Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The 28th Birthday

No way - it's 10 years since I turned 18! Blimey.

This year was a pretty low key birthday. I enjoyed it a lot - see below for a run down of what happened - but I have to admit that I felt a tiny bit let down by some friends.

Even my family left me feeling cheated. Dad made no effort whatsoever to call. My sisters Sarah and Lauren both messaged, independent to one another, that they had posted my cards too late for them to arrive today. Sigh.

However!! Not meaning to dwell on the negatives - I did have a wicked time.

Me and Jon met up at the Cartoon Museum to explore their Future Shock! 40 Years of Dredd exhibition. We saw pieces by the likes of Brian Bolland, Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra, Cam Kennedy, Dave Gibbons, Simon Bisley, et al. If you in any way a Dredd or 2000AD fan then you should go along and check out the show. It runs until mid-April I believe.

Afterwards we headed to Vue Islington, where a friend had arranged comps! Film of choice: John Wick 2. Utter shite - but entertaining. I just don't get why there are no consequence to anything he does! No police or anything! Even when he kills loads of people in a train station...!

Then we ended up at our old stomping ground - the Royal George in Soho! We talked about comics, our anthology, Marvel and James Bond! We were joined by Jack O'Mollane - who I really don't see enough of these days sadly.

I got home and found this off housemate Jack:

And that was it! I bought myself a cake (red velvet) and sorted my own candle. Nobody sang happy birthday! Never mind. Gave my ear drums a rest.

To my 29th... and the 30th, which is fast approaching!

Friday, 17 February 2017

"When I Have Some Money..."

I just don't know when I have it good! Let me expand on that. A couple of years again I had a secure job working at a high profile cinema chain, and it paid well. I quit because I wanted a new challenge, and - yes - I wasn't entirely happy there anymore. But at the time, I was also moaning about money - saying that I deserved a lot more than I was being paid.

Well... right now I am on considerably less than I earned back then. My job has me stuck on minimum wage - which is, currently, £7.20 an hour. That means across a 40 week I earn £288, or £1152 (pre-tax) monthly. That's just under £15,000 per year! I don't mind saying that I left Vue on a salary of £23,500 (and then the chance of a £1000+ bonus). Incredibly that means that in the space of 24 months, I've dropped down £8,500 on the pay scale.

To put that into context, here are my compulsory monthly expenses:

Rent - £525
Travel - £154
Phone contract - £36
Food - £160
Energy bills - £25

That adds up to £900.

On average after-tax I've taken home £1113 monthly. This leaves just £213 left, once those compulsory expenses have been made.

But then you have other things that impact on that total - things I choose to buy, but consider 'essential':

Doctor Who Magazine - £4.19
Doctor Who Complete History - £13.98
Judge Dredd Mega Collection - £13.98
Netflix - £7.99
Now TV - £7.99

That adds up to £48.13.

Now all I have remaining is £164.87. That's before other expenses crop up (birthdays/travel to Manchester/clothes/medicine/etc). It leaves me no room to make savings.

My point here is I am not a wealthy man. There's now lots of things that I simply cannot afford to do (until I find a better paid job). It leaves me frustrated, and a bit panicky - as if I have to count every penny, incase I suddenly spend too much and face the prospect of entering the money abyss. It's no way to live.

Now, I've alluded to getting a better paid job - but it's not that simple. To be political for a moment, we now live in a horrible age where wages are crushed. Last November BBC News reported that these last 10 years have seen the slowest growth in real terms in post-war times. That's disgusting. Keeping people 'in their place' by paying them less - so that the gulf between employees and bosses grows and grows. It really pisses me off, knowing that I am being denied a better life existence by people who take and take - but don't give back.

(I am not talking about any particular employer of mine, here - but the entire system)

One of the reasons I'm writing so much of late is because I want to strike lucky, and get out of my current situation - because if I can't find a better paid job, I can create one by becoming successful, and creating my own terms.

Until then I guess I have to live in the system, and live by the means I have. Doesn't mean, though, that I have to be happy about it - or attempt to break free.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day - time for a song!

Good old Mr Bowie there. I loved the version used in Lazarus, too.

It's been a while since I spoke on here about relationships, and today seems an apt time to bring the subject matter up again.

As it stands, I'm single. It's been that way since July 2015, when my last relationship ended. Up until recently that made me desperately sad, as if I was wasting time not sharing my existence with anybody else. But do you know what? 2017 has been good to me, and I'm really enjoying all the writing I've been doing, that it makes me realise I don't need anybody else to be happy. I can be that all on my own.

