Friday, February 28, 2014

Donkey Kong - Just Another Day On The Job - Niel Jacoby

Panel 1: we see 2 plumbers in the boiler room of a building. One is thin and wears a green shirt under his overalls, the other is rotund and wears a red shirt under his. They are hard at work.


Panel 2: The building is rattled and steam starts shooting out from many places, startling the plumbers.


Panel 3: The plumbers are running through the building lobby, and are surprised to see shipping containers falling around them.


Panel 4: The plumbers look up through a hole in the ceiling, and see a giant monkey on what is left of the top floor, a shipping plane in one hand, a beautiful woman in the other.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Donkey Kong - Behind the Scenes - J.D. Coughlan

Panel 1: On the "set" of the first Donkey Kong game in 1981. Kong and Mario sit in those fold-up chairs you always see on film sets. Mario has a mug of coffee, Kong reads a newspaper. Various crew go about their business. Mario is bragging but Kong just keeps reading his paper.

MARIO: Yeah, I've been looking to break into this video game thing for a while now. Makes a change from the plumbing, y'know?


Panel 2: Close-up of Mario. He is super-smug.

MARIO: Keep it under your hat, but I'm already in talks with Nintendo for more of these. Heh. My brother keeps pestering me to get him in on the action too. Life of a celeb, huh?

Panel 3: Close-up of Donkey Kong. His face mostly hidden from Mario with the paper, he rolls his eyes.

MARIO (O.P.): Hey though, don't worry, I'll see if I can squeeze you in somewhere too. We always need good villains.


Panel 4: Kong answers his phone. It is a big 80s style mobile phone.

KONG: You're on with Donkey Kong.

KONG: Mm-hmm.

KONG: Mm-hmm.

KONG: Thanks for letting me know. Ciao!

Panel 5: Kong puts away the phone, a little grin on his face. Mario looks on in sympathy.

KONG: That was my agent.

MARIO: Oh dear. Bad news?

KONG: You could say that.

MARIO: Never mind, eh? Something will come up. Now, pardon me, I need to get into character...

Panel 6: Close-up of Kong. He puts his paper back up in front of his face, covering his bigger grin.

KONG: (small) Bad news for someone anyway.

MARIO (O.P.): IT'SA-- Hrmm! IT'SA ME-- Hrmm! IT'SA ME, MARIO!


Donkey Kong – DK Splits - Shaun Richens.


Close up on DK. He is eating a banana.

Munch munch.

Still tight on DK. He has finished the banana and holds the left over skin in one hand.


DK winks at us the reader.


DK is throwing the banana peel over his shoulder out of panel.


Large panel. Ext the Luigi Circuit from Mario Kart. Its a bright and clear day. DK speeds towards us in his go-kart inches from the finishing line, his tie flying behind him. Mario in his own go-kart is spinning off the track, birds circle his head as he gets dizzy. In the centre of the tack is the cause of the spin. DK's banana peel.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Donkey Kong – Super Mario Country – MK Stangeland Jr.

The Story Thus Far: A fat man wearing red and a thin man wearing green, both with mustaches, stole DONKEY KONG’s golden bananas and kidnapped DIDDY KONG and DIXIE KONG. DK kidnapped PRINCESS PEACH in turn hoping it would get MARIO and LUIGI to return his bananas. MARIO and LUIGI, not having the golden bananas, first mistakenly went after Bowser before realizing who really kidnapped her.

(7 Panels)

Words present in [ ] when used for a speech bubble are to indicate an small image filling that speech bubble.

Panel 1: DONKEY KONG, CRANKY KONG, MARIO, and LUIGI are all frozen in place as PRINCESS PEACH shouts at them from off panel. They are all in the exact same position they were just a moment ago when their fight was ongoing, except for that their attention is now focused towards PEACH.

CRANKY KONG is on LUIGI’s back and has him in a half-nelson, with a free arm holding his cane over LUIGI’s head from where he’s been repeatedly smacking the plumber upside the head with it.

MARIO is suspended mid-air from a jump attack he was about to hit DONKEY KONG with, while DONKEY KONG just slammed his fists against the ground in an unsuccessful attack against MARIO.


Panel 2: PRINCESS PEACH, who is currently in a bamboo cage that is hanging in the air from the ceiling. She looks one part upset and one part confused.

PRINCESS PEACH (1): [DK’s head]!

PRINCESS PEACH (2): [Golden Banana]?

