For Mechanaflux #1, I had put the transition from the original screenplay to finished comic book to show how Mechanaflux changed between all the versions. This time, I’m going to chose a page from Issue #2 and do that again. This page is the arrival of Redwing the dragon from my initial draft.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Five more Mecheers emerge to their left as they run by a building.

Jackson, Cory, and Arad pick up their pace and run closer behind Gluss, Darius and Maria. They reach the edge of the town and run into the Metal Plains. From behind, they see over fifty Mecheers marching toward them.

JACKSON

            How are we supposed to avoid so many of those things?

ANGLE ON: Ariel shot of the group with sunlight shining on them. A shadow covers them as something flies over their heads, then leaves.

DARIUS

            We don’t.

A giant red dragon (four stories tall) hovers above the ground, then lands in front of the group. The dragon’s neck sways upward and coughs. He coughs again, then fire breathes from his mouth into the air. Jackson, Arad, and Cory stare at the dragon, eyes wide open. Jackson covers the boys as if the dragon will attack them.

As the dragon lowers his head, the boys notice that he wears glasses. The dragon speaks with an intelligent British accent.

REDWING

            That insidious metal dust can’t be good for my lungs.

REDWING

            Darius old friend, I see you’ve gotten yourself in a spot of trouble. Take cover.

Darius, Gluss, and Maria run behind Redwing’s leg. They motion for the others to follow. Arad, Jackson, and Cory look at the dragon. Then, they look at the army behind them. They immediately run behind Redwing.

Redwing summons a breath in his throat, then lets loose a humongous amount of flame.

ANGLE ON: The Mecheers walking forward toward Redwing as fire engulfs them all. The camera pans back to show more Mecheers, and even some buildings, getting taken out by the fire.

Redwing breathes smoke from his mouth then moves his hand up to his face.

REDWING

            One day Darius, I hope you won’t need my violent skills.

REDWING

            Gluss, are you alright?

GLUSS

            I’ll be fine.

REDWING

            And who are these young friends of yours?

Redwing walks away from them, turns his body around, then lays down so his head will be closer to them.

END SCREENPLAY


After Redwing appears, he suddenly attacks the Mecheers. What, did he destroy all 50 of them I mentioned? Later, I’d make them run away, because Redwing couldn’t be all powerful in the plot (as seen in Issue #3). Plus, him attacking the Mecheers in my comic in 3 different instances would get repetitive. Also, my dialogue continues for 2 more pages. I won’t bore you with it, but will tell you most of it was cut.


COMIC BOOK SCRIPT

Page 6

5 – Arad, Jackson, & Cory are now standing at the edge of town, in the Metal Plains. Buildings are at least 100 yards away from them.

      JACKSON: This is ridiculous.

6 – Jackson turns toward where they ran. In the distance, there are at least 50 Mecheers walking toward them.

      ARAD: Come on, how are we supposed to avoid so many of those things?

7 – ANGLE ON: Ariel shot of the group with sunlight shining on them. However, there is a dragon shaped silhouette directly above them.

8 – CLOSE-UP of Darius’ face. She is smiling, while still covered by the shadow above.

      DARIUS: We don’t.

Page 7

EXT: TOLT – OUTER EDGE OF THE CITY – (METAL PLAINS)

1 – A giant red dragon (Redwing) appears before the group. Redwing wears glasses. Redwing shouldn’t be so large that he appears as if he can take anything. He should be smaller than most sizes you see on dragon books (or Dungeon & Dragon’s manuals)

2 – Redwing coughs. Some fire emerges from his breath, but doesn’t reach the ground. It stops short of Arad, Jackson, & Cory, scaring them.

3 – Jackson acts like a protective older brother and uses his hands to block Cory and Arad from going near the dragon. Arad looks amazed. Cory looks confused. Jackson looks defensive.

4 – Redwing’s head is now lowered toward Darius.

      REDWING: Sorry about that old friend, but flying through the Metal Plains is bad for my lungs.

      REDWING: I suggest you climb aboard before those metal heathens get clos…oh, no.

5 – Redwing raises his head and turns away from the city, looking past Arad, Cory, & Jackson.

      REDWING: A rust storm. Everyone, get on quickly.

6 – Close-Up of Cory, Arad, & Jackson looking frozen in terror.

Panels 7, 8, & 9 are the same long line and should be together at the bottom. One of the kid’s heads should be at the bottom of each panel.

7 – To the left, on Panel #7, an army of Mecheers approaches them.

8 – Directly in front, is the giant Red Dragon.

9 – To the right, is a piercing metallic storm tornado.

I had considered putting blue energy (Darius’ sleep spell) seeping and increasing with each panel.

END COMIC BOOK SCRIPT


      The original wasn’t dramatic enough. Redwing met the cast outside the city, and it was supposed to indicate that the Mecheers were on their way, but not so close that they can’t all talk for a bit. I increased the the intensity a bit by having them coming closer quicker. Then, in the actual comic below, you will see that the Mecheers were just already in their face. I did just notices that both times I had Redwing cough fire and scare the kids, but there wasn’t enough space to do this in the actual pages. He also didn’t acknowledge Gluss’ injury, but then that was very minor and not important enough to keep.


