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Cmsmith4252
08-20-2014, 11:38 PM
Below are the first five pages of my one-shot comic, A Clone by Any Other Name. Basically a doppleganger-type story of mistaken identity, as well as a campy, kooky scifi.

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PAGE ONE (Five panels)

PANEL ONE: External view of a space station floating in space. Ships of all shape, color, and size flock around it.

1 CAPTION: Gamede Space Station. It’s pretty much the busiest spaceport this side of the Milky Way.

PANEL TWO: Trucker-esque aliens in uniforms and spacesuits mill about, sipping on coffee-like cups and chatting as technicians plug in a ship in the background.

2 CAPTION: Planning on hopping from one solar system to another? Plan to refuel here. Word of warning: it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. Interstellar travel is not cheap.

PANEL THREE: Two stiff looking aliens – one humanoid, one wholly alien – sit across a table from one another, each with an entourage. On the wall behind them we see a view of space and whizzing ships.

3 CAPTION: Want a neutral ground for your diplomatic negotiations or business deals or whatever? Gamede’s the place to go.

PANEL FOUR: Harried looking parents, humans and otherwise, walk their kids through the halls. One child wails as it clutches a cup with a crazy straw. One parent holds a holo screen like a typical tourist brochure. To one side, we see a sign directing people to visit the Interstellar Mineral Museum in English and several other languages.

4 CAPTION: It’s even a vacation spot. We boast the best indoor museum of alien minerals from around the galaxy. Spoiler alert: It’s a rock museum. But people actually come from all over just to check it out.

PANEL FIVE: At last, we come to the food court, where humans and aliens of all sorts eat food of all sorts.

5 CAPTION: It’s a pinnacle of interspecies cooperation. The station of the future.

6 CAPTION: That’s probably what makes it the perfect place for me: a clone.

PAGE TWO (Four panels)

PANEL ONE: Flash to a photo of a cheerful human woman in a lab coat in the arms of a massive toad-like alien.

1 CAPTION: Believe it or not, clones are pretty common. Like on Earth, half of all the French people are descended from William the Conquerer. Well, that’s about how many non-Earth humans are clones.

2 CAPTION: We’re really popular with interspecies couples who can’t have kids naturally.

PANEL TWO: The happy couple stand in front of a building with a sign reading CRISTHOLM CLONING. The mother beams, holding a swaddled baby while her toad-like husband holds an overstuffed baby bag.

3 CAPTION: For instance, my parents didn’t want to wait for an adoption. So they picked me. Apparently my DNA came from some concert violinist.

PANEL THREE: In another picture, we see them posing in a family picture. Our little heroine, Tix, leans against the kitchen table, grinning toothily, one cheek resting on her hand. Her parents smile warmly behind her. Tix is about 8 years old.

4 CAPTION: Worse, they named me “Tix”, which means “Greatness” in Dad’s language. He wanted me to be the violinist. Mom wanted me to be a scientist, like her.

PANEL FOUR: In a pose mirroring the little girl, a 20-year-old Tix leans on the counter of a fast food joint. She wears a striped red-and-yellow polo shirt. Her expression positively screams “I am bored and I hate my life.”

5 CAPTION: Neither of them wanted me to work in a food court in Gamede. So, either way, I’m definitely wasting my potential. Going nowhere.

PAGE THREE (Three panels)

PANEL ONE: We see a slightly wider shot of what turns out to be a fried food joint with a sign reading NEBULA BURGERS. An alien abduction-esque light suddenly shines down upon her.

PANEL TWO: Tix glances up, not startled so much as irritated.

TIX: Oh crap.

PANEL THREE: None too gently, Tix is sucked upwards, very abduction-style, limbs flailing.

PAGE FOUR (Five panels)

PANEL ONE: Tix shoots up from a hole in the floor, finding herself in a dark, crummy office with a door in the back corner. On the door is a cheesy motivational poster with a three-armed alien giving three thumbs up. Just next to the door is a chair. She is still flailing, but she has her bearings.

TIX: Look, Mr. Mordon, if this is about the Verdarian, I couldn’t serve him the special! It has wine slugs in it and that’s like giving chocolate to an Earth dog.

PANEL TWO: Tix lands roughly in the chair, still blurting out her defense.

TIX: And the cooling pipe thing was clearly an accident. I mean, it was broiling in there. I didn’t think fiddling with the system would actually freeze the fryers. Or Jerry.

PANEL THREE: Behind his desk, Mr. Mordon sits slumped in his chair, his face in shadow.

