Monday, November 28, 2016

The Ancient One - Lessons Learned - Grant McLaughlin

1 - An image of Dr. Strange's original pilgrimage to the Ancient One's temple to learn the ways of magic.  Dr. Strange is haughty and overconfident; the Ancient One is calm and serene.

CAPTION (THE ANCIENT ONE): "It is not a simple matter to take on an apprentice."

2 - Jump forward in time in Dr. Strange's training.  Dr. Strange lies on the ground, having been overwhelmed in an attempt to cast a light spell.  He looks disheartened and defeated.  The Ancient One stands nearby, having successfully cast the same light spell, which burns brightly above their hands.

CAPTION (THE ANCIENT ONE): "It's not that a good student should never make mistakes."

3 - Jump forward in time to Dr. Strange being his own hero.  He is in a similar position on the ground, but he has a small shield of light above his head, which blocks some negative energy being cast at him by Baron Mordo.  Dr. Strange grits his teeth in determination.

CAPTION (THE ANCIENT ONE): "But that they have the strength to recover and learn from them."

4 - Jump forward in time again.  Dr. Strange stands tall, casting a cascading wall of light towards Dormammu, who floats ahead in the darkness.  This should be outside, at a distance where it's still clear who both characters are but also at a remove where the scale of what Dr. Strange is doing is also clear.

CAPTION (THE ANCIENT ONE): "Ideally, they will not only surpass the master."

5 - Shot of planet Earth from space.  A huge halo of light surrounds the planet.  Whether or not this is a leap forward in time is immaterial.  To the side, an enormous, ghostly version of the Ancient One watches on, satisfaction on their face as they fade away.

CAPTION (THE ANCIENT ONE): "They'll also light the world long after we've faded away."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Ancient One - Origin – MK Stangeland Jr.

(4 Panels)

Panel 1: Location - Kamar-Taj, a long time ago. The ANCIENT ONE (movie version) sits in front of a character who resembles the comic version of the Ancient One, referred to here as the ELDER ONE. Here, the ANCIENT ONE is stylized towards an appearance fitting her Celtic heritage, rather than that of a wise master as seen in the movie.

ELDER ONE (1): The power you seek cannot be found here.

ELDER ONE (2): To the contrary, the power you seek it not a power I can allow to fall into the hands of anyone.

Panel 2: Continuation of PANEL 1, focusing towards ANCIENT ONE.

ELDER ONE (1): Revenge is not something we condone here at Kamar-Taj.

ANCIENT ONE: <Revenge? I haven’t said anything about revenge.>

ELDER ONE (2): You didn’t have to.

Panel 3: Continuation of PANEL 2, focusing towards ELDER ONE.

ELDER ONE (1): You think you’re the first one to come here with a tale of woe and an ambiguous desire to set things right?

ELDER ONE (2): What you don’t say and how you choose not to say it says far more than you think.

Panel 4: Focus on ELDER ONE, with a great cosmic display behind him.

ELDER ONE (1): We can train you to heal. We can help you to move on in life. We can even give you new purpose in life.

ELDER ONE (2): But what we deal in here requires a dedication to something far greater than ones self. You cannot possibly imagine the utter insignificance of each of us compared to what we have dedicated ourselves to here.

ELDER ONE (3): And it is something for which there is no room for revenge or any other petty forms of self-declared vengeance.

ELDER ONE (4): No.

ELDER ONE (5): Room.

ELDER ONE (6): At.

ELDER ONE (7): All.


Why The Ancient One?

Mostly, it’s because I realized that we forgot to do a prompt for the release of Doctor Strange a few weeks back and, with Strange himself already having been chosen, the Ancient One seemed the next best choice (which should be a fairly evident thing if you’ve seen the movie. And if you haven’t yet for whatever reason, can I recommend that you do?)

It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that everyone needs a mentor. Tony Stark got by without one, and for all his issues, he does relatively fine for himself all things considered.

But making this far easier? That’s something that having a mentor unquestionably does do. Someone to pass along their knowledge, someone to point you in the right direction when you’re accidentally heading down the wrong path, someone to be there to answer your questions when you’re lost and confused.

