Jumping Off Point

The Lair update by Karezoid

Comic script inspired by this image: “The Lair” by Michał Karcz…

Comic script for the Pictonaut Challenge of July 2014.

A two-page comic script with six panels on each page (see the layout ‘vision’ guide below). As far as style goes it’s wide open and the artist is free to interpret it as they wish. It’s only a short gag strip – nothing serious – so have fun with it…

PAGE ONE

3 rows: Top Row a single wide-panel; Middle Row is three panels; Bottom Row is two equally-sized panels.

1 – Establishing shot, and we’re in a dark subterranean cavern. The scene is lit by the streaming daylight entering the cave from a gaping aperture in the ceiling positioned in the centre of the panel. Lit by said light, we can see that the chamber is a wide and empty chasm and the only accessible area where one might stand – as far as we can see – is a hanging rock ridge on the left side of the frame. On the very edge of that ridge stands a small man, completely dwarfed by his surroundings. His back turned to us, the man (let’s call him Arlo) is looking up towards the bright hole – the only apparent exit route out of these dark depths. He was probably hoping for a straight upward path or stairway directly out of here. If so, he’s ended up being very disappointed…

2 – We’ve zoomed in closer on Arlo and are looking up at the bright hole from over-his-shoulder, sharing his perspective. From this position we can now see that Arlo is a man in his mid-20s with short black hair and stubble. He looks like a lovable dork – a lovable dork who has been wandering aimlessly through underground tunnels for days on end. He eyes the aperture blankly.

3 – Now we see the scene from a different perspective – from a high-angle behind Arlo looking down over the end of ridge. Beyond the edge there is nothing but the black void of an abyss. Once again, Arlo appears tiny and helpless in this environment.

4 – For the final panel of this triptych row we’re facing Arlo and we’re looking at his upper torso. He’s wearing a perplexed expression on his face and his right arm is raised, his hand clutching his head as he thinks hard on his predicament. A visible question mark (?) floats above him. (Visualised punctuation mark thoughts are a recurring thing in this strip.)

5 – We’ve pulled back slightly from the previous panel and Arlo is now looking directly us. He’s shrugging, has an uncertain expression on his face and his arms are thrown out wide in an “I don’t know!” pose. He’s talking to us, the readers, and breaking the fourth wall because I’ve decided we can break the fourth wall in this comic…

ARLO                                                 ERM… MAYBE I COULD JUMP?

 

6 – We’re now positioned behind Arlo, and he’s swivelling around in a flurry of speed having heard another voice. He’s very surprised – eyes wide and shock sketched onto his fizog – because he thought he was the only living creature in the cavern. What’s more, he’s been wandering for days without seeing another soul. A floating question mark and exclamation mark combo (?!) floating above his head attests to this. Arlo is looking over to the left of the page and that’s where the dialogue appears, delivered by a figure who is off-panel. That figure, we will find on the next page, is the Ghost of Errol Gort…

GORT [OFF-PANEL]                        NO! DON’T DO IT!

PAGE TWO

3 rows, same as the previous page though the panel layout has been flipped upside down. The Top Row is two panels; Middle Row is a three panel triptych; and the Bottom Row is a single wide-panel to close the comic.

1 – The Ghost of Errol Gort now faces Arlo, Gort stood face forwards on the left of the panel and Arlo – his back to the reader – on the right. Gort is waving his arms theatrically and has panic etched all over his face. He is a hysterical melodramatic type and that’s understandable considering the circumstances. Gort is, sadly, a dead man who fell to his untimely end several decades ago. He now exists as a pale shade – his body insubstantial and with an evident ghostly appearance – and this encounter is the first contact he’s had with any ‘intelligent’ being in years. In desperation, he has now taken it upon himself to save Arlo’s life and prevent him making from a similar mistake to that which he made all that time ago…

GORT                                                 LOOK UPON ME, BOY! LOOK AT ONE WHO JUMPED! SEE! IT’S FUTILE!

2 – Pulling back for a distant perspective, we now see the pair facing each other in profile. They are both small, perched on the edge of the ridge that hangs over the great chasm. Arlo answers the new arrival…

ARLO                                                 WELL… ERM… BUT WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

I MEAN, THERE’S NO POINT JUST STAYING HERE…

3 – Closer in on Gort’s ghostly upper torso, echoing panel 4 from the previous page. He wears an expression of deep thoughtfulness, his eyebrow raised as he comprehends what Arlo has just said. A question mark (?) floats above his head.

4 – Same as the previous panel, though Gort’s face has relaxed and he has raised his left hand, finger pointing upward. He is looking directly at us, breaking the fourth wall. Prompted by Arlo, our ghost has now realised that, yes, there is no point in just staying here and this is an epiphany moment for him…

GORT                                                 YOU KNOW WHAT? THE KID’S RIGHT…

5 – Same as the previous two panels though – pop! – Gort has disappeared leaving behind only shocking lines to suggest sudden plosive vanishing. (Feel free to insert a sound-effect like ‘POP!’ if you feel it needs it.) Gort is free to disappear just like that because he’s an immaterial spirit not tied to the physical laws that constrain us corporeal folk…

6 – The final panel is the same as the very first one, though here the small figure of Arlo is now facing the reader. He stands alone again on the ridge, the light from the aperture beaming down on him, his means of exit unreachable. As best as we can see from this distance he is bemused, wide-eyed and shaken by this strange encounter. Once again, a question mark and exclamation mark tag-team (?!) above his confused head…

Rough layout for 'Jumping Off Point'...

Rough layout for ‘Jumping Off Point’…

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