Creators Corner: Creating Rebirth of the Gangster, Part 4–Scripting the Action

cover-GN1

Over the summer, I wrote a few parts in a series detailing the creation of my comic Rebirth of the Gangster (on sale now!)

In case you missed it, check out these links to the first three parts-

Part 1: The Birth of the Idea

Part 2: Brainstorming and Outlining the Plot

Part 3: Outline, Synopsis and Chapter Breakdown

Today, I’ll take you through the process of writing a script, showing some of the revisions I made along the way–partially because of some peer feedback you’ll see–along with some of the final art for the first issue, so you can compare and contrast it to the script description.

If you compare the script to the comic, you’ll also see some changes from the script to the comic page, mainly dialogue that’s been rewritten to be more concise, less explicit–in character motivation, not swearing–and  more realistic.  You won’t see a lot of revisions in panel layouts, because I do that in rough sketch form before writing the script pages themselves.

*As you’ll notice, I inserted Google Drawings for the page layouts I imagined most pages having–you’ll probably note a flag/US flag motif in the layouts for many pages, done on purpose.  I always gave him the freedom to change these layouts (as seen in the script by how often I say things like “this is how I possibly view the layout”; I also let him know in emails that he could change the layout).  Eventually, though, I felt like he was being confined by these layouts–even though he sometimes steered clear of them, I think sometimes he used them just because that version was forced into his head.  Because I thought he needed greater control and freedom, by issue 8, I’ve stopped doing this, trusting Juan Romera more, which is one of the lessons I’ve learned on how to be a better collaborator*

Rebirth of the Gangster, Issue #1

 

PAGE ONE, fFlashback (nine panels, standard 3×3 grid, each panel the same size and shape.  If you envision any page laid out differently, though, let me know!  I’m completely open to suggestions.)  I’m using the Dark Horse Comics Script format, seen here.

 

Panel 1.  We open on a completely black panel, starting our story the way all our stories start: in darkness.  This page will be a flashback.  We’ll have a lot of these flashbacks throughout this story, so it would help if you manage to visually separate these pages and panels from the rest of the piece, either by having a different style or even something as simple as creating a different outline for the panel borders. Maybe just the corner of the top left panel and the corner of the bottom right panel is partially cut off/faded to separate it from the present.

 

CAP/MARCUS

“I was born out of darkness into light.”

 

Panel 2.  The fluorescent glare of hospital lights shines through and breaks the darkness.  We see these lights, the ceiling, and that’s it; we’re essentially taking on the perspective of the narrator as a new-born baby.

 

Panel 3.  Now we’ve shifted out of that perspective and are looking down on Marcus, the new-born baby.  A close-up of a screaming baby shakes the borders of this panel.

 

CAP/MARCUS

“But I’m sure I didn’t view it like that.”

 

Panel 4.  We’ve widened our camera angle to see the thrum of a busy hospital room.  Doctor and nurse hover near the hospital bed, standard hospital machines wait for the next birth, and Marcus’s mom and dad hold him, welcoming him into their lives.

 

Panel 5.   Zoom in on a scissors snipping an umbilical cord.

 

CAP/MARCUS

“Unfortunately, as I entered this world of light–”

 

Panel 6.  This panel is similar to panel 4, but now we’ve completely zoomed in on Marcus being held by his mom and dad.  Like all new parents, love radiates from them and his mom’s eyes water.  Marcus continues to howl.

 

Panel 7.  We shift scenes (keeping the voiceover from Marcus).  Now, we’re on the streets of Madison, WI at night.  On the left side of the panel, hands holding a gun creep onto the panel.  The hands clutch the gun as it blasts a few shots, attacker knowing how to prep for the recoil.  On the right side of the panel we see the target of this gunshot: an old, black man (Marcus’ grandfather).  He’s wearing a suit, newly bought.  He’s pushed back by the force of the gunshots, flailing as his feet leave the ground.

 

CAP/MARCUS

“–my grandfather’s flame flickered and fell–”

 

Panel 8.  We’re at the same scene as panel 7, but time has passed, the murder has been discovered, the body is gone, and all we see is a chalk outline of the grandfather’s body.  It’s still night, but we can see this area more illuminated than in panel 7; flashlight beams cut across the chalk outline and this panel.

 

CAP/MARCUS

–leaving my torch to replace his.  But my dad, as always, helped me withfather never let me be dragged down by that weight.

 

[Peer 2 Feedback: This is a little unclear. “Helped me [cope with/come to terms with?] that.” I’m not sure how to revise it exactly, but I feel like a little more specificity would give this line more power.]

