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Angloth
03-13-2013, 05:15 PM
Hello!

So I'm rather new to writing comics, but this is one that a friend and I have started and we'd really love for someone to critique it. Right now we only have two issues written. I'm not sure if this is the best way to do it, but I've just copy and pasted the first half of the issue in. I know I probably need to add in more descriptions for some of the panels. I'm still getting used to a script style.

~Angy

PAGE ONE:

Caption:
3AM.

Panel 1:
John is looking down through his second floor apartment window at a group of five guys drawing graffiti on the building wall directly below him. John is a tall man with brown hair, average looking guy, in his 30s.

JOHN: (thought)

"Third time this month. Great."

Panel 2:
Side look at the kids graffiting the wall with spray paint. Kid 1 looks like the leader of the group. He's wearing baggy clothes, average height but solid build. Kid 2 is skinny, wearing a flannel shirt and a baseball cap. He's standing in between Kid 1 and Gregg. Gregg is wearing an orange hoody and blue jeans. He's got short spiky blonde hair, slight build, doesn't have the toughest look about him. Gregg is positioned closest to the front (towards us). All the "kids" are late teens to early twenties.

KID 1:

Whatever, I hope he does find out. I'm not afraid of him, no matter the stories.

KID 2:
I heard he broke Manowski's leg in a fight.

Panel 3:

GREGG:

No way. Manowski tripped over a cat on the sidewalk. Saw it myself.

Panel 4:
Focus in on Kid 1.

KID 1:

See what I mean? All these crazy stories going on about this guy. We need to show him this neighborhood is ours and what we say goes. And if he doesn't stay out of our business then he gets what's coming to him.

PAGE TWO: SPLASH PAGE
Panel 1:
John is standing at the end of the alley. His arms are crossed and he's looking very tall and ominous. The street lamp is behind him so all the kids can really see is a shadow really.

JOHN:

And what exactly do I have coming to me?

Series Title: Principalities
Issue Title: Unexpected

PAGE THREE:

Panel 1:
All the kids are frozen stiff, not saying a word.

Panel 2:
This is actually going to be several small panels showing the kids scrambling over each other to get out of there. Everyone runs in the opposite direction of John except for Gregg and Kid 2.

Panel 3:
Kid 2 realizes his mistake and flies (figuratively, not literally) past John.

Panel 4:
Gregg almost runs right in to John. He doesn't realize it until he's right on him. His eyes get about the size of quarters when he does though and he nearly falls backward trying to avoid running into John.

PAGE FOUR:

Panel 1:
John grabs Gregg's wrist.

Panel 2:
Gregg uses his free hand to grab John's wrist and twists it, trying to break John's grip but he fails.

Panel 3-4:
John does some martial arts move that knocks Gregg on his back.

Panel 5:
Side view. John's fist is about five inches from Gregg's face. His other hand has a hold on Gregg's shirt. Gregg's eyes are squinted shut and he's is cringing, bracing for an impact.

GREGG:
Look, I'll do whatever you want, just don't break all my bones.

PAGE FIVE:

Panel 1:
John yanks Gregg up by the collar.

Panel 2:
Close side view of John and Gregg. The street lamp is still behind John so we can't see his face very clearly, mostly just an outline of his features. Gregg looks slightly terrified but mostly just confused. He's also got a bloody lip.

JOHN:

Come with me.

Panel 3:
John has a firm grip on Gregg's upper arm and pushes him into the building. Gregg looks increasingly nervous.

Panel 4:
Inside the building. John pushes Gregg into a chair.

Panel 5:
Gregg now looks thoroughly terrified and he's gripping the sides of his chair. We see John in the background fiddling with a can of something in a small closet. The closet light still doesn't allow us to really see much more than John's outline.

JOHN:

You just said you'd do whatever I wanted. I'm going to hold you to that. You might even be glad you did it when you're done.

PAGE SIX:

Panel 1:
Small panel. John comes back into the room and flips the light on.

JOHN:

Sorry, forgot about that.

Panel 2:
John holds a can of paint thinner and a couple of rags out to Gregg.

GREGG:

I - - I don't understand.

JOHN:

I've cleaned off the side of this building twice now. I don't want to do it again so you're going to.

GREGG:

Yes sir.

Panel 3:
Gregg is standing up now and takes the items from John. Gregg's face has a noticeable look of relief on it.

