Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015 - Here There Be Dragons - MK Stangeland Jr.


(As with other scripts this week, this page is taken from my entry to last years talent hunt, written around the EMBER STONE.)

Panel 1: Fire flows from DRAGON JANUS’ mouth as he tries to shoot BALDRIC with it. BALDRIC rolls forwards past DRAGON JANUS’ fire blast.

Panel 2: BALDRIC swings his sword at DRAGON JANUS. DRAGON JANUS retreats back into the air far enough for the sword to miss him.

BALDRIC: Die, beast!

Panel 3: BALDRIC falls back and deflects a glancing burst of flame from DRAGON JANUS’ mouth.


Panel 4: DRAGON JANUS swings his tail to slam BALDRIC against a rock surface. BALDRIC holds his shield between himself and the tail for protection, but it doesn’t provide him with much.

SFX: (From tail impact.) wack!

SFX: (From BALDRIC hitting the rock surface) wam!


Panel 5: DRAGON JANUS’ tail has pulled away from BALRDIC. DRAGON JANUS swipes his claws at BALDRIC.

BALDRIC drops his sword and uses his shield to protect himself from the claws, but he is clearly off-balance.

Panel 6: DRAGON JANUS uses his wings to create a burst of wind that knocks BALDRIC off the pathway.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015 - Perfect - Ben Rosenthal

This is a page from my script from last year's Talent Hunt.  Previous to this page a young boy had awoken with a freshly stitched up stomach.  He finds himself in a terrorist camp, with the 13th Artifact let loose in order to slaughter all within the camp.


1.  A wider panel.  The Insurgent is impaled through the neck by a black tendril which appears to be made of a mist.  The tendril is coming from the figure which has stepped from the cloud of sand it made when it crashed from the plane – it is the teenage Boy from the first page.  Black mist pours from his mouth, forming tendrils.  There are eight tendrils, flailing about like the tentacles on a squid underwater.  Some are propping him up from the ground so his feet are not touching it.  His eyes glow purple.

2.  A close up of the Boy’s face.  It is almost a skull with tight, dry skin pulled across it.  The Thirteenth Artifact is in full control.  It smiles in its skull-like way.

3.  A close up of the mouth of the Boy/13th Artifact which he has now become.  It wears a sinister skullesque smile.


I liked the ides of this script that I have since gone back and written a short using the basic premise.  It's been a long couple of months but it is almost complete.  I have a few artists in mind, and hopefully will have it up and printed early next year.

Why Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015?

It's that time of year again.  The third Top Cow Talent Hunt is on NOW and runs through until March 2015.  Last year's Top Cow Talent Hunt had 1,500 entries, and is a fantastic opportunity for creators to get seen.

Below is what Matt Hawkins of Top Cow had to say about the Talent Hunt to CBR:

"Getting published in comics has never been simultaneously easier and harder than it is now," Matt Hawkins told CBR. "The barrier to entry is lower than it ever has been for self-publishing with digital, crowd funding and print-on-demand technologies, but this is a hard road to make a living at."

Being aspiring writers here at Thought Balloons we could not pass up the opportunity to focus on the Talent Hunt once again.  Our goal for this week is to give a tease - will it be a single page of script from a previous year hunt?  Or will it be focusing on a character from this year's hunt.  Due to the rules we will NOT be posting anything from this years competition.  

The list of characters that can be used are;

The Darkness
The Angelus
Heart Stone
Wheel of Shadows
Coin of Solomon
Ember Stone
Pandora's Box
The Glacier Stone
Spear of Destiny
The Thirteenth Artifact
The Rapture
The Blood Sword
Aphrodite XI
Cyber Force

Script should be twenty-two pages long, no synopsis to be submitted.

There are sample scripts included for artists, but obviously I can't re-post those here. However, if you're a writer and are having trouble downloading, that should be enough to go on for the moment. The pdf is pretty similar to the previous versions of the Talent Hunt. If anything, there are more characters and less restrictions.

Want to know more about the Talent Hunt?  Click the link below for rules, guidelines and submission details.
And enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Frog-Man - The Madding Crowd, Part 9 - R.A. Wonsowski

Layout: best way to think about this is as a page out of one of those newspaper comics anthologies, three 4-panel strips one on top of the other, like so:

Panel 1- Night. Foreground, the CREEPER (with Jack Ryder's mind still inside) is on a rooftop, elbows rested on the ledge, and peering through binoculars in our direction. Background, a frog-like shape bounds from one building back toward the building the CREEPER's on.


Panel 2- Same as Panel 1, but FROG-MAN has landed on our building.


Panel 3- FROG-MAN has walked up and is standing next to CREEPER, who is still staring intently through his binocs. They're both looking towards us.


Panel 4- Same as Panel 3, except CREEPER has lowered his binocs and turned to address FROG-MAN.

FROG-MAN: Whatcha doing?
CREEPER: Well, I...

Panel 5- same as Panel 4.


Panel 6- same as above, but CREEPER looks at us in a very Ferris Bueller-like deadpan fashion.


Panel 7- Same as panel 4.

CREEPER: I'm trying to find a way into those labs.
FROG-MAN: What's in there?

Panel 8- CREEPER has put the binoculars back up and is looking back in our direction. FROG-MAN has crossed his arms.

CREEPER: My other half. The crazy half.
FROG-MAN: You mean you with the candy-apple red back hair is normal?
CREEPER: Says the GEICO gecko's thyroidally challenged cousin.

Panel 9- FROG-MAN gestures nonchalantly as if he was going to make a casual point. CREEPER yells at him, a little scared but more insulted, as he points towards us.

FROG-MAN: Y'know, fifteen minutes could save you--
CREEPER: And second of all, shush! There's people in there looking for me.
FROG-MAN: Really?

Panel 10- FROG-MAN cups his chin thoughtfully as he cogitates. CREEPER continues to yell at him angrily.

