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SSTiger
07-20-2017, 01:53 AM
Been working on this, but having some difficulty getting the preview drawn for submissions. Any feedback would be appreciated.


NAHGA
2237 A.D

#01


NOTES: This is a "dystopian future" story which takes place in the near future, where cybernetic augmentation is very common. We'll be using a dark & humorous tone, so the art should reflect that. The city in the background is "Badnaam Mumbai" (translation: Ruined Mumbai); it was abandoned by the government after a contagion broke out and was settled by squatters and homeless – hence the nickname – who have worked out an economy of their own. There is a skyline shot at the end of this short story; it's up to the imagination.

Our hero is Jai Vinasha Nahga, a thief who is "half a Robin Hood"; i.e. he steals from the rich and gives to himself.

I picture Nahga as someone young - early twenties but with a lot of the psychological baggage that comes from surviving in a world like that. He doesn't get excited, angry or sad, doesn't yell, threaten, or gloat. He's cynical, cold, and has a why-should-I-give-a-crap attitude towards pretty much everything. He'll watch someone getting beaten up and walk away because it's none of his business and he doesn't want to be a hero.

As a skilled burglar he has some significant parkour and acrobatic skills so he should be muscular but not like a bodybuilder, more like a gymnast. He's basically dystopian future Assassin, with a hood-and-mask outfit to meatch, which he wears during robberies.

We introduce him in-medias-res as he is robbing a rich collector of rare artifacts/weapons/animals by breaking into his collection museum and stealing a particular object (yes, it's a McGuffin). This museum/zoo is indoors, sprawlingly huge with catwalks over the animal enclosure pits (from which Nahga falls into the lion pen) and four skylights on four corners of the roof, one of which he cuts a hole in to rappel down.

As we open Nahga has acquired his target artifact and stolen it; but his stealth has been blown in the process and he's fighting the guards – in the first page we see him falling off the catwalk and into the lions' pen. We follow Nahga throughout the story – into the lion pen where he fights them off, then scales up the walls Jackie-Chan-style to deal with the guards, runs along the catwalk to the place where he rappelled down, uses the rope to pull himself up via a motor device on his belt, ends up on the roof and we wrap things up with an establishing shot of the future's dystopian city.



Eight Page Preview

PAGE 01

Panel 1:

Middle of page; half-page size. Shadow scene, Nahga's shadowy silhouette (he's dressed in futuristic but dusty and old garb, something suitable for climbing and fighting) is falling off of what looks like a railing and toppling backward. He has a sword in his right hand and a pistol in his left.

CAPTION
Falling.

Out of the frying pan...


Rest of the page can contain title and credits.

TITLE
NAHGA: 2237 A.D

Chapter One: ROGUE




PAGE 02

Panel 1:

2/3rds of page, splash. We see that we are now inside the animal enclosures part of the building, and Nahga is falling BACKWARDS, holding his sword in his right hand and a pistol in his left. Even as he is falling, he's shooting at a couple of guys with assault rifles that are standing at the railing (they are the foreground) who are pulling back to avoid his fire. Oh, and of course, Nahga is falling into a pen of LIONS, two male and six female, who are looking up at their new snack which is falling out of the sky.

CAPTION
...and into the fire.

Panel 2:

Nahga lands on the ground inside the pen, his shoulder hitting the floor in pain. In the foreground, the silhouette of two lions can be seen, roaring.

No dialogue.


PAGE 03

Panel 1:

The female lions are surrounding Nahga, who has his weapons held out, but does nothing offensive for the moment.

CAPTION
Traditionally, it's the female lions who hunt prey in the wild.

The males only fight to protect the pride.

I guess I should be flattered...

Panel 2:

View from behind Nahga. The bigger male lion is LEAPING towards him from the front, roaring in anger.

CAPTION
...the big guy thinks I'm a threat.

Panel 3:

Nahga KICKS the lion in the stomach, stopping it mid-air with a look of pain on its face.

CAPTION
I'll try not to disappoint.




PAGE 04

Panel 1:

Tight close on the pistol in Nahga's left hand. He's firing two shots up into the air. The shells can be seen flying out.

No Dialogue.

Panel 2:

The lions, still circling Nahga, are startled. Nahga is putting his sword back into its sheathe on his back.

CAPTION
The gunshots scare them. But only so much. Need to get out of here.

Panel 3:

At the railing above n the catwalk, the two guards with rifles are arguing.

GUARD #1
Don't shoot, you idiot! If you hit the lions, master's going to eat you alive!

GUARD #2
Master won't give a %^&*! Don't you know who that is?

That's Vinasha Nahga – The Destroyer -

Panel 4:

Nahga, having holstered the gun in his left hand, is scaling up the wall like Jackie Chan, climbing it up to the railing.

CAPTION (GUARD #2)
" - and he's taken the talisman!"




PAGE 05

Panel 1:

Nahga is flipping over the railing towards the two guys, who are halfway towards pointing their guns at him.

GUARD #2
Shoot hi -

Panel 2:

Nahga draws his left handed pistol and SHOOTS GUARD #2 through the chest. It's not a kill shot - a little off to the upper left of the man's heart.

CAPTION
Don't think so.

Panel 3:

GUARD #1 has raised his gun to point it at Nahga, but his chances of pulling the trigger are diminished by the fact that Nahga has, in a single move, drawn his sword and SLICED through the guard's throat (right hand).

GUARD #1
<gurgle>

CAPTION
Not good.

Panel 4:

Over head view. Nahga stands over the two guards; GUARD #1 is dead but #2 is writhing a bit, still alive.

