Friday, May 29, 2015

Elektra - Mirror - R.A. Wonsowski


Setting: morning, a public park outside of Hong Kong, beginning of spring, apple blossoms in the trees.

Panels 1 thru 4 are similar, ELEKTRA (left) and an OLD WOMAN are in varied positions in a tai chi routine, perfectly synchronized in every stance. ELEKTRA is in her signature red head scarf, but in a loose tank top, running pants, and sneakers. The OLD WOMAN is in a loose-fitting matronly house dress. Each position should be fluid and graceful.

CAPTION, PANEL 1: The stranger has shadowed me for nearly three months. She asks questions as one would poke a sleeping husband.
CAPTION, PANEL 2: Over tea one morning, I ask if she considers herself a spiritual woman. She answers that she is Greek Catholic.
CAPTION, PANEL 3: I tell her that her answer is as meaningless as if she had told me she was a zookeeper.
CAPTION, PANEL 4: The religious are those who fear Hell.

Panel 5: ELEKTRA and the OLD WOMAN bow to each other.

CAPTION: The spiritual have already walked through it.

Panel 6: The OLD WOMAN (background) watches ELEKTRA (foreground) walk away, sadly proud.

CAPTION: When I see her again, in this life or the next, her spirit will have been well forged in fire.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elektra - Blind Man's Bluff - J.D. Coughlan

Elektra and Daredevil have a tense showdown in a textiles factory, which breaks into a fight.

Panel 1: From behind Daredevil's back as he dodges out the way of Elektra's thrown sai, a smug grin on his face.

ELEKTRA (CAP): He's fast.

Panel 2: Elektra's sai hits a large button on the wall.

ELEKTRA (CAP): But I wasn't aiming for him.


Panel 3: Daredevil frowning as the factory machinery loudly comes to life around him.



Panel 4: Elektra dives away from Daredevil as he lunges for her in desperation. With her other sai, she stabs at a large plastic bucket marked " HOT GLUE"

ELEKTRA (CAP): When outmatched in a fight, always use your opponent's advantages against them.

Panel 5: In the background, the hot glue pours out onto the floor, maybe with stink lines emanating from it. In the foreground, Daredevil turns back towards Elektra (OP), his nose and face wrinkled in disgust.

SFX: sniff

DAREDEVIL: (small) Ugh...

Panel 6: Daredevil, not looking as graceful as usual, throws one of his escrima sticks at Elektra, who backflips away.

ELEKTRA (CAP): When you remove even a sliver of their superiority...

Panel 7: Elektra stands behind a propped up sheet of glass, preparing her sai for a throw. On the other side of the glass, Daredevil stands in a cautious pose, searching for her. He is looking right at her.

ELEKTRA (CAP): ...they will sacrifice the rest in their panic. Then, all that remains...

Panel 8: Daredevil's POV. In his radar-sense, the panel of glass appears as a solid wall that he cannot "see" through.

ELEKTRA (CAP): to push them over.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Elektra – Cruel, Sad Irony – MK Stangeland Jr.

(She probably doesn’t have nearly the reputation for dying and coming back as this page runs with, but given that dying and coming back is one of the things she’s primarily known for and it was stated to be one of the reasons she was used as a test subject for replacement by Skrulls during secret invasion, I figure it’s not too out of place to stretch the idea for the sake of the following script.)

(8 Panels)

Panel 1: ELEKTRA wakes up in some version of the underworld.

Panel 2: ELEKTRA stands up and sees DEATH standing nearby.

Panel 3: DEATH approaches ELEKTRA.

Panel 4: ELEKTRA holds up a hand in a ‘wait a minute’ motion.

Panel 5: ELEKTRA flashes a ‘FREQUENT DYERS CARD’, which should include some kind of text about getting resurrected 12 times and the 13th being free.

Panel 6: DEATH waves her hand and ELEKTRA begins to vanish.

Panel 7: ELEKTRA is back on EARTH, alive again, but it looks like the end of the world. ELEKTRA is confused.

