P.O.W.! Challenge 12--The Other Side

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    P.O.W.! Challenge 12--The Other Side

    P.O.W.! Challenge 12--The Other Side


    P.O.W.! Challenge 12
    Deadline: Sunday, August 17, 2008, 11:59 pm anywhere in the world.

    Topic: The Other Side


    Thanks to Forum Member and Writer Nathan Long, we have something special this time out--you get to work from a script. I've inserted it below as full text, and he has explained quite well what's involved. The trick for us is to think as creatively as we can within the structure he's created for us. As in most scripted pieces, you DO NOT have to LITERALLY do everything he tells you in the words he gives you--you can make some small changes in interpretation as long as they don't change the story in a major way. The story as he has it rules. Your visuals should convey what he is saying as much as possible. Think of it as a work in collaboration. Physically, you can interpret the art any way you wish, and the more creatively, the better. Any media. B&W or Color.

    The story as presented should be FOUR pages which adhere to standard comic specs as below.

    Standard Comic Book Size:

    --Trim size: 6 5/8" x 10 1/4"
    --Live art area: 6" x 9"
    --Bleed size before trimming: 6 7/8" x 10 1/2" (1/8" in all directions)

    This thread will be the place you ask questions on this challenge, trash talk, post WIPs and your final art. See the READ THIS FIRST thread for all specs.

    Good luck.

    P.O.W.! Special Challenge 13 will be posted before Sunday Midnight, August 17, 2008.


    Reminder: Make sure you've read everything above. I've made some changes to the deadline date and Challenge timing.


    ************************************************** *******

    Nathan Long lives and works in Los Angeles, and isn't just off the turnip boat. He was the writer of the Blackhearts and Gotrek and Felix novels for Warhammer Fantasy, and is head writer of the up-coming CW4Kids live action adventure series, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.

    He's offered to do more for us if we like what happens here, so let's show him much we appreciate his efforts by turning his work into some really incredible...

    ************************************************** ******

    THE OTHER SIDE
    by Nathan Long


    INTRODUCTION

    I am deliberately leaving the descriptions of what people and things look like vague so that the artists can have fun inventing costuming, props and interiors. It is a fantasy story, but it can be any kind of fantasy culture you can imagine, and the people can be any race.

    NOTES ON FORMAT

    I'm more a screenwriter than a comic writer, so I've borrowed some formatting from scripts. (Sorry if all this is obvious to any of you. Just want to cover all the bases.)

    (O.S.) means the dialog comes from Off Screen, and indicates that the word balloon should have a tail coming from out of the panel.

    (V.O.) means the dialog is Voice Over, and indicates that what is spoken is narration, and the word balloon doesn't get a tail.

    P.O.V. means Point of View. And indicates that the panel shows what a particular character sees.



    PAGE ONE

    PANEL ONE

    A biggish splash panel.

    A high angle of a prostitute's boudoir, overly fancy and cluttered. A thin, sly looking man sleeps half naked in a rumpled bed, a sated smile on his lips. This is THE ASSASSIN. He is alone, but three human shadows stretch across the bed, touching him, as if three people were casting their shadows from just out of frame.

    His clothes are strewn near the bed. They are black and functional - assassin's wear. A sword, dagger and sword belt hang from a bedpost. There are empty bottles of wine, dirty cups and plates, and a woman's under-garments all over. It generally looks like a good time was had last night.

    The Bride's word balloon comes from the middle shadow.

    THE BRIDE (O.S.)
    Good morning, assassin.


    PANEL TWO

    On the Assassin, opening his eyes and looking puzzled. Close in the foreground in a woman's hand and sleeve, down at her side, seen from behind. (She is standing at the side of the bed, and the camera is behind her.) Her clothes are a bridal costume, but we can't see much of them yet.

    What is important is that her hand and her clothes are transparent. We can see the assassin THROUGH THEM!

    THE BRIDE (O.S.)
    Enjoying the spoils of your latest kill?

    THE ASSASSIN
    Who...?


