Sunday, May 22, 2011

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.


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  2. Robot Viking Ninja Pirates - The Water That Burns - MK Stangeland Jr.

    (7 Panels)

    Panel 1: CREWMAN LOKI pops the top on his vodka bottle as CAPTAIN ODIN tells the other crewmembers about the results of their scouting mission.

    ODIN: It turns out we’re looking at more than just the Bear Riders down there. They’re being backed up by what’s practically a small army. It’s a mix of Motherland regulars and an odd assortment of mercenaries.

    CREWMAN BALDR: So then, fighting our way through is not an option?

    ODIN: Far too many to chance it. Even if we get out undamaged, they could easily hold us off long enough to get inside the temple and…

    Panel 2: ODIN takes notice of LOKI as the latter has the vodka bottle to his mouth and tilted up, but has his eyes turned to look at ODIN.

    ODIN: Crewman, where did you get that from?

    LOKI: !

    Panel 3: LOKI holds the bottle up in front of him as he answers ODIN’s question.

    LOKI: Ye didn’t see th' big crate o' rum they had down thar? It be no rum, but it’s still pretty good.

    Panel 4: ODIN has lowered his face into the palm of his hand. LOKI is raising the bottle back up to his mouth.

    ODIN: Crewman Loki. I told you not to steal anything while we were down there.

    LOKI: Aye. ‘N that be why I left ‘em an ‘IOU’.

    ODIN: Which you can’t possibly expect to actually make good on.

    LOKI: It be th’ thought that counts.

    Panel 5: Beat panel as ODIN looks at LOKI with a depressingly annoyed look on his face.

    Panel 6: ODIN holds out his hand palm up towards LOKI. LOKI flips a torch out of his multi-tool arm as he tilts the vodka up to drink from the bottle.

    ODIN: Crewman, do you have a light?

    SFX: clok

    LOKI: Here ya’ go.

    Panel 7: ODIN yoinks the vodka out of LOKI’s hand at the same time he takes LOKI’s torch. A small amount of the liquid spills out as he takes it. LOKI is not amused by this action.

    LOKI: Hey, those are mine!

    ODIN: And your Captain graciously thanks you for your contribution to what will eventually become my distraction plan.

    (END PAGE)

    (The proceeding is based on a project that’s currently in the works and hopefully is close to the point where I can start searching for a potential publisher. If you want to see more and get an idea as to what some of the characters look like, you can see the original pages I wrote – with art! – that were put together for a webcomic contest that I got an honorable mention in.

    This is a link to page one of four, and you can go to read the other three from there.

  3. This page comes from issue 1 of the comic book series I've been writing of late, PoliceCop. Long story short: an inept superhero's longtime wish is granted and he becomes an inept police officer. I'm tempted to provide some context to the page, but I think I'll try to let the script stand on its own and see how it goes.

    18.1 – Shot from over PoliceCop and Harold's shoulders. The two stand before Harold's desk. Unlike PoliceCop's, Harold's desk is meticulously organized. The computer monitor and keyboard sit in the middle, there is an IN and OUT box (the OUT box is full, while the IN box is empty), pencil holder, and so forth.

    CAPTION: Harold's desk.

    POLICECOP: Have you dusted for prints yet?

    HAROLD (quietly): I don't think that's necessary.

    18.2 - PoliceCop begins to put gloves on top of his gloves, to ensure that he doesn't contaminate the “crime scene”. Harold pleads with PoliceCop to just listen to him.

    POLICECOP: Nonsense! It's completely necessary! How else will we discover who has been rifling through your personal possessions?

    HAROLD: Really. If you'd just tell me where your stapler is...

    18.3 – PoliceCop dusts for clues, but quickly interrupts his own actions with a startling revelation.

    SFX: Dust! Dust!

    POLICECOP: Quiet, Harry. I'm dusting – AHA!

    18.4 – PoliceCop presents an item to Harold that is just below the frame of the panel. Harold is confused, unsure if PoliceCop is serious or not.

    POLICECOP: Behold! Your stapler is returned!

    18.5 – Repeat panel. PoliceCop is now wearing a huge grin, realizing for once how ridiculous his claims are. The realization will be fleeting.

