Monday, December 31, 2012

Halo - The Only Way to be Sure - Ben Rosenthal

1.  The logo to the Master Chef television show.

With only the Final Four remaining who will win the the final cook off and become--

2. Four Halo soldiers stand behind a long counter, side by side. They are dressed in their armour. But are also wearing chef hats and aprons. In front of them are various cooking implements. The four Halo soldiers are in various degrees of mixing/making a cake. It is going horribly. This should be a funny scene.

--Master Chief?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Halo - Protector - Grant McLaughlin

1 - A shot of deep space.  Floating in the vast nothingness is the portion of the "Forward Unto Dawn" that the Master Chief and Cortana were stuck in between Halo 3 and Halo 4.  That ship is the main focus of panel.  It's a little hard to see the ship, as minimal power is on and there isn't anything nearby in the surrounding space.

CAPTION (CORTANA): You've saved us all from so much.

2 - Interior of the ship.  It's the same room from the ending of Halo 3 (this one).  The Master Chief remains asleep in the cryo-chamber.  Cortana stands at the same pedestal.  However, time has clearly past.  The ship is cold and frozen.  The lights are low from drained power.  It's clear that Cortana is the only one who's been doing much of anything in the last however long it's been.  Despite my example picture, this panel is angled from the side, with Cortana on the left of the panel looking towards the cryo-chamber on the right.  The Chief is not actually visible from this angle.  The captions fill the space between the two.

CAPTION (CORTANA) (1): The Covenant.

CAPTION (CORTANA) (2): The Flood.

CAPTION (CORTANA) (3): The Forerunner.

CAPTION (CORTANA) (4): To name but a few.

3 - Close-up of Cortana.  She looks sad and concerned.  Maybe a little lost.  If you're far enough out, have her hugging herself, as if against the cold (even if she can't feel it).

CAPTION (CORTANA): But when this is all over - when your fight is finally finished --

4 - Close-up of the cryo-chamber in which the Chief remains asleep.  Although the glass is icy and fogged and the room is dark, you can see the Chief's face (helmet) through the glass - just barely.  It's faint, kind of like a ghost.

CAPTION (CORTANA): Who's going to save you?

Why Halo?

The moment I first played Halo at a friend's house all the way back in 2001, I knew that I had to own it for myself.  I didn't care that I didn't have the money for it or that I already owned a GameCube and not an Xbox.  I needed this game.

I eventually managed to get my hands on both a console and a copy of Halo, and let me tell you, it was more than worth it.  I played the hell out of that game.  Single player, multiplayer, LAN parties, it didn't matter.  For a few years, I lived and breathed Halo, always wanting more.  I was in love.

It definitely helped that the game had a pretty intriguing story going on.  Every aspect of that ring world hinted at something more, something deeper.  Like the game itself, I thirsted for more, and soon enough, tie-in novels started popping up on bookshelves.  They were the perfect compliment to the game, and I devoured them, reading these books until their spines gave out and beyond.  While the gameplay is what brought me in, the story is what kept me interested.

However, this was a romance born of youth, and it was not made to last.  As I got older, my intense devotion to the game began to wane.  I was still there for Halo 2 (sinking far more evenings into its online multiplayer than I care to count), but by the time Halo 3 rolled around, my heart wasn't in it anymore.  I didn't even buy, let alone play, Halo: ODST or Halo: Reach.

But while my zeal for playing these games was not what it once was, I still loved the world Bungie had created so long ago.  I missed it.  Quite dearly, in fact.  And the siren call Master Chief, Cortana, and company still reached my ears on occasion.

With Halo 4, I could resist it no more.

Alas, you truly can't go home again.  I was excited to return to the world that I loved so dearly, but it wasn't the same.  It never could have been.  Admittedly, it didn't help that the game's story simply made no sense.  Without mincing words, it was awful, plain and simple.  On the other hand, the gameplay that initially caught my attention so many years ago remained.  Especially in multiplayer.

So why Halo?  Because even though the series and my passion for it aren't what they once were, like an old flame, Halo will always hold a special place in my heart.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rudolph the Red Lantern - R.A. Wonsowski

Splash page -

Foreground, RUDOLPH, surrounded by a red aura, spewing blood from his mouth and suited in black, a red domino mask about his eyes, and his glowing nose bearing the sigil of the Red Lanterns:
He is flying toward us, screaming his own version of the Red Lantern oath (below)

Background: On a snowy, starry night, high above the world, Green Lantern GUY GARDNER has used his ring to rescue SANTA CLAUS, and another energy beam has caught his sleigh and its giant, overflowing bag of toys sticking out the back.  SANTA is relieved, but worried, as his other reindeer are nowhere in sight.  GUY with a fiercely determined look on his face, has also manifested an emerald-energy cookbook titled "101 Holiday Recipes for Venison" and barbecue tools.

