C21st GODS - THE SCRIPT
1. A graphic page, as per Page 23, but now the tentacles and blood are overwhelming the water, perhaps mixed in with a few chunks of more ambiguous matter. This is dead CTHULHU, but we shouldn't realise that at this point, so let's keep the image as abstract as possible.
1. A run-down commercial marina. CONNOR is handing over cash to a dodgy-looking harbourmaster for a small, dilapidated cabin cruiser moored behind them. CONNOR is dressed in army surplus, Taxi Driver style, is wearing a large rucksack, and has an equally large duffel bag slung over one shoulder.
I still had resources.
2. CONNOR, now without his bags, is in the wheelhouse of the boat, steering. There's nothing but open water ahead of him.
Favours owed. A few people I could call friends.
3. Our perspective tilts, and now we can see that the duffel bag CONNOR was carrying is open at his feet. It's full of plastic explosives.
I got what I needed.
1. Long, external view of the boat, high angle. The boat is cutting easily through calm water beneath a clear sky.
2. As panel 1, but now it's night, and the water is a little less calm.
3. As panel 1, but the water is growing rough and the sky has a tint of grey to it.
4. Another panel similar to the previous one, but the angle of our view is steeper, so that we can see far ahead of the boat. It's heading towards a weird patch of localized storm in the distance, almost like a detached mushroom cloud. Around that cloud, the water is stormy and white-capped.
1. Inside the boat. An exhausted CONNOR has fallen asleep draped over the wheel.
2. CONNOR wakes with a start.
3. CONNOR stares out the window, perhaps with his hands on it, obviously shocked by what he's seeing.
4. CONNOR hurries out onto the deck, his bag slung over one shoulder.
1. Full page panel. Our view has crash-zoomed out, and now we can see that the boat - in the near F/G - is, incomprehensibly, landlocked. Though there's no sea in view, it's somehow run aground on an island of angular black volcanic rock. There are hints of ruined structures in the distance, cyclopean columns and shattered arches, all carved from the same dark rock.
Let's make sure that CONNOR is visible on the deck of the boat, tiny, to emphasise the sense of scale.
The only significant geographic feature on the island is mentioned on page 54, a high outcrop on the farther side. Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of this here and again over the next few pages, to convey that CONNOR is moving steadily towards it.
It should be late afternoon, the sun close to going down, so that the sky has ominous reds and yellows in it and we can have plenty of creepy long shadows.
1. (to 5). I won't script these pages too much; I've suggested five panels, but break it up however you feel works. Same goes for most of the next page.
Our viewpoint is skewed, often distant or high up, giving the sense of unseen somethings watching. CONNOR has set out onto the island, his bag hauled over his shoulder. Close by, a strange, amorphous humanoid shape flits past. CONNOR starts in alarm but keeps moving. He's heading upwards, so we should have at least one panel where he's climbing over the angular black rocks.
1. (to 4). As per page 50: CONNOR continues across the island, surrounded constantly by a sense of unseen threat. Here even more so than on the previous page, let's concentrate on the fact that he's climbing, reaching higher onto the island.
5. CONNOR looks up, shielding his face against the sun with one hand. His attention has been drawn by the sound of rotor blades, drawing nearer, though we can't see their source. CONNOR is quite high up by this point, perhaps standing on an outcrop of rock or a piece of ancient, broken architecture.
wup wup wup wup WUP WUP WUP
1. Full page panel. CONNOR is in the F/G, looking out from a high promontory. In the B/G, some distance from him, two curiously shaped troop-carrier helicopters are descending towards the island. Their design is odd: beetle-like and futuristic. They should be obviously military, though let's let the design convey that fact rather than having them bristling with guns or anything like that.
WUP WUP WUP WUP WUP WUP
1. CONNOR presses onwards, while around him, battle rages between the Spec Ops troops who've just arrived in the helicopters and the island's monstrous native inhabitants.
CONNOR, carrying on in a daze, sees nothing of this, but as the page progresses, the reader will.
In this first panel, though, let's just have a sound effect. Design / change this however you feel gives the best impression of rapid automatic gunfire coming from up ahead. Let's have all the captions on this page floating rather than attached to any source, even when the source is visible to the reader, to convey the sense that we're hearing from CONNOR's perspective.