Saying that, if the right girl came along then I would obviously be happy. People keep telling me I should try using dating sites, and I'd likely meet my ideal girlfriend on there. Truth be told, I wouldn't want to. There's something awfully sweet about meeting somebody in person, and it clicking into place naturally. Sadly that makes it harder to meet anybody - as I don't come across all that many 'new' people in my life.

What would be the perfect girlfriend? Hmm. Somebody who's creative, and a thinker. Somebody quiet and considered. A lover of cinema, and TV, and comics, and popular culture. Somebody exotic - because it gives me the chance to learn, and fall in love with, a new culture. Somebody clever, but not a show-off about it. Somebody kind, and funny, who's eyes light up when they're having the time of their lives. A traveller. Somebody who's a bit of a bossy boots (I need that). A good communicator. Most important, a friend.

So not much then!

It'll happen when it happens.

Until then - I guess there's plenty more single Valentine's Days to come!!


It's 10 years since this.

I remember it like it was yesterday!

I've only ever had a girlfriend on a Valentine's Day three times - back in 2006, 2007 & 2015.

In 2006 I remember I received a lovely Thortons' Chocolate Heart, although all other details of the day fail me! And 2015 saw a venture onto the (then) new North Greenwich cable cars, and a pizza meal at the (again, then) new Pizza Express just off Leicester Square.

Geez. What was I thinking? I can do better than that!

One day!!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Zarjaz 2000AD Saturday

I'm writing this still a little giddy from the day I've just had. I ventured across town for 2000AD's '40 Years Of Thrills' birthday bash; taking in a number of talks, and meeting some fabulous comic book creators. Pretty much without exception, I found everybody to be incredibly accommodating, and eager to talk to me (and others).

Some memories I'll take away from the day:

Meeting artst Arthur Ranson, who worked on some incredible Psi Judge Anderson stories. His artwork is amazing (see below) and I told him so. He replied that some of it was good, but he feels some other bits weren't good enough. "Nonsense!" I told him, "It was all amazing". That wasn't typical fan-meeting-artist-and-gushing. His art is amongst my favourite in 2000AD, because of the care and detail in each image.

Talking to writer/former editor Andy Diggle about his work on Daredevil. We discussed what worked in it, and what didn't. I was brave enough to tell him that the Shadowland storyline, in my opinion, wasn't great. He concurred, and liked my honesty - and said he'll go back and revisit what he did on the title. It's a shame that he doesn't feel like he captured the character's voice right. I think he did, he was just let down my Marvel taking control of the character, and demanding the series went in a very specific direction.

Spending about 20 minutes at artist Lee Sullivan's table. His work on the Radio Times Doctor Who comic strip of the 1990s has been highly influential on me. I told him about my prose spin-off adventures featuring the characters of the strip, and promised that I'd show him next time he visits my work (he has a comic book, Rivers Of London, published through Titan). He let me buy a sneaky fan-made collection of the Radio Times strips, which I was especially happy about, as I've waited 20 years to own them again!

Having the opportunity to meet three of the absolute greats - writers John Wagner & Alan Grant, and artist Carlos Ezquerra (Wagner/Ezquerra are Dredd's creators). Wagner is typically Scottish, and so hilarious. I think I accidentially insulted Grant, through my reaction to him telling me his age ("I'm 68", "Ah. [pause] Well you don't look it!"). Oops! But best of all was Ezquerra, who is just one of the nicest people I've ever met. Add in how hard working and dedicated to his craft he is, it's impossible not to love him. I sat in on his "Lawmasters" panel discussion, alongside John Wagner.
At the very end of the night I met Carlos again at the bar - with another amazing 2000AD talent, Mike McMahon! I was lucky enough to get a photo with the pair. I think my smile in the image demonstrates just how chuffed I was to be in their company!
Thanking Steve Yeowell for Zenith. If I had more money, I would have bought some of his original artwork (from an upcoming Sinister Dexter) but, alas, I am too poor!
Telling former-editor Steve MacManus how much I loved his book The Mighty One (which I have talked about on here already). Later at a 'Editors Reunited' panel - where he was talking alongside Andy Diggle, Richard Burton and current editor Matt Smith - he looked at me for clarification at one point, knowing I'd read the book!
Finding out that writer John Smith is from a working class Blackburn background, so not a million miles away from myself. We had banter over who's city was better! John is quite mad, but in the best possible way!

Talking to the team behind Hachette's Mega Collection part works, and getting the opportunity for helping me become a 2000AD/Dredd fan in the first place!

