Monday, February 29, 2016

Think of a City - Now Sea Here

What an incredible gift to catch up to the Think of a City rotation just in time for a new entry to be posted!  My thanks to go out to Devaki Neogi, John Reppion, and Leah Moore for providing the present - and for doing it with such panache with the wonderful 054.  I love the old-school style and am pleasantly overwhelmed with all the moving pieces that have been worked into this delightful piece.

1 - A horrible sea monster is viciously attacking a pirate ship.  The buccaneers are desperately trying to fight it off, firing canons, pistols, stabbing with their swords, but they're admittedly not doing too well.  The monster could possibly have a pirate in its grasp, about to swallow the poor man whole.


2 - Repeat panel, but everyone has stopped what they're doing - including the sea monster - in response to a shout from off-panel.  Everyone pauses and looks towards the source of the sound.


3 - A fishman - kind of a mix between the creature from the black lagoon and an anthropomorphized fish - emerges from the water, looking cross.  He's positioned as if he's standing on a solid surface, his feet just below the waves.

FISHMAN: How many times do I have to tell you to stop pestering sailors?!

4 - The fishman turns to the confused sailors, offering his most sincere apologies.  The sea monster is wincing / backing off from the ship due to the fishman's words and actions.

FISHMAN: Really, I can't apologize enough.  He just gets so excited when he meets new people.

5 - From the pirates' perspective on the ship. looking out to the sea as the fishman drags the sea monster away (possibly by a leash, possibly by an ear or something similar).  The pirates look confused.
LETTERING NOTE: The fishman's words should fade away / shrink to denote his increasing distance.

FISHMAN (fading out): Honestly, I just can't believe...

6 - On the stunned pirates.  One of them pipes up.

PIRATE: If anyone asks, we killed it.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Think of a City - Nemeses

I wasn't entirely certain what to make of Konstantin Novosadov's 053 at first glance, but the longer I consider it, the more I appreciate what he's done.  There's some excellent resurgence of elements from previous Think of a City pieces, but more than that, there's some brilliant narrative suggestions with the thematic nautical elements surrounding our mysterious starring figure that I can't stop thinking about.  Superb stuff.

1 - On the eyes of an older man.  His gaze is intense.  His face is weathered.

CAPTION (MAN): I won't apologize.

2 - On the man.  He stands on a beach, looking out to the ocean (his back to the reader).  He is shabbily dressed, with old clothing that's about as worn as he is.  The waves flow towards him.  It's midday.

CAPTION (MAN): Neither will she.

3 - On the man's lower body.  He continues to face away from the reader and towards the water (which continues to move in his direction but has a ways to go to reach where he stands).

CAPTION (MAN): We're both too stubborn.

4 - On the man's boots.  The day has moved into early evening / night.  The water's waves continue to flow onto the beach, now reaching and passing where he stands.

CAPTION (MAN): So I'll just stand here.

5 - On the water, focusing on the columns of waves coming in.

CAPTION (MAN): And she'll just wave.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Think of a City - They Might Be Giants

I find Grim Wilkins' 052 immensely fascinating.  It manages to both be a major departure from earlier entries while holding true to certain throughline aspects of those prior works.  But most of all, the foreground and background elements of the piece have me transfixed.  How did that woman catch a fish with her mouth?  What are those enormous figures carved into the walls?  These are only a few of the many things I'm dying to know more about.

1 - A woman stands at the top of an ocean-side cliff-face.  The focus of the panel is on said cliff-face, as there are a number of giant, stone figures visible on the side of the precipice.  The figures are seemingly sculpted into / trapped within the cliff, with only portions of their faces, hands, and upper-bodies visible, the rest either within the cliff itself or covered by natural growth of roots and the like.  The figures are also so large that only their upper-bodies are visible above the water, with the rest of them presumably below / not sculpted.  The figures hold various poses, but generally appear to be angry and fierce.

CAPTION (WOMAN): They say giants used to walk the world.

2 - The woman is rappelling down the side of the cliff / figures.  She is dwarfed by the enormous, angry face of one of the figures next to her.

CAPTION (WOMAN): The gods, jealous and worried about these beings of great power, shackled them within the very landscapes they towered above as punishment for their hubris.

3 - On the woman as she nears where the cliffs meet the ocean.  The water rages against the cliff-face, smashing into it with wave after wave.

CAPTION (WOMAN): I don't know if the tales are true, but I intend to find out.

4 - The rope hangs down to a cavern that leads into the side of the cliffs.  The woman is not visible, presumably within the cavern.  The waves continue to crash into the cliffs.

CAPTION (WOMAN): After all, I imagine a freed giant would be rather grateful towards their liberator.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Think of a City - Harmony

There's all manner of positive things I could say about Caspar Wjingaard and J A Micheline's delightful 051, including the beautiful way it builds from the previous entries, its radiant use of colour, or even the fantastic layout they've setup here, but I'd be lying if I wasn't most impressed by the tiny "Dino Pizza" delivery truck between the seed and the glowing copse of trees. That's an amazing callback and wonderful attention to detail.