FROG-MAN: And you're trying to find a way in?
FROG-MAN: Besides, say, their front door?

Panel 11- FROG-MAN crosses his arms again, regarding CREEPER thoughtfully. CREEPER is caught short mid-rant, a look of "waitaminnit" on his face as he is confused by his own comic book logic.


Panel 12- CREEPER walks away off-panel, fuming, tossing his binoculars over the side of the building. FROG-MAN gestures apologetically with open arms, shoulders shrugged.

FROG-MAN: Just saying...
CREEPER: Isn't there a Cajun chef with a deep fryer looking for you? be continued...(promise, fight scenes coming soon)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Frog-Man – Backup – Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: The villainous ANI-MEN stand in front of a bank that they have just robbed. Smoke pours from the broken windows, and the street around them displays the destruction they have wrought. From left to right they stand – BIRD-MAN, CAT-MAN, FROG-MAN, and APE-MAN. They are facing directly towards us, reacting to something off-panel.  

BIRD-MAN: AGAIN with this loser? This is the third time this week!

CAT-MAN: He must like the feeling of his face hitting the street.

FROG-MAN: I’m going to rip that mask right off his head and cram it down his throat.

APE-MAN: Whoa! Hold on a minute, fellas! He’s got backup!

Panel 2: A perfect mirror of the previous panel, and now we can see what the villains were reacting to. Lined up to face them, and in the same poses as their criminal counterparts, are NIGHTHAWK, HELLCAT, THE FABULOUS FROG-MAN, and GORILLA MAN.

NIGHTHAWK: Let’s get ‘em, Defenders!

HELLCAT: No. No no no. I am NOT joining the Defenders again.

FABULOUS FROG-MAN: Your time of comeuppance is at hand, evildoers! I have assembled the perfect team to counter your villainy!


FABULOUS FROG-MAN: (Ehr. And Ani-Lady.)

GORILLA MAN: Kid, how did you even get my number?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frog-Man – The Dark Frog Strikes – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

(Note: All panels except PANEL 5 should be done in Black and White in a style that mirrors what’s associated with FRANK MILLER.)

Panel 1: The swamp – FROG-MAN’s eyes can be seen poking out of the water and looking at the reader, hidden amongst the plentiful plant life around him.

TEXT BOX: The Frog – the underestimate hunter of the animal kingdom.

Panel 2: View to show what FROG-MAN is looking at – it’s a couple of generic criminal thugs with automatic rifles.

TEXT BOX: Possessing tongues with unnatural reach.

Panel 3: Close up on one of the criminals as a large frog’s tongue wraps around his neck – the gruesome nature of him suddenly being choked should be played up for a parody effect.

TEXT BOX: And uncanny aim.

Panel 4: The crook with the tongue around his throat is yanked backwards as he’s being pulled through the air towards the water. The other thug is looking on in horrified surprise at what’s happening.

SFX: crack!

TEXT BOX: And once caught, death is inevitable.

Panel 5: EUGENE PATILIO (FROG-MAN), but with the head part of his costume off – is sitting and reading a comic that looks like a grimdark style FROG-MAN comic. He looks aghast at what he’s reading.

Standing over his shoulder is DEMOLITION MAN (DENNIS DUNPHY).

DEMOLITION MAN (1): Hey, they gave you your own comic?

DEMOLITION MAN (2): Can I see it?

FROG-MAN: I really don’t think you want to.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Frog-Man - Fitting in - Ben Rosenthal

1.  From behind Ollie Osnick as he sits in the vastness of the Negative zone, staring out into space.  His arm is missing, so this is modern day Ollie after the fight with Venom and the fall of Prison 42.

VOICE (off panel)
Do you ever think you will get home?

2.  From front on.  A pair of legs either side of him.

VOICE (from the pair of legs on Ollie's left)
You have family that wonders if you are alive or dead.
Friends as well.

I ran away years ago. They would have found me by now if they cared.
I would have returned if I did.

3.  A the two men who were standing next to Ollie are now sitting next to him.  To the left (the one who was speaking off panel) is Frog-Man with Toad on his right.  They are dressed as when they were all members of The Initiative.

This is the arm thing, isn't it?
I think you're just afraid of how people will look at you.  That you won't fit in.

4.  A close up on Frog-Man.

FROG-MANOne arm or five--

5.  A wide panel, front on showing Ollie sitting by himself.  He is thinking - a small spark of positivity as lit.

--you always were a Misfit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Frog-Man - Hopalong - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Frog-Man skitters across the ground, bouncing a couple times as he slams into a wall.  His costume is burned, charred, and generally messed up to show how much he's gone through already.

VILLAIN (off-panel): Stay down.


2 - Shot from Frog-Man's prone form looking up towards the oncoming villain: Electro!

ELECTRO: I've already taken out Spider-Man and Daredevil.  What chance could you possibly hope to have?

3 - Focus on Frog-Man as he tries to get up.  He's down on his face and trying to push himself up with his arms.  Again, he and his costume are in a bad way.

FROG-MAN (1): You're right.

FROG-MAN (2): I'm not half the hero they are.

4 - Frog-Man has made it up to his knees.  Even the effort to do that looks like it's taken a lot out of him.

FROG-MAN: But I am the Fabulous Frog-Man.

5 - Frog-Man is up to a pseudo-crouching position.  Electro is approaching, striding confidently towards the downed hero - perhaps charging up some electricity to attack with.

FROG-MAN: And as long as I live and breath.

5 - Frog-Man turns his position into an attack, leaping towards Electro in an attempt to use his own body as a battering ram.  While somewhat surprised, Electro looks ready to meet him.

CAPTION (FROG-MAN): I'll keep trying.

Why Frog-Man?