I bought a metal Dredd badge off them. That will sit nicely on my writing desk!
Watching the Strontium Dog fan-made film Search/Destroy, which was great! (It was introduced by the guy in the picture below!) It was an amazing accomplishment for something made independently, and I presume on low budget. It's made me feel all the more guilty for not having read the comics - so they're next on my long list of 2000AD must reads!
After that finished, I settled for a screening of the Future Shocks documentary - which was great fun, examining how 2000AD came about in the first place, what it has influenced, how it's changed, and what it stands for now. If you haven't seen it already, I would definitely recommend checking it out. It does crop up on Channel 4/Film 4 every so often - but it's also available to buy or rent.

Luckily I had a copy of Thrill Power Overload to hand, and managed to secure signatures from lots and lots of the 2000AD creative droids. What was nice was, for the majority of the people who signed, it wasn't just a case of quick-signature-and-done. We had proper conversations, often going into some detail - and it made me feel like these guys all cared about 2000AD and its fans.

(Signatures from: Emma Beeby, David Bishop, Chris Blythe, Richard Burton, Michael Carroll, Lee Carter, Dani, Jon Davis-Hunt, Andy Diggle, Al Ewing, Carlos Ezquerra, Henry Flint, Tom Foster, Simon Fraser, Leigh Gallagher, Alan Grant, Mark Harrison, John Higgins, Frazer Irving, Jock, Ian Kennedy, Roger Langridge, Mick MacMahon, Colin MacNeil, Steve MacManus, Paul Marshall, Robbie Morrison, Annie Parkhouse, Nick Percival, Sean Phillips, Gordon Rennie, John Smith, Matt Smith, Lee Sullivan, Dylan Teague, John Tomlinson, John Wagner, Rob Williams, Ben Willsher, Steve Yeowell)

As I said up top, this was a smashing day. To make sure I missed as little as possible I skipped meals and somehow willed myself not to need the toilet for a good chunk of the day! I loved the atmosphere - the positivity from everybody was contagious - and there was enough on to ensure I wasn't ever bored, but not too much that I felt I missed it all. A really good balancing act!

Most importantly, it felt like me making further steps into the world of 2000AD. They're a great bunch of people - readers and creatives alike - and I one day hope to write for the publication, and serve them all well!


It doesn't end there! Last night I visited a signing at Gosh! Comics, and met Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neil - there to sign Read Em & Weep Book 1: Serial Killers. I made Pat a promise to review the book when I'm done - so watch this space! (In the meantime, let's presume it's great - and let's presume also you haven't yet bought it. What are you waiting for? Go grab it now!)

Afterwards I headed to the Prince Charles Cinema to watch the first film in their Wes Anderson series - Bottle Rocket! I've only seen it once before, with Gabi. Truth be told, neither of us paid it the attention it deserved at the time, and so it went completely over my head. I'm so glad I got a chance to revisit it at the cinema! Man, it's funny! I think it's gone from the Anderson title I liked least of all, to one of my favourites! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the director's movies on the big screen across March/April.
At the Prince Charles I bumped into Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director and star of "the worst film ever made" The Room! He was so nice to me, and allowed a photograph. I thanked him for coming to the UK, and told him about when I met his co-star in The Room, Robyn Paris.
All-in then, it's been a bloody brilliant weekend. And there's still a day to go of it. Result!

Friday, 10 February 2017

24 Hour Comic Book!

I set myself the challenge of writing two 22-page length comics each month across 2017. So far, I've successfully tackled January. Moving on into February, I realised that I had an all-out action issue of Darkened Avenue planned ("Justice"), virtually in 'real time', so completely different to anything I'd written before. I thought it would be fun, therefore, to write the issue in an experimental way.

At the same time I also faced a journey to Manchester, and back again.

So... it made sense to combine the two, and try and speed write the issue on one single 2-hour train journey. I did the maths; this would work out at around 5 minutes per page. Now, I typically doodle a thumbnail sketch first, and then transcribe that into script - but I knew there was no time to do both here. I chose to draw the thumbnails on the train, and then do the typing later on at home.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous that I would fail spectacularly! As it happens, I didn't. I sat on the train, and did the work and although I didn't complete all 22 pages like I'd hoped, I did 15 - and think that's pretty respectable.

As soon as I reached my house, I sat down and immediately finished the rest (it turned out I need an extra page to tell the story, so ended on 23).

Unfortunately I grew too tiring from travelling and writing to type everything up that day, but chipped away at the project throughout my (very busy!) week.

Here then, just for your own amusement more than anything, are my initial train thumbnail-doodles, and the script that they became. These won't ever get passed onto an artist to draw as, well, I write Darkened Avenue for myself really, to practise my writing style - so these could well be the only time you ever get a visual reference for the series!


