Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bad Egg

Recently, at the Small Press and Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio, I got talking to a cartoonist whose work I liked and was telling him about how I have been trying to break into comics for years but have actually have had more luck breaking into screenwriting, which doesn't seem to make sense. He said, "What, isn't that enough for you?" I guess not, as my first love is still comics.

About ten years ago a failed comic company was looking for short stories for an anthology that I don't believe ever came out. I wrote a little something for it. I'd like to think the company failed before they accepted my great work, but I suspect not. Anyway, I am releasing BAD EGG under a Creative Commons License listed at the end of this post. Careful readers might notice the seed of the plot of "Bad Eggs," my first 24 Hour Comic, posted here recently. I thought it might be fun for y'all to read.

BAD EGG: Defense Mechanisms
by John Oak Dalton

PAGE ONE: A series of long, narrow panels which feature extreme close-ups of the hands of DR. ANTHONY VOLAND, an older, heavy-set African-American man.

Panel One: Voland is writing “Defense Mechanisms” on a yellow legal pad.

1. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): So let’s talk about your father’s death.

2. BILLY STOMPANATO (off-panel): He got iced in the joint. What else is there?

Panel Two: Voland is fiddling with his pencil.

3. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): He was a supervillian’s henchman, is that right?

4. BILLY (off-panel): Yeah, that’s right. The job he went in for, that was with The Crystal Skull.

Panel Three: Voland is unbending a paper clip.

5. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): How did that make you feel?

6. BILLY (off-panel): One of them things. Until the Fear-Strikers busted out the Skull, and let Pops sit there and sweat it out.

Panel Four: Feature a close-up of a gleaming metal gauntlet grasping a chair arm.

7. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): So do you see yourself now in your father’s role?

8. BILLY (off-panel): His role?

PAGE TWO: A full-page splash of a heavily-armored man with high-tech gauntlets,
butt-kicking jet boots, and a mirrored, expressionless helmet. A text box in the corner lists the appropriate credits.

BILLY: I ain’t nobody’s henchman.


Panel One: Dr. Voland looks at his watch.

1. DR. VOLAND: I’m afraid that’s the end of our session today.

Panel Two: Billy stands to his full height, towering over the desk.

2. BILLY: Huh. Dint feel like an hour.

Panel Three: A close-up of Voland’s uneasy face.

3. DR. VOLAND: It’s actually, um, fifty minutes.

Panel Four: Billy produces some cash from a slot in his leg.

4. BILLY: Oh yeah, I always forget this is one of them fifty-minute hours. Here ya go, doc.

Panel Five: Voland still looks uneasy.

5. DR. VOLAND: Um, about the money—

Panel Six: Billy shrugs.

6. BILLY: Yeah, it’s from a job, doc, if that’s what you wanna know. What, you think I got the swing shift at a burger place now?


Panel One: Voland thumbs the cash.

1. DR. VOLAND: No, it’s not that…I wanted to know if it’s…been cleaned.

Panel Two: Billy gives Voland the thumb-up, with one foot on the office windowsill.

2. BILLY: No worries, doc. I’m glad to see you’re getting into the swing a things, though.

Panel Three: Voland offers a weak smile.

3. DR. VOLAND: Until next week, then.

Panel Four: The rest of the page is taken up with a large panel featuring Billy flying away from Voland’s upscale office building.

4. BILLY: Stay cool, doc!

Panel Five: Inset into the corner of the larger panel is a CU of a nervous Voland, on the phone.

5. VOLAND: Patrice, clear out my schedule for the rest of the day. I-I’m going home.


Panel One: Billy is flying over a convention center sporting a banner reading “Collectibles and Antiques 2-Day”.

1. BILLY: Hey now!

Panel Two: Billy smashes through a skylight, sending bystanders fleeing in terror.

2. BILLY: Line up, folks! Watches, coins, necklaces—hey, lady!

Panel Three: An older woman cowers in terror in front of a “Bean Bag Buddies” booth as Billy lands.