SANTA:  No, Guy!  Don't!  You just made the NICE list this year!

GUY:  Sorry, Mr. Claus, but there's no other way!

RUDOLPH:  Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen!
                      Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen!

            Together by my hellish hate,
            I'll burn you all--That is your fate!

CAPTION:  They laughed at him.  They called him names.  They wouldn't let him play any reindeer games...

CAPTION:  Now, they're going to pay...

TITLE:  Green Lantern in:  Rudolph's ChristMASSACRE!!!
SUBTITLE:  (or, Won't You Guide My SLAY Tonight?)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rudolph - Light Work - Niel Jacoby

Full Splash: Through the window of a house decorated for Christmas, we see a red streak across the night sky. A child looks through the window.




Inset Panel: Rudolph leading the sleigh, the scenery a blur around him. He's smiling.


Rudolph - The Inevitable Gritty Reboot - J.D. Coughlan

Panel 1: A WW2 aerial dogfight at night, over land. Focus on one American fighter plane, its nose bursting into flame.

RUDOLPH: (From plane) Donner! Blitzen! Keep this Nazi scum off me; I'm going in!

Panel 2: In Rudolph's cockpit. You can't tell because he's wearing his mask right now, but he's the typical rugged war hero. There is determination in his eyes. The flames from his plane's nose illuminate him.

NORTH POLE: (On radio) Sleigh Nine, this is North Pole! You're burning up -- eject!

Panel 3: Close-up on Rudolph. He has, like all fictional heroes, done away with safety and removed his mask, showing us his cocky grin.

RUDOLPH: No can do, North Pole. It's black as Hell out here, and these boys could use a light to guide them.

RUDOLPH: And to think you wanted me to sit this one out.

Panel 4: Side-on view of Rudolph's plane; flames consuming the nose. In the background, American planes shoot down Nazi ones. Rudolph can be seen struggling with the controls.

NORTH POLE: (On radio) That's madness! Sleigh Nine, eject right now, that is an order!

RUDOLPH: Sorry, command, you're breaking up.

NORTH POLE: (On radio) Rud--!


Panel 5: Aerial shot of Rudolph's plane, in flames, leading a squadron of American planes through the dogfight.

RUDOLPH: (From plane) Follow me, Reindeer! I'll light the way...


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rudolph – Won’t You Find My Sleigh Tonight – Shaun Richens.


1. EXT. Early evening. Dusk is setting in. A few stars twinkle in the darkening sky. A snowy scene in Lapland. The snow still falls, a forest is on the horizon. Dead centre in the foreground is a large log cabin. Smoke rises from its chimney and light can be seen from all the windows. A huge flashing neon sign above the building reads CLUB SUGAR ELF.

         Christmas eve 2012.

2. INT. Club Sugar Elf. We are inside a bar. It’s rustic and looks like the bar from Cheers. Christmas lights and decorations hang up everywhere, an open log fire burns bright in the fireplace. A big old jukebox plays in the other corner. A small Christmas elf by the name of CANDYCANE stands on a barstool behind the bar cleaning a pint glass with a red and green kitchen towel. CANDYCANE is about three foot tall, he wears a large green pointy hat, curly elf shoes and a white apron over his red Christmas jumper. His cheeks are rosy red. This is his bar. Sat on the customer side of the bar is the anthropomorphic RUDOLPH. He sits nursing his milk from a whisky glass. He wears a nice grey suit with a red tie matching his bright nose.

         You guna sit here all night Big Red?

         Don’t call me that, no one’s called me that in years.

         You at least want another drink?

         RUDOLPH 1:
         Give me milk.
         RUDOLPH 2:

3. Repeat of panel 2. However now CANDYCANE is pouring RUDOLPH another drink.

         VOICE: (Off panel)
         Hold that drink Candycane.

4. Shot from behind the bar. RUDOLPH and CANDYCANE both have their backs to us as they look towards the entrance to THE SUGAR ELF to see who just spoke. Standing in front of the door, having just come in is the anthropomorphic VIXEN. She wears a knee length well fitting black dress, tights and black high heels, her lips as bright red as RUDOLPH’s nose. She has a thick fake fur coat on.

         What do you want Vixen?
         RUDOLPH 2:
         You not out with Dasher tonight?

         VIXEN 1:
         This isn’t about us tonight Big Red.
         VIXEN 2:
         It’s about Old Nick.