PAGE ONE – Eight Panels (1/2/3/2)

Panel One: A heavily armoured vehicle crosses a huge, rocky terrain at night.

Panel Two: Inside the vehicle, a team of eight people sit – four on each side. There’s QUINN, SCORPION, PENNY (series regular, young civilian, recently bereaved) and WALTER – a buff, somewhat reserved, soldier. The other four passengers are: two MEDICS, a SCIENTIST and an ENGINEER. Penny is talking to nobody in particular.

1: PENNY:            All I know is-

2: PENNY:            I looked up and saw it falling.

Panel Three: Flashback, Penny’s P.O.V. – as something hurtles down from the sky, towards Earth below.

Panel Four: Close on Penny, looking at the person sat next to her, hopeful of their attention and validation.

1: PENNY:            Then... Crash!

2: PENNY:            I think it was a spaceship.

Panel Five: Scorpion’s arms are crossed. He stares blankly out, bored by Penny’s idle chit-chat. Quinn’s next to him, smirking.

Panel Six: Penny looks towards Scorpion (and Quinn) annoyed.

1: PENNY:            Am I boring you?

Panel Seven: Scorpion remains the same.

1: SCORPION:         Yes.

Panel Eight: Close in on Penny, playfully pulling a face and sticking her tongue out at him.

PAGE TWO – Seven Panels (3/2/2)

Panel One: Scorpion hears something, and is suddenly very concerned. Hand to his lip, indicating others hish.

1: SCORPION:         You hear that?

Panel Two: Close on Penny, equally concerned.

1: PENNY:            What is it?

Panel Three: Everybody in the vehicle looks a little worried. Quinn turns to Scorpion.

1: QUINN:            Scorpion?

Panel Four: Scorpion tries to concentrate, sensing something, but not quite sure how to express it.

1: SCORPION:         There’s something-

Panel Five: At the front of the vehicle, from the driver’s P.O.V. (their hands/the steering wheel visible) – the headlights shine out onto the rocky terrain ahead, and show a MYSTERIOUS MAN stood there, centre of the road, naked, back turned away.

Panel Six: The DRIVER of the vehicle panics, and turns the steering wheel as hard as she possibly can, to avoiding missing the naked man on the road.

Panel Seven: The vehicle swerves off the road.

PAGE THREE – Six Panels (2/2/2)

Panel One: The vehicle flips and rolls down a hill.

Panel Two: It lands with a THUD! at the bottom of a gulf, very badly beaten up.

Panel Three: The vehicle is turned on its side. From its broken and smashed sunroof a hand emerges, fighting to get out of the wreck.

Panel Four: More of the person has emerged – it’s Penny.

Panel Five: A little distance away from the wreck, Penny stands, panting – looking ahead at the crash site, where a small amount of smoke is becoming visible from the engine.

Panel Six: Close on Penny, panicked.

1: PENNY:            Oh no no no...

PAGE FOUR – Seven Panels (2/2/1/2)

Panel One: Penny is back at the wreck, ripping at the sunroof, in a frenzy to get inside.

Panel Two: Penny has managed to pull Scorpion free!

Panel Three: Weak, Scorpion holds onto Penny, as he turns to survey the wreck. A small flame flickers at the front.

1: SCORPION:         We have to save the others!

2: PENNY:            It’s going to blow!

Panel Four: Scorpion has already turned back to the wreck, to mount a rescue. He turns to Penny, expectantly.

1: SCORPION:         Come on!

Panel Five: Penny joins Scorpion, half watching the front of the vehicle, as the flame grows larger... Scorpion is in the process of pulling Walter out.

Panel Six: As quickly as possible Scorpion (supporting Walter) and Penny (supporting a rescued, but heavily injured, Quinn) flee from the vehicle – it now being consumed by flames.

Panel Seven: The wrecked vehicle explodes – hurtling Penny, Quinn, Scorpion and Walter flying through the air.

PAGE FIVE – Seven Panels (2/2/3)

Panel One: Penny has landed face down, hard on the ground. Her hearing has temporarily deafened – and the ringing in her ears represented by lots of “Eeeeeeeeee” throughout the panel, around her.

Panel Two: Penny begins to stand, the ringing has lessened substantially.

1: O.O.S.:           -kay Penny?

Panel Three: Pennt stands, back turned, looking out at the burnt wreckage in the distance. Scorpion next to her, watching her carefully.

1: SCORPION:         Penny?

Panel Four: A long shot, emphasising the four survivors. As Penny continues to look out, sad, into the distance – Walter recovers, kneeling on the ground; Scorpion matches Penny’s gaze; Quinn stands, struggling to breathe.

