Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shade The Changing Man – Buried on Sunday – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: SOLOMON GRUNDY is walking through a swamp.

Panel 2: SOLOMON GRUNDY continues to walk, but his body is showing signs of transformation – his face looks twisted and blurred and his limbs are slenderizing.

Panel 3: SOLOMON GRUNDY – has come to a stop and is looking at himself, but he’s not exactly SOLOMON GRUNDY anymore. He’s now more of a ‘SHADE GRUNDY’.

His face resembles that of SHADE, and while he’s less bulky than GRUNDY normally is, he’s still got SOLOMON GRUNDY’s basic posture.

Since the dialogue from both comes out of the same ‘person’, there should be some kind of indicator as to who is actually saying the lines. Possibly a difference in their speech balloons or a little face of whoever’s speaking next to what they’re saying.

GRUNDY: Grundy feel weird. Not like self.

SHADE: Did I just say that?

Panel 4: SHADE GRUNDY is paralyzed in position as SHADE tries to keep moving forwards while GRUNDY simply wants to stand there in confusion.

GRUNDY: Grundy is very confused right now.

SHADE: Oh $#*^, I did say that.

Panel 6: SHADE GRUNDY starts to move forwards as SHADE conjures up enough willpower to at least start them moving forwards.


SHADE: This has to be the worst…

Panel 7: SHADE GRUNDY falls over face forwards into the swamp as SHADE fails to keep moving fast enough to actually catch his footing before the body simply topples over from lack of balance.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Shade, the Changing Man - Ever After - Grant McLaughlin

This page is somewhat reliant on you knowing how Peter Milligan's run ended, in that its main visual is what that series ended on - Shade, Kathy George, and the door and stoop outside Kathy George's house.  Let's go with a classic 9 panel grid.

While the entire page takes place in the same location, the important thing to note is that there is a leap in time between each panel.  It should perhaps be subtle at first, but Kathy and Shade should be older in every panel - hair thinning, wrinkles emerging, postures stooping, and all that jazz.

1 - We're outside Kathy's door.  It's nighttime.  It's the same 3/4 angle from issue #70.  Heck, it can even be the same night.  Shade runs out from the door, covering his head as Kathy throws her diary out the door after him.

CAPTION (SHADE): Of course, nothing ever works out quite the way you plan it.

2 - On that same stoop, Shade and Kathy hold each other close, the diary in Shade's hands (as if he's picked it up).

CAPTION (SHADE): But we'd always pick up the pieces

3 - Kathy pushing Shade away, the diary falling from his grasp.

CAPTION (SHADE): Only for them to fall apart all over again

4 - Kathy stands in the doorway, looking down at Shade, who is sitting on his rump as if he's just landed.  Kathy's expression has softened and she puts out a hand to help Shade up.

CAPTION (SHADE): We kept going around in circles.

5 - Rotate the view slightly to look more directly at the doorway.  Shade knocks Kathy's hand away, and they being yelling at each other - you could even have those little sound lines to indicate the volume.

CAPTION (SHADE): It was maddening.

6 - Focus on Shade sitting alone on the stoop the diary beside him.  He is crying.  The panel should be angled so as to not be able to see the top of the closed doorway.

CAPTION (SHADE): I thought I could find the answer to fix everything, blind to the actual problem.

7 - Kathy has come back outside.  She stands behind Shade, her hand on his shoulder.  Shade has managed to stop his tears, although Kathy's expression is not visible as it is off-panel.

CAPTION (SHADE): I shouldn't be surprised that Kathy helped me see.

8 - Shade looks over his shoulder up towards Kathy, a hopeful look on his face.  We've changed angles again to have Shade facing the reader and to have Kathy with her back to them, her expression unseen.

CAPTION (SHADE): I'd done so much to find a place where I was content.

9 - Shade and Kathy sit together on the stoop.  Kathy places her head on Shade's shoulder as they hold hands, smiling.  Please remember that they have been aging the entire page and are now a pair of veritable geriatrics for this final panel.

CAPTION (SHADE): When I should have been looking for one where we both were.

Shade the Changing Man - Who I use to be - Ben Rosenthal

1.  A busy suburban street at night.  Shadows of street lamps line the walls as people hurry about.

I've got no body.

Both figuratively and physically.

2.  Kathy is walking along a path, head down.  She doesn't want to be noticed and just wants to get to her destination.

I gave up everything for her.  Everything.

3.  Side on view of Kathy walking past one of the street lamps, it's shadow up against the wall.

And now all I can do is watch from afar.

4.  The same as Panel 3, but Kathy is almost out of the panel.  However, a shadow is stepping out of the street lamp shadow, yes there is no one there.  This is Shade - he has no body an lives just in the shadows of this world.