5. Insert panel into the bottom right of 4. Close up on the sad face of VIXEN.

         VIXEN 1:
         He’s missing Rudolph.
         VIXEN 2:
         He’s gone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – SUPER-RUDOLPH – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: Scene is the frozen wastes. RUDOLPH stands on a icy cliff looking out over the horizon. A Holographicesque image of an older reindeer’s portrait is stretches high across the sky, a la SUPERMAN’s dad.

NARRATION BOX: And then, as Rudolph stood along among the frozen wastes, he had a vision!

Panel 2: The older reindeer fills the panel as it sits in the sky.

NARRATION BOX: And then the vision spoke to him! It said…

REINDEER: RUDOLPH! Rudolph, my son!

Panel 3: The elder reindeer overlooks RUDOLPH as he speaks.

REINDEER (1): You wondered what your purpose was.

REINDEER (2): I tell you it is this: To be a beacon of light to this world!

Panel 4: Close up on RUDOLPH, now with a heroic look of determination on his face.


Panel 5: The panel is largely dark, but the light from RUDOLPH’s nose makes it bright enough to see that RUDOLPH is punching SAURON (of the LORD OF THE RINGS variety) in the face as SANTA, ELVES, and other REINDEER cheer him on off to the side.

NARRATION BOX: So Super-Rudolph flew back to the North Pole and saved Christmas from the Dark Lord Sauron!

Panel 6: This panel cuts to the actual scene as we see who’s telling the story – It’s PINKIE PIE (MLP:FIM), and she’s telling the story to APPLEBLOOM, SWEETIE BELL, and SCOOTALOO.

PINKIE PIE: And that’s why we decorate with strings of light every year!

Panel 7: APPLEBLOOM, SWEETIE BELL, and SCOOTALOO sit in front of PINKIE PIE, and all three of them have a ‘WTF?’ look on their face while having not the slightest idea WHAT it is they just heard.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rudolph- Beacons -Dan Hill

Page One

OPEN on a tight shot of a REINDEER looking at us, its head tilted slightly. Snowflakes fall around it like confetti.

In the beginning it was just about the money. An assignment.

A story to fill a colouring book.

ZOOM OUT to show that the reindeer is in an enclosure. We’re in Chicago Zoo in the winter of 1938. Snow continues to fall from the cloudless, pale blue sky.

A man with his back to us holds the hand of his four year old daughter in front of the enclosure. They are both wrapped up in winter clothes.

This is ROBERT L. MAY and his daughter, BARBARA.

Enter Robert L. May, native of Chicago.

CUT TO a CLOSE UP on Robert, facing us, as he crouches down at his daughter’s side pointing towards us/the reindeer. She smiles gleefully.

Loving father.

CUT TO a CLOSE UP on Robert’s hands. Both of them are holding the frail and pale looking hand of his wife (off panel) as she lies in bed.

And devoted husband.

Even during times of hardship.

CUT TO a shot of Robert, looking up at him at an angle. He’s sitting at a desk, a typewriter in front of him, a piece of paper curling slightly towards us from its top.

Slowly the story became something more. Something he needed to finish.

It became a reminder.

Wide panel: CUT TO Robert sitting on the edge of Barbara’s bed. He reads to her from the same sheet of paper that was in the typewriter from the last panel.

A reminder that even when the storm comes and hope seems lost we each have our beacons.

Wide panel: TIGHT SHOT on Barbara as she beams back at her father.

We can all make it through the dark.

Rudolph - Reindeer Games - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Nighttime in the North Pole during Rudolph's youth.  Rudolph is hiding behind an embankment in the snow.  He looks super happy, a great big smile on his face.

RUDOLPH (quietly): I can't believe they finally let me join in!

2 - Switch angles to the other side of Rudolph's hiding spot.  Pull the camera back a bit to get a good sense of the setting.  A red glow emerges from the embakment Rudolph is behind, making it incredibly obvious where he's hiding.  A reindeer is walking in the foreground, just emerging from the right hand side of the panel.

RUDOLPH (quietly, from behind embankment): This is going to be the perfect hiding spot!

3 - Same scene.  A whole bunch of other reindeer Rudolph's age are now walking by the foreground.  They're trying to keep quiet, mischevious looks on their faces.  Many quiet sniggers are surpressed as the group sneaks by.  One reindeer lags behind the rest, looking over towards Rudolph's location.

RUDOLPH (quietly, from behind embankment): They'll never find me here!

4 - Reverse angle on the laggin reindeer.  She looks sad / remorseful as she walks on.


