Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Murder Book – Guardian Car Thief – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: Scene is night in a parking lot. A fancy-looking car is sitting by itself, the kind of car a well paid and/or important individual might drive. Off on the far end of the parking lot is a CAR THIEF walking towards the car who is trying his best to look inconspicuous.

Panel 2: The CAR THIEF looks over his shoulder and whistles as he tries to pick the lock of the car seen in PANEL 1.

SFX: (Music note should be seen coming out of the CAR THIEFs mouth as result of his whistling.)

Panel 3: The man is in the drivers seat, about to turn the key in the ignition. He has a smug smile on his face.

CAR THIEF: For such a nice car, you didn’t put much into the security.

SFX: Ver-rr…

PANEL 4: The car explodes spectacularly – the kind of explosion you get as result of a car bomb intended to blow up and kill the occupant upon the ignition starting.


PANEL 5: Panel of an office where the CAR OWNER is sitting at a desk. He’s looking up with a shocked look on his face.

PANEL 6: CAR OWNER is looking out a window. He looks even more shocked than before.


CAR OWNER: Who the %#$& blew up my CAR?!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Murder Book- 'Off' Switch -Dan Hill

I may have gone 'off reservation' with this one. The scope is so wide this week and I really wanted to try and do something that would be 'complete' and function by itself as a single page. I also shamelessly 'stole' from Blazing Combat with some of my panel choices. Ahem.


Page One

We OPEN on a CLOSE UP of a ten year old BOY looking towards CAMERA whilst clutching a HUNTING RIFLE nervously. He’s dressed in a thick, warm looking lumberjack shirt and a woolen hat. Cold breath shoots from his mouth. The gloved hand of an ADULT rests on his shoulder reassuringly.

Go on son, you can do it.
Nothing but black.

Do it--


CUT TO a CLOSE UP on the same boy, now eighteen. His head is shaved and he’s wearing the fatigues of a U.S Marine.

On the left of the panel we can see the shoulder of a DRILL SERGEANT. Behind the boy we can see other RECRUITS, all facing forwards, backs ramrod straight.

--do as I say and repeat after me--

CUT TO the boy, now a bit older. He’s wearing desert combat gear and lying prone, looking down the scope of a HIGH POWERED RIFLE (the barrel pointing towards CAMERA).

--take the shot--

FIXED PANEL. The boy, now older, continues to look down the scope, now dressed in jungle combat gear.

--take the shot--

FIXED PANEL. The boy, older still, continuing to look down that scope, the combat gear now suited to arctic climes.

--take the shot.
Do it--

CUT TO to a CLOSE UP on the boy, now an empty shell of a man looking towards CAMERA, clutching a HUNTING RIFLE. 
He’s dressed in a thick, warm looking lumberjack shirt and a woollen hat. He has spatters of blood across his vacant face and there are no reassuring hands on his shoulder. Above him a helicopter shines its SPOTLIGHT on him. Behind him we can see we’re in a shopping mall.

Don’t do it, son. Don’t do--

Black. Nothing.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Murder Book - Don't Quit Your Day Job - Ben Rosenthal

1.  Night on a highway. A man drives as sits behind the wheel of his car.  He has just noticed the police car behind him, sirens flashing indicating for him to pull over. The man looks annoyed.

Oh come on.

2. The police officer is standing next to the car. The man is looking out the driver's window.

License and registration please sir.

What, was I a little over the limit?

3. Inside the car. Without the police officer noticing, the driver has his hand on a gun.

Why don't you go and catch some actual criminals?

4. The Police Officer has his gun pointed at the Driver's head.

5. Not really a panel, but a large sound effect graphic.

Sfx: BANG!

6. The Police Officer is walking away from the car on his mobile. The dead body of the Driver is slumped on the wheel.

It's done.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Murder Book - Try the Beef - Grant McLaughlin

1 – Tiffany and Brad (original characters, both early thirties) sit across from each other at their dinner table. Brad is noticeably overweight. He wears business casual clothes, but they are dirty. Sweat stains are clear under his armpits, his shirt is not tucked in, his tie is loosened, and his topmost shirt buttons are undone. Unshaven, he looks like, while he used to be an attractive man, he no longer takes pride in his appearance. Tiffany is not much better off. She looks permanently tired and worn, run down by the struggles of life. While she is still made up, it's clear that she is also not as attractive as she once was. Brad eats some food – his plate is almost completely empty. Flushed, Brad leans back, hand on his full stomach. He wears a satisfied grin on his face, but it's not terribly warm. Tiffany doesn't have a plate or any tableware in front of her. She sits with a bored, unhappy expression on her face.  There's a serving plate between the two that is virtually empty, all the food having been eaten.  A doorway to the front hall is visible in the background, along with an end table in said hall.