Panel 3: MARIO is now standing on the ground next to DONKEY KONG. He looks at DONKEY KONG with a determined, unhappy face. DONKEY KONG looks angrily at PRINCESS PEACH (off-panel) and points at MARIO as he explains.

DONKEY KONG (1): [Golden Banana]!

DONKEY KONG (2): [A fat mustached man wearing red and a tall mustached man wearing green.]

DONKEY KONG (3): [The two men from (2) greedily carrying off a pile of Golden Bananas.]

DONKEY KONG (4): [DIDDY KONG and DIXIE KONG in cages with the two men from (2) standing next to them.]

Panel 4: MARIO and LUIGI look at each other. CRANKY KONG is still on LUIGI’s back and is looking down at him.

MARIO & LUIGI: [A fat mustached man wearing red and a tall mustached man wearing green]?!

Panel 5: MARIO and LUIGI both actively try to think about who it could be since neither of them are guilty of what DONKEY KONG is describing.


Panel 6: MARIO and LUIGI both come to the same realization.

MARIO & LUIGI: [Lightbulb]!!!

Panel 7: MARIO and LUIGI stand next to each other in front of PRINCESS PEACH’s cage. CRANKY KONG is no longer on LUIGI’s back and stands next to DONKEY KONG instead.

MARIO: [Wario]!!!

LUIGI: [Waluigi]!!!




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Donkey Kong - When The Time Is Ripe - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Donkey Kong and company are relaxing on one of the many beaches of DK Island.  Donkey is lounging on a lounge chair, sunglasses and tanning sheet equipped (although note he should still be wearing his tie).  Cranky sits on a lawn-chair under a big umbrella to protect him from the sun.  He wears stereotypical beachwear such as sunscreen visible on his nose, one of those wide brimmed hats that I apparently imagine old people wear, and the like.  Candy and Dixie play frisbee near the surf.  If there's room, Funky is surfing out on the water.  I'd say the rest of the gang is also in beachwear, but their regular costumes are pretty beachy as it is.

DONKEY KONG: This is the life.

2 - Donkey Kong flips up his shades, he looks in concern towards Diddy Kong, who is running along the beach towards his companion, looking frazzled and mighty worried.


3 - Donkey Kong sits up on his lounge chair, sunglasses fully removed.  He is worried at the ill news his friend brings.  Diddy leans forward, hands on his knees and out of breath from his mad dash.  The others have stopped what they're doing and look on in matching concern.

DONKEY KONG: What is it, little buddy?

DIDDY KONG: *huff!* It's... *puff!*

4 - Switch scene.  We're outside the cave that functions as Donkey Kong's Banana Hoard.  This is evident from the somewhat pathetic sign standing outside (in the vein of the original) that reads "Kong's Banana Hoard", along with a second, smaller sign that reads "No Kremlins A Loud!".

CAPTION (DIDDY KONG): It's the hoard!

5 - Reaction shots of the various members of the Kong family who have come to see what's what.  While we can't see what they're looking at, it's clear that they're horrified.  Most of the Kongs look towards whatever is off-panel.  Candy looks towards Cranky for guidance, but he seems to be at as much of a loss as everyone else.  Heads are scratched.  Mouths are agape or covered in fear.  That kind of thing.  I think it could also be worthwhile / add to the visual if the Kongs are still wearing their beachwear.

DIXIE KONG: What happened...?


CRANKY KONG: I don't know.

DONKEY KONG: Me neither...

6 - Switch angles.  We're now behind the Kongs who have been looking towards the banana hoard.  All of the bananas are still there, but unlike previous incarnations of the hoard, they are not completely pristine and yellow.  They appear to be aging, with brown spots and bruises visible on many, if not all, of the fruit.

DONKEY KONG (quietly): ...but we gotta find a way to stop this.

Why Donkey Kong?

As I remember my childhood, I had this odd habit of trying to convince my parents to buy video game consoles for pretty flimsy reasons.  Without going too much into the multitude of silly details, it all goes back to the first video game console my household ever owned: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (remember when consoles still had wacky names like that?).  I say my household's because it was technically my Dad's.  For some ludicrous reason, one year I suggested we buy him an SNES for Father's Day.  And since my parents were apparently really into humouring me, we did.

Now that's a video game console

All this in spite of the fact that my Dad had never (and still hasn't) played a video game in his life.