CAPTION
Wanted to keep this clean. In and out, no bodies.

Tripwire laser. Rookie mistake.

The best laid plans, and all that.


Panel 4:

GUARD #2 reaches for his rifle but Nahga is kicking it away.

NAHGA
Ah-ah-ah.

Panel 5:

Nahga SHOOTS GUARD #2 in the head.

CAPTION
Nobody's perfect.




PAGE 06 & 07:

Panel 1:

Pull out and show the rest of the area in a large, splash panel. It's a combination of a zoo and museum, and several animals in pens and artifacts in cases can be seen. There's some kind of ceiling above us that we can't see. Nahga is running through the catwalks towards a thin nylon rope that's dangling from the unseen roof.

CAPTION
Rich little bastard holes up all the things he thinks is precious in the world.

My client wants one of these little trinkets, mine not to ask why.

Just how much.

Panel 2:

Nahga has reached the rope, and is attaching it to a little motor at his belt.

No Dialogue.

Panel 3:

Same scene. Nahga is now being pulled upwards and out of our sight.

No Dialogue.

Panel 4:

Close up on the talisman, also attached to Nahga's belt.

CAPTION
Such a tiny little thing, worth all that money.

Wonder what's so special about it.


Panel 5:

Nahga has reached the roof, where a clean, circular hole has been cut. He's kneeling next to it, gathering up the tools of his trade: a grapple gun, a glass cutter, a welding torch-looking thing, and the thin rope he used to get down there and then back up.

CAPTION
Especially these days -




PAGE 08

Panel 1:

Full page splash. View from behind Nahga as he is standing up on the roof, looking over the skyline in front of him; we get a glimpse of the city - it's been totally WRECKED. It's a futuristic dystopia.

CAPTION
- when there's not much special left in this world.

End Preview

JettingJill
07-20-2017, 09:00 PM
This is very good. You have a good grasp of dialogue, and comic book pacing. I can't think of any criticisms currently. Best of luck finding an artist.

SSTiger
07-21-2017, 08:55 AM
Thank you! I was starting to wonder if this whole place was dead...

What's with the silent treatment from everybody? I'd love to hear some comment; even something as simple as "I think this stinks" (although including the reason why you think so would also be much appreciated) :)

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to reply.

gmartyt
07-23-2017, 04:42 PM
First off, welcome to the forum. It's good to see new people here.

I'd recommend going to the comixtribe website and reading their Bolts&Nuts articles. It's full of useful information. You can also check out some of their Proving Grounds entries to see some of the common mistakes that other people make.

I'd recommend starting with Nahga breaking into the museum/zoo instead of with him making his escape. What you've got here would be the same as Raiders of the Lost Ark starting with Harrison Ford running away from the boulder.

You mention something about Nahga's appearance in the notes, but continue to add more throughout the script. Put all of it in the notes. Odds are your artist is going to work on Nahga's appearance before s/he starts working on the script.

Panel 1:

Middle of page; half-page size.

This is the only panel on the page. Is the rest of the page empty space? That feels like a waste.

2/3rds of page, splash. We see that we are now inside the animal enclosures part of the building, and Nahga is falling BACKWARDS, holding his sword in his right hand and a pistol in his left. Even as he is falling, he's shooting at a couple of guys with assault rifles that are standing at the railing (they are the foreground) who are pulling back to avoid his fire. Oh, and of course, Nahga is falling into a pen of LIONS, two male and six female, who are looking up at their new snack which is falling out of the sky.

What's the camera angle? I assume we're on top of the catwalk. (I'm only guessing that it's a catwalk. You never actually mention what the guards are standing on, just that there's a railing.) What's the main focus of this panel? In other words, what do you want the reader to take away from it? Is it more important that they see Nahga shooting at the guards or that he's falling into the lion's den? If both are important, split them up into separate panels. Also, did Nahga fall or did he jump? If he fell, I doubt he'd be able to shoot.

Tight close on the pistol in Nahga's left hand. He's firing two shots up into the air. The shells can be seen flying out.

The smaller the panel, the less time that panel takes up. I'm not sure you have enough time for two shots. Also, unless you're going for a Matrix kinda feel, showing the bullets is probably a bad idea.

Most of the dialogue involves Nahga simply descibing what is going on and, therefore, doesn't add anything.

You've a guy hitting the ground hard, guns being fired, and lions roaring, yet none of them make a sound. Sound effects are your friend. Use them.

Hope this helps.

SSTiger
07-24-2017, 02:10 AM
I'd recommend starting with Nahga breaking into the museum/zoo instead of with him making his escape. What you've got here would be the same as Raiders of the Lost Ark starting with Harrison Ford running away from the boulder.

Or like starting out with Trinity already cornered by cops and agents. This was intentional.

This is the only panel on the page. Is the rest of the page empty space? That feels like a waste.

Also intentionally done, to give sort of an "slow opening credits" feel.

What's the camera angle?

Since the guards are the foreground, it would have to be behind them looking down on the scene, or something similar.

If he fell, I doubt he'd be able to shoot.

He fell in the fight - and he's shooting wildly at the guards, but not successfully (hence why the guards are still alive in the next scene). But you're right; that description needs tweaking. Might have to get rid of the shots too.

The smaller the panel, the less time that panel takes up. I'm not sure you have enough time for two shots. Also, unless you're going for a Matrix kinda feel, showing the bullets is probably a bad idea.

