Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sound Effects – Echo Identification – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: DAREDEVIL, his location exposed inside a warehouse against some nontraditional ‘ninjas’. They’re not so much ninja’s as they are gangsters, thugs, and punks who do a bad job trying to look ninjaesque and have surprisingly impressive martial arts skills.

DAREDEVIL lands on the edge of the group. He kicks one in the face as he comes down.

SFX: Thock!

DAREDEVIL: (Thought Balloon) They certainly aren’t armed like ninjas.

Panel 2: Focus on a NINJA PUNK armed with a slingshot specially designed to throw ninja stars – the panel should be drawn in ‘DAREDEVIL VISION’ style, as seen in what I think was V3 of Daredevil.

SFX: twang

DAREDEVIL (Thought Balloon) Shuriken Slingshot?

Panel 3: DAREDEVIL avoids the shot ninja star and other attacks while shooting his billyclub at a NINJA THUG armed with a katana poorly retrofitted with a conspicuous-looking power-pack and is buzzing with a motorized blade. Everything except for DAREDEVIL should be in DAREDEVIL VISION, and special emphasis should be placed on the sword.

SFX: wack


DAREDEVIL: (Thought Balloon) Electric Swords?

Panel 4: DAREDEVIL is crouched on the ground while kicking a FAUX NINJA. He’s looking off-panel while winding up with the billyclub he shoot in PANEL 3.

SFX: thuk


DAREDEVIL (Thought Balloon) A minigun!?

Panel 5: DAREDEVIL VISION. A NINJA GANGSTER armed with a MINIGUN gets hit in the face with one end of DAREDEVIL’s billyclub. The gun is active, but not firing any bullets at the moment.

SFX: (Minigun, trails off) zwrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

SFX: krak!


DAREDEVIL (Thought Balloon) I’ve met some ninjas in my time, and these guys are no ninjas.


Why Sound Effects?

Your average human being has five basic senses – Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Comics, being a very visual medium, are usually limited to just Sight. You’ve got your words and you’ve got your pictures, which each come out to about another thousand words apiece.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course – you can tell a perfectly good story using just sight. Or even with just sound. But there’s something more immersive and enjoyable about a story when you find a way to combine the two. And for comics, that’s where sound effects come in. Those words – be they big or little, inconspicuous or a major part of the page – that can be largely meaningless on their own but add so much to a scene.

Given their history, it sometimes becomes hard to imagine comics without them, especially as some sound effects have managed to become iconic in their own right. After all, where would Spider-Man be without his ‘thwip!’? Or Wolverine without his ‘snikt!’? Or can you possibly try to imagine the classic Adam West Batman without the cheesy yet beloved ‘Bam!’, ‘Pow!’, and ‘Biff!’s?

So here’s to the little words that are so much more that the ink they’re printed with and the pages they’re printed on.

And as always, if you’d like to try your own hand at having fun with Sound Effects this week, feel free to ‘POP!’ out your own one-page script and ‘SMACK!’ it into the comments section below.

Hansel Moreno - Writer-in-Residence

Who is Hansel Moreno?

I'm glad you asked.

Hansel is a man who likes comics.  He is a man who makes comics.  Well familiar with the writing grind, he's been actively working away at it for the past few years, with a number of first-rate fruits for his labours.  His past (and future) projects can be found at his site, with some highlights including a couple of thought provoking stories with the talented Clare Connelly and his ongoing webcomic with Shawn DaleyDick Whiskey, featuring the titular characters' ongoing struggles with self-destruction.

Of course, his latest jam is also well worth a look.  A successful Kickstarter with Jack Gross, Adventures in Nate's Perilous Challenge is described as "a boy trying his best to live a normal life in a world crawling with Heroes", which along with Jack's lovely art, looks to be a humdinger.

If asked what kind of stories he writes, he would respond that he often focuses on adventure, magic, detectives, and whiskey, among the many things that may pop into his head.  While this is objectively true, it's just as accurate to say that Hansel writes about people and the challenges they face.

These are all excellent reasons to know and like the guy, and they're obviously part of why we're so happy to have him join us for the next two weeks.  But the other reasons Hansel's here is that he's not afraid to try new things.  He's always experimenting, pushing himself and his work in new directions or approaching it from different perspectives.  That's an important and admirable skill to have as a creative set, and we look forward to seeing it on display here.

So please join me in welcoming Hansel as our newest writer-in-residence.  Look forward to his first script come mid-week!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Elektra - Mirror - R.A. Wonsowski


Setting: morning, a public park outside of Hong Kong, beginning of spring, apple blossoms in the trees.

Panels 1 thru 4 are similar, ELEKTRA (left) and an OLD WOMAN are in varied positions in a tai chi routine, perfectly synchronized in every stance. ELEKTRA is in her signature red head scarf, but in a loose tank top, running pants, and sneakers. The OLD WOMAN is in a loose-fitting matronly house dress. Each position should be fluid and graceful.

CAPTION, PANEL 1: The stranger has shadowed me for nearly three months. She asks questions as one would poke a sleeping husband.
CAPTION, PANEL 2: Over tea one morning, I ask if she considers herself a spiritual woman. She answers that she is Greek Catholic.
CAPTION, PANEL 3: I tell her that her answer is as meaningless as if she had told me she was a zookeeper.
CAPTION, PANEL 4: The religious are those who fear Hell.

Panel 5: ELEKTRA and the OLD WOMAN bow to each other.

CAPTION: The spiritual have already walked through it.

Panel 6: The OLD WOMAN (background) watches ELEKTRA (foreground) walk away, sadly proud.

CAPTION: When I see her again, in this life or the next, her spirit will have been well forged in fire.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elektra - Blind Man's Bluff - J.D. Coughlan

Elektra and Daredevil have a tense showdown in a textiles factory, which breaks into a fight.

Panel 1: From behind Daredevil's back as he dodges out the way of Elektra's thrown sai, a smug grin on his face.

ELEKTRA (CAP): He's fast.

Panel 2: Elektra's sai hits a large button on the wall.

ELEKTRA (CAP): But I wasn't aiming for him.


Panel 3: Daredevil frowning as the factory machinery loudly comes to life around him.



Panel 4: Elektra dives away from Daredevil as he lunges for her in desperation. With her other sai, she stabs at a large plastic bucket marked " HOT GLUE"

ELEKTRA (CAP): When outmatched in a fight, always use your opponent's advantages against them.

