Sunday, July 31, 2011

Phonogram - David Can't Fail - Matt Duarte

Phonogram in “David Can't Fail” by Matt Duarte

Panel 1

Description: David Kohl is standing in a bar, cockily smoking a cigarette and holding a drink, as if about to take a sip.

CAPTION: Despite the oh-so-popular disaffected façade and natural contempt that Phonomancers tend to wear in each other's presence...

CAPTION: The truth is that in the weeks after the “Britannia Incident”, my name was spoken in hushed tones and awed reference by everyone I came across.

Panel 2

Description: David is drinking from the glass now, and behind him we can see two rather young girls looking at him from the far end of the bar. They are whispering to each other, and David probably knows this too as he smirks to himself.

CAPTION: Half of them wanted to shake my hand and pat my back. The other half wanted to punch me in the most painful place they could imagine.

CAPTION: Me? I was happy to take it all in.

Panel 3

Description: From behind David, as he is walking to the stage of the club he is in, which is little more than a couple of inches above the rest of the ground. On it, there's a guitar player, bass, singer, drummer, and a keyboard player. Standard band set-up. Around him, there's only about a dozen people.

CAPTION: If the whole music scene wanted to collectively stroke and/or bite my shaft, I was more than willing to let them.

CAPTION: Hubris? I don't know the meaning of the word.

SINGER: This next one goes out to David...

CAPTION: ...wait, what?

Panel 4

Description: Same layout as before, except some new members have appeared on stage: a saxophone player, a trumpet player, and a trombone player. Behind them, a large chessboard flag has dropped bearing a phonomancer sign. David is now freaking out, arms to his side. The people that were scattered before are now forming a circle around him.

SINGER: The biggest cunt in this city. Who killed one music revival already. We won't let you do it again.

CAPTION: Shit. Shit. Shit.


CAPTION: Another ambush. Weapon of choice? The only genre more ephemerally short-lived, banally narcissistic and purposelessly catchy than Britpop...

Panel 5

Description: A small in-set panel, showing only David's face, which is a mix of horror and despair.


Next: Riding the Fourth Wave!

Why Phonogram?

Has a song ever changed your life? 

Has a band ever made you question the way you think?

Has a genre ever help you define who you were at a given moment in time?

If so, then you already know what Phonogram is about, even if you haven't read it yet. 

Alright, so maybe not exactly, but the Phonogram series by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie takes those very same ideas and elevates them to something further. In the world of Phonogram, music is magic, powerful and mighty, wielded by a select group of people known as Phonomancers. Among them is David Kohl, who acts as the protagonist in the first story arc. Through the eyes of Kohl, we see the world of Phonogram as analyzed through the lens of Britpop, a genre of music that existed primarily during the 90's. But Britpop is not the point. Even if you have never heard a single Britpop song, you will get enjoyment out of this series (I know I did).

The message of Phonogram is far too big to be contained to one single genre of music. Music is magic is a pretty simple easy concept to grasp, but one with huge ramifications. I'm looking forward to see how our tenured writers and play-at-homers can manage this week.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Captain America – The Terrible Terror of Mr. Trajectory! - MK Stangeland Jr.

(CAPTAIN AMERICA is currently fighting SIG. TRAIETTORIA (New character), who’s already knocked out BUCKY, making it a solid one-on-one fight. SIG TRAIETTORIA (which roughly translates from Italian to “Mr. Trajectory”) is meant to be a BATROC type character with a touch of BULLSEYE, and originally hailing from Italy.)

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: CAPTAIN AMERICA’s shield flies past SIG. TRAIETTORIA and bounces off a wall as he leaps out of the way.

SFX: Ding!

SIG. TRAIETTORIA: ma c'non è un uomo vivo…

Panel 2: SIG. TRAIETTORIA catches the shield and throws it back at CAPTAIN AMERICA as it moves behind where he was.

SIG. TRAIETTORIA: chi può outfight!

Panel 3: CAPTAIN AMERICA dodges his shield, causing it to fly behind him and bounce off a wall.

SFX: Donk!

Panel 4: CAPTAIN AMERICA catches his shield.

Panel 5: CAPTAIN AMERICA swing his shield around, causing SIG. TRAIETTORIA to hit it directly.

SFX: Thunk!


Panel 6: CAPTAIN AMERICA swings his shield so that it hits SIG. TRAIETTORIA in an uppercut.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain America - The Best Laid Plans - Grant McLaughlin

So this seemed like a great idea in my head. I can't comment as to whether its translation to script form was successful. I will leave that for you to decide.

Four rows of equal size. Each row is made up of a single panel.

1 – A river at the base of a cliff. The water is littered with debris from a recent car crash. Boxes, broken pieces of wood, various supplies, and so forth are floating all over the place. There is also a large army transport truck that is in process of sinking – the items were obviously on the truck's flatbed before the crash. In the middle of all this are Captain America and Bucky, treading water. Captain America glares unhappily at Bucky. Bucky looks back at him sheepishly. No dialogue.

2 – Same scene. The truck has almost entirely sunk below the water's surface. Bucky looks towards it. Captain America continues to glare at Bucky. No dialogue.

3 – Same scene. The truck is gone, entirely submerged, although the many pieces of debris remain. Bucky looks back at Captain America, his sheepish grin now larger and his face reddening from embarrassment.  Captain America continues to glare at Bucky.  No dialogue.

4 – Same scene.  If anything, Captain America might be even less impressed with Bucky in this panel.

BUCKY (1): ...

BUCKY (2): So I'll be the first to admit that that could have gone a little better.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Captain America - Super Weapon - Matt Duarte

Captain America in “Super Weapon” by Matt Duarte

Note from the author: I know I kind of cheated with this week's script, as it is not so much about the character, than his importance to the world in where he lived, and more importantly his influence on the war effort. I hope you enjoy it.

