Friday, May 2, 2014

Comic Scripts: West, Part 6

And so we reach the end of the first issue of West. I actually really enjoy working in the twenty-two page format - moreso, I think, than doing full novels. With a harshly limited pagecount, I feel a lot more aware of pacing and how much a given amount of writing is "worth" in a certain sense. When I don't have any limits, I sometimes find myself spending way too many words on stuff that doesn't really need it.

In any case, the story of Thomas Kearn and Boneshade will be wrapping up next issue. Stay tuned!

Page Eighteen

Panel 1: The jail. Kearn is in the foreground, still looking shocked, wrapped in a blanket. in the background is a jail cell, with Cooke being tended to by Wyatt.

Frank (Off Panel): He gonna live?

Panel 2: Wyatt comes out of the cell, talking with Frank, who’s leaning against a wall with his arms folded. Wyatt’s still in his nightclothes, but now also has on an apron with a few drops of blood on it - town sawbones, apparently.

Wyatt: Banged up, gonna have a ringing headache for a long time, but I think so. So long as he doesn’t move around much.

Frank: Don’t think that’s like to be a problem.

Frank: But I'm a mite curious what a desperado like Cooke is doin' in Boneshade... Mr. Kearn?

Panel 3: Focus on Kearn, who himself is not focusing on anybody, just wrapped in his blanket and terrified.

Kearn: I – I – He came for the money. The funds for the town, I brought with me.

Kearn: Sherriff... I don't mind telling you that I'm terrified right now. He said -

Kearn: He told me he had brothers.

Panel 4: Frank looks startled, straightening his hat.

Frank: Brothers? Aw, damnation... Th' whole smith gang's gotta be lurkin' somewhere.

Frank: An' I got the feelin' they ain't gonna take their brother's capture lyin' down.

Cooke (Wavering, off camera): Cough you got that right...

Panel 5: All turn to look at Cooke, who has only one eye open, half propping himself up on the prison cot.

Cooke: An' when they show up, we'll be takin' what's OURS from that pig Banker...

Cooke: An' we'll be takin' interest outta all your bones.

Page Nineteen
Panel 1: Kearn flees the room, a hand pressed to his mouth, eyes wide with terrror. Stacy is starting after him, and Frank watches.

Kearn: ...oh, god...

Stacy: Thomas, wait!

Cooke: You all coulda just let me slip in an' out, nice an' quiet. Wouldn't cost you nothin' but tears. But now, that stupid cow's called up FIRE.

Panel 2: Closeup on Cooke, falling back to sleep, but with a bared-tooth grin that is conspicuously missing a few teeth.

Cooke: So I'll be makin' sure each of y'all get yer fair taste of it 'fore too long.

Panel 3: The lights are pretty much out in the next room, leaving Kearn in shadow as he leans across the desk, his elbows on it, his hands holding his face. We can see his eyes thruogh his fingers, though, wide and terrified. The light is mostly coming from the next room, leaving this one in deep and foreboding shadow. Stacy follows through the door, reaching out as if to comfort kearn.

Kearn: ...oh god, oh god...

Stacy: Thomas?


Kearn (Whispered): Not right now. I need to think.

Panel 4: Stacy now has a tender hand on his shoulder, and Kearn is starting to turn towards her, somewhat comforted.

Stacy: Thomas, it's alright. You've got the whole town behind you.

Stacy: Any o' those bastards show up, Sheriff will toss them back out.

Kearn: I... I...

Panel 5: Kearn looks half crazed with fear, facing stacy with light in his face now that he's facing the door.


Kearn: He's – these are hardened criminals! Murderers! And they're coming after ME? I'm just a... a...

Kearn: I'm just a banker. Just a businessman.

Kearn: Why did any of this have to happen to me?

Page Twenty
Panel 1: Kearn embraces her, sloppily burying his face in her shoulder. She withdraws a little, slightly repulsed by this fat, smarmy guy.

