Shadowdeath Issue 1: Bryan's script
This is the script that Bryan wrote that became the first in the Shadowdeath series.
Ed - As this will be in effect a new series with which we will hopefully attract greater sales, I'll be treating the readers as if they are completely new to the world of the Teknophage, explaining things as and when necessary. Ill put it the stress word indicators after final script approval.
Dave; please have a talk with Angus, or whoever's colouring this, as there are certain things to bear in mind when dealing with computer colouring eg; if you want clouds of steam, it is only necessary for you to draw the outline of the cloud. They can then "airbrush" the steam in and then drop out the black outline. Please supply the colourist with full colour guides, ie annotated photocopies of the artwork, otherwise you won't know what you'll end up with. Skies are great; they can just drop in clouds, sunsets etc.
For many of the scenes Ill be suggesting camera angles, page layouts etc. These arent set in stone. If you come up with better ideas, go with them.
1.Each of these six issues will begin traditionally
with a splash page with the title at
the bottom. Worm's eye view; An awe-inspiring
depiction of the Phage Building, 3/4 angle,
grinding past us from left to right; steam, ornithopters and airships
etc. Rocky landscape. Be sure to leave space
in the foreground for the chapter title.
Box; Kalighoul; Earth's sister planet and home of the vile Teknophage. Teknophage! The serpent in the garden, the gourmet of souls, the embodiment of evil. To some. to others he is simply mister Henry Phage, entrepreneur and captain of industry; the jewel in the crown of the greatest business empire in creation.this is his base of operations, his house, his castle; the Phage Building. The term "building", however, is a little misleading. In actuallity, this is a mobile city, a three-mile-high juggernaught with a population of over a million. The vast majority labour and sweat in the factories, furnaces and vat rooms down below or toil in the mind-boggling office mazes higher up. The penultimate level houses the Phage's partners, the aristocracy of kalighoul. But our story begins not here, but at the very apex of this wonder of engineering, where we now bear witness to...
Chapter Title runnimg across the bottom of the page;
1. Largish panel; We're looking down at the wheel of worlds, it's brick base and the paved area area before it as seen in TP #5 & #6. We can see some of the edge of the pavement, but don't need to see any of the docks on this shot. Some VULGAR BOOTMEN and dock workers can be seen at work, carrying things about etc.
Box; The original Wheel of Worlds; the realization of the genius of mister Henry Phage! the miracle device by which the dream of transdimensional transport is made manifest!
2. We've zoomed in on the (our) right hand side of the base and steps. About 20 rioting workers brandishing pipes, spanners etc are pouring onto the plaza from the interior of the building. If we can see the lift doors, great but not essential. Bootmen are moving to intercept them.
Box; But what's this? Lower-level riff-raff spewing from the service elevator? Blimey! There's something rum afoot and no mistake!
3. Largest panel; Similar angle to when the ship crashes in #6, W.O.W. in B/G. The Bootmen are wading into the workers, weilding their truncheons, hurling workers through the air etc generally beating the shit out of them.
To our left some of the rioters are tearing past the battle, heading on.
Box; Not to worry! Those valiant steam automatons, the vulgar bootmen, are gamely decimating their numbers.
4. Long shot; half a dozen workers have made it past the Bootmen and are running into the covered bridge that leads to the Phage's office (see roof plan).
Box (Overlap from the last panel into this); Even so, some of the agitators Have procured access to the very portals Of mister Phage's personal quarters...
1. We are behind the workers as they hurtle down the bridge tunnel. Probably not visible in this shot, but three of them are hefting bizarre large home-made projectile weapons, made from scavenged workshop bits and pieces; cogs, springs, whatever you think will look like they could actually work. They're built to fire metal spikes, buzz-saw blades, whatever.
At the end of the corridor is the accountants' waiting room, seen from approximately the same angle as in #1. The waiting book-keepers are looking round at the advancing workers with alarm. Above the entrance to the room, a sign reads Waiting Vestibule.
2. From inside the room we look past the terrified rising accountants as the angry workers burst in. To our right is the door with the brass plaque that reads Mister Henry Phage (Which we see either here on in the next frame).
Screaming Worker; Collborators!
3. Large. Carnage as the accountants are brutally massacred. The three workers with the guns are already heading through the door.
4. Largish. Following the workers as they
head down the long cathedral-like arcade
outside the Phage's office (See office plan for refs. Previously
only seen from inside the office, this is
an important backdrop in Chapter 6 -
see proposal). Perhaps a low eye level so that we can see some of the
vaulted glass roof. They're slowing a little,
obviously awed by their surroundings,
some looking around slack-jawed. One, nearest the far end doorway
to the office, is waving, beckoning tothe rest. Beckoning
Worker; Here we are lads!
5. Largish. Inside the Phage"s office. B/G;
the workers have run in through the
doorway and stopped dead. In the F/G, to our right is the elegant cuff
and steepled hand (and the fingers of the
other) of the Phage. Part of the desk
would also be visible. The office and workers are starkly lit by
something O.O.F. from our left. Two of the
guys are squinting at this in puzzlement,
the others are glaring, in different states of anger or fright, at
the off-panel Phage.
Phage (off); Well, well, well. Do come in, my dear fellows. This is an unexpected surprise.
1. Large portrait shot of leering Phage, resting his chin on his steeple fingers as he addresses us. He is dressed as in #6, sharp as a pin.
Phage; I'm fibbing of course. Whatever took you so long?
Worker (off); Don't listen to 'im! 'E'll trance yer!
2. Phage has risen from his chair and is slowly descending the stairs before his desk towards them. The three with "guns" are aiming them at his chest.
Phage; And just look at these delightful home-made gimcracks! How charming...
Worker; Let 'im 'ave it!
Other; Kill the monster!
