Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015 - Here There Be Dragons - MK Stangeland Jr.


(As with other scripts this week, this page is taken from my entry to last years talent hunt, written around the EMBER STONE.)

Panel 1: Fire flows from DRAGON JANUS’ mouth as he tries to shoot BALDRIC with it. BALDRIC rolls forwards past DRAGON JANUS’ fire blast.

Panel 2: BALDRIC swings his sword at DRAGON JANUS. DRAGON JANUS retreats back into the air far enough for the sword to miss him.

BALDRIC: Die, beast!

Panel 3: BALDRIC falls back and deflects a glancing burst of flame from DRAGON JANUS’ mouth.


Panel 4: DRAGON JANUS swings his tail to slam BALDRIC against a rock surface. BALDRIC holds his shield between himself and the tail for protection, but it doesn’t provide him with much.

SFX: (From tail impact.) wack!

SFX: (From BALDRIC hitting the rock surface) wam!


Panel 5: DRAGON JANUS’ tail has pulled away from BALRDIC. DRAGON JANUS swipes his claws at BALDRIC.

BALDRIC drops his sword and uses his shield to protect himself from the claws, but he is clearly off-balance.

Panel 6: DRAGON JANUS uses his wings to create a burst of wind that knocks BALDRIC off the pathway.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015 - Perfect - Ben Rosenthal

This is a page from my script from last year's Talent Hunt.  Previous to this page a young boy had awoken with a freshly stitched up stomach.  He finds himself in a terrorist camp, with the 13th Artifact let loose in order to slaughter all within the camp.


1.  A wider panel.  The Insurgent is impaled through the neck by a black tendril which appears to be made of a mist.  The tendril is coming from the figure which has stepped from the cloud of sand it made when it crashed from the plane – it is the teenage Boy from the first page.  Black mist pours from his mouth, forming tendrils.  There are eight tendrils, flailing about like the tentacles on a squid underwater.  Some are propping him up from the ground so his feet are not touching it.  His eyes glow purple.

2.  A close up of the Boy’s face.  It is almost a skull with tight, dry skin pulled across it.  The Thirteenth Artifact is in full control.  It smiles in its skull-like way.

3.  A close up of the mouth of the Boy/13th Artifact which he has now become.  It wears a sinister skullesque smile.


I liked the ides of this script that I have since gone back and written a short using the basic premise.  It's been a long couple of months but it is almost complete.  I have a few artists in mind, and hopefully will have it up and printed early next year.

Why Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015?

It's that time of year again.  The third Top Cow Talent Hunt is on NOW and runs through until March 2015.  Last year's Top Cow Talent Hunt had 1,500 entries, and is a fantastic opportunity for creators to get seen.

Below is what Matt Hawkins of Top Cow had to say about the Talent Hunt to CBR:

"Getting published in comics has never been simultaneously easier and harder than it is now," Matt Hawkins told CBR. "The barrier to entry is lower than it ever has been for self-publishing with digital, crowd funding and print-on-demand technologies, but this is a hard road to make a living at."

Being aspiring writers here at Thought Balloons we could not pass up the opportunity to focus on the Talent Hunt once again.  Our goal for this week is to give a tease - will it be a single page of script from a previous year hunt?  Or will it be focusing on a character from this year's hunt.  Due to the rules we will NOT be posting anything from this years competition.  

The list of characters that can be used are;

The Darkness
The Angelus
Heart Stone
Wheel of Shadows
Coin of Solomon
Ember Stone
Pandora's Box
The Glacier Stone
Spear of Destiny
The Thirteenth Artifact
The Rapture
The Blood Sword
Aphrodite XI
Cyber Force

Script should be twenty-two pages long, no synopsis to be submitted.

There are sample scripts included for artists, but obviously I can't re-post those here. However, if you're a writer and are having trouble downloading, that should be enough to go on for the moment. The pdf is pretty similar to the previous versions of the Talent Hunt. If anything, there are more characters and less restrictions.

