Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Wonder Twins - Warren Ellis Saturday Morning - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: ZAN and JAYNA stand facing us. The artwork is typical Saturday morning cartoon, Hanna Barbera style. The Wonder Twins look extremely nervous.

ZAN: I don't know, Jayna. How we can be sure they're in there?

JAYNA: This is our only lead, Zan! What else can we do?

Panel 2: Closeup of the twins fist-bumping.


Panel 3: Zan shouts and thrusts his fist into the sky, Wavy transformation lines lead from his body to a bucket of ice, indicating his transformation.


Panel 4: Jayna shouts and thrusts her fist into the sky, Wavy transformation lines lead from her body to a burly, heavyset, hirsute man in "leather daddy" garb, indicating her transformation.


Panel 5: We now reverse the view from the first panel so that we are behind the Wonder Twins, so that we can see past them to what they are looking at: A grotty, manky, disreputable bar. The sign above the door says "JACK HAMMER'S" This is to be the apotheosis of every gay bar from every "Police Academy" type movie from the 80s. rendered lovingly in Hanna Barbera house style.

ZAYNA: Don't worry, Batman and Robin! We'll save you!

(With apologies to my childhood)

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Wonder Twins - Prog 1 - Ray Wonsowski

Ok, so this is one of those things where it may not be "done in one" like I thought. I may skip a week or two here and there, but I kinda have this planned out as a series of 2000AD style "progs" (in my head, like 6 to 8 page backups). Anyway, I'm researching Zan and Jayna, listening to 70s prog rock on Pandora, when Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" comes on, and all of a sudden I've come up with this for a beginning...

Prog 1 would be a new origin for the Twins. Out on the fringe-tip of the Milky Way's Sagittarian arm, there is an asteroid, traveling between the orbits of stars. Pipes, tubes, and vents crisscross and thread in and out of the asteroid. Picture Victorian England during the early Industrial Revolution meets Jules Verne's Master of the World, in space, kind of Toulouse Lautrec by way of H. R. Giger. Welcome to the mining colony of New Exor.

In one of the near-surface pockets is the entertainment crevice. It should look like part wild west traveling show, part fairground exhibition, part red light district, part prison.  It's closed for the night, a "cold and misty morning, when I heard a warning borne in the air". Black lights simulate night so the "exhibits" can sleep. Except for two...

PAGE 6 -

Panel 1 is a thin panel across the top, showing the row of cages, embedded in the rock walls, from a distance.

CAPTION: "Nightfall" on Exhibition Row.
CAPTION: ...not the time to lose your nerve, Zan...

Panel 2 - Two cages, side by side.  ZAN is on the left, hugging the wall and grasping the cage bars, unsure.  JAYNA is on the right, but she's trying to reach her brother. Her left eye is sporting a bruise and she's losing patience.  Both are in tattered and dirty purple outfits reminiscent of trapeze artists, revealing quite a bit of skin, as if to highlight their muscled physiques (keeping in mind, they both were raised as child labor in the mines; they should both have triangular "branding" scars on their breast bones as reminders of their slave days).

ZAN: I'm not! It's just...
JAYNA: Don't. Just get me to a ship, and I can pilot us anywhere. We'll never get another chance like this, the handlers this drunk.

Panel 3 - Close-up on their hands, grasping each other, as if gaining strength from one another. Their fingertips glow violet with power.

ZAN: All or nothing, sister...
JAYNA: Activate.

Panel 4 - ZAN turns to water and falls to the floor, causing whatever circuitry that was under the floor to spark and short.

ZAN: We're going to get killed...
JAYNA (off-panel): Jam it, Zan.

Panel 5 - Black.


Panel 6 - Black. Tailless balloons are from two HANDLERS fumbling in the dark.

HANDLER 1: Wha'happened?
HANDLER 2: How the gleek should I know? Turn on your torch.

Panel 7 - Large panel, lower third of the page. The HANDLERS, foreground, both have handheld spheres in their left hands, shock prods in their rights, bathing the space in purple light, their fear palpable. Out of a mist that has the faint facial features of ZAN, stalks a giant manticore bearing the grinning face of JAYNA.

JAYNA: Welcome back, my friends...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wonder Twins – School’s Out – MK Stangeland Jr.

