For those interested in my attempts at an ongoing series, Issue #2 of Singularity:
PAGE ONE (one panel)
Panel 1: Splashpage. Interior, subterranean level of the base. Midian and Ana walk down a whitewashed corridor approaching a large steel blast door flanked on either side by armed guards in Army uniform at parade rest, pistols strapped to their sides. The shot is from behind Midian and his protégé, the guards coldly facing the reader. The door itself is imposing: massive, black with a wheel centrally located on its surface.
1 MIDIAN: This used to be a nuclear bunker.
2 ANA: It seems overkill.
3 MIDIAN: If you only knew.
PAGE TWO (three panels)
Panel 1: Shot over Midian’s shoulder, his head turned toward one of the stoic guards who now stand at attention.
1 GUARD: Director.
2 MIDIAN: Open it.
Panel 2: Small shot, close-up of the guard spinning the wheel on the door to unlock it.
Panel 3: Close shot of Ana’s face, an expression of trepidation. She is uncomfortable with what lingers behind that great door.
PAGE THREE (three panels)
Panel 1: Side shot of the guard pulling the massive door open the first few inches revealing the thick steel width of it.
1 ANA (off panel): Does he receive much human contact?
2 MIDIAN (off panel): We try to limit his socialization.
Panel 2: Same shot, the door is half open.
3 ANA (off panel): So you keep him secluded? Down here?
Panel 3: Dominating shot. Opposite side of the door, now open, Midian and Ana face us through the open doorway. Midian is looking over at his colleague, smiling. She is stern, arms crossed.
PAGE FOUR (five panels)
Panel 1: Shot from the front facing our two characters. Midian starts down a grim, shadowy pitted concrete corridor lit by strips of fluorescent lighting overhead creating grim pools of light, Ana still standing behind. Cameras dot the walls, shining black eyes.
1 MIDIAN: Come.
1 ANA: Where are we going?
2 MIDIAN: To the Deep.
3 ANA: The Deep?
Panel 2: Shot of Midian from the chest up, subtly smirking. Ana is seen off to the right of the frame hurrying behind him.
4 MIDIAN: That’s what the staff calls it. Quite biblical.
Panel 3: Interior, observation deck. Dominating shot, from above. The narrow ill-lit corridor has opened to a broad steel grill observation deck that looks down on a large, glass topped chamber below. Formerly a missile silo, now it is the subject’s abode. Below in the chamber it is dark, though the vague silhouettes of numerous crooked pillars of books can be seen within the confines. Midian stands back, arms behind his back, while Ana lingers near the edge staring down.
5 MIDIAN: As is he. It’s a sensory deprivation cell.
6 ANA: Where is he?
7 CRENNA: (off-panel) Resting.
Panel 4: Ana is surprised by the stranger. Colonel Crenna stands off to the side, clasping his arms behind his back. Midian has his arm outstretched in introduction. Crenna is a grizzled soldier, flinty grey eyes, clean shaven, granite jawed, clad in an Army Dress Uniform and black beret, numerous ribbons weighing down his left breast; a veteran of decades of war.
8 MIDIAN: Dr. Janus, Colonel Crenna.
9 CRENNA: Ma’am.
10 ANA: What do you mean resting?
Panel 5: Close-up of Crenna’s placid, yet haunted features.
11 CRENNA: It’s classified.
PAGE FIVE (four panels)
Panel 1: The three stare at each other, Midian in the center. Ana distrusts the colonel. Crenna is ambivalent. Midian attempts to play peacemaker.
1 MIDIAN: She has the clearance.
Panel 2: Small close-up of Crenna giving Ana a scowl.
Panel 3: Facing the reader, Ana frowns, Midian standing beside her, Crenna’s back to us; hands still clasped behind his back.
2 ANA: Is there a problem Colonel?
3 CRENNA: Hopefully not. Good day.
Panel 4: Crenna is gone, the pair once again staring down into the chamber. Ana remains irritated, feeling the outsider.
