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Thread: Writing Contest #63: "There's a Story Behind This Piece..."

  1. #11

    The Leading Lady

    Here's mine, it’s pretty silly how much fun I had writing this. Thanks to the talented and generous Rhemrev for allowing me the use of his incredible art. As always C&C are welcome and appreciated.

    “The Leading Lady”

    PAGE 1

    Panel 1 – We’re on the red carpet at a major Hollywood film awards ceremony, cramming the frame are glamorous women in custom gowns on the arms of GQ men in designer tuxedos. The celebrities are blanketed by the flashes of adoring photographers.

    -No copy-

    Panel 2- We’re in the dark, cavernous hall of a subterranean, South American temple. Running through panel is our heroine CORA CALHOUN, white female, mid 20’s, blue jeans, white tank, black boots and an unshaded tattoo on her left arm. She has a small leather satchel bag thrown over her shoulder and carries a three-foot rounded shield.
    In the background beyond her are dozens of cave chambers populated by the ingenious Hovito tribe; they fire arrows at Cora who deflects them with her shield.

    -No copy-

    Panel 3- Back on the red carpet a beautiful blond Celebutante poured into a sequent gown talks to a reporter. The Celebutante toys with her diamond necklace, it has a snake head with ruby eyes.

    Reporter
    So I have to ask, what do you think of your big COMPETITION in the best actress category?

    Panel 4- Back in the temple Cora tumbles toward frame, an arrow just narrowly skimming over her head. Just in front of her a Tropical Rattlesnake (example) rears it’s head up and shakes it’s tail.

    SFX
    CHK-K-K-K-K...

    Celebutante (off)
    Cora Calhoun? I heard she’s not even coming.

    Panel 5- Inside the auditorium the award ceremony is underway and two presenters are at the podium, Presenter 1 opens and reads an envelope. Presenter 2 holds a familiar looking golden award statute (for obvious legal reasons it is distinct from an Oscar)

    Presenter 1
    And the award for best actress goes to…

    Panel 6- Cora has made it into a small alter cove bathed in the warm light of hundreds of candles. Gleaming in the center of the room is a small golden statuette (ironically similar to the awards statue).

    Presenter (off)
    CORA CALHOUN, ladies and gentlemen!


    PAGE 2

    Panel 1- On the Celebutante with the snake necklace as she sulks in her seat.

    SFX
    CLAP – CLAP – CLAP – CLAP - CLAP

    Presenter (off)
    Unfortunately Ms. Calhoun couldn’t be here tonight, we accept this award on her behalf.

    Celebutante (whisper)
    I left rehab for this and she can’t even show up?

    Panel 2- On Cora as she stuffs the golden idol in her side bag. Unbeknownst to her a man looms over her shoulder - LORD SQUIB, an austere British fellow dressed like a big game hunter on safari (example) He holds a luger pistol in his hand and sneers.

    Squib
    Again, Mrs. Calhoun?! What’s next, is Johnny Depp going to commandeer my Zeppelin? You celebrities need to learn your place!

    Panel 3- On Cora spinning around, a coy smile on her face.

    Cora
    Lord Squib, how much clean drinking water did you promise the Hovitos to convince them to cough up their idol? Too bad they don’t know you as well as I do.

    Panel 4- Cora slams Squib in the face with her bag, now made heavy by the weight of the idol.

    Squib
    At least I PRETEND to care about the Hovito, you’re just a pirate in a playmate’s body! Though it does explain those nominations-

    SFX
    THWAK!

    Cora
    The idol belongs in a museum NOT your personal collection!

    Panel 5 – Squib fires his Luger blindly as he clutches the side of his face.

    Squib
    And you belong in the KITCHEN, Missy!

    SFX
    BANG! BANG! BANG!


    PAGE 3

    Panel 1 – Cora bursts into the hall, which is now teeming with dozens of Hovitos. Cora flings her shield at them like she’s done it a hundred times before.

