Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Warren Ellis – From the Mind of Warren Ellis – MK Stangeland Jr.

(I may have taken Ray’s original phrasing for the week a touch too literally, but oh well.)

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: WARREN ELLIS is sitting in a high-tech looking chair, reaching up to something that’s off-panel. The room should have an unnerving edge to it.

Panel 2: WARREN ELLIS has put on a high-tech helmet that’s attached to the ceiling by high-tech wires, the whole thing should have a comic-book like atmosphere to it. This includes a pair of rods that look like they’ve phased through his head into his brain by some kind of BS Scientific means the likes of which probably shouldn’t actually work.

Panel 3: WARREN ELLIS sits in the chair. His face is a mix of one-part hard at work concentrating, one part relaxing and letting whatever process is occurring just happen.

Panel 4: We see past WARREN ELLIS and his chair to a high-tech terminal nearby, where a digital display looks like it’s forging pages out of thin air in a matter that’s far more complicated and impressive-looking than it needs to be.

Panel 5: Sitting on the display are now piles of pages – they look rather very much like a script of some kind. WARREN ELLIS has gotten out of his chair – he’s no longer wearing the helmet, either – and approaches the pages.

Panel 6: WARREN ELLIS is reading through one of the collections of pages. He looks quite pleased with himself.

WARREN ELLIS (1): Looks like another work of genius.

WARREN ELLIS (2): I pity Grant Morrison and his silly mystical mumbo-jumbo.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Warren Ellis's Trees - The Tree of Green Gables - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Establishing shot. The parking lot / entrance of an amusement park set up around a large Tree that rears into the sky. The sign out front reads Charlottetown Tree Park. There's plenty of cars in the lot, people queuing to go inside.

CAPTION: Prince Edward Island, Canada

MIKEY (tailless): Why do people keep coming?

2 - Two young men, Mikey and Ian, working as janitors in the park, are cleaning up litter and the like. Mikey is just out of high school, the kind of kid who is malcontent with the world, but not always clear with what he's malcontent about. Ian is a few years older, a bit gothy, and is clearly a figure that Mikey looks up to. Mikey and Ian look at each other in conversation, The Tree looms in the background.

MIKEY: You can see it from anywhere on the island.

IAN: People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

3 - From the Tree's perspective, looking down towards Mikey and Ian. Ian gestures towards the Tree. There are visitors all around them, but unlike Mikey or Ian, they are all looking up at the Tree.

IAN: But seeing as that's so hard to find, most people will mistake being in the presence of something physically immense as one and the same.

4 - Long shot of the shore of Prince Edward Island / Charlottetown. The Tree looms large in the distance, standing out from everything around it.

IAN (tailless): Sad really.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Warren Ellis's GRAVEL - Turn the Page, Part 5 - Ray Wonsowski

See last episode for links to the first 4 parts to the story...

Previously...CLEA, antique dealer AUGUST TURN, and private eye JESSICA JONES had been pulled into the Dark Dimension via a portal hidden in an armoire. Sensing the mystical imbalance impending, LADY SATAN has dispatched to their aid the mysterious gunslinger, the ACE OF SPADES, and a certain WILLIAM GRAVEL...


Panel 1- CLEA, her hands in the throes of magick gesticulation, strains to reinforce her protective spell, a large translucent angelic aura embossed with the glyphs of Heaven. AUGUST and JESSICA hide behind her as a cadre of MINDLESS ONES batter the aura.

CLEA: Shield of the Seraphim!!
AUGUST: What are these things?!?
CLEA: Minions of my uncle. Mindless Ones - their only drive is to destroy all that lies before them.
JESSICA: We need help!!

Panel 2- same as above, except, as if on cue, mystic bullets curve and weave through the MINDLESS ONES, causing them to shatter, just as CLEA's shield cracks.

(Off-panel): Right.

Panel 3- POV change, Dutch angle, two silhouettes, one a bulky male, the other a slender female, both holstering pistols, walking toward us through a cloud of floating pebbles.

GRAVEL: This isn't just a stroll through the Body Orchard. This is the first salvo in what could be an interdimensional war.

Panel 4- same as above, but the pebble cloud has parted like curtains, revealing WILLIAM GRAVEL, dressed in military fatigues, and the ACE OF SPADES, minus the cowboy hat, hair tied back, in purple silk pants and blouse tied at the navel (note: her revolvers are holstered handles outward, as if she draws cross-armed). The ACE points her thumb at GRAVEL, while he waves her off with his palm.