Panel 1

Description: President Harry Truman sits in the Oval Office. He looks sombre and with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He has his hands crossed in front of his face, looking down. An advisor stands next to him.

CAPTION: April 21st, 1945

TRUMAN: Any word of Corporal Rogers?

ADVISOR: I'm afraid not, sir. All the units have combed the area to the best of their abilities, but found nothing.

Panel 2

Description: Truman has stood up, looking out the window. There is no sun coming through, only a drab grey and pale light.

TRUMAN: We have to assume he is dead.

TRUMAN: A shame, I would have liked to shake his hand.

Panel 3

Description: Truman has sat down again. His expression is even more dire now, if that's even possible. He is taking one of his hands to his forehead.

TRUMAN: The American people have lost their president AND their greatest war symbol.

TRUMAN: In the same month.

TRUMAN: Morale is clearly down. Our enemies will try to take advantage of this moment.

Panel 4

Description: Truman is now signing something on his desk with a pen.

TRUMAN: Call Project Manhattan. Tell them we lost one super weapon already, we will need the other one ready for use as soon as possible.

TRUMAN: And may posterity forgive us for our actions.

The End.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Captain America - Lightning in a Bottle - Sime McDonald

The story so far...

The US Military received word of a Nazi weapons facility on the Danish island of Bornholm. Rumors suggested they were on the verge of producing an operational nuclear bomb. Captain America and Bucky were sent in to demolish the facility and extract the head Nazi scientist in charge of the project, Professor Otto Hahn. 

But somebody beat the Americans to the punch. 

By the time Cap and Bucky arrived at the facility, its Nazi guards were dead, the majority of its scientists having suffered a similar fate - though they soon learn Otto Hahn managed to escape the massacre. As the pair explore the facility they are attacked and captured by members of the German Resistance and taken to the leader of this mission, who stands before the top secret project Otto Hahn and his fellow professors were working on.

It is not a nuclear bomb.

Rather, it is a antiquated machine that contains glowing specks of cosmic energy; minute chunks of a cosmic cube. 

It is a machine capable of altering Earth's history.

Not just Earth...

... the Universe.

PAGE 19 (of 22)

The German Resistance Leader looms over Captain America. Our hero's hands are cuffed, his iconic shield is nowhere in sight. Two guards positioned slightly behind him have their pistols trained on his back. Behind the German Resistance Leader - in front of Cap - the shards of cosmic cubes glow ever brighter. 

The machine is powering up.

There are a finite number of universes out there, Captain.
A finite number of universes very different to our own.
A finite number of perfectly parallel universes.

A pained expression crosses the Leader's face.

A finite number of ways our history can play out.

Do you know what this means, Captain?

Tight on Cap, pleading.


On the Leader. His eyes are bulging, visibly revealing his psychosis. His hands hover above the cosmic cube machine console.

It means this Goddamn Nazi scourge can never be erased.
Not entirely.

It will always exist. Somewhere. 
On some... plane of existence. 
And I - -

Tight on Cap, his mouth open, yelling - -


The leader presses down on a button.

- - could not live with myself, doing nothing.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America - One Punch - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

An underground resistance bar in Nazi-occupied France. Exterior shot. From the outside it’s little more than a shack, deep in the forests of Rethondes. There’s snow on the ground and the windows are boarded up to prevent light getting out – though enough illumination peeps through the boards to prepare us for the party inside.

BUCKY (from inside): And then – pow! Right on the jaw!

Panel Two.

Inside the bar, Bucky is regaling a group of inebriated GIs with the story of how Cap punched out Hitler. (See the cover of Captain America #1, etc.) The GIs are cheering, raising their glasses, toasting Captain America… who sits to one side of the group, looking uncomfortable. Across the bar, James Montgomery Falsworth, the original Union Jack, sits quietly watching Cap.

BUCKY: Take that, Adolph!

GIs: Hooray! Weeeooow! Right on the jaw! Sock it to him!

Panel Three.

The celebration continues and hardly anyone notices Cap leave the bar. Union Jack is still watching.

Panel Four.

Cap stands out on the porch of the shack, looking out into the dark woods, thinking. Union Jack has followed him, though he’s still off-panel here.

UNION JACK (O/P): You should have killed him while you had the chance.

Panel Five.

Cap turns to look at Falsworth, looking stern, ready for an argument.

CAP: You weren’t there, James… the opportunity wasn’t… we’re supposed to be…

UNION JACK: They hit London again last night. Six hundred people dead. Two of my uncles included.

Panel Six.

Union Jack walks away from Cap, out into the snowy forest. He doesn’t look back. Cap watches him go. He tries to argue, but he realises this isn’t the time.

CAP: James…!

UNION JACK: Still, next time, maybe when the Luftwaffe are flying over Washington...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America - Making Sense of Memories - Ben Rosenthal

1. A tv studio. Steve Rogers sits on a stool, being interviewed about his time in World War II. He is on his Military uniform. Steve is not very comfortable talking about it, which can be seen in his face. He is addressing the host of the show (off panel).


Smell. It’s the sense that most closely links us to memory. A whiff of perfume reminding us of a girl we loved. A bakery door that smells like grandma’s kitchen. Then the smells that we will never be able to forget.

2. A close up of Steve’s face. He is recalling a memory.


After 64 years I can still recall it clearly.

I put it down to the odour caused by their wet field grey uniforms, mixed with their pink disinfectant and black bread that was part of their rations.

3. A shot of Steve’s hands. The stiffness of his cuffs is visible, with his hands open. His palms are facing upwards, fingers upturned. They are loose, as if his body is remembering the story as well as his memory.


Near the Chateau de la Londe we came across a German dug out, only recently vacated. It was constructed as a square room, cut into a steep bank of earth.

