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*


  1. I'd question the number of panels and how well they'd all fit given your descriptions of them if the overall script wasn't so charming. :D

  2. Strangely, this does nothing for me. I like the idea (in concept) and I like the lay out even but the dialogue doesn't have any pop in it whatsoever. It's written like a kid's cartoon but a really bad one.

    Sorry, Max. The first one from you I have disliked in a while...

  3. I don't really get the whole Two Shot/Three Shot thing :/

  4. Funny and I like the concept. Not sure if it fits the tone of the team though.

  5. I think this is where I've ultimately crippled myself in the name of fun, huh.

    I'd argue that the bad kid's show feel is deliberate, in much the same way the 'sellable' elements in Ellis' Thunderbolts were, and it continues that message of that sort of Thunderbolts was a concept that shouldn't work in every way possible, but the truth is I basically just did a bad job on the dialogue.

    The Two Shot/Three Shot thing is the amount of people in shot. It's a film camera term, used here because of the traditional tv show setting of the page.

    As for the panels, that I can entirely defend as working, by citing Thom Zahler's Love & Capes again. you can really fit a lot into the panel sizes and number here (he takes these webcomic pages and combines two of them into a single comics page, ya see), and I figured I'd play with that.

    Excuses made, and now to hide ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM

  6. This reads a lot like Johnny DCs Tiny Titans book, in my opinion. Perhaps not really in the style of the current Thunderbolts book, but I think it's something that could work really well for a younger audience. Not necessarily for everyone, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  7. I really liked it Max. Having watched many kid cartoons, and now watching them again with Parker, I get exactly wehre this is coming from - it's a lame kids show aimed at the 8-12 year old demographic.

    It reminds me a lot of the original Ninja Turtles cartoon - yes I know we all love them but seriously go back and watch some episodes. They are horribly lame.

  8. I thought the cheesy dialogue was the point, in which case, you give great cheese, Max.

    The word "toyetic" made my brain bleed though.


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