Writing Sample – Issue #1

Issue One: Roger Boltbender


Page One [full page]

This is a full-page image of Roger Boltbender, 33, the hero of our story. He is what many would call ‘ruggedly handsome’ – meaning he generally has a five-o’clock shadow and slightly ill kempt hair. He has the classic build of a superhero – narrow waist, bulging pecs and biceps, etc. Short, slightly curly blond hair. He is wearing a bright pink pair of overalls, with a logo on his chest. The logo is a cute little bunny rabbit, also pink although a different shade, against a white background. Across the bunny’s body in black lettering is the logo P.C.I.

Roger’s expression is slightly bewildered, as if he forgot his lunch on the way to work and is trying to remember if he left it out on the counter where it will spoil during the work day, or if he even remembered to pack a lunch at all, or if that’s Tuesday he’s remembering. His face looks like this a lot.

Around the image of Roger are little callouts highlighting the more amusing aspects of his appearance:


Messy hair, cut at home with scissors and a hand mirror. Little scars on ears from misjudging reflections.

Pink overalls.

Little curls of chest hair spilling out of collar.

Rugged good looks.

Bewildered expression.

Employee Number 55378008, seen upside down looks like ‘BOOBLESS’, a fact that unsettles Roger every time he glances down.


The setting is the employee break room at the P.C.I. Factory. Plastic tables with ugly tablecloths, vending machines, a sink heaped with dirty dishes, and posters on the wall reminding workers of their rights and exhorting them to greater efforts.

Page Caption: This is Roger Boltbender.


Page Two [4 panels]


[1/3 page high, full page wide, top]

A pretty residential street; cherry trees blossom in parking strips, children run through a sprinkler, a stray dog sniffs the base of a telephone pole.

Caption: This is Roger’s street.


[1/3 page high, half page wide, center left]

Focus on a small house, white with blue trim, the paint peeling. The yard is ragged and uncut; the fence surrounding the front yard supports a climbing rose badly in need of pruning. The gutter is so thoroughly blocked that grass is growing from it.

Caption: This is Roger’s house.


[1/3 page high, half page wide, center right]

A silver Volvo wagon, battered and covered with snowboarding and band stickers, stops in front of the house, timing belt squealing.

SFX: squeeeeee

Caption: This is Roger’s car.


[1/3 page high, full page wide, bottom]

Roger stands next to his car, wearing his P.C.I. overalls. He looks a little glum.


[a small square set inside Panel 2.4]

From the open car door emerges a leg clad in pink overall pants. The cuff is pulled back just enough that we can see his left sock is adorned with pink P.C.I. bunny rabbits. We’ll get to see his right sock in a minute.


[a small square set inside Panel 2.4]

Roger bonks his head on the doorframe as he climbs from the car. He bonks his head a lot.

SFX: bonk

Caption: This is Roger coming home from work. He looks a little glum.


Page Three [7 panels]


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

Roger is trudging up the walkway between his house and the neighbor’s, past the overgrown climbing rose growing on his fence. He carries a battered metal lunchbox covered with stickers that we can’t quite make out.


[a small square inside Panel 3.1]

A cane of the climbing rose brushes his shoulder and a thorn catches, tearing a little hole in his overalls.

SFX: fsssst


[a small square inside Panel 3.1]

Close-up of Roger’s boot striking the pavement. This is his right foot; the cuff is raised enough that we can see he is wearing a different sock on this foot. This sock is green, with yellow ice cream cones.

SFX: trudge


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

A view of Roger’s receding back. The gate to his backyard is open and he is walking down the sidewalk between his house and fence toward the back door of his house (Roger doesn’t use his front door except when the pizza guy comes). We can see a little slice of his garden beyond. The space between his house and fence is pretty narrow and strung with numerous spider webs. Roger does some crazy windmilling of his arms to tear down the spider webs before they plaster his face. He bonks his head with his lunchbox.

SFX: bonk


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

Rotate the view 360°. The spiders congregate on top of the fence to his left and from below the shrubbery to his right. They watch him walk away, blinking their many inscrutable eyes at his back.


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

Roger turns his key in the lock of the back door.

SFX: click


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

Roger stands facing the door with his hands (one holding the lunchbox, one holding his key ring – lots of keys!) at his sides. He kicks the bottom of the door with one foot. (This is, incidentally, how you open Roger’s door – unlock deadbolt, withdraw key, and kick!)

SFX: kick!


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

Roger holds his pose for a moment, though his head has drooped lower. He’s just standing there outside his open door, not moving.

Roger: Sigh.


[1/3 page high, half page wide]

The same view, but no Roger. He’s finally stepped inside his house.


Page Four [3 panels]


[3/4 page high; full page wide]

Inside Roger’s dimly lit mud room. A washer and dryer in the corner, a shoe rack with three pairs of identical work boots, sneakers, and a pair of sandals. On a shelf stands Big Phil, Roger’s cut-leaf philodendron. The plant is quite large; its huge leaves occupy a good chunk of the mudroom. There is a window in the back of the room, through which we catch another peek of the garden. We can’t see it yet, but there is a curtain instead of a door separating the mudroom from the kitchen.