When it comes to what I think of as some of the best comic book characters, the heroes and villains that I'm routinely most excited about reading, I rarely turn to the best and brightest.  No, I am far more drawn to the mediocre and the middling.  They aren't the greatest, strongest, smartest, or any of those -est words you'll think of, but they are perhaps some of the most dedicated.

Their time will never truly arrive.  They'll never make it to the top of the totem pole.  They're doomed to spend the rest of their existence playing second fiddle (if they're lucky) to those around them.  Some of them know this in the core of their beings.  Others have no idea and never will.  But in each and every case, they go out there and give it their all anyways.

I first came across Eugene Patillo, the Fabulous Frog-Man, in the Spider Island: Avengers one-shot and loved the ridiculous and hilarious portrayal that Christopher Yost gave the character.  He was hapless, kind of pathetic, and strangely charming.  Despite being a perennial loser, he had an upbeat outlook on life, believing that everything would work itself out in the end.

Beyond the great amount of humour associated with him, Frog-Man is a prime example of the phenomenon I describe above.  The son of failed, small-time villain Leap-Frog, Eugene decided to "borrow" his father's suit to make up for all the misdeeds of his parent by becoming a superhero.  He has one of the most ridiculous names, the gaudiest costumes, and the least respect of any hero you can think of (that is, if anyone bothers thinking about him at all), but none of that matters, because Eugene's going to go out and be the best hero he can be.

Day in and day out, he will be there, doing his best.  His name isn't going to make the papers.  He isn't going to be trending on social media.  But that isn't why he does it.

He does it because that's who he is.

Frog-Man's never gotten a moment in the limelight.  To be perfectly honest, he probably never will.  All of his stories involve him achieving victory through dumb luck at best or thoroughly embarrassing himself at worst.  And yet, he never gives up.  He always puts that suit back on.  He always goes out to do his part to make the world a better place.  It may not be the biggest contribution, but it's his.

And no one can ever take that away from him.

Frog-Man is a joke to many, but his commitment to his hopes and dreams are laudable as hell.  He's never going to give up and never going to say die.  If that's not something we should all be trying to live up to, I don't know what is.

Plus, there was that one time where he defeated Flag-Smasher by throwing up on him.  That was hilarious.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Norman Osborn – Final Interview– Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: NORMAN OSBORN sits behind a magnificent desk in his lavish office. Our POV for the entire page is that of the young man sitting across from him. Norman is perusing a piece of paper – the young man’s C.V.

NORMAN: Undergrad at Wharton. MBA from Harvard. Letters of recommendation from several of your professors. Internships with Houlihan Lokey and PwC.

NORMAN: Very impressive, Peter.

Panel 2: Norman continues to read the resume.

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Thank you so much, sir. It’s always been my dream to work for Osborn. I think I can bring a lot to the company.

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Oh, and you can call me Pete. That’s what I go by.

Panel 3: Norman has looked up from his reading and is staring at the young man. There is a faint touch of a smile now on his lips. The resume is starting to crumble in his hand, which is clenching.

NORMAN: Pete. Pete. Pete.

NORMAN: Petey. Pete. Peter.

NORMAN: Heh.   

Panel 4:  Norman puts the resume on his desk and reaches into a desk drawer with his other hand. His face has resumed its mask of normalcy and sanity.

NORMAN: I agree, Pete. I think there IS a great deal you can offer us.   

NORMAN: There’s just one more thing I need you to do for me.

Panel 5:  Norman reaches across the desk, offering the young man a cardboard box.

NORMAN: Could I trouble you to try this on for me?

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Uhm… Of course sir. May I ask why?

Panel 6:  From our POV as the young man, we look into the box, which contains a cheap Spider-Man Halloween costume.  
NORMAN (OFF-PANEL): So I can murder you and then throw someone you love off a bridge. Standard practice, really.  

Norman Osborn - The Madding Crowd, Part 8 - R.A.Wonsowski

See last week's post for the full skinny...

Panel 1 - Another early Ditko vibe...NORMAN OSBORNE, black suit with green turtleneck, foreground, is looking out his conference room window. DR. SKOLOS, cheap suit and white lab coat, background, sits at the long mahogany table for his midnight meeting, papers and blueprints scattered all over it, and he's losing patience, but trying not to show. NORMAN's face is obscured by his hands as he looks outside pressed up against the window.

SKOLOS: ...mind telling us what's so interesting out the window?
OSBORNE: There's a yellow man with binoculars scoping out your pharma labs down the way...
OSBORNE: (small print) ...could be one of the spider's amazing friends...
SKOLOS: No matter. If we could get back to the offer on the table...

Panel 2 - OSBORNE turns to the conference table, foreground. We can now see a blueprint of what looks to be some kind of scienc-y laser cannon with a seat and console attatched behind it. OSBORNE's head should not be visible, in fact the panel frame top should cut him at the shoulders.

OSBORNE: Ah, yes. Your pet project. Quite morbid, studying death.
OSBORNE: Why you need black-ledger experimental weaponry for your research is beyond me.

Panel 3 - SKOLOS leans back in his chair as he tosses a letter-sized manila envelope on the table, toothlessly smiling as he twirls his pointed goatee.

SKOLOS: Let's just say that the work is at a critical...phase.
SKOLOS: Is the deal not fair?
OSBORNE (off panel): Oh, no. It's more than equitable.

Panel 4 - OSBORNE has picked up the envelope, open at the end. We can only see his arms and hands above the table. One hand has tipped the open envelope, and something shiny and black, the size of a deck of cards, slides out and into his other hand.

OSBORNE: And you can stop psychoanalyzing me. I knew if I'd take the first fifteen seconds of our meeting.
SKOLOS (off panel): Then, why? If it's all so facile for you, why deal at all?
OSBORNE: Well...

Panel 5 - Close-up: NORMAN OSBORNE holds a large black diamond sliver, about four inches long, to his face. His right (our left) 2/3 of his face are in a Green Goblin-ish expression, but the skin is blackened. The normal third is dead serious.

