A page-long comicbook script, halfway into the story

I came up with the following page under the shower a few nights ago.
It’s set halfway into the story and to be perfectly honest with you I have no real good idea where it would fit, though it sure looks cool.
The plot preceding this point in a nutshell: Montgomery Peer, plainclothes superhero, takes off to outer space to quell some “cosmic disturbance” of some sort at the sun, which threatens the Earth, etc, the usual. He’s in contact with the Military via subspace radio (subspace radio is sci-fi’s way of accounting for real-time instant radio communication between the Sun and the Earth).
But anyway:

Panel 1
This panel is part of a 3-piece composition with the larger panel 2 and the similar panel 3: It’s a page-wide panel layered over the top of the main panel (panel 2) so that there are no gutters on this page. Panel 1 is like a “detail” incrusted within the splash-page-like panel 2, and is symmetrically placed with panel 3 (Panel 1 is on the top and panel 3 is at the bottom).
This is a follow-up to last page and closing tight on a low-ranking telecommunications operator sitting behind a large computer console with headphones to his ear. Behind him and standing up there are two high-ranking military officers, also holding headphones to their ears. The telecommunications operator looks calm and focused. The high-ranking officers look puzzled, somewhat startled by whatever it is they’re hearing.

1. OFFICER #1: What is this… humming? Sounds like a lullaby

2. OFFICER #1: What is he…? Hmmm hmmm bet you think this song’s about you don’t you… Is that singing?

3. OFFICER #2: Is he singing a Donna Summer song?!

4. OPERATOR: I think it’s Carly Simon, sir.

Panel 2
A large splash-page-like panel which covers the entire page (with the much-smaller panels 1 and 3 free-floating over near its top and bottom, like top-layered bookends).
This is one magnificent view of outer space looking straight to the Sun, up close, occupying a generous portion of the center-to-left area of the page. The remainder of the page is filled by distant stars.
There’s one tiny, humanoid-looking dark speck- Montgomery Peer’s silhouette- hovering with his arms spread Christ-like somewhere near the center of the solar disk (captions 5 and 6 should be placed near the figure for easy identification).

5. CAP/NARRATOR: Montgomery Peer…

6. CAP/NARRATOR: Spinning in geosynchronous orbit across the corona at over 4,500 mph. Rocking the sun to sleep.

Panel 3
A page-wide panel identical in shape to panel 1, but places at the bottom of the page (panel 2).
Tight on Montgomery Peer’s back and looking straight at the Sun, lashed by flames: Shot from about Peer’s shoulder blades up to the top of his head, his arms spread wide-open, outstretched up to the fingertips, as he hovers over the fiery backdrop of the Sun, through the fiery flames of its corona.

7. CAP/OFFICER #1/OFF-PANEL: “Is he singing You’re so vain to the Sun?!”


The anvil

New Order starts playing Blue Monday and the director signals for someone in the supporting cast to phone right in exactly as per the cue in the script. I consider letting the phone ring instead, wondering whether it would go on forever, but then decide against vegetating through suppertime like this, lying on the couch and contemplating infinity plastered in white at the ceiling. I get up mumbling something barely intelligible even to myself and hurry into the bedroom.
The cell phone lies on the carpeted floor, cornered near the wall on a small space left between the door frame of the threshold and the nightstand. Beyond the nightstand is the bed, and leaving the phone- which doubles as an alarm clock- there, helps to assure my waking up in the mornings to work.
I pick up the phone. Caller ID says it’s G****. I say Hi and goof around saying I love her in mock-Spanish for a second, then I tell her I miss her. She says Hi and that I’m a fool for letting her go like that, and that she misses me too. She says something about going bowling with this new fiancé of hers she wants me to meet, also that they’re handing out the wedding invitations and so on.

“Sure,” I tell her. “It’ll be great.”
Still every single time the phone rings in the evening I think it’s A**** and it just makes me feel…

Pretty bad.




Room to roam

Come Saturday and I’m at my grandmother’s. She asks me about A****, to which I reply with a shrug and a half-smile. She is a little disappointed because she’s just returned from this trip and she’d brought some refrigerator magnet for her as souvenir, something like that.
There’s this lady friend of my grandmother’s, too. She’s Seicho-N*-Ie or one of those things. She cuts in then tells me I should visualize my soul-mate in my mind, and that alone should be enough to find myself the one true girl for me in the Universe. Like, I’m just quoting what she told me, okay?