It was a complete home. Tables, chairs and bits of furniture. In the far corner was a stove. But the smell. That German smell. It was very strong. Pungent.

4. Same as Panel 1. Steve is now back to addressing our host (off panel). He is rigid, looking uncomfortable.


I have not smelled it since. And hope that I never will.

It has been documented that Allied troops reported a distinct odour from both German troops and their vehicles. It is unknown whether this is due to the uniform of the German soldier getting wet in the rain, or their diet. However, this smell is what helped many Allied troops locating German’s during night raids in WW2. It has been reported that this distinctive smell has not been encountered by Veterans after WW2.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America – The Onward Dirge – Ryan K Lindsay

Page 1 - 4 Panels

1. Captain America looks out to see atop a large ship. They're out on a cold and dark sea at day, in the background on the ship we can see a few jet fighters, those Tanks used on D-Day, and some Rotabuggies. Cap's got the mask off, the shield on as a backpack (because I always loved that feature), and he’s thinking. The sky is grey, the tone is muted, battle is not far away. Bucky is behind Cap, and off panel, and he’s speaking to Cap. This panel should be wide across the top.
Bucky: It’s not as crazy as it feels.

2. Cap laughs without turning around.
Cap: It feels like I’ll never get used to change.
Cap: My body, these weapons…the enemy. World’s growing at an exponential rate.
Bucky: That’s not a good thing?
Cap: For every good an equal evil will mirror.

3. Cap turns around, Bucky stands firm, he believes in this mission.
Bucky: Then we’ll always have to be better.
Cap: We’re riding a giant ice bullet.
Bucky: It’s just a ship, Cap. Pykecrete isn’t magic, it’s science.
Cap: Feels like a mistake.

4. Cap looks back out over the ocea, we have panned back to see the two men atop a ship made of a strange translucent material (the aforementioned Pykecrete) and in the distance is a Norwegian island with a HYDRA base on it. Have fun making it all look awesome!
Cap: If war is hell then why am I so damn cold.
Bucky: I don’t know, Cap.

Why Captain America?

If you haven't heard, a film came out this week by a little-known company called Marvel, staring one Steve Rogers. He's not a mutant. He wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider. In fact, he doesn't have any powers what-so-ever! He's just an average guy, who wanted to do his part in the war... but couldn't. He was a runt; a weakling. This didn't stop him trying, however, and his determination caught the attention of a special program the military was running. Steve was chosen to become a Super Soldier, and so was born Captain America.

So what's so special about this guy? Well, when it comes to heroes, you don't get much more heroic than Steve Rogers. A defining trait of a hero is altruism, and Steve has that in spades. He is always willing to give himself up for his country and fellow man, no matter the cost. Oh, and did I mention he has a pretty kick-ass shield?

Before I let you go and get those creative juices flowing, however, there is one other thing I should mention. Being that we are tying this week's character to Captain America: The First Avenger, we feel that it's only fair that all pages should also be based in the setting of World War II. Enjoy!

Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

THE PROCESS - Comic Writing Podcast

Hi, everybody! Just a quick break from the Why...? posts and script to let you know about something new and exciting.

I figure, if you're here then you're a fan of comic writing, and quite possibly a comic writer yourself, so you should want to know all about a new comic writing podcast made for comic writers by comic writers.

THE PROCESS is a podcast all about comic writing and it features the chatter of KURTIS WIEBE (he who writes The Intrepids and Green Wake for Image Comics), JEREMY HOLT (who writes for Joy Hog and has a slew of quality pitches all up in the air), and also little old me, RYAN K LINDSAY (you can always find me at thoughtballoons, or my own site, or The Weekly Crisis, or CBR, or just churning out my own creator owned scripts currently sitting with artists all around the world). You can also like THE PROCESS on their Facebook page.

On the pod, we discuss what we write, how we write, what we like to write, what difficulties we face writing. The discussion is all about comics, and plenty of comics writing, and it's a whole bag of fun. If you love the writing aspect of thoughtballoons then you should really dig this pod.

Also, enjoy that logo because thoughtballoons tenure, Danial Carroll, came up with the whole thing. We think it's gorgeous.

Hit up the link below to download the first Episode (we're hosted by Image Addiction so just click for the free download while we're still the top choice on their list):

Feel free to add the pod to your podcast catcher, whatever it may be (I use iTunes), as the Image Addition show is really good as well. and it's all free.

Have a listen, enjoy, sling us some feedback on Twitter, and tune in really soon for the next installment which has already been recorded!

Have you listened to THE PROCESS? What did you think and what sort of stuff would you like us to do?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Atomic Robo – Atomic Robo and the Problem with Clones - MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: ATOMIC ROBO is an industrial area, being held upside down by the leg. Holding him is ATOMIC DINO, an evil robot built by DR. DINOSAUR. It’s an 8-and-a-half-foot tall humanoid machine of war that has an Ankylosaurus tail, a Stegosaurus back, Raptor claws on its feet, folded up Pterodactyl wings attached to the shoulders, Triceratops horns, and a Tyrannosaurus head. The design of the metal and the construction of the robot has an aesthetic similar in nature to that of ATOMIC ROBO himself.

However, DINO doesn’t have nearly the intellectual capacity as ROBO, mostly needing to take its orders from DR. DINOSUAR, who is controlling it from a different location. A wireless speaker box in DINO’s mouth allows DR. DINOSAUR to verbally annoy ROBO despite not being there.

ATOMIC ROBO: Let me guess – It’s powered by crystals?

Panel 2: ATOMIC DINO drops ROBO and swings around so that it’s tail smacks ROBO as he drops to the ground, sending him flying into a small building.


SFX: (From tail.) TWONK!

SFX: (From wall.) CrunCH!