    SFX
    FOOSH

    Panel 2 – The shield knocks over several Hovitos – Cora punches the nearest native hard across the face.

    SFX
    SMACK!

    Panel 3- Squib emerges from the alter room and fires twice in her direction. He clutches the side of his face – a huge welt having emerged where he was struck.

    Squib
    What’re you DOING on the floor! GET HER!

    SFX
    BANG! BANG!

    Panel 4- Cora dives onto her shield and sleds past the remaining Hovito -they dive vainly over each other to grab her.

    SFX
    SWISH


    PAGE 4

    Panel 1- Cora sleds through the temple halls, ahead of her a single point of light – the temple’s entrance. Above her the ceiling, a vast, black nest of hanging bats, comes to life.

    SFX
    SWISHHH

    Cora
    WHOOO-HOOOOO!!!

    Panel 2- Wide on the mouth to the cave temple, which is ominously shaped like a gaping skull mouth. Cora races out and flings her shield over her back. Black bats pour out of the cave mouth around her.

    Panel 3- High and wide on Cora as she races across a battered rope bridge drawn between two waterfall cliffs. The rocky waters churn far below. Squib leads the Hovito after Cora - the natives all shoot fire arrows into the sky after her.

    Panel 4 – Three flaming arrows lodge in Cora’s shield – dozens more land around her in the rickety bridge.

    Panel 5- Cora spins around, looking convincingly upset and clutching her bag to her chest.

    Cora
    Enough Squib! I know when to exit stage left. Let me live and the idol is YOURS!


    PAGE 5

    Panel 1- Insert - Cora’s eyes, with a glimmer of mischief, glance at something off panel.

    Squib (off)
    Get back! She’s going to hand it over!

    Panel 2- Insert – dozens of arrows embedded in the bridge continue to blaze – their fire has spread to the wood and is rapidly turning it to kindling.

    Squib (off)
    If you had stayed in Hollywood Ms. Calhoun you’d still have a TROPHY!

    Panel 3– Side/profile wide two shot, Cora snakes the rope handle of the bridge around her left hand. Squib takes a step back and motions his men to do the same – suddenly he is aware of the impending danger of the fiery bridge.

    Cora
    Oh, you know what they say Squib, it’s an honor just to be nominated!

    Panel 4 – In an AWESOME panel dominating the remainder of the page the rope bridge crumbles away in all it’s fiery glory, delivering Squib and his men to a watery grave below. Cora swings to the nearby cliff waterfall with a firm hand on the rope; she looks over her shoulder with a sly smile.


  2. #12
    Visual Development artist -Rhemrev-'s Avatar
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    Shaun, great job man, you just gave me goosebumps with your story! VERY cool to see such a carefully written script around my character, the story and visuals go very well together, well done! I"ll be sure to post a link on my blog to your story, as more people should read this

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by -Rhemrev- View Post
    Shaun, great job man, you just gave me goosebumps with your story! VERY cool to see such a carefully written script around my character, the story and visuals go very well together, well done! I"ll be sure to post a link on my blog to your story, as more people should read this
    Thanks! Needless to say, couldn't have done it without your great art. As writers we know the goosebumps you get from seeing your work interpreted in another medium. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. #14
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    Great start guys! I've enjoyed all three.

    DustDevils (Imrhien's Purgatory): Loved the use of the captions/stages, and that the Gnome was kind of a dick. I think you could have made the reference panel the second-to-last panel, and made the last panel a more dramatic ending - but it's a small note.

    Cbickle (The Specialist): I like the setup, seemed like an ode to 80s Carpenter. The lettering ideas that you worked with starting with Page 3, Panel 3 were inspired. It's rare that we get lettering interplay like that. The Specialist, Hiragana Seishin, is a fun character that I hope you work with again. If I had one note, it's that I thought maybe we should have circled back to the Senator's son for the last couple of panels - showing him reuniting with his previously-horrified and anxious family. Of course, it's difficult within the confines of 5 pages.