Panel 5: In the background, the hot glue pours out onto the floor, maybe with stink lines emanating from it. In the foreground, Daredevil turns back towards Elektra (OP), his nose and face wrinkled in disgust.

SFX: sniff

DAREDEVIL: (small) Ugh...

Panel 6: Daredevil, not looking as graceful as usual, throws one of his escrima sticks at Elektra, who backflips away.

ELEKTRA (CAP): When you remove even a sliver of their superiority...

Panel 7: Elektra stands behind a propped up sheet of glass, preparing her sai for a throw. On the other side of the glass, Daredevil stands in a cautious pose, searching for her. He is looking right at her.

ELEKTRA (CAP): ...they will sacrifice the rest in their panic. Then, all that remains...

Panel 8: Daredevil's POV. In his radar-sense, the panel of glass appears as a solid wall that he cannot "see" through.

ELEKTRA (CAP): to push them over.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Elektra – Cruel, Sad Irony – MK Stangeland Jr.

(She probably doesn’t have nearly the reputation for dying and coming back as this page runs with, but given that dying and coming back is one of the things she’s primarily known for and it was stated to be one of the reasons she was used as a test subject for replacement by Skrulls during secret invasion, I figure it’s not too out of place to stretch the idea for the sake of the following script.)

(8 Panels)

Panel 1: ELEKTRA wakes up in some version of the underworld.

Panel 2: ELEKTRA stands up and sees DEATH standing nearby.

Panel 3: DEATH approaches ELEKTRA.

Panel 4: ELEKTRA holds up a hand in a ‘wait a minute’ motion.

Panel 5: ELEKTRA flashes a ‘FREQUENT DYERS CARD’, which should include some kind of text about getting resurrected 12 times and the 13th being free.

Panel 6: DEATH waves her hand and ELEKTRA begins to vanish.

Panel 7: ELEKTRA is back on EARTH, alive again, but it looks like the end of the world. ELEKTRA is confused.

Panel 8: Large panel as ELEKTRA looks up to see the state of pre-SECRET WARS EARTH with an incursion about to destroy the world. ELEKTRA shakes her hands in fists above her and is shouting something – probably profane – but the destructive force of the incursion is cutting off whatever it is she’s saying.


(And I’m not going to hedge a bet that I’m getting any other similarly appropriate characters to play this idea with in nearly as timely and appropriate manner.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Elektra - Lost Time - Grant McLaughlin

Sorry I'm a little late - had my wisdom teeth out this week, which put me on my ass for a bit.  But enough about me...

At the end of the previous page, Elektra, who was wearing regular civie clothes of some variety, encountered someone she recognized in a public park in the middle of the day.  The reader did not see how it was, only seeing Elektra wave and say "It's been a long--"

1 - Black panel stretching across the page.  Two captions boxes that should be placed in a slightly awkward manner to slow down the reader a bit.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): --Time.


2 - Top down shot of Elektra lying in a dumpster in a darkened alley at night.  She looks to have just landed - quite awkwardly - bloodied and bruised.  Maybe her eyes are still closed - either way, it's clear she's in a lot of pain.  Of course, she is now in her signature costume - although it's in about as bad a way as she is.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): And spits me out a moment later.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (2): But it's not a moment.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (3): It's hours.

3 - Closer in, Elektra grimaces as she examines her side to realize that no small amount of the blood is her own.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): And I'm covered in blood.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (2): Too much of it my own.

4 - Elektra slowly climbs out of the dumpster - this is no easy task considering the wringer she has been through.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA): I have no idea what's happened.

5 - Looking at Elektra from behind as she stumbles out of the alley into the night.  Perhaps she is leaning against the wall for a bit of support.  She's in a bad way.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA): But there will be hell to pay when I find out.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Elektra - One Last Hunt - Ryan K. Lindsay

5 Panels

Thin red bar panel across the top of the page, with two floating talking balloons in them. The balloons should have kinda straight edges, be rough, like what Wooton is doing in DEADLY CLASS.

Rand: I think I’m dying.
Elektra: No better time to live.

Elektra kisses Rand, it’s hot, bodies pressed. They are inside an office in Rand Corp’s tower, there’s a wall behind Rand, and littered in the room around them are dead Hand bodies/uniforms.
Rand is bleeding from his side, near the kidney, and the blood presses against Elektra’s side. There’s no doubt Elektra is the dominant person in this kiss, she holds his face/head in one hand, the other holding him to her from around the high waist.
Most importantly, their chests are pressed together, because this means she’s blocking the tattoo, or drawing from it.


He pauses, looking at her, his face and eyes clearly say ‘wow.’

Rand: That...tingled.

She pulls a sai out from her waistband. Rand is now leaning back against the wall that was behind him. He’s confused, and touching his slightly glowing chest tattoo, looking down, as he talks.

Rand: What just happened?
Elektra: You are dying.
Elektra: Goodbye, Danny Rand.

She launches out the window in a long profile shot with two glowing sais leaving a yellow trail against the dark sky. She has some of the Iron Fist power in her right now.

Elektra: If I fail, I’ll see you soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why Elektra? - Ryan K. Lindsay

Because she’s a character I would love to write one day. She’s mean, and broken, and quiet, and so goddamn deep. There are so many ways to still take Elektra and I’d love to have a run at it.

Plus, she’s got a killer visual that despite being one of those costumes that isn’t enough, it still looks amazing. Maybe because she carries it so well. Or probably no one would ever mess with Elektra, or even waste her time discussing fashion choices.

If you’ve ever read Elektra’s first appearance, you’ll see she was kinda a damsel at heart. Frank Miller writes an insane romance comic, with romancey internal thoughtballoons, and she’s not exactly the strongest or most independent character. She’s very much Matt Murdock’s first love. And yet now, when I think about Elektra, which happens often, I find I don’t think of Elektra like that at all anymore. She’s had amazing growth since her inception.

Through to the conclusion of Miller’s Elektra Saga, our lady in red just went from strength to strength. Icing that informant in the cinema from behind Ben Urich is still one of my favourite scenes of all time. After that we had ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN and ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN and suddenly independent mythos was born. She is no one’s girl, she’s this insane killer bad ass who can carry her own, and her own book. Or story. At least for a little while.