THUMBNAILS

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I then wrote on the thumbnails some small corrections. My biggest concern was how Redwing was going to talk to them after landing if they were completely surrounded by Mecheers. Solved that by having him land directly over them and causing a shockwave that knocks most of them down. Hopefully he doesn’t appear too powerful, as his skin isn’t immune to the Mecheer’s blasts. Also, after this phase, my artist thought of a way to make the final panels more suspenseful, which we’ll see next week.


FINAL ART

Here are the final pages (minus the lettering). Hope you enjoyed this step-by-step journey.

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      Sometimes you have ideas, look back at them, and wonder how in the bloody hell you could have written something so stupid. Growing up, I watched the He-Man and She-Ra movie, and had the movie story on Cassette, too, so I remember almost everything about it. I also had many of the action figures as well, including this awesome 3 building playset, and one of the buildings was an awesome snake tower. Interestingly, I never saw a single He-Man or She-Ra episode, only the animated movie.

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      One night in college, I watched the He-Man movie, and I was just like, “What the hell. I could write a better movie than this.” So, sleep deprived around 2am I wrote a quick summary, filed it away, and never saw it again…until now. Let’s see just what I wrote. All grammar errors are kept intact from my stream of consciousness. I make comments on my notes in parenthesis and bold.

START NOTES

      “Main villain Hordak (I always preferred Hordak’s design and character to Skeletor). Kidnaps She-Ra when she is a baby, leaving note he could have taken either baby. King’s wife interferes and Hordak kills her. Leaves to other dimension (This is a really dark opening).

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For those that don’t know, this is Hordak.

      “Hordak trying to merge both worlds by draining the life essence out of people (What the hell? Where did this come from?). He-Man finds out about the other dimension in the final assault on Skeletor’s castle. He finds documents about it inside (So, screw origin stories, let’s get right to the battle). Skeletor falls into a pit and seemingly dies. Defender of Castle Greyskull says there is a device to enter other dimension in the basement of Castle Greyskull, guarded by a guardian and puzzles (because of course).

      “Perhaps have He-Man learn of other dimensions through his animal because they are connected –Battlecat/Horse – and they create portals (No…Just no).

      “Once in the other dimension, finds She-Ra leading her own army against Hordak. She was apparently raised by Hordak and revolted against him (Hey, in the movie, He-Man had to convince her Hordak was evil, but apparently in my draft she was smart enough to find out on her own). She had found a sword that turned her into this and she escaped.

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For those who don’t know, this is She-Ra

      “Final Battle: He-Man battles Hordak while he sends She-Ra to stop the merger of worlds which will kill millions (was I watching Sliders or something around this time?). He-Man wins, barely. Then red Skeletor appears. Has a rotating room with spikes they fight on (what, am I putting Mortal Kombat in here now?). Skeletor more powerful (I think I made his bones red to indicate this), and he explains why; he has mastered reincarnation spells (sure, why not, this is just a hodgepodge of ideas at this point, why not toss Ninja Scroll into it, too). Skeletor announces he lured He-Man played everyone (go grammer). Outside, it looks like Hordak’s forces defeated, but Skeletor army was waiting for He-Man and Hordak’s army to thin out. He-Man cannot win because Skeletor cannot die. Skeletor kills He-Man (so this isn’t a kid’s movie?).

      “Defender of Greyskull, the girl with wings (I guess I couldn’t remember her name) says she can merge He-Man’s power with hers. She-Ra gains twice the power and defeats Skeletor (so, I guess my preference for hero was She-Ra, even though I called my movie He-Man).

      “Skeletor will reincarnate somewhere else and no one will be able to stop him because He-Man and She-Ra will be too old. She-Ra must decide to let Skeletor possibly win in the future, or kill herself (Shawn, this is supposed to be for kids!) and have her and He-Man be resurrected later to stop him. She must act before He-Man’s powers cannot be returned. Defender of Greyskull casts the spell and She-Ra stabs and kills herself (Jesus Christ!).

      “Show twins being born. Show a man born elsewhere with a skull birthmark, but man raises him anyway (how nice of him).”

END NOTES

You can tell I didn’t bother to ever edit my ideas ever, and just put it down and forgot about it forever. Reincarnating in a different body as a baby is not the same as falling off a cliff and not dying, by the way. Also, how is Skeletor not able to die, but somehow She-Ra kills him. And what the hell is wrong with me by having their mother murdered, He-Man killed by his main villain, and having She-Ra kill herself? Anyway, this is probably why I shouldn’t be writing fan fiction, and maybe this is one time I shouldn’t be writing for Hollywood.

FINAL WORDS: So, I had the Battle Damaged He-Man and Skeletor as a kid, and they had 3 chest options: regular, one sword slash, or two sword slashes. You could flip through them to imitate them cutting each other. Maybe subconsciously I brought that aspect of them cutting people with swords into my movie.

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Also, apparently blood doesn’t exist in your body until you turn 18.