4 ANA: Charming.
5 MIDIAN: Indeed. He is usually less cordial.
6 ANA: What are those stacks?
PAGE SIX (four panels)
Panel 1: Shot is from the chamber floor, looking up from between the pillars of books to the upper observation platform where Ana and Midian stand in the gleaming glow, the pair now shadows. The chamber itself is more silhouette and vague in shape, sparse; akin to a classical ruin.
1 MIDIAN: Books. We don’t give him computer access.
Panel 2: Shot is back up on the observation deck with the two, framing the two characters. Ana is looking over at Midian, a quizzical expression on her face. Midian’s head is mildly tilted toward her.
2 MIDIAN: Security.
3 ANA: He reads?
4 MIDIAN: Voraciously.
5 ANA: What does he read?
6 MIDIAN: Everything. Anything.
Panel 3: Shot tilted from behind Ana staring through the glass down at the sparse confines below.
7 ANA: And he stacks them?
8 MIDIAN (Off-panel): When he is through.
9 ANA: He’s building his own reality.
10 MIDIAN (Off-panel): Pardon?
Panel 4: Same shot, Ana turns to face Midian off panel.
11 ANA: Nevermind.
PAGE SEVEN (two panels)
Panel 1: Splash page. The shot is from the chamber looking up close enough for Midian and Ana to take up half the panel. He stands behind her, hands on her shoulders.
1 ANA: Why is he down here?
2 MIDIAN: As I said, sensory deprivation. He can only handle so much stimuli.
3 ANA: What is his name?
Panel 2: Small insert, shadowy face of the subject below, the irises of his eyes gleam like silvery starbursts. The rest of his features are concealed, though his head is clearly juvenile.
4 MIDIAN: His name? He doesn’t have one. He simply is.
PAGE EIGHT (four panels)
Panel 1: Interior, Sierra’s room. The frame is dark, washed out; colors are muted. Shot is a close-up of the pale skin of an arm, unblemished, thin and fragile; set up to seem that it may be the subject’s arm. Focus is on the inner elbow where the vague greyish veins appear to form a “Y.”
1 SIERRA (voiceover): There is something wrong with me, but I don’t know what it is.
Panel 2: Shot has pulled back to show the arm from elbow to fingertips. The first two fingers and thumb are open. The fourth finger and pinky are closed.
2 SIERRA (voiceover): I feel alien…alone.
Panel 3: Same shot as panel 2, only a razor cuts the skin just below the “Y.”
3 SIERRA (voiceover): I just want to feel real.
Panel 4: The shot has shifted with the arm hanging diagonally, the back of the arm to the reader, rivulets of black blood spilling down from her fingers appearing as ebony tears.
4 SIERRA (voiceover): I just want to feel…
PAGE NINE (six panels)
Panel 1: The shot has pulled pack to reveal it is Sierra who has cut herself, sitting on the edge of her bed, her back to us, shoulders slumped, head bowed, wearing a t-shirt and jeans.
1 ANA (off-panel): Sierra?
Panel 2: Ext. Sierra’s room. Ana stands outside her daughter’s door in the hall, hugging herself.
2 ANA: I’m home. Need anything?
Panel 3: Int. Sierra’s room. Sierra turns to look at the door, eyes wet with tears and smeared with black mascara.
Panel 4: Close-up, Sierra looks away, biting her lip.
3 SIERRA: No.
Panel 5: Ext. Sierra’s room. Ana outside the door looking concerned.
4 ANA: Are you ok?
Panel 6: Shot of Sierra’s arm, palm up, the blood spilling down her pale skin to be cupped in her hand.
5 SIERRA: I’m fine.
PAGE TEN (three panels)
Panel 1: Ext. Sierra’s room. Ana touches the door with her hand, an expression of sorrow on her face. She senses her daughter’s pain but doesn’t know what she can do about it.
Panel 2: Same shot, her head now bowed and eyes downcast.
Panel 3: Dominating shot. Ana retreats down the hallway to her study, her posture that of defeat.
PAGE ELEVEN (six panels)
Panel 1: Interior, the Activity’s Offices. Late night. Dark. View is from behind Kant hunched at his desk blocking out the desk lamp as he silently works; the light spills out from around him making him seem to loom larger than natural. The rest of the office is vague: awards on the walls, schedules, the door. Kant dominates the frame.
