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20130708

LEGACIES: the Comic Book Pitch

SYNOPSIS

            Max is going mad. He is plagued by chattering anxieties, lurking rages and slow-burning fears. The traffic and noise of the world becomes intolerable; Max gives up his job and friendships for the static refuge of his apartment. His initiation has begun.

            Maggie, adopted at birth, finally seeks out her natural grandmother. There is a low thunder in Maggie’s heart, subtle but strong enough to disrupt her happiness. She is questing for something, anything, to quiet it. Joanne, her grandmother, is a Knight in the secret Order of the Sovereign House. She offers Maggie membership.

            Two generations ago  Max’s grandfather, the shaman Malcolm, and Joanne found themselves allies in a struggle against the Chainborn. Their callings let them understand each others' hardships and loneliness but refused them the chance to remain together. This is the legacy Max and Maggie must inherit or deny.

            Max’s sufferings drive him back to the city streets where he is visited by the Abrhim-Sol, the spirits of his initiation. In a fugue of car accidents, muggings, shopping sprees and visions Max’s soul is torn apart. Meanwhile, Joanne tests Maggie in the Ways of the Scales, the Sword and the Sun, the principles that guide the Order.

            The initiate’s trials are interrupted by the return of the Chainborn. They are hunting a shaman’s soul for their dark designs and have targeted Max. A traitor to the Order has allied with them; Joanne and Maggie are called to face him.

            Max and Maggie meet under the threat of the Gheddon-Siege, a ritual curse laid by the Chainborn to snare Max while he is at his weakest. The trap fails when Malcolm arrives; he offers his own soul to the Gheddon-Siege and the act of sacrifice counters the Chainborn’s claim.  In the battle, Joanne reunites briefly with Malcolm before she is killed by the traitor.

            Shocked and frightened in the aftermath of the battle, Maggie and Max flee their enemies. They feel a profound attraction between them, but to follow it would endanger both their souls. Max still suffers the shaman’s sickness and Maggie’s knightly purification would be infected. They would be without power, at the mercy of the Chainborn.

            In an act of mystical affirmation and denial, in a rejection of fate’s constraints in favor of the true path of the knight and shaman, the path of heart, Maggie and Max make love.  They embrace the paradox of their legacies - they are a knight and shaman, they are not a knight and shaman - and so surrender to their callings while claiming their freedom.

            Their initiations complete, Marshal and Alison set forth to hunt the Chainborn, together.

CAST

Maggie: Level-headed, practical and patient, Maggie can’t understand why she is unhappy. A nameless doubt troubles her. Maggie views membership in the Order with equal measures skepticism and desperation. Her adopted parents are both spiritual yet none of their teachings have prepared Maggie for telekinetic duels, bio-psychic armor, and divine communion. Her eventual but fearful acceptance of her destiny entails sacrificing her former life for one more difficult and dangerous. Yet it is as a knight that she finds courage, strength and, finally, peace.

Max: Typically jovial and considerate, Max’s sudden cynicism and resentment disturbs not only his friends but himself. He finds reflection futile; he has lost all clarity. With increasing speed, Max’s identity fractures and collapses into the thrall of his initiation. Not until he understands that he and his world are diseased does his healing begin. The Abrhim-Sol teach him the arts of the aura, spirit-talking and soul travel. Slowly and painfully Max’s confidence and kindness are reborn. Yet they are deeper now, strengthened by the sight of a shaman.

Joanne: She has always known that Maggie would seek her out; known it with the faith and wisdom her knighthood has granted her. Joanne is a demanding teacher, but her own sacrifices remind her of the need for sensitivity.  Her marriage to Maggie’s grandfather was a failure; the stresses of her calling were too much. She is cautious in balancing her roles as mentor and grandmother. 

Malcolm: The life of a shaman is one of trials, sufferings and dangerous work. Malcolm is resentful of it all.  After losing his chance at happiness with Joanne he rejected his calling and succumbed to bitterness.  The later years of his life were spent in an unhappy marriage, mundane jobs and eventually an old age home. His decision to sacrifice his soul to the Siege is complex; it affirms the calling he so despised in life even as he escapes into death, and it saves Max’s soul even as it consigns him to the shaman’s path.

Jacob: The traitor to the Order of the Sovereign House. Jacob is the best swordsman the Order ever produced; his skill was instrumental in winning the War of Silences.  The fighting broke him though, and tainted his heart with battle lust. The Order forsook him shortly after. Jacob’s battle with Joanne becomes his chance for revenge against those who failed him.

Emir:  Malcolm’s spirit guide, a dark and elfin being of fire and steel. They have not communed since Malcolm forsook his path. Emir returns to share the news of Max’s initiation, and to further his own secret agenda.