Panel 8: Large panel as ELEKTRA looks up to see the state of pre-SECRET WARS EARTH with an incursion about to destroy the world. ELEKTRA shakes her hands in fists above her and is shouting something – probably profane – but the destructive force of the incursion is cutting off whatever it is she’s saying.


(And I’m not going to hedge a bet that I’m getting any other similarly appropriate characters to play this idea with in nearly as timely and appropriate manner.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Elektra - Lost Time - Grant McLaughlin

Sorry I'm a little late - had my wisdom teeth out this week, which put me on my ass for a bit.  But enough about me...

At the end of the previous page, Elektra, who was wearing regular civie clothes of some variety, encountered someone she recognized in a public park in the middle of the day.  The reader did not see how it was, only seeing Elektra wave and say "It's been a long--"

1 - Black panel stretching across the page.  Two captions boxes that should be placed in a slightly awkward manner to slow down the reader a bit.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): --Time.


2 - Top down shot of Elektra lying in a dumpster in a darkened alley at night.  She looks to have just landed - quite awkwardly - bloodied and bruised.  Maybe her eyes are still closed - either way, it's clear she's in a lot of pain.  Of course, she is now in her signature costume - although it's in about as bad a way as she is.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): And spits me out a moment later.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (2): But it's not a moment.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (3): It's hours.

3 - Closer in, Elektra grimaces as she examines her side to realize that no small amount of the blood is her own.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (1): And I'm covered in blood.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA) (2): Too much of it my own.

4 - Elektra slowly climbs out of the dumpster - this is no easy task considering the wringer she has been through.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA): I have no idea what's happened.

5 - Looking at Elektra from behind as she stumbles out of the alley into the night.  Perhaps she is leaning against the wall for a bit of support.  She's in a bad way.

CAPTION (ELEKTRA): But there will be hell to pay when I find out.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Elektra - One Last Hunt - Ryan K. Lindsay

5 Panels

Thin red bar panel across the top of the page, with two floating talking balloons in them. The balloons should have kinda straight edges, be rough, like what Wooton is doing in DEADLY CLASS.

Rand: I think I’m dying.
Elektra: No better time to live.

Elektra kisses Rand, it’s hot, bodies pressed. They are inside an office in Rand Corp’s tower, there’s a wall behind Rand, and littered in the room around them are dead Hand bodies/uniforms.
Rand is bleeding from his side, near the kidney, and the blood presses against Elektra’s side. There’s no doubt Elektra is the dominant person in this kiss, she holds his face/head in one hand, the other holding him to her from around the high waist.
Most importantly, their chests are pressed together, because this means she’s blocking the tattoo, or drawing from it.


He pauses, looking at her, his face and eyes clearly say ‘wow.’

Rand: That...tingled.

She pulls a sai out from her waistband. Rand is now leaning back against the wall that was behind him. He’s confused, and touching his slightly glowing chest tattoo, looking down, as he talks.

Rand: What just happened?
Elektra: You are dying.
Elektra: Goodbye, Danny Rand.

She launches out the window in a long profile shot with two glowing sais leaving a yellow trail against the dark sky. She has some of the Iron Fist power in her right now.

Elektra: If I fail, I’ll see you soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why Elektra? - Ryan K. Lindsay

Because she’s a character I would love to write one day. She’s mean, and broken, and quiet, and so goddamn deep. There are so many ways to still take Elektra and I’d love to have a run at it.

Plus, she’s got a killer visual that despite being one of those costumes that isn’t enough, it still looks amazing. Maybe because she carries it so well. Or probably no one would ever mess with Elektra, or even waste her time discussing fashion choices.

If you’ve ever read Elektra’s first appearance, you’ll see she was kinda a damsel at heart. Frank Miller writes an insane romance comic, with romancey internal thoughtballoons, and she’s not exactly the strongest or most independent character. She’s very much Matt Murdock’s first love. And yet now, when I think about Elektra, which happens often, I find I don’t think of Elektra like that at all anymore. She’s had amazing growth since her inception.

