Creative thinking for a comic book script, pt.II

Now don’t look at me the wrong way but you’ll find inspiration in the oddest of places. Like, I’m pretty used to come up with solutions to most of my office-related problems while taking a shower at home or brushing my teeth. True story.
As far as this comic script goes, though, it was actually about a couple of weeks ago and we were all at this bar and there was this band thing going on, and it’s not that it wasn’t cool nor anything, it was pretty cool & I was leapin’ like a gremlin on methadone as usual, but still, there it hit me like a bolt from the blue… and all of a sudden I came up with these two key scenes for our story, which in turn gave me the faint inspiration for an even-fainter outline of a 3-act plot:

Act I is pretty much a meeting then a conversation at a local diner, plus Peer meting some old friends along the way and discovering he’s not really wanted around, because the world all of a sudden grew so serious and adult and he (still) fancies himself just a kid, up to the point where we use Lightpath’s own sub-plot (we’ll giver her one, by the way) to establish the conflict.
Keyword here is, a solid dialogue and tons of existentialism. The plot for this act is basically a vessel for whatever it is that I want the characters to tell each other. Mostly introspective stuff.

Anyhow. I was so psyched about the whole thing that I couldn’t take the thought that I should open right out of my head, thus I came up with a zillion possibilities, each of them grander than each other, but I was never satisfied. So I thought, Go small. First and foremost, get that ball rolling willya. Fill in the reader as you go. Something not quite unlike this:


A page-wide panel. We’re looking straight at Montgomery Peer, now in his late-20s, garbed in full civilian attire (jeans and a T-shirt, etc), shot from his wait up, from behind a table, as seen from Path’s POV. Path/the reader is talking to Peer, and Peer is kind of sneering, pointing his right finger at her/the reader.

1. PEER: Jack Burnley’s a nitwit!

But ahh. Ixnay, ixnay. Then I just remembered Chris Claremont did this very opening with Kitty Pride in an X-Men comic from twenty years back. I think it was the very first issue to feature Paul Smith’s artwork, by the way.
“Professor Xavier is a jerk,” something like that.

Anyway. Opening with a slow, low-key conversation at a diner seems like a good idea, despite the sheer-un-originality of the proposed first panel.

Act II is a sci-fi, outer space opera, only condensed, and only not really. Path and Peer visit some old friends out there and discover that not everything is as it seems… Meaning, they will meet old acquaintances for the first time… sounds absurd, but it’ll make sense as we go. We’ll go deep into past continuity during Act II but in a totally new way, in which every character, every interaction, will seem brand-new.
And whereas in the first act we’ll have covered a question like, What’s your role in the world?, we’ll reverse that thinking for Act II, and it’ll go like, What’s the world’s role in your life?
This is basically a voucher for Peer’s having abandoned the life so soon & sudden, and should spring up the thought in Path’s mind that, Hey, maybe he hasn’t really returned after all, maybe he’s only here for the weekend…?

Act III is Peer back on Earth and of course everything is all right and all lives have been saved, the quest (partially) successful; the reader thinks the story’s over, only it’s not, because Peer, well now he wants to save the world and here’s where the writer should have his fun, because what I’m thinking about is, letting loose a super-powered being on the Middle East situation, just because, and I’m thinking:

(just a note I wrote to myself)

…Shot from atop the bombed ruins of a small town in the Middle East, Peer stands brushing his teeth… well, either that or shaving. Anyway. Peer’s almost naked but oddly enough he had the pitch-black skintight pants of his superhero uniform on, and only that. This is the first time in the whole story that we’ll show Peer dressed like, or almost dressed like, the Centurion.
Somebody lies naked on a mattress on the floor nearby, dawn’s breaking outside, the girl moans something, wakes up, Peer smiles.
They notice the invading army marching in, she asks what’s he’s going to do. “Gonna cut through their ranks like a hot knife going through kosher butter,” he says- To which she’ll promptly reply, “Peer. I’m Jew.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes am I.”
“It won’t change anything,” he’ll answer her. “Because there’s gotta be somebody with enough guts to intervene and…”
“And…? And what, Centurion?”
“And save the world.”
Then he’ll take flight and plunge straight in the middle of the tanks and the bombs, hell ensuing.

Something like that.
But you know, I’m just toying with an idea or two…
(and before you ask, “Jack Burnley” is another character in the story).

NEXT: Bringing the idea down to earth.