    PANEL THREE

    A low shot looking up at THE BRIDE, and two shadowed men who stand behind her. We cannot see the men's faces, just their silhouettes.

    The bride we can see. She is a beautiful, but very grave young woman, dressed in a beautiful bridal dress, with her hair done in a fancy, ceremonial style - but she has a trail of blood running from one corner of her mouth and dark blotches on her otherwise perfect skin. She is looking down into the camera.

    THE BRIDE
    You don't remember me?

    PANEL FOUR

    The Assassin, sitting up in the rumpled bed and backing away a bit, looking frightened.

    THE ASSASSIN
    You! The bride! But I killed you!


    PANEL FIVE

    The bathroom of a wealthy house. The bride is naked in the bath, her body twisting in pain. She clutches her throat as her eyes bulge out. An overturned cup on the floor beside the tub is spilling a dark liquid. Her bridal gown is draped over a chair nearby.

    THE BRIDE (O.S.)
    Yes. So another man's daughter could marry the baron.


    PAGE TWO

    PANEL ONE

    And exterior shot of the house the Assassin is sleeping in. At the front door, a BEAUTIFUL PROSTITUTE is letting in THREE SHADY MEN, all with swords and daggers at their belts.

    The Bride's word balloons come from an open window above the front door.

    THE BRIDE (O.S.)
    The suicide love note to my uncle was a clever touch. The scandal ruined my family. My sister was forced to turn to prostitution.


    PANEL TWO

    Back in the prostitute's boudoir, the bride is turning to, and speaking to, the man on her right (our left) who is stepping forward out of the shadows. This is THE COUNCILOR, a thin, older man with a balding head and a long face - and his throat cut from ear to ear. He wears wealthy, sober clothes, but they are soaked from the neck down in blood. He is speaking too, and he is also transparent.

    The third man still remains in the shadows.

    THE BRIDE
    But I am not your only victim.

    THE COUNCILOR
    You killed me too, assassin.


    PANEL THREE

    Close on the Assassin as he stares up at the camera, a hand to his mouth, unnerved.

    THE ASSASSIN
    The councilor!

    THE COUNCILOR (O.S.)
    Yes. Killed by you so another man could gain my position.


    PANEL FOUR

    An exterior shot of a public square. Close on two handsome young men hanging dead from two nooses on a gallows as a crowd watches and a priest and some nobles stand on the platform looking solemn. But one noble isn't solemn. He is staring at the bodies with a smile on his lips, gloating malevolently.

    THE COUNCILOR (V.O.)
    And arranged so it seemed my sons had murdered me, thereby getting them out of his way as well.


    PANEL FIVE

    The Assassin, leaning back, more relaxed, smirking.

    THE ASSASSIN
    My apologies, Councilor...


    PANEL SIX

    A stairway within the house. The beautiful prostitute leads the three shady men up a set of narrow stairs. She is beckoning to the men to follow her.

    THE ASSASSIN (V.O.)
    But I have to admit, I'm rather proud of that one.


    PANEL SEVEN

    Back in the prostitute's boudoir, the third ghost steps out of the shadows. This is another up-shot, and the man is THE GENERAL, a tough looking, powerful older man, his face set in a hard expression. He wears a rich military uniform - but there's an dagger buried to the hilt in his chest. Blood soaks the uniform from the wound.

    The pommel of the dagger is decorated with a crest that looks like the sort of symbol one would see on an ancient flag - an eagle or a wolf or a sword, or something.

    THE GENERAL
    You have reason to be proud. You are a master of your craft. My death was brilliantly done.


    PAGE THREE

    PANEL ONE

    Close on the Assassin again, looking up and even more worried than before.

    THE ASSASSIN
    The General!

    THE GENERAL (O.S.)
    Yes. Killed by you to goad two nations into war.


    PANEL TWO

    The inside of a military tent at night. Torches blaze in the corners, a table is on the left, papers and maps and books cluttering it. Behind and to the right of the table, the Assassin, dressed in his assassin's clothes, is painting the same symbol from the pommel of the dagger on the wall of the tent, and looking back over his shoulder, smiling smugly.

