eight - Ben Rosenthal

Our own creation, huh? Could not come at a better time. The following is page eight of my graphic novel script, Alternate. It’s not heavy on action (surprise), but has events which are character driven (surprise surprise!). This page sets out to do two things – firstly introduce us to Nate and Phil more; to allow us to get a grip on both their sense of humour and how they relate to each other. Second, it gives us some background on the two, as we slowly become aware of their world

The following is some banter between the lead, Nate and his best friend/housemate Phil as they try on costumes for 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'. However, this rendition of the Shakespearean play is set in the disco scene of the seventies. Yes, this play actually did happen to me.

Finally, I have complete dot point breakdown of the entire graphic novel and the first 20 pages written in script. I would be very appreciative if anyone would like to peruse these documents and give me feedback (as some already have – you guys rock!) Also, if there are any budding artists out there, please please PLEASE do not hesitate to drop me a line.

Enough self-promoting, here’s the page.


1. Nate stands next to a woman with a dry smirk on his face. The woman is slightly shorter than Nate, and is dressed in a way that we know that this is the drama teacher (ie. a hippy). Her name is Ms Lisane.

NATE: I dunno Phil. I think it fits the part brilliantly.

2. Ms Lisane is ecstatic with excitement, as if Phil’s costume is the most brilliant thing she has seen. Both hands are at her mouth as she exclaims joy. Nate is still visible in the corner of the panel, enjoying egging his teacher on, and enjoying Phil’s discomfort.

MS LISANE: Nate is correct, it is BRILLIANT. The chains, the wide open shirt to the flares! Oh, it’s like I’m 19 again!

3. Phil is looking extremely unimpressed. He is pointing to a rather ridiculously large afro wig he has on, complete with a little tiara (Think Luke Cage 70’s hair...but BIGGER).

PHIL: Must have been a lot of teenagers with neck problems when you were 19. Why is Oberon’s hair this big?

4. Same as Panel 2. Ms Lisane is even more excited. Nate is still standing next to Ms Lisane, eyebrow raised and a smirk on his face.

MS LISANE: Oberon is the KING of the fairies Phil. He must have a grand crown so all the other fairies know who is number one!

5. Phil is looking to the left of Ms Lisane. He is awaiting the obvious line from Nate.

6. Nate is looking at Phil, a smirk on his face.

NATE: Nah, too easy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Irish - Heist - Ryan K Lindsay

1. Splash page of Irish’s car sliding sideways on the rain soaked road and slamming into the one cop at the blockade not quick enough to get out of the way. This is a gory splash, the cop is getting annihilated by the back right side of the car. His head is snapping back, his arm and legs are breaking. He’s dead.
Irish: Eat shit, you cocksucking fascist goons!
Cop: Gak!
Caption: I’m usually so much nicer. I swear.
Caption: My blood gets a little more Irish when I work a heist that falls apart like a high school fuck buddy relationship.
Caption: Usually, I’m the cool head in the group. I’m the one who doesn’t get emotional.
Caption: I’m beyond emotion by this stage. Here, I’m just surviving.
Caption: Or trying to.
Caption: This is what happens when a heist goes wrong.

Why Our Own Creations?

Fate #1 Cover
Written by Ryan K Lindsay
Art by Justin Greenwood
We’ve spent a whole year, 52 weeks, playing with other people’s toys in their sandboxes. It’s about time we tried our own ideas out completely.

This week we are each working with a creation of our own set in a universe of our own devices. There will be no crutches of the DCU or a supporting character from an Image comic. Every single element in our one page will be built from the ground up purely by us.

Over the past few years, I have written dozens of scripts and workshopped a fair few ideas. Some go into the pitching phase, some don’t. Some I’m still finding the nebulous heart and working to understand it. But amidst them all stand characters, people you have to understand completely. That’s half the fun of it all. You make these people from whole cloth and do as you wish.

This is possibly the scariest week for us all because we can’t rely on any tropes of prior knowledge. We have to sell a character in one page, and one page only. Every other page has been building upon something, this is pure creative fission. It’s going to be interesting but it will also show exactly who we are as writers.

Writing is a great form of creation and this week only we put that definition to the true test.

The Crew

As a treat for the one year anniversary of this site, our own Danial Carroll has put together this amazing logo we’ll be using up the top for a while. It’s all the Tenures, as close together as we’ll all ever get seeing as we hail from Australia, Spain, and the UK. We did have a US writer but now we don’t. I find that strange and amusing for some reason.

Anyway, this post isn’t about the words, enjoy the pic - click it to enlarge and soak in the musky flavour.

The Men of thoughtballoonsif only there were enough of us for a calendar…


One Year Later…

We have all been thoughtballooning for a whole year now. It’s pretty cool to write those words down.