She was supposed to be put away once Miller let her be, an agreement with Jim Shooter that lasted right up until it didn’t. Resurrected, she’s been used ever since and to varying degrees. For me, it all started to really pull up out of a nose dive when Zeb Wells wrote her Dark Reign mini. That story, terse, violent, perfect, really helped solidify who Elektra was now. Quiet, deadly, brutal: a force of nature. That mini is maybe the best Dark Reign thing to exist.

Recently, we just wrapped an 11 issue run of ELEKTRA by Mike del Mundo and W. Haden Blackman and it’s one of the best comics of the past few years. It started strong but really charted upwards right until the end. A shame it came to an end but I’d rather 11 tight issues than a bloated 24 which peter out. Get in, get out, seems to be the Elektra way.

So because when she’s done well she’s usually done perfectly, and because we can all always practise writing our fantastic female leads, here she is, my favourite lady, Elektra Natchios.

- Ryan K. Lindsay

Year Five - You Can't Kill Words

Thought Balloons is 5 years old.

You know this, seeing as we just went through an entire week celebrating the fact, but it is an accomplishment that is worth emphasizing.  That said, just like in writing, there's no time for resting on laurels.  You have to keep pushing forward, and we will.  Which is why, as has been alluded, there are some changes coming Thought Balloons' way this year.

The first notable change has to do with our weekly picks.  For five years the main restriction for our picks was that it had to be a character who has appeared in a comic at some point in time.  As limitations go, it's pretty broad, and lord knows we've stretched it here and there, but we've stuck to it.  And in that time, we've gotten pretty darn good at playing in other people's sandboxes.

Obviously, next logical step is to blow up the system completely.  Okay, maybe that isn't necessarily the logical next step, but it never hurts to shake things up.  Think of them less as picks and more as Inspirations.  The Inspiration for the week could be as specific as a particular line of dialogue or as general as an entire comic book run.  More than that, it doesn't have to be limited to comics.  The Inspiration could be a movie, a song, an album, a work of art, an idiom, or anything and everything in between.  Interpretations of this will understandably differ, but as long as it Inspires interesting scripts, it's fair game.

That being said, we aren't completely turning our back on the past.  Comic book characters will still be fair game for the weekly Inspiration and we'll still take time for things like movie-tie in weeks, but there will be more options for us to work from.  Think of it as enlarging our toolbox and not going out to get a new one.

Speaking of the past, another proud tradition we have at Thought Balloons is encouraging people to play-at-home and throw up their own scripts in each week's Why? post - heck, it's how most our members got their start here in the first place.  That policy is obviously sticking around, but going forward we're hoping to bolster it with a more proactive approach.

Which brings us to our second major change for the year.  We're reaching out to others to come and write with us for short stints as guest members.  A sort of Writer-in-Residence to our tenured membership, if you will.  They'll come in to write with us, making posts and picking Inspirations along with the rest of the team.  We're on the lookout for all types, including those who have been in the game for a while, folk who may just be starting up the grind, and even people who aren't in it - yet.  We have a blast working on these scripts week in and week out and are super excited to share that with as many and as diverse a group as we can.

I'm happy to report that we've already locked in an ace writer for our first week of the new initiative.  You may have heard of him before.  He's charming, clever, and has one of the strongest hustle games you'll ever see (not to mention beards).  He's got his fingers in all kinds of comics book pies, including a mini from Dark Horse starting this summer, a now complete MonkeyBrain digital comic that has been released in physical form by IDW, and likely plenty more that he's yet unable to share with us.  Among his many other accomplishments is founding Thought Balloons, a site that you may have heard of.  That's right, our very own Ryan K. Lindsay is back for another kick at the can for this week only!  And what will he be picking?  Well, that would be telling...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Doctor Doom - Other People's Toys - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1.  DOOM stands on a deserted flight deck of a space station. Holographic displays show star systems and technical specifications. Doom stands with his hands behind his back, peering at the technology around him. 

DOOM: A moon-sized satellite equipped with a superlaser,  A weapon designed to kill planets. 

DOOM: Crude. A blunt-force solution to a problem of precision. 

Panel 2.  Closer on Doom. We can see over his shoulder to an empty walkway. 

DOOM: Still, it  is a tool. One that can perhaps stem the tide of Incursion. 

DOOM: Doom shall have it.

Panel 3.  Doom shifts slightly, and in the space over his shoulder we can see a dark form is standing on the walkway.

DOOM: Doom suggests you step aside.  

Panel 4. We pull into the figure, to reveal DARTH VADER. Vader ignites his lightsaber. 

DARTH VADER: Step aside? 

DARTH VADER: You underestimate the power of the Dark Side... 


Why Thought Balloons? - Travis M. Holyfield

It feels somehow inappropriate for me to be the one closing off this week. I'm still  the new guy. Everybody else has already said it, and said it better, and said it with more heart. Asking me, "Why Thought Balloons?" is probably asking the wrong person. But I'll give it the goold old college try.

Why Thought Balloons? Because comics are fun.

That's how I approach them. When I read them. When I make them. When I talk about them (and I talk about them a LOT). Comics can make you feel happiness, and sadness and anger and joy and pain and fear and they can challenge you and they can lift your spirits and they can set your imagination right off. And they're fun.

I've had nothing but fun with Thought Balloons. It makes me write SOMETHING even when I don't feel like it. And it gives me a chance to play with Other People's Toys. I get to write a page with Ms.  Marvel without feeling like I'm writing fanfiction. (Not that there's anything wrong with fanfiction.) It lets me think about characters I normally don't think about because nobody's paying me to think about them, and it challenges me to do something with them the way I do things. (I wrote a page on Squirrel Girl, for crying out loud.) And I have fun.

I never rewrite for Thought Balloons (That probably shows). What you see from me is always first draft, right out of the barrel. I don't overthink it, and I just try to have fun. And so far, so good.

Comics are fun. Thought Balloons is fun. There you go.


P.S. If you enjoy comics, aqnd you enjoy fun, consider checking out my comic DOBER-MAN on Comixology. It's only 99 cents!

Deadpool - Serious - Arby Moay

Panel 1
We look at the back of a man, standing, whose head had just been sliced clean off with a sword. In the space between where the neck and head split, we see Deadpool's eyes. He is pissed.

CAPTION (Yellow): Life, sometimes, is terrible...

