Jenny Everywhere a.k.a. "The Shifter" in
by Tom "Captain Zoom" Miller
Synopsis: A medieval world. Elizabethan
England, but 21st century. Imagine technological improvement just
stopped about 400 years ago. The Shifter, perhaps not going by that
name, or perhaps un-named in the story, wanders the streets in garb
fitting the era, along with her trademarked goggles. We'll assume
the movement towards gender equality is much like our own, allowing for a
female character to wield a little power in this world. The Shifter
is someone of some importance, a noble or business person. The whole
of the narrative, text boxes and word bubbles will be in rhyming couplets.
For the text, I'm thinking that if we can find a template of an
old-looking scroll, or if you can design one, that would lend to the
atmosphere of the piece. Feel free if something doesn't work or
seems awkward to change it, or get back to me and I'll do a re-write.
I'm aiming for four pages, but if you see a way to expand or
contract that number, you're the drawing guy, so do it.
The meat of the story will be an exchange between the
Shifter and someone who seems to know her, though the Shifter has no idea
who it is. I'm trying to get at the idea that it's another person who
somehow has the same power as the Shifter, and appears to have awareness of
the Shifter while she has no awareness of this person. I'm not sure
I'm going for an action story or a witty one. If I'm feeling inspired,
the Shifter's "adversary" might have an hint of Oscar Wilde about
him, more a prankster than a villain. Anyway, on to the script and
we'll see what happens.
p.s. If this is absolutely not what you were hoping
to illustrate, do let me know. This is just one idea I've had
kicking around, but I've got a couple of others. If you'd rather do
something else, give me an idea what you wanted and maybe we can come up
with something together.
I'm thinking that, in trying to keep an "old-fashioned"
look to the story, considering it's setting, a standard splitting of the
page into horizontal thirds would be good. I'm trying to think of a
reference for this style because I know I've seen it before. The
best one I can think of now is Alan Moore's Glory #1, from Avatar. There's
a story within a story there where it goes from "modern" panel
layouts to more "traditional" layouts. Anyway, here we go.
Large panel across top of page. This'll be our establishing shot.
For reference I would advise a scene from something like
"Shakespeare in Love" or something like it. We'll have the
Elizabethan setting, but make it look less dirty than it would have been
historically. This intimates that, while technology seems to have
ceased, advances in things like medicine and cleanliness haven't. Perhaps
I'm just giving too much background for what the story needs, but I have a
very strong sense of this world. Text box across the top.
Text: "SHOULD THE FORTUNES OF MEN HAMPER US WITH DEFEAT THERE IS ONE
WHO WILL NEVER LAY STILL."
Half size of above panel. Shot of the Shifter walking down the
street, perhaps glancing at a fruit cart or vendor of some sort, a smile
on her face.
Text: "SHE TRAVELS ALL WORLDS LIVING LIVES STRONG AND MEEK AND HER
LIKE'S NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE."
Another half-size, same level as last one. This one can be our
"origin" panel, somehow illustrating the Shifter's ability to
exist in all dimensions at once. I really have no idea how to
illustrate this. Any ideas?
Text: "WITH KNOWLEDGE OF SELVES WHO HAVE LIVED OTHER LIVES SHE USES
HER WITS AND HER GUILE."
Half-size panel again. More establishing shots again, as is the next
panel. Scenes of The Shifter interacting with her environment.
The story will get into full swing on the next page.
Text: "SHE IS QUICK ON HER FEET AND IS FLEET IN HER HEAD,"
Panel Five (See descriptor of Panel Four)
Text: "AND IS EVER SO QUICK WITH A SMILE."
Set up will be 2 panels, 1 large panel, and then 2 panels. I'll give
a rundown of the action here, rather than separating it into panel
descriptions. The first and second will be shots of our
"villain". Elizabethan clothing, with kind of a shifty yet
charming look about him. Let's make him the perfect foil for the
confidence of the Shifter. Han Solo doing Shakespeare maybe. I
want for him to alternately function as a love interest/nemesis. Perhaps
in the first panel we somehow see him accessing his powers, though how
that would look I don't know. The large middle panel will be another
street scene with the Shifter and Sansucre (his name potentially) at
opposite ends. He is quite obviously watching her. The last
two panels will depict her noticing his presence and then stepping swiftly
into an alleyway.
Text: "THIS TALE WE RELATE IT IS STRANGE IN ITSELF FOR A NEMESIS MAY
Text: "ANOTHER WHO LIVES IN A MULTIPLE STATE WHO HAS KEPT HIS
Text: "HE WATCHES HER NOW FOR HE KNOWS WHO SHE IS INDEED HE HAS MET
Text: "BUT OUR FABULOUS HEROINE, WE MUST CONCEDE HAS NO CLUE WHAT WE
HAVE IN STORE."