3. Phage stands mocking them, fists on hips. As they fire, the weapons and their projectiles disintegrate to their component parts, pieces floating harmlessly in the air (see TP #6).
Phage; ...And absolutely harmless.
Shocked worker; It's true! They can't harm 'im!
4. Largest panel; Phage stands in the centre of them, his arms outwards in an expansive gesture, a big crocodile grin across his face. Circles of psychic energy are radiating from his head - This should be in colour only. Five of the workers standing around him are exploding (in anatomical detail; brains and spinal colmums shooting through their skulls, rib cages blowing out etc). The sixth worker is not visible in this frame. Phage is still immaculate - unsoiled by the spraying blood and tissue.
Phage; I can see that you have too much time on your hands. Work quotas will rise tomorrow accordingly. Though not for you chaps. I'm giving you early retirement. Effective immediately!
1. Wide panel across top of page; To our left is the Phage, 3/4 view from the back. He is addressing the TV camera that is trained on him in the central B/G as we look towards that side of the office for the first time. Surrounding the camera are the crew - at least one of whom is looking sick, holding their hand to their mouth, cheeks bulging , sound recording equipment, banks of lights etc. Dave - remember that all this is steam-powered, retro-SF stuff with a Victorian feel. All this is to the left of the desk on the office plan, the source of the strong lighting we"ve seen in some of the previous panels. To the right F/G of the panel is the stunned, blood-splattered survivor of this attempted coup.
Phage; And so, my dear citizens, you see how utterly foolish It is to rail against the realities of existence!
One rises above one's station only by dint of hard work and loyalty. Promotion and prosperity shall be your reward!
Survivor; W-why spre me?
2. Largish. We are looking over the heads of dozens of workers at a huge steam TV screen mounted on the wall somewhere in a lower level communal hall. Steam pipes everywhere, vents, rust, slimy brick, wrought iron etc The faces that we can see in the F/G as they turn to glance at their neighbours express sadness. On the screen, the Phage stands in the centre of the splattered bodies of the revolutionaries making another grand gesture with his hands and arms. As an aside, Dave, I see this as being one of the Phage's characteristics, expansive guestures and flourishes to emphasize whatever point he is making; if I don't ask for a specific guesture, just take i t as read that he's doing this most of the time.
Phage; Silence. Dinner should be seen and not heard.
The off-world rabble-rouser who whipped some of you up into a lather died yesterday while attempting to evade arrest.
Which draws this unfortunate episode to a close. You are all docked a week's tokens. Now, back to work with renewed vigour!
3. Scene change. This is a really clever segue into the next scene, at least I think so. We are in a steamy massage parlour in the partner's suites; titled walls and floor etc although all we see in this shot of the room is the wall mounted steam TV and some of the surrounding tiles. This fills the B/G. In the F/g to our right Nancy (see proposal} looks straight at us, laughing.
She is lying on her front, having her shoulders massaged from the back by a slave girl, although here we can only see her head and shoulders and the hands of the masseuse. Nancy is like Messa in that she's about thirty, attractive. In this sequence both she and Messalina are wearing no make-up, only white towels around their heads and torso, microskirt length, bare shoulders and cleavage visible. (We're doing a commercial book here!) They and the girls are beaded with sweat.
On the screen we still see the Phage who is guesturing to someone off-camera.
Phage; Porridge! Clean this mess up at once! And get this bloody circus out of my office! I have work to do!
Everyone knows that nothing from Kalighoul can harm Mister Phage, eh, Messalina?
4. Same POV (keeping at Nancy and Messa's eye level) but pull right back for an establishing shot. They are both on their fronts, propped up on their elbows, being massaged. Two or three other servant women are hanging around to wait on them. See cover for uniform. Nancy and the TV are now in the B/G while Messa, on the next couch/massage table to Nance is now to our right F/G. A few whicker baskets and porcelain bowls are in front of the low couches, within easy reach, filled with delicious-looking fruit, one containing the creatures described in the next panel, possibly not visible from here. The two aristos also have champagne flutes, either in their hands or placed on a low table between the couches (perhaps the baskets are also on the table). To our immediate F/G, beside Messa's couch, is a champagne bottle in a Victorian ice bucket. There is also something with Messa's whip on it (see next page, panel 4).
Probably unseen in this shot is Messa's large diamond ring. She punches the Phage with the hand bearing this ring at the end of the story, so it's important to decide pretty early whether she is right-handed or not. On the TV, the Phage has been replaced by some kind of Phage TV logo(no words) Incorporate, or simply use, the Moohlabuck symbol.
Base Messa on my depiction of her on the cover. Note the Madonna mole. She is speaking to Nancy and reaching down to pick up something from one of the baskets.
Messa; The politics of envy, nancy. Pure greed. They want What we've got without having to earn it.
5. C/U of Messa's hand with diamond ring as it picks up a Kalighoul delicacy from a large bowl that's heaving with them. These are a kind of crustacean, something like a woodlouse, a tiger prawn or a centepede, about 7" long and 2" wide, wriggling and twisting. Fat bugs with articulated shells.
Messa (off); And do you known what's really ironic?
6. Messa's face in the B/G talks as we see the unfortunate bug in the F/G. Holding it in one hand, Messa is in the process of peeling its shells off, one by one, with her other, though delicately, pinkie finger raised.
Messa ; They couldn't handle it even if they had it.
Are they intelligent? Sophisticated? Sensitive?
7. C/U of the bug being peeled by Messa's hands. Have you ever seen The Fly where Jeff Goldblum peels off his fingernails? Or the slimy stuff in Aliens?
Try and get that sort of effect. The bug's still squirming in fear and pain. Underneath it looks a bit like a big maggot or termite or a queen ant abdomen; soft and squishy. On your colour notes, indicate that it's blue.
Messa (off); They just don't have the strength of character to wield power responsibly, that's all there is to it.