Panel 4:
Gregg carries the stuff over to the wall outside. John is behind him carrying a chair and a coffee cup.

JOHN:
What's your name, kid?

GREGG:
Gregg Sands.

Panel 5:
Gregg is facing the wall. He glances suspiciously over his shoulder at John watching him from behind.

Panel 6:
Wide view of Gregg starting to clean the paint off and John sitting in his chair, legs crossed, sipping his coffee.

PAGE SEVEN:

Panel 1:
Side view, close up of Gregg. It's daylight now. Gregg is cleaning off the paint from a crevice in between two bricks using an old toothbrush.

Panel 2:
Back view of Gregg and the now clean area of the wall. Gregg tosses the toothbrush on the ground.

GREGG:

Done.

Panel 3:
Gregg turns around to see John leaning back in his chair, arms folded, eyes closed, legs out.

Panel 4:
Gregg quietly and slowly starts to walk away hoping John doesn't wake up.

Panel 5:
John opens his eyes but doesn't move from his position. Gregg freezes halfway through a step.

JOHN:

Took you long enough. Don't even try running again. Not even close to done with you.

Panel 6:
Gregg's shoulders slump down in a pleading sort of way as he half turns to face John.

GREGG:
Aw come on man. I cleaned the wall. What more do you want?

JOHN:
A talk with your parents.

GREGG:
They're dead. Don't have any.

JOHN:
Really? Because you look a lot like one of my old high school friends who happens to be named Greggory Sands and he's very much alive.

Panel 7:
Gregg's head and shoulders hang down in a sullen submission.

GREGG:
Fine.

PAGE EIGHT:

Panel 1:
Gregg is sulky and mad. His face very much shows this. He thought he could just do the wipeout and be done, but now he thinks that his parents are going to get involved and thus he'll be in a ton of trouble. John is knocking on the front door of Gregg's house. He lives in a typical working class neighborhood.

Panel 2:
A man in his 40s answers the door. He looks older than he is and like he's worked a lot in his life. He's got brown hair but otherwise looks a lot like Gregg. He looks surprised but happy to see John.

GREGGORY:
John Emerson. What on earth brings you here this early in the morning?

Panel 3:
John nods his head towards Gregg. Gregg refuses to do anything but deeply contemplate his shoelaces.

GREGGORY:
Should've known. What did you do this time?

Panel 4:
JOHN:
I was just enjoying my coffee outside when he came up and started talking to me. He'd like to start martial arts training. We did a bit of sparring and I can tell he's got potential.

Panel 5:
Gregg and Greggory both look at John in surprise.

GREGGORY:
Well, I know it'd be good for him to get involved in something right for a change, but I don't know if we can afford it.

JOHN:
Don't worry. He's willing to help out at the place when he's not training. It'd cover the cost and I could use the extra help.

Panel 6:
Greggory looks at Gregg for some sort insight. Gregg still just looks dumbfounded but goes along with what John is saying.

GREGGORY:

If he's willing then I am.

GREGG:
Uh, yeah.

JOHN (grinning):
Great. He can start coming on Monday after school.

PAGE NINE:

Panel 1:
Gregg walks in to the back of John's studio.

JOHN:
Good morning.

GREGG:
Sure.

JOHN:
You always this upbeat?

Panel 2:
GREGG:
What do I have to do to get out of this?

JOHN:
Work and train here every day after school and Saturdays.

GREGG:
You've got to be kidding me.

JOHN:
I don't kid. Now let's get practicing.

Panel 3:
Gregg takes off his jacket.
JOHN:
Twenty pushups.

GREGG:
What?

JOHN:
Make that thirty.

Panel 4 -:
Succession of small panels that shows Gregg doing different exercises like pushups, chinups, etc.

PAGE TEN:
Showing the progression of time over Gregg's training. He's improving, but he's not that great yet.

Panel 1:
John showing a stance and Gregg trying to do it.

Panel 2:
John and Gregg sparring.

Panel 3:
Gregg trying to hold a high kick stance.

Panels 4-6:
John and Gregg fighting and John still obviously winning. Gregg once again ends up getting knocked down.

PAGE ELEVEN:

Caption:
8 months later

Panel 1:
Night. Gregg is walking home on a fairly quiet street. Hands in his orange hoodie pockets, minding his own business. At some point on this page we need to see the back of his hoodie that shows the name of John's martial arts business.