    What he's looking at is the general's body, lying on his back by his desk, with the dagger sticking from his chest.

    THE GENERAL (V.O.)
    Painting the symbol of our enemies above my body was genius. Thousands died in that war. Tens of thousands.


    PANEL THREE

    Back in the prostitute's boudoir, and close on the Assassin, frowning up, both confused and apprehensive.

    THE ASSASSIN
    But I don't understand. Are you here for vengeance? Don't you know ghosts can't hurt the living?


    PANEL FOUR

    A straight on shot of the three ghosts looking down. The Councilor on the left, looking solemn, the Bride in the middle, smiling slyly, and the General on the right, looking angry.

    THE COUNCILOR
    True.

    THE BRIDE
    But a ghost can hurt a ghost.

    THE GENERAL
    For eternity!


    PANEL FIVE

    A medium shot, showing both the Assassin in bed, and the ghosts standing beside it. The Assassin is waving them away with a dismissive hand. The bride smiles down at him sweetly.

    THE ASSASSIN
    Ha! I'm no ghost! I'm in the prime of life. This is but a foolish dream!

    THE BRIDE
    Yes. Only a dream.


    PANEL SIX

    The beautiful prostitute and the shady men are in the upstairs hallway of the house, outside a closed door. The men stand in poses of readiness, their daggers drawn, while the prostitute has one hand on the handle of the door while looking at the men and holding a finger to her lips.

    THE BRIDE (V.O.)
    But yours is not the only dream I visited this night.


    PANEL SEVEN

    Back in the boudoir, and close on the Assassin - but here he is still asleep, still in the same position he was in in the first panel of the first page. (In other words, this is reality, not the dream he's having.)

    THE BRIDE (V.O.)
    While you slept, I visited my sister's dream as well, and told her what you had done to me.


    PANEL EIGHT

    A small inset inside panel seven.

    The sleeping Assassin's eye opens wide, and frightened.

    THE ASSASSIN (V.O.)
    Your sister?


    PAGE FOUR

    PANEL ONE

    The Assassin's P.O.V. A severe upshot of the shady men looming over the bed, daggers raised and off-hands reaching down to grab, as behind them, the beautiful prostitute looks on from the door, both apprehensive and eager.

    THE BRIDE (V.O.)
    Surely you know my sister?
    (another balloon)
    You spent the night with her.


    PANEL TWO

    On the Assassin, on the bed, struggling and terrified, his eyes wide, one of the shady men's gloved hands covering his mouth as the other two hold him down. All we should see of them is their arms and legs, cutting into the panel so that we see the Assassin through the gaps, like we were looking at him through a dark screen of trees.

    THE BRIDE (V.O.)
    She promised me she would do to you what you did to us.


    PANEL THREE

    A big splash panel.

    A wide shot of the three shady men murdering the assassin, who is mostly hidden by their bodies. We can only see his naked legs, flailing desperately as they stab him brutally on the bed.

    On the left side of the panel, the beautiful prostitute stands at the door, one hand on the handle, the other over her mouth, repelled but fascinated.

    To the right side of the panel, the three ghosts stand shoulder to shoulder by the side of the bed, even more transparent than before. Their hands are at their sides, as if they were in their coffins, but they each wear calm, satisfied expressions on their faces as they look approvingly down at the murder.

    THE BRIDE
    We will see you on the other side, assassin.
    (another balloon)
    For eternity.

    THE END

    Last edited by Ilaekae; July 28th, 2008 at 12:58 PM.
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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  3. #2
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    Yay! It's up! I can't wait to see what you guys do with it. I'm so excited!

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    Nice one... will see, if I find the time. The writing lets the images appear infront of my eyes...

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    This is an interesting story, Nathan, with a lot of effects. It might bring back some of the zombie aficionados.

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    <trashtalk>The "I can't write" excuse is not available now. You can lurk if you want, but you will have to admit to yourself: "I hang around on a professional art forum but I'm unable to draw four pages in three weeks." How pathetic is that?</trashtalk>
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    Considering it has my old namesake as the title, I think I've got an edge on you guys. Here's a rough layout/lighting for the first page.