So while he didn't have much use for it, I certainly took full advantage of its arrival within our household.  As you may have already gathered, video games were an incredibly formative part of my misspent youth, and that SNES was what formed the habit.  Of course, a system is all well and fine, but you need some games to play on it.  We initially had Super Mario World, which was all well and good, but the game that really set my world on fire was (unsurprisingly considering the title of this post) Donkey Kong Country.  Although the brothers Mario obviously played a not insignificant role in popularizing and defining platform gaming, I would passionately argue that the Kong family took that earlier formula and perfect it.

And a mighty fine video game to go along with it

But while I appreciate your humouring this trip down memory lane, I can almost hear you wonder what this has to do with comics.  That's what this site is all about, right?  I could focus on the series' many colourful characters, ranging from Donkey Kong and his labyrinthian family tree to King K. Rool and his kopious krew of Kremlins to the rest of the massive supporting cast that has been assembled over the years.  I could go on about the varied settings and incredible conflicts that have been fought all across DK Island, Crocodile Isle, the Northern Kremisphere, and beyond.  I could laud the gameplay, which is hands down still some of the most insanely fun video gaming I've ever experienced.  And I could most definitely praise the brilliant soundtrack provided by David Wise.  DKC had some of the best music in any video game ever, and anybody who says otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about.  Seriously, I still listen to those songs on a regular basis nearly twenty years later (how has this game been out so long?!).

I could talk about all this and more, but most of all, I think what makes Donkey Kong a subject worth taking a week to play around with is how these many disparate elements came together to create something greater than their whole.

Or, if you're really dying for a parallel to comics, all you need to do is look to the fact that, in game canon, Donkey Kong's grandpa, Cranky Kong, was the original Donkey Kong from the arcade game of the same name (which also means that Donkey Kong Jr. is Donkey Kong's father).  This series not only has continuity, but it dates so far back that every single Donkey Kong video game is also technically a crossover with Super Mario Bros, which is completely amazing.  It also raises so many questions that nothing within these games can really stand up to close scrutiny (such as the aforementioned Kong family tree, which we won't even go into here).  If that isn't what comics are all about, then I don't know what is.

So while there's a good deal of nostalgia behind my choice this week, I like to think that Donkey Kong and company have more than enough going for them for some fun little tales taking a closer look at the wonderful world they inhabit.  I hope you agree.

What do you say, friends?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dinosaur Comics - Time for an Upgrade - Brian Manton

Why Dinosaur Comics?

Dinosaur Comics is a comic about talking dinosaurs. Do you really need any further reason?

Ok, it is written by Ryan North, writer of the Eisner Award winning kids comic Adventure Time.

Dinosaur Comics uses the same artwork every strip with only dialogue changing and yet has managed to post original scripts every weekday since February 2003!

Dinosaur Comics uses a monospaced font.

This week the thought-ballooners are going to be playing fill-in-the-blanks with one of the longest running and most popular constrained webcomics.

Also, Dinosaur Comics is a comic about talking dinosaurs. Did I mention that already?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Injustice - Displacement - Brian Manton

Splash Page

A Lexcorp laboratory - completely automated and unmanned. Vital signs are displayed across rows of incubators - a baby lies sleeping in each one.

In the centre of the room Zatanna lies restrained to a hospital trolley. She looks drugged and emaciated.

CAP: And then, two heartbeats coming from one person - stop beating.

Zatana: --vasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihevasmihe--

Injustice - Dragons, Awake! - R.A. Wonsowski

Page 2:

Comic layout is horizontal, for the "widescreen" reading experience.

Splash page:  Look, up in the sky...SUPERMAN, foreground, is reeling in pain, burning in the flames from the mouths of a three-headed dragon, which is flying out of a magical, bird-shaped portal.  Riding on each of its necks, from left to right, are ETRIGAN the Demon, RAVEN, and JOHN CONSTANTINE.  ETRIGAN is adding the hellfire from his mouth to the magical blaze, and JOHN is screaming into the sky with glee, fist pumping in the air.  The pentagrammed eyes of TRIGON watch from beyond.


CAPTION (Batman):  ...and Clark is helpless against more than just Kryptonite...

CAPTION: "Now I'm going home - in the distance, I can see them - Proudly waving flags to separate and free them..." - Bob Pollard (Guided by Voices)

*NOTE - The final line in Etrigan's rhyme, which Constantine finishes here, starts on Page 1 as follows: "The horrific reign of the Tyrant of Steel - O'er humanity is a tumorous canker - Thus let magick's might bring the Kryptonian to heel..."

