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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Comic Book Scripts

Check this out! CLICK HERE to go to the Comic Book Scripts website to see how comics are written. Writing for comics is much like screenplay writing, due to the fact that the writer also has to guide the artist to fulfill his vision. Very cool.

Oh, and CLICK HERE to see Alan Moore's script for the classic BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. Check out how wordy he is describing THE FIRST PANEL ON THE FIRST PAGE.

JOKER GRAPHIC NOVEL ALAN MOORE
THE KILLING JOKE (46 PAGES)

PAGE 1
(PANEL) 1.
WELL, I’VE CHECKED THE LANDING GEAR, FASTENED MY SEATBELT, SWALLOWED MY CIGAR IN A SINGLE GULP AND GROUND MY SCOTCH AND SODA OUT IN THE ASTRAY PROVIDED, SO I SUPPOSE WE’RE ALL SET FOR TAKE OFF. BEFORE WE GO SCREECHING OFF INTO THOSE ANGRY CREATIVE SKIES FROM WHICH WE MAY BOTH WELL RETURN AS BLACKENED CINDERS, I SUPPOSE A FEW PRELIMINARY NOTES ARE IN ORDER, SO SIT BACK WHILE I RUN THROUGH THEM WITH ACCOMPANYING HAND MOVEMENTS FROM OUT CHARMING STEWARDESS IN THE CENTRE AISLE.
FIRSTLY, SINCE I’M NOT ENTIRELY SURE HOW THESE GRAPHIC NOVELS ARE SET OUT, MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT IF THERE ARE END-PAPERS OF ANY KIND THEY MIGHT BE DESIGNED SO AS TO FLOW INTO AND OUT OF THE FIRST AND LAST PANELS OF THE STORY. SINCE BOTH THE FIRST AND LAST PANELS CONTAIN A SIMPLE CLOSE-UP IMAGE OF THE SURFACE OF A PUDDLE RIPPLED BY RAIN, THEN MAYBE A SIMPLE ENLARGEMENT OF A BLACK AND WHITE RIPPLE EFFECT TO THE POINT WHERE IT BECOMES HUGE AND ABSTRACT WOULD BE IN ORDER? AS WITH ALL MY VISUAL SUGGESTIONS, BOTH HERE AND IN THE PANEL DESCRIPTIONS BELOW, PLEASE DON’T FEEL BOUND IN BY THEM IN ANYWAY. THEY’RE ONLY MEANT AS WORKABLE SUGGESTIONS, SO IF YOU CAN SEE A BETTER SET OF PICTURES THAN I CAN (WHICH I’D SAY IS QUITE LIKELY, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED) THEN PLEASE FEEL FREE TO THROW OUT WHAT I’VE COME UP WITH AND SUBSTITUTE WHATEVER YOU FEEL LIKE.
I WANT YOU TO FEEL AS COMFORTABLE AND UNRESTRICTED AS POSSIBLE DURING THE SEVERAL MONTHS OF YOUR BITTERLY BRIEF MORTAL LIFESPAN THAT YOU’LL SPEND WORKING ON THIS JOB, SO JUST LAY BACK AND MELLOW OUT. TAKE YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS OFF. FIDDLE AROUND INBETWEEN YOUR TOES. NOBODY CARES. ANOTHER GENERAL NOTE WOULD REGARD STYLE AND PRESENTATION. I’VE ALREADY GONE INTO THIS IN THE SYNOPSIS, SO I WON’T DWELL ON IT TOO MUCH HERE, EXCEPT TO UNDERLINE A COUPLE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT POINTS, ONE SUCH POINT WOULD BE OUR TREATMENT OF THE BATMAN AND HIS MYTHOS, INCLUDING THE BATMOBILE, THE BATCAVE AND WHATEVER OTHER ELEMENTS MIGHT FIND THEMSELVES INCLUDED IN THE STORY BEFORE IT’S END. AS I SEE IT, THIS STORY ISN’T SET IN ANY SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD. WE DIDN’T SHOW ANY CALENDARS, OR ANY NEWSPAPERS WITH HEADLINES CLOSE ENOUGH TO READ THE DATE. THE ARCHITECTURE AND THE SETTINGS IN GENERAL THAT WE SEE ARE EITHER OBVIOUSLY OLD AND DATES, AS IN THE CARNIVAL SEQUENCES, OR HAVE AN AMBIGUOUS ORT OF LOOK TO THEM THAT’S BOTH FUTURISTIC AND ANTIQUE AT THE SAME TIME, AS WITH THE FLEISCHER-SUPERMAN/LANG’S METROPOLIS LOOK THAT I SEE OUR VERSION OF GOTHAM CITY AS HAVING, AT LEAST ON IT’S UPPER LEVELS. THE LOWER AND SEEDIER LEVELS OF GOTHAM ARE MORE INCLINED TOWARDS A TERRITORY SOMEWHERE BETWEEN DAVID LYNCH AND THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, ALL PATCHES OF RUST AND MOULD AND HISSING STEAM AND DAMP, GLISTENING ALLEYWAYS. I IMAGINE THIS STRIP AS HAVING AN OPPRESSIVELY DARK FILM NOIR FEEL TO IT, WITH A LOT OF UNPLEASANTLY TANGIBLE TEXTURES, SUCH AS YOU HABITUALLY