Panel 3: The building collapses and falls on top of ROBO as ATOMIC DINO slowly approaches him.

DR. DINOSAUR: Far superior to your inferior mammal robot energy power!

SFX: CreeeeRACH!

Panel 4: ATOMIC ROBO punches his fist up through the rubble as he begins to pull himself out of it.

SFX: crUNKcle

ATOMIC ROBO (1): Wonderful. Just what

ATOMIC ROBO (2): (Thought balloon.) Ow.

ATOMIC ROBO (3): I need.

ATOMIC ROBO (4): (Thought balloon.) Ow.

ATOMIC ROBO (5): A badly designed prehistoric bootleg wannabe

ATOMIC ROBO (6): (Thought balloon.) $#^^&%, I think I’ve got some rubble inside of me!

ATOMIC ROBO (7): version of me running around.

Panel 5: ATOMIC ROBO has mostly pulled himself out of the collapsed building. Robo is covered in rubble, and one of his eyes is half closed as it twitches.

SFX: twitch twitch

ATOMIC ROBO: Alright, Dr. Dumbosaur! Here’s how we’re going to do this!

Panel 6: Panel is from behind ATOMIC ROBO as he runs straight at ATOMIC DINO as fast as he can.

ATOMIC ROBO: First, I’m going to smash your stupid robot so hard it’ll make the laws of science cry uncle!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Atomic Robo - Not What It Used To Be - Ryan K Lindsay

Page 20 - 6 Panels

1. Robo stands in a military court, he's furious about proceedings.
Robo: Objection, heresy.

2. The judge smashes his hammer down. Robo facepalms.
Judge Kleinfeld: You mean here say, and the court will allow it.

3. Here we see a YouTube clip of the proceedings at the CERN Collider. The panel should be framed like a YouTube clip, timer down the bottom, etc. The timer is at 2:44. We see a supervillain strapped with a bomb and holding scientists hostage.
Prosecution: Here we see an agent of E.N.T.R.O.P.Y. getting his cackle on at the Large Hadron Collider.
Agent (in the clip): Amongst other things, it would appear running an empire isn’t what it used to be.

4. Same YouTube clip but the timeline shows it's minutes later, 5:12. Robo is punching the goon down the Collider's circular corridor while also pushing a button that says 'Initiate Sequence.' Some of this setting will have been shown more earlier in the issue.
Prosecution: Undue force was used in quelling the threat endangering the lives of potentially billions of people.
Robo (in the clip): See you...round.

5. Robo stands up from his seat once more.
Robo: That's right, people, like Newton...

6. Robo holds his fist up proud, the crowd behind erupts in cheers.
Robo: I do it with force!
Judge Kleinfeld: Order, order!

Atomic Robo - Entangled - Danial Carroll

PAGE TWENTY-TWO (two panels)

Close on Robo. He looks worried. If a robot could sweat, he would be sweating.

ROBO: Come one, Robo, you've faced extradimensional creatures before...

Robo stands on the top of a tall building, looking out at a partially destroyed city. Amongst the buildings of the city are three identical, giant monsters. Doesn't really matter what they look like, but I'm picturing Cthulhu in my head. Robo should look tiny in comparison, near the bottom of the page. His shoulders are slumped.

ROBO (small): ... just never quantum entangled creatures.
ROBO (small): ->sigh<-

CAPTION: To Be Quantinued...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Atomic Robo - Tau - Matt Duarte

Atomic Robo in “Tau” by Matt Duarte

Panel 1

Description: A mid 50's man is walking through the street. This is mathematician Mike Keith (real person, he wrote the Cadaeic Cadenza). Behind him, there is a van opening with several hooded figures coming out, as if about to kidnap him. Mr. Keith is woefully unaware of what is going on behind him.

Caption: June 28th, 3:18 PM

MIKE KEITH: How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum Mathematic!

ATOMIC ROBO (CAPTION): Team, here's what we know...

Panel 2

Description: Atomic Robo is standing in front of his science team. He looks serious and focused. Behind him, Jenkins stands leering at them.

ATOMIC ROBO: A group of Anti-Pi activists known as “Tau's Revenge” have kidnapped famed mathematician and author Mike Keith.

ATOMIC ROBO: They are reportedly torturing him by forcing him to write a paper denouncing Pi and proclaiming the supremacy of Tau instead.

ATOMIC ROBO: On top of that, they are holding him for a ransom of 6.28318 million Euros, to be paid in perfectly round coins.

Panel 3

Description: Same as previous.

ATOMIC ROBO: That's right, team. We are facing, for the first time ever, mathematical terrorists.

ATOMIC ROBO: We have to assume that compared with the rest of yahoos we go against, the members of Tau's Revenge will be much more...

ATOMIC ROBO: Calculating.

Panel 4

Description: The members of Robo's team have gotten up and are leaving the room. Some of them are face palming as they do so. Only Jenkins remains in place. Robo is raising his hands above his head, doing a desperate gesture.

ATOMIC ROBO: Oh, come on! That was very funny!

JENKINS: Boss, you don't pay us enough to put up with these puns.

Next: Tau's Revenge Get a Pi to the Face

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Atomic Robo - Ancient Wonder - Sime McDonald


The following page ocurs on PAGE TWENTY, building up to the climax and the "to be continued" ending on PAGE TWENTY TWO. This script occurs in Egypt, within the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Robo and Jenkins have just escavated an Egyptian casket. Robo is holding onto a glowing sphere.


A tunnel-boring vehicle, blatantly marked with Nazi swastikas, bursts out of the wall, nautral sunlight now illuminating the burial chamber.

Robo and Jenkins, both dressed in traditional Egyptian garb, stare at the mechanical beast's spinning pointed, screw-like nose; Jenkins with absolute horror, Robo rather more unworriedly.