1. Large C/U of Messa biting down with pleasure into the bug, perhaps eyes half-closed. She's got a good 1/3 of it in her mouth. holding it with one hand, pinkie still raised. Blue juice is trickling down her chin. In the B/G
Nancy looks over, cheeky grin.
Messa; We know our place. Why don't they? Ingrates!
Nancy; Why don't we ask one?
2. Messa and Nancy have sat up on their couches, legs out before them in preparation for having them shaved. Two of the girls are already on their knees before the aristos, lathering up their shaving brushes in silver soap pots. Nancy is crudely prodding the one in front of Messa on the shoulder with her foot. The girl is replying, terrified. Messa, eyes closed, has two fingers in her mouth as she sucks the bug juice off them.
Nancy; You, girl! Are you fit to rule? Eh? Is that what you think? you have permission to speak.
Slave; N-n-no m-milady.
Messa; See? No backbone, Nancy. No spirit. Impossible to imagine such a creature birthing anything other than jellyfish.
3. Close in on M & N chatting.
Messa; Phage only knows what Lombardo sees in them. Still, what my miserable husband gets up to is his own sordid business.
Nancy; They're weak and submissive, I suppose. Don't pose a threat.
Messa; You're probably right. Have you ever had sex with him?
4. General shot of parlour, centred on M & N. The slaves are shaving their legs with cut-throat razors. Other women stand by, waiting on. To one side, on a cupboard or table, is Messa's whip (see cover) although we shouldn't be able to see exactly what it is at the moment, just see that it's there if we look. It's probably near Messa's couch; it should be within easy reach of one of the attending slaves (see next page, panel 2)
Nancy; Only once or twise. Wasn't thrilled I'm afraid.
Messa; Me neither. I've not slept with old floppy sausage since I conceived my beautiful children.
Nancy; He's not coming to the bar-b-que and orge tonight?
5. C/U Messa, exclaiming, reacting to her leg being nicked by the razor.
Messa (Start this ballon in the previous frame, under Nancy's, ending it in this frame for the "Ow!")
Doubt it. He's always letting me down in society. He'll be in his den with his pet...ow!
6. Pull back to the slave's eye level so that we can see the small nick and trickle of blood from the razor cut. Dave - don't do blood black - just give an outline. Messa's face is distorting in fury as she looks atthe cut, shouting at the girl who's horrified, trying to explain.
Messa; You stupid trollop! Look what you've done!
Slave; S-s-s--sorry m-m-milady. Y-you moved y-your...
1. Large. Messalina stands, smashing the girl across the face with a back-hander. The girl is spun round, hurling towards us to the floor with the force of it. The lather pot and table are knocked over, fruit and bugs sent flying. A thin arc of blood trailing from her lips describes her trajectory.
Messa; HOW DARE YOU TALK BACK TO ME!
2. Messa kicks the poor girl in the midriff, lifting her off the floor a little and doubling her up. With one hand (now's the time to decide whether she's left or right handed!) Messa is reaching out elegantly to take the whip that's being passed to her by a servant. Fruit and crawling bugs litter the floor.
Some will be getting squashed, I imagine.
Messa; MY WHIP!
3. Large. Silent. The girl is rolling on the ground in pain, covering her face with her hands. Messa stands, legs wide, whipping her strenuously, a grimace of hatred on her face.
4. Mainly head and shoulders, M & A. Messa is sitting back down, looking down with utmost sensitivity towards her leg. Nancy is laughing, snapping her fingers and holding up her empty champagne flute.
Messa; SUMMON BOOTMEN TO ESCORT HER TO THE VATS! IMMEDIATE DISSOLUTION!
OH, MY POOR LEG.
Nancy; YOU'LL LIVE. CHAMPAGNE!
5. Similar angle. The aristos chat, smiling. Nancy sips her champers. Messa's glass is being filled by an attendant as she talks.
Messa; WHERE WAS I? OH, YES, LOMBARDO. BASTARD.
I MARRIED BENEATH MYSELF. A JUNIOR PARTNER! PHAGE ONLY KNOWS WHAT DADDY WOULD HAVE SAID IF HE WAS STILL ALIVE.
BUT BEGGARS CAN'T BE CHOOSERS! WHY ARE THERE NO REAL MEN ANYMORE?
6. Close in. Messa knocks back some plonk. Nancy delighted.
Nancy; LOM'S STILL IN ENTERTAINMENT?
Messa; MHM. HE'S THE PRODUCER ON "DEATH ARENA" AT THE MOMENT.
Nancy; REALLY? THAT'S MY FAVOURITE SHOW!
1. Definite change of lighting / colour / atmosphere. Large, full figure portrait of Lombardo strolling towards us. He's about 6', in his early 30s black hair, sideburns, handsome, but cruel face; bit of a sneer. He's wearing a monocle. See what you can come up with for his costume. Rick Veitch said that the partners dress something similar to Kirby villains in the Fourth World series. He can be quite flamboyant. Not like Baron Wasteland (#5 and #6) who was out and out militaristic, but he can have a touch of the soldier about him ( a medal ?) Think Victorian, perhaps even Regency, Sci-Fi, Kirby, perhaps a red-lined cape. He does have a walking stick with a ludicrous, hefty silver handle (perhaps in the shape of a fist?) - a poser's stick rather than for any infirmity.
He is strolling through a lower level factory area of the type seen on P1 Mr Hero #1, lots of dirty pipes, steam, conveyor belts etc though we don't see much of that on this frame, mainly Lom. He's looking down his nose at some off panel workers.
Floating balloon (rather than text box); IT MEANS THAT HE GETS TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME SKIVING ABOUT IN THE LOWER LEVELS - "TALENTSPOTTING" HE CALLS IT.