1 KANT (voiceover): What is the measure of a life?
Panel 2: Side shot of Kant looking down at paperwork, collar loose, tie hanging, several locks of hair spilling over his forehead, lips pinched, and eyes tight.
2 KANT (voiceover): Is it work?
Panel 3: Overhead shot of Kant roaming the cubicles of his fellow co-workers. Scene is similar to rows of cells, sharp lines dividing the frame into grids, all empty of humanity with him walking down the center of the frame, his shadow stretching behind him. Some are pitch black, others dimly lit.
3 KANT (voiceover): Our friends.
Panel 4: Shot from behind and looking up from a photo resting on top of a desk; a symbolic monolith. Kant is staring down at it.
Panel 5: Close-up of a smiling family: wife, husband, and son. The joy they share is evident in the bright photograph.
4 KANT (voiceover): Family?
Panel 6: Small insert of Kant placing the photo facedown, frowning.
PAGE TWELVE (three panels)
Panel 1: Interior, corridor. Close shot facing Kant, chest up, as he follows the grim hallway down to the Deep. His face is partially shadowed, ill lit by the fluorescent lighting. The bright circle of the distant blast door door behind seems to illuminate the left side of his face; the door the distant sun in the twilight, the lit half of his face the moon.
Panel 2: Interior, Observation deck. Dominating shot. Kant stares down into the dark chamber from the observation deck. The shot is from behind Kant, his face ghostly reflected in the glass. His face is twisted with cold rage.
1 KANT (voiceover): Or is it what we leave behind?
2 CRENNA (Off-panel): It would seem the shadow lingers.
3 KANT: These are my hours. Why do you haunt them?
Panel 3: Shot is from the side on the observation deck. Crenna emerges from the shadows, eyes narrowed. In the foreground, Kant doesn’t even turn to look at him so fixated is he on the dark below.
4 CRENNA: Someone must keep watch over the boy.
5 KANT: The subject.
6 CRENNA: He is a soldier, not a specimen.
7 KANT: He is possibility, not a person.
PAGE THIRTEEN (five panels)
Panel 1: Shot from below, staring up at the observation deck where Crenna and Kant stand. The faint outline of the boy can subtly be seen standing next to one of the pillars of books.
1 CRENNA: He is Promethean fire and you would snuff him out.
2 KANT: Better than being consumed by it.
3 CRENNA: Only you.
Panel 2: Side shot. Kant confronts Crenna, Kant’s face is mocking, yet pulled back. Crenna purses his lips, head craned forward, daring.
4 KANT: The hypocrisy. You would use it just like me. Make it Mars in the flesh. Does that make you Jupiter?
5 CRENNA: I intend to drill discipline into the boy. The power he represents-
Panel 3: Close-up of Kant, leering demonically, eyes piercing.
6 KANT: The promise it represents. I suggest you end your attachment to it. Empathy is clouding your duty.
Panel 4: Shot focuses on Crenna who looms over Kant, the latter’s back to us.
7 CRENNA: You are more alien than he is. If you were under my command-
8 KANT: But I’m not under your command.
Panel 5: Crenna walks away, his back to us. Kant watches him go, his back also to us.
9 CRENNA: I suggest you dwell elsewhere. Remember, my men are always posted.
PAGE FOURTEEN (three panels)
Panel 1: Shot of Kant staring through the glass, mouth crooked, eyes heavy. He is angry at being challenged, feeling less than in control. Kant is angry; at himself, at his lack of power. He wants to have that authority; to be a god. He wants to remake reality according to his will. He wants power for power’s sake.
Panel 2: Same shot.
1 KANT: Obstacles. Just obstacles…
Panel 3: Shot from behind Kant peering into the abyss of the Deep. Kant appears small compared to the great dark.
2 KANT: To what waits.
PAGE FIFTEEN (three panels)
Panel 1: The Deep. The pillars of books stand tall in the surreal, crooked, jagged, reaching to the stars overhead seen through the dome. It is dreamlike. Subtle shadows and light. The fragile foundations of reality.
