Pat Mills. Copyright June 2019
EIGHT PAGE SCRIPT
(It could be cut down to seven pages, if necessary)
INFERNALS, the Dead sentenced to eternal punishment in Hell, have broken out of their prison and returned to Earth to exact vengeance on the Living.
The first Infernal to escape is our protagonist DE LA RUE, with his sidekick, a lawyer called RICHTER.
THE HELL WORLD – EXTERNAL
It’s based on Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell:
Inferno, Canto XVIII, Sandro Botticelli, 1480
See more images at www.faena.com and this selection of images: https://images.app.goo.gl/cwWwR7pRQitV8cjA9
You’ll see that it’s a spiral with sufficient similarities to THE SPACE WARP I’m featuring, designed by Simon Hodgkiss-Rogers. If you look down through Simon’s warp design to ‘the bottom’, this would correspond to the Ninth Circle and beyond.
So THE SPACE WARP ENGINEERS, working for the COUNCIL OF THE WARP (featured elsewhere in the comic) created Hell at some point in Earth’s distant past.
With a similar twisted logic like Dark City and the Matrix.
I think the WARP is an effective way and a simple way of depicting Hell ‘from the outside’.
You might refine it further, but without it becoming ‘a map’ or a diagram and thus losing its three dimensional reality.
THE HELL WORLD – INTERNAL
Hell City of DIS only features briefly in the story, but it’s a world we’re likely to return to in subsequent episodes.
One commentator’s view on depicting Hell:
It seems, time and again, that the important thing when interpreting hell is to take earthly forms and exaggerate them, twist them into something familiar yet absurd and uncanny.
I think that’s VERY good advice!
The medieval and the Gothic have been done (see, for example Requiem), but there are other options.
Given that this is a science fiction story, we definitely need an SF quality to Hell.
Metropolis would be a good starting point, not least because of its Art Deco feeling, the steam, the fantasy and the astonishing scale.
This could be combined with elements of modern super max prisons. The high watch towers, for example.
This should give it credibility and take us away from fantasy.
N.B. NO FLAMES, NO FIRES OF HELL COS THAT’S FANTASY AND TRADITIONAL.
PRISONERS AND GUARDS
Prisoners – ‘INFERNALS’ – wear modern American prison uniforms with black and white horizontal stripes.
Or a comparable variation.
Prison guards – ‘ULTORS’ – wear science fiction sinister black uniforms. And are armed with SF guns and security devices.
They are ‘demons’, but not classic horned demons or variants.
They are actually aliens with a complex world and society of their own.
They could have terrifying skull faces or elongated skulls. Or strange, sinister masks.
See for example:
Image from www.theepochtimes.com.
See also https://ascendingpassage.com/Akhenaten-and-Nefertiti.htm and https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas-opinion-guest-authors/elongated-human-skulls-peru-possible-evidence-lost
Important that they have a SCIENCE FICTION feeling. NOT classical demon fantasy.
The Ultors (Latin for Avengers) are an alien race that has been hired by the Warp Lords to run Hell. They specialise in torture, security and controlling inmates. We will see more of them in later episodes – not least because they want the Hellbreakers back.
THE PROTAGONIST: DE LA RUE
Tall, sinister, shadowy in the tradition of any number of noir characters like Dracula, the Shadow, Fantomas, Batman, Jack the Ripper etc.
He was the Last Man in Britain to be hanged. And the First Man to escape from Hell.
(No noose-mark around his neck)
ON EARTH… He wears evening costume wherever possible, or traditional classic clothes, and, like other Infernals, he has three physical modes:
- Normal: no smoke.
- On fire
- Recovering from the flames. Molten skin. A little smoke.
All Infernals burn internally for all eternity but become USED to it over the centuries and usually show no external sign they are on fire.
When they ‘warp’ into flame mode (similar to a werewolf warping into beast mode) they can then extinguish their flames and recover in a remarkably short period of time.
And it’s only their faces and hands that are on fire in this episode.
The image below from Grand Guignol is perfect for DE LA RUE in recovery mode. Note the WHITE EYES, which are an important element to add to his sinister quality when in combat mode.