(2 Panels)

Panel 1: A city as engulfed in a massive snowstorm.

Panel 2: Outside the HALL OF JUSTICE. JAYNA is in the form of a Polar Bear, sitting and looking up at nothing in particular. GLEEK is noticeably not present, having chosen not to come out into the storm.

JAYNA: You realize you’re basically leaving pieces of yourself all over the city, right?

ZAN (1): I want a snow day, I’m taking a snow day.

ZAN (2): Just let me have this, Jayna.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wonder Twins - The Ones You Love - Grant McLaughlin

Years after the Super Friends. Zan and Jayna have met up to have lunch at a local diner. Jayna looks like a well-adjusted woman, wearing nice clothing and the like. On the other hand, Zan looks like hell. He is thin and unhealthy, with old and disheveled clothes, scruffy hair, a few days worth of beard growth, and pretty much any other characteristic of not doing well you can think of.

1 – Sitting across from each other at their table, Zan is demolishing his meal, as if he's never eaten before. Jayna watches pensively, as if she's trying to find the right words to begin a difficulty conversation. She has not touched her food.


2 – Jayna gives conversing a shot. Zan pauses, looking on warily at his sister.

JAYNA (1): So...

JAYNA (2): I went by your office the other day.

JAYNA (3): A-are you living out of there again?

3 – Zan puts down his fork. He doesn't make eye contact with Jayna. That said, his words put some hope and happiness on Jayna's face.

ZAN: I'm on a big case, you know.

JAYNA: Really? That's great news!

4 – Zan looks at Jayna, vitriol and combat in his eyes. Jayna deflates, realizing what's happening.

ZAN: Yeah, I'm looking for the foppy deadbeat who stole my sister.

JAYNA (1): I wish you wouldn't talk about Marvin that way.

JAYNA (2): He cares about you as much as I do.

ZAN: Is that why he keeps you all to himself?

5 - Jayna reaches for Zan's hand across the table.

JAYNA (1): Zan, we invite you over all the time.

JAYNA (2): The kids would love to see their uncle more often.

JAYNA (3) (quieter): I'd love to see my brother...

6 - Zan pulls away, angered; Jayna is hurt by his actions and words.

JAYNA (1): Why don't you come and stay with us?

JAYNA (2): Until you can get back on your feet.

ZAN: You'd love that, wouldn't you?

7 – Zan is starting to his raise voice. Other patrons might be starting to look in their direction to see what the commotion is all about.

ZAN (1): Well, I'm sick and tired of being your charity case!

ZAN (2): This is just liked when you'd say the Super Friends valued my unique contributions.  I know they only kept me around for your sake!

ZAN (3): I'm not an idiot, Jayna!

8 - Zan is up on his feet. He's knocked his chair over and is outright yelling at this point. Everyone is obviously staring.

ZAN (1): I don't need you.

ZAN (2): I don't need anyone!

9 – Zan has stormed off and slammed the restaurant door. Jayna sits at her seat, stunned and crying.


Why The Wonder Twins?

The Wonder Twins are two of my all-time favourite superhero characters.

I've always found the concept of inserting teenaged sidekick characters into superhero stories as a means to better appeal to younger viewers to be inherently fascinating.  It emerged almost immediately after the creation of superheroes.  Robin was created in 1940, barely a year after Batman was introduced to the world.  Bucky Barnes was invented concurrently with Captain America.  To say nothing of Speedy, Toro, Wonder Girl, and countless others.

And then you have the Wonder Twins.


I first encountered them while watching re-runs of the Super Friends TV show, which holds the impressive feat of being incredibly boring despite the fact that it featured pretty much all of DC's most popular characters (and Aquaman).  Everyone on that show was kind of a square, but the Wonder Twins stood out for being particularly lame.  Something about their extreme levels of earnestness and predilections for being pretty much useless just made them seem extra mediocre, which is saying something when the main cast had all the personality of cardboard.

I mean, being able to turn into any animal imaginable is a pretty decent power, but being able to turn into water doesn't quite have the same ring to it.  I know that they've pushed the boundaries of what that includes, but at the end of the day, Zan still needs to be carried around in a bucket when Jayna turns into an eagle (to say nothing of the fact that they have to touch to activate said powers).  None of that exactly elicits respect, you know?