1: PENNY:            There were 9 of us onboard.

Panel Five: Close on Penny, extremely sad. Yet more death...

Panel Six: Penny bows her head; defeated.

Panel Seven: A two shot, as Scorpion gently puts an arm around Penny, looking at her sympathetically. Her head is still down at this point.

1: SCORPION:         Come on...

2: SCORPION:         There’s work to do.

PAGE SIX – Eight Panels (2/3/3)

Panel One: Scorpion stands over Quinn, who is still hunched over, finding it very difficult to breathe.

1: SCORPION:         How you doing, Quinn?

2: QUINN:            Hard to... breathe...

3: QUINN:            Possible...punctured lung.

Panel Two: Scorpion bends to Quinn’s level, reassuringly.

1: SCORPION:         Try to take it easy, huh?

2: QUINN:            You know me. Very definition of relaxed.

Panel Three: Meanwhile, Penny is with Walter. He’s behind her, still sat kneeling on the ground. Towards Scorpion (O.O.S.):

1: PENNY:            Walter’s fine!

Panel Four: Close on Walter, queasy, hand to his mouth.

Panel Five: Walter projectile vomits everywhere.

Panel Six: As Walter continues to vomit, Scorpion checks the firearm that he’s carrying.

1: SCORPION:         Get it out your system.

2: SCORPION:         What weapons do we have?

3: QUINN:            Er...

4: PENNY:            Nothing on me.

Panel Seven: Penny, very concerned.

1: PENNY:            You think we’ll need them?

Panel Eight: Scorpion, satisfied that his gun is OK.

1: SCORPION:         It’s possible we were forced off the road.

PAGE SEVEN – Eight Panels (1/2/3/2)

Panel One: An old desert town, almost deserted. It looks a lot like something out of a Western movie; two lines of wooden buildings facing one another, with a church and a saloon in the distance. It’s still night, and no lights are on.

Panel Two: A young girl, MELISSA, knocks frantically onto a door at the side of the church.

Panel Three: MRS. COBLER (70-something, stern, the town’s matriarch) answers the door.

1: MELISSA:          Sound the bells Mrs. Cobler!

2: COBLER:           Why, girl?

3: MELISSA:          Fighters have arrived. I see’d them.

Panel Four: Mrs. Cobler looks suspicious.

1: COBLER:           With your own eyes?

Panel Five: Melissa nods.

1: MELISSA:          A-ha!

Panel Six: Mrs. Cobler turns suddenly cold, hard.

1: COBLER:           This better not be one of your lies!

Panel Seven: Mrs. Cobler heads inside the church building, towards a staircase leading up. Melissa waits at the door, head almost down – but looking in, sheepish.

1: MELISSA:          Not this time.

2: COBLER:           Then come.

Panel Eight: Melissa follows Mrs. Cobler inside. The old lady is already climbing the stairs.


PAGE EIGHT – Six Panels (2/3/1)

Panel One: A large set of church bells ring out, loud, from within the church belfry.

Panel Two: Away from the village, in a rocky/sandy terrain, Quinn, Scorpion, Penny and Walter are walking. Penny hears something in the distance, and looks up surprised. Scorpion supports Quinn.

1: PENNY:            Bells!

2: SCORPION:         There must be a village nearby.

Panel Three: A weak Quinn perks up a bit.

1: QUINN:            Could be Assassins.

Panel Four: Scorpion looks across at Quinn.

1: SCORPION:         You need urgent medical attention.

2: SCORPION:         We’ll take that risk.

Panel Five: Scorpion, looking out at the rest of the party, strong.

1: SCORPION:         Everybody stay alert!

2: SCORPION:         We head towards the town.

Panel Six: Meanwhile, in the town, the church bells still ring out, and the town has started to come alive. Candle lights flicker on in the houses, as people exit their homes to see what the commotion is all about.


PAGE NINE – Nine Panels (2/4/1/2)

Panel One: Outside the town’s church, Mrs. Cobler addresses a number of male townsmen (BRETT, OLD MAN GARY, DREW, MARK). She’s fierce, definitely the strongest person here.

1: COBLER:            Strangers are heading our way!

Panel Two: Mrs. Cobler raises her arm in the air, to articulate her point.

1: COBLER:            Take arms-

2: COBLER:            Protect this community!

Panel Three: Townsman Brett in his home, loading a shotgun.

Panel Four: Old Man Gary at his home, pulling out a dusty firearm from under the bed.

Panel Five: In their home, Drew passes a gun to his daughter, Melissa.

Panel Six: Outside the saloon Mark holds a gun, and shakily practices his aim with it.

