Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ultron - In His Image - A Wonsowski Family Jam

...understandably, my boys are very excited for the new Avengers movie, and they wanted to help me celebrate the sequel. Sometimes, it's better to make your own adventures with your kids. So...

Script and Layout: Ray Wonsowski (Papa)
Pencils and Inks: Nikolas Wonsowski (age 10)
Colors and Crayons: Victor Wonsowski (age 7)


Setting: the 31st century.

Panel 1- A Shi'ar Starjammer craft streaks as it egresses from a wormhole.
CAPTION (YONDU): Wormhole's collapsing! We're coming in hot...

Panel 2- YONDU wrestles with the throttle, the ship caught in a gravity well. MAJOR VICTORY (VANCE ASTROVIK) reacts in surprise to the emergency klaxon, as STARHAWK points in shock out the fore windscreen.
YONDU: ...and too close to Earth!
MAJOR VICTORY: How? Lunar base has been silent for nearly a cycle...
STARHAWK: It's gone! Look...

Panel 3- The Guardians' craft streaks toward its destination. The moon is shattered, nothing left but lunar rubble orbiting Earth. But Earth is not as we remember...
CAPTION (STARHAWK): The moon has been obliterated! And Earth...
CAPTION (MAJOR VICTORY): My God. Ultron hasn't taken over the planet...
CAPTION: be continued...

...and here's the whole page:
the finished product

...see you at the movies!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ultron – Twisted Relationship Theater: The Artificial Love of Ultron! – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: Intro Box – An ULTRON head surrounded by three digital-style hearts are surrounded by the text.

TEXT (1): And now, Twisted Relationship Theater Presents:

TEXT (2): The Artificial Love of Ultron!

Panel 2: HANK PYM and ULTRON.

HANK PYM: I think I’ve created artificial life somehow.

ULTRON (1): I hate you, dad.

ULTRON (2): And all other humans, too.



ULTRON (1): I love you for reasons, ambiguously-related mother figure!

WASP: Never going to happen!

Panel 4: ULTRON and VISION.

ULTRON (1): Fine, then I’ll be a single dad instead and make myself a son to help wipe out humanity.

VISION: I’ve decided I like humans for reasons and that you’re evil.

ULTRON (2): Son, I am disappointed. Now I must destroy you.

Panel 5: ULTRON and JOCASTA.

ULTRON (1): I didn’t want a son anyway.

ULTRON (2): I’ll just make myself a new, better robot wife based on my ambiguously-related mother figure.

JOCASTA: I’ve decided I like humans for reasons and that you’re evil.

ULTRON (3): I am disappointed. Now I have to destroy you, robot wife/daughter/replacement mother figure!

Panel 6: ULTRON with a heart that has ‘HUMAN GENOCIDE’ written on it.

ULTRON (1): At least I’ll always have you, death of all humanity.

ULTRON (2): I know you’ll never leave me.

TEXT BOX: Next time: Tony Stark’s Love for All Women!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Ultron - The Devil's Greatest Trick - Grant McLaughlin

Three rows of panels.  Row one is made up of panels 1 and 2, row two of panels 3 and 4, and row three of panel 5 (which is the focus of the page).

1 - The late 1960s / early 1970s.  A stereotypical family sits in their living room, watching their era appropriate television.  We've got the kids lying on the floor, parents sitting on the couch, etc.  The important part is that the family is watching a newscast that shows the Avengers of the day defeating Ultron (either file footage or a news anchor).  You could have a caption like "Avengers muzzle mechanical menace!" or whatever.

CAPTOIN (ULTRON): It is not a simple proposition to conquer an entire planet.

2 - Early 90s.  A doctor's office waiting room.  A bulky CRT television hangs above some patients.  As before, the Avengers are vanquishing Ultron ("Ultron ultimately usurped!").  Some patients are paying attention, others read magazines, and one listens to their walkman with bulky headphones.

CAPTION (ULTRON): It is a project that I have approached in a variety of manners.

3 - Mid-2000s.  We're in a college dorm room.  A flatscreen TV shows another Avengers defeating Ultron newscast ("Avengers rout Ultron armada!").  The roommates only half pay attention, as one is focusing on their laptop and the other is firing up their video game console.

CAPTION (ULTRON): Each with the same result.