    Working on the second page now...did a couple of breakdowns before settling on the third. Next time I'm going to double that and do six breakdowns first.

    Arttorney: Very curious as to what your final work will look like. and thanks for the info about bleeding! I admire very much the panels of the Akira manga so I imagine I'm drawing alot from it. No pun intended.

    I like what you've done! You're right it's very cartoony and I have to say that there isn't alot of structure which further strengthens the graphic/cartoon feel. That said however, there is a consistency to it which is great! I can see in my lighting alot of inconsistencies between each session.

    Rabbithole: So you're rocking the asian theme eh? Everyone has such different genres going on. Your sketches look good so far!

    Sudsy:
    I really like the alien arabic feel! You handled the hanging scene well n my opinion. You have a nice 2d graphic style going on too. I'd almost suggest keeping the BG's flat as much as you can.

    Donalfall:
    I like the arrangement of the characters in the 2nd to last panel and I esp. love how you have the blood dripping down into the final panel! The only thing I'd suggest is to go higher with the camera so you're looking more downwards on the assassin. Maybe even crop out the head shoulders of the assassin so you only see his arms and legs? Would give you more space to get everyone else in.

    Skorpi: Your pencil sketches remind me alot of the way that I draw with pencil. I hope you have the time to finish the comic!

    Okay well I def. didn't get enough work done on my comic pages. In order to get this done in time, I'm going to have to move away from the fully rendering lighting and switch to a more graphic style. If any of you have ever see Dave McKean's work. You'll see just how much I admire the man.

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    Last edited by Ian Mack; August 16th, 2008 at 03:42 AM.
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  9. #7
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    I'll try, I hope, I find time for this

    Forgive me my bad english

    my sketchbook and my homepage
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    Mr Long, how lenient are you towards adding panels. I'm brand spanking new at this (well, never worked professionally anyway), so I'm not quite sure what kind of limitations are set on the artist. I've read that it varies from writer to writer, just wanted to know how you felt.

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    I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't mind if you thought you needed to jiggle his directions a bit. We all imagine scenes differently and at a different cadence, so it's actually fairly common to make small changes back and forth.

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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    Rabbithole, no problem with that at all. As long as you do your best to tell the story that's there, do what you need to do.

    And great work so far, Arttorney and Ian Mack. It's really exciting to see my words turning into pictures. Carry on!

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    on second thought, after doing the layout, I don't have to make any changes at all. Thanks guys. This is fun.

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  14. #12
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    Thanks for your thanks, Nathan. I hope to tighten this stuff up just a wee bit before the deadline though.
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    Arttorney, Ian Mack, it seems we're the only swinging dicks around here. The story was even written for us. (Oooh, and the noob drops some trash talk!).
    I couldn't quite figure out how to do panel 3 on page 4. Mr. Long, you're killing me.

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    Just showing up in POW is a victory. This is a hard activity, just as Prometheus|ANJ said last time around, because you have to be able to do everything. This story is intensive on the multiple figure panels which is a deal buster for a lot of people. There is a lot of environment work in the boudoir and hanging scene. There are industrial designs in the weapons, the gallows, and the things around in the boudoir.
    I suppose one could toss in creatures in some scenes such as the hanging (horses? Buzzards?). All this, and you have to be able to view like a camera would and letter in a legible fashion.

    Ian Mack= It looks like you are going for a bounded panel look and so the bleed area is just going to be more white. If you are going to go for some kind of break panel or no panel effect then you need to continue stuff right off the edge (but make sure no important stuff ever comes any closer to the edge than two times the width of the bleed area. That way no matter how much the cutting machines shimmy, there won't be a sliver of white showing at the edge of the page and yet none of your important stuff gets cut off.

    You guys are drawing much better than I am at this stage. Keep pressing forward and you will do just great.

    Those of you who haven't started yet: nah nah nah nah!