5 - Repeat the shot from panels 2 and 3.  The reindeer in the foreground are long gone.  The night has grown even darker.  Rudolph's glow remains.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rudolph - That Nose - Ben Rosenthal

1.  A snowy night.  Deadpool is crouching in the show.

“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
Had a very shiny nose…”

2.  In the distance you can see the slight glow of Rudolph’s nose through the trees and the dark.

“And if you ever saw it…”

3.  The full panel is a sound effect – BANG!

4.  Deadpool is walking away, another job completed.  His rifle slung over his shoulder.

“You would even say that your target has been eliminated and now it is time for beer.”

Why Rudolph?

It is that time again.

Each Christmas week for the past few years the tenured writers here at Thought Balloons have put aside their differences (I guess) and chosen to write on an X-Mas character. This year we bring you a week of the shunned loner turn leader of magical flying reindeer, Rudolph.

When you think about it Rudolph has a lot in common with comic book heroes. He can fly, is shunned by those close to him for being different and pulls a fat man in a suit. In a sleigh - it's not like he's Silk Spectre.

Merry Christmas to everyone from us here at Thought Balloons!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Planet of the Apes - "Seen Out of Context" - R.A. Wonsowski

This is dedicated to Mirko Zayas, a teacher of Knowledge Theory at Saint Anne's School.  One of my favourite tidbits from him was to beware experiencing ANYTHING, art, literature, music, whatever, out of its cultural context.  This was echoed by other teachers at school (Scott Howard, Gregg Rich, Azucena Aluan, Jose Zelaschi, among others).

To all my friends and partners at St. Anne's, Thank you for everything!  Viva Santa Anna!  I'll miss you guys...

Panel 1 - Inside a European cathedral, now fallen into ruin.  The frescoes and walls have all been sandblasted or worn away to a dull grey.
The only things somewhat recognizable are a few statues of emaciated saints and a giant crucifix hanging above the altar, a tortured Christ hanging from it.
In the back pew, where our point-of-view is from, his back to us, sits DR. ZAIUS, looking at the crucifix and altar.

CAPTION (Zaius):  Field Notes - According to the existing data, this was once a human place of worship.

Panel 2 - From below, the faded statue of Mary revealing her Sacred Heart, looking longingly, beatifically, up towards Heaven.

CAPTION (Zaius):  This female captured tearing out her heart - self-sacrifice for their deity.

Panel 3 - Now, we are looking up at the crucifix, faded, but all the markings of Roman torture still are evident on the sculpture.  So is the calm and merciful look of the dying Jesus.

CAPTION (Zaius):  And here.  The male of the species pierced by nails, crowned with spikes, stab wounds and scarring from abuse and starvation.

Panel 4 - ZAIUS walking down the steps outside the cathedral, a look of disgust upon his face.

CAPTION (Zaius):  Imagine.  THAT being the objects of worship.  Self-destruction.  Torture.  A faith where only death and pain are to be tasted.

CAPTION (Zaius):  No ape would ask this of his brother.

Panel 5 - A little further away, ZAIUS presses his thumb to a detonator button.  The cathedral explodes in a ball of fire and dust.

CAPTION (Zaius):  Maybe it is better that the human animal stay extinct, if the Nailed Man is the symbol of their love.

CAPTION (Zaius):  Maybe the Nailed Man would agree.

CAPTION:  "Do you think if Jesus comes back, he's ever gonna wanna see another cross?" - Bill Hicks

Friday, December 21, 2012

Planet of The Apes - Finally Made A Monkey Out Of Me - Niel Jacoby

Panel one: a man wearing all camo sits in a bunker, holding a gun and darting his eyes around in a paranoid manner. The decoration is up to you, though it should give off a "paranoid conspiracy theorist" vibe.

Inset panel: the man is startled


Panel 2: we see the door of the bunker. It has a porthole that the man is in the process of removing the cover to, though he's not watching the porthole. His finger is on the button of the intercom set up next to the door.


Panel 3: we see the head of an Ape warrior through the porthole, and we can see some of the open cavern the bunker is built into around him.

Man(OP): ...WANT.

Inset panel: through the porthole. The ape has turned so that we can see the cement mixer behind him, at the mouth of the cavern.


Panel 4: Close on the cement mixer as it starts pouring cement.


Planet of the Apes - The Greatest Treasure We Bury is Truth - J.D. Coughlan

NOTE: This takes place in movie continuity, a few years before Taylor's arrival.

Panel 1: A close-up of a black-and-white photograph of several smiling people in front of the Eiffel Tower; obviously tourists. An ape's hand holds the photo.

ZAIUS (O.P.): You have more like this?