Robo and Jenkins share a look.




Baron Heinrich Von Helsingard is clambering out of the tunnel-boring vehicle alongside several Nazi troops, all armed.

He is smiling smugly.

I'll take that.

Jenkins and Robo are nonplussed. Jenkins gazes at Von Helsingard and his troops with blatant disregard. Robo glances down at the glowing orb in his hands.


Relax. I got this.
Atomic Robo holds the orb above his head, ready to crash it down against the earth. Beside him, Jenkin's eyes go wide.

Wait - - !

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Atomic Robo - Schrödinger's Catastrophe - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Atomic Robo and one of his soldier pals (new character, we’ll call him Grant in tribute to one of Atomic Robo’s biggest fans) are running down a long corridor in a secret research installation / evil bad guy’s lair type place.

They’re being pursued by a flying steel box with machine guns mounted on either side – it’s firing at them.

Atomic Robo: This is worse than I thought – it’s Schrödinger's Cat – and he’s armed!

Grant: He’s trying to kill us!


Panel Two.

Atomic Robo and Grant duck round a corner and the flying metal box goes whizzing past.

SFX: Meooooooooow!

Atomic Robo: And if Schrödinger himself were here, I’m sure he’d postulate that either his cat will kill us… or it won’t.

Grant: You think maybe we should kill it before it solves that particular quantum dilemma?

Panel Three.

Close on Atomic Robo, looking thoughtful.

Atomic Robo: Only one problem with that – the cat might already be dead.

Grant (O/P): What now? How can it be dead--!?

Atomic Robo: There’s no way to know for sure until we can see inside that box.

Panel Four.

The flying box / Schrödinger's Cat is back – this time it’s armed with a buzz saw and firing lasers.

Atomic Robo and Grant start running again.


SFX: Weeoop! Weeoop! Weeoop!

Grant: This is why I hate science.

Atomic Robo: Just keep running, I’ll figure something—

Panel Five.

Atomic Robo and Grant hit a slippery patch on the floor and go skidding. They’re still being pursued by Schrödinger's Cat… but also being observed in the foreground by dog-shaped silhouettes.

Atomic Robo: --oouuuuuuuuuutttt!

Panel Six.

Atomic Robo and Grant have come to land in a tangle of arms and legs. They’re now surrounded by enemies – not just the deadly, flying cat-in-a-box, but also a pack of slobbering mutant dogs. The dogs’ slobber is all over the floor – it’s this which caused our heroes to slip. Atomic Robo is staring at the dogs, Grant can’t see what’s happening because he’s lying face down in the tangle.

Atomic Robo: Oh great. This just gets better and better.

Grant: What is it? What is it!?

Atomic Robo: We’re not just up against Schrödinger's Cat…

Atomic Robo: We’ve also got to deal with Pavlov’s Dogs!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Atomic Robo - The Most Bitter of Enemies - Ben Rosenthal

All panels take up the width of the page. Each panel appears underneath the proceeding one.

. We can see Atomic Robo from chest up, however he is on the far left hand side of the panel, only taking up about a third of it. The remainder of the panel is background, which I am quite happy for you to put whatever you think fits in there. It could be blank even (would certainly show that the focus should be on these two most bitter of enemies). Atomic Robo is staring intently to the right of the panel, but is facing the reader.

2. A man who is clearly a priest (your traditional black robe with the white thingy in the collar should convey it easily enough) is seen on the extreme right of the panel. Again, he takes up a third of the panel with the remainder being background. The priest is looking to the left of this panel, but like Atomic Robot is square on to the reader. He looks stern.

3. Same framing as Panel 1, with Atomic Robo not having moved much since the first panel.

4. Same framing as Panel 2, but the Priest is looking slightly concerned. Only slightly.

5. Same as Panel 4, however Atomic Robo’s hand is slapping the Priest. Hard. There’s spit and everything coming from the Priest’s mouth. It’s the greatest bitch slap ever.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Atomic Robo - The Darkest Day - Grant McLaughlin

1 – Outside shot of Tesladyne Headquarters, aka the Empire State Building.

CAPTION: Tesladyne HQ

ATOMIC ROBO (from within building): This is it, people.

ATOMIC ROBO (2) (from within building): Our worst fears realized.

2 – A meeting room within Tesladyne Headquarters. A number of Tesladyne employees sit around a meeting table. They have various computers, tablets, and papers strewn about in front of them. Atomic Robo stands, speaking. Everyone looks grim. Something bad has happened.

ATOMIC ROBO: You've all heard the news. You've read the briefing notes. Washington has dropped the ball yet again and it's up to us to clean up their mess.

3 – Atomic Robo is trying to rally the troops. He places both hands on the table to emphasize the gravity of his words. Many of the Tesladyne employees wear serious expressions.

ATOMIC ROBO (1): I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This is bad. We are by no means prepared to deal with this situation. The whole thing has taken us by surprise, and we are out of our depth.

ATOMIC ROBO (2): Tesladyne is going to have to step up. We've done it before and we will do it again.

4 – A slight change in angle of focus. The shot is from behind and in between two of the employees, positioned to either side of the panel. One of them is holding a tablet with the headline “Space Shuttle Program Finished!” clearly visible to the reader. He is speaking. Atomic Robo stands on the other side of the table, looking towards the employee holding the tablet. Robo looks determined. He knows what they have to do.

TESLADYNE EMPLOYEE: But Robo, we don't even have a Space Division!

ATOMIC ROBO: Well, then, we better get to work.

Why Atomic Robo?

Because Atomic Robo is everything that a comic book should be. Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegner have truly created something special. These brilliant gentlemen have released but five volumes featuring our nearly indestructible hero, and already he feels like one of the best developed and most dynamic characters in the entire industry.