Learning the mystic arts – or how to be a doctor – may take years of studying and practices, but it’s made far easier with the assistance of someone who actually knows what they’re doing, that person who already has those years of study and practice behind them. And in whatever form they may come, The Ancient One is that to Doctor Strange.

Plus, if you dare to take on the movie version? You’ve got yourself a character with a largely untouched on back story. Hints and details may have been given about her existence before the movie, and there’s always a possibility said details may be filled in more in future movies, but for now? It’s potentially a very fertile space to work with.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

HOPE--David Press.


1.1: Opening on a perfectly normal suburban house in a flat suburban street.
CAPTION:                             Everything changes and recycles.

1.2: Inside the house, in the living room to be precise a family plays with an INFANT on a play mat. GRANDMA, GRANDPA, and MOM sit around the baby on the mat. The baby is kicking and cooing and generally being happy.
CAPTION:                             But certain things stay the same. That’s where hope lives.

1.3: Pan to the left of the previous panel and there is an UNCLE, AUNT, and FATHER of the infant. They’re watching the infant’s 1-YEAR-OLD cousin stomp around like Godzilla through some blocks.
CAPTION:                             In the sameness. When you feel like change you throw out what didn’t work and try something new.

Hope - Fight the Darkness - Perry Kent

I thought this might make a good story of hope. It warms my heart every time I see something like this in the news.  

Panel 1
Exterior, day. A man, wearing a kippah, walks along a city sidewalk in a suit. He is on his way to his synagogue.

1. Man (caption): Things have gone so wrong lately.

Panel 2
The man steps around the corner, his back facing the reader. In front of him is a large group of people gathered outside of his synagogue. They are holding signs that can't quite be made out.

2. Man (caption): Sometimes it feels like we're moving backward, into the darkness.

Panel 3
The man holds his head high, ready to plunge into the sea of "protestors". The "protestors" are still very indistinct, so we can't tell their emotions or why they're there.

3. Man (caption): We've made it through before.

Panel 4
The people make a path through the crowd that the man walks through. We can't tell the crowd's emotions or why they're there.

[No Copy]

Panel 5
The man faces the crowd of people. He is standing on the steps of his synagogue.

4. Man: Thank you all.

Panel 6
The crowd is revealed. They are a happy group of people there to support the synagogue attendees. They are holding signs with slogans such as "We Stand Together", "Friends of all Faiths", and "Peace and Goodwill". A strong multi-cultural mix to the crowd to show this isn't just one community or religion, but a large gathering of many groups.

5: Man (caption): But it's easier to face the darkness with friends.

- END -

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hope – Keep Hoping – MK Stangeland Jr.

(6 Panels)

Panel 1: A Flying ‘DOOM CASTLE’ sits in the air not far from a ye old style city.

LORD VILLAIN (1): (From Castle) Muah ha ha!

LORD VILLAIN (2): (From Castle) Once the city of Rigor falls, what can stand between me and the conquest of all cities beyond it?!


Panel 2: A beam of energy fires from the castle toward the city. The beam is made up of dark, foreboding, energy, but it stopped before it can hit the city by a brightly lit barrier of light and counter-energy.

SFX: (From dark energy) DESPAAAAAAAAAAAIR!!!

Panel 3: LORD VILLAIN, looking down from a balcony on the Doom Castle at the beam of despair as it’s blocked by the energy barrier.

LORD VILLAIN (1): What?!

LORD VILLAIN (2): What is the meaning of this!?

LORD VILLAIN (3): I demand an explanation!

Panel 4: Inside RIGOR, where SIR HEROIC and GOVERNOR FLYNN stand on top of a building watching as the beam of despair continues to hit the energy barrier.

GOVERNOR FLYNN: You’ve done it, Sir Heroic! We’re saved!

SIR HEROIC: All in a days work, Governor!

Panel 5: GOVERNOR FLYNN continues to converse with SIR HEROIC.

GOVERNOR FLYNN (1): So how do you plan to stop Lord Villain and his Cannon of Despair for good?

SIR HEROIC (1): Uh…I don’t actually have a plan for that yet.