OSBORNE: appeals to my...baser angels...

...Next episode: the Creeper returns!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Norman Osborn – Marvel Babies: The Cranky Cabal – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)


The five of them are meeting inside a treehouse. OSBORN, TASKMASTER, RED HOOD, and LOKI are standing around a small, wooden table. DR. DOOM stands apart from the rest of them group.

DR. DOOM: DOOM demands to know why you kicked out Namor and Emma!

OSBORN: Because Namor and Emma are both stupid tattletales!

Panel 2: DR. DOOM stands angrily on his side of the treehouse, pointing at Taskmaster as he stomps his foot.

DR. DOOM (1): And you replaced them with him?

DR. DOOM (2): I demand you let them back!

Panel 3: NORMAN OSBORN slams his fist on the table.

OSBORN (1): No! This is my club, my treehouse, and my rules!

OSBORN (2): And my rules say no tattletales!

Panel 4: DR. DOOM starts to float in the air, arms crossed in front of him.

DR. DOOM (1): Fine, be a stupid head!

DR. DOOM (2): DOOM will start his own secret treehouse club! And it’ll be way better than your stupid secret treehouse club!

Panel 5: NORMAN OSBORN looks like he’s about to throw a temper tantrum. DR. DOOM points at TASKMASTER.

OSBORN: Nuh-UH! You can’t do that, you stupid copycat!

DR. DOOM: Oh yeah? Big talk, coming from the stupid head that recruited someone who’s nothing but a copycat!

Panel 6: TASKMASTER looks offended and upset as DR. DOOM sticks his tongue out at him through his mask.

TASKMASTER: What did you call me?

DR. DOOM: DOOM called you a copycat, you stupid copycat!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Norman Osborn - Out to Brunch - Grant McLaughlin

Three rows of panels.  Row one is made up of a single panel, row two is panels 2 through 4 (panel 2 is thin, while panels 3 and 4 are of equal size), and row three is a single panel as well.  Row two should be the main focus of the page.

1 - A large, heartless room.  It is the Osborn dining room.  Norman and a young (maybe 10 or so) Harry sit at opposite ends of a long table, separated by its size.  Harry should be on the left side of the panel, Norman on the right.  The table is covered with various lunch foods - sandwiches, cold cuts, cookies, and so forth.  Harry asks a questions curiously, while Norman pensively puts down his cutlery, considering the inquiry.  If possible, have a clock showing a mid-morning time (maybe 10:30 or 11).  Also, having the perspective being somewhat pulled back to make the table look a little small within the size of the panel / room (instead of filling it out) wouldn't be the worst thing.

HARRY: Daddy, why don't we ever have brunch?


2 - Switch scenes to Norman leading Harry down a winding, medieval-castle-esque stairwell.  He can be holding a torch / there can be sconces on the wall and everything.  Norman is determined; Harry is nervous.

CAPTION (NORMAN): Come with me.

3 - At their destination, we find a panel of Harry and Norman looking upon a strange altar filled with various damaged and destroyed waffle paraphernalia (mostly broken waffle makers of various ages and eras, along with things like mixing bowls, measuring cups, and the like).  It should look nefarious and strange in the dim lighting.

HARRY (quietly): What is this place?

NORMAN (1): A shrine.  A dark altar dedicated to our oldest enemy.

NORMAN (2): Brunch's cruel overlord.

HARRY (quietly): I-I don't understand.

4 - Norman holds one of the broken waffle irons in one hand and points at his signature haircut with the other.  His face is a horrible rictus grin of madness, made all the more awful by the poor lighting of the strange chamber.  His word balloon should be large and wild to parallel his attitude.  The caption box should be tucked into the bottom right corner of the page.

NORMAN: Don't you see?  How else could we have gotten this ludicrous haircut?!

CAPTION (generic): ...what?

5 - Switch scene.  Various Avengers, including Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Tony Stark, and really anyone you think would be appropriate sit at a table, mirroring Norman and Harry's position from the first panel.  They can either be at the Avengers Mansion being served by Jarvis, at a public restaurant, or whatever.  The important thing is that they are eating brunch (you could even try to slip another clock into the background to show that).  Hawkeye has a look of surprise on his face, while all his colleagues look super unimpressed - feel free to throw in some facepalming, head shaking, glares, and so forth.  Hawkeye should also have a stack of waffles on the end of his fork, ready to eat them.

HAWKEYE: You guys have a better explanation?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Norman Osborn - Change of Face - Ben Rosenthal

1.  Carlie Cooper is standing at an open door. We see her from behind an individual who has just opened the door to her.  Outside is bright while inside has the curtains closed.

Peter, you're late for---Peter?

2.  Reverse angle of a desheveled looking Peter Parker inside his apartment.  He is stressed out, looking like he hasn't slept in days.

Are you ok?

Get inside.

3.  A large panel.  Carlie is in Peter's apartment.  It is a mess - pizza boxes everywhere.

What's going on?

It's Norman.


Only by name.  He doesn't look like Norman any more.

What do you mean?

4.  A close up of Peter, looking between the cushion and the back of a couch.  He is frantic.

He can change his face.  He could be anyone.
He could be you.

5.  Carlie has turned and is walking towards the door.  A hand is sliding into her purse.

I think I may come back when you're feeling more like yourself.

6.  Front on panel of Carlie opening the door with Peter in the background running towards her, smiling evilly.  In his hand is a syringe full of green goblin formula.

Aw, where's the fun in that?

Why Norman Osborn?

Spider-Man's greatest foe isn't the Green Goblin.  It's Norman Osborn.

But why?  What makes this character one of the most dangerous in comics history?  For that, one needs to look at the psychological make up of the man.

Norman was always driven to succeed.  Ruthlessly, so as not to become like his alcoholic and abusive father who drove them to bankruptcy.  And he succeeded because of this.  But as the saying goes, the apple doesn't always fall far from the tree.  At least in this instance.