Friday, February 14, 2014

Injustice - Turn - Niel Jacoby

Panel 1: Superman stands in the Hall Of Justice meeting room, addressing the other members of the Justice League. He is forlorn.


Panel 2: Superman is hanging his head in sorrow, still addressing the Justice League. We cannot see the wall behind him. The rest of the League is shocked.


SFX(from off panel, behind Superman): KRRRRSHHSSHSHSHSHSS

Panel 3: Straight on shot as Superman, his face in an evil grin, is ripping the shirt of his Superman suit in half to reveal a T-Shirt with a Legion Of Doom logo, and we see the Legion Of Doom busting through the wall behind him.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Injustice – It’s Only Funny When It’s Not Real – MK Stangeland Jr.

(4 Panels)

Panel 1: A picture of a SUPERDICKERY-style SUPERMAN comic book cover featuring SUPERMAN being, well, a jerk in some manner related to him basically ruling the world. If possible, the name ‘Stangeland’ and that of some artist should be included. It looks like the cover is being held by SUPERMAN, but all we can see is part of his hand.

SUPERMAN: (Off Panel) You think this is funny?


Panel 2: Similar to PANEL 1 with another comic book cover in the same style, being held by the same person in their other hand.

SUPERMAN: (Off Panel) DO YOU?!

MK STANGELAND JR: (Off Panel) Y-Yes! Yes I DO!

Panel 3: MK STANGELAND JR. is falling out of the sky. He looks absolutely TERRIFIED. SUPERMAN is flying downwards next to him, and looks like he’s standing upside down with his arms crossed in front of his chest as he goes.


SUPERMAN: Still think it’s funny?

Panel 4: Similar to PANEL 3, but SUPERMAN looks angrier in this panel.




Monday, February 10, 2014

Injustice - The Mirror - Grant McLaughlin

1 - We're outside a dressing room, looking at its door.  "Duncan Fairweather" is written across it.  A conversation is occuring within the room, giving us some tailless balloons.

JERRY (within, tailless balloon): You're not actually going to do this, are you?

DUNCAN (within, tailless balloon): Of course I am.

2 - Interior.  We see two men, Duncan and Jerry (both new characters, no reference).  Duncan is sitting in a chair, putting on makeup, while Jerry stands behind him.  Their backs are to the reader, but we can see their faces in the reflection of the mirror - Jerry is worried, while Duncan is concentrating on makeup, so he looks pretty nonchalant about the whole thing.  For context, Duncan is wearing an undershirt and boxers, as he still hasn't put on his costume.

DUNCAN (1): I've put in far too much effort not to.

DUNCAN (2): Writing.

DUNCAN (3): Rehearsing.

DUNCAN (4): Promoting.

DUNCAN (5): Hell, finding a venue was damn near impossible.

3 - Jerry turns Duncan's chair around, forcing Duncan to look him in the eye (and potentially take this seriously).

DUNCAN: You'd be amazed at how many theatres turned me down.

JERRY: No, I wouldn't.  I'm shocked that anyone was stupid enough to say yes.

4 - Duncan has stood up and is putting on a costume.  It's a gaudy superhero outfit, with underwear on the outisde, a cape, and presumably some type of logo (which cannot be seen at present).  Duncan is stepping into the costume, so it isn't completely on yet.  Jerry stands with his arms crossed, perhaps turned away slightly from Duncan.  Duncan appears to pay Jerry's words little mind.

JERRY (1): They're not going to like it.

JERRY (2) (quieter): He's not going to like it.

5 - Duncan, now with the costume fully on, turns to Jerry and pats him encouragingly on the cheek - he is too excited and assured to be swayed.  Despite the warm action, Jerry's concern remains.

DUNCAN (1): Calm down, Jerry.  Surely they have better things to police than art.

DUNCAN (2): Besides, some good old fashioned truth-to-power could do them some good.

6 - Outside the theatre.  It's night time.  The marquee reads "The Übermensch". Superman floats in the foreground, watching the theatre (maybe have it so you can only see his legs / feet, although his shadow could be visible on the ground - either way, his back is to the reader, so his expression cannot be seen). While the theatre and marquee are lit up in the night, Superman is shrouded in the darkness.