BRAD (1): Ooh, I'm stuffed.

BRAD (2): Are you sure you don't want any? I feel bad having so many helpings of your dinner when you're not even eating.

TIFFANY: I'm fine.

2 – Tiffany's neutral expression remains.  She looks directly at Brad.  Brad is stunned by her words. His flush increases, as does his sweating.

TIFFANY: I don't love you, Brad.

BRAD: W-what?

TIFFANY: It's been a while now.  I thought maybe we could work things out.

3 – Tiffany's expression is unchanged.  She looks down towards Brad's plate.  Brad moves a hand to his throat, having difficulty breathing.

TIFFANY (1): It's a shame that the meat was off.

TIFFANY (2): I understand that botulism isn't a pretty way to go.

4 – Tiffany is up and walking towards the front door. Brad tries to follow her down the front hall. His eyes are bugging out and his grip on his throat is tightening. He stumbles into that end table seen in panel 1, which has some pictures on it.  The misstep knocks it and him over.

TIFFANY: It's also too bad that I was away on business this weekend.  If I'd been around, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided.

5 - Brad lies face down on the carpet. The table is overturned, the pictures scattered all over the floor. One lies next to him. Face up, it is a picture of Brad and Tiffany on their wedding day. The room is dark and the frame's glass is broken, but it's still clear that in the picture Brad and Tiffany look much healthier than they do presently. Brad has an athletic body and Tiffany is positively radiant. The biggest difference, however, is that both of them smile happily.


Why Murder Book?

Because sometimes you want to walk on the dark side of things.

From the Murder Book website:

“Murder book” is a term used by detectives to refer to a case file on a homicide investigation. Murder books typically include crime scene photographs and sketches, autopsy and forensic reports, transcripts of investigator’s notes and witness interviews. They chronicle the life of a case from the time the murder is reported until an arrest is made.

Ed Brisson writes a mean crime story, and he's got a number of crime mini-anthologies to prove it.  While they're named after the detective's tool, his tales are more often than not focused on the other side of the law.  Criminals big and small populate his comics, living out different scenarios of depravity and illicit activities.

If you're looking for some awful intense stories of degeneracy,  crime, and yes, murder, then Murder Book is the comic for you.  There's little uniting these stories beyond their general subject matter and the quality writing and art that goes into each and every one, but that's a big part of the fun.

I'll read pretty much anything as long as it's good (which Murder Book definitely is), but the stories Brisson and company tell are outside of my usual type of writing.  Fortunately, part of what we try to do here at Thought Balloons is to challenge ourselves, so I'm picking something that's outside of my comfort zone.

Did I succeed?  You'll have to tell me.

It's also a nice bit of symmetry after last week's pick, because while most of the stories were self-published, Murder Book also appeared as a backup feature in Near Death #8 through #11.

As always, if you're wanting to throw your hat into the ring this week, you're more than welcome to do so.  If you'd like to play-at-home, feel free to leave your page in the comments here.

And should you be unfamiliar with these brilliant stories, Brisson has kindly put up plenty of his work at the Murder Book website here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Near Death - ...hoo boy... - R.A.Wonsowski

Scene takes place in a corporate board room, with open plan offices outside.


Panel 1 - MARKHAM hides behind the tipped-over conference table, back up against it, kind of in a seated position, head down, eyes squeezed shut, a Smith&Wesson 457 in each hand:
File:S&W 457.jpg
Unseen gunmen are somewhere on the other side (we can't see them), their bullets blasting through and tearing up the table around MARKHAM.  Glass is shattering in the background.




Panel 2 - Same as above, but no blasting or crashing.  Quiet moment.


Panel 3 - Same P.O.V., but MARKHAM is now peeking around the table nervously.