ACE OF SPADES: Mister Melodrama here, everything is so "worst case scenario"...
GRAVEL: 'cuz everything IS worst-case. 
GRAVEL: I'm Bill Gravel, S.A.S. Combat magician. This is the ACE, immortal gunslinger.
ACE: We're the cavalry. be continued...

Why Warren Ellis?

Because everyone has heroes, lists, and favorites.
Thank you, Mr. Ellis.
Ask me which sports star is my favorite, without a doubt it's football (still can't bring myself to call it soccer anymore) wunderkind Lionel Messi. Drummer? Carl Palmer. Top three guitarists? Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Sammy Hagar. But when it comes to writers, the name at the top of the list is Warren Ellis. And instead of writing his resume, just check the images of some of his work:
Lazarus Churchyard
Excalibur, X-Force, X-Man, and Astonishing X-Men
Spider Jerusalem in Transmet
Ocean and Orbiter...
Doktor Sleepless, Anna Mercury, and Bad Signal
William Gravel and Richard Fell
Nextwave, greatest Superhero comic ever...
FreakAngels and Ignition City
No Hero, Black Summer, and Supergod
And that's just to name a few! So, this week's challenge: pick your favorite Warren Ellis as your inspiration, and give us a page. You can play at home, too; just leave us a page of script in the Comment section below.

And Warren, if you're out there...Thank you. Thank you very much.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Frosty the Snowman - Rescue - P. A. Nolte

1/ An icy, metallic castle buffeted by harsh winds and buried in snow banks.  This is the frozen fortress of Klaus Zatan, cruel Imperator of the Southern Pole.

Cap: History is littered with those who have lost their way.  Misers without spirit.  Monsters with congenital heart defects.  But none so lost...

2/ Perched on his throne, swaddled in ragged furs, is the vulture-like visage of Zatan.  Chained to the throne beside him is a more familiar figure, the portly Santa Claus, who is not quite his usual jovial self at the moment.


Zatan: This is your last warning, brother!  I will not be participant to one of your wretched claymation specials!

Santa: But, Klaus...

3/ Santa is pleading now, but Zatan merely rolls his eyes.  This is the same sob story he's heard for centuries.  A slightly new wrinkle, perhaps, but otherwise well-trodden ground.

Santa: Stealing the toys children already have?!  Why, that's worse than no Christmas at all!

Zatan: Precisely!  When I give word, my army of gremlins will disperse!  At the flick of a switch, the chaos will begin, and--


4/ Their attention is drawn away from each other by the large boom of Zatan's throne room doors bursting wide open, and the figure that fills their frame.

Frosty (OP): I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Klaus.

5/ Frosty.  He is not the snow-covered 80's action hero you might expect in this setting, but the traditional snowman.  Hat, pipe, scarf.  The only difference is the heavy brow over his coal eyes.  Behind him are several piles of incapacitated gremlins.  At his side is Rudolph, nose gleaming.  As far as they are concerned, nobody ruins Christmas.  Nobody.

Frosty: Let. Santa. Go.

Friday, December 25, 2015

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN—“Frosty, the Elemental Man”—David Press

This idea initially started out as a single page but ballooned to three pages. This is a bit of a consolidation of the last half of page two and page three. In this case, we have Frosty as a kind of Swamp Thing-like being that can literally be anywhere there is snow. Happy holidays to you all! Thanks for letting me be a part of this group.


1.1: A full-fledged FROSTY sits in front of a single story office building. Three mounds, rocks for buttons, a carrot nose, etc. The building he's sitting in front of has a SNOW FLAKE logo etched in the window just behind Frosty.

The LETTERING under the logo displays FROST INSURANCE.

TWO KIDS are playing with him. Say one boy and one girl, decked out in full winter clothes. The BOY (who is the taller of the two by a full head) puts a Santa Cap on Frosty’s head; the GIRL wraps a scarf around his nonexistent neck.

            1. FROSTY’S NARRATION [Caption]: When people treat me as their totem, it means regeneration.

1.2: A rainstorm hits the same-sized panel and it starts washing away the snow. Just so we’re clear, I’m going to say Frosty’s narrative captions are now going to be labeled “Frosty”.

            2. FROSTY: Things happen—seasons change and so do we all.
            3. FROSTY: Eventually we all wither--

1.3: Frosty starts melting into the snow-patched grass.

            4. FROSTY: --and go to ground.

1.4: He’s down to just two mounds—his torso and his head.

            5. FROSTY: That’s okay, though. That’s the cycle of our planet.

1.5: He’s just a head now.