4 - Nearly present day.  A teenager looks at their phone on the Subway, the Marvel-universe equivalent of Twitter up on their screen (top tweet: "omg - avngrs > ultrn #amiright?").  Around them, people are either looking at phones, listening to mp3 players, reading eBooks, or starring straight ahead.

CAPTION (ULTRON): In my fervor, I failed to realize the solution was far more straightforward than I had ever considered.

5 - Present day.  Times Square.  An enormous crowd stands before the big screen ("Avengers defeat Ultron for the last time?").  However, no one is actually looking up at the screen.  They're either looking down at their own phones, holding up their phones to take a picture, and so forth.  No one is engaging with the world.

CAPTION (ULTRON): Why force someone into bondage when they will gladly enslave themselves?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why Ultron?

Do the words "Major Motion Picture" mean anything to you?

 Ultron was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema as  ab adversary for the Avengers. And as Avengers bad guys go, Ultron is one of the baddest. An artificial intelligence originally created by Avengers founder Hank Pym, Ultron quickly becomes self aware and fully sentient, and immediately decides that it hates humans and that we have to go.

(Note to all researchers working to create A.I.: Just STOP. It never ends well for humanity.)

Fighting the Avengers numerous times since his debut, Ultron is one of the most truly terrifying opponents for Eartth's Mightiest Heroes because no matter what they do, he KEEPS COMING BACK. No matter how many times they destroy him, he rebuilds himself, and comes at them again. And again, And again. And that's why he's so scary. Because the Avengers can never keep him down for good. And one day, sooner or later,  ULTRON IS GOING TO WIN.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Captain Britain - Home of the Brave - J.D. Coughlan

Wide panels taking up the top and bottom rows, 2x2 grid in between.

Panel 1: Wide panel of George Square in Glasgow*. There is a large crowd to the left and one to the right, with Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) and a few police officers in the middle, holding the throngs back from one another.

CAPTION: George Square, Glasgow

CAPTION: September 19th, 2014

CAPTION: Scotland votes against independence from the UK in an historic referendum. Naturally, fighting breaks out between the pro- and anti-independence voters.

Panel 2: Mid-shot of Captain Britain. He holds up his hands in a gesture of peace.

BRIAN: (small) Angry Scots... Gimme extradimensional monsters any day...

BRIAN: People! Please remain calm! There is no need for violence!

Panel 3: Over Brian's shoulder. An angry man in the crowd shouts at him.

MAN: Shut it, Captain England!

Panel 4: Head-and-shoulders shot of Brian. He looks annoyed, but is trying to hold it back.

BRIAN: I represent all Britain, not just England.

BRIAN: And that still includes you guys, according to a little thing called democracy.

Panel 5: Wide shot angled slightly from above, of Captain Britain standing between the crowds. He is stood with his arms spread to both of them.

BRIAN: If you fight each other just because you disagree, well, then you're no better than all the things you accuse us English of.

O.P.: Is that so?

Panel 6: Wide panel from behind Brian's back as he turns to see a figure step out from the crowd. This figure is tall with red hair tied back and a trim beard. He wears a kilt and a tunic with the Scottish flag pattern on it. A large claymore is sheathed at his hip.

FIGURE: It's time the Scottish people had someone to stand up for them.

FIGURE: It's time for... (large) CAPTAIN SCOTLAND!


(*As seen in World War Z)

Captain Britain - Strive - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: Brian Braddock, CAPTAIN BRITAIN, stands in a dark, quiet library in his country estate. He regards his helmet, sitting on a table in front of him. He thoughtfully swishes the glass of smoky liquor he holds in his hand.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): Though I am an educated man, I cannot claim to be wise.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): But I strive to grow in wisdom, and seek out those who can guide me.

Panel 2: A flashback. Captain Britain is  in a rainy graveyard. His uniform is torn and muddy, his body broken and bloody. He struggles to his feet, using a tombstone to brace himself. Approaching him with single-minded, deadly purpose, is THE FURY.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): I am not a brave man.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): But I strive to stand strong in the face of my fears.

Panel 3: Another flashback. We look on from over Captain Britain's shoulder as he hefts a boulder above his head. At his feet, battered almost beyond recognition, is the form of SLAYMASTER. Those of us who know Captain Britain's history know that there is murder in the air.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): I am not a just man.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): But I strive to recognize the right from the wrong, and always do the former.