1 - The city has been taken over by nature, with trees, plants, and the like suddenly sprouting up everywhere. We're focused on a top down view of a clearing among plenty of trees (they could order the panel). Maybe around the main drag. A small strike team has been inserted into the city to discover what's happened and they find themselves facing the body of the leader of an environmentalist group. Roots and the like have grown into the body, propping her up like a small puppet. She slumps forward, seemingly unconscious.  She may have some vegetation growing from her body.
LETTERING NOTE: I'd love to have some stylized word balloons for the environmentalist / creature controlling her. Maybe some vibrant green text on a black or purple balloon.

ENVIRONMENTALIST: Man has long spoken of making changes. Of doing better.

2 - On ground level - maybe a side view - as the roots move the enivrnemtnalist's body closer to the strike team. The strike team is unsure what to do, as some have their weapons ready, while others hold them as their sides. The environmentalist's body continues to slump as if unconscious.

ENVIRONMENTALIST: But all he ever does is find new ways to poison the world.

3 - The environmentalist raises her head, her eyes still closed and her jaw hangs slack. She points accusingly at the strike team.

ENVIRONMENTALIST: It's time for Nature to take back what's Hers.

4 - Close on the environmentalist's eyes, which are now wide open and glowing a haunting green.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Think of a City - Alley Life

Ian Bertram's 050 feels like the very definition of iconic. It focuses in on earlier elements and brings but very few to the fore, magnifying in a way that the eye cannot help but be drawn to. And once you take in the initial view, you slowly realize that there's so much more to see, to discover.

1 - On a woman walking out of a back alley filled with steam.  The woman pulls up the collar on her jacket, a knowing look on her face.

CAPTION: The city can be intimidating at night.

2 - Moving beyond the woman and into the alley, a man's leg is visible on the ground, the rest of him obscured by steam.


3 - Further into the alley and steam. There are half a dozen or so men wearing gang clothing who have all been beaten up. Some are still unconscious, others nurse bruises and breaks. They all look pretty bad.


4 - On a gang member lying on a grate the ground. He has an arm across his face and looks pained. Steam escapes from the grate and rises into the sky.

GANG MEMBER (woozy): ugh...

5 - From the gang member's perspective, looking up. Building walls on either side of the alley rise up on the sides. Rising steam takes up most of the remainder of the panel.

CAPTION: Especially if you meet the wrong person in a dark alley.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Think of a City - Close Encounter

Ales Kot returns, this time teaming up with Langdon Foss to unleash the geometry-challenging 049, which has all manner of moving parts, each more impressive than the last.

1 - A woman stands alone in a field, looking up at the night sky.

CAPTION (WOMAN): I've always believed we couldn't be alone in the universe.

2 - On the night sky, with all manner of stars, planets, and cosmic beauty taking up the panel.

CAPTION (WOMAN): I'd hoped that, if I kept my eyes on the heavens, I might be the first to spot some of our neighbours.

3 - On the woman's foot / the ground. Some pebbles bounce around the ground, implying a strong force coming from below. Maybe have the woman on one foot, trying to maintain her balance.

CAPTION (WOMAN): I'll be perfectly honest...

4 - On the woman and the field, but now a crude drilling machine has emerged from the ground. Some molepeople have walked out of the machine and are waving hello to the woman. She awkwardly returns the gesture.

WOMAN: Um... hi?

CAPTION (WOMAN): I never really thought they would be so close.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Think of a City - The Depths

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Think of a City has three-way collaborations?!  Now I can't help but wonder all over again what the division of labour would have been between Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt, and Jeremy Whitley to come up with the extremely beautiful 048.

(As I type this, I'm realizing that this is courtesy of the creative team behind Princeless, so I assume they probably approached the image in a way not dissimilar to how they'd approach the comic.  Either way, I love the results).

1 - Establishing shot of an abandoned city at night.  Cars litter the streets, forgotten. Plants are starting to grow through the concrete. The towers of a nuclear power plant are visible looming in the background.

CAPTION (CAPTAIN): Intel says they're camped near the plant.

2 - Now at the power plant. A couple of tents are set up near the towers, next to a lake that glows faintly in the night. A man stands at the lake's edge, relieving himself.

CAPTION (PRIVATE): H-how near?

3 - Closer on the man as he zips up. He looks off-panel to some voices from the tents.

VOICE (off-panel): You coming back for the next hand?


4 - The man is walking back and away, leaving the focus on the lake.

MAN: Yeah, yeah...

CAPTION (CAPTAIN): The spill was years ago.

5 - Closer on the lake as a monstrous creature emerges from the thick, glowing waters.

CAPTION (CAPTAIN): We move in at dawn.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Think of a City - Pizzamergency

I must say, Nicola Stuart's 047 is all kinds of fun.  I mean, I literally do not know that I can think of a more endearingly upbeat idea than raptor-riding youths jumping out of a plane (?) to deliver pizza.  Like, that's just an amazing idea and the follow-through is even better.