Panel 4 - Same P.O.V.  MARKHAM is sitting on the floor again, his back to the table again, and he's swearing at his shoes.

MARKHAM:  (small lettering) #@$K!

Panel 5 - Same as above, but MARKHAM's eyes look heavenward.  His face is  like a chid who is admitting he broke the lamp because he was running in the house, sorry eyes, pouty lip...

MARKHAM:  God?  I know you're up there laughin'yer ass off...

MARKHAM:  ...'specially with the "no-kill" thing...

Panel 6 - Same as Panel 3, peeking around the table again.

MARKHAM: ...but help me out here, I swear I'll put twenty in the plate next Sunday...

Panel 7 - Same as Panel 5, but with that "oh, yeah, almost forgot" expression.

MARKHAM:  ...oh, uh...Amen.

Panel 8 - MARKHAM rises from his position and swings around, pistols almost leading his body to a firing stance behind the table.


Panel 9 - As seen from MARKHAM's eyes:  foreground - MARKHAM's forearms and guns, muzzle-flash trailing in an arc, sweeping from right to left, shells ejecting from the chambers; background - from left to right:  gunman shot in a kneecap and a calf, gunman shot in the foot and hip, gunman shot in the kneecap, gunman shot in the scrotum, gunman shot in the hand and elbow.  Their faces are all distorted in agony.


MARKHAM:  (to the one he shot in the groin)  Sorry!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Near Death - Poison At 30,000 Feet - Niel Jacoby

Panel 1: Markham is walking down the aisle of an airplane, towards the back. We can see he's looking towards a sleeping enforcer-type (think Vin Diesel, or Michael Chiklis) who's in an aisle seat on the side of the plane at Markham's right, with a young, somewhat frightened girl in the window seat. Markham's right hand  is in his pocket, the other at his side. The enforcer has a glass of red wine in front of him.


Panel 2: Markham is passing by the enforcer's seat, and his hand is slipping out of his pocket.

Inset panel: a small pill drops into the enforcer's glass.

SFX(small): PLP

Enforcer(bubbly balloon, warped text): Zzzzz... Zzzzz

Inset panel: Close on the enforcer, turning his head, but still asleep.

Enforcer(jagged balloon): SNRK

Panel 3: Markham and the girl are staring at the enforcer, tense and startled..


Panel 4: Close on the enforcer, drooling and asleep.

Enforcer(bubbly balloon, warped text): Zzzzz...Z....

Panel 5: Markham has his finger to his lips, and is winking to the girl.

Markham(small balloon, small text): sh.

Inset panel: the girl is winking back, smiling.

Near Death - At Death's Door - J.D. Coughlan

Panel 1: Woodward's POV. Lying in a hospital bed, looking up. Markham stands at the foot of the bed, stoic, looking down at Woodward.

MARKHAM: Simon Eric Woodward.

MARKHAM: Between 1951 and 1967 you killed twenty-two people -- mostly children -- and got away with it. But I had a bit of luck this week; came into some information that pinned you.

Panel 2: Woodward's private hospital room. Woodward is an original character, in his mid-80s, and looks very old and ill. He is managing a weak grin though.

WOODWARD: And what? >wheeze< You thought you'd turn me in? Kill me? Torture me?

WOODWARD: >wheeze< Young man, I don't know who you are, but I've been in more pain than you can imagine for years now. My doctors now tell me I won't last the week, so prison would be pointless, and at this point I'd welcome execution. >hack<

Panel 3: On Markham again, this time he's grinning and his body language should indicate he is now pacing around the room.

MARKHAM: Oh, I know. See, because of a recent... lifestyle change, I don't get to have much fun anymore, but with you I found a little loophole.

MARKHAM: I may not be able to kill you, Mr. Woodward, but while you were out I had some paperwork fudged...

Panel 4: Close on Woodward. Horror and terror on his face.

MARKHAM (O.P.): You've been receiving the best and most advanced new medical treatments.

MARKHAM (O.P.): They've tuned you up like a beat up Ford Mustang -- gave you a Ferrari's engine.

MARKHAM (O.P.): You're gonna live much, much longer now.

Panel 5: Markham quite comfortably takes a seat.