“Universe’s a pretty big place,” I smile back at her. “And I usually try to work locally.”


Within books

I found this old Neil Gaiman paperback the other day at the bottom of my wardrobe. It was a battered pocket-book copy of Neverwhere. I guess it might have gotten misplaced when I moved in to the new apartment last year.
There was a picture lost inside it- It is this photograph of me and the guys at the living room at that first place we shared together. I still have a full head of hair in it- also a goatee- which must place photo circa '99, or 2000, tops.
We're all holding glasses of wine or cans of beer, half-drunk, smiling, not a care in the world… kind of like, “what could go wrong?”, you know? Exactly like that.

Then there was another book too, an entirely different one. You scribbled me something I'll never forget on the inside of the front cover of that book during the wee, wee hours of the morning of July 24th, 2006. There was one single strand of hair, light auburn I think, and short- obviously yours- tucked between the last page and back cover.

Thinking of yesterday like this inevitably gets me thinking of tomorrow.


One particularly disturbing dream

I was inside the belly of this old wooden vessel, like a schooner, when it started- like in is candle-lit galley or something. There about ten persons there with me, people from the office. As the ship kept on sailing to & through god knows where, my workmates started with this bizarre ceremony in which they would pass around a living stag beetle, near a palm long, and each one of them would take turns placing the insect inside their mouths, over their tongues, without any biting or swallowing, with the insect’s oversized mandibles bulging from their lips, its tiny legs moving around and about. Then the beetle would be passed on to the following person, and so on, following the circle.
An eerie, vocal-less, instrumental version of Echo & the Bunnymen’s Killing Moon played in the background.

When it was my turn I refused to accept the beetle on the grounds that it was pretty disgusting and bizarre, so I wouldn’t have it in my mouth.
I had to leave the ship. How I did it, or where I went to, I have no idea, but I ended up in this huge department store afterwards, where I met with this cute chubby girl I used to know, and she took hold of my arm and urged me to help her find some specific, grape-flavored bubble gum brand her boyfriend liked…


Point break

So Ingmar Bergman passed away last week and the world of Arts became a little poorer because of it. Allegedly, I suppose, for my generation begs to differ: We ride at the tail-end of mankind’s cultural output.

Most of my generation was introduced to the bulk of Bergman’s work- and I’m so serious here- through Keanu Reeves, through the Seventh Seal spoof in the Keanu-starred Bill & Ted sequel.
There are two B&T movies, remember? There’s the first one when they travel back in time in a phone booth and score with chicks from the Middle Ages, and there’s that hysterical sequence in which Bill’s kid brother (or is it Ted’s?) is forced to take Napoleon Bonaparte bowling in present-day America… and there’s also its sequel, in which Bill and Ted are killed by some robotic doppelgangers from the far-flung future, and in order to come back to life they must challenge death, and thence, the Seventh Seal spoof.
So there they are, Bill and Ted, and they have to challenge the Grim Reaper in lots of games… you know the bit in the Seventh Seal when the knight plays chess against Death, right? Only B&T, they play all kinds of silly boardgames with him instead, such as Twister and etc. They eventually win, and return to the land of the living in time to save the day. And that is how my generation’s come to know of the Seventh Seal.

I did rent The Seventh Seal on VCR a few years ago. I dunno why, I was in the mood for something different and sod*my notwithstanding I just guess I’ll try anything once. To be completely honest with you I never really made it past the first third of the movie, because that bit in the horse wagon with the gypsy family, or court jester family, or whatever, is so incredibly boring I wanted to take my eyes out with a spoon.
Because hey, any idea of what my conception of what a Bergman movie really was?

Bergman for me was Keanu, dude…


Excerpt from a comics interview (priceless!)

Okay, this is so utterly priceless I can't even begin to think of not posting it here:
An exceprt from a Newsarama interview with comics writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti about the designs and inspirations for the characters from Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, an action-meets-political-satire series published by DC Comics:

"JUSTIN: The Ray, Stan Silver, is the kind of egotistic bastard people loved to hate. His uniform is slick to match his Teflon personality; a beam of living light fits a guy who thinks he’s better than everyone else. There’s a lot of Bret Easton Ellis in Stan Silver’s personality and hopefully we’ll have the chance to bring him back providing the Freedom Fighters catch on with people."

http:// www.newsarama.com /dcnew/ FreedomFighters/ sketchbook/ preview.html
Characters design by artist Daniel Acuña.


