Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Masks & Mobsters.

“The times they are a changin’ “ Bob Dylan.

These words by Dylan describe comics right now. The digital revolution has seen the comics industry shift and grow. The Internet as a platform for sharing stories in comic form has seen the rise of some truly beautiful things. Creators now have a gateway to millions of readers world wide, creators no longer need permission to tell their stories.

Masks & Mobsters is one such creation that has blossomed in this time of change.

This a crime anthology book with a superhero twist, this is a book that rewrites the rules we know about comics. Each issue tells a compelling fully realised story in 12 – 16 pages. The stories are as long or short as they need to be. Every panel matters, every page is a perfect piece of pacing. This is comics.

Now up to issue six, writer Joshua Williamson and artists, Mike Henderson, Jason Copland and Justin Greenwood have created a comic that is as good as anything on the stands in your local store.

They may not have been trained by the Pirate Ninjas of The Bermuda Triangle or The Templar Knights of Shangri-la but damn these guys make some of the best comics I’ve read so that’s why Masks and Mobsters this week.

Learn from the best if you want to be the best.

If you haven’t already, go here to grab the first 6 issues.

Then write your own Masks and Mobsters script and leave it in the comments below. 


  1. Masks and Mobsters

    Brian Manton


    Page 1


    Close on bell of shop door as the door opens.


    Three suited mobsters walk into the small New York diner. Big front window, we see the diner name reversed on it "Herc's Diner". The lead mobster, Mickey, shoots a large smile at Thanasis, the owner, who stands behind the counter. Thanasis is a squat stocky balding Greek in his mid fifties. His daughter Betty has stopped her sweeping and looks at the mobsters angrily. There are no customers in the diner.

    Close from behind Thanasis. We see his fist, clenched. We see part of the till on top of the counter. We see a weathered baseball bat resting under the counter.

    Same view of the diner as panel 2

    One mobster has taken a seat and rests his legs on a table. The other lights a cigarette near the door. Mickey stands at the counter.

    He has turned his pockets inside out showing them to be empty.

    Thanasis gestures to Betty to leave.

    Betty is leaving the room. Her broom is on the floor.

    Close on the till as Thanasis opens it.


    Tighter shot than panel 4.

    Thanasis hands Mickey a wad of cash from the till. Mickey is still smiling. Thanasis doesn't let his emotions show.

    Close on feet as the mobsters leave the diner.

    Tighter than panel 6.

    Thanasis looking down at the open till.
    The mobsters can be seen walking away through the window.

    Close on the till as Thanasis removes the money tray to reveal a black face mask at the bottom of the drawer.

    Perhaps I've packed p2 & p4 with too much detail. Maybe if it were being drawn for an A4 format :)

  2. You create a real sense of place, your location and characters feel just slightly larger than life which is perfect for this pulpy setting.

    As for your layout I can see it working. Some of those small moments like the opening panel and till opening could be really small, something like Chew perhaps.

    Cool page Brian.

  3. Nice page, Brian.

    It's definitely full, but like Shaun, I think it works. I like how you get everything across based solely on what's going on on-panel. Some really strong imagery here. No need for any of that pesky dialogue, and the page is all the better for its absence.

  4. Hi Shaun, Grant,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Yeah, I had pictured 1,3,5,7 as quite small panels.

    I haven't checked out Chew yet. I might bump that series up to next in the queue. I'm belatedly enjoying 100 Bullets at the moment. Talk about building the environment! Azzarello always has something else going on in the background of conversation scenes and Risso spins the camera around the place at a pace you could only get away with in comics... it's great!

  5. Masks and Mobsters: From the Inside
    by Arby Moay

    Panel 1
    A woman with an athletic build wearing a domino mask is handing over a bag of money to a man, a SHOPKEEPER (in his 50's or 60's, wearing an apron). The bag should be that classic black bag that robbers use to put the money that they stole in. The woman, MISS BOW, is smiling as she hands over the money. She has a pack of arrows slung in her back and she carries her bow on her right hand. She wears a dark shirt, skirt and leggings and boots. She also wears gloves and wrist protection. A couple of meters behind them is a man in a black and white striped shirt, knocked out, and pinned to the wall by a couple of arrows.

    MISS BOW: Here you go, Mister!
    SHOPKEEPER: That was amazing! Thank you so much, Miss!

    Panel 2
    Miss Bow bows down to the Shopkeeper who is now holding the money bag.

    MISS BOW: Bow. Miss Bow, at your service, my good sir.
    SHOPKEEPER: Oh. Well, alrighty then.

    Panel 3
    Miss Bow has ran away so only the Shopkeeper and the robber are left on the panel.

    MISS BOW (Off-shot): 'Til next time!
    (link, in a smaller font): Not that I want you to get robbed again.

    Panel 4
    Close in on her right arm. She also wears a wristwatch (analogue) there. The time reads 7:48pm.

    MISS BOW (Off-shot): Crap. Almost 8 already? I'm gonna be late!

    Panel 5
    Inside a room, looking at a window. Miss Bow is climbing in.

    Panel 6
    Miss Bow is now out of her costume and mask, instead she wears an expensive looking dress and a pearl necklace and/or other jewelries that would show how rich she and her family is. She is walking down a big staircase. Below is a man in his late 40's wearing a tuxedo with a necktie. He is Miss Bow's father and he is proudly presenting his daughter to SOMEONE off the panel.

    FATHER: Ah, here she is! This is my daughter, Helena.
    SOMEONE (Off-shot): Why, it's true what you say. She does look rather dashing.
    HELENA: Thank you, Mr. Sicario.


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