MARKHAM: But before I leave I'm gonna tell you all about where you're going when you do die...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Near Death – 50 Shades Of Grey – Shaun Richens.



Set up Markham has been pulled into a situation involving the Mob trafficking woman into the country. We come in during the main confrontation between Markham and the Mob Boss, Vito Gacha.

1. We are in the office of VITO GACHA, the office has that kind of vibe. Vito Gacha lies on the floor; he is wearing a fine suit, white shirt, and black tie. His nose is bleeding from the punch MARKHAM gave him; some of the blood has splattered onto his crisp white shirt. Vito is on his back, using his arms to crawl away towards a cabinet. He is facing towards us, and Markham who is off panel.

        What gives you the right to judge me? 
        You’re hands are covered in blood.

2. Same as panel 1. however Vito has crawled further away, his back up against the cabinet now. The shadow of Markham stretches out towards Vito not quite blocking him from the light yet.

         I know the stuff you’ve done Markham.
         VITO 2:
         Your past's as black as mine.

3. A worm’s eye view looking up at Markham. He is rim lit with the light behind him. He holds his pistol in hand outstretched pointing at Vito.

        My histories pretty dark.
        MARKHAM 2:
        But compared to your its no worse than grey.

4.Insert panel in 3. Same as panel 2. However Vito has raised his hands to shield his face. Markham’s shadow covers Vito now.

         VITO 1: (SMALL FONT)
         VITO 2:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Near Death – Nearest Death – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: An elderly MARKHAM sits on a park bench. He looks old, but it’s still clearly MARKHAM.

Panel 2: A younger man comes to the bench  - DEATH. He has a dark color scheme to him, with a black suit, black hair, even the color of his skin. About the only thing about him that isn’t black is the shirt beneath his suit coat. His build is about as skeletal as one could look while still realistically looking like they’re capable of being alive and getting up and walking around on their own.

DEATH: Mr. Markham?


DEATH: Do you mind if I join you?

Panel 3: DEATH sits on the bench next to MARKHAM. MARKHAM doesn’t seem all that pleased by the decision.

MARKHAM: I know you?

DEATH: I’m sure you’ll recognize me if you look hard and think about it.

Panel 4: MARKHAM squints as he looks at DEATH tries to figure out who he is.

Panel 5: MARKHAM’s eyes go wide as he realizes DEATH’s identity.

Panel 6: MARKHAM is looking down towards the ground in front of him as he lets his head slump. DEATH looks nonchalant as he leans back on the bench.

MARKHAM: It’s finally my time, then?

DEATH: Not quite.

DEATH (2): But soon.

Panel 7: MARKHAM picks his head back up.

DEATH: Consider this a small reward for surviving so long.

DEATH (2): Most of us thought you’d bite it again years ago.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Near Death - Coming Soon - Grant McLaughlin

1 - A scene reminiscent of the moment in the first issue when Markham wakes up screaming on Sutton's operating table after his "visit" to Hell.  The man on the table kind of looks like Markham, but there are some noticeable differences.  Let's say his nose is too big and his jawline is the wrong shape.  And instead of just one shock of white hair, his entire mop is white.  In Sutton's place is a (by Hollywood standards) far more attractive woman.  She wears operating clothing, but somehow manages to have cleavage showing.  As well, she isn't wearing a mask or doctor's scrub cap, meaning that her face and long, luscious hair are both visible. Anyways, near-Markham is sitting up quickly on the table and near-Sutton is surprised, putting a hand to her chest (without covering the cleavage).

NEAR-MARKHAM: I will kill no more!

2 - Switch scene.  Near-Markham is wearing a suit similar to Markham, but maybe not quite as nice.  Facing the reader, he stands with an assault rifle in each hand, guns blazing.  He grimaces in determination as he unloads the weapons.


SFX (along the bottom of the page): brakka-akka-akka-akka

3 - Near-Markham stands with two girls, one on each arm.  They are scantily clad and just as well proportioned as near-Sutton.  Near-Markham's suit is ripped up and covered in blood, but no one seems to notice or mind.

GIRL 1: Thank you for saving us!

NEAR-MARKHAM: No problem, ladies.  It's all in a day's work since my...