Panel 2: Dr. Zaius' office, he is behind his desk, holding the photo. A young chimpanzee, Vertas, stands in front of him, barely containing his excitement.

VERTAS: Oh yes! Our dig uncovered hundreds like it, in some kind of... capsule. And they all say the same thing...

Panel 3: Close on Dr. Zaius. He holds his hand to his face, deep in serious thought.

VERTAS (O.P.): That once man was like ape.

Panel 4: Zaius is rising from his desk.

ZAIUS: And only you and your team know about this?

VERTAS: Absolutely. I know how revolutionary this could be for our society, so I came to you first, for guidance.

Panel 5: Zaius politely gestures for Vertas to leave.

ZAIUS: Wise, my boy. Now, return to your companions, and remain silent on this. I shall... prepare a speech for all apekind.

Panel 6: Vertas leaving, a smile on his face. Over his shoulder we see Zaius giving him a grim look.

VERTAS: You will make sure we get the proper credit, won't you, Doctor Zaius?

ZAIUS: Oh don't worry; you'll all get what you deserve.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Planet of The Apes – Congo – Shaun Richens.


1. Deep in the Bili forest in Congo. A LEOPARD stalks towards a dense bush. The peering frightened eyes of a few juvenile chimpanzees can be seen looking out of the bush at the LEOPARD.

         2013. The Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bili forest.

2. Close up on the LEOPARD, it shows its huge teeth as it hisses at the CHIMPANZEES trying to scare them from there hiding spot.


3. The juvenile CHIMPS pull further back into the bush.

         NO COPY.

4. The huge six-foot form of the rare giant BILI CHIMP towers over the LEOPARD. The BILI CHIMP has its huge jaw wide open and a large tree branch in its arms raised high above its head.

         BILI CHIMP:


         NO COPY.

6. The LEOPARD lies dead; the tree branch the BILI CHIMP was holding lies next to it bloody. The BILI CHIMP can be seen walking away from the scene; it’s back to us. The juvenile CHIMPS following close behind it.

         NO COPY.

7. Pull back to see a wildlife PHOTOGRAPHER hidden in the undergrowth a few foot from the scene, a video camera has been filming the whole incident. The PHOTOGRAPHERS face hangs in shock.

         Dear god. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Planet of the Apes – Baker & Grodd’s Bogus Adventure! – MK Stangeland Jr.

AKA: Detour to the Planet of the Apes

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: ANIMAL MAN and GORILLA GRODD are in a separated cage, with APE SOLDIERS and a CHIMP in a suit – LOZAR - standing around them. LOZAR is pointing at GRODD.

LOZAR: Why is he in a cage?

COMMANDER YONGK: He attacked us. Violently.

ANIMAL MAN: You’ll have to forgive my…companion. He…

Panel 2: LOZAR turns to look at ANIMAL MAN. GRODD has a ‘I’m surrounded by morons’ look on his face.

LOZAR: He speaks?

GRODD (1): Of course he speaks, you idiot.

GRODD (2): It’s silencing him that is the difficult part.

Panel 3: LOZAR glares at GRODD.

LOZAR: Hmm…such disrespect.

Panel 4: GRODD reaches out of his cage in attempt to grab LOZAR. LOZAR backs off defensively to protect himself and keep from getting grabbed. The soldiers in the background have their weapons at the ready.


GRODD (2): Release me, and I’ll show you disrespect!

Panel 5: Beat panel. LOZAR looks at GRODD with a shocked look on his face.

Panel 6: LOZAR recomposes himself.

SFX: (LOZAR, clearing his throat.) Heh-hem

LOZAR (1): Well then. Have this…beast locked up. We’ll deal with him later.

LOZAR (2): Have the human brought to my office.

Panel 7: ANIMAL MAN and GRODD next to each other in their cages. GRODD looks furious. ANIMAL MAN has a ‘I told you so’ look to him.

ANIMAL MAN (1): It’s like I said, Mr. Grodd.

ANIMAL MAN (2): You have anger issues.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Planet of the Apes - Holding Up the Mirror - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Establishing shot.  We are outside a hut in Ape City.  It's not the fanciest of huts, but it does look pretty good, implying that the residents within live a pretty comfortable ape-lifestyle.

SIKESIA (from within): I just don't understand, Corleo.

2 - Inside the hut.  We see a male ape (Corleo), standing and looking out the window, frustration on his face.  He appears to be in a bedroom, although no one else is visible at the moment.

CORLEO (1): I need to do something, Sikesia!  I can't stand by and watch our society's inequality continue to grow.

CORLEO (2): There is no reason an orangutan should have more opportunity than a chimpanzee.  There is no reason that gorillas should be limited to positions of physical strength.