    Shaun (Leading Lady): Very good work here. Just a fun comic with a good hook. A little Tomb Raider, a little Indy Jones, I think you write Cora well. If anything, similar to DustDevils, I think you could have made the final panel the next-to-last panel and given an extra panel to underline her escape and push the "To Be Continued" vibe. I don't know what Rhemrev is up to, but you may want to think about expanding this out. It's a good start.

  5. #15
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    Red Ann's Revenge by Trama

    For this challenge, I decided it would be fun to work with one of the public domain characters. When I saw Ekotek's portrait of Red Ann - and that weird hat - I was inspired to write a Chester Gould-like story - something simple and mean. I kept Red Ann's background, but adjusted her character to be a bit more foul - hard drinking and hard fighting. I would like to that Ekotek for giving permission to use his work, which can be found here:
    http://tinyurl.com/47h3o5c

    PAGE ONE

    Note: This should all be in black and white, with clean lines. Very Chester Gould, 1930s hard sensibilities.

    PANEL 1: Close up, looking at the determined face of RED ANN. She sports a simple face mask and an odd hat that makes her look like a sailor or a revolutionary. Whatever she is staring at, it’s in trouble.



    1. MOBSTER (off panel): What’s with the hat, doll?

    2. ANN: This old rabbit’s foot? I wear it for luck, boys.

    3. ANN: Now if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to show you a little trick.

    PANEL 2: The reveal: She’s addressing a room of well-dressed mobsters. They sit on the opposite side of a nightclub office, smoking, all eyes on Red Ann. The office is very organized, with framed posters advertising past acts adorning the walls. The windows outside reveal it’s night. Perhaps we can even see a bit of the fluorescent sign crawling down the side of the building. We now see that Ann is wearing a knee length dress and boots.

    The mobsters should be a variation of the 1930s red shirts, some big, some thin. They’re almost forming a horseshoe around a desk. Behind the desk sits BLACK TERROR. He seems human in form, though his fedora is pulled down low over his face – one eye distinctively peeking out. He leans back, his feet kicked up on the desk.

    The perspective should be high, not birds eye, looking down on the event, with Red Ann in the foreground of the panel, her back to us.

    4. MOBSTER 1: This is cute and all, ginger, but if you’re looking to do tricks there’s plenty of opportunity downstairs. Just see Charlie.

    5. MOBSTER 2: I don’t think any of us would object to a private show if you’re so eager, though.

    6. ANN: Now that you mention it, tubs, that’s just the sorta deal I had in mind. Now, you fellas know how a magic trick works, right?

    7. ANN: There are three acts. Before we begin, I’ll need a little liquid courage.

    8. ANN: And I’m talking the good stuff, none of your bathtub sauce.

    PANEL 3: All of the lackeys looking to Black Terror for guidance. He’s still in the same position, just watching – that eye staring out from the darkness masking his face.

    9. BLACK TERROR: We check her for Jesus pieces?

    10. MOBSTER: Yep.

    11. BLACK TERROR: Fine.

    PAGE TWO

    PANEL 1: One of the lackeys tossing a bottle of whiskey to Ann, who is catching it.

    1. ANN: A fine year. This joint has the wrong reputation preceding it.

    PANEL 2: Ann slamming the whiskey straight out of the bottle; it’s at a vertical angle. The lackeys look on, mystified.

    2. ANN: Gulp…..gulp…

    PANEL 3: Ann turned away from the group, working on something at the wet bar. Some of the mobsters are smiling, excited.

    3. ANN: Ahh, now we have a party. So, the three acts of a magic trick are called The Pledge, The Turn, and The Prestige. I pledge to you that I will show you something you’ve never seen before-

    4. MOBSTER: Kitty says meow…

    PANEL 4: In front of Ann now. We see that she is stuffing a rag into the top of the whiskey bottle.