Riding a giant pelican isn't much better.

So the Zan and Jayna are perhaps the least successful attempt at creating teenaged sidekicks in all of comics (and we haven't even mentioned their pet alien monkey, Gleek), but that's also a big part of the Wonder Twins' charm (at least from my perspective).

Like pretty much everyone (including Harvey Birdman and the entire Cartoon Network), I've always found them to be extremely laughable, but they still have a special place in my heart.  It's similar to how I feel about C-list villains - they're so incredibly ridiculous and foolish and barely sensical that there's a strange perfection to them.  They couldn't be more madcap if they'd been planned that way, which is kind of wonderful.

So I hope you'll join me this week in exploring the many possibilities of what and who the Wonder Twins can be.

All together now:

"Wonder Twin powers activate!"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Darkwing Duck - Mistaken Identity - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: Full-body focus on an extremely put-out DARKWING DUCK pulls his way free of the coils of rope that encircle his body. He doesn't seem to be in any danger. He just seems aggravated.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): But, seriously, I’m really very terribly sorry about all this confusion.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): Although if you think about it – I mean – It’s sort of funny, right?

Panel 2: Pull back further to show the coils of rope now in a loose pool. Darkwing Duck is now squeezing through the bars of a cage that had been placed around his roped body.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): You have a hat, he has a hat.

VOICE (OFF-PANEL): It’s not like there’s NO resemblance.

Panel 3: Pulling back even further we can see Darkwing now fully free of the trap, and standing, hands on his hips, glaring accusingly at DOCTOR DOOFENSHMIRTZ. Doof is sitting on the ground, being tied up by PERRY THE PLATYPUS / AGENT P.

DOOFENSHMIRTZ: Who would have thought that a Duck-Billed-En-Trap-Inator would trap an actual DUCK, right?

DOOFENSHMIRTZ: Who would have thought it?


Darkwing Duck - The Madding Crowd, Epilogue - Ray Wonsowski

Set-Up: Our heroes have finally defeated ECLIPSO, trapping his aetherial form in the Area of Madness, and scattering his Black Diamonds across infinite dimensions...


Panel 1- Night. The skyline of St. Canard, seen through the windshield of Launchpad McQuack's chopper. LAUNCHPAD, foreground left, looks out the windscreen, cupping his billed chin in his wing/hand.

CAPTION: Ever since the TaleSpin case, that treasure hunt out of Cape Suzette, DW's been acting...

Panel 2- Interior, bank vault. Moneybags with dollar signs are piled up by a hole in the vault floor, leading to an escape tunnel. Three of the BEAGLE BOYS (BURGER, BANKJOB, and BOUNCER) are throwing more cash into the last of their sacks.

CAPTION: ...weird.
BANKJOB:  Let's go! Ma sez we're on a tight schedule!
BOUNCER:  Keep yer shirt on! I'm hurryin'!
(OFF-PANEL): Yes, to your DOOM!

Panel 3- The BEAGLE BOYS point, looking toward us in palpable fear, dropping their money sacks.

(OFF-PANEL): I am the terror that flaps in the night!

Panels 4, 5, and 6 are linked by a tailless speech balloon, spoken off-panel, and another that looks electric, like signal coming over an earpiece.

Panel 4- BURGER gets a purple fist landed square in the eye, but there are brass knuckles on the fist, and blood flies.

Panel 5- BANKJOB's head is twisted around by a blur of purple crossing his jaw, teeth flying from his mouth.

Panel 6- BOUNCER loses consciousness as a purple-gloved hand tightly grasps his throat.

(OFF-PANEL): I am the seagull that bullseye's your beachside pink drink!
(OFF-PANEL, signal): Big D! Everything OK down there?

Panel 7- Close-up on DARKWING DUCK's mask. The right one-third is purple silk, but the left two-thirds are black, revealing a red eye. Purple-gloved fingers hold up a sliver of Black Diamond up to the "Eclipsed" eye.

DARKWING: Oh, yes...
DARKWING: Let's...get...dangerous....