You do know shells are not the same thing as bullets, right? Bullets are fired out the barrel while shells fly out of the ejection port - and it's normal to have more than one shell casing in the air when you're rapid-firing.

https://image.ibb.co/nQQYZk/Glock_42_11.jpg

You've a guy hitting the ground hard, guns being fired, and lions roaring, yet none of them make a sound. Sound effects are your friend. Use them.

Never agreed with the idea of spoonfeeding SFX to the reader for everything that happens. If you've seen (for example) some of the art in the Garth Ennis Punisher run, you'll notice most of the action happens without painting SFX for every shot or explosion.

https://image.ibb.co/dZs2S5/4682807_2293468195_punis.jpg

When we see something happening that makes noise (like lions roaring or guns being fired) the brain understands the sounds that are usually associated with them.

Most of the dialogue involves Nahga simply descibing what is going on and, therefore, doesn't add anything.

Are you sure?

Remember the readers don't have the information in the notes - they don't know how where Nahga is, why he's fighting the guards there, how he was planning on doing this quietly and now regrets getting into the fight (getting his stealth blown here will have consequences later in the story), they don't know this place is a rich collector's personal hoard, they don't know Nahga was hired to steal something specific from it - all of this is revealed through the narration.

The purpose of narration (IMO and as far as I know) is to show the character's personal insight of the scene that is unfolding and use it to reveal further information. Since I was going with narration anyway, instead of just saying "This is a rich collector's stash"; I started with Nahga's Devil-may-care attitude (like when he's facing the male lion) and used it to show other facts that needed to be conveyed, such as how he was trying to go stealthy but accidentally activated the tripwire laser, the fact that we're in a dystopian future etc. I also tried to describe everything without actually describing it - the lion pit fall is "out of the frying pan into the fire"; the fact that we're in a post-ap future is "these days there's not much special left in the world", etc. I thought this was a good way to blend the narration with the art.

It's true I could have done this linearly without narration, starting with breaking into the Collection - but, properly paced, that would take likely around 20 pages (almost the whole first issue) or more to lay out all of this. Instead I conveyed all this information, the setup for a significant part of the first story arc (the talisman, the collector, failing to steal it stealthily), and paced it in an action sequence that serves to establish a lot of Nahga's characterization (his skills, his attitude, the fact that he's a thief/mercenary and that he's got a reputation enough to make the guards recognize and fear him - "The Destroyer"), as well as the introduction to the dystopian future with the buildup to the splash shot of the city, plus the fact (this is an easy-to-miss bonus for sharp readers) that lions are something rare enough they're being treasured as precious things by collectors and that Nahga, who kills people, is hesitating to kill the animals even when his life is in danger.

And I compressed all of that into eight pages.

Can you think of a better way to do that in that short a sequence?
(That's not a rhetorical or sarcastic question - I'm actually asking and am open to ideas.)

P.S: On a side note, does the forum not allow users to insert images into posts?

Kiyoko, Rin
07-29-2017, 10:08 AM
To paraphrase Mary Jane Watson Parker: Hello, (SS) Tiger, and welcome to the forum.

I liked your story – the action was clear, the world building and sense of character was well done and the story was, for the most part, well paced (more on this later).

Here are my two cents...

Panel 1 – What time of day is it? (Because you can have silhouettes both on moonlit nights and in blazing sunshine)? What's the camera angle? - At present, I'm imagining a side-on view which, because you're asking for this single panel to be dead centre, means there'll be a lot of dead, white space above and below the panel which will make his fall appear even larger (more on this later). Related to this: what's your scale and how close are we to Nahga? Is Nahga's silhouette a tiny speck in a large panel, or are we reasonably close – it will affect how readers perceive the distance of the fall. And finally: what's his body language? You mentioned Trinity running from the agents, so when she's diving through that tiny window notice how perfectly braced her body is. You say Nahga fell rather than jumped so maybe make his body language slightly panicked, or give him wide, surprised eyes. I got the sense of the comic tone you wanted from the lion kick; Nahga's reaction might be another chance to show the comic tone (if it suits his character, obv).

Page 2, Panel 1 – Like gmartyt, I wasn't sure of the camera angle, and since you clarified that we're behind the guards then the panel description should be amended: we're not inside the animal enclosure we're ABOVE it, looking down (right?). And now that you've clarified the camera angle, I'd recommend re-ordering the way you structure information so that it reveals from left to right, or foreground to background, or even background to foreground. Whichever, just be consistent, and be aware that as it's currently written you describe the middle ground, foreground, background, which is just inefficient and confusing. Also, my question about scale still stands: how far has Nahga fallen, how much distance is between Nahga and the guards, and Nahga and the lions? - Your artist NEEDS this information in order to work out their relative sizes.

Page 2, Panel 2 – again: scale and distance. If Nahga has fallen hundreds of feet then it suggests he has superhuman durability (or body armour). Also, body language: he's winded, right? I'm with gmartyt on this: I'd prefer to see SFX. Since you specified gender differences, it's the male lions roaring, right? Your artist will need to know whether to draw manes.

Page 3 Panel 1 – I'd recommend mentioning body language – lioness' aggression, Nahga's wariness etc.

Page 4 Panel 1 – I'd DEFINITELY put a SFX here, otherwise why would the lions be scared if there's no loud “BANG!”?. Also, because you've set this in the future then you need to clarify the technology – do ordinance weapons STILL need gunpowder reactions to work? Has future technology improved weapons' silencing capabilities? Is this a special stealth gun useful for burglaries that won't make a sound when firing? I'd also recommend conflating this panel into the next to make one single panel because my issue is the amount of time you've left in the gutter between panels one and two. A bullet travels at, what, a thousand miles an hour? To isolate the moment a gun fires in one panel and then have the reaction shot in a separate panel implies, to me, that too much time has passed for such an instantaneous thing. P.S. – to my mind, shotguns have shells; handguns eject casings / jackets / brass etc, but hey, future technology.