3 - Corleo turns around to look at Sikesia.  She sits on the bed, looking back at him in concern.  She is a chimpanzee and she is Corleo's lover.

CORLEO: Most of all, there is no reason that we should have to hide our love.

4 - Sikesia has moved to Corleo's side.  She is trying to comfort him, while also wondering what has come over the ape.

SIKESIA (1): But you've been a solider your entire life!  Your father was a solider, as was his father before him.

SIKESIA (2): Why would you want to turn your back on that?

5 - Corleo looks at his lover.  He returns her affection, but part of his mind is clearly elsewhere.

CORLEO (1): The violence of our forefathers' times is no longer the way of things.  Might doesn't necessarily make right.

CORLEO (2): If we want to change the world...

6 - A different room within the hut.  It's a study.  There's a desk filled with papers that are, in turn, filled with writings.  There's a stack of papers that make up a manuscript.  On the title page is "An Ape is An Ape" with "Written by Corleo" underneath.

CAPTION (CORLEO): ...first we must change ourselves.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Planet of the Apes – Re-Evolution - Ben Rosenthal

1.  A modern day looking office taking place many years after the events of the original Planet of the Apes movie.  An Ape in a suit sits at a desk, writing.  Another suited Ape is walking in.  He looks as if he has been rushing to get to his superior. 

                SECOND SUITED APE
    Sir, it has happened again.

2.  A close up of the Ape at the desk.  He has stopped writing and is looking at the Second Suited Ape.  He is knows what has happened again, but is not shocked.  He is pensive and boarder line alarmed.

                SEATED APE
                Again? They are occurring more readily now.  This is worrisome.

                SECOND SUITED APE
                Shall I inform the council, sir?

3.  A wide panel showing both Apes.

                SEATED APE
                No.  I shall do it.

                SECOND SUITED APE
                And the child?

4.  We are now in a hospital where doctor Apes have just delivered a baby.  However this baby is human.

                CAPTION (Seated Ape)
                Put it with the others.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Planet Of The Apes -Observe & Report -Dan Hill

Page 22

We OPEN on a CLOSE UP of a young CHIMPANZEE as it sits staring back at us from behind bars.

I often sit and stare at them, wondering what lies behind those eyes.

TWO SHOT: On the left side  of the panel stands a boorish looking ACADEMIC TYPE wearing glasses, a lab coat and a check shirt. He's making notes on a clipboard, looking towards the chimpanzee who's in the middle row of a stack of cages that lead off into the background. All of them contain other chimps.

Do complex machinations ever simmer to the surface of what passes for a brain in there?

TIGHT SHOT on the chimp as it eats a banana messily.

Or are they just slaves to their primal urges; eat, kill, fuck.

Angle on the lab worker looking over his glasses towards the chimp, disdain across his face.

I never get an answer.

By now I don’t expect one.

Similar to 22.2 but the lab worker is further down the row of cages in the background, checking up on the other chimps.

Instead I carry on observing. I carry on making notes...

Tight on the chimp as he grips the bars of his cage. He looks left, his gaze following the lab worker’s route.

...waiting for the day we rise up.

Why Planet Of The Apes?

It started with Pierre Boulle's novel, published in 1963 as the race towards Kennedy's 'New Frontier' began to heat up. Next came the infamous Heston starring movie, released in 1968 a year before Armstrong set foot on the moon, amidst the height of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the ever looming threat of the cold war and nuclear doom.

The franchise's strength lies in its ability, like all good sci-fi, to play on the issues we are dealing with in the now (something the Burton remake seemed to miss completely) with the recent 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' introducing more modern fears in the shape of biotechnology and gene therapy, as well as marrying fantastic special effect work with Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar (mirroring John Chambers groundbreaking work on the original movie).

The 'Apes' franchise has existed in all manners of media: books, movies, toys, animated series and of course, comics. This particular ball was set into motion with  a Manga adaptation of the movie back in the late 60's before Gold Key did their own take for American and Western audiences. In the mid to late 70's Marvel picked up the baton, creating original material set in the Apes universe that featured work from such luminaries as Doug Moench, Gerry Conway and George Tuska.

The license then passed through a number of publishers (including Malibu and Dark Horse) before finally finding a home at Boom! who have so far produced two excellent mini-series in Betrayal Of The Planet Of The Apes and Exile On The Planet Of The Apes (seriously, check out that artwork).

