Sunday, April 29, 2007

One Evening in the Rogue Encampment (Script)

A strange idea for a short comic came into my mind earlier this afternoon, but like the other comics on this blog, it requires quite a few screenshots, some photomanipulation, and a great deal of writing to present properly.

I don't just post comics at whim, of course. I turn their ideas over and over in my head first, making certain that I have the personalities of the characters well in hand and the required shots all planned out. After that I have to lay out everyone's relative positions within each frame, make room for the dialogue (or narratives, as the case may be), and figure out the best punchline/s to use. The fact that I'm not successful with comics like these all the time is a testament to how much more difficult they are than they seem at first glance.

In fact, I usually write up a short textfile before I start the actual physical work. In this way, I try to summarize my notes about the dialogue, the characters and the setting on a tangible medium; It ensures that I don't go about with the subject matter bouncing around my mind all day. Some textfiles make it to the Photoshop board and some don't, but at least I know that they're sitting there in the bowels of my hard drive, waiting for me to get off my duff and do some casual work.

This idea for a comic happens to take place in the universe of Diablo II, interestingly enough -- a setting that I haven't touched for over a year. It's just that Blizzard's characters are so nice to play around with sometimes.



Close shot of GHEED's wagon in the Rogue Encampment. GHEED is in the center of the frame, taking his usual stance; Aside from the speech balloon, everything looks as it normally does in the game.


(Yes, that's what he says: One huge speech balloon with nothing but a giant "" in the center.)


PANELS 2 to 8

GHEED starts singing what is most likely the filthiest song that can ever be imagined on this blog. It involves boozing, weeding and wenching... probably not even in that exact order. It incorporates his frustrations at being stuck in the middle of an all-woman Rogue Encampment out in the middle of a monster-infested wasteland. It even rhymes, and has an oddly catchy tune that people can figure out just by reading the speech balloons. The song should be so incredibly offensive that it actually starts being funny.

If possible, edit GHEED's stance in one or two panels so that the reader gets the impression that he's dancing, or at least swaying slightly from side to side. GHEED should at least look the part of a roaring drunk.



The last panel of GHEED's song. The camera begins panning out, so that we get hints of a couple of other characters watching the proceedings.



GHEED gets relegated to the left side of the frame, as he starts off on another stanza. KASHYA and CHARSI are revealed as the interlopers on the right side of the frame.

KASHYA: Remind me why we don't just throw him out with his wagons, again?

CHARSI: This is nothing. You should see what happens when we get Deckard Cain on the Narlant Weed.


And that's it. I figure that I can just polish it from there.

I have a couple of issues with this setup and dialogue so far: First, a good chunk of the humor is dependent on the quality of Gheed's song -- if the merchant turns out to be either unfunny or extremely offensive, then it's back to the drawing board. Second, Kashya and Charsi's ending lines aren't entirely set in stone; If I can think of something that sounds funnier, then I might use that instead. (That, and the non-Diablo players out there might not get the "Narlant Weed" reference.)

As for the technical considerations, I think I can pull off the screenshots quite easily. I'd need to double-check the name spellings, however, and I'd like to see what I can do with Gheed's sprite in order to make it look as though he's dancing and having a bad hiccup at the same time. Fortunately I don't think I have any legal considerations to worry about... everyone's usually pretty open to parody, after all.

I might even end up changing the title of the piece, depending on how the work turns out. But I suppose that I won't worry about that until I actually get everything finished. That is... if I actually get everything finished.

So... Narlant Weed, anyone? :)

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