Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Orient Express - featuring Dan Hill's Unknown Soldier - by Ray Wonsowski

I still maintain, one of the greatest characters created on this website, was Dan Hill's take on the Unknown Soldier. See here, here, and here...


Panel 1- wide shot, a luxury private car of the Orient Express barrelling through a meadowed valley, surrounded by a backdrop of snow-capped mountains amidst a blue sky. Above a window, a small female figure, all white except for her long black hair, crouches on the roof, clutching the side of the car by the ornate trim. Her hair and loose white pants and blouse are being blown to the side, whipped by the wind.

CAPTION: One of the minor princelings in the House of Saud has been financing jihadi terror cells through child trafficking money laundered through his bank.

Panel 2- Interior of the luxury car. Foreground, the woman, the UNKNOWN SOLDIER, crashes in through the window. Background, a SAUDI BANKER (headdress still on, but half undressed) and a caucasian WOMAN (early 20's, swimsuit model's build, curly brown shoulder length hair, freckled skin, dressed only in her underwear), both on an enormous pile of tasseled cushions and pillows, are taken completely by surprise by the SOLDIER'S entrance. An ornamented scimitar hangs on the wall behind them.

CAPTION: Hate the sinning infidel, but love the sin.

Panel 3- close-up, the face of the BANKER, smiling as if sure that he has the upper hand here. Behind him, the WOMAN, still only in her underwear, pulls the scimitar from the wall in a fighting stance.

BANKER: You whore! Do you know who I am?!?

Panel 4- same POV as Panel 3, except the WOMAN has run the BANKER through with the sword from behind, only the bloody tip of the scimitar is visible in the panel. The BANKER looks at the tip in shock.

WOMAN: Yes. But do we care?

Panel 5- zoom out, the WOMAN lops the BANKER's head in a baseball bat-like swing of the scimitar. Foreground, the white linen pant leg of the SOLDIER.

WOMAN: Well, this won't end well. Carlyle'll have a fit...

Panel 6- zoom out, the WOMAN, background, tosses the sword aside and steps off the cushion pile. Foreground, the SOLDIER soccer kicks the BANKER's head out the broken window.

WOMAN: Seen you on the interwebs. Nice to meet you in person...

Panel 7- long wide shot, the Orient Express still barrelling through the countryside...

CAPTION (WOMAN): Military deep cover agent. Sergeant Francine Rock.
CAPTION (WOMAN): Friends call me Frankie.


  1. Hey R.A.,

    I've been wondering this for a while and can't make sense of it, but what is the significance of the numbered layouts?

    1. It's kind of a shorthand I've been using when I have a solid idea of how the page is supposed to flow. I don't use it all the time, only when I want the page to look at certain way. So the 1's are where panel 1 would go across the top of the page, 2's below that to the left, and so on.

    2. Oh neat. I can see how that's super-helpful. Thanks!

  2. Oh man, I figured we'd seen the end of Dan's Unknown Soldier, but this is an excellent return. I particularly like the bait and switch of placing the focus on her, while having the story mostly be about your contribution to Dan's mythos of Ms. Rock.

    I think my main suggestion would be to nix the part of showing Frankie with the sword on panel 3 before she runs through the guy on panel 4. I'd idly wondered if that's where it would go when she appeared in panel 2 and I think not telegraphing it would make the surprise a little more when he does get killed.

    Lovely piece though. Lots of fun.


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