 

Panel 9.  We’re at the same scene as panel 8, but now we’re panning out to see the area surrounding this chalk outline.  We still see the outline, but it’s crowded by police tape and cops talking with each other and with witnesses.  Their flashlights still shine against the darkness.  The caption ideally should be at the bottom right of this panel, to help transition into the next page.

 

CAP/MARCUS

“He taught me that I was born out of darkness into light.

rog 1 first page.jpg_large

 

PAGE TWO (four panels: one small panel inserted into another panel–the bigger panel is a widescreen establishing shot; the other two panels are medium/small-sized panels beneath the widescreen one.  Below is how I envision this page’s layout.)  

 

Google Drawing Page Layouts P 2 (1)-page-001

Panel 2.  Pan out to see the ballroom and a crowd of spectators in tuxes, gowns, and other fancy evening wear.  In the top center of this panel, Marcus stands at a podium, continuing his speech with a smile that slips naturally onto his face.  Light and shadows alternately streak across the room, echoing the stripes in an American flag.  

 

At the bottom of this panel, we’ll insert the title and credits.  The title will read “Meet the Family: Marcus–The Future is Mine”.  I envision this title mirroring the flag motif we’ve already set up–if we have color,”Meet the” will appear on top in white lettering and “Family” will be on the bottom in red lettering. “Marcus–The Future is Mine” will stand next to “Family”, but will be in blue.

 

Panel 3.  Zoom in on Marcus at the podium.  A smile is still plastered on his face as he twists to his left (our right), about to introduce his dad.  His left arm stretches out, hand splayed out like a fan, pointing off panel in his dad’s direction.

 

MARCUS:

And that great man is who this night is really about, so let’s get to him. You all didn’t shell out money just to listen to me, and if you did, talk to me later and I can see about getting you your money back.

 

SFX (muted):  

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha

 

Panel 4.  Pan out so we see both Marcus and Curtis, along with the audience.  Curtis is stepping up to the podium.  The audience enthusiastically applauds his introduction.

 

MARCUS:

So without further ado, the man who we’re all here to celebrate.  The man who showed all of us how to come up from nothing and make something of ourselves.  The man who showed me how to take something dark and make it light: my dad, Curtis Thompson.

 

PAGE THREE(six panels, which I envision like the below layout).

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 3 (1)-page-001

Panel 1. Amid continuing applause, Curtis and Marcus hug at the podium.

 

Panel 2. Now we’re looking at Curtis at the podium, an older black man dressed impeccably, with an even bigger smile stretching across his face.  

 

CURTIS:

Thanks Marcus, I couldn’t ask for a better introduction.  And all of you, thank you for coming out.  It’s a huge honor to be in this hall to kickstart my new foundation, and it’s an even bigger honor to celebrate this magical day with so many special people.

 

Panel 3.  Curtis is turning and looking at Marcus, a chuckle escaping his lips at the joke he’s about to tell.  Marcus holds up his hand and is laughing too, waving off his dad’s corny joke.

 

CURTIS:

Even more, thanks for listening to Marcus get all philosophical…as if he doesn’t get enough practice in the courtroom.  But I guess the blame for that falls at my feet too–he inherited my gift of gab, to my delight and the dismay of every crowd forced to listen to him.

 

SFX (muted):  

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha

 

[Peer 2 Feedback: It’s helpful to hear this banter, too–you make both of these guys instantly likable. Nice.]

 

Panel 4. Close up of Curtis giving his speech.  He’s taken on a more serious tone and countenance.

 

CURTIS:

If you’ll bear with me though, I’d like to talk about that path from darkness to light. You all know I haven’t had the easiest path to becoming the success I am.  And unfortunately, that story is still all too common for too many people.

 

Panel 5. Zoom in on the audience, who look like any crowd listening to a speech: a little bit happy and a little bit patiently polite.

 

CURTIS (OP):

Of course not for us, though; we are the lucky ones.  We don’t have to grow up with crime haunting us.  We don’t have to grow up with subpar education.  We want for nothing–”

 

Panel 6.  A waiter stands next to a woman in the crowd, holding a tray topped with glasses of champagne.  The woman is draped in a gorgeous gown as she reaches for the glass of champagne.

 

CURTIS (OP)

“–and we still want more and more.”  

 

PAGE FOUR (4 panels, possibly looking like the layout below)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 4-page-001

Panel 1. Another wide shot of Curtis giving his speech.  If possible, angle it so that the “camera” is behind the woman who picked up the glass of champagne in the previous panel.

 

CURTIS:

 

But I know we can be better. And that’s why I started the Curtis Thompson Charity for Disadvantaged Youth.