Panel 2
Deadpool stalks towards a dude leaning on the closed doors of a car. The dude is pointing a pistol at Deadpool and shooting. Deadpool just shrugs off the bullets entering his body.

CAPTION (Yellow): Even I'm sane enough to realize that sometimes.

SFX (gunshot): BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

CAPTION (Yellow): And sometimes, the monsters of this world don't need super powers. 

Panel 3
Deadpool sticks his sword through the dude's head.

CAPTION (Yellow): Sometimes, the most ordinary human can do the shittiest thing...

Panel 4
Deadpool opens the car door at the back seat and takes out a baby whose eyes glow red, and have glowing patterns in his arms. A half-eaten chimichanga rests in the dashboard of the car that Deadpool hasn't yet noticed.

CAPTION (Yellow): the most innocent.

CAPTION (Yellow): It's times like these where I just --

Panel 5
Deadpool notices the chimichanga and perks up, baby is in his left arm, while his right arm reaches for the food.


CAPTION (Yellow): Wait. What was I thinking about?

CAPTION (White): I don't know, but you sounded so serious about a panel ago.

Why Thought Balloons? - Arby Moay

I spent only a brief moment here on Thought Balloons, but, nevertheless, I had a wonderful time here. I was fresh out of college and searching for work when I came on board, and, honestly, as the weeks turned to months, I had been feeling purposeless and useless. That's what Thought Balloons gave me -- a sense of purpose. Sure, it wasn't actual work, but it had been a thing that I had to do. And there were people actually reading what I'm too, and criticizing me as well, so that was very exciting.

I'll keep this post brief as well, but let me just say that Thought Balloons definitely revitalized my desire to one day have a comic published. I'm still looking for money and artists, but with Oni Press' open submissions...

Anyways, congrats to the site for five years of history! Here's to hoping for five more! And may all of us here, not just the past and present tenures, but for those participating in the comment sections as well, may all of us be one day get a publication.


- Arby Moay

Rocket Raccoon & Groot - Film Theory - Brian Manton


Wide shot. Inside the Guardians' space ship.
Rocket addresses the reader, looking out of the panel, and gestures towards Groot, who stands to the right of the panel.
The other members of the crew are playing poker in the background and paying no attention.

Rocket:     My sesquipedalian friend here is going to help me demonstrate the Kuleshov Effect.

Rocket holds up a pizza box with one slice of pizza left.

Medium shot of Groot with an inscrutable expression.

Groot:     I am Groot.

Rocket holds up the centerfold of an alien porn mag, all purple skin and tentacles. The page is torn, the more provocative section of the image gone.

Medium shot of Groot with an inscrutable expression.

Groot:     I am Groot.

Rocket holds up a chainsaw.

Medium shot of Groot with an inscrutable expression.

Groot:     I am Groot.

Rocket starts the chainsaw and brandishes it at Groot. Groot steps backwards, but smiles.
The other crew members stand up from their poker game, startled.

Rocket:     This clearly demonstrates that someone has been going through my locker again!

Why Thought Balloons? - Brian Manton

Before joining Thought Balloons I wasn't writing every week, let alone every day. That weekly deadline might seem like a small thing but it brought about big changes. It was a starting point to build from. The benefits of having like-minded writers to learn from and with cannot be understated. I've learned a lot since that time so I thought I'd use this post to pass on some second hand advice that I've picked up over the years.

- The best way to improve at anything is regular deliberate practice. Write every day and focus on what you want to get better at.

- If you are not good at creating self-imposed deadlines, try joining a writing group (like Thought Balloons!) so that you have someone to be accountable to.

- Read widely from all mediums and genres. You can learn from everything - even bad writing.

- If you think you don't have time to write, watch this video:

- Don't spend too long reading about writing. It's easy to get caught up in process stuff. Allow yourself to indulge in it only on days when you've already put in your writing time.

- If you do spend more time thinking about writing than actually writing, read this book:

- If the process of writing comes easy to you, be thankful that you are one of the lucky few Ray Bradbury-types who sit down everyday and enjoy writing every word.

- If, on the other hand, writing feels like a constant process of frustration and humiliation... don't worry. You are not alone. “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

- It's never going to get easier, and you need to be ok with that. You need to want to do it anyway.

This is all advice that I still struggle with at times - but I have improved, bit by bit, and Thought Balloons was instrumental in starting that process.

- Brian Manton

Friday, May 22, 2015

The In-Between - a proposal - Ray Wonsowski

This is one I've been mucking around with for the last couple months. Really cemented when I heard B.B. King died. It's hardboiled mystery, with a novice view of the aetherworld.


Panel 1- open mouth on a pale face. A trickle of blood runs from the bottom lip.

CAPTION, ARBOGAST: (white font on black) ...OK, imagine this...

Panel 2- zoom out, now we see the face, sort of. A bullet's exit wound is where his left eye should be. The other eye has dilated.

CAPTION, ARBOGAST:'re a detective, the kind you swore you wouldn't be. Working the "cheat beat". Messy divorces, philandering husbands, adulterous wives, you're a peeping Tom with a license...

Panel 3 - zoom out further. WIDOW is knealing on the ground, the DETECTIVE, his name is B.B. ARBOGAST, has his head in her lap, turning he blue dress black from the blood pooling around her. A small .22 lies on the ground by their side. Her face is speckled by light blood spatter. Tears run down her cheeks as blood rushes from his face. Her dress and coat should be conservative, but cheaply gotten. He's in a button down Oxford and khakis, running shoes on his feet. ARBOGAST is definitely dead.

CAPTION, ARBOGAST: ...then in walks that Case, the once-in-a-lifetime rainmaker. A government whistleblower, with two file boxes full. You're even in the mood to celebrate as you lock them up the office...

Panel 4 - zoom out further. POV from above, a beat COP rushes to the WIDOW, radio held to his lips, frantic for back up. A pair of translucent white bare feet peek in from the lower right corner.

CAPTION, ARBOGAST:  ...and you're shot in the back of the head as you walk to your car.

Now, the case that Arbogast really needs to solve is his own murder. Because his soul will not rest until he does.

A ghost, and he doesn't know the first thing about being one.

Welcome to the world In-Between.

Happy anniversary, you all are the best.

Why Thoughtballoons? - Ray Wonsowski

Because Grandpa Joe, who bought me my first comic book, a Detective Comics, Batman facing off against the Riddler...