I generally try to avoid taking directly from the image of inspiration, but I feel like that the Dino Pizza crew is too good to ignore.  Plus, the autobio element I'm working in here felt pretty apropos.

1 - A Dino Pizza trio flies / dives towards the earth at high speed - not dissimilar to birds of prey swooping down on their, well, prey.  The riders hitch close to their raptors to try to keep wind drag at a minimum.  Everyone wears looks of determination.


2 - The raptors throw out their wings to slow their descent, touching down outside a house in a dense neighbourhood.


3 - On a finger ringing the doorbell.

SFX (doorbell): ding!  dong!

4 - A woman stands at the door, holding pizza boxes and a pack of beer.  She looks really appreciative, if a bit tired and worn.  The Dino Pizza crew are happy at a job well done.

WOMAN: Thanks so much.  You guys are lifesavers.

DELIVERER: Think nothing of it.  Just doing our part.

5 - Inside.  The woman and her three friends sitting on couches around a TV, eating pizza and drinking beer.  They are surrounded by all manner of evidence of a recent move: packed boxes, mismatching chairs, pictures leaning on the wall, etc.


6 - The three friends are eating pizza / drinking beer.  The woman looks at the slice she's holding, wearing a quizzical look.

WOMAN: How did pizza and beer become the currency of paying back friends for moving help?

7 - The three friends pause, looking at their own pizza / beer.  All are quizzical.


8 - One friend responds, a satisfied look on their face.  Everyone also seems pretty pleased with the response.

FRIEND (1): I dunno.

FRIEND (2): But I'm not complaining.

WOMAN: Oh, definitely not.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Think of a City - Fighting Words

It likely won't shock you to hear that I love Sebastian Stamm's 046, but I love it nonetheless.  The amount of personality that he fits into this colourful mech creature is all kinds of endearing and I'm dying to know the story of the motley crew who appear to be running the thing.  There's all manner of stories oozing off the page here, and every one looks to be a winner.

1 - A horribly broken mech - missing arm, partially destroyed legs, and burn and blast marks covering pretty everything that might still be somewhat intact / attached - stands outside a hangar entrance.  Mechanics, technicians, and the like are running about near its feet, bringing machines, diagnositics, and that type of thing.  The mech seems to be leaning awkwardly too far forward
LETTERING NOTE: Have a few small balloons coming from the people below to show lots of conversations going on.

WORDS 1: What happened?

WORDS 2: Need to get her out of there!

WORDS 3: Get help!

2 - The mech falls forward, crashing into the ground.  The personnel below do their best to get out of the way / avoid being crushed.


3 - On some workers at the driver section of the downed mech, helping the pilot out.

TECH: Alison!

4 - Two technicians have the driver, Alison, out of the machine, helping her stand.  She looks dazed.

TECH: What happened out there?

ALISON (woozy): I'd say you should see the other guys...

5 - On half a dozen badass jet-black mechs racing along an open plain, kicking up a cloud of dirt behind them.  They look like they mean business (and maybe have a skull motif going throughout them or some such).

CAPTION (ALISON): But they'll be here soon enough.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Think of a City - Market Price

James Stokoe and Steve Orlando lay down some monstrous beauty here with 045. Some really neat revival of earlier Think of a City ideas here, and with such a density that it's hard to take it all in - and that's a mighty good thing.

1 - A hunting party stands in a sci fi veldt (like a regular veldt, but the colours are brighter and gaudier). The party is decked out with all manner of large guns and weapons. Their leader puts a hand out to indicate a pause.

LEADER: Shh, I think it's ne--

2 - A ginormous worm / slug creature has emerged from the earth, rearing high above the hunting party, dwarfing them with its size. The party unloads ammunition on the monster, seemingly to little effect.

LEADER: Kill it! Kill it! Kill--!

3 - At a marketplace. The leader is now minding a stall, wearing an apron and looking worse for wear. The carcass of the monstrous creature is in the background, other members of the party cutting off cuts of meat, bringing some to the stall table. The leader glowers at a patron holding a packaged piece of meat.

PATRON: That seems a little expensive for meat...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Think of a City - Have/Not

Being sick rather sick the past few days has given me a lot of time to consider Andy Suriano and Tyler Shainline's 044, and I really can't decide if the piece depicts celebration or damnation. I love that duality, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's been picking at me.

I imagine the first four panels as a small row at the top of the page, just to very quickly set the stage, leaving the rest of the page to focus on what's after the scene change. 

1 - Two nondescript men stand facing each other, a big red button on the wall between them (perhaps just above shoulder level).

MAN 1: It's that time again.

MAN 2: Already?

2 - Repeat panel, with Man 2 giving a shrug.

MAN 1: That's what the big guy says.

MAN 2: Alright.

3 - Repeat panel, with Man 2 now pushing the button.


4 - Repeat panel 1.

MAN 2: Those freeloaders.

5 - Two wretched-looking desert wanders lie languidly on the sand, both exhausted. One has a single eye open, which sees a single raindrop fall on their friend's head.