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    My bathroom is finally finished by this week end (Can you EVEN guess what it's like to squeeze into the kitchen sink for a bath?), so I think I'll have time to do this one. If so, all your asses are grass...NYAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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    Yay! More gladiators enter the ring. Nice work so far, RabbitHole, and I think your solution to 4/3 looks pretty convincing. Carry on. Can't wait to see what our lord and master Ilaekae brings to the table.

    And I want to see pics of him bathing in the sink too.

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    Talking My first swing at this!

    I've been on Concept Art for while, started out with just Daily Sketch Group, now I think I'll take on this activity. Comics have always appealed to me a long time... I appreciate the script! Stories are my week spot. Guess I'm just a grunt... Been there before! We all have to start at the bottom and work our way up in every new thing we attempt.

    I'm only two pages into this particular one...

    <trash talk>...I've got a two year old boy, a 4 month old boy; a furnace to put in, a Jeep to fix, a car to fix, a house to clean, and a lawn in serious need of mowing! So, whats your excuse for "not showing up". I only have nap time to work on my artwork! Thats only 2 pm to 4 pm! Okay, I do get some evenings when my wife lets me.<trash talk>

    (Edited 08AUG08)
    ...three and four are done and inked! I gave up on adding bubbles to the preliminary sketching, to eliminate the inflexible white spaces seen on p. 1. More drawing required, but I like the flexibility it might give me in speech bubbles...

    I did leave a panel out somewhere along the line, on page two. One of the close ups of the assassin got left out on purpose. I wanted him to get a tad cocky and pompous and show it so I attempted to make his body language show as much when the Councilor comes out (after, who would regret killing a blood sucking politician....). Of course, that all disappears shortly...

    Those who haven't started yet, get cranking!

    Should I stick to black and white? Or should I color... Hmmm...

    Last edited by Sudsy; August 9th, 2008 at 01:02 AM. Reason: last couple pages inked
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    Wow, a great spread of replies to this thread. I'm running late for work this minute, but I'll get back for some crits later. I'm just a few days off getting a new computer, so I guess I might even be able to compete in this one.

    Here's some rough thumbnails. The script was good, but cluttered in places for a comic write-up. Page 3 in particular was tough going, don't think it's a success here.

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    Back online in about 9 hours, so I'll smash all of you guys' stuff into the ground then.

    P.O.W.! - All the Comic Challenges you can handle

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    "My first swing at this"
    Ha ha. A little gallows humor from Sudsy.

    I'm about 3/4 done with my actual pencil lettering and I can say the third page was definitely a challenge. I hope I don't butcher Nathan's story too badly here.

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    Hmmm. Now you guys make me want to go back and shave down the text on page 3. Too late for that, I guess. But if this was a project in the real world, that sort of back and forth creative editing is often helpful to a project.

    Do what you gotta do. If you can tell it in less panels, go for it.

    No plan survives contact with the artist....

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    You are getting all your envisioned panels from me. I have done a few things I hope are minimally invasive. (e.g. 'My death was brilliantly done." becomes "My death was done brilliantly." in order to fit things in proper word bubbles.) I know you need to make this story be kind of packed with words or else it would be a ten pager and nobody would enter.

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    The biggest challenge was getting the cliffhanger of the open eye as the last thing on page three. This is why Page 3 is a little packed. I didn't want the reader to see what the assassin sees until they turn the page.

    If you're really doing you job in a comic, you want to have a bit of suspense in the bottom panel of the right hand page, and a reveal at the top of the left hand page. This way the reader gets a little goodie every time they turn a page. I kinda failed to do this on page one, but you do get an "uh oh, what's going on here?' with the first panel on page two.

    (If you're having trouble with too many words, you could lose "Tens of thousands." and change "Don't you know ghosts can't hurt the living?" to, "Ghosts can't hurt the living." and any similar shaving you care to do.)

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  28. #23
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    Red face

    "Sudsy: I really like the alien arabic feel! You handled the hanging scene well n my opinion. You have a nice 2d graphic style going on too. I'd almost suggest keeping the BG's flat as much as you can."