In his short publication history, we've already seen Robo travel to Mars, fight in World War 2, defeat a Lovecraftean creature from outside our time stream, resurrect his greatest nemesis, and learn the vigilante trade in the 1930s. Among many other things.

Of course, Atomic Robo isn't only about action and adventure. The comic also manages to fit in loads of great character moments throughout each and every issue. The series is just as much about the people around Atomic Robo as it is about Robo himself.

Fortunately, you don't have to go out and buy all the comics to catch up on Robo's adventures (though you probably should). If you're wanting to get a feel for what Atomic Robo is all about, Brian Clevinger has kindly posted a number of short Robo stories at his website. I would particularly recommend Flight of the Terror BirdsThe Yonkers Devil, and one of my favourite Robo stories, Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur (the only thing better is issue 3 of volume 4, the aptly named "Why Dr. Dinosaur Hates Atomic Robo").
So there you have it, everyone. We're writing Atomic Robo this week, and I can't wait to see what our tenures and play-at-homers come up with. For anyone wanting to participate, please feel free to post your scripts in the comments below. I hope everyone has as much fun writing their scripts as I know I will.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thunderbolts – Turncoat - MK Stangeland Jr.

(The ‘Underbolts’ are trying to make their escape, having decided now is the proper opportunity. SHOCKER was interested in only escape, while BOOMARANG, CENTURIUS, and MR. HYDE have since decided they also want to kill TROLL and the current handlers while they’re at it. This friction between the would-be escapees has caused SHOCKER to turn on his would-be fellow escapees.

MR. HYDE is currently off in another location fighting TROLL and the Underbolts current handlers. SHOCKER has been left to fend to himself against BOOMARANG and CENTURIUS.

(8 Panels)

Panel 1: SHOCKER continues to charge at BOOMARANG, and creates a vibration wave that shatters the boomarangs that have been thrown at him.

BOOMARANG: When did you go soft, Shocker?

SHOCKER: When you guys decided to add murder and revenge to the escape itinerary!

Panel 2-4: One panel cut up into three parts, showing SHOCKER as he gets in close to BOOMARANG, misses with his first swing, hits the ground underneath BOOMARANG’s feet with a vibration wave, and then uses the loss of footing from BOOMARANG to get a solid hit in against BOOMARANG.

SHOCKER (1): What is it with you people?

SHOCKER (2): Why must there always be revenge involved?

SHOCKER (3): You know what I always hated about working with the Sinister Six?

Panel 5: SHOCKER is standing over BOOMARANG, who’s not quite out, but is on the ground, SHOCKER holds BOOMARANG by the neck of his costume, and is prepared to deliver a knockout punch. Behind him, wires can be seen approaching from the top of the panel.

SHOCKER (1): It’s always “I hate Spider-Man this!” and “Let’s kill Spider-Man” that!

SHOCKER (2): No one ever suggests anything simple like…

Panel 6: CENTURIUS wraps his hacking wires around SHOCKER’s neck and arms and pulls him into the air, intent on strangling him.

SHOCKER: *urk!*

CENTURIUS: It’s a pity your simple mind thinks that way.

Panel 7: SHOCKER uses a vibration wave to cut through the wires, freeing himself and dropping the short distance to the ground.

CENTURIUS: There’s a reason you’ve always been a third-rate member of the villain community, Mr. Schultz. You lack vision.

Panel 8 SHOCKER tries to shoot CENTURIUS with a vibration wave, but is blocked by a shield from CENTURIUS.

SHOCKER: I’ll take…*cough, cough*…take common sense over your…*cough*…‘vision’ any day!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Thunderbolts - Second Guessing - Grant McLaughlin

A calmer script this week.  I think I used up a good part of my dialogue quota on that Invincible piece, so I figured I'd take it easy this time around.  This page would take place after the current Thunderbolts storyline, assuming they get the Raft back up and running (and assuming Shocker is still among its occupants).

Five rows. Each row is made up of a single panel that spans the entire page.

1 – Herman Schultz, the Shocker, stands in his cell, wearing the Raft's prisoner uniform and looking towards John Walker who is at the cell control panel.

JOHN WALKER: I want to personally thank you for your help in securing the Raft, Schultz. You really proved yourself out there. If you keep up this kind of behaviour, you could be out in the field with the Thunderbolts sooner than you think.

SHOCKER: Glad I could be of--

SFX (interrupting): Click!

2 – The window / force field closes. Shocker remains in the same standing position, now obscured by the cell door. John Walker is leaving, already mostly off the panel.


3 – Same panel. Shocker continues to stand in the same position and no one is outside his cell. He looks to his left, but there's nothing to see but his cell wall.

4 – Repeat panel. He looks to his right, and sees the other wall.

5 – Repeat panel. He looks down and places his head in his hand.

SHOCKER (quietly): ...why the hell didn't I try to escape?

Thunderbolts - Pain – Ryan K Lindsay

1. Cage and Satanna lay at the feet of Man-Thing. There is blood around them, on them, but otherwise they are back and safe in The Raft. They are both panting while lying down and it looks like they’ve been through hell. In fact, they’ve just experienced worse, but at least they survived. Man-Thing kind of looks unscathed.
Caption-Cage: When you’ve got indestructible skin there’s not a lot that actually scares you.

2. Cage looks across at Satanna, she doesn’t look as cocky as usual. She was scared, she only just survived.
Caption-Cage: You might fear for others but you don’t fear for yourself. Nothing can harm you.

3. Cage reaches across a hand to touch Satanna’s face.
Caption-Cage: Such power numbs you. Makes you forget pain…
Cage: You’re okay, you’re okay.