TIX (OP): Please don’t just sit there like that, you know it freaks me out. You’re usually yelling by now.

PANEL FOUR: Frustrated, Tix jumps to her feet and slams her hands on the desk. Everything on the desk jiggles, even Mr. Mordon in his chair.

TIX: Mr. Mordon!

PANEL FIVE: Mordon slumps forward, a huge burn marring hand of his face now visible. Tix jumps back with a screech.
TIX: AAAAAAAAH!

PAGE FIVE (Seven panels)

PANEL ONE: Tix runs for the door with the poster on it.

PANEL TWO: Tix freezes, her hands on the knob as a new voice speaks up.

GRISLOW: Bet you never thought you’d see old Grislow again, did you?

PANEL THREE: Glancing over her shoulder, Tix sees a human man in a sleek space suit lounging against the desk, smirking evilly. He holds a gun in one hand.

GRISLOW: Sorry about the manager, but you should have known better than to bring others into this. Now, you’re going to go back to your ship and leave quietly..

PANEL FOUR: Tix continues jerking on the doorknob, her eyes wide with fear.

TIX: Look, pal, I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve got the wrong girl.

GRISLOW: Oh please.

PANEL FIVE: Grislow sneers, holding his gun up.

GRISLOW: I’m not gonna fall for your…

PANEL SIX: A sudden, pensive expression crosses Grislow’s face as he genuinely considers it.

GRISLOW: Wait…you wouldn’t happen to be a clone would you?

PANEL SEVEN: Tix’s face falls as she stares at him, affront overcoming fear for just a moment.

TIX: Now that’s just rude.

GRISLOW: You’re right.

PAGE SIX (Six panels)

PANEL ONE: A shot blows the smiling face right off the motivational alien from the poster.

PANEL TWO: Grislow smirks widely, holding up his now smoking gun.

GRISLOW: Yeah. What’re the odds, right? You had me going there for a second, Vida.

PANEL THREE: Tix screams and jumps away from the door as another shot flies over her head, burning another hole in the poster.

1 CAPTION: This is what I get for ditching school.

PANEL FOUR: Tix lands on the hole in the floor where she’d been beamed up and holds up her fist to pound on it.

2 CAPTION: Oh geez. Mom and Dad were right. Space Stations are terrible, terrible places.

PANEL FIVE: Grislow pushes himself lazily off the desk as he levels his gun at her head.

GRISLOW: One more chance, Vida.

3 CAPTION: I swear to God, if I get out of this --

PANEL SIX: The hole opens op and Tix falls through, just as a shot from Grislow’s gun flies over where her head was.

4 CAPTION: --I’m going to find this Vida and kill her.

Luke Noonan
08-23-2014, 11:28 AM
Are you doing the art for this yourself? Because it seems that's the only way some of the panel descriptions will work, particularly the early ones. They have no real description of the visuals at all, they're basically just a list of notes of what the panels are about.

However, the story is pretty engaging and the dialogue is pretty funny.

Cmsmith4252
08-23-2014, 07:53 PM
I try to keep the panel descriptions vague to give the artist freedom. Just sort of "This is what's in it, but I'll let you decide exactly what you want." Do you think it's not enough for an artist to go off of?

Luke Noonan
08-23-2014, 09:11 PM
No, it isn't, IMO, although it does depend on the kind of artist you're working with and your relationship with them. You've given them licence to draw literally anything their imaginations can come up with. For example:

PANEL ONE: External view of a space station floating in space. Ships of all shape, color, and size flock around it.

Do you honestlyy not mind what those alien spaceships look like? If they're rockets, or angular crystal insects, or cancerous hulks of flesh banded with sinew (google 'Tyranids') does this make a difference?

PANEL TWO: Trucker-esque aliens in uniforms and spacesuits mill about, sipping on coffee-like cups and chatting as technicians plug in a ship in the background.

Plug in a ship? What does this even mean? Attach a fuel line? Insert a power cable? Something else?

PANEL THREE: Two stiff looking aliens – one humanoid, one wholly alien – sit across a table from one another, each with an entourage. On the wall behind them we see a view of space and whizzing ships.

And you haven't described the aliens at all. If you genuinely don't care what the "wholly alien" one looks like, why must it be "stiff looking"? If it looks completely alien with no human resemblance, how does an artist portray such a thing as "stiff"? These questions need answers. You may split them equally between yourself and the artist, but I don't see any reason to leave it all to the artist.

Cmsmith4252
08-24-2014, 12:22 AM
Okay, I think I see what you mean. I guess I've just gotten critiques from an artist in the past that they prefer as little description from the writer as possible, but it could have just been that artist.