Page 4 Panel 3 – Liked this bit of dialogue – it informs about the world and gives us the main character's name. If speech ends on an interruption then it should end in a double dash (--).

Page 4 Panel 4 - “Nahga, having holstered the gun in FROM his left hand, is scaling up the wall like Jackie Chan...” I replaced your “in” with “FROM” because holstering a gun IN your hand could be interpreted as saying you're holding it. And the Jackie Chan reference threw me – the first example that came to mind was in Police Story (4? 5?) where Jackie scaled a wall by putting his back flat against the wall, his outstretched feet flat against a nearby palm tree and then walking down step by step. As I'm assuming this isn't what you meant I'd recommend sticking to just “Nahga is scaling the wall.”

Page 5 Panel 1 – there might be an issue of staging with this. The guards have been looking at Nahga for the last few panels and their rifles weren't trained on him?

Page 5 Panel 3 – Drawing a sword + slicing a throat = moving panel. But it's an easy rewrite to say Nahga has sliced the guard's throat with his drawn sword.

Page 5 Panel 4 – Writhing = moving panel, though it's an easy rewrite if you use motion lines.

Pages 6 and 7 Panel 1 – Two pages for the zoo gives it a nice sense of scale but it also makes it harder for your artist to make the rope the focus for your character to run towards because there's a chance it'll be a detail that's lost, especially as you've specified that the rope should be thin. (Yeah, I know this is the artist's problem and not the writers, just thought you should be aware.) To help them, I'd recommend adding another panel where Nahga runs towards the rope, giving it more prominence.

Pages 6 and 7 Panel 4 – Saying it's a talisman doesn't tell me anything about what it looks like. I'd also recommend you say in the panel description (as you have in the copy) that it's tiny because, again, scale.

Pages 6 and 7 Panel 5 – I'd recommend ending the copy on this page (and starting the copy on the next) with an ellipsis, not a dash.

Page 8 – Time of day? (Because, who knows, maybe Nahga spent 12 hours running through that massive zoo, lol.)

Overall, good job, Tiger.

SSTiger
07-30-2017, 03:11 PM
Thanks and it's good to be here.

Page 1 Panel 1: When I wrote "shadow scene" I meant completely in black-and-white, "shadowed out" in the art itself. Kind of like this:

https://image.ibb.co/eBWiqQ/wp_ss_20170730_0001_Copy.png

(Forgive my cringe-inducing artwork; I can't draw worth a damn or this would be a comic already - so that's obviously not an exact representation of how I envision the panel - I'm thinking a little bit further back in scale, with the railing of the catwalk visible)

Edit: It occurs to me I also forgot to draw the sword and the pistol in the silhouette. You know what, that's just a horrible pic. Ignore it completely. Salient point being: Shadow scene: Outline only and black and white.

Page 2 Panel 1: Yeah that really is a bad description and needs some work.

Page 2 Panel 2: Now that you make me think of it, I think it would work best as a view from just behind the lions. They can be any two from the pride in the pit.

Page 4: True, combining the panels might work. Or one of those panel-within-a-panel thingies where you have a panel and a little box around the part of the scene you want to catch focus, draw the reader's attention.

Plus, it's just a normal gun. Energy weapons exist, but are a lot more expensive than conventional firearms. It's also not suppressed. The main character prefers up-close-and-personal combat, hence why he carries a sword. Also, I've heard "shell" used interchangeably with casings/brass, "shell casings"; but, you know, whatever.

You've NEVER seen Jackie Chan climb a wall? :O Just look at how many times he does it in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SirnCVg4vuI

Page 5 Panel 1: That's actually a good catch. Maybe in the scene where the guards were arguing, we could show #1 grabbing #2's rifle with his off-hand and push the barrel down, trying to point it away from the lions. That'd make them take a moment to retarget Nahga as he appears out of the lion pit.

Pages 6 & 7 Panel 1: Panel-within-a-panel again, maybe? With the attention-catching panel around the rope...

Pages 6 & 7 Panel 4: Up to the artist what the talisman looks like. As long as it's small and unique-looking

an ellipsis, not a dash.
You lost me there. Could you elaborate?

Page 8 - Night with the slightly-better-off parts of the city lit up.

NOTE: I'm not adamant when it comes to the art descriptions; something that I put as one panel if the artist can represent better as two (or vice versa) - or use a different angle, scale, whatever - I'm not the type to stomp my foot and be stubborn. If it works better that way and still conveys the scene I want, yeah; sure, why not. Working with an artist means working with an artist, after all. It'll need to be discussed and worked out (The design of the collector's museum in Pages 6 &7, for example, might need more input) and is flexible.

The thing I want critique on the most is: Does it work okay as a narrative? Does it do a good job of acting as an intro/teaser sequence into the story and the world, using the advantages of the comic book medium properly?

Kiyoko, Rin
08-02-2017, 06:25 AM
You raise a good point about critiquing as a narrative rather than as a format. I'll remember that for future critiques.

