A quick note about this script: I wrote the following script for a CRITICAL MASS sequential assignment/project. It's a script called BUS STOP, written in the old EC COMICS style. For those not familiar with EC horror comics of the early 1950s, there was one major difference in the way things were written. Things tended to be caption-heavy. Each panel on a page was divided in half. The top half of the panel was completely dedicated to the writing, while the lower half of the panel was left to the art. That may seem very restrictive to modern writers, artists and comic fans, yet the artists and writers of EC made it work each and every month, producing some of the finest and most entertaining comic stories in the history of the medium. My original goal in writing this script was to put pencillers to the test, not only to see if they could handle drawing in the tight space of only the bottom half of a panel, but to see how well they could keep the story visually interesting. On top of that, I was trying to make pencillers aware of the important of leaving adequate balloon space for text in each panel--something most new pencillers struggle with. While it is not likely that today's pencillers will ever be faced with an EC style script, it still seemed like very good practise to me, so I set out to write up a page for participants to draw. Partially inspired by a dream I had, this script proved to be quite a challenge for CM participants. However, I was very please with how many PJers rose to the occasion, and delivered a spectacular page regardless!
I haven't even looked at this script in over 3 years, so I apologize for any typo, grammer errors, etc that may exist. I hope you enjoy the read
By Loston Wallace
PANEL ONE: Man in a trench coat shambles down an old country road leading to the city. It's raining, and the man has his coat collars turned up protecting his face from the miserable weather. We shouldn't see the man's features here, and in fact, we won't see his face until panel six.
CAPTION: I didn't want to be late for the bus stop, but I have to admit the pain in my knees was slowing me down. One of those dull, deep pains brought on by the rain, no doubt.
PANEL TWO: We see a shot of the man walking. The camera is behind him. His head is tilted forward and his hands are tucked into his coat pockets. To the right of him, we see a sign which depicts an image of a bus (or maybe has the words "BUS STOP" instead). In front of him we see the outline of city buildings through the steady rain.
CAPTION: But I wasn't going to be late. I didn't want to keep my daughter Jeannie waiting. I hadn't seen little Jeannie since her wedding, almost-CHRIST-seven years ago, I guess! No, sir--I wasn't going to let a little drizzle and rheumatism make me miss the 1:20.
PANEL THREE: Camera way in front this time. In the foreground we see an overturned waste basket next to a malnourished dog. The mutt is growling or barking at the man walking in the distant background. The man seems startled, but you'll have to show this in his body language, as we still do not see his face yet. The dog and trashcan are near a sidewalk, so the man has made it to the outskirts of town at this point.
CAPTION: On the way, I saw a half-starved dog scrounging through an overturned trash can. He barked and growled at me, so I steered clear of him. Might have had rabies or something, the poor fellow.
PANEL FOUR: Shot from behind the man's shoulders or maybe even from a slight "birds-eye" POV. Three unsavory teens run from the man, abandoning their spray cans near a wall next to the sidewalk.
CAPTION: The rain had let up a little, and I noticed a bunch of young hoodlums spray painting the wall near the bus stop. They saw me coming and must have thought I was a beat-cop, because they hightailed it. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.
PANEL FIVE: Break-thru shot. Silhouette shot of the head & shoulders of our walker, who has stepped onto the bus. We see the bus driver turned in his chair as if to receive payment for passage, yet the look on his face is one of absolute shock and terror. His eyes are wide and his mouth gapes open.
CAPTION: I didn't have to wait long before the bus arrived. Good thing too, 'cause the downpour had me numb with cold. The driver had the damnedest look on his face. He didn't seem to want to take my money, but I closed it in his hand and took a seat.
PANEL SIX: We see a medium/close-up of the man now as he walks down the aisle of the bus. We reveal his ghastly features for the first time. His face is a mass of rotted flesh over a partially exposed skull. His hair is in tufts and is completely unkempt. He has only one eye left in his head, and the flesh of his lips rolled back to reveal grisly choppers. His nose has rotted away, leaving only a spade-shaped hole. If you'd like, add in a few worms or maggots to sell that our mysterious walker is in reality one of the living dead. On of his ears dangles from a single strip of loose skin.
The few passengers on the bus awake enough to see this new rider are completely in shock and dismay, to say the least. Maybe the bus driver can be seen fleeing behind our walking corpse.
CAPTION ONE: I sure hope the bus line hadn't hired another whack-job, because nothing is going to keep me from seeing my little Jeannie again.
PANEL SEVEN: Small, narrow panel featuring a ghostly host. His voice concludes our story.
Ghostly host : 53 year old Malcolm Driscoe had been killed in a hit-and-run several months ago. The trucker had been driving under the influence and never bothered to stop, or even report the incident. Malcolm remained on the"missing persons" list until his decomposing, lifeless body turned up three years later on a bus bound for Chicago.