4. Cage and Satanna kiss under the hulking mass of the Man-Thing.
Caption-Cage: Forget you can cause it as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thunderbolts - A Force To Be Reckoned With - Matt Duarte

Thunderbolts in “A Force To Be Reckoned” by Matt Duarte

Panel 1

Description: The Thunderbolts sit in the briefing room of the Raft. Luke Cage is talking in front of them, with some computer screens in the back that we can't really see yet. Around the room we can see Juggernaut, Moonstone, and Fixer sitting down, while Songbird and Mach V stand to the side and Ghost floats on the back.

LUKE CAGE: Alright, next mission ain't going to be easy. We are not going against a random bunch of villains, or some mindless goons. We are talking about a highly trained and organized military group operating on American soil.

JUGGERNAUT: What? No way these geeks are doing this.

MOONSTONE: About time they grew some cojones, if you ask me. They could only play the victim card for so long.

GHOST: It is not surprising at all. All organizations turn corrupt in the end, so it was only a matter of time before they became just like their enemies.

Panel 2

Description: Close-up on Songbird, she looks concerned and questioning the wisdom of the mission before her.

SONGBIRD: Are we sure about this, Luke? How do we know we are not playing this to someone else's tune.

Panel 3

Description: Close up on Fixer. He is looking at some screens before him, not looking up as he talks

FIXER: The data checks out. We don't know how the higher-ups got hold of this, but the photographic and video evidence is damning. And gruesome.

Panel 4

Description: Turn around, revealing Luke again, standing directly in front of the previous computer screens. In them, we can see photos of Wolverine, Angel, Psylocke, Deadpool, and Fantomex, the members of Uncanny X-Force.

LUKE CAGE: No way around it, Thunderbolts. We are going up against these killers, even if we normally know them as the good guys.

LUKE CAGE: The X-Men have a lot of explaining to do...

Next: Thunderbolts vs. Uncanny X-Force.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thunderbolts - The Fear Lingers On - Sime McDonald

I do not read Thunderbolts. I have not read any of the Fear Itself tie-ins. This script will go against events already in motion in Marvel continuity. You’re gonna have to roll with it.


Within the subterranean headquarters of The Sons of the Serpents (first appeared in Avengers #32), the Supreme Serpent stands before his followers, arms outstretched, palms flat, in the midst of an empowering sermon. The Serpent followers are lapping it up, arms raised, hands bunched into fists. He’s clad in traditional ‘Sons of Serpent’ attire, his identity obscured by his serpent mask. The only attribute that differentiates the Supreme Serpent from his followers is he’s wearing robes. Behind him are several screens, all displaying moments occurring in Fear Itself related chaos; e.g. The Hulk / Nul, The Thing / Angrir, Juggernaut / Kuurth; and one should showcase the death of Captain America / Bucky. The world is going crazy – and these guys are loving it.

Cosmic threats; they come and go!
But fear! Fear remains latent! Fear lingers on!

(off-panel / no word balloon tail)
You getting this?

Focus on The Sons of Serpents crowd, all of whom are cheering. We can see an outline of Ghost, in his invisible form, standing amidst the crowd.

And we will use this fear to revolutionize America
into its true form!
(off-panel / static / from Ghost’s earpiece)

Cut to the White House situation room. Luke Cage stands with the President and his Chief of Staff. The Chaos of Fear Itself is showcased on several monitors. POTUS’ face is etched with concern; his Chief of Staff is leaning in, whispering something in his ear.
… we got it.

Well, at least they believe we’ll eliminate this threat…

(off-panel / static)

Cage looks at POTUS expectantly, an eyebrow arched. The Chief of Staff is still right by his side, still whispering in the President’s ear conspiratorially.

Mr. President.

The Thunderbolts are on standby, ready to engage on your command.

I –

Mr. President, I must protest! I've made my feelings on
the Thunderbolts initiative quite clear...
There must be another option, here.

Sanctioning this band of – of misfits! – for an operation like this, I mean - -

On Cage. He’s keeping his temper in check – but only just.
Mr. President. The Avengers are scattered. Captain America is dead.
Steve Rogers has his hands full. Hell, the X-Men... they're dealing with
San Francisco .

Forget their history. My team is comprised of a teleporter, a half-demon,
a sound manipulator and a superhuman with the ability to manipulate
gravity and fire motion blasts.

POTUS and his Chief of Staff share a glance as Cage thumbs his chest.
We’re all you’ve got, Mr. President.


The following page (page twenty) would be a splash of the current Thunderbolts team (minus Juggernaut, of course) preparing to teleport. Luke’s spiel would follow on in a narrative caption: “We’re all you need.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thunderbolts – You Belong To Me – Rol Hirst

Panel One.

Close on Norman Osborn, looking crazy-scary as ever. He's wearing a business suit, not a Goblin outfit.

NORMAN: My name is Norman Osborn and I’m taking back my Thunderbolts.

NORMAN: In just under six minutes, I’ve already dealt with anyone who might have stood in my way.

Panel Two.

Luke Cage is shackled in the most extravagant, high tech fashion imaginable. He’s bound hand and foot, and every part of his body is restrained. He can’t even move his head. This elaborate shackling device is set inside an adamantium cage with a sign on the front that reads ‘DANGER - 10,000 gigavolts’.

CAP (Norman): Luke Cage – caged.

Panel Three.

Close on Songbird’s head and shoulders. Her head is tied back and her throat exposed. A clear plastic tube has been inserted into her throat, like a large size tracheotomy device – only far more fiendish and diabolical looking. There's a hideous alien tequila worm crawling along the tube and into her throat.

CAP (Norman): Songbird – silenced.

Panel Four.

The Fixer sits in an oversized child’s playpen, wearing an adult nappy. He’s playing with large plastic building blocks, trying to spell out the words ‘Help Me’ but all he can manage is ‘Hepl e’ – he’s holding the M block, trying to work out where he goes. He’s been non-surgically lobotomised and though he can’t even spell out his cry for help, he’s desperately aware that something is wrong.