Because trading comics with my high school buddy Greg. I traded my entire Firestorm run for his complete set of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad and some choice John Romita Jr Daredevils (pretty sure I got the better side of that deal).

Because the 90s, when so many comics were style over substance, and I still managed to find Vertigo, the British Invasion days, and you know who I'm talking about: Gaiman and Moore, Morrison and Milligan, and my hero Warren Ellis (we'll be coming back to him later).

Because when I screwed up my relationships, lost jobs, and the band broke up, I could disappear into Jack Kirby and Frank Miller, Walt Simonson and Denny O'Neil.

Because Comics Fortress in Somerville NJ, who introduced me to Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan, at the exact moment that I needed it most, restoring my faith in both people and the medium I love.

Because when I was far from home, southeast Asia or South America, digital comics were my bridge back home, Aja's Iron Fist and Abnett & Lanning's Marvel Cosmic, and Warren Ellis taking over Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-men, and Ed Brubaker's Captain America saga.

Because, thanks to comics, I can share Chris Nolan's Dark Knight and Marvel Studio's Avengers films with my wife. I can imagine and play and watch and CREATE with my kids.

Thoughtballoons is how I give back.

Because you will never find a writer's circle like this one. This is where we break our teeth. This is where we throw our ideas and see what sticks. We research, plot, write, edit, and by God write again, even if we ask ourselves, "Who the hell is that character?!?" because By GOD Comics!  We have to find a mental image for the artist to draw, and dialogue that sounds right to the ear.

Because I want to thank each and every Thoughtballooner that's graced this site, for their craft, their dedication, their critiques, constructive feedback, and most importantly, their friendship.

It's funny, we have all been spread around this crazy earth, and the writers here,  I can share the work of a friend with just a click, as if he just passed me his notes from across his desk.

So, thank you, guys. I know this is quite a bit longer than expected. But I want to thank you with all the gratitude in the world for including me in your world.

Take a bow, gents. You deserve it.

Nick Fury- Changing Of The Guard - Niel Jacoby

1 - 1994. Classic Nick Fury, the one David Hasselhoff played in that TV movie, has grown old. He's sitting in his office in SHIELD HQ, tired after a long day of work. The trophies of his old adventures are on his walls and desk, gathering dust. There's a G-man standing in front of the desk. We can't see his face, but his body language is comfortable. He's not cowed by the legend of Nick Fury.

G-Man: I'm glad you're taking this well. The guys back at State warned me about old soldiers, said they don't respond well to being asked-

Nick: To turn in the gun and badge? Yeah. I've had to decommission a few antiques myself.

2 - The G-Man is waving off Nick's comment about turning in the gun and badge as he(the G-Man) starts boxing up Nick's old war trophies. We see his face, and it's a young Phil Coulson. We see Fury in profile. He's not sad, or angry, just tired.

Coulson: You can keep the gun and badge, we've got more guns than we know what to do with, and you'll need the badge to use the SHIELD gym. Keep in shape during your retirement. Hit the sauna, play some squash, canasta, whatever you old folks do.

Nick: Canasta?

3 - The New Nick Fury leans on the doorframe as Coulson keeps boxing up Nick's memorabilia. New Nick is the Sam Jackson Fury we know from the movies, though not yet bald. Think Pulp Fiction, but after a visit to the barber. New Nick is crossing his arms, just as comfortable as Coulson in this office. Fury is still at his desk, and has started pouring himself a couple fingers of good whiskey.

New Nick: Yeah. That's a thing retirees do, I think. Oh, how rude of me. Hi, Nick, I'm Nick.

Old Nick: Canasta's a card game. Who plays cards in a gym?

4 - New Nick takes the tumbler of whiskey off Old Nick's desk and drinks it himself. Coulson has finished packing up Old Nick's desk, and is taping up the last box.

Coulson: Who cares where they play?

Old Nick: It doesn't matter, I'm just saying, wh-

Coulson(Interrupting): There. Now get your crap out of my office.

Old Nick: Your office? I thought he...

5 - Close on New Nick's hand as he pulls out a postcard-sized blueprint of the SHIELD Helicarrier,

New Nick(Off Panel): The job just can't be done from an office this size anymore. We're phasing out all the old relics. Phil here is manning Ground Control, while I man the mobile base. An aircraft carrier the size of a medium-size city. Tacoma, for instance.

6 - Old Nick carries the last of his boxes out of his office. We can see Phil and New Nick sharing whiskey over Old Nick's shoulder. Old Nick is still tired, but now he's a bit heartbroken, too.

Caption(Old Nick): They used to say old soldiers never die. But I guess the world moves too fast to let us fade away these days.

Why Thoughtballoons? - Niel Jacoby

When Grant asked me about participating in Thoughtballoons' fifth anniversary, the hardest part was this. Talking about what Thoughtballoons meant to me. It involves a whole lot of talking about myself, and I've never been good at that. But there is one thing Thoughtballoons taught me: just how desperate I can get when I'm getting near a deadline. I can't count the pages that I half assed by throwing together a half-baked crossover and calling it a night. And that's it, really. Thoughtballoons is something I did, that I'm glad I did, but that I don't do anymore.

Sorry if you expected more after a week of nostalgic retrospectives.

- Niel Jacoby

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moon Knight - Oath - Shaun Richens

Heavily inspired by the Ellis/Shalvey run. 




Moon Knight - In his white suit, jacket off resting over his knee, sleeves rolled up, white gloves speckled with red blood droplets. We are in the back of MK’s black car. It’s predawn but the early morning light can’t puncture the blackout windows.



Cut to EXT: MK’s black car driving towards the end of a pier. Tyres rumble across the wooden slats.



The car comes to a dead stop a few feet from the pier’s edge. The sun breaks the horizon with a thin shock of orange.



Small panel. Close in on MK’s leg as he steps out of the car.



Small panel. Close in on MK’s hand as he reaches to unlock the boot of the car.



Page wide panel. Looking into the trunk of MK’s car over his shoulder. WARD the priest from earlier is bound and gagged. One eye swollen and bruised. Tears run down his cheeks. We can barely see his clergy outfit underneath the thick chains wrapped around him. Thirteen different padlocks are locked at varying sections of the chain.

MOON KNIGHT: Shhh. Shhh. The night is over. As is your time to talk.

Why Thoughtbaloons? - Shaun Richens

Thought Balloons: What it means to me? Or One Sappy Comic Writer’s Journey Into The Past - By Shaun Richens.

