Writing Sample – Issue #3

Issue Three: A Little Excitement

 

Page One [full page]

Roger Boltbender stands in his kitchen. He is dressed in a pink tank top, pink boxer shorts, and fuzzy pink socks, all embroidered with the P.C.I. bunny logo. He is pouring cereal from a box of Chocatomic Fizznuggets into a bowl. The cereal gives off steam.

Roger looks like he hasn’t slept well. His hair is very rumpled and his eyes are bleary.

Hank is still swarming over the pizza box, although there are many fewer bits of pizza left.

Hank: Mornin’, Roger!
Roger: Mmmph.

 

Page Two [4 panels]

2.1

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

Roger walks past the refrigerator, bowl of cereal in hand. The refrigerator is chained and padlocked. A muffled thump comes from inside the fridge.

SFX: thump

2.2

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

Roger is in the living room, fishing a cardboard carton of milk out of the lukewarm water in the bottom of his beer cooler. This is a good opportunity to show Roger at his awkward best, maybe bent over facing away from the reader, so we can see the hair on the back of his legs and the fact that his P.C.I. boxers are kind of saggy and threadbare.

2.3

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

Zoom in on Roger’s face as he sniffs the open milk carton.

SFX: sniff

2.4

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

Roger makes a disgusted face.

Roger: Damn. I should have bought ice.

 

Pages Three and Four [4 panels]

3.1

[a small square panel cut out of the upper left corner of Panel 3.3]

Zoom in on the cereal bowl as Roger sets it down on the counter next to the pizza box Hank is mining.

Roger: Here y’go, Hank. Guess it’s coffee for breakfast.

3.2

[a small square cut out of the upper left corner of Panel 3.3, next to Panel 3.1]

Zoom in on Hank. Several of the ants have ceased their labor on the pizza and now look up with bright expressions.

Hank: Thanks, Roger!

3.3

[a two page-splash, minus the little cutouts of 3.1, 3.2, and 4.1]

A view of Roger’s living room from the kitchen. Roger’s voice drifts in from the bedroom. A few ants are on the floor of the kitchen, peeking around the door frame into the living room. One or two look back at the others (and toward the reader) with expressions of consternation.

In the center of the living room is the glowing ball of tentacled light we saw in Issue One. The light is stronger, and the substance of ceiling and walls seems to warp in the halo of light cast by the tiny globe.

SFX: HuuuuzzZZZzuuuUUummMMMmm
Roger: You know, there’s been protestors at the factory the last few days. Animal rights people, you know? There’s this girl . . .

 

Page Four [2 panels]

4.1

[continue splash artwork from Page Three]

4.2

[a small square cut out of the lower right corner of the splash artwork]

Zoom in on the globe of light, just as it’s winking out.

SFX: zip!

 

Page Five [5 panels]

5.1

[1/3 page high, full page wide]

Roger is in the living room, hopping on one foot as he struggles to get into his overalls. He hasn’t noticed the globe of light again. He knocks over the stack of pizza boxes by the sofa.

SFX: boing boing
SFX: crash!

5.2

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

Roger enters the kitchen, overalls pulled up to his waist but not yet over his chest. He begins to speak and then stops, blinking at something in surprise.

Roger: Anyway, I’ve been thinking I might –
Roger: Does the faucet look different?

5.3

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

Zoom in on the cereal bowl again. The hundreds of ants previously dwelling in the pizza box have now darkened the upper surface of the cereal bowl.

Hank: Er, did you have –

5.4

[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, lower left]

Roger struggles into the upper part of his overalls.

Roger: Have you seen the cats?

5.5

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

Zoom in on Hank. The ants look terrified.

Hank: gulp

 

Page Six [6 panels]

6.1

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

Roger is fully dressed now. He looks down at his wristwatch.

Roger: Damn! I’m late. Guess it’ll be break room coffee. I hope Phyllis made it; Earl’s coffee is terrible. Later, Hank.

6.2

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

A view from the kitchen as Roger disappears through the curtain separating the kitchen from the mud room.

Roger: Later, Phil.