Panel 2: The same shot. Only now there is a silhouette walking amongst them. It is young, thin, abstract in its lithe nature. It walks among such knowledge with grave searching.
Panel 3: Close shot of the silhouette. The shadow looks skyward to the mournful moon whose pale light dimly spills upon him almost granting him substance. We see more of him; his mussed hair, his gentle mouth, a solidity that crosses mere shadow to physical form.
PAGE SIXTEEN (one panel)
Panel 1: Splash page of the horizon as seen from the deep. It is a sight seen through a tunnel, the figure staring up from the depths. At the tunnel’s exit the universe waits. Miraculous stars gleaming. There is a magic to the sky above, a glow. The moon mournfully shines off to the side surrounded by the myriad stars.
PAGE SEVENTEEN (two panels)
Panel 1: Shot stares down into the chamber. The pillars of books rise from the gloom. The shadowy figure is seen reaching skyward, a strip of light revealing his soft, mournful eyes.
Panel 2: Same shot as the splash page on page 16 only now with the black hand of the figure reaching for the stars. He cups the moon in his hand.
PAGE EIGHTEEN (three panels)
Panel 1: Shot of the moon, mournful, glowing in the sky.
Panel 2: Shot down into the Deep. The figure stares up at the viewer. He is black save for his face, illuminated by moonlight spilling between his fingers making bars of light across his face. We see his slit of a mouth, his placid features. Reality shivers and warps around him, like the waves of heat in the desert. His greens eyes alone are revealed through the bars of his pale fingers. His eyes are plaintive, begging, yearning as he reaches for the heavens.
Panel 3: Side shot. His head is now downcast, upraised hand a fist. He knows the heavens are out of reach. Frustrated, he can’t linger any longer on what could be.
PAGE NINETEEN (four panels)
Panel 1: Shot is of a photograph, speckled and faded, of a young boy, age five, from behind. A large figure stands over him in a doctor’s lab coat seemingly yelling at him. The doctor points and chastises.
Panel 2: Shot of a photograph, stares down at said doctor dead, blood trickling from his nose.
Panel 3: Close-up of typed text on paper. “Subject shows unexpected possibilities.”
Panel 4: Shot of Ana’s face shocked by what she has read.
PAGE TWENTY (five panels)
Panel 1: Exterior, Bavarian countryside. An American soldier, Captain Locke, his back to us with hands on hips, is standing on a hilltop gazing at the majesty of the Zugspitze Massif beyond, a mountain of stone and ice. A civilian engineer, fat and short, stands next to him looking at Locke, blind to the grandeur. The civilian is nondescript. Locke is young, ruddy complexion, his beret at a tilt on his head.
1 LOCKE: Think we’ll find something? It was hell shutting down the pass.
2 ENGINEER: We’ll know soon enough.
Panel 2: Locke turns to face us, teasing, boyish.
3 SOLDIER: If this was a mistake or not.
4 SERGEANT (Off-panel): Sir!
Panel 3: Shot is from behind Locke and the engineer. The sergeant salutes Locke, the captain and engineer focused on him.
5 LOCKE: What is it sergeant?
6 SERGEANT: We’ve found it.
Panel 4: Locke and the engineer look at each other, the gaze serious yet infectious. Their operation has borne fruit.
Panel 5: Shot is from behind the sergeant. Locke rakes the sergeant with his eyes, the engineer next to the captain.
7 LOCKE: Lead the way.
PAGE TWENTY-ONE (two panels)
Panel 1: Dominating shot. The three walk down a crude broken dirt trail surrounded by coniferous trees, the engineer excited, Locke and the sergeant calm.
1 ENGINEER: I told you. There was more than one. The secrets that wait…
2 LOCKE: You said that last time.
3 SERGEANT: In the clearing up ahead.
Panel 2: Facing the pair, the shot reveals Locke and the engineer have shocked expressions on their faces.
PAGE TWENTY-TWO (one panel)
Panel 1: Splash page. Shot from overhead of the clearing with the fringe of forest off to the left. In the center is construction equipment, bulldozers, trucks, etc. And revealed from an excavated part of the hillside is the jutting piece of a triangular spacecraft.