6 - The more alert desert-dweller opens both eyes wide, astonished at what they're seeing - the rain is picking up in intensity. The second desert-dweller is rousing from their haze, realizing what's happening.

ALERT DWELLER (quietly): Finally.

7 - The alert dweller is up on their feet and running off panel. The second dweller is pulling out a bowl and raising it to the sky. The rain continues to intensify.


8 - Pull back to show a little community of desert-dwellers, all looking about as miserable and wretched as the first two. However, the storm is a welcome sight to all, as they draw bowls, open  their mouths, and do various other things to take in the water. They're overjoyed. The alert dweller continues to run about to announce the news.


CAPTION (MAN 2): They never appreciate our hard work.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Think of a City - Mirror, Mirror

I love comics a heck of a lot, but I recognize that there are huge gaps in my knowledge.  When I initially glanced at 043, my first thought was Moebuis.  I know that might be a little much, but there we are.  Of course, knowing that that's also literally not possible, I must say that I wasn't overly surprised when I saw it was actually done by Simon Roy.  There are few artists I'm aware of right now who throw down crazier ideas onto the page - and I mean that with admiration.

Also, I will never stop being pleased that dinosaurs are officially a Think of a City motif.  That was an excellent unconscious (?) decision.

We've two settings that we'll jump back and forth between in these panels.  Odd numbered panels are an orc kingdom led by Hadriana, a strong female warrior that's mega-jacked and kitted out like a mix between Xena and Wonder Woman.  Even numbered panels are an elven kingdom led by Filoselth, a brave, if willowy warrior who wears more traditional knightly armour.  A big part of the distinction will hopefully be demonstrated by the direction the buildings are facing - orcs looking right and elves looking left.

1 - Establishing shot of the orc castle, with a broken tower - the top level has clearly been destroyed anf fallen down.  Smoke rises from the wreckage.  It is Fall.

HADRIANA (from within): This is a tragedy.

2 - Establishing shot of the elven castle.  The castle wall is destroyed, a huge hole gaping.  A brisk wind blows, moving leaves about.

FILOSELTH (from within): But it is not the end.

3 - On Hadriana.  The tower is collapsed in the background.  She wears many cuts and bruises, many still bleeding openly.  She wears a look of defiance.  Snow covers the ground, newly disturbed by the recent battles.

HADRIANA: Only the most recent blow.

4 - On Filoselth.  He wears an eyepatch and looks worse for wear.  A huge hole is now visible in the castle itself, revealing some of the interiors.  The snow is not fresh, but it still carpets much of the world - including within the castle itself.

FILOSELTH: We will not stand idly by and simply mourn our losses.

5 - Hadriana runs through a battleground in her castle courtyard.  Fire rages all around her.  She strikes at an elven warrior, taking him down.  She's missing an arm.  The snow is melting, leaving the puddles of Spring.


6 - Filoselth holds a bow, aiming at the sky.  Orcs riding dragons drop bombs from the sky, explosions going off all about.

FILOSLETH: We will strike back at our aggressors!

7 - The final panel is two panels split, Hadriana on one side and Filoselth on the other.  They look in each other's direction (divided by the gutter, of course), fury and rage in their eyes.
LETTERING NOTE: Hadriana and Filoselth should share the word balloon, which should straddle the gutter.

HADRIANA & FILOSELTH: We will give meaning to our sacrifice!

Think of a City - In-Flight Meal

I'm always intrigued to see what point in a moment a Think of a City entry captures.  I haven't been tracking them empirically, but like in Natacha Bustos' beautiful 042, I'm getting the impression that there are a lot of before and after moments being depicted.  That is to say, we often get glimpses into the lead-up to or fallout from something big, as you see here with this angelic figure crouching in the rubble of a structure that appears to have just been destroyed.

I haven't gotten much in the way of critical analysis of this observation yet, but I'll let you know when it comes.

1 - On a set of human-sized wings attached to backpack-like straps.  Sitting on a pedestal of sorts, the wings are outstretched, like a diving bird.  Two people, Robert and Annette are also on panel.  Annette marvels at the wings, while Robert stands nearby, a knowing smile on his face.  It's not strictly necessary, but I'm imagining World War 1-era dress for the two - especially an ace pilot's uniform for Robert.

ANNETTE: What's it like?

ROBERT: Well...

2 - Close on Annette's face, which is pretty much as thrilled as thrilled can be.

ROBERT (off-panel): ...Do you wanna find out?

3 - Close on Annette's face again, but she's now a mixture of disappointed and bored.  The background isn't super important, but it should be a lot darker than in the previous panel.  It would not be out of place for a bug or two to be in Annette's teeth or bumping into her face.


4 - On Robert and Annette, who are both flying.  Robert is wearing the wing-pack and holding Annette below him.  They're pretty horizontal in their positioning.  Both look pretty blasé / underwhelmed about the whole thing.  Again, if you can manage to show some bugs (or more likely, black specks) in their teeth, that would be great (maybe Annette's picking at her teeth or some such?).

ANNETTE: ...Lotta teeth bugs up here.