    5. ANN: What I’m doing now is the second part, known as The Turn, where I engage in the trick itself.

    6. MOBSTER (OFF PANEL): I can’t wait for the reveal!

    7. ANN: Good things come, boys…

    PANEL 5: A close up as Ann flicks open a Zippo lighter, the flame roaring to life.

    8. ANN: Watch closely, because with a flick of my wrist-

    PAGE THREE

    PANEL 1: Ann thrusting the Molotov cocktail toward the desk. The mobster are caught off guard – recoiling in horror.

    1. ANN: -YOUR FAMILIES WILL SUDDENLY BE WEARING BLACK!

    2. MOBSTER: GOOD CHRIST!

    PANEL 2: Ann diving out of the way as the cocktail explodes, creating an inferno. Most of the mobsters are swept up in the flames. Only one or two, sitting furthest away from impact, are spared.

    3. SFX: SHHOOOOM!

    4. MOBSTER: AHHHH! AHHH!

    5. MOBSTER: MOTHER!!

    PANEL 3: Ann pulling a handgun from the jacket holster of one of the frightened mobsters. Grey smoke should be billowing by them.

    PANEL 4: Ann blowing the mobster’s brains out, the gun pointed up at the bottom of his mouth.

    6. SFX: BAM!

    PAGE FOUR

    PANEL 1: Ann, proving she’s a great shot, is taking down the two remaining, non-burning mobsters. The mobsters should be in the foreground, the bullets ripping through their backs, Ann in the background.

    1. SFX: BANG..BANG…

    PANEL 2: Ann walking through the smoke-filled office. Everyone is dead, half of it is still on fire. From behind the desk:

    2. BLACK TERROR: (cough)…(cough)…

    3. ANN: No dying yet, Black Terror, I have unfinished business with you…

    PANEL 3: Black Terror, bursting though the smoke; leaping up over the desk at Ann, who is pivoting back defensively. His face is revealed to be a mix of man and insect, with little tendrils lining the sides and big, bug eyes – again, really Chester Gould here. Most of his body is charred.

    4. BLACK TERROR: YOOOOUUUU-

    5. ANN: AHHH!

    PANEL 4: Ann dodging, maneuvered around Black Terror and slamming the gun butt down on the top of his head.

    6. SFX: CRACK!

    PANEL 5: A birds eye view shot of Ann standing over a dying and helpless Black Terror, her gun trained on his head. He’s landed on his back, and she’s keeping him there with a firm boot planted on his chest. We should see some of the burning office around them.

    7.. BLACK TERROR: Heh…that scream…I know that scream…

    8. BLACK TERROR: You were Mutt Sullivan’s old lady.

    PAGE 5


    PANEL 1: Close on Ann. Should be a profile shot of her staring down at Terror, determined.

    1. ANN: Wrong. My husband’s name was Bart Burke, but you killed him anyhow. We were on our honeymoon when you murdered him.

    2. ANN: The last thing you said to him was The Voice sends his regards. Tell me where I can find The Voice.

    PANEL 2: Wide shot, on Ann standing over Black Terror, her gun still aimed at his head. One of the framed pictures is falling off of the wall, consumed in flames.

    3. BLACK TERROR: No one’s going to rat on The Voice. Listen, obviously you didn’t know your husband too well. Perhaps you should’a waited a little longer before making things official.

    4. BLACK TERROR: Mutt’s not worth this. You’re not a terrorist, you’re a housewife. Find a new fella and try again, ya’ dumb broad.

    5. ANN: Hmm. Maybe you should be wearing this hat.

    6. BLACK TERROR: Why?

    PANEL 3: On Ann as she fires the gun. It’s powerful, with some of Terror’s blood spraying into the air and on her dress.

    7. SFX: BLAM!

    PANEL 4: Ann kneeling over Terror, pulling his wallet out of his jacket. As this takes both hands, she should no longer have the gun. This should be an angle from the floor. We see a little bit of Terror’s lifeless body under her.