4 - A movie title screen.  Have it in the style of the "Near Death" covers.  The image of near-Markham can be him doing something crazy, like jumping out of a helicopter while shooting a gun or something.  In place of "Near Death", the title is "Epiphany".  Where the creators' names are, it's written:

A Casey Clinton Production
Written by Devon Lincoln

5 - Focus in on the "Written by Devon Lincoln" part.  Pull out slightly to show that the previous four panels were all on a TV screen.  Two bars are visible on either side of the words to show that the TV is behind a protective barrier.

MARKHAM (off-panel): -heh-

6 - Pull even further back to show that Markham is sitting in the common area of the prison, watching TV (which is still behind those bars and still shows the "Epiphany" title screen).  Some other prisoners are around, but they don't really pay Markham any mind at the moment.

MARKHAM: I'm glad that he managed to turn things around, but I hope his next effort is slightly more nuanced.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Near Death – Nothing to Lose - Ben Rosenthal

1.  A close up of Markham, from chest height walking out of a building with his hands in his pockets.

CAPTION (Markham)
I've had visions of Hell.

2.  A wider shot of Markham, from knee height walking.  The building that he just walked out of a good distance away now. One of his pockets containing one of his hands has bulged slightly, as Markham has just pressed a button on a remote within his pocket.

CAPTION (Markham)
Stands to reason that if there is a Hell, has to be a heaven too.

And I know that’s where you are.

3.  Same as Panel 2, but a full body shot of Markham, still walking with his hands in his pockets as the building he just walked out of is exploding.

CAPTION (Markham)
I won’t be joining you.

But neither will the ones responsible for taking you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Near Death- Face In The Crowd -Dan Hill

Page One

WIDE PANEL: We OPEN inside Markham’s bedroom. It’s night and the blinds throw strips of shadow across the bed.

Markham is on the bed asleep. The sheets are twisted and strewn about.

When I close my eyes I try to remember.

CUT TO a CLOSE UP on Markham in blazing daylight. Behind him we can see a cloudless and hazy yellow sky.

But they’re all still there. They're all still watching me...

CUT TO a CLOSE UP on Markham’s eyes looking out of the panel towards us, squinting slightly.  

...waiting for me.

WIDE PANEL: From Markham’s POV we are looking out at the strange desert landscape (the one from Markham’s near death experience in the first issue)-- we’re in hell.

Dotted around the landscape, as in the first issue, are all of Markham’s PAST VICTIMS. They all bear the marks of how they died.

I look out at them and I try to remember.
I try to remember his face.
The first of many.

SMALL INSET PANEL on the right side of Panel 1.4. This is a TIGHT SHOT on Markham as he continues to survey his hellish surroundings and the people before him.

Seeing his face means this will all soon be over.
But I can’t quite picture it.  

WIDE PANEL: CUT TO the bedroom from the first panel. Markham is sitting up in bed now, looking off into the distance, deep in thought.

Maybe tomorrow.

Why 'Near Death'?

Can a person truly change? Does everyone deserve a second chance?

These are the two questions Jay Faerber and Simone Guglielmini's Near Death ask the reader.

The premise of the book is simple:

Markham, a killer for hire, is badly wounded during an assignment. During this ordeal he has a near death experience and glimpses hell, seeing what's waiting for him there. As a result, he turns over a new leaf and pledges to save a life for every one he's ever taken. 

The majority of the issues are done in one stories, elegantly told by Faerber, Guglielmini and Riley. This gives the comic an episodic feel and also means anyone can jump on board with any issue.

During the second issue Markham is presented with a moral quandary. A man tasks Markham with protecting him from two assailants. Markham later learns this man is a convicted sex offender. Shortly after, Markham has a conversation with his friend, Sutton, seeking her advice. It's only a short two page scene but serves as an excellent insight into the reasons behind Markham's new outlook.

This isn't some mission of virtue for him. It's selfishness, pure and simple. He's doing it because he doesn't want to see 'that place' again. As the issue unravels it's fascinating to watch Markham struggle with his newfound code to not kill people but still deliver something approaching justice.

As the series progresses (taking in a three parter which ties up some of the events from the previous issues) we begin to see a different side to Markham. He begins to acknowledge that, yes, he might just be seeking some kind of forgiveness, some kind of redemption for his former life. But he knows it's a long road, one he may not see the end of.