 

Panel 2. A shot of the ballroom with people absorbed in conversation.

 

Panel 3. Marcus stands in the middle of a crowd, doing his best to look fascinated by his group’s conversation, but he’s clearly bored.

 

Panel 4.  Same shot as before, only now Marcus is turning his head, his attention being hooked by his mom speaking off panel.

 

ANDREA (OP):

…And speaking of Marcus, I’m going to quick talk to him before he heads out for the night.  MARCUS, LET ME GRAB YOU FOR A SEC!

 

PAGE FIVE (5 panels, possibly looking like the layout below, with the second panel as an inset–making it look like an upside-down US flag–and the last panel smaller than the rest):

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 5-page-001

Panel 1. Marcus and Andrea are walking away from the crowd–towards us–Andrea’s hand on the back of his shoulder, gently guiding him.  Both are smiling, Andrea’s smile looks more authentic.

 

ANDREA:

Thanks againn for making that great speech.  I know you don’t always like this stuff, but I know your dad appreciated it. I do too–it’s nice to see you get all gussied up.

 

MARCUS (small):

Don’t worry about it mom, it was no problem.  But yeah, it’s not really my thing you know?.

 

Panel 2.

Zoom in on Andrea and Marcus.  Andrea is smiling and Marcus is looking at her.

 

ANDREA:
Tell me about it! You know I’d rather be doing something else a little more exciting, but you also know we’ve got to do this.

 

Panel 3. This should mirror the last shot: but Marcus is now smiling and Andrea is looking at him.

 

MARCUS:

I know, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it, right?

 

ANDREA:

Yeah, I guess…if you want to if you want to pout like a little kid! (Everything before this is the final version) pout like a little kid be a little kid about it! (Previous versions had these two phrases in it)

 

Panel 4.  Andrea and Marcus are angled toward us, so that they’re somewhat facing us while still looking to the right of the panel.

 

ANDREA:

But anyways…I see your P.I.C. Alex over there looking to stir up some trouble. , so I guess you’ll want to join him. Don’t get too crazy OK?

 

MARCUS:

Yeah, we’re getting up to something, but I’m sure it won’t be too crazy. Bye, love you mom.

 

ANDREA:

Love you too. Have some fun but not too much fun OK?

 

Panel 5.  Marcus gives Andrea a kiss on the cheek right before he leaves.

 

PAGE SIX (six panels, laid out in a 3×2 grid, all panels the same size)

 

Panel 1.  Marcus and Alex are walking home from the bars–toward the “camera”–both laughing and having a good time, although Alex is stumbling a little, being tripped up by too much to drink.  Madison’s capital is lit up in the background as they waver down State St.  It’s a winter night, although there isn’t any snow on the ground yet, just people walking around bundled in coats, wrapped in scarves, and sporting hats and gloves.

 

SFX (loud):  

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha

 

Panel 2.  Still focused on Marcus and Alex walking home, but they’re smiling now and we’ve zoomed in on just their faces.

 

MARCUS:

You know, I don’t think she knew what she was in for once you started buying drinks.

 

ALEX:

They never do…and neither do I really!

 

Panel 3.  Same shot as before, but now Alex and Marcus are turned to face each other, and panned out enough for us to see that Marcus’s hand is on Alex’s shoulder.

 

MARCUS:

Man, I wish I had a video of her face when you said that to her…that thing about marriage and divorce, you know…

 

ALEX:

Oh, yeah!  “I’m not that into marriage, because sooner or later you have to deal with that whole divorce thing.”

 

Panel 4. Pan out so that we have a view of them walking–the “camera” now sees  them in profile, heading toward the right and a homeless man.  The man is black (African American) has blankets wrapped around him, his head poking out from under a winter hat, and he’s wearing ragged clothes.

 

MARCUS:

Lex, I don’t know how you manage to get any women talking like that, that’s crazy.

 

ALEX:

Oh, it’s part of my charm. Yeah, they can’t get enough of the old Asshole Alex charm.

 

Panel 5.  Same shot as before, only now Marcus and and Alex are closer to the homeless man, who’s reaching out, about to beg for some money.

 

MARCUS:

Yeah, keep telling yourself that and then you won’t be just an asshole for no reason, right?

 

Panel 6.  Same shot, but now zoomed in more and the homeless man is right next to Alex and Marcus; he holds out his hand, hoping for some change and kindness.

 

ALEX:

Ah, fuck you, Mr. Big Shot.  Don’t tell me–

 

HOMELESS MAN:
Excuse me, do you have any extra change?  I just need some cab fare to get to a shelter.  I’ll pay you your money back…I promise.