A shadow of the man I use to be.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shade, the Changing Man - The Madding Crowd, Part 5 - R.A. Wonsowski


Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

PAGE 10:
We are back in the monitor-lit lab beneath MetaPharma. Some of it, however, has been trashed after a fight between DR. SKOLOS and SHADE...

Panel 1- A furious SHADE has DR. SKOLOS pinned to the wall by the throat with his madness-distorted hand. A nearby video screen is cracked, but still displaying fluorescent Aramaic script. A second closed-circuit TV shows JACK RYDER cartwheeling off of padded cell walls in the fashion of the Creeper. SKOLOS flashes his rictus grin at the raging SHADE.

SHADE: Dammit, Skolos, I'm not asking again! Where's Kathy?!

SKOLOS: Rrghn...she's in the... Area...of Madness...

Panel 2- SHADE's madness-fist fades, dropping SKOLOS to the floor. SKOLOS rubs his neck where he was strangled, his grin a little bit wider. SHADE is confused, sadly bewildered.

SHADE: What?

SKOLOS: Heh. You idiot. All that time, connected to it by the Vest. And you never knew...

Panel 3- SKOLOS laughs and points at a working video feed, showing a dessicated corpse in a white T-shirt and black jeans. Black hair wisps and flakes of skin are blowing in an unseen breeze. The body floats in the brown air above a mud flatland. SHADE is devastated by the sight of Kathy's body, dead in the Area of Madness.

SKOLOS: You call us "necrologists". Students of Death.

SKOLOS: But you, Shade...You were the true pioneer! The first NECRONAUT!

Panel 4- Our view moves in, as the video picture moves out: Kathy's corpse is distant, but the focus is a fleshless floating skeleton wearing only the Ditko-designed Madness Vest. SKOLOS is laughing, bearing shark teeth in his mouth.

SKOLOS: Your Metan corpse has lain there for how long? You ignorant tourist!

SKOLOS: The Area is the Next World! The Afterlife!

Panel 5- SKOLOS backhands SHADE across the face with his fist with one hand, digging into a pocket with the other. SKOLOS's face should be in the shadows only his fanged smile gleaming, and his feet should be planted apart, a combative stance.

SKOLOS: There is no Heaven! No Hell! No Entropy or Order!

SKOLOS: Only Madness!

Panel 6- Close-up: SKOLOS's face. The face is demonic, the goatee Dali-esque and exaggerated, the shark-toothed Glasgow smile, the fiery eyes, and darker on the right (panel left) 2/3 of his face. In front of his eye, between his thumb and forefinger, a black diamond, a sliver of the Heart of Darkness, sparks...

SKOLOS: God is an absent parent, necronaut. Kathy's dead.

SKOLOS: And so are you.

... To be continued...

Why Shade, the Changing Man?

You mean, besides being another Ditko creation and being a character in my ongoing saga?
Shade by Mike Allred
Because Shade is, in my opinion, the greatest love story in modern comics. Better than Lois and Clark. Better than Peter and MJ. Only matched in maturity by Sue and Reed, Shade, in both Ditko's and later writer Peter Milligan's hands, is the "Ditkosian" philosophy applied to the romantic ideal.
Steve Ditko's Shade
Rac Shade is a secret agent with a poet's soul for an extradimensional world called Meta. Meta and Earth are separated by a membrane called an M-Zone. The most dangerous part of crossing between is the Area of Madness. When he was accused of treason by his fiancée, Mellu, he stole a prototype "M-vest" and escaped between worlds. The vest distorts both the wearer and reality, and is attuned to the madness brought on by emotions strong enough to warp one's perspective.
Shade's circumstances took a turn for the worse when his body died in the Area of Madness. With the M-Vest linked to his metaphysical self, he punched a hole in the dimensional membrane, and inhabited the body of freshly deceased serial killer Troy Grenzer. The execution-gone-wrong was witnessed by a young woman named Kathy George, whose parents were murdered by Grenzer. Together they go on a sick, slick road trip across the Altered States of America.
Love, Vertigo-Style...
What follows in Milligan's run on the character is a study of selfless love versus selfish love. Shade, who bebops from body to body as he goes, is defined only by his romantic, poetic nature. Kathy is broken and confused, spiraling in and out of alcoholism, and Shade believes that if he sacrifices himself over and over again, or if he could somehow change her, she would come to love him. As the saying goes, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.
...and it does get insane.
The problem is that Shade doesn't know who he is either. He is literally "without Self" and is surprised and hurt time after time when Kathy doesn't reciprocate his romantic ideal. The love is empty, so that when she dies giving birth to Shade's baby, he resents the child and removes his heart, locking it in a box, and hiding it in the Madness stream.
Pfft...who needs it?
It's only after discovering himself and accepts his own broken heart, that he decides to go backwards in time, and try to stop Grenzer from murdering Kathy's parents in the first place. By restarting her reality, she could live a normal, happy life, and he can let her go. Like Sting sang, if you love somebody...
Yes, they made a cartoon version.
That realization, that you are what you are, and that loving someone means saying "Yes" to everything you look up to in them, is central to Shade. His need to sacrifice all at Kathy's altar is not out of love, but pity. He wants to be what she wants him to be, and it's not until he is who he is meant to be that his heart is given meaning.
Before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself first.
I always was a comic book fan, but Shade the Changing Man is the first series that I truly loved.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Invisible Woman - Villain's POV - Arby Moay