CAP (Norman): The Fixer – fixed.

Panel Five.

Norman stands in a meeting room at Thunderbolts HQ / The Raft. He’s talking to a gathering of Thunderbolts who’ve decided to stick with him. Ghost, Moonstone, Juggernaut, Shocker, Boomerang. They’re listening to Norman spout.

A dark shadow falls over Norman as he addresses his new allies.

Norman’s head turns slightly as though he’s noticed the shadow approaching.

NORMAN: The rest of you – well, you’re smart enough to know where your future lies—

What’s this now?

Panel Six.

Norman turns to face Man-Thing who is reaching out a muck-encrusted hand to grab Norman’s head. Moonstone steps forward to warn Osborn of the creature’s attack, but Norman (who is facing the monster now) just grins and waits.

NORMAN: Oh, yes, the muck monster. I was waiting for you…

MOONSTONE: Careful boss – whoever knows fear, burns at the--

Panel Seven.

The others watch as Man-Thing’s hand swallows Norman’s head whole. Norman doesn’t try to resist, he just stands there laughing. The Man-Thing looks puzzled: Norman isn’t burning.

NORMAN: Yes, yes, Karla – don’t fret about that. I certainly won't.

NORMAN: Hahahahahahahahaha!

SHOCKER (to Boomerang): Man – that’s gonna seriously mess up his ‘do!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thunderbolts - FUNderbolts - Maxy Barnard

Remember when Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts presented a marketable team? With elements like Who Wants To Be A Thunderbolt (or whatever it was called), action figures and presenting themselves with a toyetic quality? Well here's a minor revival of that concept, with a kids show version of the current team. Or rather a hand-picked selection of the most toyetic and visually safe Thunderbolts, so creepier ones like Mr. Hyde and Crossbones are off limits. (when I wrote that last bit I realised that most of the Thunderbolts are really toyetic and pleasing to look. I wonder if that was deliberate)

On the creative side, I adopted a system of creating a beat every 4 panels, creating the same sort of pacing joke to joke and scene to scene as a kids show tends to lean towards, which owes itself heavily to both Thom Zahler and to many, MANY 4-koma gag manga. I feel it works effectively, and frames the jokes well, regardless of quality or set-up. So keep in mind, if panel continuity seems to jump a bit every 4 panels, it's because it IS jumping ahead scene to scene.


Page 1 - 8 Panels*

*Page note: to emphasise this as a tv show, I want to take the concept presented in other works like Love & Capes of having all of the panels the same size, to take on the appearance of the story being on a television screen.

Title card for this episode of Funderbolts. Top left we have the Thunderbolts logo, retooled to be multi-coloured and to instead read as Funderbolts. Other than that touch run wild, whilst trying to keep within the guidelines of a kids show title. Good reference cards can be found in stuff like Spongebob Squarepants or various classic Looney Tunes episodes. You know, playing up the text with a relevant frame and such.

TEXT: FUNDERBOLTS IN... A 'Shocker'ing Surprise!

Establishing shot of The Raft, done up all shiny and with a large Thunderbolts logo on the front. At the water around the base are smiling Jellyfish, swimming to and fro along the surface. The speech bubble connects to an upper window above the giant logo.

Speech Bubble(Shocker): I have to go where?!

[Scene note: We're in a break room for the Funderbolts, split into two general areas. A TV area, with a HUGE couch (made comically huge to fit the whole team, including the colossal Juggernaut) and a giant widescreen TV with an unidentifiable games console at the base of it (in true animated cartoon tradition, this must be completely different to any existing console, purely for that wonderful feeling of dodging royalties or whatever the motivation was), and a kitchen area, with basic amenities like a coffee machine, counter, fridge and microwave. The exit to the room is between these two areas.]
Two Shot¦Kitchen Area: A 'chibi' Shocker is flailing his arms comically up and down, frustrated at chibi Ghost, who is drinking coffee through a gas-mask-like/straw-like extension on his mask.

Ghost: ... The Haunted Mine.

Shocker: WHY WOULD YOU SEND ME THERE?! It's haunted! The name even says so!

Two Shot¦Kitchen Area: Ghost remains unchanged. Shocker is slumped forward, a huge sweat drop on his head and a black cloud just above him.

Ghost: ... You can take Swampy.

SFX(coffee): *sllllurp*

Shocker: But he's spooky too...

SFX(cloud): *doom*

Three Shot¦Kitchen Area+Exit: Shocker is being pushed towards the door by chibi Boomerang (you don't get more toyetic than his current design!), who is grinning widely as Shocker tries to put up a resistance. Ghost is at the edge of the shot, continuing to drink his coffee.

Boomerang: C'mon Shocker, it'll be fun! You never know what you'll find!


SFX(coffee): *ssssip*

Three Shot¦Kitchen Area+Exit: Shocker is having the door closed on him by Boomerang, who is still sporting his huge grin. Ghost is putting his coffee down on the side, and phasing one arm through the counter.

Shocker: Don't make me go-o-ooooo!

Boomerang: Nonsense! Seeya later when you've searched the WHOLE MINE!

Three Shot¦Kitchen Area+Exit: The door is now closed, with Boomerang leaning against it and breathing a sigh of relief(and yet still grinning. Terrifying AND hard to pull off, I know). Ghost has now dived through the counter, with his legs floating up in the air.

Boomerang: Phew, he's gone.

Three Shot¦Kitchen Area+Exit: Boomerang is grinning and giving a HUGE thumbs up at Ghost, who has pulled balloons, a cake and some boxed-up presents (ribbons and everything!) up through the counter.

Boomerang: Now we can get his SURPRISE PARTY ready!

SFX(birthday stuff): *TA-DAA*