I cannot believe it has been a year. I don’t know if I foresaw this upon starting it or not but I doubt I was thinking this far ahead. I was writing plenty back then and constantly wanting to write more. Comic Twart was going well and I was bitter because I cannot draw. There’s plenty of great artist group blogs out there, I still check Eclectic Micks, Periscope Studios, and Skottie/Scott. Drawing an image and throwing it up is easy – well, the drawing part might not always be but the getting it online thing is. People love art blogs because they’re easy. They’re quick and they’re fun.

But, as I said, I cannot draw. It’s embarrassing how much I can’t draw. But I can write (notice I don’t say I can write well…that’s a call I won’t make just yet, ha). I’ve got plenty of writing on my computer and much of it no one will see. Comic scripting is just too much fun to stay away from. There’s an Atlantean opus I’ve scripted a dozen issues of and planned a few score. There’s my MAX HYDRA! title that was a blast to write. There’s the space opera where I melded all sorts of alien biology and politics into a hyperdriven action romance. I really enjoyed mapping out and scripting the last ever Daredevil tale that sees him come out of the super retirement village to figure out why someone was putting hits on old heroes – it’s more serious than it sounds. Like Harry Brown for Daredevil.

None of this stuff is particularly spectacular, and it will nearly all never be seen again by anyone else, but I am a writer and so I wrote. I don’t mind that some of it is probably terrible. I subscribe to Brian K Vaughan’s theory that you have 10,000 pages of garbage in you. It’s up to you to get through them and then find the good stuff buried beneath. I’ve worked through those pages and within all the failure and navel gazing I know I was constantly practising character and tone and page layout. I got a little better over time and I hold no reservations about that time spent alone at my computer.

I’m sure I could have continued on indefinitely. I pitched a few things, made some good connections, but sometimes I just want to write for the fun of it. And I find I write so much better with a deadline or purpose hanging over me. It’s too easy to goof off on Twitter otherwise. I needed the pendulum swinging over me and this site provided that exact scenario.

Know me long enough and you’ll know I complain about being a writer because it’s the invisible art. There are reality game shows on just about everything from singing and dancing to renovating and being a stunt person. There was even a show to be a superhero, but there will be no show to write them. Now, I don’t think reality television is the only way to gain a foot hold on success in this day and age but it is indicative of what gets noticed. I loved CBR doing the Comic Book Idol competitions. Artists competed against each other with challenges and the pages were amazing to look at. That sort of thing is never going to happen for writers because reading through slabs of script pages isn’t what people want to do. They want the art, they want the simplicity to devour.

But, as a young buck named William Zane said in a little indie outing called Titanic, a real man makes his own luck. I wasn’t going to wait for my opportunity so I went ahead and made it. I want to write, that’s the bottom line. I would have kick started this site even if I was on my own. Luckily, I’m not alone. I managed to assemble a war chest of awesome writer’s around me who were committed to bringing the thunder each and every week and they certainly have.

Over the past year, I’ve written 52 script pages on a variety of characters. I’m quietly proud of that fact. Some pages are garbage, some are not quite so smelly. But they are all there and through these pages I’ve had the opportunity to put my authorial voice over men, women, aliens, groups, and even a town. I’ve written dialogue, action, splashes, ads, and loads and loads of captions. I’ve worked out what I’m good at and what I’m not. I’ve received feedback which has been one of the best things about this site. But most of all, I’ve had fun. Writing these pages is always a blast, waiting for that inspiration to strike, capitalising on my thoughts and notes invariably dashed into my iPhone’s Notes. I like writing the first draft, letting it sit, and then trying to improve upon it. I like writing and I hope that shows through this site.

Reading the scripts of the other lads is inspiring and daunting at the same time. These guys are good and every single one of them has had a opportunity to produce what I feel is the script of the week. I’m almost annoyed at how many times I haven’t given that internal nod to myself but I’m just happy to have these guys all trust me enough to join this site, and stick with it.

The last thing I’ll mention is the sense of community that is so present here. I’ve gotten to know the Tenures so well over the past year both through their scripts and many emails we shoot behind the scenes. I enjoy working with these boys and I respect what they do and how they do it. The comments they leave, the links they ReTweet, and the support they provide is something I have benefitted greatly from this year.

There’s also a wider community on the site, the Play At Home scripters. They turn up each month, with a fraction of the prep time we have, and they churn out scripts in the comments on the Why…? posts. They do some amazing work and they’ve really become a fixture on the site. It is nice to see a bunch of writers who have found a home to have some fun which is what this site was intended as 12 months ago. Danial was once one of them and then got the call up and I see plenty of potential and talent in those regulars each and every week. I thank them for turning up every week because it shows me this place is doing some good out there.

I guess I should sum up by looking to the future. I went into this with no plan other than to write and that’s my main focus going forward. I’ve got some excellent character choices to come and I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do. I would love to see some more PAHs join the crew and have our community grow even larger. Who knows, in the far future this could expand into a site where roaming threads of scripts gather critique and people have fun.