Panel 4:  Another flashback. In the SECRET AVENGERS' headquarters, Captain Britain angirly shouts at HAWKEYE. BLACK WIDOW and VALKYRIE stand in the background, AGENT VENOM grips Cap's shoulder attempting to hold him back.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): I am not a humble man.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): But I strive to overcome my own pride, and heed the better angels of my nature.

Panel 5:  In a celestial crystal palace, Captain Britain kneels before the lady ROMA. She gently touches his shoulder. The assembled Captain Britain Corps stand at attention, watching the scene.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): I am not worthy to be Captain Britain.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN (CAPTION): But I will strive to be. And I will protect the multiverse until my death, or until another takes my watch.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Captain Britain – Captain Reject Corps – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: Multiverse Headquarters of the CAPTAIN BRITAIN CORPS. A version of CAPTAIN BRITAIN (SR BRITAIN) is giving a rundown to a new recruit (ROOKIE BRITAIN) as they walk down a rather dapper and royal-looking hallway.

ROOKIE BRITAIN: If I might ask, what about the universes that don’t have a Britain?

SR BRITAIN: What kind of crazy question is that?

Panel 2: ROOKIE BRITAIN tries to explain, though is a bit apprehensive and defensive.

ROOKIE BRITAIN (1): The Multiverse is a huge place, so as much as it pains me to admit it, there have to be versions where Britain doesn’t exist.

ROOKIE BRITAIN (2): So who takes their place in the Corps?

Panel 3: SR BRITAIN reluctantly accepts ROOKIE BRITAIN’s question.

SR BRITAIN (1): Oh, them.

SR BRITAIN (2): Technically, those guys are part of the Corps, but they tend to do their own thing.

Panel 4: SR BRITAIN and ROOKIE BRITAIN walk down the hallway away from the panel.

SR BRITAIN: We’ve got a pocket universe they hang out in or something.

Panel 5: A bar-type building that looks like a mix of various non-British styles. A sign overhead reads “WELCOME – NON-BRITAIN CORPS”. Assembled and hanging out are a number of CAPTAIN BRITAINS who are very much not CAPTAIN BRITAIN from universes where BRITAIN doesn’t actually exist, such as a CAPTAIN AMERICA/CAPTAIN BRITAIN hybrid, some kind of CAPTAIN ROBOT from an all-robot world, an alien from a universe where EARTH itself is nonexistent, etc. Have fun with it.


Captain Britain - Warpchild - Ray Wonsowski

Setting: interior, the Hellfire Club. 

Panel 1 - BRIAN BRADDOCK sits at a dimly-lit table. He's dressed in a bankers-grey three-piece, no tie. A lingerie-clad serving girl,foreground left, places a club soda with a lime in it on the table before him. BRADDOCK, however, is looking at the tall feminine figure, clad in fur-lined white robes, foreground right (her back toward us, long voluminous blonde hair cascading down her back). He's slightly taken aback, but slightly smirking.

BRADDOCK: Well now, I must admit this is the last place I'd expect you to ask for a meet.

Panel 2 - Reverse p.o.v. BRADDOCK is looking up at the tall voluptuous figure of the OPAL LUNA SATURNYNE, looking haughty, yet nervous. The serving girl is walking away.

SATURNYNE: Necessity forced the choice of venue, Captain.
BRADDOCK: There are better places to hide, Mastrix.

Panel 3 - SATURNYNE slides into the booth close to BRADDOCK. She is furtive, a bit frightened, and scanning the room.

SATURNYNE: That depends entirely on who you hide from.
BRADDOCK: Who? Who hunts you?
OFF PANEL: I do...

Panel 4 -  A white haired CHILD in a navy-blue dress suit, white shirt with a red and gold silk tie, about age 10 or 11, approaches the table, hand extended as if offering a hand shake. Foreground, the faces of BRADDOCK and SATURNYNE, silhouetted, express shock.

CHILD: Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Clifton Dover. I am the illegitimate son of James Jaspers.
CHILD: I am heir to the Warp.

Panel 5 - CLIFTON waves his fingers, levitating the struggling BRADDOCK and SATURNYNE. BRADDOCK's helmet has materialized, and his suit is transforming into his CAPTAIN BRITAIN uniform.

BRADDOCK: ..nh..
CLIFTON: In ten years, I am to become the Captain Albion of Earth 3294. In twenty, I force the Omniversal Matrix to bear my seed.