    HAROLD: Th-that is a roll of tape.

    POLICECOP: So it is! Clearly this desk has no more secrets for us to uncover. We must widen the scope of our investigation!

    HAROLD: Must we?

    POLICECOP: Most definitely.

  4. @MK - I like this page, and the IOU makes me laugh which is awesome, but it feels incredibly text heavy - though a reread makes it flow better. It could possibly end with panel 5, but I like the set up you do in the last two panels. I'd have to see it drawn. This page is such a win - but aren't Vikings kind of like the proto-pirates anyway?

    @Grant - holy crow, this is like Chew - not in content but totally in style. I dig this page so much. The characters also interest me hugely, I'd read more PoliceCop were that I could.

  5. @ Ryan: Yeah, I recognize the similarities between Vikings and Pirates, but when I was coming up with the idea, I didn't think that "Robot Zombie Ninja Pirates" or the like would work nearly as well as a combination, and Vikings seemed the best option to switch out the Zombie part for.

    I also recognize that it the page probably is heavy on the amount of words I tried to fit in, which is probably on account of falling prey to the temptation to stretch out the page and put more into it than if I were writing it for an actual issue in order to squeeze in a tad bit more material than I otherwise would be able to.

    @ Grant: It's an interesting script, if nothing else. I can see the potential there, and I can't help but be intrigued by the premise.

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  9. I REEEEEEEEEEEEEALLY wish I could just edit comments on blogspot.

    Rattle and Fangs

    This is one of the early pages of a Western set in the gold rush boom town of New Bayer, Colorado. That’s about all you need to know for backstory. The layout of this page has to be just right, since there’s a lot of text and a lot of panels. A scattershot, J.H. Williams-like layout would probably convey the barrage of images and impressions really well while keeping the text coherent.

    Panel 1:URIEL stands on a podium in front of the New Bayer town square. He’s not brawny, but he’s broad—everything about him screams power, from his expensive vest, to his square shoulders, to his golden pocket watch chain, to his impressive sideburns. At the moment, his posture is reserved—he’s letting his words and his presence alone control the situation. The focus of the shot is on URIEL, but it’s clear that the square is packed—everyone in town is there.

    URIEL: My name is Uriel Nestor. The appellation might not wring familiar, but my role in the development of New Bayer cannot be overstated.

    Panel 2: Close-up on URIEL’s hands, which are clasped behind his back as he speaks. Despite his sophisticated vocabulary, this panel should solidify URIEL as a physical presence. His physical condition will deteriorate as the graphic novel goes on, but for now, they’re strangling hands, imposing and terrifying.

    URIEL (OFF-PANEL): The store that you buy your food at belongs to me. The saloon that you drink in belongs to me.
    URIEL (2): And the rivers you pan for gold in—well, as of yesterday, those are mine now as well.

    Panel 3:Shot of SHERIFF CARSON and DEPUTY SINTELL in the crowd. SINTELL, a narrow-shouldered blonde has his hand on his revolver. CARSON, a large brown-haired bear of a man, is grabbing his arm, preventing him from drawing. Behind them, we can see HARMON and JOSIE as small figures in the crowd. They’ll be important later.

    URIEL (OFF-PANEL): Please understand that I haven’t any choice in the matter. All of you have racked up vast amounts of debt. At the store…at the saloon…which places you folks and I in an awkward position.

    Panel 4:Close-up on URIEL’s cold, scary-ass eyes. Think Lee Van Cleef in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

    URIEL: You all work for me now. Mining starts in two weeks.

    Panel 5: Cut back to the crowd, this time to HARMON and JOSIE, a married couple in their late twenties, which in frontier years looks like early thirties. HARMON is very tall, but stooped, slightly ashy looking, with a scraggly beard. JOSIE looks like she was pretty about five years ago. Both of them are wearing simple, utilitarian clothing. These are the future miners, no mistake.

    URIEL (Off-Panel): Make no mistake. You will be paid for your efforts. Employment is, after all, compulsory.