HE DOESN'T HAVE TO, THERE'S NO SHORTAGE OF FODDER. HE JUST ENJOYS LORDING IT OVER THE PLEBS. (Overlap well into next panel)
2. Pull right back for establishing shot as Lom surveys the production line. In the F/G one worker jerks his thumb to indicate Lom to a second worker who sneaks a sneering peek at him. These two characters will crop up again in issue #4, so you may want to give them some distinguishing features.
1st Worker; EY UP! IT'S LOONEY LOMBARDO!
2nd Worker; COR! RIGHT BASTARD 'E IS! WHAT AN ARSEHOLE!
3. Lom has come up behind them and is cracking them both on the back of the head with one sweep of his stick whilst shouting to a Bootman in the B/G.
Lom; I HEARD THAT, YOU WUDE WAPSCALLIONS!
BOOTMEN! TWO MORE HEAH FOR THE AWENA!
4. Lom roughly holds up a terrified girl worker's face while he inspects her teeth with his other hand, as you would a horse.
Floating Balloon, linked to first balloon in next panel; IT ALSO GIVES HIM AN EXCUSE TO DALLY IN THE WOMEN'S SECTIONS, TO PICK AND CHOOSE HIS NEXT SEX PET.
5. Another distinct lighting / colour change. A startling, tight C/U of Messa. Startling because her face is covered in a disgusting mud pack of some description, a slice of cucumber over each eye. Her (unmade-upped) lips and teeth are visible and, probably, her ears. She's having her hair washed but all we can see in this shot is some of the shampoo foam. Two breathing straws stick out from where her nostrils should be. A groteque sight. Messa (linked to prev. balloon); SPEAKING OF WHICH, WHAT ARE MINE UP TO?
HAVE YOU SEEN TO THEM,TEAZY?
1. Large establishing shot. An elite hairdressing suite. Very swish and sterile but old fashioned-looking, pipes, steam-powered hair driers etc. The wall tiles have a elegant Art Noveau repeated frieze. Messa and Nancy are seated, or rather lying, in two adjacent victorian dentist-type chairs; all leather and chrome, cogs and gears for articulation. Nancy is more upright, having her finger and toenails manicured by servants, a couple more waiting on. (different sort of uniform if you like), and drinking a ludicrous cocktail through straws. She's got a different sort/colour of mud pack and no cucumber and is still wearing the towel round her head. Messa's chair is tilted right back as TEAZY the hairdresser shampoos her hair in the sink. He looks a little like the young George Cole's FLASH HARRY in the St.Trinian films with more quiff and long pointed sideburns.
He's a smarmy git.
To our left in the F/G, Messa's two sex slaves lounge, one on all fours sniffing the others feet. They are white, male, about twenty; slim and good-looking though they have a vacant sort of look on their faces for reasons that become clear. They look a bit like poodles, one with an extravagant multicoloured mohican crop, the other bald with two long side braids. They are mostly naked, wearing only leather bondage straps, posing pouches, dog collars etc. One has a ring in his nose. One is lapping water from a big dog bowl.
Teazy; ABSOLUTELY, MADAM. THEY ARE ENJOYING THEIR WATER RIGHT NOW.
Nancy; HOW ARE YOU FINDING THEM, 'LINA? THE LOBOTOMY AND STERILIZATION DOESN'T IMPEDE THEIR SEX DRIVE AT ALL?
Messa; YOU'RE JOKING. HORNY LITTLE BUGGERS! THEY'D SHAG ALL NIGHT IF I LET 'EM.
2. Close in on Messa and Teazy. He's rinsing off the shampoo with a chrome spray.
Teazy; AND THE STYLE FOR TONIGHT, MADAM? HOW ABOUT GREEN WITH WHITE SIDE STREAKS?
Messa; JUST MAKE ME RAVISHING, TEAZY. TONIGHT I MIGHT FIND SOMEONE SPECIAL.
Teazy; BUT MADAM! HOW CAN I IMPROVE ON ABSOLUTE BEAUTY?
3. Pull back a little. Messa smiling. Teazy is looking down to her hand in theF/G - on her lap?- where we can see the diamond ring sparkling. He'sraising an eyebrow, trying to make a petite pleasantry.
Messa; YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A SILVER-TONGUED FLATTERER, TEAZY. JUST DO YOUR BEST.
Teazy; OOH! BUT WHAT'S THIS? AN OFF-WORLD DIAMOND? HOW VERY NAUGHTY OF MADAM!
4. C/U of Teazy's shocked face as Messa's hand shoots up, grabs his chops,about to drag him down to her face level.
Teazy; WHY, I'VE NEVER...URK!
5. Large tight C/U of their profiles. Messa's head still rests back on the sink at about a 45% angle. She's talking to him with a big grin, showing lots of teeth. What, with the mud pack and everything she must look really grotesque, frightening. Teazy's about one centimeter off her face and parallel to it, held there quaking in her steel grip, her fingers digging into the flesh of his cheeks. He's scared shitless, a couple of trickles of sweat running down his face and neck.
Messa; LISTEN TO ME AND LISTEN GOOD, YOU LITTLE TURD.
IF I SO MUCH AS EVEN THINK THAT YOU'VE BREATHED A SINGLE WORD ABOUT THIS RING, EVEN IN YOUR SLEEP, THEN THEY'RE GOING TO BE WIPING YOUR GUTS AND BRAINS OFF THESE PRETTY PORCELAIN TILES, COMPRIS?
Teazy; G-G-GAK! Y-Y-YES M-MILADY!
Messa; GOOD. NOW I'M HUNGRY. ORDER ME SUSHI. RAW FISH AND LOTS OF IT!
1. Panoramic view across top of the page. On the shore of a moderately-sized lake nestles a quaint fishing villge, some of the wooden houses built out over the water on stilts. boats tied up, nets etc. A few quays. It's a rocky shore, punctuated by slanted rock outcrops.