ROBERT (1): *sigh*

ROBERT (2): Yeah.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Think of a City - Design Flaw

Oh me, oh my.  Ariela Kristantina's 041 is electrifying, hitting my cerebral cortex like a lightning storm.  After so many days of relatively calm moments being captured, 041 could not be more energetic.  That explosion grabs the eye with its epicentre of pure white, ironically the only point of calm in the whole piece.  From there, no matter where you go, there's something happening, and it's all gold.

On a more global level, it's fascinating to see red burst back onto the conscious radar of Think of a City after a few entries where it had receded.  The coming and going of different elements / motifs will never cease to amaze me.

We're going with a pseudo-1950s setting here.  Suburbia.  Nighttime.  In the rain.

1 - On the front door of a typical suburban house.  Two robots, X19 and X22, stand on opposite sides of the door, looking at each other.  X19 is inside the home, holding the door open in greeting.  X22 is outside, wearing a trenchcoat to help protect against the elements.  Both robots are humanoid in construction, but maybe somewhat boxy in their contours.  Based on the above image, let's say they have round windows where the eyes would be, both glowing a deep red.  While clearly from the same design, there should be minor cosmetic differences between the two (maybe one is less boxy than the other?).
LETTERING NOTE: I'd like some really boxy and robotic word balloons for these guys, if possible.  Maybe some really basic, almost boring type.

X19: What is it?  Has our sibling finally ceased operating?

2 - X22 walks into the house, brushing past X19 and forcing it off to the side.

X22 (1): No such luck.  Another one of our line has been deactivated.

X22 (2): X41.

3 - X19 remains at the still open doorway, looking out into the night.  X22 is perhaps not entirely visible (if not completely off-panel).

X19 (1): ...

X19 (2): But X41 was hunting us.

X22: Yeah...

4 - X22 is in the extreme foreground, holding a knife at their side.  Their body and knife-holding arm might frame the panel, with X19 visible in the space in between (just an idea).  X22 might be in silhouette.  X19 turns and throws up their arms in an attempt to protect themself.

X22: About that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Think of a City - Northern Lights

One of my favourite fringe benefits of going through the many Think of a City entries has been discovering so many amazing and talented artists.  That said, I do also get a thrill out of encountering artists whose work I'm already familiar with, such as Matthew Southworth, who I've been fondly following since discovering him on Stumptown with Greg Rucka.  I don't know that I could see Dex fitting into 040, but I'm not overly concerned with that fact.

1 - On the night sky, a brilliant light streaking across it.  It glows a bright yellow-orange in the darkness.  Perhaps have some buildings peaking out at the bottom of the panel.

CAPTION: My little girl was delighted at the "bright fairy trails".

2 - On a father and daughter.  The daughter hugs the father's leg with one arm, pointing excitedly at the sky.  The father looks down at his daughter, a melancholic smile on his face.

CAPTION: You might think me negligent for not correcting her.

3 - From behind the father and daughter, drawn back to give a better view of the setting.  The two characters are in similar positions.  In the foreground, towards the side of the panel is a newspaper box (do those still exist?), the headline clearly reading "METEOR COLLISION IMMINENT!", possibly with a little picture of a meteor below.
LETTERING NOTE: The first caption should be towards the top of the panel, while the second towards the bottom, underneath the newspaper headline.

CAPTION (1): But I couldn't see the benefit in bursting her bubble.

CAPTION (2): All things considered.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Think of a City - Take Five

Clayton Cowles and Chrissy Williams combine their mighty efforts to provide us the eminently wonderful 039.  I mean, what's not to love about bright yellow dinosaurs giving the old what-for to deep blue police officers?  Especially with that adorably dino-sized nightstick?  Not to mention the feathers...

There's simply too much fun contained in this to manage.  I can't even.

1 - Rodney, a Magnum PI-esque police officer (think Hawaiian shirt and police badge hanging from neck with probably a solid mustache and unnecessary mullet) stands on a dock, looking satisfied (maybe with his hands on his hips as he surveys the scene).  What looks like the foot / leg of a T-Rex is next to him on panel.  In the foreground, some Hot Cops-esque criminals are being carted away by other police officers.  In the background, the ocean / bay (depending on how you're feeling) shines splendidly.

RODNEY: Another job well done, DinoCop.

2 - On Rodney as he sets himself for a high-five, raising his hand and arm high.  Maybe do the background like he's powering up a move in a video game or manga - i.e. lightning crackles from him or light radiates from his person.  That kind of thing.
LETTERING NOTE: To continue on that theme, his word balloon should be big, maybe jaggy to emphasize he's yelling.

RODNEY: Up top!

3 - On both Rodney and DinoCop, far enough away to easily see both of them and for them to even look a little small in the distance.  Rodney holds the high-five pose.  DinoCop waves his arms pathetically, as they are far too short to bridge the gap between them.  Also worth noting: DinoCop is also Magnum PI-esque, with Hawaiian shirt, police badge, and ridiculous dinosaur mullet and mustache.


4 - DinoCop gives up and turns away from Rodney to look out over the water.  Rodney could either be crossing his arms smugly or running his former high-five hand through his majestic hair.