Panel 6 - Close up on the face of CLIFTON, who sweats at the brow, smiling closed-lipped at his manipulations.

CLIFTON: Whose birth will herald the destruction of the Captain Britain Corps across all timelines.
CLIFTON: But not before I kill this one's first...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Captain Britain - New Beginnings - Grant McLaughlin

The first and last panels would make up their own individual rows at the top and the bottom of the page.  The rest of the panels would be in between the two, all of equal size, and would number as many as is necessary (as will be explained below).

1 - Brian Braddock (in full Captain Britain regalia) and Meggan Puceneau (in full whatever her regalia might be) stand in front of a curtain, about to go onto a stage.

MEGGAN: You really think this will work?

BRIAN: God, I hope so.

The majority of the page should be small panels of Captain Britain

2 - ?? I'm imaging a series a small panels (like some David Aja-type stuff) depicting various scenes of Brian and Meggan making phone calls, writing letters, sending texts and emails, and so forth.  Perhaps interspersed between each of these would be the response panel, if you will: a hero answering the phone, checking their mail, looking at their texts, reading email / Facebook / twitter / whatever.  These could be really basic, or they could be slightly more ambitious (i.e. a shot of a Twitter handle belonging to Brian starting a message whose contents isn't clear) partially based on what you'd like and how much focus you want to throw in here.  The heroes seeing these calls could be a combination of known or brand new folk.  They all have specific nationalities in mind, but I'll save that for the final panel.

The only other thing to note is that we have some captions going throughout this process, which can be placed anywhere as long as their reading order is more or less the same.

CAPTION (BRIAN): We've put in the work.

CAPTION (BRIAN): Established our goals.

CAPTION (BRIAN): And reached out to friends.

CAPTION (BRIAN): Acquaintances.

CAPTION (BRIAN): Strangers.

FINAL PANEL - Brian and Meggan stand on a podium in an auditorium of some variety, looking out at a crowd of heroes from various Commonwealth countries.  People like Union Jack, Spitfire, or Elsa Bloodstone would be some good Brits.  Maybe some members of Alpha Flight, perhaps Wolverine if he's alive for Canada.  You could have Gateway or Manifold (as well as Slipstream) from Australia.  Kiwi Black is all I can find from New Zealand.  Perhaps the new Ms. Marvel as a Pakistani member (even if she's first generation American).  There's a couple of Indian heroes such as Karima Shapandar or Thunderbird.  Part of what I'm saying is that you'd probably have to create some new characters for this idea, but that's totally doable so no worries.

LETTERING NOTE: Captain Britain's final two words should be styled as a logo title.

CAPTION (BRIAN): All that's left is to give it the old college try.

BRIAN: Thank you all for being here and welcome to the inaugural meeting of the COMMONWEALTH CORPS!

Why Captain Britain?

There's a lot to like about the idea behind Captain Britain.

Mainstream superhero comics are unsurprisingly American-heavy when it comes to their stories and their characters, so anything that breaks that mold is a welcome sight.

I also kind of like this idea that Britain has their own state-personifying hero who isn't quite as well known as Captain America?  I mean, I doubt it was at all Marvel's intention, but it has a certain charm and parallelism to real world international politics that is kind of amusing (although under that logic, I suppose we should be getting way into Captain China soon...).

Most of all though, I think we can all agree that Captain Britain has one ballin' ass costume.

Seriously, what is not to love about that?

That being said, I will readily admit that the execution of Captain Britain has never quite sat right by me.  The mixture of Arthurian legend, magic, and modern day kind of leaves me a little cold.  Particularly when you really get into the whole Otherworld dealie and the idea of a multiverse of Captain Britain's protecting it all.  I mean, it's weirdly colonial and self-important and let's be honest why would it fall to Captain Britain to save reality a single time, let alone on multiple occasions?

Also not going to lie, but I'm not really sold on how Captain Britain seems to die constantly and is just as easily brought back from the great beyond.  I get that superhero death isn't the most permanent of states, but Brian Braddock has eaten it on what seems like no less than six separate occasions, which is pushing credulity at a certain point.

But part of the purpose of Thought Balloons is to give us the opportunity to put our own spin on things, so why not take on a character such as this?  There's a lot of potential there in my view, so maybe we can push him in a direction that's more to our liking.  Or maybe we're cool with how he is and want to try something new within that context.