 

PAGE SEVEN (5 panels–two of these panels will be insets in the biggest panel, the top–one at the top left and the other at the bottom right)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 7-page-001


Panel 1 (the first inset).  We’re zoomed in on the homeless man’s hand, outstretched in a vulnerable request for help: his hand’s a little filthy and full of callouses.

 

Panel 2 (the top big panel).  Profile view similar to panel 6 is the last page, but Alex is now cringing away from the homeless man, and the homeless man is leaning in, still hoping for some help.

 

HOMELESS MAN:

Please, I just need a little help…

 

[Peer 2 Feedback: Could you make it clear that the man is now addressing Marcus? Maybe his speech starts to ease into a plea to a fellow black man? I think it might justify the man’s anger at Marcus more clearly if he was to be ignored here; maybe Marcus turns away his face in shame before Alex slaps the man’s hand away?]

 

Panel 3 (the second inset).  Somewhat similar to panel 1, but we’ve panned out from that enough to see Alex slapping the homeless man’s hand away, pushing the homeless man’s whole body.  I’d like it crossing over into panel 4, so that it’s partly inset in panel 3 and 4, like the example above.

 

Panel 4.  Alex has just pushed the homeless man, who’s falling backward, arms flailing, as Marcus looks on in astonishment.  The homeless man should be falling toward us, so it’s not a pure profile view anymore.

 

Panel 5.  Marcus has finally leaped into action, holding Alex back; Alex’s face and body writhes with anger.  We’re either seeing this from the homeless man’s perspective, or looking over his shoulder so we can see him just starting to prop himself up in a half seated, half laying position that leaves him defenseless.  

 

Why don’t you get off your fucking ass and leave us alonework instead of mooching off the rest of us?

 

MARCUS (burst):

Alex!  Alex!  Leave him alone!  He didn’t do anything–
Rog original page 7 issue 1

 

PAGE EIGHT (six panels, laid out in a 3×2 grid, all panels the same size)

 

Panel 1.  We’re just zoomed in on Marcus and Alex now, and Marcus is still trying to calm down Alex–he’s facing Alex, his back towards the homeless man.

 

Panel 2.  We’ve moved so our focus is now only on the homeless man.  He’s clearly angry, but also a little confused and hurt.

 

HOMELESS MAN:

Yeah, I get it, you gotta protect your asshole buddy.  You all just stick together no matter what, right?  I thought you was my nigga.

 

Panel 3.  We’re now back to focusing on Marcus and Alex.  Alex has calmed down a little, but Marcus is now turned toward the homeless man, a little irritated by what the homeless man said.

 

Panel 4.  We’re focusing on the homeless man again.  He’s getting angrier, hiding his hurt and confusion.

 

HOMELESS MAN:

“You knoweah, man, I thought you were gonna help a nigga out, but I see you’re just like your asshole buddy.  You all just stick together no matter what, right?  I thought you was my nigga.”

 

Panel 5.  Marcus is guiding Alex so they walk away from the homeless man, both trying to avoid further conversation but for different reasons.  This should be a profile view, but angled slightly, so that they’re walking away from us, toward the upper right of the panel; the homeless man is toward the bottom left corner.

 

Panel 6.  Marcus and Alex are still walking away, but now we’ve zoomed in on Marcus, who’s clearly disturbed by this interaction and lost in thought.  He’s walking away–but we’ve shifted angles so we can see him walking towards us with the homeless man barely visible in the background.  Marcus is just going through the motions, the real movement being done inside his head.

 

CAP/DARIAN (He’s saying the same thing in the next scene/page as the homeless man to ease the transition from this page and scene to the next page and scene).

 

“I thought you was my nigga–”

 

PAGE NINE, flashback( 7 panels, possibly looking like the model below; panels 3-5 should hopefully overlap each other and shouldn’t be all parallel to each other–they’ll move slightly diagonally down from left to right to emphasize the action of the hand off).
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 9-page-001

Panel 1.  This panel should somewhat echo the previous panel, to ease the transition from scene-to-scene and page-to-page.  We’ll be focusing on Marcus lost in thought here too, but he’s standing in a back alley and not walking; he’s facing us.  Marcus is 17 years old in this panel, since it’s another flashback.  He’s still wearing nicer clothes than most 17 year olds, but he’s not decked out in full suit, his full formalwear, yet.  I like how you adjusted your style for flashbacks in the sample of page 1 you gave me, so mimic that technique here.