It's kinda hard to appreciate your story as the reader would because you prefaced it with an introduction (working on your selling document, no?) and I've read your explanations in the forum, so I'm privy to more context and exposition than your reader will have. Even so, your story:

- Sets up the right tone, though I feel you could push the guard encounter more towards comedy.
- Answers the questions of WWWWWH, so well done.
- Conveys enough skill, confidence and control in its telling that I'd want to continue reading more.
- Implies Nahga's character, although I'd like him to have a little bit more of a reaction to seeing lions if they're that big of a deal (or if he hasn't seen them before).

Really, my only major worry is your use of space. At 8 pages your story takes up over a third of a regular comic book to do its job, using splash pages and large panels in the process. I'm old enough to have lived through the 90s where 24 page books often only had 14-16 pages of story in them (thank you, Liefeld) and I'd feel ripped off, having spent my money on, basically, not very much. If you deliberately planned your story to end at 8 pages (e.g. for competition / submission rules) then I think it could be seen as a little thin. You could up the conflict, complication and / or stakes; you have the space. I like your world so I'd like to read more about it.

Panels within a panel are called insets.

Man, I miss prime Jackie Chan.

I said ellipsis (“...”), more on this at http://www.comixtribe.com/2013/04/23/bn-week-122-lettering-pt-2/ because it felt more appropriate than a dash in these panels. Nahga seemed to be...

… continuing his sentence in the next balloon rather than abruptly interrupting himself.

But, hey, it's just my two cents.

SSTiger
08-02-2017, 03:30 PM
working on your selling document, no?

YES.

Answers the questions of WWWWWH

Someone noticed! Woo-hoo! :banana:

Really, my only major worry is your use of space.

If you deliberately planned your story to end at 8 pages (e.g. for competition / submission rules) then I think it could be seen as a little thin.

It was written for submission, yes. I was planning on revising it a bit anyway after getting some feedback, because submission guidelines for most companies ask for only five or six sequential pages (Dark Horse specifically forbids you from sending more than six pages) so it's actually good news that I'm using too much space - I can shorten page count without editing down the story.

Panels within a panel are called insets.

I actually did not know that. Learn something new everyday.

I said ellipsis (“...”), more on this at http://www.comixtribe.com/2013/04/23...ettering-pt-2/ because it felt more appropriate than a dash in these panels. Nahga seemed to be...

… continuing his sentence in the next balloon rather than abruptly interrupting himself.

Got it now and you're right, he's continuing his narration. The link was a good read too.

Man, I miss prime Jackie Chan.

I do, too :(

Big thank you for the suggestions and the review. :thumbs:

gmartyt
08-02-2017, 06:10 PM
Or like starting out with Trinity already cornered by cops and agents. This was intentional.

I don't mean to be a jerk (in other words, I'm going to be a jerk), but the Matrix doesn't open with Trinity already cornered by the cops. It starts with a phone conversation, then shows the cops raiding a building, and then shows Trinity. This all helps provide context for the audience. If the movie opened with Trinity already surrounded, people would have no idea what's going on, and not in a good way.

You do know shells are not the same thing as bullets, right? Bullets are fired out the barrel while shells fly out of the ejection port - and it's normal to have more than one shell casing in the air when you're rapid-firing.

Okay, you caught me (I never said I was smart). Even so, I want you to take a close look at your link. If you went tight on the gun in that picture, you wouldn't be able to see any of those casings, let alone two.

When talking about the dialog, I meant that the captions don't really add much. For example:

The gunshots scare them. But only so much. Need to get out of here.

We've seen the gunshots. We can see that the lions are startled in this very panel. I can assume that he doesn't want to stay in the lions' den. None of this adds anything.

I agree with Rin that this feels a little thin. That was the main issue I had with the opening page being only one panel. Your options are either to trim it down to a lower number of pages or add more panels to help fill it out. Personally, and I'm just throwing this out there, it might not be a bad idea to go with the whole Matrix opening you mentioned and start off with a few panels of the guards running through the mansion trying to find Nahga. This will also help get a lot of the important information out of the way pretty early on, like where they are and what's going on.

And no, images can't be posted to this particular sub-forum.

Hope this helps.

SSTiger
08-03-2017, 08:49 AM
I don't mean to be a jerk (in other words, I'm going to be a jerk)

It's not a problem. A certain amount of jerkiness is inevitable during criticism (otherwise it wouldn't be ciritcism).

If you went tight on the gun in that picture, you wouldn't be able to see any of those casings, let alone two.

I've settled on combining that one with the next panel (see above two posts) and using an inset, so this won't be an issue.

We've seen the gunshots. We can see that the lions are startled in this very panel. I can assume that he doesn't want to stay in the lions' den. None of this adds anything.

True. Should be more along the lines of --

Gunshots'll only scare them so much. Need to get out of here before I'm forced to kill one of these things.

Not their fault I messed up.

Any other such instances?

I agree with Rin that this feels a little thin.

It'll be getting compressed further into six pages.

If the movie opened with Trinity already surrounded, people would have no idea what's going on, and not in a good way.

True, but as a different medium, I think comics can push the envelope here a little. Skullkickers #1, for example (this is just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more) opens with a splash of Shorty fighting a wereworlf with no buildup whatsoever. We only learn about the protagonists and the world later on.

Link:

http://www.cbr.com/skullkickers-1-2/

If I may bottom-line this: It's true that you as the reader will have no idea what's going on at the first panel (intentionally so) but does that remain the case even after the whole eight pages? I would be concerned if, at the end of Page #8, it still leaves confusion bad enough that you can't follow what happened, don't feel curious about what will happen next, and turns you off so much you wouldn't be interested in reading further. Is that the case?

gmartyt
08-03-2017, 07:56 PM
If I may bottom-line this: It's true that you as the reader will have no idea what's going on at the first panel (intentionally so) but does that remain the case even after the whole eight pages? I would be concerned if, at the end of Page #8, it still leaves confusion bad enough that you can't follow what happened, don't feel curious about what will happen next, and turns you off so much you wouldn't be interested in reading further. Is that the case?