A few people are pottering about. a few boats hauling nets in the lake. Nearby, to the right of the picture, a fishwife, MARTA, stands next to a couple of large whicker baskets waving to her husband, JOHAN, rowing his boat to the shore. There's a pile of fish to the back of it. Low mountains in the B/G on the opposite shore.
NB; Sky Colours - it's approaching dusk.
HOW'S THE CATCH TODAY?
2. Close in on the couple as they both pull the boat up onto the shore.
Johan; EXCEPTIONAL, MARTA, EXCEPTIONAL. SEE, THE BOAT IS HEAVING WITH THEM!
WHERE ARE JOSHUA AND AGNES? ARE THEY NOT GOING TO HELP US UNLOAD?
3. C/U; Marta smiling.
Marta; I SAID THEY COULD GO TO THE WOOD. YOU KNOW THEY DON'T LIKE THE OTHERS WATCHING THEM RACTISE! AH, THOSE TWO...
I DO WISH THAT THEY WEREN'T SO SHY, SO QUIET...
4. Similar C/U; AGNES, looking straight at us, screaming. We can make out that she has her arms raised up above her head - probably just the sides of the arms visible. She's actually in the process of bringing down a quarterstaff with all her strength.
5. Large, dramatic panel. Siblings AGNES and JOSHUA are on a hillock that forms a woodland clearing in the middle of a quarterstaff bout. They're both experts. Dave - remember talking about those martial arts flicks? Like that. They are about 16, dressed simply, peasant costume (NOT pheasant costume! joke.) not ragged, quite smart in its way. Poor but respectable. Blonde hair.
Agnes has smashed down the stick, feet still off the ground with the force. Josh has buckled a little but has blocked the blow with his own staff, two handed hold.
1. Tier of three panels; Agnes has followed through with a sweeping strike to Josh's knees. He has leapt well above this and as he comes down he's poised to strike Agnes with a powerful downward blow, similar to the one of Ag's he's just blocked.
2. She blocks the blow, going down on one knee. Lots of diagonal compositions in this seq!
3. Quarterstaffs clash. Strain on both faces.
4. Largish frame across the page, horizontal, static composition. Mainly head & shoulders. In the act of swinging the sticks behind their heads, in preparation for a blow at the other, they have both frozen, startled, staring off panel towards our left.
FX; (Across bottom of frame, starting smallish and getting bigger 'till it's quiet large) ;
(Bleeding off page)
5. Inset panel into large frame across bottom of page. Josh and Ag run downhill, still carrying staffs, through the trees, almost silhouettes (from right to left to give the impression of going BACK to the village).
NB; There's a sunset in the B/G
Agnes; JOSH! WHAT IS IT?
Josh; DON'T KNOW, SIS. BUT IT'S COMING FROM THE...
FX (bottom frame, overlapping into next one. Large,shaky lettering,
tailing off small); KDDDDOOOOMMM!
6. We look up a rock outcrop at Josh and Ag who have pulled up sharply; shocked, open mouthed. They're staring at something huge off-panel to our left.The trees have now thinned out, but we can see the ones they've just run through a little behind them.
1. Large tall panel taking up at least 1st 1/3 of page, top to bottom. In the F/G are the figures of Josh and Ag from exactly the opposite angle as in the last frame, above and behind them. They've now crouched down and dropped their staffs, looking at the scene before them.
Filling most of the B/G is the towering monstrosity of the Phage building. Dave - it's quite broad at the bottom so you'll find that the tracks bleed off the page and behind the frames to our right. The bldg has pulled up in the lake and has thrust several huge pipes into the water from its underside.
In the mid ground we can see the village, dwarfed by the bldg. A couple of fires have started and the place is being sacked by Bootmen and soldier- workers (see Mr Hero #2) . Everything should be tinged red by the sunset, the sky growing dark.
Agnes; OH MY GODDESS! IT'S THE PHAGE!
Josh; THEY'RE...TAKING ON WATER!
2. Zoom right in so that we can see Josh's face in the F/G on the right side and the village and lakeside fills the B/G. The lake has been totally drained, just a couple of puddles left. We can see what's going on in the village a bit better. Some of the containment tank bootmen from #1 and #2, plus a couple of even larger ones, the size of lorries with a different sort of design at the rear, are trundling about. Bootmen are throwing prisoners into one.
Some of the villagers are fighting back, being beaten, running in terror.
Josh; THEY'VE DRAINED THE WHOLE LAKE! THEY'RE TAKING OUR PEOPLE! W-WHAT CAN WE DO?
3. Close in on one of the Bootmen. He's putting the struggling Johan into one of the smaller containment tanks. Marta is screaming, beating her fists on the robot's side.
Josh (Balloon tail pointing to Josh in Prev. panel); THEY'VE GOT MOTHER AND FATHER! COME ON!
4. Down by the shore, Agnes and Josh hide behind one of the rock outcrops in the F/G, watching the departing bootmen and soldiers march off. The village is not in this shot. We're looking towards the Phage Bldg, probably only one part of the huge tracks visible. The containment tank bootmen, kicking up dust, are trundling away from us. The one nearest, the last one of the bunch, is one of the Large, lorry-like ones (visually definitely not the one we saw in connection with Josh and Ag's folks.) The sky is further into twilight.
Josh; DON'T WORRY, WE'LL SAVE YOU.
5. Silent. At the rear of the last unit as it sways over the rocky ground towards the bldg churning up dust. Agnes is perched on a ledge on it about five feet off the ground, holding onto a hinge or something structural with one hand and pulling Josh's arm, helping him as he clambers up to join her.
IF you have space, which I doubt, try and fit in another frame from the same POV showing the vehicle some distance away, closer to the bldg, lots of dust but we can still make out Josh and Ag clinging to the back.
1.Small inset panel. An old-fashioned factory hooter blowing off. I have in mind the one from METROPOLIS, that sort of thing. FX (starting in this frame but mainly going into and along the top of the next frame; PRROOOOOOOOUUUUUTTT!