CAPTION (DUNCAN): Honestly, what's the worst that could happen?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Injustice - What a Wonderful World - Ben Rosenthal

1.  A shot of Gotham, destroyed.  A fight has taken place.

It was the only way.

2.  Batman is laying on the ground, bloody, beaten and dead.

A man driven mad by grief.
Another who was never truly sane.

3.  Superman lays near Batman, his neck snapped.

Both too egotistical to think of the price of their battle.

4.  Wonder Woman is standing tall above their bodies.  She is in control now.

I did what I had to do.
For you.
Welcome to my new Amazonia.

Why Injustice?

In a world where Superman has gone mad can the heroes of the DC universe rally to stop the Man of Steel?

Australian writer Tom Taylor has had complete creative freedom with Injustice, not something that many creators in the Big Two have the luxury of.   The series acts as a prequel, taking place during the five years before the main events of the game's story mode. The original online series was released weekly, while Year Two is now released on every other Tuesday of every month.

What will the writers of Thought Balloons cook up given the same creative freedom in this alternate DC Universe?  Join us this week as we tackle Injustice!

If you would like to play as well be sure to post your script below.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Red Hulk - Through discipline... - Brian Manton

Wide. A site of devastation - A small city in the aftermath of the Hulk. The National Guard head the emergency relief.

 CAP: We knew the world would not be the same.

Thunderbolt Ross standing by a makeshift hospital tent. His back to us, he looks out over the smouldering city.
CAP: A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent.

Doc Samson’s laboratory. Ross and Doc Samson having a heated argument.

 CAP: I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says,

Thin wide panel. The Red Hulk’s eyes - full of rage.

 CAP:  'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'

Wide. Nevada desert flatlands. Ross in the tattered remnants of his uniform, on his knees, exhausted.

 CAP: I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

- Robert Oppenheimer

Friday, February 7, 2014

Red Hulk - We Need A Hulk - Niel Jacoby

Panel 1: Nick Fury(current Sam Jackson incarnation) and Thunderbolt Ross are in a secret discussion room deep within SHIELD headquarters. Thunderbolt Ross is sitting, Fury is pacing.



Panel 2: Fury has stopped, and is pointing at Ross.



Panel 3: Fury is getting in Ross's grill, and is slamming his fists on the table.


Panel 4: Close shot on Ross, trying to keep up his arrogant facade.

Ross: I...

Panel 5: Same frame, Ross just deflates, gives up.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Red Hulk – Psychological Warfare – MK Stangeland Jr.

(8 Panels)

Panel 1: RED HULK is walking north into the no mans land between NORTH KOREA and SOUTH KOREA.

Panel 2: A NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER sees RED HULK walking through a pair of binoculars.

Panel 3: The NK SOLDIER wonders what’s going on as he sees RED HULK WALKING.


Panel 4: RED HULK keeps walking.

Panel 5: RED HULK stops as he hears something click.

SFX: *click*

RED HULK: Is that land…?

Panel 6: View from the NK SOLDIER of a landmine exploding under RED HULK’s foot, obscuring him.

Panel 7: The explosion clears away to reveal that, naturally, RED HULK is unharmed.

RED HULK Heh, tickles.

Panel 8: A wide-eyed look of fear from the NK SOLDIER.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Red Hulk - Punishing - Grant McLaughlin

This takes place in the secret underground base the Thunderbolts currently have.  Let's go with a fixed angle for the panels.

1 - The main planning area of the Thunderbolts HQ - the one with the big table.  Deadpool sits alone, a picnic basket in front of him on the table.  He's placed a stereotypical red checkered table cloth on the table and has a loud napkin wrapped around his neck as a bib.  General Ross walks by, visible through a doorway in the background, confused by what he sees going on in the room.


2 - General Ross is entering the room.  He's still confused, but he looks more annoyed than anything.  Deadpool is taking some plates and food out of the picnic basket.

ROSS: What are you doing?

3 - Deadpool has a big sandwich in his hand and holds it as if ready to take a bit bite out of it.  Genreal Ross now stands before him next to the table, a slight frown on his face.

DEADPOOL: What does it look like?  I'm enjoying a loverly pic-a-nic basket.

4 - Deadpool has taken a bit out of the sandwich and is visibly chewing on it - for a little visual gag, Deadpool's mask should remain on in every panel.  General Ross continues to interrogate the strange mecercenary, showing his displeasure with his face and body language.