DINOCOP: You know what I hate most about that "joke"?

RODNEY: That it never gets old?

5 - Silhouette of the two figures standing on the dock.  The sun sets behind them.

DINOCOP (1): No.

DINOCOP (2): It's definitely not that.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Think of a City - A Little Less Conversation

As I've been going through the various Think of a City pieces, I was always aware in the back of my mind that Chris Visions' 038 was coming down the pipeline.  I remember seeing it talked about in an interview about the project and instantly seeing the power conveyed through its imagery.  I wondered how I should approach writing something inspired by it - perhaps more than I needed to - and while what I came up with is by no means perfect, I would say that I am satisfied with it.

While each panel describes a different scene / location, it is important to note that there should be no people visible at any point on this page.  The places / situations appearing are all empty of life.

1 - On the security setup at an airport, with metal detector, full body scanner, and all those things.

CAPTION: It's for our own protection.

2 - On a group of CCTV cameras attached to a wall / the top of a fence.

CAPTION: And if we have nothing to hide than we have nothing to fear.

3 - A security checkpoint in a high school.  The security equipment you'd expect (metal detector, x-ray machine, etc) sits in the midst of lockers, trophy case, and the like.

CAPTION: Because we're innocent until proven guilty.

4 - The outside of a police station.


5 - Inside the police station, looking over the work space of the personnel.  There are desks, papers, computers, chairs, and all the things you would imagine.  Towards the middle of the panel, there is a desk that appears to be mostly empty.


6 - Close up of that mostly empty desk.  There are in fact two things on top of it - a police badge (with "To Protect and Serve" written on it) lying atop a handgun.  The badge is flecked with blood.

CAPTION: Funny how that conversation only seems to go the one way.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Think of a City - Screen Time

037 from Paul Duffield and Fabian Rangel Jr is absolutely haunting.  I love the mix of crimson reds and neon turquoises splattered across these black silhouettes along with a few isolated instances of pure white.  The admittedly limited colour palette is used to great effect in painting a multi-faceted setting without the scene ever feeling overly busy.  Some masterful stuff going on here.

1 - Victoria, a young scene kid, looks at a group of people waiting on a subway platform.  There's all manner of age, gender, class, and so forth.  They are all looking down at their phones, listening to music, or otherwise avoiding interacting with the outside world.  Victoria looks sad / frustrated.

CAPTION (VICTORIA): We've put up digital curtains to keep the world at bay.

2 - A young man (also staring at his phone) walks by and bumps into another young man.  Neither looks up from their phone.

CAPTION (VICTORIA): Slowly becoming shadows to each other.

3 - The two men now stand side-by-side, both fixated on their respective phones and absentmindedly rubbing at their elbows (where they bumped into each other).

CAPTION (VICTORIA): And to ourselves.

4 - On Victoria.  Her eyes go white as she puts two fingers to her temple.  A turquoise circle glows brightly, centred on her fingers and temple.


5 - On the two young men.  Faded turquoise glows emanate from their phones.  Their expressions finally have some emotion on them, as they try to puzzle out what's happening.  They might even be making eye contact with each other.

CAPTION (VICTORIA): I will pull back the curtain.

MAN 1: Wha--?

MAN 2: Did your phone...?

MAN 1: ...Yeah

6 - The two men start to strike up a conversation.  Around them, other people seem to be doing similar things, either focused on their phone acting up or moving past that to engage with their neighbours.

CAPTION (VICTORIA): And let a little light back into our lives.

MAN 1: Edgar.

MAN 2: James.

Think of a City - Fool Me Once

Oscar Grillo's 036 is perhaps the most different from any previous piece, creating one whole image out of multiple smaller ones whereas most others were focused on one single idea.  It's also the only one that inspired a complete idea in my mind at first glance - the actual details took a bit to sort out, but the concept existed from go.

1 - Outside in a suburban neighbourhood.  A mother pushes a stroller with her baby past a house where an old man - Mr. Peterson - stands at his window, looking out and scowling, partially obsucred by his Venetian blinds.

CAPTION: Everyone has a different face.

2 - Repeat panel 1, but Mr. Peterson has closed the blinds.  The reactions of the mother and baby are not visible.

CAPTION: Between what they show the world.

SFX: shnt!

3 - Inside Mr. Peterson's living room.  The room is dark.  It's set up pretty much just as you'd imagine an old man's living room to be - it's the darkness that is important.  A pool of light spills into the living room from the hallway opening.

CAPTION: And what they keep to themselves.

SFX: shnt!

4 - In Mr. Peterson's hall.  This area is also mostly dark, except for the door at the end of the hallway.  The door is partially ajar - not enough to see what's on the other side, but enough for the light within to spill outwards (as evidenced from the previous panel).

CAPTION: In Mr. Peterson's case.

5 - Inside Mr. Peterson's washroom.  Dressed in a clown outfit, he sits on a chair looking at the bathroom mirror applying matching clown makeup.  He is preparing himself in the Auguste Clown style - that is, the happy clown.  However, he is openly weeping as he goes through these motions.