It's all fair game and you're welcome to join in and offer your take in the Comments if you're so inclined.

Also, let's not forget that costume.

For reals though

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dr. Fischer - Uncertainty - Ray Wonsowski


Panel 1- my kitchen table, 3am.  My face is in my hands as I try to wade my way through another bout of writer's block. The only light is from the screen of my laptop, illuminating me weakly.


Panel 2 - same as panel 1, except from the side, DR. FISCHER peeks in curiously over my shoulder from the side of the panel.


Panel 3 - same as above, except DR. FISCHER now stands behind me, adressing the reader professorially, twirling a pencil between his fingers.

DR. FISCHER: According to quantum physics, just the act of observation changes the outcome of an event.

Panel 4 - DR. FISCHER now looks intently over my shoulder, but now I look up from my hands, annoyed that someone has interrupted my writer's block.


Panel 5 - DR. FISCHER has taken a smiling interest, as I type furiously what should happen in the next panel.


Panel 6 - DR. FISCHER is being mercilessly pummeled by DEADPOOL, RAINBOW DASH, TRUTH SAYING BASTARD SPIDEY (the anime version of Spider Jerusalem), and SAMMY HAGAR THOR.  I am typing and smiling evilly as I think of what else I can do to get rid of the nuisance.

ME: ...mmyep, science.
DR. FISCHER: spleen...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dr. Fischer - Retirement Planning - Grant McLaughlin

I apologize for such an esoteric page.  Hopefully some of you have read volume 8 or Atomic Robo, as this is predicated entirely on those issues.

1 - Atomic Robo HQ.  We're a few decades down the line from the present day.  It's Bernard's retirement party.  Part of a banner reading as much is visible in the background.  Lots of established characters are present, many quite a bit older (with the exception of Robo and Jenkins who both look pretty much the same).  Emma (the little girl from the 2011 Free Comic Book Day issue) is standing with Bernard (who is older, balder, and maybe a little pudgier), chatting.

EMMA: Any plans for what's next?

2 - An establishing shot of Kukenan-tepui, the flat-topped mountain in Guayana Region, Venezuela (and the one where the team fought off Doctor Dinosaur and company in volume 8).


3 - Bernard is walking out of the pink fluorescent crystal pool deep within the mountain.  Far out shot, emphasizing his smallness and apparent aloneness.

CAPTION (BERNARD): Nothing planned at this stage.

BERNARD (small text in a big balloon): Hello?

4 - 6 - These panels are a spiritual inversion of the final goodbye between Bernard and the chief's daughter rock creature that Bernard was maybe in love with?  There isn't a completed page online yet, but the inks are here (last row of panels).  Anyways, hopefully it will make more sense with some descriptors.

4 - A close-up of Bernard as he looks absolutely delighted at what he sees.


5 - A close-up of the chief's daughter rock monster.  Its emotional state is completely indecipherable.


6 - A shot of their hands reaching out and clasping each other, reunited after far too many years apart.

CAPTION (BERNARD): But I've got an idea or two.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dr. Fischer – Still Working the Bugs Out – MK Stangeland Jr.

(Tesladyne has recently moved in to their island HQ.)

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: Bernard is working on geology equipment in a lab. A particular container is on a nearby counter. ATOMIC ROBO enters.

ROBO (1): I really hope you can make this quick, because I cannot keep up with all the to-dos that keep piling up.

ROBO (2): I’m starting to think they gave us this place just to mess with us.

Panel 2: BERNARD goes over to the container from PANEL 1.

BERNARD: Yeah, I was wondering if you knew anything about this.

Panel 3: BERNARD and ROBO look at the contents of the container – they’re crystal remnants left over from the explosion at the end of WHY DR. DINOSAUR HATES ATOMIC ROBO/ATOMIC ROBO HATES DR. DINOSAUR.

ROBO (1): Why do we have these?

ROBO (2): There is no reason anyone should have collected these.

Panel 4: BERNARD looks at ROBO. The panel is at an upward angle to show a bug crawling up the counter – it should be the kind of bug that’s ROBO’s worst nightmare – highly squishy and just small enough that it could squeeze through one of his joints.

BERNARD: You sure? I could give them a look and…

ROBO: No, it’s a waste of time. There is absolutely nothing special about them. Trust me.