He carries an elegant cane with a warp symbol on the silver end. He uses this cane in a unique MARTIAL ART.
He has dark hair, slicked back, and could look like Sam Neill in Reilly Ace of Spies or similar noir characters. A younger Keanu Reeves also has something of the look needed although Sam Neill is a personal favourite of mine. But there must be many other possibilities.
He certainly needs to be stunningly handsome. Just as some murderers in prison attract a huge fan following, he will similarly attract a massive following on social media where he is seen as a modern day Robin Hood.
HIS SIDEKICK: RICHTER
Richter is De La Rue’s lawyer and general adviser in Hell. Lawyers are sent to the 9th circle of Hell for their crimes, the lowest and worst circle, and are hated by other criminals. So, in Hell, he keeps his old job very quiet indeed.
Richter is a criminal defence lawyer, a classic ‘suit’. Probably the lawyer who defends dubious celebrities and producers and gets them off. And Mafia gangsters as well as questionable CEOs of tobacco companies. His looks need to be distinctive in some way.
This image of Depp is one way I could imagine as such a lawyer:
Or Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate.
Joe Pesci in Good Fellas is another possible starting point.
All have elements of Richter’s character.
The legal connection between De La Rue and Richter will become increasingly relevant and useful as the story proceeds.
When we see Richter on Earth, following his escape from Hell, he has been decapitated by a high-ex shell or bullet/s. His head is then prevented from growing another body by various controls so he can’t regenerate and grow another body.
So we see Richter as a disembodied head mounted on a control board that could regulate his temperature.
This image has the kind of tone and detail needed:
An advertisement for one of the shows. (Image: Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikipedia) See more images at Atlas Obscura
In the Hell scenes there is also a FEMALE PRISONER who is close to De La Rue:
On Earth she was seriously bad news. A highly dysfunctional, daring, manipulative and vivacious character involved in drug trafficking. She met De La Rue in Hell and they bonded.
Her looks are similar to the FEMALE COP, below. Close enough for this to be apparent to the reader. But not enough to confuse them, of course.
Like the male prisoners, she will wear the striped prison uniform.
THE WORLD OUTSIDE HELL
Set in today’s world, the tone is dark, sinister, noir, Hammer, Grand Guignol, and EC Comics.
And with some futuristic technology.
THE JUDGE. Sir Charles Rayner. Good starting point would be Ian Richardson (House of Cards and Dark City). Peter Cushing is a similar type but is too well known.
Sir Charles is the head of the Judiciary. We see him here in civilian clothes.
He has a particular reason for wanting to defeat and destroy De La Rue.
THE ARCHBISHOP. Bertram Campbell.
Peter Bull is a good starting point. And the brilliant Ronald Lacey as the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells in Black Adder. But more serious, obviously!
Although the Infernals escaping from Hell led to the churches being filled, De La Rue represents a serious threat to the Archbishop and the religious establishment because many humans see DLR, an escapee from Hell, as a folk hero who is killing the real bad guys.
We see Campbell in civilian Bishop clothes: dog collar, cross etc.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR McNEAL. She leads a special anti-infernal squad.
When we first meet her she wears regular police uniform or civilian clothes with identity card similar to or the same as today. Later she wears futuristic flame-proof outfit, like her squad, but still credible as a British police outfit.
Worth a look at Line of Duty for BOTH modes. And also Dark Knight.
Some more fantastic ideas here:
She is an attractive, tough, relentless pursuer of Hellbreakers, but has a humorous side to her character. She’s flippant under pressure. Suggest you base her visually on someone you know to get best results on her character.
DE LA RUE’S MARTIAL ART – CANNE DE COMBAT
It has elements in common with Bartitsu, the combat system of Sherlock Holmes.
See Wikipedia. For example:
“Under Bartitsu is included boxing, or the use of the fist as a hitting medium, the use of the feet both in an offensive and defensive sense, the use of the walking stick as a means of self-defence.
The Bartitsu stick fighter would often incorporate close combat techniques such as trips, throws and takedowns, which probably represent a fusion of the Vigny stick system with jujutsu.”