Big thanks to all of you, dear readers, and all my friends at ThoughtBalloons, for humouring me the last 5 (!) months, to tell this meandering story. It taught me a lot about plotting ahead, getting to the gist in a one page framework, exposition, dialogue, research, and adaptability. I hope everyone enjoyed it.  I'll be back to done-in-one's next week. See you then.  CHEERS, everybody!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Darkwing Duck – Darkwing, INC. – MK Stangeland Jr.

(St. Canard Billionaire ROBERT OILER – new character, done in the Disney style as a reptile-type character, possibly a limbed snake if it can be pulled off – is announcing the ‘Darkwing Initiative’, a project not unlike BATMAN, INC. Problem is, DARKWING DUCK was not actually consulted on the matter.)

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: DARKWING DUCK stands on top of the giant sign that ROBERT OILER was using to display the announcement logo for the DARKWING INITIATIVE.

DARKWING (1): I am the terror that flaps in the night!

DARKWING (2): I am the legal minefield that gives copyright a bad name!



Panel 2: An alternate version of DARKWING DUCK (DARKWING II) stands on the stage in front of the real DARKWING DUCK. He wears a more heroic, professional looking version of DARKWING’s normal costume, but he looks as if he could easily pass for the real DARKWING if he wore the ‘correct’ costume. Next to him is an alternate version of LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK (LAUNCHPAD II) that similarly looks far more heroic than the real launchpad, complete with a pair of goggles that he’s actually wearing as if to actually protect his real identity. He, too, looks like he could probably pass for the real LAUNCHPAD if he wore LAUNCHPAD’s normal clothing.

DARKWING (1): IMPOSTER! How dare you!

DARKWING (2): And right in the middle of my big entrance!

DARKWING (3): Just who the quack do you think you’re fooling?!

Panel 3: DARKWING DUCK is now on the stage as DARKWING II is about to launch into his own version of DARKWING’s entrance routieen.

DARKWING II (1): Fool? The only fool here is you!

DARKWING II (2): For I am the terror that flaps…

Panel 4: DARKWING pulls out his gas gun and aims it at DARKWING II.


Panel 5: DARKWING fires at DARKWING II, filling the stage with smoke. DARKWING II raises his cap as a shield against the attack. OILER is in the process of retreat at this point.

DARKWING: Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope!

Panel 6: DARKWING leaps into the air as he’s about to attack DARKWING II, his cap flowing outwards dramatically.

DARKWING: St. Canard isn’t even big enough for one Darkwing Duck!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Darkwing Duck - The Imitation Game - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Quackerjack, Dr. Reginald Bushroot, the Liquidator, and Megavolt are in a secret hideout, making fun of Darkwing Duck.  Quackerjack is sticking out his tongue, crossing his eyes, and generally making a silly face, as he walks around with his hands above and around his head in a classic "moose antlers" pose (like, making antlers with his hands).  The other villains are laughing - tears in their eyes, slapping their knees, etc.

QUACKERJACK (1): ...I am the goof who is awful at improvising clever secondary lines.

QUACKERJACK (2): I am Dorkwing Duck!

OTHERS: hahaha!

2 - Liquidator goes to the nearby lightswitch, an excited look on his face.  The others are still recovering from their laughing fit.

LIQUIDATOR: Okay, I've got one!

SFX: flik!

3 - The panel is all black, with only the eyes of the four villains visible (Quackerjack's regular large ones, Bushroot's green corneas, Megavolt's beady little ones, and Liquidator's empty blue ones).  Liquidator's are squinted, as if he's concentrating, the other three are done up to show that their mirth / laughter continues.  All balloons are tailless.

VOICE: Ooo, nice atmosphere.

VOICE 2: I am the terrible sap who is never right!

4 - Still all black, but for the eyes.  A fifth pair of eyes appears next to Liquidator.  Liquidator's eyes are now wide in surprise.  The remaining three haven't caught on that something is amiss.

VOICE: I am the unseen interlocutor who is actually quite skilled at coming up with clever witticisms on the fly, thank you very much.

VOICE 2: Uh...

VOICE 3: Guys, that's not me.

5 - One more all black (save for eyes) panel.  The other three eyes have caught on that all is not right.  They look as worried as Liquidator's eyes (perhaps have a two or three pairs right up close to each other, to show that the villains are huddling close out of fear).  That fifth pair of eyes grows large (as do the letters for the first voice, to emphasize the passion behind the words).