Panel 5: The BUG from PANEL 4 comes into view. ROBO is noticeably distressed by its appearance.


Panel 6: ROBO grabs one of the larger crystal remnants and uses it to smash the bug.



Why Dr. Bernard Fischer?

It ain’t easy being an action scientist. Especially when your name isn’t “Jenkins”. You never know when you might find yourself in an unnatural life-threatening situation – even within the confines of your home base; your work is unlikely to ever be appreciated by the outside world no matter how out there or groundbreaking it really is; and your entire life is likely to be overshadowed by your boss, an immortal robot genius who gets grumpy when people expect him to be point man on aforementioned dangerous situations just because he happens to be a super-invulnerable robot.

It’s especially hard when you don't fit the typical 'action hero' mold. The kind of scientist that tends to come to mind when one pictures Dr. Bernard Fischer. A scientist who originally became a one of Atomic Robo’s crew thanks to a happy – or unhappy, depending on how you look at it – accident and being able to put the right skills to work at just the right time.

But amongst all the craziness of Atomic Robo’s world, including and especially the larger-than life figures from real life that pop up on regular occasion, Dr. Fischer represents the kind of people who are a little more grounded in reality. The kind of action scientist that lets you believe that, with the right attitude, mindset, and a scientifically relevant doctorate of your own (after all, they do have standards to uphold), you too could have a shot of working for Atomic Robo at Tesladyne.

And that under the right circumstances, maybe, just maybe, you might have the opportunity to let out your own inner action scientist someday when you least expect it.

Bernard Fischer – an Action Scientist for the rest of us!

When your time to shine comes,
make sure you shine with all you got

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


(There used to be perhaps the best Red Skull page ever written here. But then Red Skull found out, decided he didn’t like it, and got his hands on it.)

(1 Panel)

Panel 1: SPLASH PAGE – It has the appearance of a NAZI-esque WWII-style propaganda poster for HYDRA. Should give the imagery of a previously existing page having been torn down and this page being put up in its place.

On the poster is a bust-style image of RED SKULL, who is looking directly at the reader. He’s angled to look like he’s towering over the reader and looking down at them in a style that should come off equal parts terrifying and ‘Red Skull is watching you’. His very presence should command attention from the reader. One of his hands is extended out in front of him, holding a crumpled up piece of paper that should be the very page that was previously torn down. The overall effect should come off as ‘yes, I did this; let this be a warning that I can do it to you as well’.

TEXT (1): (Top of page) This page has been deemed unacceptable for public consumption by the HYDRA censorship authorities!

TEXT (2): (Directly beneath RED SKULL) HAIL HYDRA!

TEXT (3): Report all subversive activities and media to HYDRA!

TEXT (4): Remember, HYDRA’s ability to maintain order and keep you safe depends on You! 

TEXT (5): Report ALL unacceptable activities to the proper HYDRA authorities!

TEXT (6): HYDRA – True Order in an Chaotic World!

TEXT (7): (Should read like a stamp attached after the fact) APPROVED: HYDRA CENSORSHIP AUTHORITIES – HAIL HYDRA


Monday, April 6, 2015

Red Skull - Force of Habit - Grant McLaughlin

Kraven, the Red Skull, and Norman Osborn are roommates.  Just go with it.

1 - Outside shot of a house in a regular neighbourhood.  The lawn is filled with various garbage and debris - tipped over garbage can spilling its contents everywhere, various sporting equipment just left out, overturned beerpong table (and accompanying keg), etc.  Maybe the screen door is off its hinges.  Looks very much like a house cohabited by university students.  To emphasize its messiness, what parts of the houses on either side that can be seen are completely clean.  All word balloons come from within the house.

KRAVEN (1): Our homestead is a shambles!

KRAVEN (2): Disorder and untidiness reign supreme!

KRAVEN (3): Something must be done!

2 - We're now in the house's kitchen.  Kraven stands towards midpanel, looking towards the kitcehn table (and the reader), where Norman Osborn and the Red Skull sit on either side of the panel (looking back at him nonchalantly).  Kraven holds a chore wheel triumphantly in his hands for all to see.  The kitchen is pretty much as messy as outside.  Dishes are piled high in and around the sink.  There are pizza boxes, discarded clothes, and anything else you feel appropriate laying pretty much everywhere.  That kind of thing.  Even the kitchen table is full of old plates, books, and whatever.