But photo refs of it look stiff, stilted and often boring. DON’T be influenced by them!
But it was originally French:
Pierre Vigny was a French Master-at-arms (born in Paris in 1866) who was active during the late 19th century and early 20th century. He specialised in French savate and in the art of stick fighting known as la canne, which he heavily modified to better suit his theories of effective self defense.
Canne de combat is a French martial art. As weapon, it uses a canne or cane (a kind of walking-stick) designed for fighting. Canne de combat was standardized in the 1970s for sporting competition by Maurice Sarry. The canne is very light, made of chestnut wood and slightly tapered. A padded suit and a fencing mask are worn for protection.
There is reputed to be a group who operated during the Nazi occupation who used cane techniques to carry out assassinations.
Canne chausson combines savate kicks with canne stick attacks.
Source: Le Parisien
There are numerous references on line. Here’s some I found that are not as stiff and dull as the Bartitsu photos:
And here’s great video ref. Of particular interest are the guys in suits and ties!
BUT… Ultimately, you need a relish/interest in ‘super hero’/martial arts action to make this story and the same page work. I don’t think you can rely on references alone. It could look stiff, once again.
It should look ‘larger than life’, ‘in your face’ – as I’ve stressed in my various briefings (State of Play, Artist Briefing)
Forgive me if I’m teaching you to suck eggs, but to save both of us time, here are some guidelines:
- I don’t want equidistant, same weight, same distance pictures. Or ‘Front seat of the stalls’. See my post State of Play.
- Make sure you have a BIG focal point on the page.
- Don’t outline or indicate balloons. That can come later.
- Don’t adopt a European style – by which I mean ‘safe, quiet and cool’. It DOESN’T work for the British audience. There are a few European exceptions. Bilal and Ledroit are, of course, very different – they are definitely not ‘safe and quiet’, but they are very cool!
- Don’t go in for heavily outlined or quick or sketchy art, which can look cartoony and even crude and rough. Very rarely it can work, but it is RARE.
Currently 70% of submissions I’ve received have old-fashioned, equal weight pictures, or that heavy outline.
Some even look like they’re from Hotspur or other pre-2000AD, British comics from forty years ago.
Loose, cool art with professional standard inking and dynamic big focal pictures is the style needed.
And many artists are only referring to early 2000AD as a starting point after I’ve reminded them to look there, which means they’ve wasted their time.
The sample needs to be an ACTION PAGE on EARTH when De La Rue is fighting the cops.
NOT a scene in Hell.
So it needs to be Page 7.
It’s this action on Earth that’s the most demanding and will tell me who is right for the job.
If you can get the action looking cool, you’ll almost certainly get everything else right.
You may want to design the relevant characters on Page 7 first. Your call.
Batman Dark Knight has comparable scenes and art – if you’re looking for a direct role model to inspire you.
Currently the story is EIGHT PAGES. If necessary it could be cut down to SEVEN PAGES.
Like all Space Warp stories, this story is labor intensive. But Hellbreaker is particularly demanding because there are always very high reader expectations for a noir-avenger. The readers intuitively know how De La Rue should look and move.
Thus it took me a total of five weeks, going through two very different versions, to reach this stage and write episode one. I fully expect it to take a further week at least, modifying it against the successful artist’s work etc.
I mention this because it requires some equivalent commitment from the successful artist who will be the shared copyright holder on an important intellectual property.
There is no reason why it could not be as successful as my best-selling Requiem Vampire Knight, which has been doing well for the last 20 years and shows every sign of selling well for another 20 years. It was recently top of the French Amazon graphic novel charts. The artist and I took around four to six weeks each, working on spec, to come up with the Requiem story and initial art. It was only after the book was published that we received our money (in royalties, same as Space Warp).
So a version you’ve quickly knocked out in one day – because that’s all the time you can give it – is unlikely to impress either myself or the readers.
I’m not suggesting you take four weeks over it, but do be aware, this is not a quick job.
There’s too much at stake and far too much potential in this story for me to accept anything but ten out of ten art.