 

Panel 2.  We’re now seeing Darian, a black kid that’s also 17 years old.  He’s built like a football player (muscular, not a fat lineman) which makes sense since he is a football player, and he’s wearing a sweatshirt of his high school team: the Cardinalshe’s wearing his uniform.  Any type of high school football uniform is fine; he plays for a school other than Marcus’s school, though.  He’s acting nice, but there’s an air of threatening energy around him: you can tell that if Marcus crosses him, it won’t end well for Marcus.

 

DARIAN:

Right on time Marky-Mark.  You got it?

 

MARCUS:

Yeah, as long as you’ve got yours.

 

Panel 3. We see Marcus handing Darian an essay he wrote for Darian.  The title should say “Blood and Corruption in Macbeth”, but we don’t need any other visible writing.

 

Panel 4.  Similar to the previous panel, this is another handoff between Marcus and Darian.  This time, though, Darian is handing Marcus a bag of weed (marijuana).

 

Panel 5.  We’ve zoomed out to see Marcus stuffing the bag of weed in his pocket; he’s looking around nervously to watch out for cops or anybody else who shouldn’t be seeing this.

 

Panel 6.  We’re now seeing Marcus nervously trying to slide past Darian.  He’s also nervous because he’s trying to explain to Darian that this is his last time doing something like this.  He’s clearly afraid of Darian blowing up in his face and refusing to accept these changes.

 

MARCUS:

So anyway, Darian, thanks a lot for hooking me up like this, but, uh, I think this is gonna have to be my last time doing something like this.  I can’t, um…

 

Panel 7.  We’ve zoomed in on Darian, who is clearly shocked and not happy with what Marcus is saying.

rog issue 1 p 12-page-001

 

PAGE TEN, flashback (7 panels)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 10-page-001

Panel 1.  This will be a shot of Darian similar to the last panel.  Now he’s a little less startled, though, and starting to get angry.

 

DARIAN:

What do you mean?!?  I thought you was my nigga…Right?”

 

Panel 2. This won’t have any panel borders or any background.  It’ll just be a shot of Darian facing right, advancing on Marcus, so that when he’s grabbing Marcus in panel 3, it’s a smoother transition and display of the action leading up to it.  He should have his arms at least partially outstretched–his back angled toward us and the hands angled toward panel 3 and pointing “inside” the page, away from the direction his back is facing.

 

Panel 3.  We’re zoomed in so we see Darian’s hands grabbing Marcus’ shirt at the shoulders.   Marcus is clearly scared.

 

DARIAN:

You know that, right?I know you really wouldn’t like what I’d do to you if you left me hanging.

 

Panel 4.  We’re now zoomed in so we only see Marcus’s face.  He’s startled, and he’s stammering, trying to talk his way out of a beat down.

 

MARCUS:

You know I’m not going to say anything, um I mean...I mean, I’m just not comfortable with this…I mean….you know what?  I guess I could do this one more time.  I mean we have that big research paper coming up soon…

 

Panel 5.  This shot should in some ways mirror panel 3, but now Darian is wiping off Marcus’s shoulders, straightening the wrinkles he caused in Marcus’s shirt.  Marcus is still rattled, but he’s not as afraid as he was in panel 3.  At the bottom right of this panel, a police siren cuts in.

 

SFX (burst):

Woop woop!

 

Panel 6. We now see a cop car that has approached, its lights flashing.  Marcus and Darian both look scared, petrified, and they’re both looking around for an escape route, although there is none.

 

POLICE:

Keep your hands where we can see them and don’t try anything reckless now…

 

Panel 7.  We see Marcus with his hands now handcuffed behind him.  He’s being led into a police car, the cop pushing Marcus’s head down so he doesn’t bump his head when getting into the back of the police car.  Make sure we can see the handcuffs because our next page will focus on somebody else who is handcuffed, and it’ll be a stronger scene-to-scene and page-to-page transition if we emphasize that detail.  That next page will take us out of the flashback to the present, and it’s important for us to make that switch as easy on the reader as possible.

PAGE ELEVEN (6 panels)

 

Panel 1.  Similar to the last panel, we see another pair of black hands in handcuffs.  This panel should only let us see the hands and handcuffs, though.

 

Panel 2.  Zoom out so that we now see a cop leading Devonte (an African-American man in his early twenties, wearing the orange clothes of a prisoner) to his seat in a courtroom.

 

Panel 3.  Zoom back in: we have a similar shot to panel 1, but we see that the cops taken off the handcuffs now–just show us hands and forearms.

 

Panel 4.  A shot of Devonte sitting down.  He’s clearly scared, but trying to put on a brave face unsuccessfully.