Roger is setting his lunch box down on the shoe rack and flinging his keys into a bowl on Big Phil’s shelf.

Roger [mumbling]: Hi, Phil.
Big Phil: Hi, Roger!


[1/4 page high, half page wide]

Big Phil is usually bright and chipper, with big round googly eyes. But he’s pretty sensitive; he catches on to Roger’s mood immediately.

Zoom in on Big Phil; now he’s making a concerned face.

Big Phil: Say, you look a little glum.


[1/4 page high, half page wide]

Roger has disappeared halfway through the curtain hanging between the mudroom and the kitchen, muttering something unintelligible.

Roger: Mmmrph.


Page Five [3 panels]


[a nearly full page, but split diagonally from upper left to lower right, with a little slice of a panel at the bottom of the page]

Roger, in mid-stride, walking through the kitchen. The refrigerator is wrapped in heavy chains, connected by a stout padlock. A pizza box stands open on the counter. Hundreds of ants swarm over the crumbs left in the box. A line of ants leads away from the pizza box, bearing olives, pieces of mushroom, a chunk of crust, and a slice of pepperoni on which a single ant stands erect, hands on hips, beaming triumphantly as if he were a king being conveyed on his platform.

The ants are collectively known as Hank. They always speak in unison.

Roger: Hi, Hank.
Hank: Hi, Roger!


[this is the lower half of the split panel]

Essentially the same view, but Roger is nearly out of the kitchen. There is no door in the frame separating the kitchen from the living room. Roger’s posture is, if anything, even more slumped.

Hank: Hey, Roger, what’s wrong?
Roger: Mmmrph.


[a narrow slice at the bottom of the page, full page wide]

Zoom in on the pizza box, where the ants are engaged in various types of labor. At this scale, we can see worker ants in aprons carving up the pizza with hammers and crowbars, saws, pry bars, etc.

Some of the ants in the center of the panel have stopped working and now look at each other questioningly.


Page Six [4 panels]


[full page high, 1/3 page wide, left]

A full frontal view of Roger, just inside the door of the living room. The kitchen is visible behind him through the doorframe. His expression indicates that he has just realized something and stopped mid-stride in surprise.


[1/3 page high, 2/3 page wide, upper right]

Roger’s head and shoulders sticking through the door into the kitchen, turned toward Hank. His brow is knit in confusion.

Roger: Hank, where is the toaster?


[1/3 page high, 2/3 page wide, center right]

Zoom in on Hank again. The ants are exchanging worried glances. A few are looking away and whistling. The general atmosphere is one of great discomfort with the question.

Hank: Er, I don’t know, Roger. Did you have a toaster?


[1/3 page high, 2/3 page wide, bottom right]

Roger is standing inside the door of the kitchen now, arms folded. Quizzical is giving way to stern on his face.

Roger: I made toast with it this morning. You don’t remember? You were mining crumbs out of it. I had to ask you to leave so I could use it. Just like every morning.


Page Seven [7 panels]


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, upper left]

Cut back to Hank, still looking very uncomfortable with the subject.

Hank: Er. Oh.


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, upper middle]

Roger, looking glum again. The sternness has gone.

Roger: Never mind.


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, upper right]

A shot of the doorframe, empty. Roger has withdrawn into the living room.


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, second level left]

Roger’s head and shoulders framed in the doorway again.

Roger: Where are the cats?


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, second level center]

Cut back to Hank. He’s no happier with this question.

Hank: Er. Do you have –


[1/4 page high, 1/3 page wide, second level right]

Roger’s head and shoulders. The familiar glum expression.

Roger: Never mind.


[1/2 page high, full page wide]

A view of Roger’s living room, empty. Weak light spills into the living room through the open door of the office to the left. A sofa covered with blankets and pillows, a floor covered in drifts of dirty clothing, old pizza boxes, and empty beer cans. Framed concert posters hang crooked all over the walls. A couple band names may be readable at this scale: Tribe of Fops, Android Weather, Banana in Pajamas. The television is a huge steampunky affair, a wooden case bound in brass with steam pipes and valves sticking out everywhere. A stack of empty pizza boxes serves as a kind of end table next to the sofa, and a cooler sits next to the coffee table.

From the office, the sound of Roger dialing the telephone.

SFX: beep beep boop beep boop boop beep


Pages Eight and Nine [splash]

A two-page splash view of Roger’s living room. From the left, Roger’s voice, clearly on the telephone, drifts in.

Roger: Yeah, hi, Marv. Yeah, Roger. Yeah, the usual. Yeah. Yeah. Mmmm, make it a large. Sure, throw in the salad. Eat your greens, right? Ha. Yeah. Yeah. ‘K, see you in a bit. Yeah.

As he speaks, a shimmering ball of light appears in the center of the living room, accompanied by a low-pitched crackling, humming noise. Angry-looking tentacles of light reach from the center of the ball toward the corners of the room. The shadows in the corner of the room seem more concentrated, more menacing, in contrast with the light.

SFX: HuuuuzzZZZzuuuUUummMMMmm


Page Ten [2 panels]


[1/2 page high, full page wide]

Roger emerges into the living room. The ball of light is gone, and it’s clear he hasn’t noticed anything unusual.

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