2. Now we can see that CONNOR is in a low gully. On the higher level - that is, in our view, but outside of CONNOR's - a gunfight is raging, between the newly arrived SPOOKS and the island's monstrous native inhabitants. But we're still only witnessing this as sound effects, though maybe we can see some ominous shadows, that kind of thing.
BAM! BRAM BAM!
3. As per panel 2, with CONNOR still in the gully, though obviously farther on than he was before. In the F/G, one or more amorphous, vaguely humanoid creatures are running along level with him. We can't see them clearly, just an impression. They should be running towards the direction from which the sounds of gunfire were coming.
4. As per panel 3, but CONNOR is now climbing up a steepening incline in the gully, and looking up nervously at the sound of a scream. The scream is issuing from one of the creatures we witnessed in the previous panel - the only one now visible, though there may be one or more lying dead - but let's make it a dislocated sound effect like the gunfire, to represent the fact that we're hearing from CONNOR's perspective.
1. CONNOR is hauling himself up the last stretch of a very steep incline, high up on an ascent. Though we may not be able to see it at this point, he's climbing onto a high plateau outcrop, on the far side of the island to the one he arrived on.
2. CONNOR looks upward, startled. A hand has been thrust into view from the ledge above. Its owner is wearing a stealth suit, as described on page 40.
3. A large panel. CONNOR is hauled up onto the ledge by the mysterious figure - the HEAD SPOOK, though we can't tell that yet - and now we see that there are a dozen or so men and women, all dressed in the same black spec-ops gear, stood on the narrow ledge. We can also see that they're overlooking the sea, very far below. All but the figure who helped CONNOR up are armed, with discreetly stylish, futuristic automatic weapons, but they're carrying them slung or at rest.
4. The HEAD SPOOK pulls off his mask, to reveal his face.
Nothing if not persistent.
1. Ignoring the HEAD SPOOK, CONNOR moves to the edge of the promontory.
2. Large panel. CONNOR looks down, and we see what he sees: the cliffs descending a great distance, so far that there's a haze of thin cloud, and then the sea, which has begun to foam and churn in a localised patch, near to the island and the point where the SPOOKS have gathered.
3. CONNOR turns back to the HEAD SPOOK, pointing towards the disturbance below. He looks terrified, but also kind of exultant.
You're too late!
4. The HEAD SPOOK is calm, reassuring, maybe even smiling a little. He looks as if this is the kind of thing he does every day.
What did I say to you? We've got this.
1. The HEAD SPOOK removes two pairs of large, round-eyed, black tinted goggles from a pocket.
2. The HEAD SPOOK hands one pair of goggles to CONNOR.
3. Large panel. The HEAD SPOOK puts on the second pair of goggles himself. In the B/G we can see that the other SPOOKS have removed their masks and are also in the process of putting goggles on. They're a tough-looking bunch, and let's stress a representative balance of gender and race, they're standing in for the whole of humanity here after all.
4. CONNOR stares at the goggles in bewilderment.
5. We recognise SPOOK 1, who was in CONNOR's apartment and assassinated HASTUR. Like the HEAD SPOOK, he looks friendly, at ease; he's speaking to CONNOR as though he's letting him in on a little secret.
I really would if I was you.
6. CONNOR pulls on the goggles.
1. Looking down over the edge of the cliff, with CONNOR and the SPOOKS still visible. Beneath the cloud, the water is frothing more and more.
2. Now there's the impression of something rising beneath the water, a vast patch of darkness spreading like a stain towards the surface.
3. The tips of tentacles break the surface of the frothing, swirling water. The alien god CTHULHU is finally rising from his millennia-long sleep.
1. CTHULHU breaches through the surface of the ocean. He's vast and ancient beyond reason, a shrivelled, weathered, alien thing that was old when the world was new. I'm sure we'll discuss designs as we go along, but for me, those are the qualities to emphasise: at this point in our story, mankind and their technology are triumphing over the old, the unknown, the incomprehensible and mythical, for all the good and bad that entails. So I'd like to get away from some of the existing CTHULHU designs, especially the cute little wings and all that, and have something that really looks as if it might have been sailing the stars when humanity was just a gleam in the universe's eye.
If we can see our human cast and / or the outcrop of the island, then CTHULHU should be reaching almost but not quite to their height. But given that we'll be getting this sort of contextual detail on the next couple of pages, maybe we should let the big guy have the page to himself at this point.