The Abrhim-Sol:  Spirits of the Street, the Prison, the Ambient, the Distraction. Max must come to know the diseases that plague his world - the cancers of city-consciousness, the fevers of post-millennial angst.  These are the gates, the hauntings, the causes and effects of the Abrhim-Sol.

The Chainborn:  Psychic-fascists, numinal-sadists, soul-tyrants. Their aetheric and astral campaigns of terror are legendary, their enemies all who would be healthy and pure.

SAMPLE SCRIPT

Page One: 9 panels

Panel 1:  The lobby of an old-age home.  The scene is dimly-lit; orange light from a setting sun streams in from two small windows. The walls are gray and unadorned, the carpet brown.  An old, slumped woman sits in a wheel chair. In the center of the panel a narrow hallway recedes into the background. Doors are visible along its length. Beside each door is a small white placard.

The atmosphere is one of fatigue and listlessness.

Panel 2:  A close-up of the edge of one of the doors.  The doorknob is visible at the bottom of the panel.  On the wall beside the door, the white placard can be seen.  The name MALCOLM DUNBRAY is typed along its top.  Beneath it are the words MEDICATION SCHEDULE followed by a column of indeterminate numbers.

MALCOLM (from behind the door):                      “Why are you here?”

Panel 3: Inside the room, as bleak as the lobby, we see EMIR from behind, visible only from his shoulders. He is dressed in a uniformly black suit. His body is lean and angular, his hands pale white, his posture rigid. He is standing before a  hospital-style bed, in which we can see covered legs and feet.

EMIR (in a jagged font):                                    “It’s your grandson.  He is being initiated.”

Panel 4: A close-up of MALCOLM, whose is laying in the bed.  He is old with a hollow and creased face.  Gray hair recedes from his brow.  He has raised his hand to his eyes, which are in shadow.  His expression is pained.

Panel 5: A shot looking down the bed at MALCOLM’S covered legs.  EMIR’S arm and hand are just visible to the side.

MALCOLM:                                                    “I want to ask why... but I know better.”

Panel 6: We see MALCOLM’S right hand reaching to a bedside table for a glass of water.  A simple, glass vase also sits on the table.  In it is a single white flower.

MALCOLM:                                                    “So... who then?”

Panel 7: A close-up of MALCOLM, the same angle as panel 4.  He is drinking the water.

EMIR (OFF-PANEL, jagged font):                    “The Abrhim-Sol.”

CAPTION:                                                       The water tastes like desert sands.

Panel 8: We see the whole of MALCOLM’S bed. He is sitting up, pillows supporting his back.  He holds the glass of water, resting it on his stomach. His head is bowed. EMIR stands to his side in the exact same position as panel 3. He is still visible from only the shoulders down.

Panel 9: A close-up of EMIR.  His face is gaunt, his features sharp.  His ears are long and pointed, his eyes narrow and black. Jagged red-black markings streak his cheeks and chin.  His hair is the same red-black colour, short and spiky.

MALCOLM (OFF-PANEL):                             “I’ve missed you.”

Page Two:  8 panels

Panel 1: A close-up of MALCOLM speaking, head tilted up slightly, eyes unfocussed.  His expression is somewhat soft and nostalgic.

MALCOLM:                                                    “Do you remember when we went after that accountant’s soul?  They had taken him to the El Pachra bogs.  Vile.”

Panel 2: A close-up of MALCOLM’S right hand, still holding the glass of water, resting on his stomach..

MALCOLM:                                                    “Hmm...”

Panel 3: A close-up of MALCOLM’S face.  His expression is now solemn, his eye in shadow.

MALCOLM:                                                    “No point really.  I just remember sometimes.”

Panel 4:  We see MALCOLM laying in his bed, as on Page One, panel 8, still holding the glass of water.  EMIR is standing in the same position, though we have pulled back slightly so his head is visible.  MALCOLM stares at the glass.

MALCOLM:                                                    “Remember and hate.”

Panel 5: An extreme close-up of EMIR from slightly to his left. His strange face remains sharp and inexpressive.

MALCOLM (OFF-PANEL):                             “Hate the Fain-Necra for what they did to me, what they made me do.  Hate you for helping them.”

Panel 6: We see Malcolm’s hand returning the glass of water to the bedside table from the same angle as Page one, panel  6. The vase and white flower are visible.

MALCOLM:                                                    “Sometimes I want to ask why...”

Panel 7: A close-up of MALCOLM from the shoulders up. His head is lowered to his chest and shadows black out most of his features. Wispy strands of gray hair, wrinkles fading into shadow and his posture make him look frail.

MALCOLM:                                                    “... but I know better.”

Panel 8: Again we see MALCOLM laying in bed from his right side as in Page two, panel 4.  His head is still bowed. We have pulled back far enough now to see the door to his room. EMIR is holding it open and stepping through, leaving. He is not looking back.