My own experience of  Near Death began with the first trade and I was hooked straight away. Not since Scalped, have I promptly added a title to my monthly order.

In the single issues we get excellent short essays by Faerber talking about his favourite examples of crime literature, movies and TV. More recently these have been joined by a fantastic backup in the form of Ed Brisson's Murder Book strips.

Unfortunately, the combination of excellent stories and value for money couldn't lift the sales of the book and it's currently on hiatus as Faerber and co work out their next move.

So, like Markham's initial motivations, this weeks pick is a little bit of a selfish move. I want the tenured writers and the play at homes to dig their hooks into a cool character, one I deserve feels more traction and visibility. I'd like visitors to the blog to have their interest piqued enough to check out the first issue (super cheap on Comixology) or trade.

Like Markham, this series deserves a second chance.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Top Cow Talent Hunt - Flame Licked - Grant McLaughlin

Sorry I'm late to the party, everyone.  While I'm definitely interested by the Talent Hunt, I haven't gotten a lot of time to work on my pitch yet, so this page is more of a feeling out of one of the characters I'm considering exploring further.  Nothing fancy here, I just really liked the imagery.

I like the idea of the gutters filling with smoke, which turns into a bigger and bigger fire towards the bottom of the page, but that might be a little much (and perhaps too much of a riff on J.H. Williams III's brilliant work on Batwoman).

1 - An ancient looking temple room.  A pedestal sits in the middle of the room, the Ember Stone sitting on top of it, glowing brightly.  Glorianna Silver stands before the pedestal, reaching towards the stone.  She wears a satisfied grin.  A few nameless assistants / grunts look on from behind her, looking concerned.

GLORIANNA: I can feel its warmth...

ASSISTANT: Be careful!

2 - Glorianna looks behind her towards her assistants, irritation on her face.  In her half turn, Glorianna has one hand on the Ember Stone.  The Ember Stone's bright glow has erupted into a fire that licks her hand (something she cannot see yet).

GLORIANNA: Careful?  The Ember Stone is finally mi-- !!

3 - Glorianna turns to face her assistants.  The fire dances up her arm, already past her shoulder.  Her face twists in an awful combination of horror and pain.  Her assistants are surprised and terrified, some moving to help, others not knowing what to do.

ASSISTANT: Mistress!

4 - Money shot for the page.  Pulled back far enough to see Glorianna's entire body, which is completely engulfed by the spreading flames.  The burning inferno is bright, making the rest of the room seem darkened in comparison.


Top Cow Talent Hunt - Raymond Wonsowski

ok...fully aware this is breaking the rules a little bit...but the pieces all came together way late last night, especially this spread, and I really want to know if I'm on the right track...especially Tom Judge's voice, I'm not sure if I got him right...let me know...Note: page one has the embassy exploding, and this takes place roughly a year after...

PAGE 2 & 3

(double-page spread)

The left half of page 2 should be three panels, one on top of the other. Lower right hand corner of page 3 should be a small panel by itself. The rest is a giant splash.

Left Panel 1 – Checkpoint barricade. On our side, two Marines in full armor flak and rifles slung. One pushes his helmet back a little to get a better look at the Passport and FBI ID flashed by the man on the other side of the barricade, TOM JUDGE (dressed as usual: black suit, a robin's-egg blue shirt with his priest's collar undone). The other Marine is calling in on his radio. Note: No buildings, no trees, no background scene, only the light violet-grey sky.

CAPTION 1 – Most embassy incidents, whether criminal or terrorist, are usually handled by the State Department in-house by the Diplomatic Security Service.

CAPTION 2 – After Nine-Eleven, though, DSS started sharing the investigative workload. Incidents on embassy grounds get passed along to the FBI.

Left Panel 2 – TOM, now past the barricade, is walking (towards us), hands in his pants pockets. The bottom, and some of the foreground should be a faint purple-ish smoke, but the very bottom is pure white.

CAPTION 3 – Reading the initial redacted reports, I wondered why fly me down here. Scans like a terrorist attack, or local insurgents like the E.P.P. Except...

CAPTION 4 – Paraguay's a rinky-dink third world nation bullied by it's South American neighbors. And the “People's Army” can barely afford machetes. This kind of destruction's beyond them.