    Ian Mack, I definitely wanted to convey a somewhat un-earthly feel with the familiar culture of Byzantine/Turkish middle eastern feel to it. After all, assassination was fairly common during the middle ages there (along with Italy...). I took your advice on the backgrounds too! Pg. 3 and 4 will reflect your suggestion most.

    Edit: 11AUG08 0910 Alaska time...
    Word bubbles and text complete. T -6 days to deadline...

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    Last edited by Sudsy; August 11th, 2008 at 01:20 PM. Reason: Adding images...
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    Hm I only read the topic today, but I like the idea of someone else writing the story Saves a lot of work. Here's one of the panels so far. It took way too long considering the fact that I need to do many more, but I forgot how much fun it is to do this

    Already planned out most of the pages, so I hope I can get some pages finished before the end of the week. I do intend to deviate a bit from the script (I'm thinking of giving him a name instead of the sentence "Good morning Assassin" as well as changing this: "Enjoying the spoils of your latest endeavour?" as I felt the original version was a bit too much of a give away right at the beginning - it might even solve the problem with the transition from page one to two, as the last image on p. 1 now works to explain what job the assassin has) I hope you are okay with these changes, Nathan?

    Anyway, here's the third panel on page 1. I'll probably run into some major anatomy and composition problems along the way, as characters are definately not my strongest skill, but what the hey:

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    Edit: worked some more on page 1. Having a lot of fun, but also a hard time getting everything right while not having the time to do so Also, changed the murder in the last panel to a more physical one, as it connects the assassin a bit better with the event -his other murders where pretty physical too (and I just had a hard time figuring out where to put the upturned cup..) Maybe I should try to figure out where the text balloons will go, they might have an impact on the overall page composition.

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    Edittheedit: Uploaded the setup for the last page. Need some sleep before I start filling it in with the final drawings. I hope Ilaekae leaves this round open a bit longer, if not, the story is finished in text at least.

    Since Nathan allowed us some freedom with the original script I changed a few parts of the script. I cut some text away, and shifted other parts. The main reasons where either that the image itself already told the story well enough (for example, the image of the general being murdered already showed what the character was saying) and I don't like the text stating exactly what people can see. The second reason is that I'd like to keep the reader a bit in the dark until the end (the original first panel on page where the prostitute opens the door to the 3 shady men, originally the text mentioned the brides sister having become a prostitute combined with the image would give away the story too fast imo). I hope Nathan can forgive for butchering the script

    Last edited by yoitisi; August 18th, 2008 at 07:45 AM.
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    Yoitisi, welcome to the rumble. Nice job on the panel. Those are some good suggestions on the dialog changes. They help retain the mystery until the bottom of the page. By all means give it a try. It does kinda break my attempt to give nobody a name, but I don't know how important that is.

    Sudsy and Donafall, great work. You gonna get the word balloons in there, Sudsy?

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    Nice work, Sudsy. My only critique is in the first panel. People read left to right, and top to bottom, so "Good morning, assassin." should probably be to the left of, or below, "Enjoying the spoils of your latest kill?"

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    I didn't have plans to participate, but the script gave me some strong panel ideas so...we'll see what happens. I took some time out from the thumbnails to doodle character heads.

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    The assassin doodle makes me giggle...and that might be a bad thing. Or a good thing. I dunno.

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    Yoitisi, great panels. Just remember that the bride's assassination is supposed to look like a suicide. Strangling bruises might give the game away.

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    Nathanlong: Hah you're right...I focused too much on the description of that single panel without remembering the explanation on page two. I'll change the panel later on back to the original idea then

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    It's very nice to be back...

    Bit nervous, this is the first time I've entered a challenge since my rubbish 'Student of Prague' story a few months back (my modem melted, so I've had no internet since June!)

    Anyway, here's the first page of my entry;

    P.O.W.! Challenge 12--The Other Side

    Sorry, Mr Long, but I'm afraid I've already taken some liberties with your writing. I'll post up the next few pages tomorrow.

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