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Aaron Walther
09-06-2013, 02:54 AM
So, this forum is working on getting some traffic through it, is it? Well, here are the first two pages of a script I'm working on for my next Zero's Heroes chapter. I'm trying something a little different than I usually do. Does anybody think it's overwritten?

(sorry, there aren't a lot of detailed character or location descriptions because the artist is already familiar with all of them.)

PAGE 01 – FOUR PANELS
Powerline wanders the streets of New Haven. He is lost in thought. This will mostly be disconnected shots of the city. The narration will carry the brunt of the story. In the last panel, Powerline accidently bumps shoulders with a seemingly normal guy.
01
Large panel. Wide landscape view of the city of New Haven. The city is vast and sprawling, full of sleek skyscrapers and modern buildings. A random superhero casually flies through the city in the distant background.

CAPTION
The city of New Haven is home to thousands of people. Most of them are normal people going about their daily lives. Some of them are exceptional people going about their daily lives.

02
We see Powerline in his leather jacket “costume” that he always wears casually strolling down a city street. He is lost in thought, looking at the sidewalk, not paying much attention to the world around him. Not that I want him to appear different than he has before, but I really want to highlight Powerline’s age in this chapter. He’s supposed to be substantially older than the rest of the team, in his mid 40’s, though he doesn’t always look it. I generally chalk it up to artistic integrity, but this chapter is specifically about how he’s older and has a past life, so I want it to visually match.

CAPTION
One such exception is this old man, though he is not as old as he feels. He has lived more in the last ten years than most people live in an entire lifetime*.

03
Powerline bumps shoulders with Luke, AKA, Squid Pro Quo, the villain from the first chapter of Zero’s Heroes. Luke is in his street clothes. He’s a slender, average looking young man in his late 20’s. He’s wearing jeans and a hoodie sweater. He is completely unassuming.

CAPTION
This part of the city conjures up many memories for the old man. Lost in thought, he barely acknowledges the people around him.

04
This is not so much a panel as much as it is a caption box at the bottom of the page outside of all the panels. It is the footnote for the asterisk in the second panel.

CAPTION
*This is just a metaphor. There is no magic or time travel involved in this particular story. That will come in a later chapter.

PAGE 02 – FOUR PANELS
Luke recognizes Powerline and flashes back to their previous encounter.
01
Luke turns around to shout at Powerline.

CAPTION
In these kinds of stories, luck, happenstance, circumstance, and coincidence are usually reserved for exceptional people, and this young man is no exception (in the fact that he is an exceptional young man).

02
Close up of Powerline’s face in profile, as Luke would have seen it when they passed.

CAPTION
The young man catches the visage of the old man he collided with--

03
Luke is shocked by his luck. He recognizes Powerline as part of the team of superheroes that beat him up on his very first crime spree.

CAPTION
--and begins to conjure up memories of his own.

04
Large flashback panel of Luke wearing his Squid Pro Quo battle suit during the fight from the first chapter. Powerline, Quickspeed, and maybe Ghost are running around him dodging his flailing squid arms in the midst of battle. Powerline doesn’t have to be doing anything super heroic, but his face should be clearly visible.

CAPTION
In these memories, he went by the name Squid Pro Quo and wore a mechanical squid suit. He was an enterprising young man attempting to make a career as a professional criminal. It ended as these things usually do, with his squid suit broken beyond repair and the newfound responsibility of keeping appointments with a parole officer.

Steven Forbes
09-09-2013, 03:19 PM
Hey, Aaron! Thanks for stopping in.

Yes, this is overwritten. I hate the over-reliance on captions to tell the story. It gives a "lean back" feel, where we're being told the story, instead of a "lean forward" feel that spoken dialogue gives.

I was barely three panels in when I wanted to turn away. It wasn't interesting. You sucked that away with the captions.

You also don't give a time of day. While I default to daytime, it would be helpful for the artist, no matter how comfortable with the surroundings, to at least know that.

I also feel that you skipped a panel. You have, what I assume, is an aerial shot of the city (although I shouldn't have to assume). You go from that to walking along the street. That's a big jump. You need at least one panel between those two in order to firmly place the setting and the character for the reader instead of just jumping on him like that.

As for the captions... It reads a bit like bad prose. More than a bit, actually. And then, you shift focus from the old guy to the young guy, not giving the reader enough time spent with one before jumping to the other.

That last caption is wordy. Comes in at 57, and while that isn't terrible, it isn't great. It could easily be broken into two captions, which would be better for the pacing. The saving graces for that wordy caption is the fact that you have four panels on this page, as well as this is, in fact, a caption, and not a word balloon.

Personally, rewrite the captions so that there's more life to them. Stick to a single character for at least two pages, if not three, before moving on to the next, even if they share a scene.

But, yes, you're killing yourself with those captions.

Aaron Walther
09-09-2013, 04:33 PM
Thank you, Steven.

You are dead on about the time of day omission, that was a blunder.

I'm always pushing myself to minimize my writing, and in this case I was trying to keep this chapter at a 12 page length, but I had a feeling that once I started editing it would get expanded by at least a few pages.

I letter most of my own comics, so I break up the captions in the lettering process and am not used to doing that in the scripting phase. However, since I am not lettering this particular story, thank you for reminding me that I should be breaking them up in the script.

I don't disagree about the "lean back" vs. "lean forward" feeling you get with captions, though I don't think one is particularly better than the other. In fact, I am going for more of a lean back style for this story.

I think that, as you suggested, expanding the scenes to give the characters more room and cleaning up the text will definitely help the flow of the story.

Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.