VOICE: I am...

VOICE 2: You mean --

VOICE 3: Yeah...

SFX: flik!

6 - The lights are back on.  Let's say Quackerjack, Bushroot, and Liquidator are all huddled together in fear, while Megavolt is trying to beat a hasty retreat.  Darkwing Duck stands revealed, striking a sufficiently impressive and intimidating pose.

THE VILLAINS (all together in fright): DARKWING DUCK!

DARKWING DUCK: Let's get dangerous.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Darkwing Duck?

I am  the terror that flaps in the night!

I am the electric pencil sharpener that never releases it grasp.

I  am

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Doop - The Madding Crowd, Part 18 - Ray Wonsowski

See last week's post for previous chapter links...


Panel 1- The dark side of the moon, the crater where Eclipso's castle has crumbled to rubble. ECLIPSO towers over the debris, a hundred feet tall, struggling and swatting wildly as he is losing his fight.  In the lower corners of the panel, HARRY DRESDEN and WILLIAM GRAVEL gesture magic with their left hands, firing large automatic pistols with their rights; the bullets curve and twist on arcs of magic.  The DARKNESS lets loose a wave of knife-like tendrils through a swarm of Darklings, both of which tear at Eclipso's legs.  ANDREW BENNETT has transformed into a were-bat, teeth bared at an exposed part of Eclipso's flesh.  HAWK lands a haymaker as DOVE shoves the CREEPER out of the way of one of Eclipso's swinging arms. SHADE unleashes a torrent of Madness from behind ECLIPSO, taking him by surprise, the tide finally turning in our heroes' favor...

CAPTION: (doopspeak, ellipsis at the end)

CAPTION: Waitaminnit...

Panel 2- Schoolroom at the Jean Grey School. Should be elementary school style chipper, you know, kids' art on the walls, alphabet cards that read "A is for ATOM" and "B is for BEAST", colorful carpet.  Panel left are a bunch of grade school mutant kids aged 7 to 10, one has antennae, another with scales, another with blue skin, etc, all sitting cross-legged on the floor, about half waving their hands in the air.  Panel right is DOOP, breaking the 4th wall by looking at us exasperatedly, steamlines from the top of his head.  He is wearing a mortarboard and tassel, and holding a storybook open to the page showing the above panel.

MUTANT KID 1: How're they able to breathe on the moon?

MUTANT KID 2: (to Mutant Kid 1) Mebbe its the Blue Area, yo...

MUTANT KID 3: How come there isn't any girls in the story?

MUTANT KID 4: Whatabout the Dark Ryu part, where he mentioned Dr. Wizor? Whatabout...

MUTANT KID 5: Why can't we read anything by Mark Waid?

DOOP: (grumbly doopspeak)

Next episode: ?!?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Doop – Doop For You – MK Stangeland Jr.

Doop – Doop For You – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: An armored truck, flanked from the from the front and rear by unmarked black vans pulls into a nondescript warehouse. In the lead van is BATROC THE LEAPER.

BATROC (1): Muah ha!

BATROC (2): Success!

Panel 2: BATROC and his armed henchmen load out, with BATROC heading for the back of the armored truck.

BATROC: A successful heist, and not un signe of any heroic interference!

Panel 3: BATROC opens the truck, but is taken aback by what’s inside.


Panel 4: BATROC holds up a DOOP squeaky toy. It turns out the truck is full of similar toys, rather than the valuable goods that BATROC thought he had stolen.

BATROC: I spoke too soon!

SFX: SqueEEa

Panel 5: DOOP is in front of the REAL armored truck, shaking the hand of a security guard over a job well done. He wears a security hat, but mostly just for kicks.

BATROC: It looks as though we have been…Dooped.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Doop - Wild Card - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Doop sits at a card table, a determined expression on his face as he floats above his chair.  I feel like it wouldn't be out of place for him to have one of those silly looking card visor hats.

CAPTION: Earth's only hope.

2 - Pull out to show Doop sitting at a round table with three other mean looking characters.  There's a huge minotaur-esque alien (who is multi-coloured and maybe has lasers for horns - think a psychodelic C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa but way meaner), a translucent creature that appears to be made almost entirely out of tentacles, and a classic boxy looking robot (also mean).  Another alien stands next to the table as dealer, dealing out some cards.