Right now I think your biggest problem is that you spend too much time with the lions. About half the script, in fact. It's not that it's bad or anything like that, it just isn't giving your audience the information that you want to give them. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the main point of this scene is to show that Nahga has stolen the amulet. Try to focus on that more.

T_F_Mann
08-03-2017, 10:41 PM
First and foremost, hi and welcome!

Ok so I just read this again (I read it when you first posted it and needed a refresher.) and it reminds me a little of the opening sequence of Joss Whedon's Fray. I think you accomplish your goal of characterization and world building. I personally like the cinematic opening page but on the bright side if you're condensing this down it could easily be combined with another page or cut entirely. I can't really think of anything else. Hope you'll let us have a look at the next draft.

SSTiger
08-04-2017, 12:13 AM
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the main point of this scene is to show that Nahga has stolen the amulet. Try to focus on that more.

True and sure.

reminds me a little of the opening sequence of Joss Whedon's Fray.

I haven't read Fray; I read Season Eight and I liked Fray in her appearance, but that was around the time Season Eight start its slow creeping descend into crap, so it kinda turned me off the Buffyverse comics (especially because After The Fall was really cool, and S8 ruined that with the ending) and I haven't gone back.

I'll take a look, but reminds you how? In a good way or a bad way?

P.S: Yes, I was actually thinking of putting the revised draft up (soon as it's done). Any forum rule about if it should be done in the same thread or start a new one?

T_F_Mann
08-08-2017, 11:26 PM
I'll take a look, but reminds you how? In a good way or a bad way?

In a good way. There's a short intro with two demons discussing her and then a two page spread of her being thrown off a building while firing her gun back at the guys who just threw her off. Combine that with a few captions to add characterization. It works well.

P.S: Yes, I was actually thinking of putting the revised draft up (soon as it's done). Any forum rule about if it should be done in the same thread or start a new one?

I don't know of any rules one way or another. If it were me as long as this thread is still here I'd do it on this one. I'd think it'd make it easier to compare and contrast the two.

SSTiger
08-09-2017, 03:47 AM
NAHGA
2087 A.D

#01


Art Notes have been updated with the story, and I've shifted the time period a bit. Also, I had to split up the post because I exceeded the character limit.

ART NOTES: This is a "dystopian future" story which takes place not too far into the future, where cybernetic augmentation is very common. We'll be using a dark but humorous tone, so the art should reflect that. The story is set against backdrop of the city of Badnaam (literally translates as "Ruins"); it was abandoned by the government after a contagion broke out and was settled by squatters and homeless – hence the nickname – who have worked out an economy of their own. There is a richer upper side which has several high-rise buildings – corporations operate here illegally in the city to escape the regulations of the government (Badnaam has its own laws, since it does not fall under any government). There is a skyline shot at the end of this short story; it's up to the imagination.

Our hero is Jai Vinasha Nahga, a thief who is "half a Robin Hood"; i.e. he steals from the rich and gives to himself.

I picture Nahga as someone young - early twenties but with a lot of the psychological baggage that comes from surviving in a world like that. He doesn't get excited, angry or sad, doesn't yell, threaten, or gloat. He's cynical, cold, and has a why-should-I-give-a-crap attitude towards pretty much everything. He'll watch someone getting killed and walk away because it's none of his business and he doesn't want to be a hero.

As a skilled burglar he has some significant parkour and acrobatic skills so he should be muscular but not like a bodybuilder, more like a gymnast. He's basically dystopian future Assassin, with a hood-and-mask outfit to match, which he wears during robberies.

We introduce him in-medias-res as he is robbing a rich collector of rare artifacts/weapons/animals by breaking into his collection museum and stealing a particular object (yes, it's a McGuffin). This museum/zoo is indoors, sprawlingly huge with catwalks over the animal enclosure pits (from which Nahga falls into the lion pen) and four skylights on four corners of the roof, one of which he jumps out of to escape.

For a reference for the design of the building's interior, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPw_h9wX1M (the player-built zoo from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain). It should be similar to that with the catwalks, but indoors (the top floor of a twenty-storey huge warehouse-sized building), the cages have walls instead of bars, and the layout should be tweaked in such a way that if you go over the railing you fall into the cage. We only show the beginning part of the animal enclosures (the lions) and around the animal pens is large display cases with antiques, mannequins wearing medieval armor, etc. There's also a giant whole-wall-sized window a little bit away from the pens, to let sunlight in for the animals. We'll be using that window later to show off the skyline shot of the city.

As we open, Nahga has acquired his target and stolen it; but his stealth has been blown in the process and he's fighting the guards – in the fight he falls off the catwalk and into the lions' pen. We follow Nahga throughout the story – into the lion pen where he fights them off, then scales up the walls Jackie-Chan-style to deal with the guards, shoots one of the skylights out to climb on to the roof and we wrap things up with an establishing shot of the future's dystopian city.

SSTiger
08-09-2017, 03:48 AM
Eight Page Preview

PAGE 01
Panel 1:

Full page splash panel. It's a combination of a zoo and museum, and several animals in pens and artifacts in cases can be seen. Nahga or the guards are nowhere to be seen, this is just some setup.
CAPTION
One last job.

