The Process behind THE UNWRITTEN #28

The Process behind THE UNWRITTEN #28

By DCE Editorial Friday, August 12th, 2011
With THE UNWRITTEN, Mike Carey and Peter Gross continue to innovate and push the limits of comic books. Issue #28 is no exception. Below are Vince Locke's finishes on a two page spread from the 1930s sequence in the main story. These are then combined with Peter Gross' rendering of the Tinker comic. Below is the Tinker comic in its beginning stages "as drawn by Miriam" from the two page spread illustrated by Peter Gross. Doesn't that staircase look familiar? And here is the script for pages 7 and 8 written by Mike Carey. Please note that some things have changed from script to final page. PAGES 7 & 8 Structure is kind of weird here. The centre of the spread is a page from a Tinker comic – not finished inks but pencils, rough but full of vibrancy and potential. To either side of it, we’re seeing Miriam and Wilson interacting both while the page is being created and after it’s done. I’ve done the panels in reader-experience below, dividing the page into three sections: area to the left of the Tinker page, page itself, area to the right of the page. LEFT-HAND BIT PANEL 1 Miriam’s studio. She’s at the drawing board, sketching with furious concentration. In background, Wilson watches. He’s in shirt-sleeves, jacket over his arm. He looks slightly irritated. 1 WILSON: The Thin Man starts in thirty minutes. 2 MIRIAM: Shut up, Will. 3 MIRIAM: I’m onto something here. PANEL 2 Tight on Miriam. She carefully traces a line. 4 MIRIAM: It’s what we were talking about. Plugging your own story into what’s already there. 5 MIRIAM: Making your one voice be part of a symphony. PANEL 3 Close-up on what she’s drawing – the Tinker kneeling beside a woman’s dead body. 6 MIRIAM: God, I wish I was better. 7 MIRIAM: I wish I could do what Herriman does with a straight line. THE TINKER PAGE PANEL 1 A street in Tomorrow City: a lady is being held up by a gangster. The lady is young, beautiful and glamorous, but we’re not seeing her at her best because the gangster is shooting her through the heart. She staggers and falls. In background, the Tinker is running or seven-league-striding in to the attack. 1 GANGSTER: Sorry, lady. SFX: BLAM 2 GANGSTER: The boss don’t want you on that witness stand! 3 LADY: Ohh! PANEL 2 Two-shot. The Tinker punches out the gangster. 4 TINKER: You cowardly rat! You’ll get the chair for this! 5 GANGSTER: Oof! 6 TINKER: Justice never sleeps! PANEL 3 Out wide. The Tinker kneels beside the body, gently touches the woman’s forearm. A uniformed cop – a sergeant, comic relief, probably overweight – watches anxiously. 7 TINKER: But that won’t bring back an innocent life! 8 COP: I don’t like that gleam I’m after seeing in your eye, Tinker! 9 COP: Begorrah, and you lost this one, so you did. PANEL 4 Tight on the Tinker. He takes a piece of chalk from his pocket. 10 TINKER: Maybe not. This chalk is from the shores of Lake Avernus. 11 TINKER: The ancient gateway to the land of the dead. PANEL 5 Out wide. The Tinker draws out a stairway in perspective on the ground. The cop pleads with him. 12 COP: Faith, you can’t do this, Tinker! What’ll I tell the lieutenant, at all at all? 13 TINKER: Tell him what you like, O’Malley. I’m going to Hades. 14 TINKER: And I’m bringing Lucy Cabot’s soul back with me! PANEL 6 Tight on the Tinker. His drawn staircase has become a real staircase, from which flames and steam billow up. He walks down fearlessly into them. 15 TINKER: I spend a lot of time dealing with the criminal underworld. 16 TINKER: The underworld of the dead probably isn’t too different! RIGHT-HAND BIT PANEL 1 Back in the studio, out wide. Wilson stares at the finished page, which he’s lifted from the drawing board. He’s amazed. Miriam stands by, a little bashful and awkward but full of excitement at what she’s achieved. 8 WILSON: This is - - 9 MIRIAM: It’s Orpheus and Eurydice. 10 WILSON: I know, Miri. I got that. PANEL 2 Tight on Wilson. He lowers the page, stares at her, very serious. 11 WILSON: It’s brilliant. You’re telling stories with real resonance, now. 12 WILSON: Real depth. PANEL 3 Close-up on Miriam’s face, ardent and passionate. 13 MIRIAM: I’m making myths. 14 MIRIAM: For an age that doesn’t have any of its own yet. It's a complicated process, but the end result is totally worth it when you see the finished pages colored, lettered and ready to be read.