Norman's son Harry was always a disappointment to him.  One could argue it is because he never lived up to Norman's expectations of a son but I would argue it started as soon as Harry was born. Norman's wife died giving birth to Norman.  One could argue that Norman's resentment to his son began here.  He took away the one thing in life that Norman loved.  Harry never had a chance.

In the fear of bankruptcy Norman tested an experimental formula on himself, which later became known as the Goblin Formula.  It drove him mad, gave him super strength as well as a healing factor.  But from all we have seen of Norman before he took the formula, did it truly make him mad or was it just an excuse to to be more ruthless.  The part of his psyche that knows right from wrong would need justification for the acts he was about to commit.  The 'madness' of the Goblin Formula was what he needed to justify his evil deeds to himself. The Goblin was a way for Norman to control his feelings on inferiority, jealousy, vengeance, anger and worthlessness.  He was personifying the negative sides of his personality, putting on the mask allowed him to deal with these issues less they corrupt him.

When Norman met Harry's best friend Peter Parker, he saw in Peter what he wanted Harry to be.  A naturally gifted scientist.  He admired Peter.  Took pride in him.  That is why he took it as a personal insult when he found out who Peter Parker really was.  The one person who could bring everything down around him.  Peter was his arch nemesis, Spider-Man.

We are given a glimpse into the vulnerability of Norman during Sins Past.  In it, Gwen sees the scared individual that no one else sees.  She sees Norman without his mask.  However did Norman truly open up to Gwen, or did he simply manipulate her to get at Peter.  Either way it spelt the end for Gwen Stacy.  

The death of Gwen at Norman's hands can be looked at from different angles.  Was she used as a way to attack Peter, a way to get control of the kids he sired with Gwen?  Or was it something much more deep rooted.  Norman took from Peter the love that Norman had been denied. Norman saw himself in Peter - what his life could have been, and hated it. He blamed Peter for his choices, but was really blaming his dead father - an unseen force which guided his hand.  It is because of this that we can see why Norman was obsessed with destroying Peter's life.  Driving Peter insane was retribution for what he 'did' to Harry.  He was punishing Peter because in his eyes Peter was he.

He orchestrated the Clone Saga in grand plan to send Peter mad - making Peter think he was a clone, kidnapping and faking Aunt May's death, killing his child.   However, because Norman only sees people as a way to achieve his goals he did not take into account of he and Ben Reilly bonding.  It was this bond that gave Peter the determination to pull through, to persevere the Clone Saga. This is when Norman knew that he had to return to New York and take more direct role in the life of Peter Parker.

Norman returned and purchased the Daily Bugle purely to mess with Peter.  To show him how he has and will continue to control every aspect of his life.  And yet Peter did not break.  He came close, attacking Norman in his home (and being set up by Norman because of it).  But Peter still pulled through.  And Norman hated him more for it.
How dare Parker find the strength to make the best of a situation even after he had driven him through hell. Norman was jealous that Peter had this ability, where Norman held on to things.

Norman realised that he was never going to beat Peter.  He was resolute and strong willed, just like Norman (in his own eyes).  Therefore Peter was the true heir to the Goblin legacy - his legacy. Instead of torturing Peter as a bizarre form of punishment, he wanted to make Parker like him - to justify the choices he had made in his life. To prove that no matter the choices made, they would end up in the same place each time. He laced minute quantities of the Goblin Formula in Peter's tooth paste, and slowly began his manipulation of turning Peter into the next Goblin.  However, Peter once again triumphed.  He was able to  knock back the one thing that Norman could not - the excuse to do what ever you want.  The excuse of the Goblin Formula.  Norman realised that Peter was a better person than he was or could ever be.

After this Norman realised that Peter would not be turned, and for the first time looked at himself and his life choices. Norman, for the first time was making choices without justifying it, and Norman became severely depressed because of it.  He injured Flash to lure Peter into a final confrontation - to be killed by his better. Only Peter was worthy enough to do so. When Peter refused to kill him, instead sentencing him to something worse than death - to live a life with the knowledge of what he has done. Norman is left to live in his own private Hell. The Goblin Serum could not heal him from this. Peter had control over Norman.

After he is outed as the Goblin he seeks to regain the power that Peter has over him.  He forces Peter to compromise his morals and break him out of jail.  In his mind, Norman had once again established himself as Peter's better. He was no longer The Goblin, but Norman Osborn. Being unmasked publicly meant he was free of that persona - or so he would believe.

Once again using all his charisma and influence he managed to become the leader of the Thunderbolts.  However the Goblin side of his persona - all the fears and feelings of failure he had felt and personified which he had believed he had buried was not done with him yet.  These feelings of worthlessness and abandonment (which exhibited themselves in the form of vengeance, jealousy and violence) would not stayed buried, and the Goblin came back extracting revenge on his Team, killing The Swordsman.

It is from here that Norman focused on getting back the power that was taken from him. Taking it back from Peter was only the start.  He needed more.  He yearned and hungered for it.  By taking more and more power he was showing to himself that he was not a failure.  He was stronger than the depression that once claimed him.

From here a balance was found between Norman and The Goblin.  Norman was able to manipulate his way into ruling Hammer.  His confidence and peace with his goblin personality (ie his issues) feeding his ego.  He was the most confident and most dangerous he had ever been.  So much so he saw Peter as below him.  He did not need to worry about such an insignificant bug any more. He saw himself as a true hero - which is why he became the Iron Patriot.
It was during the Siege of Asgard that it came undone.  He was revealed to be wearing the goblin face paint under the Iron Patriot mask - something that completely threw him off.  But why was he wearing the face paint? It was his ego - he was secretly using it as a way to laugh at the people who he believed looked at him as a hero.  While they believed him to be a hero and changed man, he was secretly showing that he was the same Norman. What's more, he did not want to let the Goblin go.  Norman found comfort in having the Goblin close to him.