Everybody always talks about it.

"One last job, and I'm done."

That mythical One Last Job.

The ultimate take. Something that pays off so much and so well that you retire, leave the life behind, and spend the rest of your days on an island surrounded by women with voluptuous curves and questionable morality.

A job so difficult someone comes specifically to you to pull it off. Something so spectacular, so awe-inspiring, people will still be talking about it years after you've died on that island from old age.

The stuff of legends.

The Dream.

So you can understand why, when a One Last Job came my way, I didn't hesitate to take it.

And here I am, pulling the biggest heist of my life.


PAGE 02
(5 Panels)
Panel 1:
Another part of the building, little way away:

Nahga is taking cover behind a solid part of the railing (he's above the lion pit, but we don’t see this) as three GUARDS, farther away and behind another railing, are SHOOTING at him with assault rifles. The shots are ricocheting off around Nahga's cover. Nahga, dressed for combat/robbery, has a SWORD on a sheathe on his back, a PISTOL in his hand, and assorted gear about his person. There is a grappling hook and a little MOTOR LIKE THING on one side of his belt (it can attach to compatible ropes and pull up; he'll use it later), and on the other side, hanging just behind the side holster, is a tiny FUTURISTIC HARD DRIVE about the size of a 2.5" SSD (much thicker though). The shootout is chaotic (view from behind Nahga, taking fire).

CAPTION
It's possible things aren't going well.
Panel 2:
On Nahga, reloading the pistol.

CAPTION
You know how it is, you spend four weeks doing surveillance on the place you're robbing…

Panel 3:
Empty (Black panel) for some narration.

CAPTION
…another two laying out this elaborate, contrived plan involving a kidnapping, a forgery, a disguise and impersonation, a three-hour stint hiding in a dumbwaiter about the size of a box…

…a special PDA that auto-hacks the security system thanks to the $#!%-ton of money that you paid for it, not to mention climbing seventeen stories up the elevator shaft with your bare hands to get to the impenetrable off-limits top floor…

Panel 4:
On the Drive hanging on Nahga's belt.

CAPTION
You actually manage to steal the thing that's going to make you rich by getting in and out of the vault without even the tiniest hitch, and then…

…like a &^#%ing rookie…

Panel 5:
Opposite-side view: The guards. One is changing magazines (we'll call him GUARD #1), another is firing (GUARD #2), and the third (GUARD #3) has lowered his rifle, observing.

CAPTION
You set off a tripwire laser.

Backup system that wasn't in the plans and not connected to the primary security that I hacked into.

Hence, these morons.

PAGE 03
(8 Panels)
Panel 1:

Same scene as previous. GUARD #1 is finished reloading and is looking up at GUARD#3, who has finished his deep thinking and is now giving orders to him.

GUARD #3
Go around and flank him! We'll lay down suppressive fire!
CAPTION
Great.

Of all the stupid rent-a-thugs in Badnaam, I get one who's actually got a brain.

Panel 2:

GUARD #1 is running around the catwalks to flank Nahga; the other two keep firing to keep him behind cover.

No Dialogue.

Panel 3:

View from behind Nahga; past him we see that GUARD #1 has reached a point where he has a clear line of sight on Nahga and is about to open fire. The railing he's using for cover is still taking shots from the other two (who are off-screen).

CAPTION

Pinned down and about to die…

Panel 4:

Nahga is lunging to the right to avoid GUARD #1's fire and is shooting back.

No Dialogue.

Panel 5:

GUARD #1 takes a bullet in the throat, a look of shock on his face.

GUARD #1
<HHRK>

Panel 6:

Close on the GUARDs #2 and #3, firing their assault rifles.

No Dialogue.

Panel 7:

Nahga, having partially come out of cover to shoot at the flanking guard, takes TWO SHOTS in the CHEST and is stumbling. No blood; he's wearing good armor.

NAHGA
<UNGHN>


Panel 8:

Nahga has lost his footing and is tripping over the railing…

CAPTION

Oh, hell --



PAGE 04
(4 Panels)

Panel 1:
Big panel, splash. View from above: Nahga, having gone over, is now falling BACKWARDS into the pen of lions, one male and two female, who are looking up at their new snack.

CAPTION

Yup.

Definitely not going well.

Panel 2:

View from among the lions as they watch in momentary surprise: Nahga is landing on his LEFT SHOULDER painfully. The pistol is still in his right hand and he manages not to lose his grip.

NAHGA

AARGH!


Panel 3:

On Nahga as he gets up unsteadily. But his left arm is dangling a bit loosely. Not dislocated, but still in pain.

CAPTION

Not good.

Panel 4:

On the two lionesses. One looks curious, the other is snarling.

CAPTION

All the great cats went extinct in the wild after the cataclysm.

Always wanted to see one.

PAGE 05
(4 Panels)

Panel 1:

Overhead view. The lions are growling and circling Nahga, who's standing ready to attack but does nothing offensive for the moment.

LION #1

GRRR…

CAPTION

Be careful what you wish for…

Panel 2:

back on the two lionesses, now getting ready to attack.

CAPTION

From what I read once, it's traditionally the female lions who hunt prey in the wild.

The males only fight to protect the pride.

I guess I should be flattered...

Panel 3:

View from behind Nahga. The bigger male lion is LEAPING towards him from the front, roaring in anger.

CAPTION

...the big guy thinks I'm a threat.

Panel 4:

Nahga KICKS the lion in the stomach, stopping it mid-air with a look of pain on its face.