 

Panel 5.  Pan out so that we can see Devonte in the foreground, but our main focus should be on the next table over: Marcus is sitting in his suit with a briefcase in front of him.  Next to him is Kaitlyn, another lawyer.  She’s a black woman, about Marcus’s age, but has a little more swagger than him; her hair comes down in braids almost like dreadlocks, but not quite that unprofessional. .  She’s fit, tall, and dressed in a nice suit.,  She’ll be a big part of our story, but this scene will just briefly introduce her and Devonte, another important character later.

 

Panel 6.  A widescreen establishing shot of the courtroom, with Marcus, Kaitlyn, Devonte, Devonte’s lawyer, cops, a jury, and a judge.  

 

PAGE TWELVE (6 panels in a 3×2 grid, all panels the same size, except for the second-to-last panel and the last panel.  The second to last panel is a little bigger, and the last panel is a little smaller to create an introspective, claustrophobic feel)

 

Panel 1.  Focus on the judge as he’s sentencing Devonte.  The judge is an old white man, and he looks stern, glaring at Devonte in disapproval.

 

JUDGE:

For being found guilty of possessing Schedule I Narcotics, this court sentences you to 3 ½ years in prison.  I truly hope that you will use that time to reflect on the road that took you here Mr. Robinson.

 

Panel 2. Devonte is a little angry at the verdict, but more importantly he’s desperate and begging the judge to reconsider.

 

DEVONTE:

I told you!  It wasn’t mine!  You gotta reconsider, please.   I know I made some bad choices in who I hung out with, but it’s not fair!  Not just because I was there…

 

Panel 3.  Marcus is looking at Devonte with conflicting emotions.  He’s upset at this verdict, because he was in Devonte’s same shoes (charged with drug possession), but he’s also recoiling at Devonte’s outburst, thinking it’s inappropriate behavior.

 

Panel 4.  The cops drag Devonte out of the court, Devonte still yelling and pleading his case.

 

Panel 5.  Kaitlyn is standing up with her briefcase in hand, looking down at Marcus, who’s barely moved during this spectacle.  She looks concerned for him, but he just looks lost in thought.

 

KAITLYN:

Another one for the good guys!  Nice work….Everything alright Marcus?

 

MARCUS:

Huh?  Oh, yeah, it’s all good.  Why don’t you head on back to the office and I’ll meet you there?

 

KAITLYN:

…OK, I’ll see ya there.

 

Panel 6.  The courtroom is empty except for Marcus, clearly lost in thought about this case and its connections to his past.

 

PAGE THIRTEEN, flashback (4 panels)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 13-page-001

Panel 1.  We’re back in another flashback now.  This one takes place after Marcus is arrested.  He’s about to be released: he’s sitting in a waiting room, looking as lost and lonely as he did in the panel at the end of the last page.  This shot should closely echo the shot of the last page; it’s in a different setting (the waiting room) and Marcus is younger, but we have the same angle and tone to this shot.

 

Panel 2.  Curtis has opened the door and is walking through it; the door should be on the left of the panel for natural movement and flow.

 

Panel 3. Curtis has closed the door, and is now standing by Marcus, hands on his hips, head lowered in a disapproving gaze.

 

Panel 4. Curtis sits down next to Marcus; Curtis is leaned forward, so that he’s facing the reader, not Marcus; his hands are on his knees.  He has a serious look on his face, but it’s hard to read.

 

PAGE FOURTEEN, flashback (5 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 14-page-001

Panel 1.  Curtis turns to look at Marcus.

 

CURTIS: I can’t believe you’d do something so idiotic.  What were you thinking?  How could you do this to our family?

 

Panel 2. Marcus stares straight ahead–he’s in the typical teenage mode of fuming and sulking instead of responding to authority.

 

Panel 3. Curtis is starting to get angrier, leaning in closer to Marcus as he lectures him.

 

CURTIS: I asked you a question. Answering’s not optional.

 

Panel 4. Same shot as Panel 2–Marcus staring straight ahead.

 

Panel 5. Curtis is now standing, towering over Marcus.  Curtis is yelling at Marcus, and Curtis has his arms outstretched.  Marcus cowers in fear, shrinking away from Curtis.

 

CURTIS: Listen to me!  You have no idea what you’re throwing away here! If you’re grandpa was here to see you acting like some fucking fool–

 

PAGE FIFTEEN, flashback (5 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 15-page-001

Panel 1. Marcus stands up and yells in Curtis’s face, causing Curtis to momentarily back away.

 

MARCUS: Don’t even fucking do that!  Like grandpa has anything to do with this!  You’re just mad because I can’t be fucking perfect like you!

 

Panel 2. Curtis steps back towards Marcus, even angrier.

