Posts Tagged ‘comic book’

Perceptions

Posted: October 20, 2011 in All, Mosaics, Scripts
Tags: , , , , , ,

Perceptions

Page layout: Panel 1-4 is very small, so small they could fit across the top, in one row of pictures at the top of the page. Panel 5 is as big as it can be.

Panel 1. Small panel. Perceptor is diligently tinkering with a contraption. He is oblivious to what’s going on around him. He’s trying to solder together a microchip.

Panel 2. The same basic scene, but it shakes a little.

Sound                                 FX BOOM!

Panel 3. Same basic thing again, but it looks like he’s gotten it fixed. His concentrated expression should be unchanged.

Panel 4. Also a small panel. Close on his face. Brushes away a drop of mechanical fluid as a laser goes past his face. We don’t see where the mech fluid is coming from. His concentration hasn’t changed.

Panel 5. Big panel. There’s a huge war erupted outside Autobot base. On the Autobots side: Sky Lynx is leading Perceptor, Hardhead, Highbrow, Wheelie (yes, Wheelie), Fastlane and Cloudraker. The Decepticons are lead by Sixshot, and contain Apeface, Snapdragon, Weirdwolf, Slugslinger, Triggerhappy, Ruckus, Crankcase, and Cindersaur.

Sky Lynx’s wing is cut. He’s in mid-battle with Sixshot. Maybe Sixshot is in wolf mode and is clamped on, tearing his wing off, and shredding with his claws. Fastlane is down, and his twin is holding him, trying to protect him, firing into the cluster of Decepticons that are surrounding them.

Perceptor is in the middle of it, but not fighting. He’s working on some kind of machine. It looks like it’s part of the Autobot base’s defense systems.

Cloudraker                        Fastlane’s down! We’re being overrun!

Hardhead                          Perceptor! You’ve got 3 guns! Use ’em!

Panel 6. Perceptor, without saying a word, fuses two wires together. The machine hums to life. Now, we can see his full face, and we can see that he’s got a huge gash across his forehead, and that’s where the mech fluid is leaking from.

Sound FX WWOOUUMMMMMMM

Panel 7. An EMP pulse erupts from the machine, going through all the Transformers.

Sound FX                              TCHOOOOOWWW

Panel 8. The Decepticons drop, incapacitated. The sound FX is from Decepticons falling out of the sky. The Autobots are unaffected.

Sound FX                               Crash! Crunch!

Hardhead                              Heh. Still like my way better.

Panel 9. Perceptor looks around at the wounded, he has his welder in his hand. Slight smile on his face.

Perceptor                           On to the next task. Who is in the most dire need of repair?

The pen is mightier than the sword!

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Last week, I submitted a sword and sorcery mini-series to Dynamite Entertainment. Their submission guidelines are here:

 

http://www.dynamite.net/htmlfiles/editor.html

 

Dynamite Entertainment is another company that focuses on the cream of the crop, both in terms of creators and characters. Most of the main characters you will have already heard of, from Blackbeard to Darkman. And the people putting out those comics you’ve probably heard of as well.

 

And of course, no one has heard of me. I plugged the fact that between my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge) and this blog, 20,000 people viewed my work last month. Maybe that counts for something. So, we’ll see how this submission goes…

 

Also:

My suspense story was rejected by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I e-mailed it in July 12, and received the response July 21. At least they were quick…is that a good or a bad thing…?

The only reason I haven’t seen Green Lantern yet is because the trailer was very…busy…

Parallax. Hector Hammond. Sinestro. The Corps.

I understand you’re trying to start a franchise, but this could be bad.

 

Green Lantern and all his amazing friends

When I first started collecting comics, I knew nothing about GL except what I learned from the SuperFriends cartoon. Then, without really reading the books, I learned that Hal Jordan got his ring when an alien crashed on Earth. That was good enough for me. Then, I learned that it was because Hal is fearless. OK, now I’m very interested.

Now, as I read a few Green Lantern graphic novels a year, I learn that Atrocitus the Red Lantern caused Abin Sur’s ship to crash. And that Parallax was contained inside the battery, creating an impurity. And on and on….

It’s almost as if all the new stories are actually backstories.

Yes, I’m very glad that they explained the weakness to yellow. Yes, I’m happy for the details being filled in.

But my question – not a criticism, really (This is the first time I’ve ever questioned Geoff Johns) – my question is how elaborate is too elaborate for an origin story?

How much of it is story, and how much of it is explanation? Can you sum it up quickly while still retaining its power?

Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him spider powers. He failed to use his powers to stop a burglar. That burglar later killed his beloved Uncle Ben who always told him “With great power comes great responsibility.”

You don’t really need much more explanation than that for Spider-Man.

What I Learned: You have to keep the beginning simple. Make them want more.

I can’t say I’ve really learned this. I make this mistake all the time. I started a comic book with a time travel story, for crying out loud.

As a writer, you want to sink as much depth into your creations as possible. Then, you can’t wait to show your hand. But you’ve got to hold out, slow bet, up the ante, then go for the big reveal.

So, maybe what we should achieve in an origin story is a sense of wonder: We should be as wide-eyed and amazed as the hero. These wonderful/scary things are happening and we are just along for the ride. And we only learn as much as the hero does.

 

For the record, I like Kyle Rayner more than Hal Jordan. (Sorry!)

 

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

The Promise of Premise

Posted: July 19, 2010 in All, Comic Books, TV
Tags: , , ,

There’s a difference between a great character and a great premise.

They’re not mutually exclusive, but they don’t always go hand in hand.

I was thinking of this while watching the first two episodes of “The Ghost Whisperer” with my wife. She talks to ghosts and helps them find their way(The Ghost Whisperer, not my wife.). Not the first time it’s been done. But maybe the first time it’s been done on an hour long weekly show.

There are hundreds of variations. Different things ghosts need before they move on. Do they even want to? Can they and their loved ones say goodbye?

It’s a good premise. And a regular series needs a good premise. Something you can sink into in front of the couch every week. The shows creators make a promise to you that you’re going to get some of the same ingredients every week, but maybe in a different recipe once in a while to shake things up. You know that the story is going to be about a ghost losing its way.

Other shows are the same. You know that House is going to have a medical mystery. You know Monk is going to feel uncomfortable about something.

So that’s part of it.

In comic books, I’ve seen very few premises. Often, if there is one, it gets lost. I’m using comics because it’s a serial medium.

The X-Men are heroes who defend a world that hates and fears them. This sometimes gets lost in them fighting the villain of the month, or each other. Spider-Man has the Parker Luck, but not much else. Batman has monomania and vigilantism.

The other part is character.

We don’t care about the premise if we don’t like the characters living within it.

I think that you can have one but not the other in certain circumstances.

I liked “Noble Causes” because it had a great premise, and the characters were decent. It seems like a lot of the independents that are going to survive do so because there is a premise that you can explain in one sentence. For example: “Invincible” is about the son of Superman.

But a premise can quickly become a gimmick.

If the premise is all there is, then it’s just window dressing. You have to have both: premise and character.