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Old 08-09-2017, 02:47 AM   #16
SSTiger
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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.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:48 AM   #17
SSTiger
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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
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:15 AM   #18
DarkHalf05
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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!👍
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:25 PM   #19
SSTiger
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Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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