Want to know more about the Talent Hunt?  Click the link below for rules, guidelines and submission details.
And enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Frog-Man - The Madding Crowd, Part 9 - R.A. Wonsowski

Layout: best way to think about this is as a page out of one of those newspaper comics anthologies, three 4-panel strips one on top of the other, like so:

Panel 1- Night. Foreground, the CREEPER (with Jack Ryder's mind still inside) is on a rooftop, elbows rested on the ledge, and peering through binoculars in our direction. Background, a frog-like shape bounds from one building back toward the building the CREEPER's on.


Panel 2- Same as Panel 1, but FROG-MAN has landed on our building.


Panel 3- FROG-MAN has walked up and is standing next to CREEPER, who is still staring intently through his binocs. They're both looking towards us.


Panel 4- Same as Panel 3, except CREEPER has lowered his binocs and turned to address FROG-MAN.

FROG-MAN: Whatcha doing?
CREEPER: Well, I...

Panel 5- same as Panel 4.


Panel 6- same as above, but CREEPER looks at us in a very Ferris Bueller-like deadpan fashion.


Panel 7- Same as panel 4.

CREEPER: I'm trying to find a way into those labs.
FROG-MAN: What's in there?

Panel 8- CREEPER has put the binoculars back up and is looking back in our direction. FROG-MAN has crossed his arms.

CREEPER: My other half. The crazy half.
FROG-MAN: You mean you with the candy-apple red back hair is normal?
CREEPER: Says the GEICO gecko's thyroidally challenged cousin.

Panel 9- FROG-MAN gestures nonchalantly as if he was going to make a casual point. CREEPER yells at him, a little scared but more insulted, as he points towards us.

FROG-MAN: Y'know, fifteen minutes could save you--
CREEPER: And second of all, shush! There's people in there looking for me.
FROG-MAN: Really?

Panel 10- FROG-MAN cups his chin thoughtfully as he cogitates. CREEPER continues to yell at him angrily.

FROG-MAN: And you're trying to find a way in?
FROG-MAN: Besides, say, their front door?

Panel 11- FROG-MAN crosses his arms again, regarding CREEPER thoughtfully. CREEPER is caught short mid-rant, a look of "waitaminnit" on his face as he is confused by his own comic book logic.


Panel 12- CREEPER walks away off-panel, fuming, tossing his binoculars over the side of the building. FROG-MAN gestures apologetically with open arms, shoulders shrugged.

FROG-MAN: Just saying...
CREEPER: Isn't there a Cajun chef with a deep fryer looking for you? be continued...(promise, fight scenes coming soon)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Frog-Man – Backup – Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: The villainous ANI-MEN stand in front of a bank that they have just robbed. Smoke pours from the broken windows, and the street around them displays the destruction they have wrought. From left to right they stand – BIRD-MAN, CAT-MAN, FROG-MAN, and APE-MAN. They are facing directly towards us, reacting to something off-panel.  

BIRD-MAN: AGAIN with this loser? This is the third time this week!

CAT-MAN: He must like the feeling of his face hitting the street.

FROG-MAN: I’m going to rip that mask right off his head and cram it down his throat.

APE-MAN: Whoa! Hold on a minute, fellas! He’s got backup!

Panel 2: A perfect mirror of the previous panel, and now we can see what the villains were reacting to. Lined up to face them, and in the same poses as their criminal counterparts, are NIGHTHAWK, HELLCAT, THE FABULOUS FROG-MAN, and GORILLA MAN.

NIGHTHAWK: Let’s get ‘em, Defenders!

HELLCAT: No. No no no. I am NOT joining the Defenders again.

FABULOUS FROG-MAN: Your time of comeuppance is at hand, evildoers! I have assembled the perfect team to counter your villainy!


FABULOUS FROG-MAN: (Ehr. And Ani-Lady.)