What nature abhors

A portrait of the devil’s workshop:
A single, recently-turned-unattached-once-again (oh well, it happens…) young man, age 27, a wee bit too high on ye olde usual, seemingly omnipresent Absolut-and-Sprite, attempting to vacuum the bathroom sink.

No, wait: It is gonna make sense, swear to god.
I mean, it didn’t really make any sense when I was telling my mother on the phone afterwards but hey, despite the sheer handwork of it being a little too much on the insane side, I think the theory of it still holds…

Now, since hair length hasn’t been an issue with me for years now (gee thanks dad) I’ve grown pretty fond of the bare-blade buzz cut, now more than ever, but the b*tch is the mess it turns my bathroom into. I mean, all those tiny hairs stuck to the wall tiles and to the porcelain of the sink, it takes some superhuman effort to clean the bathroom afterwards.
So last Saturday I came up with this real bright idea of, hey, if I can vacuum a carpet then why the hell can’t I vacuum the bathroom sink?

Now, by “bathroom sink” you’re probably thinking, “Okay he means the porcelain”, and also that, providing the porcelain’s dry enough, a vacuum cleaner just ought to do the work just fine there. Up to an extent.
I mean, the extent being the sheer boundary of my absent-minded, now-unattached imagination: So I also attempted at vacuuming the inside of the sink, just to know what gives.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Domestic vacuum cleaners actually are strong enough to pull water from sinks;
2. The paper bags from vacuum cleaners, however, aren’t really strong enough to trap that water in place;
3. In most vacuum cleaners there’s this cloth bag behind the disposable paper one;
4. The cloth bag isn’t really disposable;
5. The cloth bag also isn’t really washable. Now imagine my surprise…;
6. Vacuum cleaners usually don’t have a watertight casing;
7. You just wouldn’t believe how much floss gathers up inside a sink!;
8. You also wouldn’t believe what ensues whenever you get water to mix up with all the dust specks gathered on that cloth bag inside the casing;
9. People should be really careful when hauling a vacuum cleaner filled with dirty water over the living room carpet;
10. Above all else, do watch out for the fallout droppings from swinging the hose around the kitchen when taking it apart for cleaning…

Coming up next, providing I survive, “Other things to do with a blender!”



“It’s kind of tough when girls do stuff like, marrying other people instead of marrying you,” I tell B**** very matter-of-factly, not really paying attention to myself, trying to find my way through the Lotus Notes e-mail assignation system, presently down since lunchtime alongside most other systems, all on the frizz this afternoon.
“What are you talking about?,” asks B****. Conversation up until this moment had been restricted to mocking the tall kid at Imports as usual.
I look at him over the workstation separator with a puzzled look on my face, then back at the screen of the notebook. “I dunno,” I say. “I was looking at our inbox, at some e-mail from this girl, from [customer company’s name], and she’s like, seems to have changed her surname from what I remember. So I just guessed she must’ve married some guy.”
“Maybe it’s a different girl with the same first name,” B**** says. “It’s not such an unusual name after all. It’s kind of common.”

I don’t say anything.
I look around the office until my eyes fall on the new girl with the bad dye job, a few desks away from mine. I finally decide she actually looks kind of common.
“Yeah, kind of common,” I say it out loud after a full couple of minutes in complete silence.
“What the hell are you talking about now?,” B**** asks me in return, thinking I was back talking to him. “You’re not making any sense.”

Up on the wall above our heads the clock marks twenty minutes to six pm.
I’m thinking of the rush-hour traffic. I’m thinking of home. I’m thinking of girls and also that I could really use a blowj*b right now.

I’m thinking of nothing special: I’m thinking of nothing at all.
The day fades to black & then into night.



I wish I’d written the following two pieces below:

First one is straight out of a mid-1980s song by The Pogues and some woman named Cait O’Riordan, which was part of the soundtrack for the movie Sid and Nancy, about the life of Sid Vicious (of Sex Pistols fame). The song is called Haunted, and tells of how this girl fell for this guy (and vice-versa) in the streets of London, and how much they mean to each other.