Luke Noonan
08-24-2014, 06:44 AM
Okay, I think I see what you mean. I guess I've just gotten critiques from an artist in the past that they prefer as little description from the writer as possible, but it could have just been that artist.

I only speak from a writer's POV, and of course it does depend on the artist. Giving the artist freedom draw whatever they want would make it easy for them unless they don't want to have to invent all the alien ships themselves, and depending what else the aliens do it may not make it easy for you to tell the story or set the tone if the aliens look too bizarre or too cliched.

Personally, I would decied what kind of aliens I want, a list of the different species, and then give the artist a written description and a few visual references for them. For instance, if I wanted 1950s bug-eyed ones, I'd give the artist a few good images of squids, jellyfish and unusal fish and say "they're like a cross between those and people, but natural-looking, not just mutated". If I a wanted bunch of odd robots I might give the artist images of objects like a rusty tractor, a church organ, a crystal and a piece of Industrial art and say "they look like Transformers-style robot versions of those objects, human-sized." I would give the artist an idea of what I want and leave the details up to them.

I tend to think that the more you give the artist to work with the better, as long as you're not inflexible or resistant to suggestions from them. But this is just IMO. I'm also not an artist.

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 09:38 AM
Hey, Chelsea.

My column, The Proving Grounds, is getting very short of scripts to go over. If you wish, consider submitting this.

However, I strongly urge you to read a few of them first.

Read some entries (http://www.comixtribe.com/category/the-proving-grounds/). Read the rules (http://www.comixtribe.com/columns/the-proving-grounds/submit/). Then, of course, make up your mind.

crognus
08-25-2014, 02:12 PM
However, I strongly urge you to read a few of them first.

Haha. Some people have said Steven has "December in his veins." But nothing like a cold winter to show you where the cracks are in your house. If you have thick skin, Steven offers some amazing help!

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 07:43 PM
Whelp, I was hoping to have this on hand when I attend a con this weekend. So, for better or worse, what the hell!

Screwtape Jenkins
08-25-2014, 10:07 PM
How short are you, Steven? How long is the line?

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 10:12 PM
Three weeks, including what Chelsea just sent.

So, short. :)

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 10:19 PM
Oh darn, I thought from the submissions guidelines that it would be only one week. Well, let's hope what I've got is good enough to at least get any positive attention/networking done on Saturday.

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 10:33 PM
Well, the rules also say that you should be getting an email from me (you just did) telling you to check the calendar (you're up on 9/12).

I do suggest you join the discussion How Did You Prepare To Write Comics (http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171508). There may be some insight gleaned from sharing your story, and having others commenting on it.

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 10:40 PM
I got it. So here's to not freaking out over the course of the next three weeks, lol.

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 10:45 PM
Freaking out? No need to freak out. (At least, I don't think there's reason to freak out. You did read some entries first, yes?)

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 10:51 PM
Lol, yes. And to be honest, your critiques are very tough...but also fair. So I know what's coming. I think it's just the waiting. You know, going around a con this weekend with a script in my portfolio, knowing that it's got comments on the way. But it's like that band-aid you're not allowed to rip off yet. If that makes any sense.

Just gonna have to jump onto other projects to keep myself busy while I wait (I'm the exact same way when people read over my novels or screenplays or short stories, honestly).

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 11:07 PM
What con are you going to?

And I wouldn't expect to get too many comments on an unproduced script. It takes too much time to read, with too many things to look for.

Don't expect to get your hopes up too much, unless you already have a meeting with an editor to look at your stuff.

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 11:18 PM
I know but, hey, couldn't hurt to have it. I may try to email some of these people ahead of time, see if I can convince them to sit down and talk with me, maybe give some advice. Doesn't look like this one will have portfolio reviews or anything but, honestly, I'm tired. Just started a teaching job. If it wasn't for the networking possibilities I wouldn't even want to go. But go I shall, and thus must I try to network.

Amazing Houston Comic Con. I think this is the first ever one.

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 11:22 PM
Hm. If you haven't already gotten in touch with anyone, it's kinda late to try now. It's this weekend.

Good luck with it.

And yes! A teacher! I have nothing but respect for you. Yours is a difficult job. Most people should not have children.

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 11:34 PM
Yeah...the new job thing kind of made me forget I was doing this. Ah well. It's a Montessori school so not as intense as public, and our school head is very firm on her insistence that teachers and students both leave school at school at the end of the day so...I suppose the coming weeks will tell if I have time to write and post.