I present to you a preview of Page 6 of Mechanaflux, my new Fantasy All-Ages Comic Book. Here, I will start with the original movie script, going from its jounrey to comic book adaptation script, to thumbnails, to pencils, to colored, and then to it’s final verison. Over the course of the next few weeks will show you the different steps and versions that it took to make this page to completion. First up, here is the rough draft of the script (I can’t seem to find my final draft for some reason):


First up, is the original Mechanflux script. I wrote this as a 100 page feature length movie for my Screenwriting Class at Southampton College.

MOVIE SCRIPT

EXT: TOLT – FRONT OF WOLT’S HOUSE

The town is on fire in all directions. The sounds of hundreds of MECHEERS stampede through the town.

EXT: TOLT – DARIUS’ HOUSE

Darius runs toward his house, carrying the two children. He turns his head toward voices.

MECHEERS
                   FIND AMULET. DESTROY.

INT: TOLT – DARIUS’ HOUSE

Darius closes the door. He runs to his basement steps, but then he hears steam signaling the rise of the arm cannon. A blast destroys his door and wall. The door crumbles to the ground.

ANGLE ON: Darius through the MECHEERS arm cannon.

Darius’ blue eyes turn darker blue as green fire forms near his eyes, growing larger as it moves forward. Darius raises his head toward the ceiling. Another green fire ball shoots from his eyes, grows larger as it moves forward, and destroys the upper walls. He jumps into his basement, holding the children, then another blast fires up from the basement and destroys the other upper walls. The Mecheer pushes itself up, but as soon as it straightens its body out, the ceiling falls and crushes the Mecheer. The building burns.

FADE OUT

ROLL OPENING CREDITS

END MOVIE SCRIPT

Now, this is the initial draft. I was excited writing this story, but it was obviously only ever going to either be a $150 million dollar+ movie or an animated movie. However, I realized I could feasibly make it a comic book. A few years later, I would be determined to make my screenplay into comic book form. Of course, that meant rewriting the entire script to fit the format of a comic book. Here is the first draft of that.


COMIC BOOK SCRIPT

Page 5

Panel 4 – Pull out to show the entire town (similar to Page 1, Panel 1) only now the entire city is on fire. Fire is ravaging many buildings. Smoke stretches outward.

Panel 5 – Darius is now inside her house, where she lives alone. She is holding the children _____ and ____. Her house is decorated with many spellbooks on the floor, as she is a messy individual, and her walls are adorned with tapestries of landscapes.

DARIUS
                          We’re here children. Soon we will escape this place.

Panel 6 – Darius’ front door caves in from a Mecheer’s fist.

Panel 7 – Angle On: Darius through the MECHEERS arm cannon.

MECHEER
                         Attention all Mecheers. Amulet Identified.


Page 6 – Darius’ house (interior and exterior), Tolt in flames.

Panel 1 – Focus On: Darius’ blue eyes turn red.

Panel 2 – Flames appear near Darius and begin to grow.

Panel 3 – Flames erupt outward, burning the Mecheer and pushing it backwards out the door. This can be seen from the outside, with the Mecheer being flung outside with a few other Mecheers in the vicinity.

Panel 4 – Darius (holding the children) runs down into her basement stairs.

Panel 5 – Outside, the fallen Mecheer (still on the ground) readies its arm cannon, along with other Mecheers.

END COMIC SCRIPT

You can see the only major change is that instead of the Mecheer getting up and having the house fall on it, now Darius simply cuts it down. Originally, I had the Mecheer rising to show how resilient and dangerous they are, but realized that it took up too much time and was cut early on in the comic script phase. In addition, I already have 3 panels of the Mecheers destroying the town and that was probably enough to convey their threat (this appears on the 3 panels right before this page). Also, Darius previously heard the Mecheer before it approached and crushed the house in, to indicate the immediate threat, but that really would only work better on film than on a comic page.


THUMBNAILS

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Before the comic book began, my artist made my entire script into thumbnails of the entire issue, and what you see marked on it is me making many notes, in addition to me placing many arrows here and there, moving panels around, and removing others. Page 6 & 7 of the thumbnails are present, but as you will see later, the entire page was condensed a lot more. Also, I finally got the colors of magic down and exact way this world’s spells (or energy) are used, so you will later see that Darius no longer uses red energy and/or flames; everyone only uses Energy itself as a weapon. Also, notice that Darius is no longer in her home, as running to her home from the Mecheers give it a better sense of urgency. Should also mention that I changed Darius from a man to a woman, but my artist stated she wanted to keep the name Darius for her.

On Page 6, there is another panel above that I removed, and the same with Page 7, where I removed the bottom panels (so as to avoid too many spoilers and so you only see the process for this page)


PENCILS

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Above are the pencils of the page. If you can’t tell, my artist goes all digital.


FINAL COLORED PAGE

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There it is; the final pages, from writer and artist (over the course of multiple conversations). For some reason, it looks a little brighter than on my computer and in the physical comic book than it does here, because somehow the first half of the issue saved as CMYK format. Something that will have to be altered when I publish this as a webcomic (if I can figure out how).