KRAVEN: Therefore, I have create a chore wheel to help us hunt down this menace in a manner that is both fair and equitable!

RED SKULL: That's interesting...

3 - Similar to panel 2.  Red Skull pulls out a little gun-like device and fires it at Kraven.  Kraven is literally stunned by the beam that flows out and envelops him.  Osborn is a little perturbed.  LETTERING NOTE: The Red Skull's second word balloon should be dark and malevolent to emphasize the kind of tone he's taking.

RED SKULL (1): Because I made a mind control device for the same reason

RED SKULL (2): You will clean the house.

4 - Osborn looks at the Red Skull with an exasperated expression.  Red Skull looks pretty smug.  In the background, Kraven starts doing dishes (if we see his eyes, maybe have them be little whirlpools to show his mind as being controlled or something).

KRAVEN (quietly, in a wavering word balloon): I will clean the house...

OSBORN: You do realize there are other ways to solve your problems beyond mind control, right?

5 - Focus on the Red Skull.  He's mad smug, throwing his legs on top of the table and leaning back in his chair like a boss - maybe he has hands clasped around the back of his head for support (channeling Ferris Bueller perhaps).

RED SKULL: I think if you'll look at my personal history, you'll see the answer to that question is a resounding "no".

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Red Skull - Prog 4 - Ray Wonsowski

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...

Continuing the prog-rock-fueled adventures of the Wonder Twins: having narrowly escaped a Thanagarian warship, they crash-landed in the snowy battlefields of World War II Norway

Today's selection is based on "The Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson. The setting: Beisfjord, Norway.

 In 1942, prison workers, mostly Yugoslavs, were massacred, allegedly in reaction to a typhus outbreak. Sick prisoners were grouped 20 at a time and shot in waves. Healthy ones were forced to run laps until they collapsed, and shot where they dropped. One day in July in particular, depending on the source, somewhere between 250 and 600 were slaughtered and dumped.

Panel 1- pov from uphill, just outside Camp No. 1. (See photo ref)

CAPTION: A gardener plants an evergreen while trampling on the flower...

Panel 2- ZAN, JAYNA, JEB STUART, and the ghost of GEN. STUART have crested a snowy ridge between iron gates and flying Nazi swastika flags waving in the breeze, the Haunted Tank can be seen in the distance behind them. The four of them are reacting in horror at what they are seeing. ZAN and JAYNA are holding each other, either in solace or to keep from passing out. JEB is drawing his sidearm, but the GENERAL just stands aghast.

CAPTION: I chased the wind of a prison ship, to taste the sweet and sour...

GEN. STUART: (small lettering) Mother o' God...

Panel 3- looking down into the pit of an open mass grave, filled with the emaciated, bloody, and lime-covered bodies of camp prisoners. Sitting in the middle of it all, on a makeshift throne made of piled-high corpses, is the RED SKULL. He is in his dress uniform, Iron Cross at his throat, his heavy coat draped over his shoulders. He holds a list cigarette in his left hand, blowing a long stream of smoke to the side. His pose should be legs crossed, reposed, as if exhausted at the amount of things to do in a day. A German automatic pistol is held lazily in his right.

RED SKULL: How disappointing. I was expecting Herr Kapitan...

CAPTION: The patterned juggler lifts his hand, the orchestra begin...

Panel 4- close up, the RED SKULL sights down the barrel of his pistol aimed straight at us, hateful purpose in his eyes.

RED SKULL: No matter. You'll do.

CAPTION: slowly turns the grinding wheel, in the court of the Crimson King. be continued...

Why the Red Skull?