The date says 11/10/10 but I must have come to the article nearly a year later, and it’s all thanks to Josh Flanagan over at iFanboy that I found this wonderland of comics writing.

I was at a point where I was looking at comics, not just as something I enjoyed, but perhaps as something I wanted to, dare I say it, make. Now I already knew, despite that B in A-Level art, that I was never guna make it as an artist. However, thanks to the staggeringly brilliant Irene Holley, my college English teacher, I had a newfound passion for writing - something I hadn't had since my days of writing fanfics about The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings, well before I even know what a fanfic was - and I thought “hey, maybe I could give writing a go”. The only issue? Where the hell to even start.

Living in the age we do I of course turned to Google, which lead me very quickly to the article I opened with. A few clicks later and my entire comic based life was pretty much changed forever. All of a sudden I had access to hundreds of page of comic scripts, from writers trying to do what I wanted to do, not waiting for permission, just doing it, writing, and writing damn well. Within a few weeks I’d ravaged the vault, read everything and was greedily waiting for new pages of script to go live. I’d go through old comments sections and learn just as much from the others guys’ advice as I would from the scripts. Thoughtballoons was, and still is, the holy grail for new comics writers. I think even seasoned veterans could learn a trick or two from the TB archives.

July 29th 2011, I stepped into the ring for the first time in the comments section. It was Captain America, Steve Rogers, the Marvel comics iconic war hero and I was taking on the challenge of writing him. Rereading the script now it’s rough and hard to put myself through, but it still holds a little magic for me. Thanks to the support of the always positive and helpful Thought Balloons community I took my first step towards becoming a comic writer. It floors me to this day knowing that my first piece of script feedback was from Mr Ryan “Dark Horse Comics” Lindsay.

Between the comments section and what was to come, the Process Podcast happened - an in depth breakdown cast, where all things writing process were discussed. Hosted by T Balloons very own Ryan K Lindsay as well as Jeremy Holt, Kurtis J Wiebe and for a while Ed Brisson. This is comics podcast gold. This was crack to me at the time - I still get the itch to go back and listen to old episodes. It was the rocket fuel I needed for the next step.

Bounty of The Beast, what a heavy metal title. I still like that a lot. I may have to use that in the future. On Sunday February 19th 2012, that was the title of my first tenured piece. A cross country road trip story, wherein Ghost Rider collects demonic bounties for Hades’ head honcho - Satan. This will always be one of my proudest moments as a writer. Yeah the script is a C- at best, but to be welcomed into the fold here was such a defining moment for me. To have peers in the industry I love, people I respect and look up to inviting me to join them - it’s the thing that keeps me writing until this day.

Curt Pires, Ed Brisson, Kurtis J Wiebe, Ryan Ferrier, Michael Walsh, Jeremy Holt, Brian Level, Fabian Rangel Jr, Paul Allor, all of you writing here with me this week - the list could go on for another hundred names. Thought Balloons opened my mind to more creators once I discovered it than I’d found before it. And not just any creators, the kind of guys and gals who've gone on to become the next big thing, the kind of creators I aspire to be.

Without this site, and all of you beautiful b*stards I wouldn't be half the creator I am today. I’m not sure I’d even be creating at all. So always and forever thank you, thank you all.

Here’s to another five years.

P.S. Go read my Peanuts page from 2013 - perhaps still my favourite thing I've written.

- Shaun Richens (May 2015 - From a small flat in London)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Unknown Soldier - Escalation - Dan Hill

Panel 1
Wide panel. An establishing shot looking out across Kandhaq. We’re focused on an area that looks like Tahrir Square. There are thousands of people protesting. Above them, speaking on a small makeshift stage, is the female UNKNOWN SOLDIER (from here). Her head is swathed in bandages, and she’s dressed in the clothes we last saw her in. She punches a fist to the heavens.

Letterer’s Note: The Voice captions are black background with white text.

1 CAPTION/The Voice: You were stupid. You demanded revolution.
2 CAPTION/The Soldier: It was needed.

Panel 2
Wide panel. The crowd is being dispersed and broken up by SOLDIERS brandishing riot shields and batons. This isn’t a simple sweep and clear. This is skulls being smashed, blood being spilt -- absolute carnage. Somewhere in the chaos the UNKNOWN SOLDIER is dragged away by CIVILIANS as she tries to pull herself free, wanting to join the fight.

3 CAPTION/The Voice: They have too much to lose, a single voice holds no sway.
4 CAPTION/The Soldier: Nothing changed.
5 CAPTION/The Soldier: I failed.

Panel 3
A thin, wide, horizontal panel. Nothing but black. Text in white.

6 TEXT/The Voice: This isn’t about you. It never was.

Panel 4
Wide panel. Tight on the UNKNOWN SOLDIER as she looks out of the panel towards us, a dark background behind her. Her eyes stare at us from beneath the bandages, her teeth gritted in the midst of an angry sermon we’re not privy to.

7 CAPTION/The Voice: Cast out revolution.
8 CAPTION/The Voice: Bury your ego.

Panel 5
Wide panel. We ZOOM OUT to see she’s flanked by others, all dressed in civilian clothes, their heads swathed in the iconic bandages of The Unknown Soldier. Some brandish ASSAULT RIFLES. All of them face us. A strip of text runs across the bottom of the image, telling us we’re watching a news broadcast.

The text reads: “Unknown Soldiers release manifesto online - group calls for end too --”

8 CAPTION/The Voice: And carve change into the flesh of history.

Why Thought Balloons? - Dan Hill

When thinking about what Thought Balloons meant to me, I always came back to the things it taught me. Plus, everyone likes listicles. So, here are three valuable things Thought Balloons gave me:

1) Economy - When you only have one page, space matters. You can tell a complete story in one page, or hint at a larger one, but you have to be ruthless. For a page to hit, it has to be pared down to its base components.

What idea are you trying to get across in the page? What larger themes, stories or character beats, are you hinting at? All of these elements have to be taken into account and then ratcheted in on. There's no space for fancy flourishes or sprawling monologues.

This brings me to dialogue. Never at a premium anyway in comics, it has even less room with one page. Every word counts.

Cut, and cut some more, cut until only the essential survives.

2) Consistency is key - Writers write. Some of it may not see the light of day, some of it moves around and changes in the future, but finishing and consistency is key.