Panel 2:
Side view of Gregg stopping and looking across the street at a woman and young girl being harassed by a group of 4 or 5 guys.

THUG 1 (MANOWSKI):
Come on, hand it over lady!

Panel 3:
Front view of Gregg again.
GREGG: (thinks to himself)
Not my problem.

Panel 4:
Gregg rolls his eyes, knowing that he has to stop and help.

LITTLE GIRL (MAE): off-screen
Mommy!

PAGE TWELVE:

Panel 1:
Gregg turns around and walks towards the group, trying to look as unafraid as he can.

GREGG:
Leave them alone.

MANOWSKI:
We're just trying to have a little fun so get lost.

Panel 2:
Gregg puts his hand on Manowski's shoulder and turns him around. Manowski has a smirk.

GREGG:
Manowski?

MANOWSKI:
Well if it isn't the Karate Kid. Care to join or are you going to ruin our fun?

Panel 3:
A woman with a young girl, 4 years old, holding tightly to her leg. The woman has her arm on her daughter's shoulder but she still looks ready and capable of pouncing on any of these guys in a heartbeat. Also surrounding them are the guys graffitiing with Gregg earlier.

THUG 2:
Come on, let's get him too.

Panel 4:
Gregg punches Manowski straight in the nose.

PAGE THIRTEEN:

Panel 1:
Manowski is bending down holding his nose. Gregg kicks one of the guys. The woman swings a punch at one of them as well.

Panel 2:
Gregg grabs one of the guys and pins his arms back right before he is about to hit the woman.

GREGG: (to the woman)
Run!

Panel 3:
The woman grabs her daughter and runs. The man Gregg is holding kicks him in the shin. Gregg loosens his grip.

Panel 4:
The man turns around, punches Gregg in the stomach.

Panel 5:
Gregg is doubled over. Manowski, blood running down from his nose, pulls Gregg up and punches him hard in the face.

PAGE FOURTEEN:

Panel 1:
Gregg is kneeling on the ground, holding his stomach and nose. Manowski takes Gregg's wallet from his back pocket.

Panel 2:
Manowski takes the money out.

MANOWSKI:
Your money does just as good as her's.

Panel 3:
Side view of Gregg on the ground. We see the wallet next to him on the ground now. Manowski is in the background.

MANOWSKI:
Come on boys, this one's apparently not one of us anymore.

PAGE FIFTEEN:


Panel 1:
Gregg comes in the back of the studio quietly. We see John is his walk-in closet .

JOHN:

If you want a day off you don't have to just skip out on your training y'know.

GREGG:
Sorry, I overslept.

Panel 2:
John comes out into the room and sees Gregg. Gregg has his hand behind his head and has a sheepish look on his face.

JOHN:
Is there a reason your face looks like that?

GREGG:
Angry stairs?

JOHN:
Were these stairs provoked?

GREGG:
Not really. You know how stairs can be, all angsty and bitter for getting stepped on so much.

Panel 3:
John gives Gregg a weird "you say really bizarre things sometimes" look.

JOHN:

So you want to tell me what really happened?

GREGG:
Not really.

Panel 4:
Mae comes skipping into the studio. Mae is a spunky, bright, and cute four year old girl. She's got dark brown hair in pigtails and bright blue eyes. John and Gregg both look thoroughly confused.

MAE:
Hi.

Panel 5:
Front view of Mae looking up at them both, pointing at Gregg.

MAE:
He helped Mommy and I last night from getting hurt. Thank you Mr. Nice Man.

PAGE SIXTEEN:

Panel 1:
Mae attaches herself to Gregg's leg.

GREGG:
Um, where is your mommy now?

Panel 2:
Vivian bursts through the door. Vivian is in her early 30s, tall, has dark hair, high cheek bones and a slight Native American look. She always has red or yellow in her outfit. Side view of everyone. John drops his coffee cup.

VIVIAN:
Mae!

Panel 3:
Everyone looks at John because he dropped his cup. Vivian and John both have shocked expressions on their face.

VIVIAN:
Hi.

JOHN:
Hi.

VIVIAN:
My daughter and I just wanted to thank the man who saved us last night. Mae saw the logo for here on the back of your jacket.

Panel 4:
Gregg looks all sheepish and awkward again.

GREGG:
You're welcome. I'm just glad you're both ok.

VIVIAN:
Thank you. We should get going. It's good to see you again John.

JOHN:
Yup.

