Sunday, June 7, 2015

Why Transitions? - Hansel Moreno

“Why this transition?” is something I find myself asking often when reading a comic. I was a casual reader until about nine years ago. I would pick up a trade from a library or a second hand store now and then but comics weren’t staples in my life.

When I started reading comics weekly they became more than entertainment. They became charts and maps to be studied. I saw how different artists and writers crafted their stories and guided us (the audience) to the ending they envisioned. Page and panel layouts, color schemes, font choices, every little detail added so much to the book.

I’ve been writing for about two years and as much as I enjoy reading scripts, examining thumbnails and fawning over the finished art I am still getting accustomed to having others interested in my scripts. When I was invited by Grant to contribute to Thought Balloons I was beyond excited. It was difficult to narrow down my theme for the week but I looked back over my notes on the scripts I’m currently mulling over and picked out what was troubling me.

“Why this transition?”

In writing my scripts I aim for short, compact stories. I cut down my scripts to the shortest page count possible without sacrificing story quality. This is mostly out of necessity as I do not have the budget to tell a sprawling epic story. Often transitions in comics are at the page turn. Get to the end of the current page spread, turn the page and new chapter, new setting. Transitions are useful when switching between characters or locations. They can be subtle, jarring, a pause in the story or a jump into the middle of the action. Once in a while there is a chase scene or montage that requires multiple settings in one page. When these scene jumps are executed well it creates a fast pace in the story that could otherwise meander.

I hope we can show the effectiveness of transitions in these next few scripts.

Thanks to Grant and the crew for letting me explore this current obsession.


  1. Hey. Being brave and commenting. :)

    I've been hearing heaps of feedback in my writing regarding the whole idea of "show don't tell". So much so it's almost annoying, but sound advice in some cases.

    My favourite transitions I can remember growing up was in X-men, especially when a being (ie. Phoenix) would change into something greater or die for the millionth time (ie. Phoenix again). I love building up my transitions but then I guess that's where my telling happens rather than showing.

    Sometimes the best transitions are the page turners. Sometimes it's a bit like "is that it?".

    Thanks for letting me share my 'comment balloon'? :)


    1/ A man in bed. Unhappy. The alarm clock beeps.

    Caption: Monday

    SFX: deet deet deet

    2/ The man in the shower. Water pours over his hung head.

    Caption: Tuesday

    3/ The man, now wearing glasses, straightens his tie in the mirror.

    Caption: Wednesday

    4/ The man walks morosely with a crowd of people down a busy sidewalk.

    Caption: Thursday

    5/ The man sits as his desk, piled with papers, looking at his watch. The digital alarm has just gone off. His dour expression has given way to one of excitment.

    Caption: Friday

    6/ T.A. Terror, a man in his mid-30's who has subscribed fully to the maniacal-villain-with-frizzy-hair-and-a-bowtie look. He is (mostly) behind the wheel of a large robot with a cracked dome. Omegaman, Paragon of Virtue, has T.A. Terror by the front of his shirt. Omegaman has a huge smile on his face.

    T.A. Terror: You can't stop me this time, Omegaman! Not even you can get to the detonator in time!

    Omegaman: I don't have to. Ms. Lark?

    7/ A woman slumps against a control panel with one screen displaying the Omegaman/T.A. Terror fight and another, smaller screen reads DEACTIVATED.

    Lisa Lark: Crisis averted, Omegaman!

    Omegaman (digi): And to think, Terror. You could have earned that multi-disciplinary doctorate by now if not for your single-minded villainy, ...

    Omegaman (digi): Same time next week?

    T.A. Terror (digi): Yeah, ...

    8/ A man, one we now recognize as the civilian identity of Omegaman, in bed. Smiling. The alarm clock is beeping.

    Caption: Monday

    SFX: deet deet deet

  3. Good to see you again, P.A.! A fun little page with a neat idea filled with a colourful cast of characters. It feels a little full, but the Monday to Friday grind could be pretty small to avoid some of that tightness.

    For the last bit, I'd suggest cutting down the dialogue a bit so it isn't too cramped. For example, you could cut the quick exchange between Omegaman and Terror and replace it with a caption on the Monday panel 8 along the lines of "Will you ever learn?" to communicate the same idea in a more concise manner.



    Derek Adnams

    Page 1 – (7 Panels)

    1.1: Interior, a fun house hall of mirrors. A Young Woman in her early twenties is standing in the middle of the panel surrounded by reflections of herself. She is wearing black Doc Marten boots, ripped faded jeans and a black hoodie. Her strawberry blonde hair hangs half-way down her back. She is confused and bewildered, glancing around nervously.

    Caption: Tran•si•tion.

    Caption: Noun: The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

    1.2: The Young Woman turning to look at the reader, hair swirling around her face. There is a wall of mirrors behind her and moving from left to right in the panel we see the Young Woman’s reflection transforming from her current state to an image of herself dressed in a blue wedding dress. The Bride in Blue is smiling.

    Caption: Noun: A momentary modulation from one key to another.

    1.3: The Bride in Blue walking out of the mirror, surrounded by images of the Bride in Blue standing stone still, clutching a bouquet of black and orange flowers.

    Caption: Noun: A passage in a piece of writing that smoothly connects two topics or sections to each other.

    1.4: The Bride in Blue taking the Young Woman’s hand, energy from her wedding dress crawling up the Young Woman’s arm. The reflections of the Bride in Blue are all looking behind themselves in the surrounding mirrors.

    Caption: Noun: A change of an atom, nucleus, electron, etc., from one quantum state to another, with emission or absorption of radiation.

    1.5: The Bride in Blue kissing the Young Woman, even more energy coating the Young Woman. Behind them, in the mirrors, the Young Woman is attacking the Bride in Blue, each reflection a different scene of aggression.

    Caption: Noun.

    1.6: The Young Woman turning into a “mirror image” of the Bride in Blue. The background mirrors are not visible in this panel.

    Caption: Verb: Undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.

    1.7: The Brides in Blue holding hands, surrounded by reflections of the Young Woman banging on the glass, the mirrors, from the inside. These reflection selves are alone in the mirrors, the Brides in Blue having escaped.

    Caption: Tran•si•tion.


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If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.