While I was considering what to write for Fiction Week, Ted suggested a Chance prequel. I could write it as news reports, he suggested, and that sounded like a pretty good idea.
Except when I sat down to do the job, it came out in comic script form. I decided it leave it that way for several reasons: one, it was clearly the natural format for a Chance story. Two, I thought perhaps a few people would be interested in seeing the basic structure I use in writing a comic script. Three, I thought what the hell, maybe somebody’ll want to draw it, and if I get good enough material, I’ll see if I can add it into one of the graphic novels at some point, as a DVD extra. So if you’re an artist or know one, please feel free to consider this an audition script!
TAKE A CHANCE
Issue #0: PREVIOUSLY ON TAKE A CHANCE…
|Pencils:||Up For Audition|
PANEL 1–HOLLY PERRY, a lovely Halle Berryesque news reporter, is on screen.
In an act of INTERNATIONAL DEFIANCE, NORTH KOREA says it will go ahead with the TESTING of its WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION program, widely believed to be NUCLEAR in nature.
PANEL 2–This panel dominates the page. An American flag flies in all its glory. Perhaps there are people saluting it–a real “The country needs you” kind of war-movement poster. It’s still on a tv screen, though.
PUNDITS say there’s NO COINCIDENCE that the NORTH KOREAN PRIME MINISTER has selected OCTOBER FOURTEENTH as the day to BREACH INTERNATIONAL PROTOCOL. The FOURTEENTH is FLAG DAY in the UNITED STATES, a PATRIOTIC DAY held in WIDE REGARD since SEPTEMBER 11, 2001.
PANEL 3–Back to Holly, now with the flag in the background. This panel can be inset into #2, if that works for you.
We’ll have MORE on this developing story TOMORROW. This is HOLLY PERRY for CHANNEL THREE NEWS.
PANEL 4–Horizontal frame, crossing the bottom of the page. The screen has gone black with a thin white line through it–you know, that representation of a TV being turned off.
That’s how it STARTED.
A SCOLDING REPORT on the SIX O’CLOCK NEWS.
And the NEXT MORNING…
PANEL 1–A splash page: Times Square, full of life and vitality. Lots of people, lots of energy. This uses the bleed space.
…NOTHING HAD CHANGED.
PANEL 2–Set in at the bottom: Holly on TV again.
There’s WORLD-WIDE RELIEF tonight as no sign of NUCLEAR CAPABILITY has emerged in NORTH KOREA. Whether the PRIME MINISTER offered HOLLOW THREATS or has CHOSEN A LESS DISASTEROUS PATH, world leaders are COMMENDING his CHOICE.
PANEL 3–Asians in surgical masks are now on screen.
In OTHER FAR EAST NEWS, a FLU OUTBREAK in SOUTH KOREA is taking AUTHORITIES off-guard. It’s early in the SEASON for virulent cases, and DOCTORS are now ENCOURAGING everyone in New York to schedule INNOCULATIONS.
PANEL 1–This is a big panel, showing a hospital/doctor’s office/whatever set up for flu innoculations. There are half a dozen empty stations and FRANKIE KEMP standing at the reception area, signing paperwork.
For SOME REASON, I actually GET MY SHOT. I haven’t done this since I was about FOURTEEN.
PANEL 2–FRANKIE KEMP, a pretty SANDRA-BULLOCK-type woman in a pants suit, sits at a nurse’s station. She has a suit jacket over her lap or the back of her chair, and the sleeve of her shirt is pushed up to expose the shoulder.
She has muscular arms: Linda Hamilton in T2 arms.
You WORK OUT, huh?
PANEL 3–The nurse is pushing a needle into her shoulder. Frankie’s making an “Ow!” face.
Teach ME to be a smartass to somebody with a WEAPON in her hand.
PANEL 4–A horizontal panel with people lining up outside a hospital or doctor’s office. They trail out of sight down the sidewalk. Lots of ’em.
TEN DAYS LATER, EVERYBODY’S getting their shots.
By THEN, it’s TOO LATE.
PANEL 1–Holly Perry stands outside a hospital. She looks worried.
The REALIZATION is only NOW EMERGING: with international FOCUS on NUCLEAR WEAPONS, no one was PREPARED for a VIRAL weapon of mass destruction.
