I received an email this morning from the editor of our upcoming comic book project. He informs me he’s looking into artists and wondered whether Paul and I were a) familiar with scripting for comics and, if not, b) required what he referred to as a “comics writing 101” he could send our way. I told him that we already had a script for the one hour television pilot (which will form the first two issues of the opening four-issue arc), but had yet to decide how best to proceed. From the two books and several articles I’ve read on the subject, it appears that there are two approaches to comic book scripting, one excruciatingly detailed in its panel by panel breakdown, the other so frustratingly general and wide open it comes across as more suggestion than direction. Personally, I would prefer something that falls something in between the two, a scripting style detailed enough to tell the story but broad enough to allow the artist – who I view as the comic book counterpart of the film/television director – to lay it out as he sees fit.
Anyway, the timing is perfect. With my (probably) last script for SGU’s second season out of the way, my weekends and evenings have finally opened up so I’m free to shift gears and focus on something else. Like a comic book project. Or a marathon viewing of Space: Above and Beyond. No, a comic book project.
Awwww, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Between the moment finished the last paragraph and the instant I started this one (three hours in my time, micro-seconds in your time, approximately two and half days in dog time), I received an email from our editor informing me that we’ll have to go with the mendokusai full script style meaning we’ll have to do the directing ourselves, breaking down every page into panels and guiding the artist. ie:
PAGE ONE (five panels)
Panel 1: Medium shot of LAMONT TREMAINE standing by an open window in a tweed jacket and blue slacks. Handsome and fit, his predilection for growing his salt and pepper hair long and keeping it in a ponytail makes him look much younger than his fifty-some years. Also it makes him look like a bit of a doofus. Hands in pocket, he stares out, eyes shut, allowing the breeze to tousle his over absurdly bushy eyebrows and cool his sun-dappled face.
LUISA (OP): Lamont, you can’t deny it.
Panel 2: Close on Lamont, turned slightly so that he is in profile. Out the window, in the background, an owl relieves itself on a low-hanging tree branch.
LAMONT: Don’t do this, Luisa. Not here. Not now.
Panel 3: Over the shoulder shot of Lamont in the lower right corner foreground, turned to face Luisa, his half-sister (late thirties, beautiful, sporting pantaloons, a pink blouse, and the type of conical hat usually reserved for young princes and dunces). She looks desperate as she appeals –
LUISA: But he’s your turtle, Lamont.
LAMONT: I have no turtle!
LUISA: But the pet store is quite strict about it’s no return policy.
Panel 4: Closer on Luisa, mouth aquaver, a lone tear tracking down the side of her left cheek.
LUISA (thought): Ooooooh daaaaayaaaam. I’m wanna slap him silly.
Panel 5: Two shot of the siblings facing one another, Luisa downcast, head lowered, Lamont eyes narrowed, scratching his chin as he considers…
LAMONT: I say, Luisa, this does put me in a spot of trouble. Perhaps if I…
PAGES TWO AND THREE (one freakin’ glorious panel! SPLASH PAGE!)
Panel 1 and only: A hot air balloon crashes through the wall behind Lamont.
Two heavyset twin eight year old boys in matching striped shirts clutch each other in sheer wide-eyed terror as the bottom of the wicker basket they are in clips Lamont, decapitating him.
And the rest writes itself.
Wow. Writing like that, you can fill up 22 pages in no time.
Best dig up that pilot script and start thinking about how I’m going to transfer it to comic book format.
Yep, just as soon as I find that pilot.
Er, anyone happen to remember where I filed it?