2. Largish frame across top of page. The vats, the ones from page 1 of #1, not the busy ones where people are thrown in. They go off into the distance. The workers are stopping, looking up wearily at the sound of the hooter. The two closest to us are talking to one another. One is VORSCYN. He's about 60, white hair, haggard. He's leaning on his fork, other hand pushing in the small of his back, relieving the pain there, arching his backbone. I'm not sure at the moment whether the other one will reappear after this page. He probably will, so let's call him MANKY.
He's about 30 but looks almost as worn out as VORS, some teeth missing, unshaven etc (see Vat workers' uniforms on Phage character sheet). Manky; THAR SHE BLOWS.
Vors; THANK PHAGE FOR THAT. THESE SIXTEEN HOUR SHIFTS ARE KILLIN' ME.
3. Small panel; C/U of Vors's hands as he clocks out. One hand is placing the card in the slot, the other pulling down a brass handle. We can see some of the rack carrying the other cards and some of the clock.
4. This panel, probably about the centre of the page, is a view of two large industrial doorways and the pipe-lined tunnel outside. Above the doors are signs reading OUT and IN. On the left we can see Vorsc and Manky with sloping shoulders in the exhausted crowd leaving the vat room. On the right, separated by a fence, are the next shift entering the place. All the workers are male.
Vorsc; I'M TELLIN' YER, MANKY, IT'S DOIN' ME IN.
5. Large. This is the sort of panel that Geoff Darrow could have a field day with. They are coming out of a large tunnel into an open area where lots of other workers, male and female, from dfferent factory floors, are milling about. It"s a sort of seedy trade zone with shops and stalls. If you include any signs to do with money, they don't mention moohlalbucks, just tokens.
There's illicit trading going on too, if you can hint at that, think of the Moscow black Market. This place reminds me of the those underground streets in TOTAL RECALL, except it has that touch of victoriana; gas lamps, steam, vents, pipes dripping corrosion, puddles of oil and pollution if we see any of the floor. The dark ceiling high overhead is lined with pipes, criss-crossed with them plus wires and chains etc Everybody looks pretty miserable, although a couple of wags could be sharing a joke. The more I describe this, the more the atmosphere reminds me of William Hogarth's or Doré's London.
This place is multilevelled. On a slightly raised level, which acts as a stage, a preacher in Church of Teknophage robes and headpiece is exhorting the crowd, and quite a few are interested. Behind him, on the "stage" are a couple more church officials trying to hand out pamphlets and on the wall is a large steam TV screen with a picture of the Phage on it looking holy, with a halo. Moohlahbuck symbol on robes.
Preacher; YES, LIFE IS GRIM! YES, WE SUFFER! BUT IN THE
NEXT LIFE WE CAN REAP OUR REWARD! JOIN THE CHURCH OF THE TEKNOPHAGE! BECOME ONE OF THE SAVED!
Manky; C'MON VORSCYN! LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE. WE MAKE ENOUGH TOKENS T' GET BY.
6. They are sitting side-by side at the counter of a large, functional, very seedy bar, perhaps a couple of beer pumps visible. Gloomy, gas lamps, the usual pipes and vents. The burly barman and some of the (male) clientelle in the B/G are watching a seedy worn-looking, pot-bellied stripper/go-go dancer on a low stage. V & M in the F/G sup their beer. Looks like they've just eaten; remains of a frugal gristly meal onthe counter in front of them. Vors is peering philosophically into his pint pot. Dave - "no nipples, tush or bush"; editorial directive on dancer
Vorsc; I'LL TELL YER SOMETHIN', MANKY...
THIS ALE TASTES LIKE SHIT BUT IT'S THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVIN'.
A nice contrast to the last page; one that's bright, clean and elegant with lots of space.
1. Narrow panel accross top of page. Messalina's heavily lipsticked mouth breaking open in a broad smile. Mole visible. It's to the left hand side of the page, rather than centralized - speech balloon on right.
Messa; LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT, NANCY.
YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF FEELING SORRY FOR THE PLEBIANS. THEY JUST DON'T HAVE THE INTELLIGENCE OR THE BALLS TO STRIVE FOR SOMETHING BETTER.
BENITO! FABIO! HEEL! HEEL!2. Large panel; low POV, perhaps waist level. Messa and Nancy stroll sensuously towards us, post-beauty treatment. They walk like aristocracy; confidently, noses in the air, an invisible aura of power surrounding them. Messa is dressed exactly like she is on the cover. Nancy is similarily over-the-top sexual but a little more victorian in style if not in morals - those Victorian corsets you metioned, Dave. Perhaps ankle boots and lace gloves. I think that we should make Nancy platinum blonde to contrast, in an exaggerated Victorian style. She isn't wearing a mask. Messa has her whip in one hand. The other holds the leash handles to her two sex pets wh o trot alongside on all fours, trailing a little, hence the command. One has his tongue out, panting like a dog.
They've just exited Teazy's salon and he nervously lingers in the entrance, watching them go, wringing his hands like Uriah Heep. The broad corridor leading from his door is spotless and bright.
Nancy; BUT I NEVER DO, MESSALINA. THEY ARE THE SCUM
UPON WHICH WE LILIES FLOAT.
3. Tall panel. A C/U profile of Messa's face from a few inches above her hairline to the spiked collar on her neck as she walks along, looking straight ahead, talking. Facing our left.
Messa; MM. I TIRE OF THIS TEDIOUS SOCIAL AWARENESS. WHY SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS? LET'S PUT THEIR PETTY CONCERNS OUT OF OUR MINDS.
TONIGHT I WANT TO DROWN IN PURE PLEASURE...DIVINE DECADENCE...
TO THE ORGY!