CAPTION: No one suspected the difference would be so great.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Think of a City - Turbulence

Daaang.  The scale on Tonci Zonjic's 035 is stupefying.  That structure just looks absolutely immense, and the colour-scheme simply oozes danger and menace.  It's almost possible to overlook the impending violence implied by those two drop ships in the lower foreground.  Almost.

1 - A sci fi dropship speeds across a desert landscape (angled forward, helicopter-style, to give an impression of its speed).  It is pursued by a number of missiles, fire bursting from their backs and propelling them forward.


2 - A missile hits the ship, a plume of explosion bursting out perpendicularly.  I think it would look ace if this was in silhouette, with nothing else drawn beyond the ship and explosion.


3 - On the desert landscape.  Impact craters where the ship skipped as it crashed litter the ground, leading to the ship itself in the background.  The ship is possibly on fire; definitely smoking and in a mighty bad way.


4 - On the ship, but still pretty far back.


5 - On the ship, but moving closer.


6 - On the ship, but closer still.  A hand reaches out from the wreckage, gripping part of the ship for support.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Think of a City - Save Yourself!

034 is yet another stunning piece, this time courtesy of Rebekah Isaacs and Kelly Thompson.  I love the bright red on the cloaked figure - it draws the eye immediately and gives the initial impression that they are the protagonist.  But as you explore the rest of the image, it looks more and more likely they're the opposite of that.  It's been fascinating to see how the past few pieces have captured feelings of the sinister in such markedly different ways.

1 - Sir Roderick the Brave, a gallant knight resplendent in bright white knightly garb (armour and the like, although his visor should be up so his traditionally heroic face is visible), stands in a town square, his sword raised in the air triumphantly.  The background could be out of focus or taken over by cartoonishly shiny light coming off this paragon of goodness.

 RODERICK: Fear not!  I, sir Roderick the Brave, will save you!

2 - Similar panel as above, but the background is much more visible.  The square in question is a real hole, with filth and muck pretty much everywhere.  Two layabouts, Dirk and Tad, lounge about nearby, Dirk pilloried and Tad standing nearby.  Both are heckling Roderick, which puts him right off.

DIRK: Save us, eh?

TAD: Are you planning on using that sword to cut down the disparity between rich and poor?


3 - Roderick moves closer to Dirk and Tad, looking questioningly at his sword.  Dirk and Tad continue to hurl insults at him.

DIRK: Or slay the suspension of habeas corpus?


TAD: Maybe he'll strike a blow against our complete lack of civil liberties!

4 - Roderick stomps away, mad and hurt at their mean-spirited words.  Maybe have a little cartoonish raincloud hang over his head.  Dirk and Tad laugh.

RODERICK (quietly): I just wanted to help...

DIRK AND TAD: Hahahaha!

5 - Tad is still holding his side.  Dirk has a pensive look on his face.

TAD: *phew!*

DIRK: You know...

6 - Shot of the village itself.  It's partly on fire as a dragon swoops about in the sky above, blowing flames down.  If there's space, you could have Roderick riding away crossly (but it's not necessary).

CAPTION (DIRK): Maybe we should have asked him to look into that dragon problem...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Think of a City - Float On

David Hine's 033 is so filled and full of action that it's almost criminal that I'd focus on one single aspect, but here we are.  For everything that's going on (including the amazing inclusion of yesterday's piece in the perspective character's cellphone screen - such a simple, yet novel way to hearken back to earlier portions of the project), I can't stop looking at the figure hanging from the partial gallows on the side of the building towards the top of the image.  You could be forgiven if you missed it at first glance.  It's so subtle, almost hidden in the sea of normalcy everywhere else.  This strange, awful element of violence starring out at the world.  Corrupting it?  Maybe that's going too far...

1 - Looking from underneath some birds floating in the air, a big, blue sky visible around them.

GARNET (tailless): What are you doing?

2 - On two vagrants - Jim and Garnet - in a cramped alley filled with trash and refuse.  Jim sits on the ground, leaning against a dumpster, looking up at the sky.  Garnet stands nearby, rolling his eyes at Jim's useless pursuit.

JIM: Lookin' at the sky.

3 - Jim keeps looking at the sky, curiosity on his face.  Garnet has moved on to digging through the dumpster.  If possible, I would like this panel to be framed from above, perhaps a few stories up looking down at the two figures, in an attempt to emphasize how tight and cramped the alley is.

JIM: You ever wonder what it would be like?

4 - Still looking down at the city, we're far enough up to see a number of different alleys and streets snaking throughout, maybe speckled with cars and people and buildings and stuff.  Again, we're trying to emphasize how full things are.

JIM: To have so much space?

5 - We're high enough now that it's Google Satellite-esque.  Some of the birds from panel 1 could be visible again, but now from above and framed by the city below.

JIM (tailless): I bet it would be nice.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Think of a City - Automatic Automaton

I really quite like Roque Romero's 032, but part of me can't help but see something sinister in the brightly coloured and cheerful automated-buildings he's laid down here.  Maybe it's just me, but I can't shake the feeling that balloon-riding figure in the background is trying to escape...