With Thought Balloons one page had to go up every week without fail. What this kind of deadline does is begin to strip away any pretensions you have about the work. You can't be too precious. Sometimes the page will work, firing on all cylinders, sometimes it won't, and the words will just sit there like ab-rollers, pristine copies of War and Peace, and other things you thought were a good idea at the time. Deadlines are agnostic. The work has to go out anyway.

The notion of a weekly deadline also gives you another valuable writing lesson -- the key to leveling up your skills is consistency. Finish.

Done is the engine of More.

3) Camaraderie - When you're in the trenches with someone week in, week out, bonds start to form. This can be seen in the larger comics community too. Team #makecomics is a big family, one that wants to see everyone do their best work.

Thought Balloons taught me the value and importance of feedback. Writing is a solitary game. Sometimes we can be too close to a script, not seeing problems and potential changes because we're a slave to our individual visions. But a fresh set of eyes can cull the weeds, see heretofore invisible patterns, and make you aware of alternative approaches.

When you find those who bring out the best in your work hold them close. They'll be your allies in the battles that lie ahead.

My stint at Thought Balloons introduced me to a bunch of like-minded people who I now consider confidantes, collaborators, and most of all, friends.

It taught me that I can do this.

We can do this.

- Dan Hill

Thought Balloons Year 5 – Baker & Grodd’s Homagetastic Adventure! – MK Stangeland Jr.

(Originally, I was planning on taking a page from Ben Rosenthal’s book and re-working a page I previously wrote but was unhappy with.

But then, when I thought about it, I realized the correct answer for this week would be to pay another visit to what I think has managed to become my signature duo here at Thought Balloons, the unlikely but always fun pairing of Animal Man and Gorilla Grodd.

Notably, this particular script is heavily based on a particular newspaper comic strip you may well recognize – bonus points to the first one to correctly guess which one!)

(4 Panels)

Panel 1: DARKSEID overlooks his minions as he prepares for war.

TITLE TEXT BOX: Baker & Grodd by Stangeland Jr.

ANIMAL MAN: (Text Box) We have a massive problem. Darkseid is getting ready to attack Earth. Again.

Panel 2: Human citizens as they go about their daily lives.

ANIMAL MAN: (Text Box) And we have no idea who to trust or how to stop him this time.

GRODD: (Text Box) BAH! Foolish weakling. I already have a solution!

Panel 3: Three gorillas fly through the air, SUPERMAN style, complete with capes. GRODD should be among them, and have a SUPERMAN style ‘G’ on his chest.


Panel 4: Inlaid within the corner of PANEL 3. GRODD and ANIMAL MAN are discussing the issue. ANIMAL MAN is wary of GRODD’s plan, GRODD isn’t keen on ANIMAL MAN not liking it.

ANIMAL MAN: I’m not sure you’re taking this seriously, Mr. Grodd.

GRODD: I’m taking it seriously like you would not believe!


Thought Balloons, 5(ish) Years Later – MK Stangeland Jr.

If there’s one thing that great writers have in common – the true greats we think of when we think of great storytellers – it’s that they write. Certainly, there are great stories where their author put one out and did something else with the rest of their life, but the people we think of as the truly great writers? They didn’t stop at one and done then coast off that lone success the rest of their life. They kept going.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lois Lane - Friends Indeed - Grant McLaughlin

Lois Lane was the first character I wrote a Thought Balloons script for as a play-at-homer - a script I'm still quite fond of - so I wanted to take another crack at writing her this week.  I'll leave it to you to decide whether I made the right decision.

1 - Clark is preparing some food in the kitchen.  Let's say he's checking on the oven, with the counters filled with all kinds of finished or in progress foodstuffs.  Also important to note that Clark should be wearing a dorky apron of some variety - perhaps a [insert suggestion here].  Clark is checking the oven, but he looks towards the doorway with some concern as he calls out to Lois.

CLARK (1): Lois, could you whip up some of your Peachy Keen Margaritas for Bruce and Diana tonight?

CLARK (2): Lois?

2 - Move to the living room.  Lois is sitting on a couch, being sad - maybe with her feet up on the couch, holding her legs to her body.  Clark looks out through the kitchen doorway into the room.

CLARK: Is everything alright?


3 - Clark has joined Lois on the couch, his arm around her.  She rests her head on his shoulder, still a little upset.  He wears a look of concern, resting his head on hers in turn.

LOIS (1): I'm a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  I've covered some of the most important world events of our generation.  I'll go to any length to get a story.

LOIS (2): ...

LOIS (3): But for all that, I don't have any of my own friends.

4 - Clark sits up straighter and looks directly at Lois, surprised.  Lois, also sitting up and looking at Clark, is resistant to his words.

CLARK: What?  That's ridiculous.  You have plenty of friends!

LOIS: We're having Batman and Wonder Woman over for dinner.  Pretty sure they're not here to see mild mannered Lois Lane.

5 - Clark takes Lois' hands in his own and looks kindly and earnestly into her eyes.

CLARK (1): Lois.  Honey.

CLARK (2): They may have met me first.

6 - Flash forward to dinner that evening.  Lois, Bruce, and Diana laugh heartily at some joke that Lois obviously told them (all holding a peach coloured drink in their hands).  Clark is slightly apart, clearing the table after whichever course they've just finished, a small, satisfied smile on his face.

CAPTION (CLARK): But we both know they like you better.

Why Thought Balloons? - Grant McLaughlin

I still remember when Ryan asked me to join.  I felt like a rock star.  I felt like I had finally arrived.  Of course, like most things, that was only the beginning.

Thought Balloons is where I learned to write comics.

Thought Balloons led me to the supportive community that is comics.

Thought Balloons introduced me to some rad folk who I'm proud to think of as good friends today.

Thought Balloons is a lot of things to a lot of people.  You simply need to look at the entries of our past and present tenures to see that fact.

Thought Balloons means a lot to me.  It means a lot to all of us.  I want to do everything in my power to keep it on course, but I also want to keep sharing this place with others.  The prompts, the deadlines, and the practice are all integral parts of this site, but what keeps Thought Balloons going is that aforementioned community.  I'm going to keep telling everyone I can about this place.  I believe it can be an invaluable tool in one's development as a writer, if one wants it to be.  I know it has been - and continues to be - for me.

