Appearing in "As Lives a Memory..."Edit
Synopsis for "As Lives a Memory..."Edit
Thor #44 "As Lives a Memory"
PLOT for 22 pages
Stuart: In case Tom hasn't mentioned it, this is our all silent issue. No dialogue, no captions, no word balloons or sound effects. Nothing.
With that in mind, the emotional expressions of our characters is more important than ever. Panel design and construction should be more fun because you don't have to worry about balloons. You can run their faces right to the top of the border or fill the panels in any way you want. What you draw is what will see print.
Backgrounds will be more important, particularly on the upper half of the panel because areas we often think of as being covered up will go uncovered. All in all, it should make for a lot fun. If you have any questions, give me a call!
Splash. We open on Thor, fairly small in the panel, walking through a majestic hallway that's filled with windows (think of those churches built during the Renaissance) that tower high above him. It's night, so heavy, black shadows blanket the hall. Floating high above Thor is a wispy image of Odin. Also note that Thor's beard should be more full than last issue. The impression here is that Thor should seem almost lost in the shadows, perhaps the loneliest man alive.
We stay with the action, pulling the camera back even farther as Thor descends a massive stone staircase. Let's add aspects of Asgard to the scene. Maybe statues of long lost Asgardian warriors line the walls. Or dragon heads, like one might find at the head of a Viking boat.
Now a down shot as Thor gets tot he bottom of the stairs. He's turning toward a doorway not far away.
Closer on Thor, his lowered in sadness, as he passes through the doorway.
Thor enters a large chamber filled with relics of Viking battle. In the middle of the room is a massive portrait of Odin, leaning back on his throne, adorned in Kirby-like attire while holding his sceptre. Around the walls, various ornate swords, shields, axes, helmets and other weapons hang, each separated by a low burning torch. An ornate bow and quiver filled with arrows should among them. It's a museum of war, with simple benches in the middle of the room.
The first three panels run across the top of the page. Shot of Thor from the waist up, straight on. His head is still lowered, not visible in the shadows. Behind him is Odin's portrait. Very symbolic in the way Thor is framed against Odin's portrait.
Zoom in slowly as he begins to lift his head up...
...until he's looking right at us in a tight close-up. Let's keep his emotion subtle here. He's not overwrought by grief, but he's definitely burdened by sadness.
Then we switch angles to show what's caught his attention. It's the ornate bow and arrow filled quiver.
Back to Thor, an extreme close shot of his eyes, about as tight as you can make it.
Now we move into flashback. Make sure this is clear to the reader since we won't have captions. Borderless panels, perhaps? This is from a long time ago, Thor's childhood, when he was about eight-years-old. Young Thor and Loki are in an ornate castle garden playing, as kids do, with wooden swords. The garden is filled with ivy and beautiful plants, all accessed by a stone walk leading to the woods. Loki is swinging his sword, breaking Thor's. *Reference Alert, Marc! Let's dress them as they appeared in the first couple of pages of Thor #6.
Closer on the two. Thor looks at his sword, frowning. Loki gestures for Thor to follow him. It's clear he has something else in mind.
Thor follows him through a small back door of the castle.
Inside, they scamper along some rafters that run high atop a large chamber within the castle. Down below, Odin and a group of warriors are celebrating a tremendous victory. They're all raising tankards of ale, gnawing on turkey legs or throwing darts. Odin is in the middle of the room, obviously in charge. Leaning against the back of his chair is the same bow and quiver shown on page three. Everyone seems to be ignoring the bow and quiver.
Back to Thor and Loki, close on them as they look down at it with envy. Loki's envy is more evident and he should almost seem more evil in his desire.
They both point at each other as if to say, "You do it." "No, you do it."
Nine panels on a grid for this page. Loki takes a small gold coin from under his belt.
Loki flips the coin in the air.
Close on the palm of his hand as it lands heads up.
Close on a clearly disappointed Thor.
Thor scrambles off, looking a bit nervous. It's his job to get the bow and quiver.
Back to Loki. Smiling with evil as he looks at one side of the coin...
...then turns it to show the other side. Clearly, it's a two headed coin, and he's gotten the better of Thor once again!
Now we move to the action below. A shot of Thor crawling through a "forest" of warriors' legs that seem to tower over him. He's within a foot or two of the bow and quiver.
A few seconds later as Thor races out the doorway of the chamber, all the warriors of Asgard blind to the fact that he has the bow and quiver in his arms. The sense of relief is evident on his face.
We cut back to the garden a short time later. They're at the edge of the garden, shooting toward one tree that borders the woods. It has a couple of arrows in it already. Other arrows are stuck in the ground around the tree. Loki has the bow and Thor is jumping up and down as though to say, "Let me have it! It's my turn!"
Now keep in mind that this is an adult bow so it's quite a bit bigger than one Thor might handle. It's also Odin's, which means the kids will have a hard time using it. Loki is handing it over to a very excited Thor.