This is a real cheap trick on all those poor fanboys. When we rejoin Messa next issue it's all over!
1. C/U of the current Captain of the Bridge, underlit (see #1, although I think that Al may have shown the Bridge since). He's looking straight at us, serious expression although he's a little drunk, raising one eyebrow.
Behind him we can see the helmsperson, whatever they're called, the one at the large ship's steering wheel, steering busily. A female partner. They are both dressed in extravagant costumes.
Captain; TWO DEGREES STARBOARD, MISTER PATRICIAN!
Mr Patrician; AYE, AYE, CAP'N!
Captain; LOOK YOU THERE. JUST LIKE THE DEPARTMENT OF ATMOSPHERIC CONFIGURATION PREDICTED. I THOUGHT THEY MUST HAVE BEEN EXAGGERATING.
2. General shot of the Bridge, the Captain and helm before the large circular window. Through it we can see storm clouds and lightning in the night sky above the rocky horizon. Dave - try and get the colourist to do the view in pure colour , as in #1. Other partners faffing about. A waiter is waltzing through, carrying a large tray of drinks and the Captain is motioning to him.
Captain; PHAGE! LOOKS LIKE A REAL MONSTER. THE MOTHER OF ALL THUNDERSTORMS! MAKES ME THIRSTY JUST LOOKIN' AT THE BLIGHTER!
Mr Patrician; I'LL DRINK TO THAT!
Captain; DAMN GOOD IDEA, MAVIS. HEY, YOU! FLUNKEY! DRINKS ALL ROUND!
Waiter; AGAIN, SIR? BUT OF COURSE.
3. Very large, breathtaking panel; 3/4 view from rear; The Phage building rumbles away from us, heading into the teeth of a spectacular storm, about
1/2 mile away. Tilt the landscape a bit for dramatic effect.
Balloon from Bridge; WATCH OUT, ARSEFACE, YOU'RE SPILLIN' OUR DRINKS!
2nd Balloon; BEG PARDON, BUT IT'S NOT ME SIR, IT'S THE MOTION OF THE BUILDING.
3rd Balloon; HRRMPF. I SEE. STEADY AS SHE GOES, MR PATRICIAN!
1. Head and shoulders of Vorscyn as he staggers drunkenly out through the door of the bar towards us, steadying himself with one arm on the doorjam.
Though backlit, we can see his his face, seeing at once that he's pissed as a newt and dispepsic with it. In the far B/G, still at the bar is Manky, waving.
Manky; SHEE Y'IN THE VAT ROOM, VORSHYN!
2. Long shot. It's dark out on the street. The doorway and window of the bar cast bands of light onto the rubbish-strewn pedestrian street, puddles of oily water etc. Steam rises through gratings, silhouetting Vors, staggering away from us. In the far B/G, it looks like a great refinery, huge pipes disappearing upwards into the gloom. He's approaching two figures.
3. F/G; Vors has doubled up, leaning on something, violently throwing up. Behind him we see the two figures, dull and dirty-looking prostitutes, like something from a Jack the Ripper movie.
Ist Prostitute; OI! 'ANDSOME! FANCY A GOOD TIME, BIG BOY?
2nd Prostitute; FERGET IT, WILMA. HE'S WHANGED.
4. F/G; Vors stumbles and collapses, falling into a pile of rubbish, rusty pipes, things that look like dustbins etc next to an alley wall. Walking away in the
B/G, now some distance away, are the ladies of the night.
Vors; UH, UH, AAAAH!
5. We're at ground level, looking at Vors, lying on his side, drooling, straining with half-opened eyes to peer upwards. In the F/G are the feet and lower legs of, not a mugger, but Joshua who's standing over him (although the reader doesn't know that yet).
6. Vors POV; looking up at strangely backlit Agnes and Josh as they crouch down to look at him, Agnes reaching out towards us. High above them, behind the glare of a gaslamp we can just make out the dark, pipe covered ceiling of this indoor street. As an aside, Dave, you only need to deliniate the edge of the shadow on their face and then indicate to the colourist the shaded area and any effect you want, rather than cross-hatching, whatever.
In this case it would be nice if the shaded, backlit faces were softly underlit by reflected light.
Agnes; HEY MISTER, ARE YOU OKAY?
Josh; PERHAPS WE SHOULD LEAVE HIM, AGGIE.
7. Small, tight C/U of Vors, pleading weakly.
Vors; UH, NO, PLEASE...PLEASE T-TAKE ME HOME...
8. Silent panel; Long shot; Ag and Josh, supporting Vors, stagger away from us down the street.
Dave - we're a bit tight on space on this page. What I would have really liked would be to have another frame inbetween 7 and 8, just showing Josh and Ag looking at each other - a "shall we?" glance. If you can fit this in without the page looking cramped, or perhaps combine it with 7, go for it.
1. It's superhero time. Long panel taking up the first 1/3 of a page, top to bottom, bleeding off. On the roof of the bldg and it's throwing it down,
very atmospheric, indicate to colourist dark stormclouds in the B/G night sky. We're some distance from a cluster of bldgs facing the front windows of Phage's office. This bit of the bldg hasn't been seen before, so I'll include a plan of this area. Some bits of steam and smoke from vents or chimneys are blown by. No lit windows. Over what appears to be an architecural chasm, we look upwards towards the sloping triangular roof of a tower or archway. At the apex of the roof is a 12' high stone statue of the Phage, arms thrust outwards, wearing a long cloak. Just to our left of this - is that a shadowed figure, coat flapping, clambering up alonside it on the roof?
2. We've zoomed right up to the roof and statue and now, thanks to a passing cloud of steam behind it, we can definitely make out the silhouette of a ragged, windblown but powerful-seeming figure standing erect. The rain doesn't let up in this seq.