PANEL 2–There are ambulances and hospital beds being wheeled around, sick people everywhere. Many people are wearing medical masks.
The MODIFIED FLU STRAIN has been compared to the 1918 strain, which killed over THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE worldwide. Authorities are afraid those numbers may PALE in comparison to this modern, GENETICALLY ALTERED, virus.
PANEL 3–A woman is sitting on a gurney, hunched forward, her hands over her face.
It was a GOOD IDEA. A BRILLIANT strategy. Take an EASILY-SPREAD disease and LOAD IT with extra KILLING power.
PANEL 4–Razor-sharp glittering wings erupt from the woman’s back. She’s arched forward now, screaming. Her hospital gown is in shreds.
Somehow I DON’T THINK this is what they WERE PLANNING.
PANEL 5–Horizontal panel. The woman with the wings is to the left. Holly Perry’s to the right, having spun in horror to watch what’s going on. There’s a GIRL BLAZING WITH LIGHT, all her lines reversed and the things around her in shadow. There’s a man turning into a GIANT. Add in a few others, if you’ve got space and inclination.
PANELS 1-2: A diagonally split panel.
#1–A group of African women are running together.
#2–One of the women has surged ahead, leaving the others literally in her dust. They’re astonished.
PANEL 3–A boxer with the tattered remains of boxing gloves dangling from his oversized stony hands stands over his fallen opponent, horrified.
PANEL 4–A little kid holds the back end of a car in the air so his mother can escape from under the wreck.
It happens ALL OVER THE WORLD.
PANEL 5–Another horizontal panel, this time of a graveyard with a weeping family.
And so does THIS.
PANEL 6–A hospital room: family embracing a parent.
PLENTY of people RECOVER, UNCHANGED.
PANEL 7–A man is given a piece of paper with CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH emblazoned on it.
Some are simply IMMUNE.
PANEL 1–Holly Perry again, looking earnest and pretty.
It’s October thirtieth, seventeen days from the initial OUTBREAK of what is more and more commonly known as the SUPER-FLU.
For the FIRST TIME, NORTH KOREAN SCIENTISTS are SPEAKING OUT on the EPIDEMIC.
PANEL 2–A North Korean military man addresses the screen.
<We are dismayed to report that our private SUPERSOLDIER PROGRAM has been released to the GENERAL PUBLIC. We maintain all human beings manifesting EXTRAORDINARY SKILLS are by necessity CONSCRIPTS of the NORTH KOREAN MILITARY and will pursue NEGOTIATION with the governments of the world to REGAIN our lost PROPERTY.>
PANEL 3–A handsome young black kid in a storebought cape drives a THUG’s head into a wall.
It’s THAT NIGHT the first IDIOT goes out and tries to GET HIMSELF KILLED by being a HERO.
PANEL 4–Four more THUGS come out of the darkness and jump the kid, who looks terrified.
PANEL 5–A staff clobbers one of the thugs across the back of the head.
PANEL 1–The thug who’s been hit drops while the guy next to him turns around, eyes wide.
PANEL 2–The end of the staff slams into Thug #2’s belly.
PANEL 3–He’s doubled over. The staff is slamming down on the back of his head.
PANEL 4–Horizontal frame. We get a shot of Chance’s midriff here. She has a taser in her left hand and is shooting it, and is swinging her staff in a clothesline kind of movement with her right hand.
PANEL 5–We do not see Chance in this frame, though we see from her point of view. The guy who’s been tasered is twitching, little bolts of electricity dancing over his skin.
The guy she just hit in the stomach is on his hands and knees, wheezing. The other two are down. The kid is on his backside and elbows, gaping at all the beat-up thugs.
PANEL 6–The thugs are aaaaalllll tied up together and unconscious. Tud.
PANEL 1–Finally, your money shot. We see this from behind the kid’s shoulder: he’s on the ground, pushed up on his elbows, staring up at:
CHANCE, in full costume. Her coat’s flapping in the wind, her hair’s wild, she’s holding her bo staff and looks utterly gorgeous, kick-ass and dangerous as she stands there, larger than life, over the kid.
I started DOING THIS JOB to SAVE CHILDREN.
This ISN’T what I HAD IN MIND.THE END