Thor tries to draw the string back but he's having a tough time. Loki is laughing at his struggle, teasing Thor.
Close on Thor's face, a study in kids' concentration. One eye is closed, a bit of his tongue is sticking out as he pulls back the string a bit more.
Pull the camera back for a mid shot to show the action. Loki is slapping Thor on the back as he laughs, which is causing Thor to let go of the string before he wants. The arrow is flying off the bow in a slightly errant direction.
Focus on the arrow as it flies past the tree, a beautiful deer in its path.
Cut back to Loki and Thor. Loki's expression is simply one of , "Oh nuts! We're in trouble now!" Thor's is one of horror.
Pull the camera way back as Loki turns and flees. Thor walks toward the woods, very hesitantly...
...and kneels in front of the deer, now dead, with an arrow sticking out of its hide.
Close on Thor, tears running down his face.
Still in flashback, but we cut now to Odin and the warriors at the party. Odin seems to be telling them a story or something but the warriors' attention is diverted by something off panel.
Reverse angle as Odin turns to see a stoic Thor walk into the room with the bow and quiver.
Thor breaks down as he confesses, clearly spilling everything. He should seem almost dwarfed by Odin's size and sheer presence. Thor might well be expecting the worst here.
But Odin lifts him with his massive hands...
...and gives Thor a hug.
Cut back to the present. Close on Thor as he lifts his head, a faint smile of remembrance on his face. Remembering this has brought a moment of joy to an otherwise terrible day.
Then we pull back the camera as Balder enters the room. Thor turns.
As an old, dear friend might do in such a situation, Balder puts his hand on Thor's shoulder as they look at the portrait.
Close on the portrait of Odin. We'll be seeing this all the time so let's make it one that really conveys his power, as well as his humanity.
Then a close on Balder's eyes, steeped in sadness. Make sure we see something of his helmet to make sure the readers know it's Balder and not Thor.
We move into flashback once again. (I still like the idea of border less panels. Just like those old Gold Key comics!) This time, Balder (his adult self!) is on the floor of a dirty, musty cave. He's bound by ropes, laying on his side with his hands behind his back. His knife and sword are a few feet away, close to a fire. Three or four trolls are jumping around and holding their swords into the fire, clearly planning on skewering Balder! The trolls each have numerous swords, maces and other weapons strapped to their belts.
One of the trolls removes the spear from his fire...
...and holds it right up under Balder's nose, as though he's about ready to carve his face open.
Instead, he draws it down across his chest, ripping Balder's tunic and chain mail open! The other trolls are laughing heartily. They're going to take their time with this one!
One of the other trolls steps up and kicks Balder in the face, as hard as he can!
Structure the shot so we see all the trolls standing around Balder, continuing their kicking and stomping. In the foreground, Balder's knife and sword are visible. A hand is reaching into the panel from off panel. (It's Odin's hand, but don't tip it all away yet.)
Odin's gloved hand picks up the knife...
...and tosses it softly, allowing it to land in front of Balder.
Shot from Balder's POV as he sees the knife...
...and rolls to it, knocking a couple of the trolls aside.
His hands still behind him, he grabs the knife...
...cuts his ropes...
...and in a big panel, comes up fighting!
Now Balder grabs his sword so he has a weapon in each hand...
...and nails one of the trolls while the others cower.
Close on Balder as he looks toward the cave entrance. Make sure it's sunny outside so it can account for a shadow. In any case, Odin is obviously standing outside the cave, monitoring events, but his shadow gives him away.
Small close on Balder, smiling.
Cut back to the present where Thor and Balder now sit on the bench. Balder is laughing about the experience, presumably telling Thor how Odin wanted to spare his feelings of insecurity, allowing him to beat the trolls. Thor is smiling a bit more now. Behind them, Sif is entering.
Full shot as Sif takes Thor's hand as though to comfort him. Odin's portrait is prominent in the shot.
View from behind as Sif looks at the portrait.
Then we fade into flashback again. This time, Sif and several male warriors are walking out of an arena. At this point, Sif should appear to be about 15-years-old, the males in their early twenties. They're dirty, their clothes torn, their faces dirty, but their smiling broadly, like a group of college athletes who just won the title to whatever sport they played. Let's make it clear that they were involved in skills of contest, and that a number of other, defeated warriors are laying on their backs in the arena. Dented shields and broken weapons should lay about. In the stands, Odin and other adult warriors are cheering the results.
Long shot as they walk the streets of Asgard, clearly headed for a corner bar. They're still arm in arm, celebrating their win. If, on the sign, you can somehow indicate this bar is a bawdy place for men only, please do so.
But a strange thing happens when they get to the bar. The men enter first, while the last two turn and tell Sif she can't come in. She's stunned, appalled that they'd treat her thus!
Sif hurls her glove at the feet of one of the men who's laughing at her reaction.