CAPTION: A spot he knows all too well.

3 - Close in on Doop again, he holds his cards close, a worried look crossing his brow.  Maybe throw in some beads of sweat (assuming Doop sweats).

CAPTION: But everyone falters eventually.

4 - Back to the table.  Doop asks a question.  The minotaur responds insolently (in body language and words).  Cards are spread all along the table top, face down.

CAPTION: Is today the day?

DOOP: [completely incomprehensible Doop speak]?

MINOTAUR: Go fish.

Doop - DOOPle-Oh-Seven - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: A dead-on replication of the signature James Bond "Gun Barrel" opening, with Doop, in a black tuxedo, pointing a Walther PPK straight at us.


CAPTION: He has a bod like a po-ta-to!

Panel 2: Doop, wearing a parka with a fur-lined hood, skis down a mountain side. Well, he is holding ski poles, but as he has no legs, so that's about it. Bad guys on snowmobiles pursue him, firing short bursts from machine guns.

Panel 3: Doop, wearing a white tuxedo, sits at a baccarat table in some incredibly posh casino. He holds his cards lazily in one hand, staring smugly at his opponent, who is off-panel. A stack of martini glasses has grown next to him. A beautiful blonde woman in a ridiculously low-cut evening gown sits incredibly close to him, her eyes filled with lust and adoration. 

Panel 4: Doop is manacled to a table, while a laser beam cuts upwards towards him. (A direct rip from the "Do you expect me to talk?" scene from Goldfinger.

Panel 5: Doop is in a heart-shaped bed. The sheets are pulled up to cover his lower body. Three gorgeous women in lingerie, one blonde, one brunette, one redhead, lay sprawled about the bed in a state of post-coital comatose. Doop's hands are behind his head in a pose of deep self-satisfaction.

Panel 6: The Jean Grey School. The legs of ICEMAN, RACHEL GREY, and WARBIRD are in a semi-circle, focused on the drooling, unconscious body of Doop. He is lying on a beanbag chair, surrounded by empty bags of chips, open pizza boxes, and discarded beer cans.  He is covered in VHS tapes of James Bond movies.  A TV in the background shows static.

ICEMAN: Yeah. I am NOT gonna be the one who wakes him up.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Doop?

Doop was said to be the product of a Cold War era U.S. military experiment, becoming instrumental in the fall of the Soviet Union.

He later served as the cameraman for the celebrity mutant superhero team X-Statix (formerly known as X-Force). He films a mission to North Africa which is later criticized by then-team leader Zeitgeist; he feels Doop should not be going for artistic shots. The next X-Force mission is to New York, where they are to rescue the boy band "Boyz R Us" from hostage takers. While in the briefing room, U-Go Girl asks Doop not to keep shooting her rear from a low angle. Doop replies in his language only the characters know, while inexplicably mouthing some of his recording equipment.

The building is attacked by a helicopter gunship, killing the hostages and many of the terrorists. Most of the team dies also, with the exception of Doop, U-Go Girl and Anarchist. Doop gets high-quality images of the two slaying the remaining killers.
Plush Doop dolls are seen on sale at the X-Statix cafe, for five dollars apiece. One of these is vandalized by Wolverine.

At one point, Doop secretly videotapes the rookie X-Statix member El Guapo succumbing to the temptations of fame and having a threesome. The released video destroys El Guapo's relationship with his original girlfriend.
A section of X-Force headquarters is set aside for Doop's family, who are never seen in panel. This part is talked about very little by the team. The team hides in this area when they believed themselves to be in supernatural danger

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Eclipso - Infinities - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: An asteroid in deep space. The landscape is a blasted, rocky wasteland. THANOS sits on a magnificent throne. His BLACK ORDER (Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Supergiant, Proxima Midnight) wait on one knee before him, their backs to us..

THANOS: What have you brought me today, my Cull Obsidian?

Panel 2: Corvus Glaive reaches forward to place something in Thanos' outstretched hand.

Panel 3: Thanos looks into his opened hand, gazing at the treasure he holds.

THANOS: This. 
THANOS: This is not an Infinity Gem.  