RENDER SO DELIGHTFULLY, TO GIVE THE WHOLE THING A REALLY INTENSE FEELING OF PALPABLE UNEASE AND CRAZYNESS. SINCE I KNOW THAT YOU LIKE USING LARGE AREAS OF BLACK ANYWAY, THEN MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT WE USE THE DARK AND SHADOWY NATURE OF OUR BACKDROPS AND THE BLACKNESS OF THE BATMAN’S COSTUME TO GIVE US AS MANY INTERESTING PRIMARILY-BLACK COMPOSITIONS AS WE CAN GET AWAY WITH? THE FACT THAT THE JOKER IS SUCH A BLEACHED AND BLOODLESS WHITE PLAYS OFF INTERESTINGLY AGAINST THIS, I RECKON, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GO COMPLETELY LOOPY WITH THE QUINK ON THIS ONE. AS FAR AS THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES GO, I’LL DESCRIBE THEM IN DETAIL WHEN THEY MAKE THEIR APPEARANCES, BUT MY ONLY GENERAL NOTE WOULD BE THAT LIKE THE LANDSCAPE AND THE VARIOUS PROPS, THEY HAVE A SORT OF TIMELESS AND MYTHIC QUALITY TO THEM WHICH DOESN’T FIX THEM FIRMLY IN ANY ONE AGE-RANGE OR TIME-PERIOD. THE JOKER LOOKS EITHER OLD OR BADLY DEPRAVED, BUT THEN HE’S ALWAYS LOOKED THAT WAY. THE BATMAN IS BIG AND GRIM AND OLDER THAN WE ARE, BECAUSE AS I REMEMBER THE BATMAN HE’S ALWAYS BEEN BIGGER AND OLDER THAN I AM AND I’LL FIGHT ANY MAN THAT SAYS DIFFERENT. GIVEN THIS TIMELESS AND MYTHIC QUALITY, IT ALSO STRIKES ME THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THIS STORY THAT HAVE STRONG OPERATIC ELEMENTS. BOTH THE BATMAN AND THE JOKER HAVE A POWERFUL OPERATIC QUALITY TO THEIR APPEARANCE IN THAT THE JOKER IS AN EXTREME VERSION OF THE HARLEQUIN FIGURE WITH THE BATMAN’S CAPE AND
MASK LOOKING LIKE SOMETHING STRAIGHT OUT OF DIE FLEDERMAUS. I DUNNO WHY I MENTION THIS EXCEPT TO UNDERLINE THE SORT OF GRAND EMOTIONAL INTENSITY I WANT THIS BOOK TO HAVE WITH BOTH THE BATMAN AND THE JOKER BECOMING POWERFUL AND PRECISE SYMBOLIC FIGURES IN A NIGHTMARISH AND ALMOST ABSTRACT LANDSCAPE. ANYWAY, BEFORE I WANDER OFF INTO A COMPLETELY IMPENETRABLE AESTHETIC FOG I SUPPOSE WE OUT TO ROLL OUR SLEEVES UP AND GET STRAIGHT DOWN TO BUSINESS WITHOUT FURTHER ADO.
THIS FIRST PAGE AND A COUPLE OF THE SUBSEQUENT ONES HAVE NINE PANELS APIECE, ALBEIT WITH VERY LITTLE OR NO DIALOGUE TO CLUTTER THEM UP. I WANT THE SILENCE AND THE METRONOME-LIKE VISUAL BEAT THAT THE PANELS WILL HAVE TO CREATE A SENSE OF TENSION AND INTRIGUE AND SUSPENSE WITH WHICH TO DRAG THE READER INTO THE STORY, WHILE STILL LEAVING US ENOUGH ROOM TO SET UP ALL THE NARRATIVE AND ATMOSPHERIC ELEMENTS THAT WE WANT TO ESTABLISH. IN THIS FIRST PANEL, WE HAVE A TIGHT CLOSE UP OF THE SURFACE OF A PUDDLE. (SEE? AND THERE WAS YOU ALL WORRIED THAT I WOULDN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING FASCINATING TO DRAW.) WE ARE SO CLOSE TO THE PUDDLE AS TO SEE IT ONLY AS AN ALMOST ABSTRACT IMAGE OF WIDENING RIPPLES SPREADING ACROSS A SHADOWY AND BLACK LIQUID SURFACE. IT IS NIGHT TIME, AND THE RIPPLES THAT WE SEE IN THE FOREGROUND ARE CAUSED BY LARGE DROPLETS OF RAIN THAT FALL THROUGH THE FOREGROUND IN DIAGONAL SLASHES. MAYBE WE CAN SEE ONE DROPLET AS ITS PRECISE MOMENT OF IMPACT WITH THE PUDDLE, SO CLOSE ARE WE TO IT. ALTHOUGH I DON’T SUPPOSE THAT THIS INFORMATION WILL MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE TO THIS CURRENT PANEL, FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE IT IS MID NOVEMBER AND BITTERLY COLD. HERE, ALL WE SEE IS THE RAIN SPLASHING INTO THE PUDDLE AND THE SILVERY WHITE RIPPLES SPREADING OUT ACROSS THE DARKNESS.
No Dialogue.




Amazing.

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3 Comments:

At 5/15/2008 1:15 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

Next up... Alan Moore's 15-page grocery list!

 
At 5/18/2008 1:31 PM, Anonymous Nicky said...

Holy crap, all that for a panel of a puddle? That has got to be the best puddle ever. I think I'm in love.

 
At 5/19/2008 11:23 AM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

It's a very nuanced puddle...

 

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