CAPTION

I'll try not to disappoint.


PAGE 06
(5 Panels)

Panel 1:

Nahga fires two shots up into the air; the casings flying out (Inset on the gun). The lions, still circling him, are startled.

CAPTION
Gunshots'll only scare them so much. Need to get out of here before I'm forced to kill one of these things.

Not their fault I messed up.

Panel 2:

At the railing above the catwalk, the two guards with rifles have run over to see and are arguing with each other. GUARD #2 has GRABBED GUARD #3's rifle and is pointing it away from the lion pen.

GUARD #2

Don't shoot, you idiot! If you hit the lions, master's going to eat us alive!

GUARD #3

Let go of my gun, moron! Master won't give a %^&*! Don't you know who that is?

That's Vinasha Nahga – The Destroyer --

Panel 3:

Nahga, having holstered the gun, is scaling up the wall like Jackie Chan, climbing it up to the railing.

CAPTION (GUARD #3)

" -- and he's taken the Alpha Drive!"

Panel 4:

Nahga is flipping over the railing towards the two guys, who, startled, are halfway towards pointing their guns at him.

GUARD #3

Shoot hi --

CAPTION

Rich bastard who owns this place hoards up all that he thinks is precious in this world…

Panel 5:
Extreme close-up on the guards' feet – a SMOKE BOMB is landing on the catwalk floor.

SFX
CLINK

PAGE 07
(5 Panels)

Panel 1:

The bomb goes off, nearly obscuring both men in smoke. One manages to open fire haphazardly (in the wrong direction and nowhere close), and the other immediately succumbs to a coughing fit.

GUARD #3

<cough>

CAPTION

My client wants one of these little items, mine not to ask why.

Panel 2, 3, 4:

These three are close-up in a single row, representing something that happens really fast: Nahga GRABS GUARD #3's rifle, pushing the barrel away from him (Panel 2), draws the sword from its sheathe (Panel 3), and SLICES through GUARD #3's throat (Panel 4).

No Dialogue.

Panel 5:

He STABS GUARD #2 in the chest next.

GUARD #2

<gurgle>

CAPTION

Just how much.


PAGE 08
(2 Panels)

Panel 1:

View on Nahga's reflection on the window next to the pen; we can see beyond a little – show the sky (nighttime) but not the city yet. In the reflection, Nahga is wiping the blood on his sword with a piece of cloth, looking at the windowpane.

CAPTION

Wonder what's so special about this Alpha Drive, though.

Especially these days…

Panel 2:

Close in on the window and we can see the view outside through it; splash. We get a glimpse of the city - it's been totally WRECKED. It's a futuristic dystopia.

CAPTION

…when there's not much by way of special left in this world.

TITLE/HEADING

BADNAAM CITY. Year 2087.


End Preview

DarkHalf05
08-16-2017, 11:15 AM
This version is a great improvement! Greg and Rin gave you some good advice, for sure.

The first version nothing felt like a threat, as everything that should have been a threat was resolved in a panel or two. Because of that there was no tension. This version tackled that problem much better. Nice work!

The whole lion kick to the gut has me cringing, and not in a good way. It's really corney, in my opinion, and pretty implausible to boot. Doing a bit of the Google, lions can get up to 400lbs and be close to six feet long. Pretty sure that doesn't include their reach. The only way for this to happen is either soccer flip kick (groan) or side step strafe kick to the stomach.

But a 400lb lion midair getting kicked to the gut? Unless he is cyber enhanced somehow (which you didn't introduce) how is he going to kick a 400 pound object falling through the air? Have you ever kicked a 200lb man almost all muscle? They don't move all that much and it kinda hurts your foot. Double that and add gravity...yea.

If you want a reader to roll their eyes saying "oh, c'mon, really?!" Then keep it. If not, I'd think on it some more.

Having learned to letter I can tell you that there is way to much dialog on a few pages.Even in caption form that first "splash" page (in quotes because it won't be a splash page after...) will be about 1/3 lettering. You need to find a better balance. It's written very well and is engaging. There is just waaaay too much. There is another page that follows with too many captions.

If I had more time I'd throw the stuff into a template to show you. I'd recommend cutting at least half, possibly 2/3. This is specifically referring to caption dialog, of course.

Also, on lettering, I think you vastly underestimate what a letterer can bring to a page, given your thoughts on lions not needing sound because the reader sees the mouth open and makes the connection. A letterer can completely change the way a page is perceived. A small roar doesn't have the same psychological effect as a giant one breaking out of the panels. The same art can contain a more threatening opponent.

Good for thought, but you do what you want.

There was something else I wanted to comment on, but can't remember. Keep up the good work and good luck!👍

SSTiger
08-20-2017, 05:25 PM
Greg and Rin gave you some good advice, for sure.
True. The Fray thing was an especially good catch; the opening was kinda similar to the first page of Fray #1. I wouldn't have wanted to submit it to a publisher like that.

The narration I had a suspicion I was overdoing it a bit; but I'm glad you found it engaging at least. It shouldn't be a problem though - it'd be a simple enough matter to move some of the exposition around for later pages if it interferes with the art.

Unless he is cyber enhanced somehow
He is. Not cybernetically though. It's a bit more complicated and explaining that would give away a couple of pivotal plot points so I can't elaborate; sorry.

The whole lion-kicking thing: you've given me something to think about, but I'm holding off on further edits until I have an art team so I can work off of their feedback as well.

There was something else I wanted to comment on, but can't remember. Keep up the good work and good luck!��
Thanks and feel free to add anything should you recall it.