1 - On a stylized image of a young man's face, adorned with all manner of cyborg-esque attachments and doodads - maybe a glowing red eye, some metal in place of part of his skull, possibly a metalic jaw - that kind of thing.  The man looks happy.

CAPTION: They said their "enhancements" would mean everyone would know how to act and what to think.

2 - Outside a huge factory a protest is in the process of being broken up.  Lots of people with signs such as "NOBOT IS A GOOD BOT" or "THINK 4 YOURSELF" are being beaten down and taken away by uniformed and helmeted figures.  The image / logo of the happy cyborg is painted across the factory's front, looking down on the fight below.

CAPTION: We said their false words and half-truths wouldn't fool people into giving up their free will.

3 - On the (now open) doors of the factory.  The former protesters are walking out, all adrnoed with cyborg-prostheses similar to the happy cyborg logo.  Unlike the logo, they look dazed and out of it, as if their brains aren't firing on all cylinders.

CAPTION: We know better now.

On A Month of City Thinking

It's hard to believe that I've been writing one-page scripts inspired by Think of a City for a whole month.  I've been having such a good time that it feels like it's been a lot less, but I only need to count up my scripts to see the true length of time.

What better place to start than the beginning?
So what have I taken away, having spent all these days focusing on these individual entries, each amazing and wondrous in their own way?

For one thing, I'm humbled at the reception to this little experiment.  At the beginning of January, after having spent three months writing three different long-form scripts here, I was looking for a change of pace and I figured some one-pagers inspired by such engaging art would be a good approach.  These were always for me, so when I posted that first script, actually tweeting about it to the @ThinkofaCity account was such an afterthought I almost didn't do it.

It's still kind of mindblowing to consider all the people who have signal boosted, expressed interest, and sent positive vibes.  I got a post on the Think of a City blog referencing what I'm doing here.  Alison Sampson, one of the architects of Think of a City, has been retweeting, liking, and replying at my tweets about these scripts all month.  I've received plenty of words of support from many of the artists I've taken inspiration from.  And people completely unrelated to Think of a City have been engaging in their own way.  It's all really quite amazing to think of all the people I've connected with this past month due to what I've been doing here.

So, you know, thank you to everyone who's taken some time to look over my words.  It means a lot.

Speaking of the engagement I've received, Alison Sampson asked me a few questions this evening about my experiences reading the first thirty-one Think of a City pieces.

Firstly, she asked me about Dérive and whether I see Think of a City as a single narrative.  Unsurprisingly, I've also been thinking about Think of a City a lot this past month, commenting here and there about the project itself and its hopes and dreams (insofar as projects can have those things).  One aspect that I've been less willing to get into is the project's idea of Dérive, and that's mostly because I fear that I haven't spent enough time wrapping my head around the concept to be able to comment on it in an intelligent manner.

I will say that, as a speaker of both English and French, whenever I look at Dérive, I cannot help but think of dérive - drift.  In that sense, I would say that Think of a City is a true dérivement (he writes, knowing he's kind of making up French words).  Each entry drifts into the next, slowly moving forward, always changing into something new while holding onto pieces and elements of the past.  And like a physical drift, we sometimes come back to earlier ideas and places - such as motorcycles, colours, or even feelings.  Following those paths and attempting to track those throughlines has been one of the great joys of looking at these images in greater depth.

So is it a single narrative?  I think it depends on how you define the term.  I mean, it certainly isn't anywhere near as obviously coherent and direct as a traditional novel or film might be, but I don't think that it has to be to qualify.  As I allude above and have commented all month, the connections from one piece to another is clear when you know to look for it.  And there are obvious ebbs and flows in emotion and atmosphere that feel organic and with purpose.

Alison also inquired as to whether or not I believe the project's aim of creating a city is being achieved - or whether it can be.  The site itself notes that "If we have maps, they will be partial", and I think that hits the nail on the head.  This endeavour is not a city where I can point to one part and say "This is the suburbs" and to another and call it "downtown" and then draw the streets and ways between them.  But that doesn't mean there isn't a network weaving the two (or three, or four...) together.  As above, the connections are there if you're willing to find them.

Maybe the issue is that I haven't yet seen enough.  A city is a rich, complex, and complicated thing.  How does one neighbourhood truly relate to another?  And another still?  It certainly took me a lot longer than a month to figure that out where I live.  Why would it be any different for somewhere I visit?  Perhaps simply tarrying longer will help the outline and borders become more and more visible.

One thing I realized when looking back at my initial posting on this experiment to translate these stunning images back to words (beyond a brutal mistype that I have now corrected) is that I apparently only set out to do this for a single month.  I'm sorry to go back on my word, but having come so far, I can't stop now.  If you'll continue to indulge me, I think I'll while away the next little bit catching up to the current entry (whatever that may be by the time I reach it).  I don't know what I'll do once I get there, but happily I have a few more weeks to figure that out.

Still so much to see...