    Panel 6: Time skip to HARMON and JOSIE packing rapidly in their house. JOSIE is holding a baby while their older son and daughter shove clothes into bags. HARMON braces himself on a doorframe in the foreground, coughing into a hankerchief.

    CAP (URIEL): You came here as free men, and, by all means, you can leave as free men, just as soon as you pay off your debt.

    Panel 7: Vertical panel. At the top right, we see HARMON and his family riding away from the town and a caption

    CAP (URIEL): If you try and flee…

    Panel 8: This is really just a frame around the bottom left of Panel 8, like the sort of thing J.H. Williams did a lot with Desolation Jones. Inside the frame, we see pair of ominous looming shadows with cowboy hats. Possibly we can see a rifle propped up against one the cowboy’s shoulders.

    CAP (URIEL):…it will not go well for you.

  10. Aryeh - the monologue on this page is fine. I thought it was captions and then realised he's actually saying this to these people. That takes balls, I like it. I really like it.

    There really is so much on ths page but I've been reading Gotham Central lately and they regularly go to 8 panels on a page. However, you're asking for a few crowd shots. This could be pulle doff but it would be compact. It would work better as two pages, or even a double splash, but you could easily have submitted this page from panel 4 or 5 onwards and it would have had impact.

    Overall, this page still gets me piqued to see what would happen next in the tale. It doesn't completely feel like any other Western off the top of my head.

    Oh, and a Lee Van Cleef reference is always a smart move.

  11. The Over Watch in – How To Hunt A God – Shaun Richens

    One Page. Nine Panels. Each panel is the same size and shape.

    1. CSI HOLLY DIAMOND and DETECTIVE CHRIS FINCH stand in the living room of a girl’s apartment. Yellow Crime Scene tape can be seen covering the doorway to the right of the panel. A beat cop stands in the same doorway.

    FINCH: What we got here? (To beat Cop)

    COP: Poor girl. Looks like an intruder murdered her.

    2. The superhero SANCTUARY lies dead on the floor of the apartment. Her costume is burnt and her skin is too. Blood pools are all around her.

    3. HOLLY is knelt down next to SANCTUARYs body. She is pulling off one of her rubber gloves. The other hand is still gloved.

    FINCH: (O.P) What can you get from the body Hol?

    4. HOLLY GRANT is now holding SANCTUARYs hand in her bare hand. HOLLYs eyes have turned all white except for spots of black and grey.

    5. All in black and white. SANCTUARY has just walked into her apartment coming home from a night of patrolling thus why she is in her costume. She looks surprised and startled. The room is dark apart from the light from the hallway.

    SANCTUARY 1: Oh. Damn you nearly gave me a heart attack.
    SANCTUARY 2: What’s up? Do you need my help with something?

    6. We look over the shoulder of a shadowy figure at SANCTUARY. Her face seems frightened. She has her hands raised preparing to use her powers to make a kinetic shield around herself.

    SANCTUARY 1: Why are you doing this?
    SANCTUARY 2: We’re friends. We work together.

    7. A huge energy blasts hits SANCTUARY in the chest.

    8. Looking through SANCTUARYs eyes we look up at our attacker. Standing over her is the world’s greatest and most beloved hero. THE OLYMPIAN the logo on his chest highlighted by the light from the hallway the rest of him is more shadowed.

    9. Back to full colour back to the present. We rejoin HOLLY and FINCH in the SANCTUARYs apartment. HOLLY is still kneeling at the side of SANCTUARY however she is now looking up at FINCH. HOLLY looks really concerned. FINCH is looking intrigued.

    HOLLY 1: We have a big problem here.
    HOLLY 2: It. It looks like The Olympian did this.


    The idea is CSI meets Irredeemable for the first arc at least.

    The other scripts are this page are fantastic.

    @MK The tone and feel of your page was really fresh to me, I enjoyed how much character you managed to put across in such a short space. Your writing actually made me smile a few times and thats a pretty impressive gift.

    @Grant I totally see Ryans point that your age has a hint of Chew about it. That alone should tell you I enjoyed your work good sir.

    @Aryeh You really captured a sense of time and place in your page. The little details about the characters and location instantly put me into your work. A really great read.


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.