Panel Seven: Meanwhile – back to Quinn et al. as they head up a small mount. The bells still ring out, LOUDER than before.

1: SCORPION:         We’re near.

2: QUINN:            I have a bad feeling about this...

Panel Eight: The group continue up a hill, and in the distance – just over the top of the mount – the top of a sign can be seen. It says, half cut off, “Welcome”.

Panel Nine: The group are even further up the mount, and more of the sign can now be seen. It reads “Welcome To Cranston Falls” (the bottom words semi-cut off).

PAGE TEN – Four Panels (1/2/1)

Panel One: In the village, Brett, Old Man Gary, Drew and Mark look up at something O.O.S. and take aim with their weapons.

Panel Two: As Quinn, Scorpion, Penny and Walter reach the top of the mount, bullets hit the ground at their feet.

Panel Three: Close on Scorpion, urgent, panicked.

1: SCORPION:         RUN!

Panel Four: As our heroes make their way rapidly back down the mount they only just climbed, at the top of it the townsmen stand – carelessly aiming their weapons, and firing on them (of course missing).

PAGE ELEVEN – Six Panels (2/2/2)

Panel One: At another end of the town, three more TOWNSMEN are on the town border, waiting for strangers to arrive. There’s a healthy tree to their left.

1: TOWNSMEN#1:       Bell’s stopped.

2: TOWNSMEN#2:       Reckon we got ‘em?

3: TOWNSEN#3:        Def.

Panel Two: Medium close on Townsmen#2, grinning, satisified.

1: TOWNSMEN#2:       Drink then?

2: TOWNSMEN#2:       Only seems fitting.

Panel Three: The three Townsmen turn and begin to walk away.

Panel Four: The three Townsmen, further away.

Panel Five: As the three Townsmen disappear into the distance, on the tree next to where they stood... a peculiar shape... a hand of some kind... glowing green.

Panel Six: The hand has gone! Where it was, a big scorch mark is left on the tree trunk. Meanwhile, a slither of that green glow can be seen, on the ground, heading into the distance towards the town...

PAGE TWELVE – Five Panels (1/2/2)

Panel One: Elsewhere... our heroes have had to retreat back to their vehicle’s crash site. As they take cover behind the burnt out, smoky wreckage their persuers have arrived – aiming their weapons towards the wreck... (Quinn is in quite a bad state now).

1: OLD MAN GARY:     Show yourself!

Panel Two: Penny tries to spy the group through the wreckage.

1: PENNY:            We’re humans!

Panel Three: As Scorpion reaches out to tell her not to, Penny raises her head above the wreckage.

1: PENNY:            Friends, even.

2: PENNY:            From the Avenue.

Panel Four: The four townsmen consult one another.

1: DREW:             (whisper) That place!

2: MARK:             (whisper) We can’t trust them.

3: BRETT:            (whisper) Sssh!

4: OLD MAN GARY:     (to Penny, O.O.S.) Why you here?

Panel Five: Thinking that she’s got through to them, Penny stands up, hands in the air.

1: PENNY:            We saw strange lights in the sky, and then something crashed down to Earth.

2: PENNY:            We were investigating, but as you can see, our vehicle crashed.

3: PENNY:            One of our team is badly injured.

PAGE THIRTEEN – Six Panels (2/1/2/1)

Panel One: All four townsmen look at one another.

1: BRETT:            (whisper) Let’s take them to Mrs. Cobler!

Panel Two: Close on Old Man Gary, shouting out to the group.

1: OLD MAN GARY:     OK!

2: OLD MAN GARY:     We’ll be trusting you.

Panel Three: From behind the wreckage, Quinn, Scorpion, Penny and Walter all emerge, hands in the air. The Townsmen are still aiming their weapons, however.

1: MARK:             Give us y’er weapons!

Panel Four: Scorpion looks across at Penny, eyebrow raised.

Panel Five: Scorpion tosses his weapon away.

1: SCORPION:         (whisper) We’re defenceless.

Panel Six: Our heroes are led forwards at gunpoint by the Townsmen. Quinn is very sweaty, and supported by Scorpion.


PAGE FOURTEEN – Six Panels (1/3/2)

Panel One: It’s still night as the Townsmen lead our four heroes into the town. Only it’s eerily quiet. Although lights are on, various items have been dotted all over the place – dropped in a hurry. As the Townsmen look around them, it is clear something is not right.

1: MARK:             Where is everybody?

Panel Two: Mark approaches his home. The door is open, the lights off, and there’s a strange green slither on the floor, leading into the home.

1: MARK:             Tiffany?

Panel Three: Mark walks inside his house, gun raised just in case.