 

CURTIS: Son, you don’t even know what you’re talking about.  You have no idea what I’ve had to do to get us where we’re at…I’m not going to have you waste it all.  Not when–

 

Panel 3.  Marcus pushes past Curtis, making Curtis fly back against the wall.

 

MARCUS: Get off my back!  I never needed your money and I definitely don’t need you!

 

Panel 4.  Marcus swings the door open and exits, leaving Curtis stunned.

 

Panel 5. Curtis is looking at where Marcus had been sitting.  He’s lost in thought, clearly disturbed, but by more than this argument–Marcus is starting to act like the gangster Curtis was.

 

PAGE SIXTEEN (4 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 16-page-001

Panel 1. Marcus and Alex are standing at a convenience store, strolling through the aisles, picking up items here and there.

 

ALEX:
So why are you worrying so much about him, huh?  Dude got caught…he just had to be smarter about being dumb.

 

Panel 2.  Similar shot as panel 1, but zoomed in.

 

MARCUS:

Yeah, I know, but there’s something that doesn’t sit right with me.  I don’t know…

 

ALEX:

I’ve said it time and time again, but you’re too serious for your own good, Marky Mark. You gotta figure out how to relax.  Maybe that kid doesn’t have too bad an idea with indulging in a little recreational, how should I put it?

 

Panel 3.  Just zoomed in on Marcus now, who’s a little upset, but trying to cover it up.

 

MARCUS:

….You know I don’t do that stuff, so just drop it.

 

Panel 4. Similar to panel 4, but zoomed in more, with a robber’s voice coming from off panel.

 

ROBBER 1:

Alright, nobody move!  We do this quickly and nobody gets hurt!
Rog issue 1 p 19-page-001

PAGE SEVENTEEN (5 panels)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 17-page-001

Panel 1.  Two robbers enter the convenience store through a pair of sliding doors.  They’re dressed all in black with ski masks and gloves.  They both wave their guns around, one waving to the left and the other waving to the right.  One is yelling, and the other (Hunter) is quiet.

 

ROBBER 1:

We don’t want any trouble, but we’re not afraid to start some shit either.  Don’t test us!

 

Panel 2. The robbers have moved to the cash register and are pointing their guns at him.

 

ROBBER 1:

Alright, man, just put the fucking bills in the bag and we’ll be on our way.  It’s not worth your life, just remember that.

 

Panel 3. Pan out so that we see the whole convenience store: Hunter and the other robber are still focused on the cashier, who’s hurrying to put the money in the bag.  Marcus and Alex are crouching behind a series of shelves with candy and other snacks a stall where they can’t see them.  Nearby, there’s a stand with newspapers on it.  We can’t see any of the articles or pictures yet.

 

Panel 4. Zoom in on Hunter and the other robber.  Robber 1 is pointing at Hunter, while he waves his gun in the direction of Alex and Marcus.

 

Panel 5.  Hunter strides away from the other robber, mouth grimly set, eyes focused forward.

 

PAGE EIGHTEEN (3 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 18-page-001

Panel 1.  Hunter is walking towards Marcus and Alex.  We see this from a perspective that has Marcus and Alex in the foreground and Hunter in the background, striding toward us.

 

Panel 2. Hunter is moving towards the right of the panel, gun at his side.  We only see Marcus in this panel, not Marcus and Alex.

 

Panel 3.  Hunter has found Marcus and Alex, who are still crouched behind the shelves, clearly scared.  He points his gun at them.

 

HUNTER (ROBBER 2):

Stand up slowly, go walk over to that corner, and face it.  Slowly. so I can only see your backs.

 

PAGE NINETEEN (5 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 19-page-001

Panel 1.  Alex talks back, looking indignant.  He’s pointing at the stand with the newspapers on it.

 

ALEX:

You have no idea what kind of trouble you’re about to bring down. Do you even know who this guy is?  Look at that if you don’t believe me.

 

Panel 2.  We’ve zoomed in to see one of the newspapers, The Capital Times.  It reads, “Curtis Thompson Writes a Check He Can Certainly Cash”.  Underneath the headline, we see a picture of both Marcus and Curtis from the ball that started this issue.

 

Panel 3.  Hunter has taken a step back, and puts one hand on a shelf behind him, clearly upset. His mouth hangs open and his eyes are stretched open in disbelief.

 

Panel 4.  Marcus has his hands up and is also clearly upset that Alex made this comment.

 

MARCUS:

Don’t listen to him, sir.  We don’t want any trouble, now or after this.  Come on, Alex, let’s do what he says.

 

Panel 5. We’re now seeing Robber 1 and the cashier again.  Robber 1 has the bag of money, and the cashier is backed up with his hands up.  Robber 1 is looking at the cashier but speaking to Hunter.