ROSS (1): I can see that.  Why are you doing that?

ROSS (2): Particularly considering everyone should be prepping for the upcoming mission.

5 - Deadpool has nearly finished the sandwich and is now holding a beer that he is about to take a swig from.  General Ross stands at attention, listening to Deadpool's answer.

DEADPOOL: You said to pack light.

6 - Deadpool chugs down the beer, the sandwich finished.  General Ross' position has not changed.

DEADPOOL: And only to bring the bear necessities.

7 - Deadpool looks towards General Ross, happy anticipation evident on his face, despite the mask - he's pretty proud of himself.  He might even have his arms out in a body-wide jazz hands pose.  General Ross is nearly unmoving, perhaps a slight furrowed brow of annoyance.


8 - Deadpool holds the same position.  General Ross has given up on the conversation and has turned around to march out of the room.

ROSS: Just get your things ready.  We dust off in five.

9 - General Ross is mostly out of the room - perhaps part of his back a leg are visibly through the door he exists from.  Deadpool stands up indignantly, perhaps knocking over his chair or some of the picnic.

DEADPOOL: Oh, come on!  Both of those references are nearly old enough for someone your age to be able to catch!

Red Hulk - But how? - Ben Rosenthal

All panels are framed the same - A side on view with AMAZING Spidey on the left of the panel and Rulk on the right.  They show each from the neck up.  

1.   Spider-Man is facing Rulk.  Rulk has a stern look on his face.  Spidey is looking inquisitive.

2.  Spidey is closer to Rulk, looking closely at his nose.

3.  Spidey is hanging down in front of Rulk's face, getting a closer look at his face.  From the angle it appears that Spidey is on Rulk's head.

4.  Spidey is now below Rulk's face, looking up his nose.

5.  Spidey is back to facing Rulk, very close to how the first panel looks.

So where does the moustache go?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Red Hulk - Jump On Point - R.A.Wonsowski

(...ok, here's another weird one...)

Layout: double-page splash with 6 circular insets, linked by red lines to their character in the splash.

Splash -  A morning raid, chaos on the docks amid the cranes and containers at the North Korean port city of Rajin/Najin...North Korean soldiers are knocked back concussively, flying everywhere; a few struggle to find their feet.  There are two impact points - One is a crane housing in its base, the supports crumpling and exploding in a blaze of fire, bodies flying, a rocket's exhaust trail leads backward to the silhouette of a tugboat afloat on the Sea of Japan, where it originated.  The other is a crater caused by RED HULK, crouched from his sticking the landing, fists clenched, face darkened in inked blanks, his expression unreadable.  AGENT VENOM is in the foreground, firing two Desert Eagle pistols into soldiers off panel, but the muzzle flash is visible.  DEADPOOL is off to the side in the background, leaping around like a crazed Batroc, Uzi in one hand spitting bullets and mowing down soldiers, the other waving a katana.  ELEKTRA is back to back with RED HULK, her sais are in her belt loops, and she is wielding a heavy machine gun, and handling it expertly, cutting more soldiers in half.  From somewhere above, from an unseen airship, DEATH'S HEAD II rappels down midfield, firing flechettes into soldiers, as well.  Captions are from Ross's point of view.

DEATH'S HEAD II:  Seven kilometers straight below us, yes?  Access port is somewhere...

Inset 1 - Close-up, DEATH'S HEAD II.

CAPTION:  Stumbling across this alien "freelance peacekeeper" was ridiculously good luck.  Turns out the NK military eggheads stumbled across A.I.M.'s old research on the Minion Project.

Inset 2 - Close-up, DEADPOOL, who is grinning gleefully behind his mask.

CAPTION:  It was that chucklehead Wilson who volunteered us for this op.  Normally, he's a taco short of a combo plate, but the idea of human experimentation snapped to attention right quick.

Inset 3 - Mid-shot, FRANK CASTLE, a shoulder-mounted RPG-launcher visible.  He is on the tugboat, and his inset link points to its deck.

CAPTION:  Castle seconded in the next breath, when he found out slavers were producing the teenaged experimental stock.

Inset 4 - Close-up, AGENT VENOM.

CAPTION:  Corporal Thompson was the dissenter.  Pragmatic, doesn't trust anything that smacks of the off-earth, but his focus on the mission is laser-like; he and his "partner" both, cold and professional.

Inset 5 - Close-up, ELEKTRA.