Left Panel 3 – TOM gets on one knee looking over the edge of the smoky white at the bottom of the page. He runs a single finger along the white.

CAPTION 5 – Then I saw the uncensored version, and why they sent their favorite "Father Spooky Mulder".

CAPTION 6 – Across the street was a National Police precinct house and a hospital.  The other side of the avenue had a politician's campaign headquarters. Presidential residence and a bank further down the road.

Splash – Aerial view, Asuncion, the vicinity of the Embassy, except (if you assume the Embassy was ground zero) there is now a white bowl about 3 kilometers wide, smoky violet dust rising from the center. Outside the bowl, trees, houses, and office buildings are toppled outwards away from the bowl on all sides. Note: Nothing is burning, so the destruction should be evident. In the distance, a military helicopter hovers above the scene.

CAPTION 7 – Traffic cops, newspaper stands, fruit sellers, windshield squeegiers.  Everyone and everything was obliterated in the blast. 

CAPTION 8 – No fire, no heat. But lots of light and noise. And the sheer force of the event.

CAPTION 9 – And one other detail...

Lower Right Corner Panel – Close-up, TOM sucks on the finger he ran along the edge of the “bowl”, his nose scrunches at the taste.

CAPTION 10 – Yup.

CAPTION 11 – Salt.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Top Cow Talent Hunt - Pandora's Box - Niel Jacoby


Panel 1- Half-page. We see our holder of Pandora's Box walking down a New York City street. His eyes are hidden by his hoodie and baseball cap. Pandora's Box is under his arm, about the size of a cigar box. The sidewalk is not packed, but it's not empty either.



Panel 2: Close on the box under his arm. He's put a few stickers on it, designs up to you, but we can see greek letters carved into the top.



Panel 3: Close up on his smirking mouth.


Top Cow Talent Hunt - Interview Process - J.D. Coughlan

Two rows of three small panels, one long panel along the bottom.

Panel 1: Wally West as the Flash (mask off to show his red hair), sitting in a chair, looking at the reader. He looks fed-up.

VOICE (O.P.): Why do you want to work at Top Cow?

WALLY: Well, I was made redundant at my old company...

Panel 2: Shazam, sitting in same position, leaning forward.

SHAZAM: Nobody there even knew my name!

Panel 3: Norman Osborn, arms folded.

OSBORN: I was unfairly demoted...

Panel 4: Power Girl (old costume), shrugging.

POWER GIRL: ...dress code was very restrictive...

Panel 5: Deadpool, getting up to leave.

DEADPOOL: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought "Top Cow" was a burger joint...

Panel 6: Spider-Man, counting off on his fingers. His speech bubble can be larger than the panel if required, going out of it.

SPIDER-MAN: Zero possibility of advancement, absolutely no family benefits, poor pay, terrible hours, management has no idea how to utilise my skills, annoying co-workers, my workload has me stretched thin...

Panel 7: Long panel of the opposite POV. Sabine, Glorianna Silver, Michael Finnegan, Ian Nottingham, Ji Xi, and Tom Judge sitting behind a long desk, all looking exhausted.

FINNEGAN: This is gonna take a while...


Another busy week for me, plus my unfamiliarity with any of the available characters results in this cop-out, but rest assured I will give the actual talent hunt more consideration at a better time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Top Cow Talent Hunt – Blood and Snow - Shaun Richens.

Ok these are the first two pages of the first draft of my script for the hunt.




1.A page wide panel. A lone figure climbs the steep incline of a snow-covered mountain. The figure is wrapped in thick clothes with a hood up over his head,in his hand is a sword wrapped up with cloth. Snow falls heavily all around.The panel is almost entirely white; the figure a speck of black, the sword he carries has a faint red flow to it.

         Forty-eight hours from now.

2.Pull in close on the figure. We are behind him as he grasps with his free hand to pull himself further on. Snow whips all around him

         NO COPY.

3.A close up on the wrapped up sword in the hooded figures hand. The red glow is growing stronger.

         NO COPY.

4.The hooded figure has just come over a peak, we are facing him but snow and the shade from the hood cover his face so we can’t see whom it is.

          NO COPY.

5.Over the shoulder shot of the hooded figure as he falls to his knees looking at the vast Shaolin temple that stands before him. The temple looks like this,it is crafted into the very rock of the mountain and is covered in snow. The stairs leading up to it roll out from the position of the hooded man.

