Monday, September 14, 2015

Little Nemo in Slumberland - Thirty-Something Nemo in Slumberland - Colin Cheney

* Panel 1 stretches across top of the page with the title incorporated into the artwork. Panels 2-10 are arranged in a standard 9-panel grid. 

* As in an early McCay strip, captions should include panel number, and run through the white-space UNDERNEATH the associated panel. Captions carry over from one panel to another, as in McCay. See here for reference.

Panel 1 – The giant MAGOOZLA, a sort of large demon frog, is speaking to LUNATRIX (a clownish, star-faced servant). They stand outside the entrance of a train-tunnel that’s been cut into the side of an underwater mountain—they are lit by a glow that emanates from inside the tunnel (think: Smaug’s lair in Tolkien’s The Hobbit.) Around the tunnel entrance are hydrothermal vents, gushing blue-black smoke and bubbles: pale green and red tubeworms live around the vents, where they feed. Reference image. (Comic title should be incorporated into panel’s artwork in McCay style—see above.)


            MAGOOZLA: The Princess is inconsolable. Fetch Nemo!

            LUNATRIX: Oh, it’s been years – I pray he’ll come! 

Panel 2 – (Classic McCay side-view of bed.) NEMO, a middle-aged bearded man in t-shirt and boxer shorts, sits up in bed. He is exhausted and relieved as he has awoken out of a dream. But around him, the room is flooded up to the level of the mattress. The water is higher on the right-hand side of the panel—emphasizing that the water is coming from that direction

            NEMO: O, Mama. What a terrible dream! 

            CAPTION: {#1} Waking from a dream in which I was being waterboarded for something I hadn’t done, I discovered 

Panel 3 – Waist-deep in water, NEMO walks toward the bathroom door at the right side of the panel—his hands are raised in a gesture of disbelief. Water is pouring out of the bathroom door—as though the bathroom is completely full of water and it’s spilling over an invisible force-field into the bedroom.

            NEMO: What the what? Did I leave the faucet running? 

            CAPTION: {#2} my bedroom had flooded. I hurried toward the bathroom, keen to discover what was wrong. But I 

Panel 4 – A floating NURSE speaks to NEMO as he too floats, panicked, in a flooded train station. Because the bathroom is no longer a bathroom, but an underwater train station that is for some reason being used as a hospital. Water fills the whole panel now. The train station is like one of those London or Paris stations with the high-vaulted glass ceilings, and many parallel tracks, but only one waiting train to Slumberland. There are gurneys and operating tables on the train platforms—nurses and doctors calmly treating white-clad patients (think the M.A.S.H. operating theater as in this reference.) The tables et al are secured to the ground, but the doctors and nurses are floating in the water.

            NEMO: What…But I can’t breathe underwater!

            NURSE: Of course you can, Nemo. We’ve been able to for years! 

            CAPTION: {#3} found myself in an underwater train station being used as a triage hospital. A passing nurse calmed my 

Panel 5 – LUNATRIX waves to NEMO, who has now floated further into the station. Lunatrix is standing over a hospital gurney, holding a VHS videotape in his raised hand. On the gurney are a beat-up old cardboard box, and a glass jar filled with red flower heads. Next to the hospital gurney is a big-box TV and VHS player from the early nineties. Behind them the train to Slumberland remains visible.  

            LUNATRIX: Ah, there you are, Nemo! 

            LUNATRIX: We need to catch that bullet train to Slumberland! The princess… 

            CAPTION: {#4 } fears of drowning. Then I saw Lunatrix, and I knew I was returning to Slumberland after all these 

Panel 6—As he returns his attention to the box of videotapes, LUNATRIX hands NEMO the GLASS JAR.

            NEMO: What are you looking for?

            LUNATRIX: Here, hold this a second.

            LUNATRIX: I just need to find the home video of your birth! We can’t leave without it! 

            CAPTION: {#5} sad years! As he continued rifling through my old Star Trek videos, he handed me a jar full of beautiful 

Panel 7—NEMO opens the glass jar just a little bit. LUNATRIX, his back to NEMO, is putting a videotape into the VCR.

            NEMO: O, how beautiful! I wonder if these flowers smell like the ones…

            LUNATRIX: Is this the one? 

            CAPTION: {#6} flowers. They reminded me of the blood-colored blossoms that we saw that night by the swimming

Panel 8—NEMO drops the glass jar in shock as the blossoms inside explode into a wild thicket of reaching vines that begin to fill the panel. Hearing what NEMO said in last panel, LUNATRIX has turned to try to stop NEMO, but it’s too late. The idea here is that when water is added to these flowers, they grow like crazy—expanding without end. Like those little capsules you add water to and foam dinosaurs burst forth.         

            LUNATRIX: No, don’t open that!

            NEMO: O no!

            CAPTION: {#7} pool. But when I opened the jar, the blossoms exploded in a storm of reaching, choking vines. I tried 

Panel 9—NEMO and LUNATRIX are overtaken by the mad, flowering vines. We can see that the jar was caught by the vines before it could hit the ground. The vines and blossoms fill the whole panel—we should see faces and hands, but otherwise only solid vegetation. Red should be the overwhelming color in this panel.

            LUNATRIX: Oh no! Wait Nemo! We can still catch the train!

            NEMO: I can’t breathe! O mama, papa! 

            CAPTION: {#8} to reach Lunatrix, but the flowers were drowning me. I knew I must try to catch this train to Slumberland 

Panel 10—NEMO is back in his bedroom—he’s fallen half out of bed, tangled in his bedsheets. His toddler DAUGHTER stands next to the bed in her pajamas (covered with frogs and toads echoing MAGOOZLA a little bit), scratching her head. 

            DAUGHTER: What happened, Daddy? Did you eat more chocolate ice cream before bed? 

            CAPTION: {#9} but then I woke up.

1 comment:

  1. I'm well and truly impressed. You manage to channel the spirit of Windsor McCay, and at the same time deliver a surreal (and somewhat scary) peek into adult dreamlife. You pack a ton of detail into this, perfect for a full page newspaper strip. Killer, all around.


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