As she tries to enter the guy pushes her back, causing her to lose her balance...
...until she falls at Odin's feet. Odin has arrived and he is pissed as hell at the men.
Odin steps into the dark bar, his arm raised, his anger evident, as the men inside cower, barely able to believe what's happening. The only women inside are scantily clad waitresses and dancers.
Angle the shot from behind Sif as she's getting to her feet. Odin is standing in the doorway where he's gently beckoning her to come inside, a friendly expression on his face.
Back to the interior, as all the men take one knee while Odin and Sif walk inside, clearly breaking some long established barrier. Odin has paid her the respect none of the male warriors would.
We cut back to the present. Sif, Balder and Thor are all on their feet, looking up at Odin's portrait.
Thor places his hand on the portrait, his head no longer lowered, but held high, as though he's truly proud to be Odin's son.
The three of them leave the chamber. Thor has one arm around Sif's waist and another on Balder's shoulder. They're a family, moreso now than before Odin's death.
Wide shot of the room, seemingly empty, except for a wisp of smoke that seems to be materializing in thin air.
Out of the smoke steps Loki, who's materializing in the room.
Loki steps close to the portrait, his face cold and emotionless. We want this mysterious, as though we don't quite know what he's thinking.
Close on Loki's eyes, narrowing, still emotionless.
We move into flashback. This sequence will take place shortly after Thor confessed to Odin in the first chapter of the book. Young Loki is sitting against a tree in the woods, laughing, flipping his precious two headed coin.
Closer, as Loki flips the coin in the air. He should look quite pleased with himself, for once again, that stupid Thor will catch hell!
Same angle as the coin doesn't come back down to his hand. Instead, it lands in the palm of Odin's hand, which is coming in from off panel. Loki's eyes are wide open as he looks off panel, suddenly aware that things might not quite work the way he planned!
Odin is firm, but he doesn't yell. Whatever you do, don't have him be in a rage, Stuart. Loki, jumping to his feet is the one who's yelling, trying to get his coin back.
But Odin crushes it, causing Loki to really flip out.
Odin puts his hand on Loki's shoulder in an attempt to calm him, to try to relate...
...but Loki breaks away from his grip and runs away, as Odin lowers his head, saddened that no matter what, he cannot get through to his child.
Cut back to the present, Loki staring at the portrait. He's frowning. This isn't pleasant for him.
Loki takes a step to the side...
...and punches the block wall as hard as he can. We need to convey some sense of emotional pain here.
Loki exits the room into a hall filled with high windows.
His attention is caught by something off panel.
Loki looks out the window, amazed!
This is where we introduce the new monarch of Asgard. We move down below to a the very edge of Asgard, where the rainbow bridge joins with the city. The city's entire population seems gathered here, all our notable characters such as Sif, Balder, the Warriors Three, Beta Ray Bill, Frigga, Heimdall, Jake Olson and Tarene. An old Viking boat hovers at the edge of the bridge. A procession of individual warriors are lined up, each entering the boat one at a time.
Closer on the scene, showing us what's happening inside the boat. There's a table in the middle of it with an ornate helmet on it. Let's make it the same helmet that Odin is wearing in the portrait we saw earlier. Asgardians are each dropping a memento around the table. Some are dropping single roses, others a relic of battle like a knife, an arm band or something similar. Some have left books or telescopes.
They stop, looking off panel, as one last person enters. He's in the shadows, but it's someone wearing an impressive suit of armor.
He enters the boat. Shoot the scene so that he's in the foreground, and we can see him holding Thor's helmet while Mjolnir is tucked in his belt.
This is, of course, Thor, though we don't want to tip too much of it yet. This is a close shot of his hand placing his helmet on the table next to Odin's.
Then a small shot of his hands picking up Odin's helmet...
Splash. This is the shot that has to sell the future of the book. It's Thor, wearing an elaborate Kirby-like suit of armor, something Odin himself would wear, and he's putting Odin's helmet upon his head. Everyone there is kneeling, acknowledging the new regent of Asgard. All the Asgardians are kneeling on the bridge while Thor stands at the edge of it as the boat floats next to it. Not far away, Loki is flying into the scene.
Small close on Thor as a small ball of flame coalesces in the palm of his hand (thanks to the Odin power!)...
...and he touches the bow of the boat, pushing it away, and setting it afire at the same time.
The boat floats off into space, burning.
Thor kneels as do all the others, Loki included.
Back to the boat, floating away, now completely aflame.
It floats off into the distance...
...until the flame is extinguished in the void of space.
Back to the bridge, all the Asgardians on one knee with their head down, except for Thor, who's still on a knee but is looking forward, appearing in complete control, ready to lead Asgard into a new age.
And that's it!Jurgens
July 20, 2001
Stuart: I can't thank you enough for stepping in like you did. The art you turned in was a joy to script! Good luck in whatever you take on next!
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