Friday, April 18, 2008

Script Frenzy: Previews for April's Issues

You know, I've tried looking for an excerpt to cull from my writings so far. The only problem is that they all suck. Badly. Which, you know, I'm not ashamed about. It is, after all, only the spirit of the Frenzy moving me to write. Even if it is awful. But that doesn't mean I'm about to show them to anyone else.

In lieu of some passages from my work, instead, let me share with you a glimpse at the grand design. You see, every month comic companies put out previews. A catolog of their upcoming titles so that people can place orders. Nothing more than a picture of the cover along with a brief description so that they can know what to expect. And heading into the month, I though to myself, what a great way to write a bunch of little outlines for all those issues I'm planning to write.

And being more than slightly insane and certainly unhinged, I went ahead and did it. Here, then, is (a slightly modified) version of what I came up with:

SMALL TIME #1: Settling In
Orientation Part 1 of 3. When Brad Utley heads away to school he brings his alter ego around with him - the superhero known only as the fabulous Bounder. As he adjusts to college life and new demands from his new friends he's in for an education. As long as his extracurriculars don't get in the way. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #1: Golden Boy Explains It All. - Before Brad was the Bounder he was the sensational Golden Boy. Each issue of Small Time includes a glimpse into his high school past.

SMALL TIME #2: Meeting New People
Orientation Part 2 of 3. Brad's been having a tough time getting used to the university - having difficulties both in class and in his crime-fighting alter ego, the Bounder. He's feeling out of sorts and more than a little lonely. But that's all about to change when he meets his quiet college town's resident protector, the enigmatic Cerulean. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #2: Golden Youth.

SMALL TIME #3: Lady Problems
Orientation Part 3 of 3.
The Bounder forges an alliance with Cerulean as they try to solve a rash of muggings happening on campus. The two form a partnership but when Cerulean rushes to save a frat house from a deadly fire, Bounder is left alone to face his own trial by fire. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #3: Damsel in Distress.

SMALL TIME #4: Moral Ambiguity
A Brand New Menace Part 1 of 3.
A new arc brings new temptation in the form of an alluring catburglar whose has Bounder's head spinning with more than just her hardluck story when he catches her robbing a jewelry store. Meanwhile, Deidre calls Brad with a warning - Cerulean might not be the hero she appears to be.
With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #4: Battle Royale.

SMALL TIME #5: Intervention
A Brand New Menace Part 2 of 3.
Just when things were heating up between them, Bounder starts to doubt Cerulean's motives. It's not helping matters that he finds the lovely catburglar breaking her promise to stop her thieving ways while out on patrol and winds up unexpectedly kissing her - and not exactly hating it, either. When he confronts Cerulean about Deidre's revelation she fires right back about his unfaithfulness and their partnership just might be over. In more ways than one. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #5: Unexpected Changes.

SMALL TIME #6: Growth Experience
A Brand New Menace Part 3 of 3.
The catburglar that's had Bounder twisting in the wind is revealed to be none other than the superpowered villain - the manipulative Menace. She and Bounder face off in an epic showdown in the University's museum. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #6: The Birth of a Golden Child.

SMALL TIME #7: Packing It In
Home for the Holidays Part 1 of 3.
Brad and the rest of the school prepares to head home for winter break. There's just one problem - he doesn't have a ride. Meanwhile, after her capture, Menace's employer isn't happy and plans to send someone to finish the job she started. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #7: In the Hunter's Trap.

SMALL TIME #8: Road Trip
Home for the Holidays Part 2 of 3.
While enjoying a tense car ride home with Deidre and Lana, his childhood and high school sweethearts respectively, Brad worries how he's going to explain his slipping grades to his parents without revealing his secret identity as the superhero sensation, the Bounder. But that might just be the last thing he has to worry about when an unexpected guest shows up for dinner. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #8: Thus Stalks the Hunter!

SMALL TIME #9: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Home for the Holidays Part 3 of 3. Ambushed in his home by his old enemy the Hunter, Brad struggles to save his family and friends while keeping his identity a secret. Because when the Bounder tackles the Hunter, there's going to be a shocking revelation. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #9: Becoming Hunted.

SMALL TIME #10: Gathering Clouds
A Rider Approaches Part 1 of 3. The Utility Company (Their motto? "We provide the power for you") finally makes their move, dispatching one of their senior partners to finish the job that Menace couldn't. Deidre calls Brad to warn him. However, in his guise as the Bounder, he's got bigger problems on his hand - an alien invasion!
With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #10: Homecoming.

SMALL TIME #11: When It Rains
A Rider Approaches Part 2 of 3.
Another alien invasion story? This is a joke, right? With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #11: Donny's Last Day.

SMALL TIME #12: Enter the Cowgirl
A Rider Approaches Part 3 of 3.
The Cowgirl storms into town and heads straight for the museum. And nothing's going to get in her way. With Cerulean defeated, with the cops trashed, Bounder is the last hope of the beleagured town. The Cowgirl's way out of his league but Bounder's out to prove he's meant for more than just the small time. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #12: A Golden Boy...No More!

SMALL TIME #13: Adventures in the 18th Dimension.
A standalone story as an unexpected ally takes the Bounder for a confidence boosting trip into....another dimension! With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #13: Graduation Day.