This is highlighted in Kelly Sue Deconick's OSBORN miniseries.  We see a throwback to the Goblin Cabal from Clone Saga (formally the Scriers) . In this series Norman comes to accept the Goblin as a friend.  He is not at peach with the Goblin - they are a team.  The Goblin would always be shown to be looking after Norman.

After gaining more power Norman christens himself The Goblin King.  He has  regressed fully into his Goblin persona - the safe zone.  He came so close to becoming more of a person, but in the end was not strong enough to follow through with the process. Making matters worse for Norman was that Doc Ock had managed to do what Norman never could - not only 'kill' Peter but become a superior Spider-Man.  Because Norman sees his personality twinned in Peter, Norman took this as an insult and set about destroying Spider-Ock in a much more ruthless and aggressive manner than he has ever attempted before.

It was Peter's return to his own body, and subsequent removal of the Goblin Formula by him that stopped Norman's rampage.  With the ability to change how he looks (thanks to becoming a Super Adaptopid in New Avengers) Norman has a new lease on life.  The Goblin Formula/fear and insecurities have been stripped from him, and he is free.  Free to do whatever he wants as Norman Osborn.

We are yet to see the choices he makes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Harry Dresden - The Madding Crowd, Part 7 - R.A. Wonsowski

Previously: Jack Ryder has been split from his alter ego, the Creeper, by Shade the Changing Man, but with the wrong mind in the wrong body. This has been done under the guise of a medical trial, but may be mystic in origin, as the main researchers have been using black diamonds to separate people's "shadow aspects" from their minds in order to explore the afterlife.

Layout: ok, try to think of this as one of those classic Dr. Strange pages, the ones with no borders, but changes POV and creates an overall story flow. This is a realm of magick, so the artist can go as abstract and geometric as he wants for backgrounds, maybe with a few Batman '66 camera angles mixed in to keep everything off kilter. Last element should be straightforward, though...

Upper-left corner - HARRY DRESDEN, dressed in a cheap gray suit, no tie, stands in a doorway of light upon a band of energy, arms outstretched in mystic summoning.

DRESDEN: Lords of Order! Hear me, Dresden, your servant! Come forth and--

Upper-right corner - foreground, the profile of SAS combat magician WILLIAM GRAVEL, clean-shaven and white hair cropped close to the scalp, scowling as he shouts. Background, DRESDEN looks shocked at GRAVEL.

GRAVEL: Oy! Lords of Chaos, yada yada, wankers all, when Gravel speaks, ya bastards best come runnin'!
DRESDEN: ...Jesus, William...

Middle left - a glowing Metatron's Cube and a black gelatinous blob floating and looming large in the aether before DRESDEN and GRAVEL, foreground, who should be small silhouettes, to give the Lords a sense of scale.

LORD OF CHAOS: iT thINxss to cOMmANd iTSss LOrDzzz...
DRESDEN: No! We only want to beg your wisdom--
GRAVEL: Idiots, both of ya! Your Creator's discarded Wrath is returned, and you daft buggers're frigging about protocol!

Middle right - DRESDEN (right) elbows GRAVEL (left) aside as he addresses the Lords. They should be looking up and off page at us.

DRESDEN: ...JEEsus, William! Please, Lords! We ask only to... It's time.
DRESDEN: Release your Avatars!
LORD OF CHAOS (off-panel): yEZss...ssO bE iT!

Bottom third of the page - Same POV as previous panel, but zoomed in to just head and shoulders. The light is brighter, but two bird-shaped shadows fall upon their faces, one on each, a raptor-like shape on GRAVEL's (who's grinning wide) and a smaller one over DRESDEN's (whose mouth is agape).

(off-panel): HAWK!
(off-panel): DOVE! be continued...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harry Dresden – Gone Fishing – Travis M. Holyfield



Panel 1: HARRY DRESDEN stands in the back of a medium sized fishing trawler. He stares out across the calm sea. The captain, a stereotypical grizzled old salt - he could easily grace the cover of any generic seafood restaurant menu - stands behind him, watching him with suspicion.
CAPTAIN: Thought ye said ye meant to go fishin’.

HARRY: I am.

Panel 2: Continuation of previous panel. Harry draws a crystal rod – the length of a car antenna – from his long coat.

CAPTAIN: Wassat, then?

HARRY: Fishing rod.

Panel 3: Harry holds the rod out towards the water. It glows with a pale bluish-green radiance.

HARRY: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.  

Panel 4:  The waters around the trawler start to churn. Harry lowers the rod. He has an expression of grim resignation. The sea captain, still standing behind him, is recoiling in horror. The skies above the boat have suddenly gone dark with storm clouds.

HARRY: Yeah. That’s what I thought.  

CAPTAIN: Jaysus an Mary an alla saints!

Panel 5: A downward angle, as we look over the giant, Lovecraftian monstrosity that is now surging up out of the sea and down towards the fishing trawler, tiny in comparison.  

HARRY: We are DEFINITELY going to need a bigger boat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Harry Dresden – A Dangerous Game – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: HARRY DRESDEN is walking through the interior wreckage of a game and comic shop. KARRIN MURPHY is standing nearby. The place looks like it’s been torn apart by something highly unnatural. Plenty of marking indicate where there were previously casualties before they were removed from the scene.

MURPHY (1): None of the survivors were able to make much sense of the scene.

MURPHY (2): Not surprisingly.

MURPHY (3): Currently, the story goes that it was a normal game night, nothing out of the ordinary, and then a wild animal started attacking people.

Panel 2: HARRY DRESDEN is crouching as he looks at some burnt game cards – imagine an off-brand/lawyer-friendly version of MAGIC: THE GATHERING. DRESDEN looks like he notices something about the cards.

DRESDEN: A wild animal attack?