There’s a verse halfway through the song that goes like this:
“The first time I saw you
standing in the street,
you were so cool
you could’ve put out Vietnam.
My girlfriends ask me, ‘What's he like?’
I say, ‘He's kind of shy,
but that's the kind of girl I am,
he's my kind of guy’”

I don’t know why I like that bit so much. Must be the part about “Vietnam”. It kills me every time I listen to that song. Either way, I honestly believe Haunted to be the ultimate love song. Like, ever written, period.

Second piece comes right off a 1989 comic book, the 13th issue of DC Comics’ Animal Man written by Grant Morrison.
That particular issue happens in South Africa with the whole Apartheid thing going on. Animal Man, a North-American superhero, is there to help African super-hero B’wanna Beast (who’s actually an African-based North American superhero, and how about that for imperialism…) to choose his successor, and this time preferably somebody actually from Africa.

The story is far more political than it might sound here but anyway, Animal Man and the Beast are to free this anti-Apartheid agitator from jail, where he’s been tortured by an abusive prison guard, who keeps lecturing him and comparing his cause to that of a fairy tale and a virgin maiden’s being used as a bait to ensnare an unicorn, etc.
B’wanna Beast, who has the power to change the shapes of the local fauna, creates a unicorn-looking beast. The prison guard ends up impaled by the animal’s horn.
This bit I don’t recall all too well, like, who said what, but it goes something like this: Animal Man arrives at the scene and asks what the guard died of.
“Symbolism,” says the Beast.

It’s not really possible to convey to you why I think that piece is such a masterpiece, a work of genius: It’s that sort of thing that could not be achieved in a book nor in a movie: It could only be depicted on a comic book. It’s all about the medium: The shape of the panels, the disposition of the characters in each panel, the timing of the dialogue, etc.
Sequential art to the fullest, you know?



The cute oriental girl by my side grimaces and mumbles some inaudible complaint to herself as the bus makes it to the exit out of the expressway and takes the C-shaped access down the overpass towards the main avenue below and straight into an evening sea of red break lights, rolling on until the whole world is called to a halt, gridlocked in rush-hour traffic.
But look at this girl, willya? She’s something else entirely.

Daily usage of public transportation is above all things an issue of faith: Faith there’s enough sitting room available, faith the car will not break down halfway across town, faith there aren’t too many babies or old ladies demanding your seat and generally slowing down all operations, faith you won’t get mugged, faith the public transportation corridors are mostly unclogged, and so on and so on and so on. But as opposed to faith you have hell, and hell as one saying goes, lies in the angles.
And I’m looking for an angle myself.
See, I have been looking for an angle on this specific girl for ages, ever since I noticed we pretty much end up sharing the same route and bus lines. Whenever there’s a synchronization of ethereal luck wham!, she’s there in the bus and by now it’s pretty obvious to her I’ve been wolfing her down with my eyes, mostly at her ass because that’s one pretty little ass in tight black cotton pants.

Japanese girls drive me crazy. That’s a fact. I think my greatest frustration in life at age 27 is that I’ve never, ever gone to bed with an asian-looking woman. So I keep looking for those angles.
This one, see, is of medium height and very slim, but I figure her to be of mixed heritage, because her jaw line isn’t really roundish but her eyes are. She’s got thick, wavy black hair cascading just above the shoulders and sort of held up high on her head, not really unlike those girls in those mid-1980s Japanese action series for children on TV that I’d basically fed myself on when I was a kid. The very cradle of adult f*tishism…

Traffic stops and I turn another page on this book in my hands and pretend to be really interested in it, trying not to look like some psych* or something to her. She fidgets on her seat, then starts changing the tracks on her iPod as if searching for the one secret tune that will bring back motion to the planet.
The bus begins cutting through the jammed traffic, going home, very slowly at first, in baby-steps, until we begin to move on, moving on with our lives, moving on with ourselves as the world turns and shifts from the extraordinary to the mundane, from the hallowed to the profane, as the day ends and is caught in the unflappable slipstream of tomorrow riding up the slope just ahead, overhead, beyond our touch and beyond all reach, framed by the eternity of the sea of the red break lights.