3. BILLY: Hey, you got Whiplash the Blue Giraffe?

Panel Four: The woman’s indignant face.

4. OLDER WOMAN: Why, that’s worth three hundred dollars!

Panel Five: Feature Billy.

5. BILLY: Yeah, how much is your life insurance worth?


Panel One: The woman hands over the stuffed toy.

1. OLDER WOMAN: Why, I never!

Panel Two: Billy tucks the toy into the slot in his leg.

2. BILLY: Then you should get out more, doll.

Panel Three: Suddenly, a giant log smacks Billy across his neck, sending him flying.

Panel Four: Billy crashes into a booth of old carnival glass.

3. BILLY: What tha—

Panel Five: LOGJAM, a bearded, powerfully-built lumberjack, fills the frame, casually draping a huge log over his massive shoulders. Behind him is SPLINTER, a bright-eyed teenage girl in a miniature version of Logjam’s costume.

4. LOGJAM: Time to crack some eggs!

Panel Six: Billy shakes his head.

5. BILLY: Ah, jeez louise, not today!


Panel One: Logjam clenches his teeth, ready for another swing.

1. LOGJAM: Our first week in the big city, Splinter, and we’ll be on the front page!

Panel Two: Billy lets loose with a blast of flame from his gauntlets.

2. BILLY: Don’t even THINK about doin’ that again. It’s not like I can go down to Radio Shack for parts!

Panel Three: Logjam throws his flaming log aside, casually.

3. LOGJAM: S’okay—I’ll take you apart with my bare hands.

Panel Four: Billy looks threatening.

4. BILLY: Straight up? I ain’t losin’ to no dude in a flannel shirt and a little girl.

Panel Five: CU Logjam’s face, giving Billy a leer.

5. LOGJAM: Oh, she’s old enough.

Panel Six: Billy lets loose with a sonic blast.

6. BILLY: Okay, now I’m REAL pissed off!

Panel Seven: Logjam is blown across the floor, hair and teeth flying.


Panel One: Billy, smoke rising from his gauntlets, stands above an unconscious Logjam, ready to deliver a killing blow.

Panel Two: Billy’s POV, as he sees Splinter, tears and snot running down her face.

Panel Three: CU Billy’s mirrored helmet, her face reflected in it.

1. BILLY: Ah, nuts.

Panel Four: Billy approaches Splinter.

2. SPLINTER: P-please don’t hurt me!

Panel Five: Billy crosses his arms.

3. BILLY: Where ya from, kid?

Panel Six: A confused Splinter.

4. SPLINTER: M-Missoula. We-we’ve only been here a few days.

Panel Seven: CU Billy’s mirrored helmet.

5. BILLY: You know, I got two daughters.

Panel Seven: The slot in Billy’s leg opens with a hiss.

Panel Eight: CU Billy’s gauntlet, clenched around a wad of bills.

6. BILLY: Look, here’s bus fare. Go back to Missoula.

Panel Nine: Splinter, wide-eyed, takes the money.

6. SPLINTER: Yes, s-sir.

Page Eight:

Panel One: Bird’s-eye view of Billy as he jets for the hole he made in the ceiling. He looks down at Splinter and waves.

1. BILLY: “Sir” was my old man!

Panel Two: A longer panel showing Billy jetting across the skyline.

Panel Three: A well-appointed kitchen. ROSE, an attractive woman in her 30s, is preparing a dinner. From a window facing the backyard:

2. YOUNG GIRLS (off-panel): Daddy! Daddy!

Panel Four: CU of Rose’s face.

3. ROSE: Bill?

Panel Five: POV Rose, through the window. Billy is handing his daughters the blue giraffe.

Panel Six: Feature Rose smiling.

Panel Seven: Bill in the backyard, getting hugged by his two girls.

4. CAPTION: End.

Creative Commons License

work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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