Panel Four: Mark is O.O.S., and there’s a flash of green inside all of his home.

1: MARK:             Argh!

Panel Five: Suddenly, Brett has his shotgun pointed directly at Walter’s face.

1: BRETT:            What did you do to him?!

Panel Six: Walter, hands in the air, scared for his life, pleading almost...

1: WALTER:     That wasn’t us!

PAGE FIFTEEN – Eight Panels (2/2/2/2)

Panel One: The bells in the belfry ring out again!

Panel Two: Old Man Gary aims his weapon forwards, towards Quinn et al. (who are all O.O.S.)

1: OLD MAN GARY:     You two go investigate.

2: OLD MAN GARY:     Could be Mrs. Cobler.

Panel Three: The Avenue team stand nervous, hands up in the air, as Old Man Gary continue to aim his gun at them. Brett and Drew run off into the town, heading towards the church.

Panel Four: Brett and Drew run up the steps, up towards the belfry.

Panel Five: Now inside the belfry, the pair spot something O.O.S. that is so horrific and shocking, that their faces fill with blind panic.

1: BRETT:            Mrs. Cobler!

Panel Six: Medium close on Mrs. Cobler. She’s sat, incredibly injured, against one wall of the belfry – having rung the bells. Not much below her shoulders can be seen – but there’s hints of blood and gore. The old woman is weak... dying...

1: MRS. COBLER:      My boys...

2: MRS. COBLER:      You came-

Panel Seven: Zoom out, so all of Mrs. Cobler can be seen. Her injuries are horrific. Her legs are gone... eaten... there’s blood everywhere, and she grows incredibly pale. These are her last seconds of life.

1: MRS. COBLER: Just in time.

Panel Eight: Mrs. Cobler’s head flops to the side, dead.

PAGE SIXTEEN – Six Panels (2/2/2)

Panel One: Outside again, and Old Man Gary still aims his weapon at the four Avenue members. His look shouldn’t be hard here, because he’s trying to understand them – and it’s no longer his number one concern seeing them die. Quinn is very frail here, paying off later on the page.

1: OLD MAN GARY:     You said something fell from the sky.

2: PENNY:           Yeah.

Panel Two: Medium close on Old Man Gary, he’s dropped his weapon a little.

1: OLD MAN GARY:     That light in the house-

2: OLD MAN GARY:     Could it be extra-terrestrial?

Panel Three: Very aware that the conversation seems to be going their way, Penny and Scorpion glance at one another through the corner of their eyes.

1: PENNY:            It’s possible.

2: SCORPION:         We did have Lucifer’s heir apparent locked up, recently...

Panel Four: Suddenly... Quinn is in agony!

1: QUINN:            Argh!

Panel Five: Quinn collapses into Penny’s arms, as Scorpion (hands now lowered) stands before Old Man Gary (who has, in turn, lowered his weapon).

1: OLD MAN GARY:     We ain’t got no drugs for him.

2: OLD MAN GARY:     But there’s guns and ammo inside.

3: SCORPION:         Thank you.

Panel Six: Close on Scorpion.

1: SCORPION:         I think we’ll need them.

2: SCORPION:         The bells have stopped ringing-

3: SCORPION:         And your friends have been gone an awful long time.

PAGE SEVENTEEN – Six Panels (2/2/2)

Panel One: Old Man Gary stares up at the Church in the distance. The belfry atop it glows a sinister green...

1: OLD MAN GARY:     Oh no!

Panel Two: Scorpion emerges from out of a building, holding a number of firearms. Looking ahead at everybody else:

1: SCORPION:         Everybody with me.

Panel Three: Scorpion stands before Penny, trying to hand her a weapon, but she’s hesitant (owing to what happened to her in the last story arc).

1: PENNY:            I can’t.

2: SCORPION:         Then you’ll die.

Panel Four: Penny reluctantly accepts the offer of a gun.

Panel Five: On the ground, perching himself up on a rock, Quinn – putting aside the pain long enough to be brave and make a joke.

1: QUINN:            What? Nothing... for me?

Panel Six: Scorpion smiles and passes Quinn a gun.

1: SCORPION:         Shoot whatever comes your way.

PAGE EIGHTEEN – Eight Panels (1/4/2/1)

Panel One: Scorpion leads a team of himself, Penny, Walter and Old Man Gary through the town, in formation – each looking out into a different direction. It’s tense... everybody expecting the creature to leap out at them at any moment.

Panel Two: Extreme close on Scorpion’s eyes, looking out, hard.

Panel Three: Extreme close on Walter’s eyes, nervous, sweaty.