Through to the conclusion of Miller’s Elektra Saga, our lady in red just went from strength to strength. Icing that informant in the cinema from behind Ben Urich is still one of my favourite scenes of all time. After that we had ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN and ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN and suddenly independent mythos was born. She is no one’s girl, she’s this insane killer bad ass who can carry her own, and her own book. Or story. At least for a little while.

She was supposed to be put away once Miller let her be, an agreement with Jim Shooter that lasted right up until it didn’t. Resurrected, she’s been used ever since and to varying degrees. For me, it all started to really pull up out of a nose dive when Zeb Wells wrote her Dark Reign mini. That story, terse, violent, perfect, really helped solidify who Elektra was now. Quiet, deadly, brutal: a force of nature. That mini is maybe the best Dark Reign thing to exist.

Recently, we just wrapped an 11 issue run of ELEKTRA by Mike del Mundo and W. Haden Blackman and it’s one of the best comics of the past few years. It started strong but really charted upwards right until the end. A shame it came to an end but I’d rather 11 tight issues than a bloated 24 which peter out. Get in, get out, seems to be the Elektra way.

So because when she’s done well she’s usually done perfectly, and because we can all always practise writing our fantastic female leads, here she is, my favourite lady, Elektra Natchios.

- Ryan K. Lindsay

Year Five - You Can't Kill Words

Thought Balloons is 5 years old.

You know this, seeing as we just went through an entire week celebrating the fact, but it is an accomplishment that is worth emphasizing.  That said, just like in writing, there's no time for resting on laurels.  You have to keep pushing forward, and we will.  Which is why, as has been alluded, there are some changes coming Thought Balloons' way this year.

The first notable change has to do with our weekly picks.  For five years the main restriction for our picks was that it had to be a character who has appeared in a comic at some point in time.  As limitations go, it's pretty broad, and lord knows we've stretched it here and there, but we've stuck to it.  And in that time, we've gotten pretty darn good at playing in other people's sandboxes.

Obviously, next logical step is to blow up the system completely.  Okay, maybe that isn't necessarily the logical next step, but it never hurts to shake things up.  Think of them less as picks and more as Inspirations.  The Inspiration for the week could be as specific as a particular line of dialogue or as general as an entire comic book run.  More than that, it doesn't have to be limited to comics.  The Inspiration could be a movie, a song, an album, a work of art, an idiom, or anything and everything in between.  Interpretations of this will understandably differ, but as long as it Inspires interesting scripts, it's fair game.

That being said, we aren't completely turning our back on the past.  Comic book characters will still be fair game for the weekly Inspiration and we'll still take time for things like movie-tie in weeks, but there will be more options for us to work from.  Think of it as enlarging our toolbox and not going out to get a new one.

Speaking of the past, another proud tradition we have at Thought Balloons is encouraging people to play-at-home and throw up their own scripts in each week's Why? post - heck, it's how most our members got their start here in the first place.  That policy is obviously sticking around, but going forward we're hoping to bolster it with a more proactive approach.

Which brings us to our second major change for the year.  We're reaching out to others to come and write with us for short stints as guest members.  A sort of Writer-in-Residence to our tenured membership, if you will.  They'll come in to write with us, making posts and picking Inspirations along with the rest of the team.  We're on the lookout for all types, including those who have been in the game for a while, folk who may just be starting up the grind, and even people who aren't in it - yet.  We have a blast working on these scripts week in and week out and are super excited to share that with as many and as diverse a group as we can.