Shifter (thinking): A STRANGER IS WATCHING, HE THINKS I'M HIS PREY I'LL
TEACH HIM A LESSON
Text: "...SHE THINKS."T
Text: "AND MOVING AWAY FROM THE BUSTLING STREET TO THE DARK OF THE
ALLEY SHE SLINKS."
Six equally sized panels. These will depict: Sansucre entering the
alley, the Shifter grabbing him from a concealed place behind him, a brief
tussle that results in both landing on their butts (2 panels) and an
exchange revealing that he knows who she is and that she doesn't know him.
Text: "THIS SUSPICIOUS YOUNG MAN HE FOLLOWS HER NOW."
Sansucre (thinking): SHE CANNOT ESCAPE FROM THIS PLACE.
Text: "BUT WHEN HE IS GRABBED FROM BEHIND IN THE DARK HER
STEALTH HAS BROUGHT HIM DISGRACE."
Text: "A TUSSLE ENSUES, THE COMBATANTS WELL MATCHED,"
Text: "IN THE END BOTH ARE LEFT ON THE GROUND."
Sansucre: I'VE FOUND YOU AGAIN, I AM TIRED OF THIS GAME.
Shifter: FOR YOUR ACT, CONSEQUENCE WILL ABOUND.
Lots of talking on this one. I don't know if a break from the set up
is called for. I was against it to begin with, but perhaps a full
page with the two conversing might work, their word bubbles running down
the centre of the page like a poem? I'll just put the exchange here
and if you don't think that would work visually, or takes away from the
way the strip has progressed thus far, we can change it.
Shifter: WHO ARE YOU SIR TO HINDER ME THUS? I'VE DONE YOU NO WRONG AND NO
Sansucre: FOR WE WHO LIVE LIVES WITHIN LIVES WITHIN LIVES MAYBE YOU
HAVE.....OR YOU WILL.
Shifter: ANOTHER LIKE ME? BUT HOW CAN IT BE THAT NEVER BEFORE HAVE
Sansucre: THE WHIMSY OF FATE IS NOT OURS TO DEBATE NOW WE HAVE, THOUGH,
OUR DESTINY'S SET.
Shifter: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SAYING SUCH THINGS, WHY IS IT THAT WE CAN'T
Sansucre: OUR EXISTENCE NEGATES IT, THOUGH PART OF ME HATES IT AND THAT'S
WHY YOUR LIFE I MUST END. FOR THOSE SUCH AS WE WHOSE AWARENESS
EXTENDS TO EVERY SELF THAT DRAWS BREATH MUST AGREE THAT SOME INFINITE
BRANCH OF OUR ROAD WILL LEAD THE OTHER TO DEATH.
Shifter: BUT BY YOUR OWN LOGIC THERE MUST BE A BRANCH WHERE THE TWO
OF US LOVE, A DUET? ARE YOU WILLING TO RISK THE FUTURE OF THAT JUST IN
CASE WE ARE ENEMIES MET?
Sansucre: LOVE IT WILL COME AND LOVE IT WILL GO BUT TO LOVE ONE MUST
ALWAYS HAVE LIFE. IF ENDING YOU NOW MEANS THAT LIVING I'LL BE I'LL END YOU
RIGHT NOW WITH MY KNIFE.
Five panels. Two on top, two in the middle and one large one on the
bottom to end it. In the first panel he launches himself at her.
She ducks under him in the second panel, and, in the third panel
realizing that they are too well matched, she takes off into the street.
In panel four he follows her but realizes in panel five that she has
escaped into the crowd of the street. The last panel will see him at
the entrance to the alley looking out at the crowd. I know this
seems awfully hurried, but I'll make it seem dramatic and cool with the
text and speech stuff. Hmmm, said I was aiming for four pages, but I
really can' t see how to make this any shorter. We'll see what you
think, I guess.
Text: "WITH THESE FINAL WORDS HE DRAWS FROM HIS SHIRT A LETHAL AND
Text: "BUT HIS LAUNCH IS A BLUNDER, THE LADY DUCKS UNDER REALIZING
THAT HE IS BERSERK."
Text: "BEING AWARE THAT THEIR STRENGTHS ARE WELL MATCHED SHE OPTS TO
ESCAPE HIS ATTACK AND INTO THE STREET SHE RUNS FAST AND FLEET DISAPPEARING
AND NOT LOOKING BACK."
Sansucre (thinking): AND SO SHE ESCAPES, NOW AWARE OF MY PLAN SHE'LL
PREPARE NOW SHE KNOWS I AM HERE.
Text: "SO THIS SHORT STORY ENDS, BUT SADLY, MY FRIENDS THE SHIFTER
HAS A NEW FOE TO FEAR."