SIR HEROIC (2): I was mostly focused on saving the city and figured I work out the next part later.

Panel 6: SIR HEROIC places a hand on GOVERNOR FLYNN’s shoulder as he puts on a look of determination.

SIR HEROIC: But I’m sure that if you and the citizens of this town hope for a solution to present itself hard enough, it’ll be more than enough to keep this Shield of Hope operational until I’ve figured out a solution to the problem!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hope - Seeds - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Inside a cozy home.  A little girl stands at the window, looking outside.  Her mother comes up behind her, wondering what's up.

DAUGHTER: Where are they?

MOTHER: Where are what?

DAUGHTER: The flowers!

2 - Outside the home, looking at the same window, the daughter and mother both visible in the window.  The mother looks at her daughter with a warm smile; the daughter looks up, curious.  Below the window is a nascent garden before them, by which I mean a patch of dirt with a little border around it.

MOTHER (1): Honey, we planted them yesterday.  Some things take time.

MOTHER (2): Putting them in the ground was only the first step.

3 - Flashforward to a day or two later.  The daughter holds a watering can and waters the dirt.  The mother looks on approvingly.

CAPTION (MOTHER): "We'll need to take care of them."

4 - Flashforward to a bit further down the line.  The daughter and mother are weeding together, but it's also clear the flowers are starting to grow as little stalks of green are rising up towards the sky.

CAPTION (MOTHER): "Nurture them."

5 - Flashforward a little bit further.  The mother chases after a cat that was snacking on some budding flowers (just this side of blooming).  The mother holds a broom and the daughter chases after her as well.  Maybe there's some damage to the garden border where the cat came in.

CAPTION (MOTHER): "Maybe even protect them."

6 - Flashforward to an honest to goodness garden.  It's pretty modest, with a smattering of flowers here and there, but the daughter is over the moon with it.  She skips about, absolutely thrilled.  The mother looks on, beaming.

CAPTION (MOTHER): "It'll take work."

DAUGHTER: Look, Mom!  The flowers!  You did it!

MOTHER: Oh, no, honey.

7 - Close up on one of the flowers.  It's maybe a bit smaller than a platonic flower, but it has a clear beauty to it.

MOTHER (off-panel): ...We did it.

CAPTION (MOTHER): "But it will be worth it."

Why Hope?

I mean, you really only need to look out the window, right?

If there's ever been a time for hope, it feels like 2016 is definitely it.  The world has always had its problems, but it's hard not to feel like this year has seen a sharp turn for the worse.  For the harder.  For the meaner.

I won't bother listing headlines, but the extensive list does lend itself to the kind of feeling of dread and seeming futility that is hard to shake.  Hell, it can be hard to do anything in the face of the sheer amount of awfulness that just keeps coming.  It can feel to the point where hoping things will get better can feel impossible.  Where it would be easier to do nothing.

However, I think we also know - in our heart of hearts - that that's wrong.  As bleak as things may feel, they can get better.  But just as sitting around in fear is not a long-term solution, neither is sitting around in hope.

So often when we think of hope, it's in the sense of believing that something will occur.  But it cannot be passive.  Hope must be active.  We have to get out and make it happen.  Change won't come and things won't improve if we don't.  Whether it's attending protests and demonstrations, participating in community organizing, helping those in need, being an ally, or any number of a long, long list - a list that includes making art - it's up to us to act in the face of hope.  To make our hopes a reality, big or small, every action helps.

I'm under no illusion that some comic scripts will save the world.  But they might make it a little bit better.

I hope you'll agree.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving - Tradition - P. A. Nolte

1/ A man stands in the checkout line at a grocery store.  He is surrounded by the harried faces of people buying one last can of cranberry sauce, or another bag of ice, or any number of minor things that slipped through the cracks in their extensive shopping lists.

2/ The items on the belt are recognizably his.  A few frozen pizzas and a six pack of beer.

3/ The cashier chirps at him with a smile on her face.  He smirks and slides his debit card.

Cashier: That'll be $16.21.

Man: Ominous.

Cashier: I'm sorry?