Panel 1
We are in the POV of some random villain whose identity is not really all that important. We see a street in New York that has been completely devastated. Rubble everywhere, and some burning buildings. The Fantastic Four are lying unconscious in the middle of the street. Mr. Fantastic looks like he's been flatened. Johnny does not have his flame on. Ben's left leg has collapsed and become rubble. Sue is lying on her stomach.

CAPTION: If you are a villain, then there's a chance that you might've been lucky enough to see something like this.
CAPTION: You've given it you're all, and you've finally defeated the superheroes.Victory is at hand.

Panel 2
Same. The villain POV walks closer to the Fantastic Four. Sue is now starting to get back up.

CAPTION: Unfortunately for you, it's not the end of the story.
CAPTION: You see one of your enemies get back up time and time again.
CAPTION: And you realize...

Panel 3
Same. Sue raises up her left hand towards us, and engulfs our head in a force field.

CAPTION: ...that while you were busy trying to conquer the world to impose your own ideals upon it...
CAPTION: ...she was busy trying to defend the world. But beyond that, she had people, loved ones, that she had to protect, willing her to live on. To always get back up.

Panel 4
Panel's all in black.

CAPTION: So you see all along...
CAPTION: picked the wrong fight.

Invisible Woman - The Madding Crowd: some answers - R.A. Wonsowski

Panel 1- SUSAN STORM is cheerfully waving hello to the reader.

SUSAN: Hi. I'm Susan Storm. Ray recently got promoted and is in training classes this week, so he asked me to fill in.

Panel 2- SUSAN is walking to the right of the page, past her wedding photo with REED and Warhol's Campbell soup can painting, both hanging on the wall.

SUSAN: Ray's been working on his story arc, and some people have been asking, "Where's all of this going?" "What's it all about?"

Panel 3- SUSAN points to a hanging portrait of Carl Jung.

SUSAN: Well, he's not about to give up his ending, but I can tell you where it began. With this man, Carl Jung.

Panel 4- SUSAN now gestures to a sepia-tone photograph of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, sitting on a university park bench. In the corner, a tiny DEADPOOL holds a placard that reads: "WARNING! Educational Content!"

SUSAN: While Sigmund Freud had advanced psychology a great deal with his theory of id, ego, and superego, they only accounted for conscious mental states. They didn't take into account the subconscious.

SUSAN: Freud believed much of our subconscious was down to suppressed physical urges. Jung, however, believed it was an amalgamation of repressed sexual identity.

Panel 5- SUSAN is standing between SHE-HULK (in her old FF uniform), who has a 1000 lb barbell lifted over her head with one hand, and the THING, who is wearing a summery flower print dress, grousing and holding the hem daintily between his rocky fingers.

SUSAN: The idea that a woman couldn't be feminine if she was strong or authoritative, or that a man wasn't a "man" if he was sensitive or passionate, was expressed through what Jung called the animus and the anima.

THING: ...wotta revoltin' development...

Panel 6- SUSAN stands in front of the cover of FF v1 #281

SUSAN: The animus, or subconscious masculinity, and the anima, or subconscious femininity, are, however, part of our "shadow aspect".

SUSAN: That's the part of our Self that, when expressed, leads to creativity and discovery. Or, if restricted, can lead us to our darkest impulses.

Panel 7- Head and shoulders shot of SUSAN, winking knowingly at us.

SUSAN: Just imagine what would happen if that "shadow aspect" was set free, made manifest in reality...

SUSAN: Keep that in mind when we see you next week. Bye for now!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Invisible Woman – Indomitable – Travis M. Holyfield

Panel 1: Susan Richards, The Invisible Woman, stands facing Mentallo. Her fists are clenched, and her mouth is set in a determined grimace. Beads of sweat dot her forehead. Mentallo's helmet emits a (Kirby) crackle of energy.