3. Large. Zoom in even more until the figure fills most of one side of the panel. On the right side of the panel is some of the lower portion of the statue. Inbetween in the B/G the sky is ripped apart by a massive, blinding, very close bolt of lightning. Dave - leave to colourist and ask him to put rain effect over it. This has the effect of suddenly floodlighting our hero right down one side. In his right hand he's holding a large pistol-grip crossbow with bolt, pointed up, as you would hold a loaded revolver. He looks powerful, menacing and, well, quite cool, actually. His ragged duster coat with intregal shoulder cape flaps around aesthetically.
FX (along bottom of frame, overlapping into the next one; KRAAAKOOOMMM
4. C/U of our hero, starkly side-lit by the lightning, his face to our left totally in shadow (apart from his glowing right eye which throws a few glints off his goggles), looking grimly inscrutable, ignoring the rain that runs down his face.
1. We've shifted postion so that we're now a foot or two behind and slightly above his right side. He's aimed the crossbow downwards, across the dark drop puntuated by drifts of steam, to the lit lancet windows of the Phage's office, about 100 yards away. This is the focal point of the picture. From here,we just see the windows, not inside. Our line of vision is running down his arm, over the crossbow, to the windows.
2. We've zoomed in to just outside the windows, close enough to only see some of the transoms. Through them we can see the Phage in profile, perhaps some of his tail, as he walks in front of the windows to the side of his desk area (see plan). He's now wearing his smoking jacket and cravat and is filled-out from a recent feed. Dave - have the colourist drop in the fancy window tracery over the top in black.
Phage; YES, WHIZGUMZ, THE FELLOW MADE AN ACCEPTABLE SNACK. SLIGHTLY MORE SPIRIT THAN KALIGHOUL'S USUAL FARE OF COMPLIANT NONENTITIES.
3. Thin panel, right across the page. On our left B/G is the terrorist; he's fired the crossbow and the bolt is hurtling past us, big on the page , to our right F/G. The bolt has a message tied round it, but that needn't be obvious here.
Small FX (Near crossbow); THUK!
The lower half of this page is divided vertically in half; two frames, one above the other, on the left and one large frame on the right.
4. F/G; Phage, interupted in the act of talking gregariously to us, is jerking his head up, eyes moving round towards the window behind him. What we can see that he can't, is the bolt smashing it's way through the window, heading straight for him. Nothing else in the picture.
Phage; OF COURSE, THE GREATER THE SPIRIT, THE TASTIER THE...EH?
5. POV Similar to last. The Phage has reached up his hand and grabbed the bolt in mid air, stopping it dead. He looks angry.
Phage; WHO DARES...?
6. The large panel. Tilted diagonal composition. A breathtaking panel. From behind the assassin's perch we look down past the statue and roof in the F/G to the dizzying drop to the shadows. A few chimneys, spikes, flying buttresses visible, steam. A bit like the street canyons in BLADE RUNNER except here is just blackness at the bottom.
Our hero has just launched himself into space, rolling himself up into a ball, arms round knees - one of those Ninja/Kung Fu body flips we talked of, Dave. No whoosh marks, he's just frozen there in mid air, poised above this mind-numbing descent in the rain.
1. Phage lets rip with one of his psychic blasts; Panel across top of page, similar to the one in #6 except in this one, Phage on the right, blasting back at the previous page 2. Back to the assassin's perch. This time we can see across to Phage's office i n the B/G. The beam of psi-force is smashing through the window crossing the gap from right to left and blowing the statue in the left F/G into chunks of stone, the top bit toppling over, about to plunge into the chasm.
3. We are looking through the round, jagged hole in Phage's window caused by his mind-blast. Phage looks out at us in annoyance and disbelief. In front of him (and about 3' shorter!) the as yet unseen Porridge brother and Whizghumz (however you spell it!) also peer out into the rain in amazement.
Phage; I...I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IT!
I HAVE TOTAL PSYCHIC COMMAND OF THIS BUILDING! WHY CAN'T I SENSE HIM?
4. Inside . Phage looks down at the bolt, begins to peel off the paper that's wound round it.
Phage; AND...THIS BOLT! IT'S OFF-WORLD. IT COULD HAVE ACTUALLY INJURED ME!
WHAT? A MESSAGE...?
5. Phage's hands, one also holding the bolt, holding the unfurled note which
we can read very clearly.
Todd - a simple, clear script, upper and lower case.
Text; TO MR HENRY PHAGE.
I HEREBY SERVE NOTICE ON YOUR LIFE, YOU BLOOD SUCKING LIZARD.
YOU WILL DIE WITHIN THE WEEK.
YOUR EMPLOYEES KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN FEAR. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN. HOW DOES IT FEEL?
FROM YOUR EXECUTIONER.
1. Phage absolutely furious, snarling, screwing up the message and splintering the bolt in his fists. For the first time in this seq. we see a little of the office in the B/G. The Phage has come a little into the room. Porridge is standing in between him and the broken window. Both him and Whizghumz are terrified. Macaboy is also visible, floating inhis tank.
ATTACKED AND THREATENED IN MY OWN SANCTUM SANCTORUM?
THIS IS INTOLERABLE!
2. Phage has spun round and is heading for the broken window. He flings Porridge through the air like a rag doll. Whiz looks on in shock.
Phage; IMBECILE! OUT OF MY WAY!
3. He stands before the window, raging.
Phage; (Large) FACE ME, YOU INSECT! YOU PEASANT!
(Larger) WHO ARE YOU?
FX (Starting in this frame and continuing well into the next one)
4. Outside again; another streak of lightning scars the sky, starkly lighting everything in our final frame. We're looking across the chasm from an oblique angle at the office windows in the B/G, from high up, perhaps from one of the high corner towers. His back to us, standing on a stone ledge in the slanting rain is...whatever we end up calling him. Very atmospheric and moody.
Balloon from window; WHO ARE YOU?
SHOW OF FORCE
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