Man: Nevermind.

4/ Outside of a small house is a parked car.

5/ The man sits on his couch in front of a television.  He has a beer in one hand and a piece of pizza in the other.  He is content. On the TV is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

TV (digi): --another balloon from the popular children's show--

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanksgiving - Mixed Blessings - Perry Kent

Panel 1
A girl, around 12, trudges out the front door of a house. She has a large puffy jacket and a dour expression on her face. Her hands are in her pockets as she is looking toward the ground. Yelling issues from inside the house.

1. VOICE #1 (shout, inside house): He isn't qualified to run anything bigger than a bowling alley!

2. VOICE #2 (shout, inside house): He's better suited than that crooked loser!

Panel 2
The girl sits on a bench next to the sidewalk. Fall leaves are strewn across the ground. Her hands are still in her pockets.

3. GIRL (thought): I'm thankful for quiet moments.

Panel 3
The girl chews, her one hand holding a roll and the other holding a napkin wrapping of more food. A stray dog walks up to where she sits on the bench.

4. GIRL (thought): Mhmm...and rolls.

Panel 4
The dog looks up at her with big, sad eyes. It is begging for a meal.


Panel 5
Similar to panel 3: The girl chews, her one hand holding a roll and the other holding a napkin wrapping of more food. The stray dog sits at her feet, chewing on a roll.

5. GIRL (thought): And new friends.

- END -

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving – Overthankful – MK Stangeland, Jr.

(5 Panels)

Panel 1: A family is seated around a table as they prepare to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

GRANDPA: Son, would you do the honor of leading us in grace?

FATHER: Really? You mean it?

GRANDPA: Of course.

Panel 2: FATHER stands as he begins to say ‘grace’. The rest of the family members at the table bow their heads.

FATHER: Dear Lord our Father, we come together to offer thanks for this day, for this meal, for this gathering…

Panel 3: FATHER continues to say grace, the rest of the family is showing signs of confusion at the length of it.

TEXT: 5 minutes later…

FATHER: …and for this nation, and all that it entails, that we live in such a great nation, may we be humbled by all the blessings it has received. May we not take this great nation for granted, oh Lord…

Panel 4: FATHER is still saying grace, the rest of the family clearly wishes he’d just wrap it up at this point.

TEXT: 10 minutes later…

FATHER: …and for all the other gifts of this day, including our freedom to celebrate this day, let us give thanks to you…

MOTHER: Dear, I think…

GRANDFATHER: Thank you God, amen, let’s eat.

Panel 5: The rest of the family starts serving the food, while FATHER still stands there, knowing he messed up somehow but lost on how.


GRANDFATHER: Just be thankful and get on with it, son.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

THANKSGIVING: No Fear--David Press


Five panels. Let’s see if this works—four panels are shifted to the left hand side of the page with 1.4 going down the length of the right-hand-side of the page vertically.

1.1 EXT-SUBURBAN STREET: A nice, normal, nondescript suburban home with about five or six cars in the driveway.


1.2 INT-HOUSE:  From a bird’s eye view of the living room and den, make it sectioned off, but we can see that there are about ten adults to about five kids running throughout the house. The ADULTS are sitting at a long table. The FIVE KIDS are running around the house playing with each other.

KIDS:                                     HAHAHA!

1.3: Over to the dining room table where the adults sit. On one family member, the NEW FATHER there’s a baby being bounced on a leg. The dialogue can be floating over the heads of the adults, not attached to anyone in particular.

ADULT 1:                              Well, I’m just thankful that we’ll be getting jobs back in the US.
ADULT 2:                              Are you kidding? Trump does most of his merchandizing in China.

1.4: The NEW FATHER—bouncing the infant on his knee—makes a worried face. This is the vertical panel.

NEW DAD:                            This is what I’m thankful for: that we are in control of what we bring into our houses.

1.5: Over to the rest of the people at the table. Three or four older faces. Let’s say they’re the Grandparents.

NEW DAD [Off]:                   And I won't let hate, bigotry, and sexism into my house or around my kids. To vote for him is to endorse that behavior, and there's no way around that.