This week is all about celebrating who are we and what we've achieved, but don't worry, we haven't forgotten about where we're going.  There are some big plans for Thought Balloons' Year 5, but let's save those for another day.

I'm honoured to take up the reigns from Ben.  I know I can't take his place as the site's puppet dictator, but I'll do my best to captain this ship in its ongoing journey.  I'm ever so proud of where we've been and I'm looking forward to where we're headed.

I hope you'll join us.

Phonogram - Unity - Max Barnard

The Premise: Phonogram is this perfect concept for stories, this simple idea of music = magic. I was tempted, upon missing this week long ago, to do a story using the characters from the books, but that's not Phonogram, not really. The characters are just examples of how the world they're in, the music they experience, can affect people. So instead we have an idea formed almost half a decade on, that of music as literal protest against those who seek to oppress the very people they
serve. And indeed music as a great unifier.


A person sits in front of a television, in a somewhat delapidated room, their expression unseen, as the screen shows the bloated pustule that is the face of one David Cameron, with the simple BBC news ticker below his visage read simply " Cameron in for 2nd term". It doesn't matter what the person looks like, anything unassuming would do the job (after all, in many ways they are so many of us), but really I give free reign to you, the artist, to do as you like. I would, however, edge towards the person being in the young adult, 18­25 range, if such a thing can be conveyed, simply for the relevance to those most affected by this recent political outcome.

CAPTION: And so it happens. We lose our rights and have our faces stamped on by those we ourselves have voted for.


A view of the person's upper body and face, leant forward, with a tight­lipped anger on their face. Think less rage and more... A frustration with the news they have seen.

CAPTION: Well...

CAPTION: *I* didn't vote for them.


They are up, throwing a beaten­up jacket on, moving with determination and purpose. Hard to convey in a static movement, but the sort of positioning one would have when marching, or even bounding across a room, would probably do well here.

CAPTION: It might technically be fair, democratic, even, but to so many of us it's nothing but a sign of the unfair things to come for us.

CAPTION: The young, the poor, the old, the unwell, we're all in for it.


And out the door of the flats they live within, a ratty backpack and headphones added to their person, striding down a street in residential London, one of the areas prone to increased gentrification, like Hackney, if you need a strong visual reference.

Our person's eyes are glowing white with the brimming magic filling their ears.

CAPTION: So we do what we can to fight back against it.

CAPTION: Bringing a bit of our own little brand of magic along the way.


Our person approaches the thronging crowd, now in central London, where our most recent protests garnered the most attention. They are chanting, unified, in one purpose. People of all religions, colours, and creeds. A varied mass of the young, rebelling against a system victimising them.

CAPTION: 'Cause we are the world, and we are the people.

CAPTION: And we will be heard.


And now our person is in amongst them, one of the many, chanting along, fighting for what they believe in through the power of the song flowing through the crowd, their eyes all lit up with the magic of music, as characters in the world of Phonogram are wont to do when at their most powerful. This is a surge of that, spread amongst many. Protest music.


Why Thought Balloons? - Max Barnard

I was definitely an odd example of a Thought Balloons writer. Inconsistent, self­deprecating, and susceptible to over­stacking pages, I probably came off as the rough diamond of the opening crew of this establishment, all the way up to my death in December, 2011, when I myself dispatched the named Judge Dredd to execute me for my flaws.

Wait, I died? I... I feel cold. Something's wrong. Is... Is anyone there?


Anyway, I'm back for the 5th anniversary of this fine establishment, and what to say? It's amazing to me that TB has continued on this long, and more so that so many people have gotten involved over time. All have given their own little touch to the weekly challenge, and that in itself is a whole thing, for each to have their own voices and own growth in something that could easily be dismissed as fan­fiction for script­writers. But then, much like fan­fiction, it's all a means of growth as a writer through a familiar means, and we can see how that constantly here, especially with our more successful alumni.

I myself miss the discipline of the regular writing, and it's something I'm trying to capture to this day with various podcasting projects (the only place I've really maintained constant creativity over the last half­decade), but man, seeing those who remain doing this stuff endlessly, tirelessly... It's exhausting, isn't it!

So here's to Thought Balloons, to Ryan, Matt, Niel, MK, Grant, Ben, Brandon, Dan, Danial, J.D., Rol, Shaun, Si.... Holy crap, there's so many of ou that it's just impossible to name you all, isn't it. I  mean... It's still a boys club, but what a boys club it's become!

Because I couldn't end the post without the gentlest of jabs, could I?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Loki - The Best Idea - Matt Duarte

Loki in "The Best Idea" by Matt Duarte

Layout: First four panels are equal in size, taking up about half a page in a 2 x 2 grid. The last one is the biggest one, horizontal across the bottom of the page.

Panel 1

Loki (Ikol, Agent of Asgard version) is running through Hel, with a visibly angered Hela chasing after him. Hordes of the dead follow as well, ready to ravage their Asgardian prey.

CAPTION (LOKI): My name is associated with many things. Lies, destruction, mischief. Even death.

CAPTION (LOKI): I am trying to be different. I am rewriting my own story.

Panel 2

Loki is jumping in through the wellspring that leads out of Hel. The water is dark and ominous, though not nearly as dark and ominous as Hela's face, closer than ever.

CAPTION (LOKI): A little raven told me that Hela was planning to release the souls of all the creatures whose death I inflicted. Or rather, that the Old Loki inflicted.

CAPTION (LOKI): Obviously, something had to be done. She isn't very happy about it.

Panel 3

Loki is is trying to crawl out of the water. The dead are grabbing at him, pulling him back to the spring and back to Hel.

CAPTION (LOKI): As much as I hate those old stories that she is trying to bring back...

CAPTION (LOKI): You have to admit that the best idea I ever had was in them.

Panel 4

A close up on Loki, a knowing smile on his face. The well is behind him, the hordes of dead cannot come out of it.

CAPTION (LOKI): And as any good storyteller knows, good ideas are worth using again and again...

LOKI (dialogue) : Oh good, you are finally here.

LOKI (dialogue): Hela is still intent on releasing those souls. Time to stop her.

Panel 5

Loki is standing in front of The Avengers. Cap, Thor, Iron Man, etc. He is pointing forward, shouting.

LOKI (thought balloon): This might be my only chance to say it...

LOKI (dialogue): Avengers... ASSEMBLE!

Next: With Loki as their leader, the Avengers go to Hel!