6.3

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

Same view. Now the curtain has settled back into place. The sound of the door slamming can be heard through the curtain.

SFX: SLAM!

6.4

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

Zoom in on Hank swarming over the cereal bowl. This time the angle of the POV includes the refrigerator in the background. Some of the ants have rigged booms to the side of the cereal bowl and are using block and tackle to hoist out chunks of steaming Chocatomic Fizznuggets. Others are down in the cereal itself, dressed in protective gear to protect them from the strange chemicals in the cereal. They are carving the Fizznuggets into smaller pieces with pickaxes, power drills, bandsaws, etc. Chocatomic Fizznuggets look like a fiendish cross between Count Chocula cereal and Alka-Seltzer.

6.5

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

Same view as before. In the background the refrigerator thumps and wobbles. Many of the ants have lifted their heads at the noise.

SFX: thump thump

6.6

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

Same view. The commotion in the refrigerator has stopped, but the ants are spooked. They look at each other with alarmed expressions.

 

Page Seven [9 panels]

7.1

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

A view of the curtain hung in the doorway separating the kitchen from the mud room. The curtain is still.

7.2

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

Same view. Now the curtain stirs a bit at the right edge, tugged by a delicate white cat paw.

SFX: tug tug

7.3

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

Identical to Panel 7.1, except now the curtain is open very slightly more.

7.4

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

Aphrodite, one of Roger’s cats, slides gracefully through the gap between the curtain and the doorframe. She is a slender short-haired cat, kind of off-white, with pale lemony bits on her forehead and chest. She radiates grace, calm, beauty, self-possession.

7.5

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

An angled view from within the kitchen. Aphrodite is just disappearing into the living room. The refrigerator fills the background of the panel. Something in the fridge growls.

SFX: grrrrrr

7.6

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

Identical to Panel 7.3

7.7

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

Same view of the curtain leading into the mud room. Now the curtain is thrust aside with tremendous violence by an orange cat paw.

SFX: PIMPSLAP!!

7.8

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

Ares, Roger’s other cat, enters the kitchen through the flying curtain. He’s left a sooty paw-print on the curtain. Ares is a long-haired orange cat, his wild hair stained with soot.

7.9

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

Ares stomps across the kitchen floor, face set in a terrible scowl, grumbling profanity under his breath. He leaves filthy paw prints on the linoleum. Hank watches from over the rim of the cereal bowl, twisting his many antennae anxiously.

Ares: !@#$%^&*meow

 

Page Eight [5 panels]

8.1

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

A view from inside the cereal bowl, looking up at an angle. Hank’s POV. The snarling, soot-stained face of Ares fills the panel side to side and top to bottom. Where ants are visible at the edges of the frame, they are cowering, prostrate with terror.

Ares: Did you say anything to him?

8.2

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

Switch POV to show the ants cowering among the partially disassembled Fizznuggets left in the bowl. A few make various inarticulate noises indicating swallowing hard. One manages to hold himself together well enough to actually answer.

Hank (1): glurk!
Hank (2): ulp!
Hank (3): gaack!
Hank (4): N-n-n-o-o.

8.3

[2/3 page high, full page wide, except for the little cutouts of Panels 8.4 and 8.5 in the upper left and lower right corners respectively]

A view of the kitchen counter and cabinets from the center of the kitchen, facing toward Hank’s cereal bowl. Ares is clinging to the edge of the counter with his forepaws and sort of braced with his lower legs against the handles of the cabinets. It’s hard to tell whether to admire his athleticism or laugh at his ridiculous pose.

8.4

[a little square cut out of the upper left corner of Panel 8.3]

Another closeup view of Ares’ face.

Ares: Good. Remember, if you say anything . . .

8.5

[a little square cut out of the lower right corner of Panel 8.3]

Zoom in tighter on Ares’ red, red eyes. It could be that the explosion that blackened him with soot also got smoke in his eyes and reddened them. Or it could be pure kitty murder-lust. Hard to tell. One of the ants is framed between his eyes, pinned in place by his terrible gaze. Hank is trembling.

Ares: . . . I’ll let the spiders in.

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