Panel Four: Extreme close on Penny’s eyes, over-concentrating.

Panel Five: Extreme close on Old Man Gary’s eyes, weary.

Panel Six: Walter has spotted something, and points!

1: WALTER:     There!

Panel Seven: The bottom of the doors to the town’s saloon - through the crack... a green glow!

Panel Eight: All four line up, and aim their weapons at the saloon’s entrance.

1: WALTER:     What do we do now?

2: SCORPION:         Whatever we have to.

3: SCORPION:         On three. One-

4: SCORPION:         Two-

PAGE NINETEEN – Four Panels (1/2/1)

Panel One: Long shot on the four, opening fire!

1: SCORPION:         Three!

Panel Two: The saloon door has been shot to pieces, and is smoking.

Panel Three: Scorpion and Walter approach the doors. Walter suddenly more confident.

1: WALTER:     I think it’s-

Panel Four: Out of the saloon doors, a huge shapeless alien monster emerges, grabbing Walter with its teeth! It’s green glow is minimal here. Walter in obvious pain.

PAGE TWENTY – Seven Panels (2/2/3)

Panel One: As the Monster continues to bite down hard on Walter, Scorpion doesn’t stop to think – and wrestles with the thing, trying to save his colleagues life. Penny rushes forwards.

1: SCORPION:         Stay back!

Panel Two: The Monster hits Scorpion hard – which sends him flying through the air. By this point, Walter is pretty lifeless. Penny stops her advance.

Panel Three: Old Man Gary aims his gun and fires at the Monster – a fierce, grim look on his face.

Panel Four: The Monster is hit hard by a bullet, and in pain drops Walter onto the ground!

Panel Five: Old Man Gary continues to fire at the Monster, getting nearer and nearer to it.

Panel Six: The Monster bites down hard on the top half of Old Man Gary’s torso.

Panel Seven: The Monster has moved away, leaving behind the severed, bloody bottom half (legs/bit of belly) of what was once Old Man Gary!

PAGE TWENTY-ONE – Eight Panels (3/2/3)

Panel One: As Scorpion lies on the ground, the Monster is behind him, looking his way. Scorpion’s gun has landed to his left – out of reach.

Panel Two: As the Monster runs towards him, Scorpion reaches across, struggling to get to his gun.

Panel Three: Close on the Monster charging. What looks like his mouth opening.

Panel Four: The Monster is about to pounce onto Scorpion, who is an inch or so away from reaching his weapon…

Panel Five: At the last possible second, the Monster is hit by a flaming bottle of alcohol! It turns who to see is attacking him.

Panel Six: Penny stands at the Saloon doors, lighting another bottle of alcohol to throw...

Panel Seven: Penny throws the next bottle!

Panel Eight: The Monster is hit – and is on fire!

PAGE TWENTY-TWO – Six Panels (2/2/2)

Panel One: The Monster is engulfed in flames, and in a tremendous amount of pain. So distracted its no longer attacking the humans.

Panel Two: The Monster has dropped dead into a heap on the ground.

Panel Three: The Monster’s corpse begins to decompose rapidly – melting in on itself, until:

Panel Four: There’s nothing left!

Panel Five: Meanwhile, Penny is checking Walter, but looks up at Scorpion grimly, realizing he’s dead.

1: PENNY:            Poor Walter.

2: SCORPION:         We should check on Quinn.

Panel Six: Scorpion helps Penny back up.

1: SCORPION:         Get him medical help.

2: SCORPION:         And then-

3: SCORPION:         Let’s find the crash site.

4: SCORPION:         Might be some clues there as to what this thing was.

PAGE TWENTY-THREE – Eight Panels (2/2/2/2)

Panel One: Scorpion carries Walter’s body, as he and Penny begin to walk away.

1: SCORPION:         Might be some clues there as to what this thing was.

Panel Two: Same angle. Scorpion and Penny smaller, as they disappear into the distance. Scorpion looks across at Penny.

1: SCORPION:         Good job back there.

Panel Three: Same angle. They’ve gone.

Panel Four: Same angle, although now there’s a slight green glow showing on the ground where the Monster fell.

Panel Five: Same angle, as something begins to form on the ground.

Panel Six: Same angle, as the green mass begins to take shape – looking like the bottom half of a human torso.

Panel Seven: Same angle, only now the transformation is complete. A naked man stands, back to us. It’s the same form that we saw on the road back in Page 2, Panel 5.

Panel Eight: Close on the face of the mystery man; it’s fierce and primal... and recognizably the face of Scorpion! Dun dun dun!

TITLE:               ARRIVALS

NEXT:                “PRESSED”


And there we go!