Creators / Copyright: Tom Miller
Jenny Creation Date: unknown
Original Source: Sent to The Shifter Archive in 2007
Read on The Shifter Archive: READ BELOW
Related Websites: none
Related Material: none
NOTE: Tom says that if there is ever anyone interested in illustrating this, that they should contact him. (Contact us, we’ll patch you through).
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 BE REVEALED.
Text: “ANOTHER WHO LIVES IN A MULTIPLE STATE WHO HAS KEPT HIS PRESCENCE CONCEALED.”
Text: “HE WATCHES HER NOW FOR HE KNOWS WHO SHE IS INDEED HE HAS MET HER BEFORE.
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 ILL.
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 WE MET?
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 BE FRIENDS?
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 WELL-BALANCED DIRK.
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.”