Panel 4: In the foreground Thanos' hand holds up a sliver of a black diamond. Past this we can see that the faces of the Black Order are eclipsed, half normal, half in darkness - the mark of ECLIPSO.

Panel 5: A shadowy, spectral ECLIPSO stands behind Thanos' throne, gazing lovingly at the diamond in the Mad Titan's hand. We see that Thanos' face is now eclipsed. 
ECLIPSO: No, Thanos of Titan. It is not.

ECLIPSO: It is something so much finer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Eclipso – E-CLIP-SO! – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: ECLIPSO, surrounded by a storm of dark diamond fragments that swirl around him. Musical notes accompany the words.

TEXT (1): E-clip-so!

TEXT (2): A terrifying beast of diamonds!

Panel 2: ECLIPSO holds the HEART OF DARKNESS out above and in front of him - with the HEART OF DARKNESS in the foreground – in a way that’s overly dramatic in some manner that’s some mix of triumphant and longing. Musical notes accompany the words.

TEXT (1): E-clip-so!

TEXT (2):The Heart of Darkness is what binds him!

Panel 3: ECLIPSO, in his original form, as his powers are ripped out of him and begin to form into the HEART OF DARKNESS. Musical notes accompany the words.

TEXT (1): e-CLIP-so!

TEXT (2): A fallen angel who was wronged once!

Panel 4: ECLIPSO put in a pathetic looking light, looking far more a victim than a villain. Musical notes accompany the words.

TEXT (1): E-clip-so!

TEXT (2): No one really understands him!

Panel 5: ECLIPSO, as through he’s singing the finale to some big musical number, surrounded by some kind of chorus backing him up.

TEXT (1): E-clip-so!

TEXT (2): e-CLIP-so! E-clip-so! E-CLIP-SO!

Panel 6: A Hollywood executive meeting room.

EXECUTIVE (1): So it’s a musical about Eclipso, but it’s his side of the story?

WRITER (1): It worked for Maleficent, and she’s super evil.

EXECUTIVE (2): That wasn’t a musical.

WRITER (2): It worked for Wicked. That was a musical! A wildly popular musical!

Panel 7: Close up on the EXECUTIVE.


EXECUTIVE (2): We’ll think about it.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Eclipso - Cry Before Night - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Bruce Gordon lies in a dark room, rather worse for wear.  It looks like he's been put through the ringer - he's bloodied, his clothes are torn, he looks to have at least one broken limb.  A single lightbulb hangs above him, lighting his prone form and the pool of (presumably) blood beneath him, but little else.  Eclipso stands behind his prone form, looking away from the reader.

BRUCE (weakly): You won't win.  They'll come for me.

ECLIPSO: Will they?

2 - Eclipso walks away, towards a doorway in the background.  Bruce continues to lie in his own viscera.

ECLIPSO: What if this is the time they don't make it?

3 - Eclipso stands at the doorway, his hand at the lightswitch, still looking away from Bruce.  Bruce lies feebly on the ground, worrying about what comes next.

ECLIPSO: What if you succumb to your wounds before they arrive?

SFX: click

4 - Darkness.  Bruce's prone form is barely visible in the darkness.  Eclipso is completely unseen.

ECLIPSO (tailless balloon): Worse, what if the creature that you've dedicated your life to hunting, the ageless monstrosity that feeds on revenge...

5 - Bruce's form continues to lie in the centre of the panel.  But now, hovering right above it is Eclipso's rictus grin and devilish gaze, floating and glowing above Bruce in the dark like a perverted Cheshire Cat.

ECLIPSO (tailless balloon): ...also feeds on fear.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Eclipso - The Madding Crowd, Part 17 - Ray Wonsowski

Previous Chapter Links:

one - two - three - four

Set-up: HAWK and DOVE, with the assistance of combat magicians HARRY DRESDEN and WILLIAM GRAVEL, have beaten back the Hellspiders and collapsed the Madness Gate, forcing ECLIPSO back to his fortress on the dark side of the moon. Now joined by former captives JACKIE ESTACADO, the CREEPER, SHADE the Changing Man, and ANDREW BENNETT, the heroes mount one final assault on Eclipso's throne room...

Layout: Double pager (Yeah, I know, last one, I promise...), tilt POV in all panels 45 degrees so that upper left corner is top and lower right corner is bottom.