    8. ANN: It’s lucky. Now if you’ll excuse me…

    PANEL 5: Ann walking toward us, the burning office behind her. This should be a full body shot – very bad ass.

    9. ANN: I’ve got a Voice to silence.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Trama View Post
    Shaun (Leading Lady): Very good work here. Just a fun comic with a good hook. A little Tomb Raider, a little Indy Jones, I think you write Cora well. If anything, similar to DustDevils, I think you could have made the final panel the next-to-last panel and given an extra panel to underline her escape and push the "To Be Continued" vibe. I don't know what Rhemrev is up to, but you may want to think about expanding this out. It's a good start.
    Thanks for reading Trama, I agree it would be cool to have a little panel eluding to some kind of continuation. Truth be told I really didn't have the room, I initially envisioned Rhemrev's piece as a splash page but as always that five page limit was a beast. So I really I just wanted to free up as much space as possible for the big escape panel. Also, this being a character I do not own or really have any license to work with, I didn't want to tease the audience or myself with the possibility of continuation. I just set out to tell a fun, self-contained story that matched the tone of the art.

  7. #17
    @ DustDevil, I love this story. Really effective use of captions and the seven stages of grief to reveal the psychology of the gnome. So cool to have the whole story take place before the actual battle, so the outcome just becomes a given. The only thing that threw me us under the "denial" caption the Gnome says "I have killed bigger dragons than you" and "I won't wait to die". Besides the fact that the two lines seem to contradict each other (confident/resigned) the second line seems to contradict the stage of denial. If Gnome is saying he won't wait to die, he knows he's going to die. Also I thought the tone of the art was a little cartoonish for the serious theme, but I actually think it might be cool to see two disparate styles mix.

    @Cbikle, I remember seeing this drawing over in Dr. Null's thread, it was pretty damn brilliant to adapt that for a story. I even remember reading the thread and wondering what made that Herr Null come up with his very specific requirements. I loved the use of the chi-type symbols doing battle and sumo-exorcist may be my new favorite occupation. I'll admit I am ignorant as to the context of this story, I never read the original story featuring Dr. Levenson. I just took it for what it was and enjoyed it. Good work.

    @ Trama, my hat's off to you for some awesome dialogue. I love some old noir style prose and I know how easy it is to go too far and wind up with a lot of cheese. The dialogue set the tone perfectly, as did the simple but effective artwork. But the violence kind of pulled me out of it (i.e. Ann blowing the mobster’s brains out). I like a little ultra-violence but I guess it just didn't seem to fit the tone that you and the panel you chose seemed to establish. But I guess that would depend upon the artist's interpretation. In any event, very strong work, once again.

    Really good competition theme and enjoying the results.

  8. #18
    Lincoln faked his death...there, I said it. [SUPPORTER]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trama View Post
    Cbickle (The Specialist): I like the setup, seemed like an ode to 80s Carpenter. The lettering ideas that you worked with starting with Page 3, Panel 3 were inspired. It's rare that we get lettering interplay like that. The Specialist, Hiragana Seishin, is a fun character that I hope you work with again. If I had one note, it's that I thought maybe we should have circled back to the Senator's son for the last couple of panels - showing him reuniting with his previously-horrified and anxious family. Of course, it's difficult within the confines of 5 pages.
    Thanks for reading and the C&Cs; honestly, even if I had the extra panels to work with, I don't think I would've done much more with the McKenna family - maybe having the parents chastizing Kyle and somehow thinking that all of this was drug-related.

    The John Carpenter comparison was interesting, although I was aiming more for a David Lynch feel.

  9. #19
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    @Shaun: Thanks! I appreciate the C&C. I guess that panel is probably a little gratuitous. Gould's work was very violent, and I was trying to get there, maybe I overshot it (no pun intended).

  10. #20
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    The John Carpenter comparison was interesting, although I was aiming more for a David Lynch feel.
    I could see that, too.

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