Maybe we’ll even get some more art on these scripts. That could be cool.

Until then, bugger it, let’s enjoy the raw words. If the aim is 10,000 pages then I’m 52 further on that goal.

RKL – May 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ms. Marvel - Fallen Angel - Danial Carroll

My inspiration for this week's page is rather tangential. I read Ms. Marvel #1 quite a while ago, and sadly, the only thing I remember from the whole issue was my shock at seeing Jessica Drew smoking. So this page is kind of my response to that...

Close up of a feminine hand holding an unlit cigarette. This is the hand of Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel.

CAROL: Do you mind?

Leonard Samson is sitting upon an a chair in his office. He is wearing a suit and has a notepad on his lap, informing us that at this moment, he is working his psychiatry job. He has a pen in one hand and is gesturing continuation with the other.

LEONARD: If it helps you relax...

Close on Carol's lips. She has the cigarette between them and the flame of a lighter is seen approaching the far end.

CAROL: It's not like it can HURT either of us, RIGHT?

Close on Leonard. He looks disapproving.

LEONARD: I assume this new-found habit comes courtesy of MS. DREW.

We now see a wide shot of Carol, laying on a psychiatrist's couch. She is in civilian clothing and is blowing a stream of smoke into the air. She appears annoyed at Leonard's remark. Her eyes are red and puffy from crying, and there is the slight shimmer of tears around them and down her cheeks.

CAROL: Would you prefer I take up DRINKING again, LEONARD?
CAROL: You might recall how THAT turned out last time.

Leonard is now learning forward on his chair. He looks sorry.

LEONARD: Ok, ok...
LEONARD: So why don't you tell me what brings you here.

Close on Carol. Her hand is holding the cigarette just away from her face, as tears now stream down her cheeks. She is visibly distraught.

CAROL: He's dead, Leonard...
CAROL: ... and it's all MY fault.

From here, Carol would lay on a sob story via flashback of falling for a non-powered "civilian" and then him being killed due to some villain chasing her... or something (I hadn't thought THAT far ahead :P )


PAGE ONE (seven panels)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ms Marvel – Battle Of The Sexes – Ryan K Lindsay

1. Ms Marvel stands by a pool at a beach resort. She’s wearing a bikini and that sash.
Ms Marvel: I like him. I almost don’t want to, but I do.
Ms Marvel: Can’t someone just make me magically forget all about him?

2. Spider-Woman lies on a lounger and Jessica Jones is in the pool with Danni. Both wear bikinis.
Spider-Woman: You think too much. Have your fun then squash the Spider.
Ms Marvel: You should be nicer to your arachnid family.
Spider-Woman: One, he’s no family of mine, and two, I like it when men try to squish me. Gives me an excuse to get rough.

3. Jessica Jones laughs as Danni splashes the water.
Jessica Jones: Carol, just don’t overthink it. Imagine if I overthought Luke…?

4. Spider-Woman laughs.
Spider-Woman: Imagine if you actually thought about Luke?

5. Ms Marvel dips a toe into the pool.
Ms Marvel: Why the hell are we here talking like useless women? The boys are probably on the roof bringing down a Doomcopter or something cool.

6. Spidey and Wolvie sit in a sauna. Spidey has the towel on and his mask up. And he’s sitting on the roof. Wolvie has a beer in his hand.
Spidey: But, I don’t think you understand just how much I like her.
Wolverine: Oh, I get it, bub. And if I hear it one more time you’ll be leaking more than sweat.
Spidey: But-
Wolverine: I've been there, y'know?
Spidey: Wha-?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ms. Marvel - Accountable - Sime McDonald

This scene is taking place on Capitol Hill. Carol is standing alone behind a long witness table in front of the Judiciary Committee, twenty serious-faced men and women, their glares sharp, expressions grim. The room is vacant of other onlookers. The Chairman, a silver-haired woman, a new character named Maria Southworth, has a slightly astonished look on her face; Carol's response (to the question on the previous page - see what I did there!) was not what she had expected.

You - -
You admit to torturing Zebediah Killgrave?

Burning him with your "photonic blasts?"

* Panels two to four are small head-shots displaying the reactions of both women *

Carol's expression is deadpan.


Although nobody actually calls them "photonic blasts..."

Southworth snarls.

Thereby violating the Geneva Conventions by which this country is bound.

Carol keeps her cool; replicate panel three.

Thereby acquiring the intelligence that allowed the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D to prevent an attack on American soil.

But Carol's words don't faze the Chairman. Shot from over Southworth's shoulder, looking down on the accused.

Oh yes.
The Avengers.

And yet, here you stand alone.
No Nick Fury.
No Steve Rogers.
No Spider-Man.


On Southworth, her glare intense.

It wasn't the Avengers who tortured Mr. Killgrave.
It wasn't S.H.I.E.L.D. 
It was you.

You acted alone.

And you will be held accountable.