144 444
244 445
344 455

Panel 1 - JACKIE ESTACADO, barefoot in a wifebeater tshirt and white pants, crawls toward us on his hands and knees on a dark marble floor, his left hand reaching forward, hair in his eyes. The Darkness is coming back to him, a dark amorphous pool, but tendrils are climbing over his fingertips and reaching over the back of his hand to his wrist.

ECLIPSO: (off panel) You think I need the Darkness to grind you on my wheel?

Panel 2 - SHADE, mouth open wide, clutches his gut as he vomits up a dozen Black Diamonds, excruciating pain lining his face.

ECLIPSO: (off panel) You think I need my Black Diamonds to pulverize your souls?

Panel 3 - The CREEPER raises an arm to shield his eyes from falling debris, ebony rock and dark crystal. His fear is palpable, tears streaming down his face.

ECLIPSO: (off panel) When you dare violate my sanctum? Human filth...

Panel 4 - The cathedral-like throneroom of ECLIPSO's lunar fortress. The design should be a cross between European Gothic architecture, a medieval torture chamber, and a leather bondage domination set.  Now, imagine that ECLIPSO is the room. The ceiling has fallen in, and we see earth hanging in the black sky, and ECLIPSO's giant's head and shoulders are forming out of the walls, his arms about to encircle our (tiny) heroes on the floor, slender claw-like fingers ready to tear them apart. As a reference of scale, imagine an adult with 8 Lego mini-figs. The floor is cracking, the stones are rent, and glass flies in all directions. ECLIPSO's face is pure unadulterated rage as he screams.


Panel 5 - The eye of the hurricane, the calm in ECLIPSO's rage-storm.  Our eight heroes stand ready to face his unholy Wrath. Front and center, side by side, SHADE, who is holding up exaggerated fists of Madness, and Jackie, now fully transformed into the DARKNESS. From center to the left: DOVE stands behind SHADE, his hand resting on Shade's shoulder, as if lending strength. HARRY DRESDEN stands behind DOVE in the same manner, his eyes hidden under his wide-brimmed hat, magic flowing through his fingertips. The CREEPER is down low behind DRESDEN in his madman's crouch, wiping the dust and tears from his face. The right side of the panel is a mirror of the lineup: HAWK's talon-like hand digging into the DARKNESS's shoulder, WILLIAM GRAVEL has one hand on HAWK's shoulder and the other with a Desert Eagle pistol drawn, both hands glowing with dark magic. ANDREW BENNETT is on all-fours, vampire thirst evident in his bared fangs. HAWK has a $#!t-eating toothy grin as he relishes the fight to come.

HAWK: Not today, you gruesome sonuvabitch. week - ???...

Why Eclipso?

Because he started out as this...
...and turned out to be this...
ECLIPSO started out as both ultra-cheesy ("He's Hero and Villain...All in One!") and a bit uninspired (even writer-creator Bob Haney admitted he cribbed Batman for Eclipso's alter-ego, Bruce Gordon). He was a rather bland bad guy, fiddling about with his black diamond in overly elaborate schemes that only seemed to interest himself. Only a chance confrontation with the Phantom Stranger hinted at something more sinister...
By the awesome Mike Mignola.
Turns out, ECLIPSO was God's original Angel of Wrath, and took his job way too far. God punished him by separating his spirit from his power. Eclipso's powers were trapped in a giant black diamond on Apokolips called the Heart of Darkness, while he was banished to the dark side our moon. Somehow, both ended up on Earth, but the black diamond was cut into a thousand identical shards.
But wait, it gets worse...
Which is what Eclipso intended. He set out to possess Earth's Mightiest Heroes in "The Darkness Within", and when that plot turned to failure, he corrupted a small South American country, killed a bunch of heroes led by Bruce Gordon, and wrestled the Spectre to a standstill.
Yes, this happened.
Although Eclipso was defeated in the end, no one has taken him for granted since. He has a way of tickling our darkest impulses to the fore, and of all the rebooting of the New52, his reintroduction has been one of the more well-handled ones.
Seriously terrifying.
In short, Eclipso is the flapping of the butterfly wing that becomes the hurricane, the seductive whisper that fans the flame of want. He is the darkest corner of our soul.
Let the revels begin, indeed.