MURPHY (1): That’s what I’m reporting it as for now.

MURPHY (2): Truthfully?

MURPHY (3): The witnesses said it was a monster.

Panel 3: HARRY DRESDEN picks up some of the cards.

DRESDEN: What happened to it?

MURPHY: We don’t know.

Panel 4: HARRY DRESDEN turns and looks at KARRIN MURPHY with a look of concern. He nearly drops the cards he was holding, but not quite.

DRESDEN: You mean it’s loose?

MURPHY (1): No. No, not at all.

Panel 5: KARRIN MURPHY explains.

MURPHY (1): At least, we don’t have any reason to think that it’s loose.

MURPHY (2): No signs that it broke out.

MURPHY (3): One moment it’s attacking people, the next nobody knows where it is.

MURPHY (4): Like it vanished into thin air.

Panel 6: DRESDEN looks at the cards in his hand.

DRESDEN: I’m suspecting that may be exactly what happened.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Harry Dresden - Motivations - Grant McLaughlin

Mortimer the Magnificent, a failed stage magician who made a deal with the devil (not the literal one - at least probably not) to gain dark magic powers to get his revenge on Harry Dresden, as Mortimer blames his failures as a pretend magician on Harry's status as a real one.  We're right around the climax, where Mortimer has Harry on the ropes and decides to explain his (admittedly somewhat lame) motivations.  This page is Harry's response.

Panel 1 is an inset panel in the top corner of panel 2, which takes up the top portion of the page.  The middle portion is panel 3, which is made up of smaller micro-panels that run the width of the page.  Finally, panels 4 and 5 make up the remainder of the page (they could even be done so that Mortimer and Harry are facing each other directly with the space between them cut out by the gutter).

1 - Inset panel.  A close-up of Harry Dresden opening his eye.


2 - A stage.  We're in the auditorium where Mortimer did all of his performances.  Mortimer stands on one end, his formerly shabby uniform transformed into a dark and malevolent equivalent through his actions and new found powers.  He is summoning some of the power currently, as an aura of darkness emerges from his arms and body, travels the length of the stage and appears to be holding Harry down / crushing him.  Harry doesn't look great, the damage and violence of the fight wearing on him.

DRESDEN: You summoned a dread being, made an unholy bargain, and promised it the souls of half of Chicago because you can't trick people into enjoying your magic shows?

3 - A group of five micro-panels showing Harry force his way past Mortimer's dark power back onto his own feet.  The darkness should remain around Harry, but as the panels progress, his determination and anger increase with each one.

3.1 - Harry is still lying down, the darkness surrounding him.  However, he has managed to raise his head from the ground to look at Mortimer.

DRESDEN: That, my friend...

3.2 - Harry is elbowing himself up to a sitting position.

DRESDEN: one of the dumbest things...

3.3 - Harry is now in that sitting position, one leg bending to move it beneath himself.

DRESDEN: ...that I have ever heard.

3.4 - Harry crouches, nearly back to his feet.


3.5 - Harry is back standing.  His face remains gritted with the effort, but he also looks mad as hell.


4 - Switch back to Mortimer.  A combination of fear, frustration, and anger washes over his face.  He maintains the spell against Harry, but it doesn't seem to be accomplishing much.

MORTIMER: No!  I was promised enough power to destroy you!  This is impossible!

5 - Back to Harry.  He's mad.  He has his staff drawn, holding it at his side in a ready position.  The darkness seems to already be abating somewhat.

DRESDEN (1): What's impossible is how stupid you are.

DRESDEN (2): But don't worry, I'll put a stop to that shortly.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Harry Dresden - Fuego! - Arby Moay

POV is a laptop's webcam. We see a young man with thick silly hair and a thin moustache, let's call him ARBY, typing on the keyboard viciously.

(Captions should be as if it's what Arby is writing on the screen)
Wherever there’s darkness, there is always light. Even if you close your eyes tight, light will always seep in even for just a little bit. Isn’t that beautiful?

Same. But Arby is now smiling as if he'd just written something very clever.

We, as a species, have long combatted the darkness with our light. Just go outside during the night time, and you’ll notice it.

Same. But Arby is now shocked. There is smoke coming out of the laptop, maybe even a little fire.

We are supposed to be enveloped with our own planets shadow, starved from the light of --

ARBY: What the --

Zoom out and we see Arby's messy bedroom. He has his hands on his head still shocked and angry about what just happened. With him in the room stands Harry Dresden looking at the computer.

DRESDEN: See, I told you this would happen.
ARBY: I thought it'd be inspiring to have you here.

Dresden points at the laptop, which is now in bigger fire.

DRESDEN: Yeah, well, that's generally what I inspire.
ARBY: Well, can you magic the fire out?
DRESDEN: Sure, I can.
DRESDEN (small): I'm not very great with putting out fire though.
ARBY: What?
DRESDEN: Nothing.

Close-up on Harry Dresden with a questioning look.

DRESDEN: Hey, I'm still getting paid here, right?

Why Harry Dresden?

...because there was a building on fire and it wasn't his fault.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden (conjure that name at your own risk) works at an office in midtown Chicago. He may or may not be the only practicing wizard in the country. While the others tend to hide their identities, you can find Harry's name in the yellow pages, under the "Wizards" section. Unsurprisingly, he's the only one there. For the most part, people call him to ask if he's serious.

This, minus the image, is his yellow pages ad.
Harry is a powerful wizard who works as a private investigator for the supernatural, and often times works as a consultant for the Chicago PD. While he is quite a strong wizard, he does lack some fine control and magical manipulation displayed by the others. He usually blasts enemies off with fire and wind spells during battles, though he has displayed abilities using the different elements as well, even channeling lightning from an oncoming storm. He is also skilled with tracking spells, which helps quite a lot in his profession, along with summoning and entrapment spells, allowing him to consult with various supernatural creatures, like demons and faeries. He can create magical circles that'll prevent supernatural creatures from going in (defensive), or going out (imprisonment). His magical aura is actually so strong, in fact, that the energies associated with it disrupts electronic devices around him, causing them to fail.