I chose 'Planet Of The Apes' as this weeks pick as it will allow the Thought Balloon writers (and those playing at home) a free reign of genre with an almost infinite canvas. The franchise has run the gamut from the straight up science-fiction/adventure of the original movie to the more nuanced political thriller on show in Boom's recent comic efforts. The Apes franchise also allows us to explore ourselves as a species, holding a mirror up to our greatest fears and questioning our more destructive, primal impulses.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pokemon - The Fiend Strikes Again - R.A. Wonsowski

5 wide panels, one on top of the other.

Panel 1 - It's a beautiful day in the forest.  The sky is blue, the pine trees are lush, the grass seems freshly mowed, even though there isn't a John Deere in sight, the sun is a yellow ball, and here comes PIKACHU, lightning shooting out of its...hindquarters (?), zipping left to right with an agonizing expression on its face.

PIKACHU:  ...kapikapikapikapikapikaaa...

Panel 2 - Same background, but here comes ASH KETCHUM, following the lightning streak, grasping his stomach with both arms clutched to it, his face a cross of pain and panic and tinted green. 

ASH:  ...ooh...

Panel 3 - Same background, and along comes Team Rocket partners JESSIE and JAMES, following ASH.  JESSIE is running frantically, her hands clutching her backside desperately.  JAMES is running in the same cartoonish style, but the back of his pants is starting to lump as he panics.

JAMES:  ...oh, sweet mother of...

Panel 4 - Background scenery only.


Panel 5 - Same background.  Along comes TRUTH-SAYING BASTARD SPIDEY (see ), walking after our cast as if enjoying the lovely day, pumping his shotgun-shaped "Ronco Bowel Disrupter" (it says so on the barrel, and is set to PROLAPSE), smiling at us, cigarette in his teeth.

TSBS:  ...gotta catch'em all...


In news that surprise none that know him, former(?) Thought Balloons head honcho Ryan K. Lindsay has his first big commercial comic release in March.  My LIttle Pony: Friendship is Magic Miniseries is the first of many projects you can expect to see from Mr Lindsay, and everyone here at Thought Balloons is proud of our team mate.

Be sure to pick up this book when it drops in March.  Ryan is an excellent writer and you may be surprised with how much you actually like a book about friendship and ponies.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pokemon - The Show - Niel Jacoby

Disclaimer: I never got too into the whole Pokemon thing, so I took a bit of a different tack with it.

Panel 1: We see a referee in the middle of a dilapidated football stadium. A circle has been drawn, about 10 feet in radius, with a circle in the middle with a 1ft. radius. This would be where he's standing. At each side of him, we can see red/white pet carriers, one at each end of the circle. By each carrier, a trainer stands with 4 other carriers. The trainer on the right side of the panel is well-dressed, in black slacks, a maroon sport coat, and a white t-shirt. The other is a 15-year old in a baseball cap, ragged jeans, and a blue puffy vest. There's a crowd, but the stadium is still relatively empty. There are dark red stains on the ground, as this is not the first time this has been the stage for events like this.



Panel 2: Another trainer stands by what would be the concessions stand, in a trancelike state. He has the same sport coat, slacks, and shirt as the trainer in panel 1, but he's considerably younger, and a baseball cap, with a stylized, cubistic rocket with its trail tracing a capital R on the front, shades his eyes. There's a small trail of blood coming from his nose, somewhat congealed. He has a carrier with him, the same color scheme as the carriers in the first panel, and it emits a light mauve glow.


Panel 3: Close on the front of the carrier. The interior is darkened, but we can see a pair of light mauve hands grasping the bars, almost human, but not quite. A pair of eyes glows from the darkness, in the same light mauve. There is a metal plate on the front of the carrier, below the eyes but above the hands, bearing only the greek letter μ.


Pokemon - Shades of Your Journey Await - J.D. Coughlan

Four normal panels, one large panel at the bottom.

Panel 1: Red (the player character from Generation I) sits on a pier at the southern end of Pallet Town, gazing hopefully out. It is sunrise, so colour appropriately.


Panel 2: Same, except now Daisy (Gary Oak's sister) approaches from behind. Red half-turns to look at her.

DAISY: So today's the big day, huh?

RED: Heh.

RED: Yup.

Panel 3: Daisy sits beside Red.

DAISY: Excited?

Panel 4: Daisy and Red both sitting. Red looks back out to sea. Daisy looks at him.

RED: I've waited for this day for as long as I can remember... but...

RED: But part of me is really gonna miss this place.

Panel 5: Red and Daisy from behind. They both gaze out across the glass-like water. Cinnabar Island can be seen in the distance.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pokemon – Trained For This- Shaun Richens.


1. Night. Outside of a large country mansion. Picturesque forest and well-kept gardens surround the mansion. In the foreground, crouching down casing the joint is a BURGLAR, she wears all black and a mask of Gengar hides her face. Her long purple hair hangs out in a ponytail out of the back of the mask. A Kadabra kneels at her side.