PAGE SEVENTEEN:

Panel 1:
John starts to pick up his now broken coffee cup.

GREGG:
Do you know her?

JOHN:
Used to.

GREGG:
Care to explain?

JOHN:
Not really.

Panel 2:
GREGG:
Ok, then let's talk about how we're canceling classes tomorrow so I can go to the Wellton Industries demonstration.

JOHN:
I still don't understand how you can be so excited about someone pushing a button on a machine.

Panel 3:
Gregg is holding up a newspaper about the ceremony tomorrow.
GREGG:
Not just a machine. A device that could reverse global warming. How is that not exciting?!

JOHN:
For a former street rat, you sure are a geek.

Panel 4:
GREGG:
So you'll let me off?

JOHN:
Since most of the students already said they're going to the event -

Panel 5:
Gregg jumps up in happiness.
GREGG:
Yes!

paul brian deberry
03-14-2013, 12:38 AM
Well done.

Couple things. Dialogue. Your characters all read the same. There is no difference between them. The slightest change is all you really need. If Gregg is a "street rat" make him drop some slang. Don't go mental, only a little is needed.

Little tough love here. The script is dull. There is no humor in the script. No money shots (every page needs at least ONE interesting bit of dialogue or action.)

Remember your script is going to be read by an artist. An artist who uses his imagination to bring YOUR script to life. If he's not having fun with what he's readin, then his art is gonna suffer. The story is gonna suffer.

Angloth
03-14-2013, 09:50 AM
Thank you!!! That's exactly what I was looking for :) :bounce:


Couple things. Dialogue. Your characters all read the same. There is no difference between them. The slightest change is all you really need. If Gregg is a "street rat" make him drop some slang. Don't go mental, only a little is needed.


I used to work with some kids like this. Maybe I should try channeling them a bit more!


Little tough love here. The script is dull. There is no humor in the script. No money shots (every page needs at least ONE interesting bit of dialogue or action.)


Gotcha. I'm used to writing long stories that don't need 'money shots' every page, so this has definitely been the hardest part for me. Since I know there's a limited amount of space to tell a story I try to be concise, but I'm probably being a little too straightforward (and thus rather dry).

I'll work on the second half of the issue before I post and see if I can work these things out some.

~Angy

NicShaw
03-14-2013, 10:41 AM
Hi Angloth,

Pretty interesting script, I'd like to read more!
Couple of points:

You said this is half a first issue? One issue of comic should be between 20 - 24 pages, unless you're going for an oversized first issue, or all issues are going to be oversized issues, you might want to cut back.

Every single page should end with a mini-cliffhanger, something that makes you want to turn to that next page. For example page 15 should end with Gregg asking Mae "Where is your mummy now?" It entices the reader to find out where Mae's mum is.
You have done it in some instances, but not all.

You might also want to cut down on some panels, you have a lot of panels in the first few pages, try to stick to a maximum of 5 or 6. Any more and your pages can often get very crowded, very quickly.
Personally I like to (poorly) sketch what I imagine the page will look like as I go, then I send my roughs to my artist. It helps convey what I want the page to say, shows where I would like room left for lettering, and helps me to see what works and what doesn't.

Without reading the rest of the script It's hard to tell, but do you have an over-arching bad guy? Or another story that's going on at the same time?
If you do, add some of it in here in this first half.
For example, if this machine that will reverse global warming is going to give Gregg superpowers or be the catalyst to some larger event, add some hints to it.
Throw in a page or two of some scientists talking about the machine, maybe some complications it's having, or two scientists arguing over weather or not they should even go ahead with the experiment. Again it's just a technique to add some more intrigue, you'll have the reader wondering "What's going to happen with this machine?"
If you do add two or three pages with something like I mentioned, you could end the first issue with Gregg being excited to go to the event.

You said you were "getting used to a script style" - Scripting comics is great, because you can put in as much detail, or as little as you like. Some writers will write a paragraph for each panel, describing each minute detail, others will give the bare minimum "Gregg walked into a crowded bar"
Personally I like to find the middle ground of both, I'll describe the panel slightly, but I'll use camera angle references to help my artist establish where I want the shot to come from. Then he'll let me know if what I'm asking is to much, and we work together to see what works.