SMALL TIME #14: Date Night
Return of the Rider Part 1 of 2. Brad's finally plucked up the courage to ask Susie out but when he spots his old sparring partner the Cowgirl at the bar, is she really going to forgive him for ditching her again? Meanwhile, Cecily finally confronts Lana with any thing but predicatble results. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #14: Training Session.

SMALL TIME #15: Confrontation and Conversation
Return of the Rider Part 2 of 2. Bounder tracks the Cowgirl, determined to pay her back for humiliating him during their last fight. But when his fist fail his boundless determination is about the only hope he has of beating her. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #15: Silent Communications.

SMALL TIME #16: Failing Grades
The Dean's List Part 1 of 3.
The sinister employer of Menace and Cowgirl is revealed. But to learn more of the reason behind his attacks, Bounder is forced to make a daring raid on his stronghold. Meanwhile, Cecily is still missing and a guilty Susie plans a vigil. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #16: That New Girl.

SMALL TIME #17: A Final Exam
The Dean's List Part 2 of 3.
Still smarting from his encounter with the master sorcerer, Bounder tries another way of figuring out what his plan is. But his foe isn't going to just sit back and let him ruin that plan and sets in motion a plan to remove the final obstacle to his scheme - the annoying interferrance from the Bounder. With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #17: Prom Night.

SMALL TIME #18: The Remnant Reborn.
The Dean's List Part 3 of 3.
Lying near death, Bounder meets with one of his enemy's earlier victims. A ghost of the woman he killed some thirty years who explains his current plan to him and gives him all the information he needs to stop it. Bounder races in time to stop the magical ritual but is he too late? Or is he just in time to witness the rebrith of the Remnant? With back-up story Tales of the Golden Boy #18: Hidden Foe.

As you can tell, I favor three issue storylines. Actually, they're really six issue arcs, I've just split them into a begining part where I set up the dominos to fall in the later half. Creates a bit of falling and rising action, building up tension, releasing it, and then resting again - like right now where I'm on, let's say, issue #8 which is the middle of the third storysegment, Home for the Holidays. That's a bit of a talky period where my characters get a bit of respite after the last few tense issues which led up to a confrontation with the series first real supervillain. And serve as a bit of a rest before another big bad comes crashing into town in the next arc. Really, I'm pretty happy with how the overall structure has turned out.

I should talk a bit about the back-up strips, I suppose. As you can see at the moment they're call Tales of the Golden Boy and, well, it gets a bit complicated. They're all short little four pagers that I intend to be included along with the main story of each issue which run a strict 18 pages each (Which has really forced me to trim some nice passages for running space at times.).

That's what they are. As for what they're about, well, they're stories from the main character's backstory. From before he went off to college and adopted his new identity. Back when he first started out, in high school, he was known as - you guessed it - Golden Boy (Which, yes, is intentionally lame. I hate that writer's trick where you make your characters point out how stupid/obvious something is as if that somehow makes it better. But I'm not above a little post-modern irony.). They're quick stories. In and out, starting and stopping rapidly and, really, serve as brief windows into what I like to think are more fully formed stories from the series that came before. The one that never was and probably never would be written about a struggling young superhero in a tiny little town. It's not a story within a story so much as it is the story before.

In other issues I might focus on different characters, explore bits of story that didn't make it into the main text, origins, and whatever else, but for the first several volumes of the story I've got plenty of stories from when my main guy was first starting out.

What they do, essentially (Beyond serving as a nice little way for me to get my creative mojo going when I feel like I'm getting bogged down, that is. You're talking three pages and a title splash, for the most part. I can crank that out in no time flat. And whenever I'm feeling lost in an issue or pressed for time, I can at least work on one of my back-up strips and feel like I'm getting something done. I have literally littered this Frenzy with goalposts to rampage over. And, yeah, it really does feel much better to have that positive reinforcement.), is serve as thematic reinforcement. A way for me to comment on the story that I've just told in the main strip. To highlight certain aspects of it, to explain why something might be important to the characters involved, or to establish a theme I'll work on soon enough. Even to preview a character who'll show up soon enough in the main storyline.

Take, for example, the Hunter. That's the villain of the segment I'm working on now. The Hunter is Golden Boy's archenemy. Hated foe, cropped up dozens of times during his adventuring career and who's really gotten under his skin for various deeds. I thought it only fitting that, when my hero returns home, for his old foe to be waiting for him there. But when the Hunter makes a dramatic entrance in the closing pages of issue #8 that's not actually the first on-panel appearance of this pivotal foe. In the main story, sure, but the Hunter shows up along with a large portion of Golden Boy's rather meager rogues gallery in the back-up of issue #6. There, just a face among the crowd, with no real explanation of why their hatred is so strong. But the readers who've been paying attention will recognize the Hunter and be intrigued by the parts of the story that haven't been revealed yet. And the back-ups during the Home for the Holidays arc will show some of their run-ins back int he Golden Boy days and explain just why this particular villain matters to the hero - without the need for clunky exposition or jarring flashbacks.

That's the hope, anyway.

I never did get around to writing up preview for them. I didn't see much point since there's not much more to them than a one-sentence outline - "Golden Boy explains his powers" or "Golden Boy rescues his high school sweetheart from the evil Hunter", that sort of thing - and, so, I didn't bother. But, you know, I could probably be talked into it if there's enough (read: any) interest."

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