Fighting a frog-man using lightning while naked.
Because of his lack of finer control in magic, Dresden usually relies on magical items to help focus and channel his magical energy, such as his rune-carved staff, his blasting rod (which is just a wooden stick that he uses to blast fire and kinetic energy), his shield bracelet and protective rings. He also wears a duster with a protective aura. He also carries with him a revolver, sometimes a shotgun, because he's not dumb. Lastly, though he never carries it with him, he also has Bob, a talking skull ghost who possess great knowledge about everything magic/supernatural.

Created by novelist Jim Butcher to be the protagonist of The Dresden Files series (a blend of magic and hard-boiled detective fiction), Harry Dresden has appeared in 15 novels (main medium), a number of limited and unlimited comic series, and even a TV adaptation.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ms Marvel/Kamala Khan - Fantastic! - Arby Moay

Panel 1
A cat is comically hanging on a tree with her two front paws, ready to fall down. Luckily a big stretchy hand (Kamala's) is there to catch her.

Panel 2
Cat falls and is caught by the big stretchy hand.

Panel 3
Ms. Marvel hands the cat to a little girl with a big smile.

Kamala: Well, here you go, kid!
Little Girl: Thanks Ms. Fantastic!

Panel 4
Close-up of Kamala's face. She is still holding her smile, amused at being called Ms. Fantastic.

Kamala: You're welcome! Though, my name's Ms. Marvel.

Panel 5
The little girl points at Kamala. Meanwhile, the cat is back trying to climb the tree it was just on.

Little Girl: You have stretchy powers.
Kamala: That is true. You are very perceptive.
Little Girl: Kinda like Jake.

Panel 6
Kamala has her hands in her waist, a little bit disgusted at the comparison. Little Girl is amused. Cat is hanging for dear life in the tree again.

Kamala: Kid, I am not a dog.
Little Girl: What time is it?

Panel 7
Kamala has stretched her legs to move out, meanwhile her big stretchy hand is back trying to save the cat. Little Girl has her fist victoriously in the air.

Kamala: Nope!

Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, meets Maximus the Mad - R.A. Wonsowski

(Story continues on next page following advertisement)

Panel 1 - Foreground, MAXIMUS, the insane brother of Black Bolt, rightful king of the Inhumans, cackles with glee at the sight of MEDUSA, KARNAK, and GORGON, all shackled in a Kirby-esque torture device. In an upper corner KAMALA KHAN hangs from the ceiling unseen from her distended arm...

MAXIMUS: AHH-hahaha!! With his queen and friends captured, Black Bolt will surely hand the throne of Attillan to me!!

Panel 2 - KAMALA peeks around the corner of the torture machine. KARNAK and MEDUSA notice her.

MEDUSA: Ms. Marvel!
KARNAK: It's no use! There's no weakness in his plan this time!
KAMALA: Oh, really...

Panel 3 - KAMALA, background, tosses a bunch of loose small packages from her oversized hand. MAXIMUS catches one. GORGON guffaws in his cuffs.

KAMALA: Hey, Max! Catch!
MAXIMUS: Hostess Fruit Pies!
GORGON: Apple! Lemon! And Cherry, my favorite!

Panel 4 - KAMALA stands proudly among the newly freed Inhumans. MAXIMUS is enwrapped in MEDUSA's hair, one hand free as he munches on a lemon pie. Everyone is enjoying their snacks and smiling with satisfaction. An inset panel has BLACK BOLT holding out a fruit pie package at us, smiling and winking.

MAXIMUS: I'm MAD for the flaky crust!
GORGON: And that real fruit filling is INHUMANLY scrumptious!
CAPTION: Hostess Fruit Pies.
BLACK BOLT: Try one today!
SoundFX: ...rmMBLL...

( The Madding Crowd will be back next week. Seeya then!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan – Circular Fandomship – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: An upside down car that has a style that’s consistent with the powers and style of its former driver, OVERDRIVE. OVERDRIVE is climging out of it. He looks pretty beat up and worse for the wear, but not like he’s suffering any critical or life-threatening injuries.

MS. MARVEL (KAMALA KHAN) approaches the vehicle, but not sure what to make of OVERDRIVES behavior.

OVERDRIVE (1): That takeout? That was pretty bad-@**.

OVERDRIVE (2): And you look even younger in person!


Panel 2: OVERDRIVE is lying on the ground, not having enough energy to fight against what he recognizes as an inevitable defeat. He points at MS. MARVEL with one hand.

MS. MARVEL is still confused by this turn of events.

OVERDRIVE (1): You’re…uh…

SFX: *snap*snap*

OVERDRIVE (2): Ms. Marvel, right? The new one?


OVERDRIVE (3): I thought so!

OVERDRIVE (4): Overdrive. I’m a fan.

Panel 3: MS. MARVEL is taken aback, but is warming to this very unusual reaction from OVERDRIVE.

MS. MARVEL (1): Really?

OVERDRIVE (1): Absolutely!

OVERDRIVE (2): Using your powers like that? It’s just like Spider-Man!

MS. MARVEL (2): Well, I am a fan of his.

OVERDRIVE (3): Really? Get out of here! ME TOO!

Panel 4: MS. MARVEL helps OVERDRIVE stand up.



Panel 5: Short series of mini/micro-panels as MS. MARVEL and OVERDRIVE spend a bit of time bonding over their mutual love of and admiration for (other) superheroes. Feel free to have some fun here, maybe include something like getting a hot dog or some ice cream together.

Panel 6: MS. MARVEL and OVERDRIVE part on friendly terms as MS. MARVEL hands OVERDRIVE over to the police – he is, after all, still a criminal.