Because there's bad. Then there's evil. And then there's the Red Skull.
I mean, look at him...
Johann Schmidt. Orphan. Psychopath. Bellhop that "saved" Adolf Hitler from an assassination attempt that he had staged himself.
Classic WWII Kirby.
Nazi. Super-soldier. Symbol of German Nationalist intimidation. Dr. Erskine's shame. Captain America was created to stop him.
60's Kirby.
Commander. Torturer. Mad genius. Terrorist. Hitler grew to fear him. Baron VonStrucker grew to hate him. Magneto swore to kill him. Doctor Doom and the Kingpin both have said they'd rather die than join him.
As played by the masterful Hugo Weaving
He warped reality with the Cosmic Cube. He implanted his mind into a clone of Steve Rogers. He carved out the brain of Professor X to telepathically broadcast his brand of hate all across the globe.
Which leads right into the AXIS event.
He is what we are afraid we might become, if we were to strip away our humanity and our souls, gave in to our worst impulses, without any fear of reprisals, cold, calculating, and always just beneath the surface. 
From the miniseries, cover by David Aja.
He is hate incarnate, and there is none worse than he.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Squirrel Girl - Coming This Summer - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1 - Exterior. A park at night. The wind whips through black trees, causing leaves to whip across our field of vision. This is a nightmarish, David Fincher-esque, version of a park at night. In the center of the panel, a young woman in a pale blue dress is being attacked by two stereotypical park muggers. Each of the muggers has one of her arms, and they are pulling her in opposite directions. 

CAPTION: "This summer..."

Panel 2 - Closer focus on the thugs. They have let the girl go, and she is running away. 

THUG 1: What was that noise? 

CAPTION: "... Vengeance comes..."

PANEL 3 - The thugs in the foreground, their backs to us, recoil in fear as a grotesque, feral, half-human/half-squirrel female creature leaps down at them from the treetops, claws flashing in the moonlight.

CAPTION: "... From the TREES."

Panel 4 - The panel is black, with a film logo - It is the words "SQUIRREL GIRL" written in a bloody, slashing font, dripping in blood.

Panel 5 - Interior of a Hollywood producer's office. A TV shows the logo, and continues to run through the trailer. Two HOLLYWOOD SUITS look expectantly at Squirrel Girl, who sits facing them in an office chair, Tippy-Toe on her shoulder. 


TV: "... Directed by Zack Snyder..."


Friday, April 3, 2015

Squirrel Girl - Free at Last - Ray Wonsowski

Panel 1- SQUIRREL GIRL walking down a torch-lit medieval staircase. She is looking over her shoulder and up at someone following behind her, chattering away happily but nervously.

OFF-PANEL: ...and he wasn't any trouble?
SQUIRREL GIRL: Oh, no, sir. No trouble at all, sir.

Panel 2- SQUIRREL GIRL pushes open a heavy oaken door with iron binders. She's still grinning, talking to someone behind her, gesturing them inside.

OFF-PANEL: Surprising. Since the day I brought him home, he's caused nothing but. Especially for his Granny.
SQUIRREL GIRL: Gee whiz, surely not. I mean, I put him down right after dinner, see?

Panel 3- SQUIRREL GIRL looks on in wide-eyed horror. A heavy iron, spiked, and Kirby-esque crib with a heavy set lock and lit yellow circuitry, empty except for a baby blanket and a teddy bear with a missing button eye tossed in the corner of it.

Panel 4- SQUIRREL GIRL is frantically trying to cover for the missing baby. DARKSEID stands in the doorway, facepalming in exasperation. He is flanked behind him by two Paradaemons.

DARKSEID: No, no, I understand.
DARKSEID: (sotto voce, small lettering) Release the hounds.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Squirrel Girl – Everybody’s Got One – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: Night. SQUIRREL GIRL leaps across the rooftops of NEW YORK, followed closely behind by her loyal assistant, TIPPY-TOE.

TIPPY-TOE: Na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na, na na…


Panel 2: SQUIRREL GIRL and TIPPY-TOE stand on a rooftop overlooking a CANDY FACTORY.

SQUIRREL GIRL: There it is! The scene of the crime!

TIPPY-TOE: But what fiends would dare rob a place like a Candy Factory?

Panel 3: SQUIRREL GIRL and TIPPY-TOE leap off the rooftop. Panel angles upwards for atmosphere.

Panel 4: SQUIRREL GIRL and TIPPY-TOE look in through a skylight into the factory. The panel looks upwards away from the insides of the factory to look both of them in the face. SQUIRREL GIRL looks noticeably distressed.


SQUIRREL GIRL (2): I never imagined such a day might come!

TIPPY-TOE: What is it?

SQUIRREL GIRL (3): They’re my one true weakness!

Panel 5: Inside the factory, where we see what has distressed SQUIRREL GIRL so. The FACTORY is being robbed by supervillain babies – they’re clearly babies, but outfitted to look like super criminals who know exactly what they’re doing.