GORILLA MAN: Kid, how did you even get my number?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frog-Man – The Dark Frog Strikes – MK Stangeland Jr.

(5 Panels)

(Note: All panels except PANEL 5 should be done in Black and White in a style that mirrors what’s associated with FRANK MILLER.)

Panel 1: The swamp – FROG-MAN’s eyes can be seen poking out of the water and looking at the reader, hidden amongst the plentiful plant life around him.

TEXT BOX: The Frog – the underestimate hunter of the animal kingdom.

Panel 2: View to show what FROG-MAN is looking at – it’s a couple of generic criminal thugs with automatic rifles.

TEXT BOX: Possessing tongues with unnatural reach.

Panel 3: Close up on one of the criminals as a large frog’s tongue wraps around his neck – the gruesome nature of him suddenly being choked should be played up for a parody effect.

TEXT BOX: And uncanny aim.

Panel 4: The crook with the tongue around his throat is yanked backwards as he’s being pulled through the air towards the water. The other thug is looking on in horrified surprise at what’s happening.

SFX: crack!

TEXT BOX: And once caught, death is inevitable.

Panel 5: EUGENE PATILIO (FROG-MAN), but with the head part of his costume off – is sitting and reading a comic that looks like a grimdark style FROG-MAN comic. He looks aghast at what he’s reading.

Standing over his shoulder is DEMOLITION MAN (DENNIS DUNPHY).

DEMOLITION MAN (1): Hey, they gave you your own comic?

DEMOLITION MAN (2): Can I see it?

FROG-MAN: I really don’t think you want to.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Frog-Man - Fitting in - Ben Rosenthal

1.  From behind Ollie Osnick as he sits in the vastness of the Negative zone, staring out into space.  His arm is missing, so this is modern day Ollie after the fight with Venom and the fall of Prison 42.

VOICE (off panel)
Do you ever think you will get home?

2.  From front on.  A pair of legs either side of him.

VOICE (from the pair of legs on Ollie's left)
You have family that wonders if you are alive or dead.
Friends as well.

I ran away years ago. They would have found me by now if they cared.
I would have returned if I did.

3.  A the two men who were standing next to Ollie are now sitting next to him.  To the left (the one who was speaking off panel) is Frog-Man with Toad on his right.  They are dressed as when they were all members of The Initiative.

This is the arm thing, isn't it?
I think you're just afraid of how people will look at you.  That you won't fit in.

4.  A close up on Frog-Man.

FROG-MANOne arm or five--

5.  A wide panel, front on showing Ollie sitting by himself.  He is thinking - a small spark of positivity as lit.

--you always were a Misfit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Frog-Man - Hopalong - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Frog-Man skitters across the ground, bouncing a couple times as he slams into a wall.  His costume is burned, charred, and generally messed up to show how much he's gone through already.

VILLAIN (off-panel): Stay down.


2 - Shot from Frog-Man's prone form looking up towards the oncoming villain: Electro!

ELECTRO: I've already taken out Spider-Man and Daredevil.  What chance could you possibly hope to have?

3 - Focus on Frog-Man as he tries to get up.  He's down on his face and trying to push himself up with his arms.  Again, he and his costume are in a bad way.

FROG-MAN (1): You're right.

FROG-MAN (2): I'm not half the hero they are.

4 - Frog-Man has made it up to his knees.  Even the effort to do that looks like it's taken a lot out of him.

FROG-MAN: But I am the Fabulous Frog-Man.

5 - Frog-Man is up to a pseudo-crouching position.  Electro is approaching, striding confidently towards the downed hero - perhaps charging up some electricity to attack with.

FROG-MAN: And as long as I live and breath.

5 - Frog-Man turns his position into an attack, leaping towards Electro in an attempt to use his own body as a battering ram.  While somewhat surprised, Electro looks ready to meet him.

CAPTION (FROG-MAN): I'll keep trying.