MENTALLO: You're only hurting yourself, Mrs. Richards.

MENTALLO: A.I.M. has improved my psycho-helmet. It's boosting my powers to levels even Charles Xavier never reached.

Panel 2: Focus on Mentallo's face. His helmet continues to pulse with energy as he smiles a cocksure grin.

MENTALLO: Please just open your husband's lab for me, before your brain dissolves into taffy.

Panel 3: Continuation of previous panel. Mentallo's helmet continues to pulse, but he's no longer smiling. Sweat is starting to pour down his face, and he looks panicked.

MENTALLO: How.. how are you resisting? It's...

MENTALLO Your willpower... Never seen anything like...

Panel 4: Susan thrusts her hands towards Mentallo. A cylinder of invisible force extends from her hands to smash Mentallo against a wall.



Panel 5: Sue takes a moment to collect herself. She leans against a wall, breathing deeply. Mentallo lies in a crumpled heap on the floor.


SUSAN RICHARDS: I've been married to Reed Richards for ten years and I haven't smothered him in his sleep with a pillow.

Panel 6: Susan steps over Mentallo's unconscious body, striding boldly towards her next challenge.

SUSAN RICHARDS: You have NO idea what willpower is.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Invisible Woman - Just Desserts - Grant McLaughlin

Three rows.  Panel 1 is the top row, panels 2 and 3 are the middle row, and panels 4 and 5 are the bottom row.

1 - Reed Richards stands in a doorway, smiling candidly at Susan and Ben (off-panel within the room he's looking upon).  He's been leaning on the doorframe, as if he wasn't planning on being there long.

REED (1): ...all that to say that I was somewhat taken aback by Henry's comparatively unconventional views on molecular cosmic metabiological chemistry.

REED (2): Thanks so much for listening!  Usually you guys leave at the first opportunity when I get going on these topics.

2 - Susan Richards and Benjamin Grimm sit at an empty kitchen table, looking back at Reed (and the reader).  They have big, fake smiles on their faces.  As well, Sue looks a little distracted (maybe holding a hand to her temple or looking to the side distractedly).

SUSAN: N-no worries, hun!

BEN: Yeah... anytime, Stretch.

3 - Repeat panel, except Susan and Ben now wear looks of relief on their faces.  They slump into their seats, exhausted from whatever scientific gobbledy-gook Reed has been going on about.  On the table in front of them, a delicious looking cake (cheesecake?) starts appear (as Sue removes the invisibility shields she'd put up around it).

SUSAN: Oh, thank god.  I thought he would never leave!

BEN: Was that really necessary?

4 - Sue takes a fork and starts in on the cake.  She looks seriously in Ben's direction.

SUSAN: Are you kidding?

5 - Cake on the end of her fork, Sue (brow still a little furrowed) points it accusingly towards Ben, who holds his arms up in surrender / apology.

SUSAN: It's bad enough I have to share any of this with you!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Invisible Woman – Just Another Day – MK Stangeland Jr.

(7 Panels)

Panel 1: Panels 1, 2, and 3 should all sit in the same row.

SUSAN STORM RICHARDS – the INVISIBLE WOMAN – is in the kitchen of the BAXTER BUILDING. She is facing the panel, and looks like she’s recently gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. In her hand is a cup of coffee.

Panel 2: SUSAN has the same position in the panel, but is drinking from the mug in her hand.


Panel 3: SUSAN – in same position - is looking much better as she holds the coffee in front of her.


Panel 4: SUSAN – same position – is glancing over her shoulder as she holds up JOHNNY STORM and THE THING in force field bubbles behind her.

SUSAN: I’ll let you out when you promise to stop trying to kill each other.

Panel 5: SUSAN – same position – has a knowing look on her face. She’s in REED RICHARDS lab, which is currently on fire, and has put force field bubbles around the flames to help put them out.

REED (1): That didn’t go at all how I calculated.

REED (2): There must be a variable I’m unaware of…

Panel 6: SUSAN – same position – is on top of the BAXTER BUILDING rolling her eyes. DR. DOOM – probably just a DOOMBOT - is in the air behind her. While he’s floating, he’d been knocked off-center by one of SUSAN’s large force-field bubbles.


SFX: Klonk!

Panel 7: SUSAN – same position – is sitting on a couch. Behind her are FRANKLIN and VAL, while standing behind them is a monster of which we can only see from the lower-legs down.

VAL (1): He followed us home. Can we keep him?

SUSAN (1): Is it an animal most people would recognize?

VAL (2): May-

SUSAN: (2) No.