1. Looking downwards from the opposite direction, so that the ledge is ahead of us and CTHULHU is visible, below, in the F/G. Perhaps we can't even see him in this panel though, since our focus is on the HEAD SPOOK. He's speaking to CONNOR and the other SPOOKS, but he's also kind of delivering his line to us, so maybe he's looking a little upward, "into camera" so to speak.
Ladies and gentlemen...
2. As panel 1, but our view has drifted back just slightly. Our focus is still on the HEAD SPOOK.
Let's show this son of a bitch whose century he's woken up in.
3. As per the previous panels, but our view has drawn back significantly. The figures on the cliff side are small, and even CTHULHU looks less impressive.
4. Pulling back still farther. Cloud cover is beginning to drift across our view. CTHULHU is small now, and we can see much of the island.
PAGE 60, PAGE 61.
1. A series of panels spread over two pages. As per Page 59, our view continues to draw back. We're past the cloud layer and can see the entire island, with CTHULHU just a speck, visible from the waves circling out around him.
2. Into the stratosphere. CTHULHU is invisible, and the island is only a dot in the ocean.
3. Up into space. Our focus is still on the same spot, but the edge of something huge and man-made, which we'll see in the next panel is a gigantic weapons satellite, is beginning to heave into our view.
4. Now we can see the satellite clearly. It houses some kind of massive orbital weapons system, maybe a rail gun or, perhaps more plausibly, a kinetic bombardment weapon. Whatever it is, it's gearing up to fire, coming to life after a period of hibernation, just like the being it's aimed at. Perhaps it also bears a distinctive insignia; could we have something discreet on their uniforms that ties the SPOOKS to this? Or maybe we can convey the same by echoing design motives from their clothing, weaponry, and vehicles.
5. The satellite weapon fires earthward.
1. Full page panel. Back to CTHULU, risen up to his waist in the ocean. A bolt of energy from space shoots down and through his cranium. Like some ancient, alien JFK, CTHULHU's head snaps back and to the left.
1. Maybe a single panel or a series, whatever you think works best; we've just had a full page, so maybe another here will be too much? CTHULHU crumples backwards, his blood and brains splashed out over the sea around him, and tumbles into the sea, throwing up a massive tidal wave that churns against the island.
1. The island, early evening. The light is starting to change, tinting everything in gold and bloody reds. CONNOR, still standing near the cliff edge, still wearing his goggles, stares aghast at the incomprehensible horror beneath him.
2. From CONNOR's perspective, still gazing downwards. His view is distorted, as he grows dizzy with shock.
3. CONNOR collapses.
4. SPOOK 1 looks down at CONNOR, passed out on the ground.
So what do we do with him?
5. HEAD SPOOK, speaking casually to SPOOK 1.
That little fish? You know, I think he's all played out.
6. Close on the HEAD SPOOK, golden sunlight slanting off his black reflective goggles, making him look almost as inhuman as the thing he just helped kill.
Why don't we throw him back where we found him?
1. Close on CONNOR, stirring. We can't tell where he is yet. In fact, perhaps we're just close in on his face.
2. Pull back, and we can see that CONNOR's back in his boat.
3. CONNOR spies something - his Dictaphone, though we can't tell that yet - lying nearby. Maybe it rolled into a gap when the boat was beached.
4. CONNOR reaches to grasp the Dictaphone, which we still can't see.
5. CONNOR lurches to his feet.
1. CONNOR staggers out onto the deck.
2. A large panel, taking up most of the top two thirds of the page. The boat is now on a clear sea, with no hint of the island, which has sunk back beneath the waves as mysteriously as it appeared. The only evidence of what happened is the flotsam of bloody brain matter spread upon the sea like a colossal birth mark, being picked at by a few stray sea birds.
In the distance, two black helicopters are flying towards the sunset.
3. CONNOR, clutching the boat's rail, starts to cry, in great, choking sobs. His face is contorted with horror and shock.
Ah ... Ah ... Aah...
4. Close in on CONNOR, as he crumples to his knees. Slowly but surely, his sobs are turning into laughter.
Ah ... Ha ... Ha ha ...
5. Closer still on CONNOR, now laughing with manic fury. His hand is open and we can see the Dictaphone for the first time, lying on the deck. Maybe we should move away from speech bubbles at this point and just have his laughter floating crazily around him.
Ha haa ha! Ha ha! Ah ha haa!