Kearn: Now I'm out in the middle of the desert! There's not a bank for a hundred miles!

Kearn: For the love of god, WHAT AM I DOING OUT HERE?

Panel 2: Stacy is now husgging him back, but she's looking back towards the camera with an uneasy expression, making it clear that she's not really happy about this arrangment.

Stacy: You're... uh...

Stacy: You're saving our town, Mister Kearn. Without your help, Boneshade'll be swallowed back up by the desert.

Stacy: Nobody likes to say it... my Pa least of all. But it's what's happening.

Kearn: …

Panel 3: Stacy is looking at him now, with a troubled expression.

Stacy: ...Mister Kearn... when I came in, I heard you talkin' to smith.

Stacy: You said... you said there ain't no money. What did you mean?

Kearn: …

Kearn: Nothing... nothing, dear girl. I was just... trying to trick him.

Panel 4: Closeup on Stacy, who looks troubled, and perhaps suspicious. She has the niggling, terrible beginnings of a suspicion.

Stacy: ...right. That's what I thought.

Stacy: Look... you'd better just stay here an' rest. I'll go back to the hotel an' get what you'll need.

Kearn: T-thank you, Stacy. I would appreciate that.

Page Twenty One
Panel 1: Tight closeup on a gun. Franks' gun, actually, which he's holding, but mostly we can only see the gun. It's large, and old, with a lot of wear and tear from over the years.

Panel 2: Pull back to show Frank, sitting on a bench outside the jail, cradling the gun in his hands with a defeated expression. His shoulders are slumped, and his moustache is drooping, the whole scene lit only by a lantern hanging in the window.

Chuck (Off camera): Sheriff.

Panel 3: Camera shift as Frank's attention shifts up, and we see Chuck, impassive as ever, coming forward out of the Darkness.

Frank: Whuh? Chuck? What are you doing in town?

Chuck: Thought Ah should keep an eye on Stacy.

Chuck: Ah wuz right.

Chuck: Whut's on your mind, Sheriff?

Panel 4: Chuck takes a seat on the bench with Frank, who looks just as tired, still holding the gun.

Frank: ...Agh... just musin', is all.

Chuck: What about?

Frank: Irony, mostly. Last five years, I've felt 'bout as useful as a doorknob on a wall. I do my best, but to tell god's honest, I've wanted to feel like I'm EARNIN' this tin star.

Panel 5: we're looking out the window at the backs of their heads, and at the town bathed in the light of pre-dawn.

Frank: but now...

Frank: Chuck, we've got three gunfighters rollin' into town and time now. They'll be wantin' their brother back, an' I reckon they'll be wantin' Kearn.
Chuck: But you're not goin' ta let that happen?

Panel 6: Same shot, but Frank's shoulders are sagging a deal more.


Frank: I reckon not.

Panel 7: Same shot. The implications hang in the air like a puppy in a noose.

Page Twenty Two
Panel 1: Upward shot at the top floor of the hotel, with dawn starting to tinge the sky. A light is on in Kearn's room.

Cap (Chuck): Where's Stacy at?

Cap (Frank): Can't say I know for sure, Chuck.

Panel 2: The room itself, mostly dark except for the lantern that sits on the end table near the corner, where stacy is digging through the rucksack with her back turned to us.

Cap (Frank): You shouldn't worry so much about her, you know. She's got a good head on her shoulders.

Cap (Chuck): Too much head.

Panel 3: Stacy is wide eyed, somewhere between shock and rage, as she holds up a piece of paper to read. We can't see it.

Cap (Frank): No such thing, I think.

Cap (Frank): you've done right by her. A girl like Stacy?

Panel 4: Reverse, so we can see the page – a page of newspaper, with an article reading “BANKER VANISHES UNDER SUSPICION OF FRAUD!” along with a picture of a man who is clearly Kearn, although a bit pudgier.

Cap (Frank): She'll be ready for just about anything.

Stacy: You son of a bitch.

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