CAPTION:  Ms. Natchios is here for personal reasons.  Someone named John Garrett is mixed in this somehow, and there's a storm raging beneath her calm, pale exterior.  And that's alright...

Inset 6 - Close-up, RED HULK, face silhouetted as he looks out from beneath his brow, the battle-rage upon him, but grinning toothily with anticipation for the coming fight.

CAPTION:  I've got enough anger for all of us.  And sometimes...

CAPTION:  ...sometimes I like to share it with bastards like these...

Why Red Hulk?

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." - Friedrich Nietzsche
I know, I know...

When the Red Hulk debuted 6 years ago, all I could think of was, "The House of Ideas finally ran out of ideas." Everything about "Rulk" (ugh) seemed derivative and ugly and flash-for-cash and I screamed "SHENANIGANS!"

...and then the other shoe dropped.

Red Hulk was General "Thunderbolt" Ross.

At first, I'm done. I felt like I was robbed. Ross had been Hulk-hunting forever, now all of a sudden, he IS one? "SHENANIGANS, I say!!"

But then I remember...Ross has always been of two minds with Hulk. On the one hand, it is a dangerous creature that destroys everything in its path. On the other, the unlimited offensive potential was much too great to be ignored, and was begging to be exploited.

Then the Illuminati/Avengers took it all out of his hands and banished the Hulk off-planet.

Imagine what that one act did to Ross.  One day's work for Earth's Mightiest put the comic book equivalent of 15 years of military career to shame, the laughing stock of the Pentagon brass.  And the stark realization that, in his heart of hearts, he neither wanted to destroy or capture the Hulk, but coveted its power.

Is it any wonder that he gave in to temptation?

General Ross and his Thunderbolts

Is it any wonder that he is more feared than Hulk Classic? The destructive power of gamma green, combined with the experienced military strategic mind of army green, wrapped in crimson rage. Unfit to be soldier or Avenger anymore, he assembled his own superhero squad, named after his old moniker and with a dark history of its own: Thunderbolts.

It is as the leader of the new T-bolts that Red Hulk really shines. Not only for his tactical brilliance, but Ross has assembled the most dangerous bunch of broken misfits and created a functioning dysfunctional family, each member looking to fill the hole in their souls.  All to redeem his life's work and his honour.

And you can't spell "redemption" without "RED"...

I swear, I can't NOT read it...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

D4VE - The Matrix of Binary Delights - Brian Manton

D4VE is dragged by his partner-bot, S4LLY, through the corridors of a high class hotel.

D4VE: It’s just not my format.

S4LLY: Our sex life is BSOD. We’re doing this, D4VE.

They stop outside an ornate double-door. A large jar, filled with USB keys of various size and colour, rests on a side-table by the door. S4LLY drops her USB key, complete with Atari keychain, into the jar.

D4VE: I don’t think I’m the render farm type.

S4LLY: Well there’s no rebooting now.

S4LLY and D4VE enter to a scene that neither of them were prepared for.

It is a full on Robot Orgy - far more intricate and depraved than either of them could have expected. Like a technological version of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.
A sea of extension cables, adaptor sockets and patch bays. Jump leads and car batteries. Voltmeters. Electromagnets. A-batteries being forced where only AAA’s should fit.
Cans of WD40 litter the floor.

D4VE: [Windows Hourglass]

S4LLY: [Mac Spinning Wheel]

D4VE - ...B3CAUSE D1N05AURS. - R.A. Wonsowski

Layout: 3 rows of 2

Panel 1 - D4VE sits relaxed on a park bench in Central Park, NYC, his back to the New York City Skyline in the background. It's a blue-sky, sunny day and all is right and cheerful.


Panel 2 - Same as Panel 1, except the buildings and trees are vibrating.


Panel 3 - Same as above, except buildings start to shatter as GINORMOUS ROBOTIC KAIJU versions of the DINOSAURS from Disney's Fantasia start fighting.


Panel 4 - They continue to fight as they exit to the right.  D4VE hangs his head low in despair.  Buildings begin to fall over.


Sound FX:  KSSHH!!!!

Panel 5 - Same as above, but the dinosaurs are completely gone from the panel.  D4VE looks completely dejected.


Panel 6 - D4VE, his body language looking depressed, begins rolling up his shirt sleeves as he walks off after the dinosaurs, ready (kinda) to take them on.

D4VE:  ...I'm getting too old for this 5H1T.