            6. FROSTY: We’re all going to end up in the dirt, but that’s what makes grass grow and trees bud, and feeds vegetables for—

1.6: Frosty is now a puddle seeping into soaked grass. The only thing left of him is the soaked Santa cap.  

            7. FROSTY: --animals and you all to eat from.
            8. FROSTY: That’s why I’m an elemental man.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Frosty the Snowman - Prog 8 - Ray Wonsowski

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...continuing the music-fueled adventures of Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins.

(Turn the Page will return next week. In the meantime...)

After having crash-landed on Earth during WWII, the Twins have been fighting for truth, justice, and peace on our world for decades. Now, they are returning to theirs, to free the child slaves of New Exor...

Panel 1- at the mouth of the cave chamber where the slaves are penned, ZAN peers inside as he and JAYNA bump fists with a purple flash. ZAN is holding a sparking baton in his free hand, which looks like it was "borrowed" from the guard knocked out cold at their feet.

CAPTION: Down to the village...

Panel 2- the TWINS unlocking the cages, freeing the children, JAYNA in the shape of a squid so she can open multiple cages at the same time. ZAN is scanning to the side, as something has caught his eye.

CAPTION: ...with a boomstick in his hand, running here and there, all around the square...

Panel 3- cut to another GUARD reclining on a stool against the wall, watching a ball of ice roll by.

SoundFX: thumpity-thump-thump

Panel 4- the GUARD bends down to examine the ball of ice as another rolls by, a rotund shadow cast over him.

SoundFX: thumpity-thump-thump
ZAN (off-panel): Psst.

Panel 5- from the guard's POV, looking up, ZAN, in the form of a pissed-off Frosty the Snowman, snowy fist pulled back about to come down like a hammer.

ZAN/FROSTY: Happy birthday.

Panel 6- black panel.
SoundFX: WHAM!

Next Prog: Freedom! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Frosty the Snowman - The Good News and Bad News of Being a MAGICAL CHRISTMAS SNOWMAN - MK Stangeland Jr.

(Confession Time - I didn't actually write out a script this week. I went straight from writing out the concept in a notepad to drawing it out on my computer.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Frosty the Snowman - "I'll Be Back Again Some Day" - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Establishing shot of a house in winter time with a car and U-Haul parked in the driveway. It should probably be snowing.

KYLE (from within): I don't think I can properly explain how happy I am to be coming back home to where there's honest to goodness snow during the holidays.

2 - Interior. Kyle and Vicky, our youngish couple, are unpacking some boxes in a pretty sparse living room. Let's say they have a couch they're sitting on, but not much else yet. Vicky is focused on the task at hand, smiling knowingly to herself at all this pro-winter sentiment. Kyle is distracted from the task at hand by Vicky's surprising words.

VICKY: Your parents were the same way when they dropped off a box of your old winter stuff earlier.

KYLE (1): My old winter--

KYLE (2): Where's that box?!

3 - Now it's Vicky's turn to be surprised, turning her head to follow Kyle as he abandons his box and runs off to the next room.

VICKY: The den, I think...

4 - On Kyle as he's walking back into the living room holding a pretty worn looking cardboard box. He's absolutely beaming.

KYLE: Vick, I take it back.

5 - On the box. Written on its front is a big ol' "FROSTY", written by hand in old marker. The box sits on the couch, flaps open. Inside, a top hat, scarf, pipe, and all those relevant bits of paraphernalia poke out of the its opening.

KYLE (tailles): ...I know exactly how to explain it.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why Frosty the Snowman?

Because Rudolph wasn't paying the bills anymore...
Circa 1950.
65 years ago, country balladeer Gene Autry was looking for a follow-up to his Christmas hit about a certain red-nosed reindeer. Writers Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson brought this little ditty to the table, and Autry's Christmas career was secured.
Hello, childhood!
Fast forward to 1969. Rankin-Bass, stop motion animation studio extraordinaire, was running behind on their latest holiday masterpiece, and to make a contractual deadline, turned to cel animation. Arthur Rankin wanted the art to look like a Christmas card, so Jules Bass turned to Mad Magazine illustrator Paul Coker to do production design, and Jimmy "hot-cha-cha-cha" Durante to narrate the tale, his last work before his death. Since then...well, there must've been some magic in that old silk hat, because TV Frosty hasn't missed a Christmas since.
P.S. my favorite performance of the song is the one by the Ronettes, produced by Phil Spector in 1963.
So, Happy Christmas to everyone. From all of us here at Thoughtballoons, Season's Greetings!
Follow me for fun!!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Public Domain Characters--Sherlock Holmes--David Press.