I'm happy to report that we've already locked in an ace writer for our first week of the new initiative.  You may have heard of him before.  He's charming, clever, and has one of the strongest hustle games you'll ever see (not to mention beards).  He's got his fingers in all kinds of comics book pies, including a mini from Dark Horse starting this summer, a now complete MonkeyBrain digital comic that has been released in physical form by IDW, and likely plenty more that he's yet unable to share with us.  Among his many other accomplishments is founding Thought Balloons, a site that you may have heard of.  That's right, our very own Ryan K. Lindsay is back for another kick at the can for this week only!  And what will he be picking?  Well, that would be telling...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Doctor Doom - Other People's Toys - Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1.  DOOM stands on a deserted flight deck of a space station. Holographic displays show star systems and technical specifications. Doom stands with his hands behind his back, peering at the technology around him. 

DOOM: A moon-sized satellite equipped with a superlaser,  A weapon designed to kill planets. 

DOOM: Crude. A blunt-force solution to a problem of precision. 

Panel 2.  Closer on Doom. We can see over his shoulder to an empty walkway. 

DOOM: Still, it  is a tool. One that can perhaps stem the tide of Incursion. 

DOOM: Doom shall have it.

Panel 3.  Doom shifts slightly, and in the space over his shoulder we can see a dark form is standing on the walkway.

DOOM: Doom suggests you step aside.  

Panel 4. We pull into the figure, to reveal DARTH VADER. Vader ignites his lightsaber. 

DARTH VADER: Step aside? 

DARTH VADER: You underestimate the power of the Dark Side... 


Why Thought Balloons? - Travis M. Holyfield

It feels somehow inappropriate for me to be the one closing off this week. I'm still  the new guy. Everybody else has already said it, and said it better, and said it with more heart. Asking me, "Why Thought Balloons?" is probably asking the wrong person. But I'll give it the goold old college try.

Why Thought Balloons? Because comics are fun.

That's how I approach them. When I read them. When I make them. When I talk about them (and I talk about them a LOT). Comics can make you feel happiness, and sadness and anger and joy and pain and fear and they can challenge you and they can lift your spirits and they can set your imagination right off. And they're fun.

I've had nothing but fun with Thought Balloons. It makes me write SOMETHING even when I don't feel like it. And it gives me a chance to play with Other People's Toys. I get to write a page with Ms.  Marvel without feeling like I'm writing fanfiction. (Not that there's anything wrong with fanfiction.) It lets me think about characters I normally don't think about because nobody's paying me to think about them, and it challenges me to do something with them the way I do things. (I wrote a page on Squirrel Girl, for crying out loud.) And I have fun.

I never rewrite for Thought Balloons (That probably shows). What you see from me is always first draft, right out of the barrel. I don't overthink it, and I just try to have fun. And so far, so good.

Comics are fun. Thought Balloons is fun. There you go.


P.S. If you enjoy comics, aqnd you enjoy fun, consider checking out my comic DOBER-MAN on Comixology. It's only 99 cents!

Deadpool - Serious - Arby Moay

Panel 1
We look at the back of a man, standing, whose head had just been sliced clean off with a sword. In the space between where the neck and head split, we see Deadpool's eyes. He is pissed.

CAPTION (Yellow): Life, sometimes, is terrible...

Panel 2
Deadpool stalks towards a dude leaning on the closed doors of a car. The dude is pointing a pistol at Deadpool and shooting. Deadpool just shrugs off the bullets entering his body.

CAPTION (Yellow): Even I'm sane enough to realize that sometimes.

SFX (gunshot): BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

CAPTION (Yellow): And sometimes, the monsters of this world don't need super powers. 

Panel 3
Deadpool sticks his sword through the dude's head.

CAPTION (Yellow): Sometimes, the most ordinary human can do the shittiest thing...

Panel 4
Deadpool opens the car door at the back seat and takes out a baby whose eyes glow red, and have glowing patterns in his arms. A half-eaten chimichanga rests in the dashboard of the car that Deadpool hasn't yet noticed.

CAPTION (Yellow): the most innocent.

CAPTION (Yellow): It's times like these where I just --

Panel 5
Deadpool notices the chimichanga and perks up, baby is in his left arm, while his right arm reaches for the food.


CAPTION (Yellow): Wait. What was I thinking about?

CAPTION (White): I don't know, but you sounded so serious about a panel ago.