         NO COPY.


A full-page splash.

Thedoors to the Temple have been kicked wide open, snow pours into the large central room of the temple, Shaolin monks look to the door in shock, the firepits all around the chamber blow as the mountain wind rushes in.

Standing in the doorway, hood now blown down, holding the Blood Sword in one hand and its wrappings in the other is a very cold and pissed off looking Ian Nottingham.

         Where the fuck is Michael Finnegan?
         My sword told me he was here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Cow Talent Hunt - Pandora’s Quest - MK Stangeland Jr.

Page 4

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: Smaller Panel. Four of the mercenaries approach JI XI with their weapons drawn.

JI XI stands and waits as they approach. He looks mostly harmless in his present position.

MERCENARY COMMANDER: (From Off-Panel) [Something]

JI XI: (Thought Box) <They choose to attack.>

Panel 2: Smaller Panel. Close up on JI XI’s face, with special attention paid to the symbol for the 13th Artifact on his forehead. His eyes are now filled with aggression – you can tell things are about to get serious and that the mercenaries approaching are about to be destroyed.

JI XI: (Thought Box) <I am disappointed by their decision.>

Panel 3: Panel is positioned behind JI XI.

Combat starts as JI XI crouches and sweeps his arm across the ground in front of him. The force he does this with kicks up a wall of dirt and dust in front of him, obscuring the four mercenaries and making it impossible to see anything beyond them.

A smoky, steamy trail follows the movement of JI XI’s arm to represent the extra power the 13th Artifact is granting his moves. This should continue throughout the fight with any other combat moves that JI XI performs.

SFX: (Accompanying the wall of dust that’s kicked up.) k-K-k-rrr-ii-sHhhh

JI XI: (Text Box) <The Artifact, it seizes upon the moment.>

13th ARTIFACT: (Text Box) KILL THEM.

JI XI: (Text Box) <For now, I will oblige its demands.>

Panel 4: This is a very active panel - JI XI bursts through the wall of dust as it hits its climax. The back half of his body is still obscured as it hasn’t come through yet.

JI XI leads with a closed palm strike to the chest of the nearest mercenary (#1). The impact is clearly visible all across the mans body as he reacts to being hit with a force that is about to send him flying several feet backwards.

The smoky trail of JI XI’s movements should be mixed with some of the dirt and dust from the wall JI XI created in the previous panel as it gets caught up in the movements.

JI XI: <But I shall attempt to be merciful.>

JI XI (2): <Quick deaths. No suffering.>

JI XI (3): <They shall hardly even know what is happening.>

SFX: (From the point of impact on the mercenaries chest.) CRACK!

Panel 5: JI XI follows by swinging his other arm around to hit the next closest mercenary with a palms up spear hand to the throat of MERCENARY #2. The Mercenary is just starting to react to the blow in a way one might expect someone to react when being hit in the throat by an exceptionally powered martial arts master.

The smoky trail follows his movements from panel 4 to panel 5, showing that the two moves have happened in relatively short order – not super speed, but far faster than any normal human should be capable of.

Some of the dirt and dust that got mixed into the trail from the previous panel should follow the moves through into this panel as well, and while JI XI has passed the wall of dirt and dust he kicked up in panel 3, it hasn’t fully settled on the ground yet.


SFX: (From impact with throat) tthhuk

Panel 6: Panel set near the ground from behind MERCENARY #2’s position.

JI XI drops to sweep MERCENARY #2’s legs out from under him before he’s even finished reacting to having his throat collapsed. Bullets fly over the heads of both JI XI and MERCENARY #2 as MERCENARY #3 and MERCENARY #4 shoot at JI XI from off-panel.

SFX: (From impact of leg sweep) Crrk

SFX: (From guns firing) thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw-thhw

Panel 7: The smoke trail follows JI XI’s leg as he completes the sweep and brings the leg behind him. He has used this same leg to help propel him up and forwards as he delivers a blow with both fists at once into the chest of MERCENARY #2, who is half-way to the ground and currently ‘lying’ horizontal in the air – the panel takes place right at the moment of impact as the fists hit the chest, allowing us to see the very beginning of the connection.