Why Frog-Man?

When it comes to what I think of as some of the best comic book characters, the heroes and villains that I'm routinely most excited about reading, I rarely turn to the best and brightest.  No, I am far more drawn to the mediocre and the middling.  They aren't the greatest, strongest, smartest, or any of those -est words you'll think of, but they are perhaps some of the most dedicated.

Their time will never truly arrive.  They'll never make it to the top of the totem pole.  They're doomed to spend the rest of their existence playing second fiddle (if they're lucky) to those around them.  Some of them know this in the core of their beings.  Others have no idea and never will.  But in each and every case, they go out there and give it their all anyways.

I first came across Eugene Patillo, the Fabulous Frog-Man, in the Spider Island: Avengers one-shot and loved the ridiculous and hilarious portrayal that Christopher Yost gave the character.  He was hapless, kind of pathetic, and strangely charming.  Despite being a perennial loser, he had an upbeat outlook on life, believing that everything would work itself out in the end.

Beyond the great amount of humour associated with him, Frog-Man is a prime example of the phenomenon I describe above.  The son of failed, small-time villain Leap-Frog, Eugene decided to "borrow" his father's suit to make up for all the misdeeds of his parent by becoming a superhero.  He has one of the most ridiculous names, the gaudiest costumes, and the least respect of any hero you can think of (that is, if anyone bothers thinking about him at all), but none of that matters, because Eugene's going to go out and be the best hero he can be.

Day in and day out, he will be there, doing his best.  His name isn't going to make the papers.  He isn't going to be trending on social media.  But that isn't why he does it.

He does it because that's who he is.

Frog-Man's never gotten a moment in the limelight.  To be perfectly honest, he probably never will.  All of his stories involve him achieving victory through dumb luck at best or thoroughly embarrassing himself at worst.  And yet, he never gives up.  He always puts that suit back on.  He always goes out to do his part to make the world a better place.  It may not be the biggest contribution, but it's his.

And no one can ever take that away from him.

Frog-Man is a joke to many, but his commitment to his hopes and dreams are laudable as hell.  He's never going to give up and never going to say die.  If that's not something we should all be trying to live up to, I don't know what is.

Plus, there was that one time where he defeated Flag-Smasher by throwing up on him.  That was hilarious.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Norman Osborn – Final Interview– Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: NORMAN OSBORN sits behind a magnificent desk in his lavish office. Our POV for the entire page is that of the young man sitting across from him. Norman is perusing a piece of paper – the young man’s C.V.

NORMAN: Undergrad at Wharton. MBA from Harvard. Letters of recommendation from several of your professors. Internships with Houlihan Lokey and PwC.

NORMAN: Very impressive, Peter.

Panel 2: Norman continues to read the resume.

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Thank you so much, sir. It’s always been my dream to work for Osborn. I think I can bring a lot to the company.

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Oh, and you can call me Pete. That’s what I go by.

Panel 3: Norman has looked up from his reading and is staring at the young man. There is a faint touch of a smile now on his lips. The resume is starting to crumble in his hand, which is clenching.

NORMAN: Pete. Pete. Pete.

NORMAN: Petey. Pete. Peter.

NORMAN: Heh.   

Panel 4:  Norman puts the resume on his desk and reaches into a desk drawer with his other hand. His face has resumed its mask of normalcy and sanity.

NORMAN: I agree, Pete. I think there IS a great deal you can offer us.   

NORMAN: There’s just one more thing I need you to do for me.

Panel 5:  Norman reaches across the desk, offering the young man a cardboard box.

NORMAN: Could I trouble you to try this on for me?

PETE (OFF-PANEL): Uhm… Of course sir. May I ask why?

Panel 6:  From our POV as the young man, we look into the box, which contains a cheap Spider-Man Halloween costume.  
NORMAN (OFF-PANEL): So I can murder you and then throw someone you love off a bridge. Standard practice, really.