 

ROBBER 1:

What’s the hold up?   We all good?

 

PAGE TWENTY (4 panels)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 20-page-001

Panel 1.  Hunter swings his gun down on top of Marcus’s head; Alex backs away from both of them.

 

Panel 2.  Marcus is falling to the ground.

 

Panel 3. Hunter stands still, expression unreadable.

 

Panel 4.  Robber 1 is at the door now, turned toward Marcus, yelling.

 

ROBBER 1: What are you doing?  Let’s go, let’s go!

 

PAGE TWENTY-ONE (5 panels)

Google Drawing Page Layouts p 21-page-001

Panel 1. We see the feet of Hunter and the other robber as they’re running towards a car at the far right of the panel.  We have a low camera angle here, so we only see feet, legs and the bottom half of the car.

 

Panel 2. This shot is similar to panel 1: it’s the same angle, but we can only see the car with its door open; Hunter and the other robber are already in the car.

 

Panel 3. The same angle, but now the car door has closed and the car is moving, pulling away from the robber in a quick getaway.

 

Panel 4.  We’re inside the car now; there are three men, all wearing ski masks and gloves.  The getaway driver is new, wearing a mask, and fat; the man in the passenger seat up front is the robber; the man in back is Hunter, although he hasn’t removed his mask yet.  The robber (in the passenger seat) is turned around, yelling at Hunter.

 

ROBBER 1:

What the fuck was that?

 

Panel 5. Hunter has taken his mask off.  He’s trying to pretend like it’s no big deal, but there’s clearly something bothering him.  His gloves are also off, one on his lap.

 

HUNTER:

Nothing, don’t worry about it.

Rog issue 1 p 24-page-001

PAGE TWENTY-TWO (4 panels: panels 1-3 are inset into panel 1, which is a whole page spread)
Google Drawing Page Layouts p 22-page-001

Panel 1.  We’re back in the convenience store.  Marcus is starting to get up, but he should be close to the ground, with at least one knee on the ground and his two hands pushing himself up from the floor–the other two panels will show him halfway up and then all the way up.

 

Panel 2.  Marcus is halfway up; his knees are no longer on the floor, but he’s not fully standing.

 

Panel 3.  Marcus is completely standing, still in shock over the events.

 

Panel 4.  We see a Hunter’s lap with the glove still on it and his bare hand holding a photo.  That photo shows a young Curtis standing with his arm around the shoulder of Hunter’s dad, John.  John has long hair like Hunter, but he has a full beard.  Both John and Curtis are smiling.  

 

Based on the feedback from publishers–more on that in a later post–I added a page in between page 6 and 7 to justify Alex’s reaction more.  Here’s that page:

NEW PAGE SEVEN (six panels–two rows of threee panels each; top row–panel 1 is smallest in the row, panel 2 is bigger and panel 3 is biggest in the row; bottom row–panel 4 is biggest in the row, panel 5 is a little smaller, and panel 6 is the smallest in the row.)

 

Panel 1.  Zoom in on Alex’s face as he’s trying to shrug off the homeless man’s plea.  His hands are raised in a dismissive gesture.

 

ALEX:

Sorry, man, I can’t help you.

 

Panel 2.  Alex is on the left side of this panel; the homeless man is on the right side of the panel, stepping towards Alex.  The homeless man has one hand held out.

 

HOMELESS MAN:

Come on nigga…We both know you’ve got some skirlla to share.

 

Panel 3.  Alex is clearly getting angry and a little worried, but he’s trying to back up from the homeless man and get away from the situation.

 

ALEX:

 

NEW PAGE SEVEN (continued)

 

Panel 4. Alex has stopped backing up now.  He’s changed his mind, and his face is now resolved to a new course of action, but he’s very calm looking.

 

Panel 5. Alex is now moving towards the homeless man.  The homeless man has stopped stepping towards Alex, and the homeless man is looking a little worried, but he still has his hand held out.

 

ALEX:
You know what? Yeah I do. But not with you.   Maybe if you got a job…

 

Panel 6.  The homeless man is standing up straight, looking at Alex.  (Alex is off panel though).  He still holds his hand out, but he’s now looking more confident and righteously angry.

 

HOMELESS MAN:
Yeah that’s more like it.  Nigga finally being honest up in here.  Least you can do one thing right.

Rog issue 1 p 07 resized for printing-page-001

That’s it for this installment of “Behind Rebirth of the Gangster“.  Join us next time, and in the meantime, check out all installments of Rebirth of the Gangster or visit me at my site.

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