1.1: Opening on 221B Baker Street’s door. There’s something hitting the door from the inside, so perhaps show some impact lines pushing the white door outward.  

SFX: Thunk.

1.2: The door comes completely loose and a long coated, curly haired SHERLOCK HOLMES from the modern era, (think Cumberbatch), flies out onto the sidewalk. In the doorway we can see a DARK HAIRED face, left fist raised. It's MORIARTY in each of these sequences. 

CAPTION [Time/Location]: Earth 212. London, England, 2015.

1.3: Similar shot this time, but now there is a tall and skinny SHERLOCK in mid-air falling off the stoop of a Brooklyn brownstone. This one could be the Elementary Sherlock played by Johnnie Lee Miller. In this case, Moriarty is a woman--blonde-haired and steel eyed. Moriarty has her leg raised in a front snap kick pushing Sherlock out the door.  

CAPTION [Time/Location]: Earth 518. Brooklyn, NY, 2015.

1.4: Now we’re in a field where an older man walks towards the reader wearing a bathrobe and a bowler hat and a cane. This is OLD MAN SHERLOCK, and I’m using him mostly because I just saw the delightful Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellan.

CAPTION [Time/Location]: Earth 72. Lake District, England, 1909.

1.5: The two Sherlocks—call them CUMBERLOCK and ELSHERL—roll down the hill towards OLD MAN SHERLOCK.

OLD MAN: Well, what do we have here?

1.6: Cumberlock and ElSherl, totally puzzled, stand on opposite sides framing Old Man Sherlock.

CUMBERLOCK: It was Moriarty!

OLD MAN SHERLOCK: Perhaps this is some cheap cash in? 

ELSHERL: Or Crisis of Infinite Sherlocks!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Public Domain - Lady Satan and the Ace of Spades (Turn the Page, interlude) - Ray Wonsowski

In case you haven't joined us before, here are the previous chapters of Turn the Page:


Panel 1- a lady's slender fingers, her nails shellacked blood red, lightly brush the surface of a crystal ball. A green glow from the serpent ring on her middle finger seems to cause eddies in the grey mists inside the glass.

LADY SATAN (off-panel): The Ring of Dragon Scale unveils the shadow-world. The Sorceress Supreme eclipsed...

Panel 2- same as above, except the image in the ball is cleared: CLEA, consumed head to toe in the Flames of the Faltine, tearing the Cloak of Levitation in two.

LADY SATAN (off-panel): ...undone by her Faltine blood and passions strange long cooled...

Panel 3- same as above, but the image has changed to the confused goofy expression of AUGUST TURN, his head encircled by surreal shapelets.

LADY SATAN (off-panel): Turn to a new apprentice, she has chosen poorly...

Panel 4- same as above, the image has coalesced to a towering DORMAMMU.

LADY SATAN (off-panel): ...leaving her unprepared for her demonic uncle lying in wait...

Panel 5- from her chair behind a simple table, her fingers still stroking the now fogged crystal ball, rises the LADY SATAN (imagine Betty Page in a sleeveless blood red evening gown, a pale green silk blindfold over her eyes). The wallhanging behind her is a blow-up of the Tarot card, the Hierophant.

LADY SATAN: What she sees as unfinished family business, may actually be a dimensional incursion the likes of which she may be woefully unprepared for.

Panel 6- reclining in a throne-like chair, long legs draped over one armrest, sits the ACE OF SPADES. (She is slender, lanky, dressed like a female Stevie Ray Vaughn, black leather boots and pants, black silk shirt knotted at the navel, her domino mask visible under her wide-brimmed western-style hat, reddish brown hair knotted in a ponytail.) She is pushing her hat brim off her brow with a shiny steel long-barrelled Colt Revolver, a thin-lipped smile at us. - Behind her is another wallhanging, the Wheel of Fortune.

ACE OF SPADES: She's been beyond her reach since Stephen Strange disappeared. She may need a little back-up.

Panel 7- LADY SATAN and ACE OF SPADES face each other from opposite sides of the swirling crystal ball. LADY SATAN still stroking the glass, her ring still glowing, the ACE holsters her pistol. On the wall hangs a third Tarot blow-up, the Lovers.

LADY SATAN: You yourself may not be enough to turn the tide. A gifted gunslinger you may be, but to win, it may take the aid...

Panel 8- close-up of the crystal ball, the image of the profile of WILLIAM GRAVEL, head haloed by a ring of bones, now clear.

LADY SATAN (off-panel): ...of a combat magician. be continued...