The script isn't ever finished until your issue is in someone hands. Lettering is generally the last thing that is done, so if you learn to do it, it allows you tweak your dialogue up until the last minute. It's great! You might find a comedy beat you didn't know you had, or a chance for a character to drop a bad-ass line, or you might find panels where nothing needs to be said at all.

If you want scripting help a lot of collected trades have scripts in the back, along with character design etc. A couple of writers have collected their scripts and compiled them into a book, Brian Michael Bendis has a 'Powers' script book, Brian Wood has one for 'The Couriers' I think?
I'd also pick up 'Making Comics' by Scott McCloud, it helped me a great deal with my writing.

Look forward to reading more!

Angloth
03-14-2013, 11:39 AM
Thanks, Nic!

You said this is half a first issue? One issue of comic should be between 20 - 24 pages, unless you're going for an oversized first issue, or all issues are going to be oversized issues, you might want to cut back.
It's 25 pages right now. I think that once I start reworking it the length will have to change a lot. I wasn't sure if the first part was interesting enough to have as the first issue or not. With some changing around and adding the next few pages in I could make the first issue though.


Without reading the rest of the script It's hard to tell, but do you have an over-arching bad guy? Or another story that's going on at the same time?
If you do, add some of it in here in this first half.
For example, if this machine that will reverse global warming is going to give Gregg superpowers or be the catalyst to some larger event, add some hints to it.
Throw in a page or two of some scientists talking about the machine, maybe some complications it's having, or two scientists arguing over weather or not they should even go ahead with the experiment. Again it's just a technique to add some more intrigue, you'll have the reader wondering "What's going to happen with this machine?"
Oddly enough, that's exactly what happens next!

~Angy

Evan Henry
03-14-2013, 07:15 PM
One thing to keep in mind: You always want a comic to end on an even-numbered (left-hand) page. Otherwise, you wind up with an empty page in the very back of the book that you'll need to fill with something.

I'll try to give a more thorough read later tonight or tomorrow.

Angloth
03-25-2013, 11:43 PM
Hopefully this is an improvement. There's still things I'd like to work on, especially the panel descriptions towards the end of the issue. I've got a friend who is going to make some rough sketches for me, but she wants me to make my own sketches first, so I'll probably end up reworking it more once I do that.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I_Yuyp5_54TlZp_IGltbKwUC-a0W8ttMnYcJuld6Rdc/pub

Comics Commando
03-31-2013, 05:59 AM
Minor note: why does the thought balloon have quotes? It's not spoken aloud--and even speech balloons don't have quotes. Some captions, do, of course, depending, but there's no reason for quotes in a thought balloon.

You also need to get familiar with the basic comma.

Let's eat Grandma.

and:

Let's eat, Grandma.

Have two different meanings.

Don't get your cues from facebook--get a book on punctuation if you don't know it forward and back.


cc

Angloth
04-01-2013, 09:24 AM
Thanks for pointing that out! I think there's just a few quotation marks in the beginning that I forgot to take out. Didn't realize my comma usage was that bad, but I've not gone through the grammar with a fine tooth comb yet.

~Angy

Digitalgood
04-03-2013, 02:30 AM
Hey guys-

This is a solid start. You should be proud of your efforts. I have a couple things to point out.
1.Pacing. The scene where Gregg is washing the walls while John sits and watches is handled really well. The scene before that where the hoodlums run away from John seems over complicated.
-You may want to rework it where Gregg is the one spray painting and while his attention is on the wall his friends spot John coming and bug out, leaving him standing there talking to himself. He turns and finds himself face to face with John. Not only does this tighten up the scene but gives the artist room to play with expressions and the background. Just a thought.
2.Voice- You guys go this note earlier, but it bears repeating, spice up your text. Think about how one character sounds when compared to another. Slang is great, but big long fancy words in the mouth of a smart character work well too. Don't be afraid to throw in some pop culture references as well.
3.Keep the artist in mind EVERY panel. Pick a moment in the action and freeze frame it. There is an instance where Gregg is getting beat up by his former gang and some one takes his wallet, the way that you've written that scene would put the artist in the position of chosing how to convey this to the reader. There are too many choices to choose from. Make the life of your artist easier by picking one moment in time and go from there.
Is the gang member reaching into Gregg's pocket for his wallet? Does he have it out and money can be seen? Is he counting the cash as an empty wallet lays on Gregg's chest? See what I mean about driving your artist crazy? Write what you have in your mind's eye.
All in all, this is a solid start. Keep working it and you'll be fine.