Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another Comic is Stillborn

A few years ago I wrote a comic book. It was kind of a test run for a new series that I wanted to do. After the book I'd written was completed, the publisher turned out to be something of a flake and, to make a long story short, neither the artist nor I were ever paid. After I'd written a short story introducing one of the major characters for the new book, the artist with whom I'd been working (wisely) decided that he didn't want anything to do with the publisher and opted out. After the rather nasty experience with the publisher, I had to agree with the artist, and so the new project (NEANDERGAL) never saw the light of day.

So here is a very brief story featuring some of the characters (and the world) from the stillborn Neandergal comic book:

A Neandergal story
By James Robert Smith
(Neandergal and all characters copyright 2008 by James Robert Smith)


Panel One: Scimitar cat sitting on a rock ledge, looking down into an open area near a pond. POV is from slightly behind and to the left of the cat. POV should remain pretty much the same for the cats during most of the story.

Panel Two: A second scimitar cat has appeared from his left.

Panel Three: First cat remains lying down, paws crossed. They are snarling at one another.

The standing, smaller, younger cat: Hello Frank.

Second, older, reclining cat: Hello Ralph.

Panel Four: They are now sitting side by side, looking down from the height at the pond.

Ralph: Man, I’m hungry. Haven’t bagged anything in two days. You don’t have any carrion around, do you?

Frank: Nah. Not for you, anyway.

Panel Five: Silence. Frank is licking his paw.

Panel Six: They are snarling at one another again.

Frank: If Wynona goes into heat soon, I better not find you around here!

Ralph: Okay! Okay!


Panel One: A Neandertal man (Spike, the alpha male from Neandergal’s clan) is walking down to the pond. He has a small deer he’s killed.

Panel Two: Ralph, obviously agitated, has half-risen from the rock ledge, bunching his legs beneath him. Frank remains cool.

Ralph: Look! Look! He’s got something to eat! Let’s take it from him!

Panel Three: We can see Spike sitting down. Next to him, propped on a boulder, is his club and spear. He’s preparing to skin the deer. Behind him, upslope, we can just make out the heads of Ralph and Frank in the brush that conceals them.

Ralph: I mean, look at him. They’re so slow! They’re so small! I could just go down there and take it from him.

Panel Four: Close-up of the two cats. Frank is looking at Ralph. We see Frank in profile, left side. Ralph is still looking down on Spike.

Frank: Forget it, kid. Don’t mess with a Neandertal. They’re trouble.

Panel Five: Ralph is looking now at Frank, his jaws gaping. Frank is still cool. Always cool.

Ralph: Trouble? What kind of trouble? How much trouble can they be? I mean…look at him! They’re slow! He’s alone. I’m gonna…

Panel Six: Frank is watching Ralph retreat. We see Frank’s profile again, and Ralph’s backside as he goes off-panel.

Frank: Don’t do it, kid. I’m telling you…


Panel One: Spike now has the deer about three-fourths skinned. He’s holding his flint knife and the hide is peeling away. There’s a pile of guts on the ground, and the spear and club are just at his shoulder as he sits on a rock working on the carcass.

Panel Two: Ralph has sneaked up toward the pond. We see him from his POV looking out from brush at Spike’s back from about ten meters away.

Panel Three: Very small panel. Close-up of Spike’s wide, gnarled, oft-broken nose.

Panel Four: Small, side panel. Close-up of Spike’s eyes, narrowed suspiciously and looking back.

Panel Five: Large panel of Ralph clearing the brush with a roar. Spike is already rising, his club in his hard right hand, weapon in a downward arc toward the cat. There is a look of horror and determination (but not surprise) on Spike’s face.

Panel Six: We see Spike’s club smashing with absolutely crushing force on Ralph’s face, mainly smashing into the cat’s right eye.


Panel One: Shot of Ralph running like hell away from Spike. There’s a bloody trail dripping from his face as he runs.

Panel Two: Frank is still sitting on his rock, looking down at Spike who has picked up the deer, his spear and club, and is hurrying off.

Panel Three: Ralph and Frank are facing again, snarling, blood and ooze coming down Ralph’s face.

Ralph: Look what he did to me! I can’t see! He hurt me!

Frank: I told you! Don’t mess with them!

Panel Four: Ralph is slinking off into the brush.

Ralph: Damn! Damn! I can’t see!

Frank: Stay out of my territory from now on, kid!

Panel Five: We finally see Frank head on. Close-up on his face. He has a very old scar that runs across the right side of his face, from above his eye down to his lip. As that made by a club.

Frank: Dumbass kids. Can’t tell them anything…


dogboy443 said...

Ah yes, the world of comics and dumb-ass publishers (Arcane Books, Crusade and Dark Moon). I lost a lot of money from these guys and I got the Hell out of the business. The only decent publisher was Gary Reed and Caliber Press, my first published work that I can say was well received and well advertised.

HemlockMan said...

Alas, I've heard stories from others about Caliber that were not quite so rosy. But I think they did their best.

What sucks is seeing a book through, knowing it did well, and the publisher not paying. Ugh.