         Just outside Fuchsia City.

         Time to work your magic Kadabra.

2. Inside the mansion. In a grand hallway (Reference) KADABRA and the BURGLAR stand in the hallway, a small cloud of smoke around them.

         SFX: (Around the cloud of smoke.)

3. The BURGLAR holds a pokeball in her hand.

         NO COPY.

4. Now sat in front of the BURGLAR is her MEOWTH. It looks graceful, sleek and cunning.

         NO COPY.

5. Three shot of the BURGLAR, KADABRA and MEOWTH walking down the grand hallway. The BURGLAR walks in the middle, flanked by her pokemon. Kadabra hold his arms ready to cast a move if needed, MEOWTH walks on all fours, tail held high, sniffing the air.

         BURGLAR 1:
         Do your thing Meowth.
         BURGLAR 2:
         Sniff out the safe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pokémon – Attack of the Ditto People – MK Stangeland Jr.

Page 1

Note: The ‘Text Boxes’ for this page should look as though they’re hand written on paper to signify that they are excerpts from a letter written by AGENT WHITE.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: Night, right outside a tall building in the seedier part of a city. A man dressed as a G-Man – AGENT WHITE – has just been thrown out a window.


TEXT BOX/LETTER: To my friends and allies:

TEXT BOX (2): I believe my time is short. I shall keep this the same.

Panel 2: Panel is positioned above AGENT WHITE as he and the glass around him fall to the alleyway below. A pair of dark sunglasses have fallen away from his face. AGENT WHITE doesn’t show signs of fear, but rather of regretful acceptance – he knows his life is about to end, and takes comfort in the fact that he did all that he could before it happens.

TEXT BOX: Last I spoke to you, I was investigating a Dr. Moore for illegal genetic experimentation.

TEXT BOX (2): My suspicions have proven worse than true, beyond what I would have guessed.

Panel 3: Panel is positioned underneath AGENT WHITE as he nears the ground.

TEXT BOX: I have included a list of what notes I could encode to aid you in stopping him. I trust that you will know how to decode them for your own use.

Panel 4: Panel of the alleyway, with the shadow of AGENT WHITE as he hits the ground as a discretion shot against his death.

SFX: krAa-unk

TEXT BOX: The names included are those you should focus on exposing to reveal Moore’s plan to the world.

Panel 5: Panel of AGENT WHITE’s dead body on the ground of the alleyway. A DITTO is in the background sliding towards his body.

TEXT BOX: His Ditto could be anywhere.

Panel 6: Similar appearance for AGENT WHITE, but the DITTO from PANEL 5 is seen starting to transform into a human-shaped individual which will become a copy of AGENT WHITE on the next page.


(End Page)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pokemon- The Wanderer Returns -Dan Hill

Disclaimer: I missed the whole Pokemon phenomenon. I know scant details about it or the franchise. Obviously I went with a slightly different take.

Page One

We OPEN on a shot of a cell door with the number 151 stencilled on it in black 
deep in the bowels of a maximum security facility. The door and corridor are both a brilliant, pristine white.

We can partially see  four people, two either side of the cell door, standing with their backs to us.

Ah, this is perhaps our most interesting guest.

ZOOM IN on the door, focusing on the eye level hatch. A hand enters from off panel and begins to open the hatch.

The once great, Doctor Ashley Kanto.

Wait...the shrinking man?

The very same.

ZOOM IN on the door, almost through it. The hatch is now open and through it we can see inside. The cell is spartan, with a bed set against the back wall and a stainless steel toilet a little further up on the left wall.

Sitting on the bed is DOCTOR KANTO, a Japanese man with thick black hair and a youthful looking face, devoid of lines and wrinkles. Kanto is sat on up on his bed, the left side of his face facing us.

I thought he was dead.

He was found wandering around Machida City.

Still zooming in, through the hatch and into the cell, closer in on Kanto.

His once famous claims of being able to exist at an almost microscopic level could not be confirmed.
He’s quite mad.

Pushing in more, a tight shot on Kanto.

He’s prone to fainting fits, bouts of mania and claims to have ‘evolved’ to the point where he has mastery over several hundred different species of insect.

Kanto has turned to face us completely now, revealing a dead milky white eye.  A small smirk plays across Kanto’s face.

He says they will come for him when they are ready.

KANTO (quietly)

Let’s move on, shall we?

Wide panel: extreme close up on Kanto’s eye, an image of what looks like a POKE BALL where his pupil is.

KANTO (whispering)