So please don’t consider this story for a submission unless you’re prepared to give it the time and the thought it deserves to make it a hit.
TOP LINE on Page One of story:
Next to reduced Space Warp symbol (which is on the left of the words):
‘WELCOME TO HELL!’
- Close up of De La Rue in evening suit, recovering from being on fire.
The link below is perfect for him in this recovery mode. Note the WHITE EYES, which are an important element to add to his sinister, powerful, almost handsome quality when in combat and incendiary mode.
They could, of course, be BLACK EYES and be similarly effective. Both are used in vampire films.
But you would need to do your own interpretation, inspired by, but definitely NOT copying this image.
This picture to take up approximately 70% of the page.
- External view of the sinister Hell world, floating in space. With similarities to the Space Warp. See notes.
This picture to take up approximately 10% of the page.
- Our first view of the fantastic, futuristic, prison City of Dis, the legendary capital of Hell!
Inspired by Metropolis and similar RETRO SF cities. Probably ROUNDED prison tower blocks that easily dwarf the Empire State.
We will see more of it on the next page.
This picture to take up approximately 20% of the page.
Unarmed De La Rue, Richter, and Stephanie are running towards an, as yet, unseen exit. They’re dirty and disheveled, clothes torn, some superficial wounds.
They have literally been through Hell.
There is NO VISUAL SIGN that they are Infernals.
They should be close to camera.
(De La Rue does not have his staff here)
PANELS: DIS, CAPITAL CITY OF HELL.
‘NO ONE HAD EVER TRIED TO ESCAPE FROM HELL BEFORE – BECAUSE THERE WAS NOWHERE FOR US TO RUN TO.’
‘BUT WHEN THE ULTORS SUDDENLY STEPPED UP SECURITY AROUND THE CITY, DE LA RUE FIGURED SOMETHING MUST HAVE CHANGED. SO THERE HAD BE A WAY OUT OF DIS!
‘NOW YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT DISS IN NORFOLK?’
1.They run on through the incredible and evil city. Probably the BIG picture on the page.
PANELS: ‘I HARDLY THINK THE CAPITAL OF HELL IS COMPARABLE, DETECTIVE INSPECTOR.’
‘ARE YOU SURE? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO NORFOLK? YOU KNOW WHAT SOCIAL WORKERS WRITE ON THEIR CLIENTS’ FORMS? NFN: NORMAL – FOR NORFOLK.’
‘THIS IS NOT A MATTER FOR LEVITY, DETECTIVE INSPECTOR! CARRY ON, RICHTER.’
2. The Ultors are in pursuit, firing towards us.
‘IT WAS JUST THE THREE OF US WHO BROKE OUT. SO MANY INFERNALS HAVE BECOME INSTITUTIONALISED, THEY’D NEVER DREAM OF ESCAPING.’
3. Stephanie is hit.
PANEL: ‘WHICH IS LUCKY FOR YOU GUYS. COS YOU KNOW WE OUTNUMBER YOU BY A ZILLION TO ONE? AND WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO STOP US?’
DLR’S VOICE OFF: STEPHANIE!
- DLR crouches over Stephanie. Richter looks on unsympathetically.
PANELS: ‘WELL, I HAVE MY LUCKY RABBIT’S FOOT. AND, IF ALL ELSE FAILS, A FOUR LEAF CLOVER.’
STEPHANIE: I CAN’T MOVE. GO ON WITHOUT ME.
RICHTER: WELL… IF YOU SAY SO, STEPH. ‘BYE!
DLR: SHUT UP, RICHTER!
- DLR has hauled a protesting Stephanie to her feet and is dragging her forwards, towards massive, heavy, modern/futuristic gates. Richter scowls at DLR.
STEPHANIE: NO. PLEASE. LEAVE ME, DE LA RUE. HELL IS WHERE I BELONG. IT’S WHAT I DESERVE.
DLR: WE ALL DID TERRIBLE THINGS, STEPHANIE.
RICHTER: SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, DE LA RUE. I GET SENT TO THE NINTH CIRCLE OF HELL. THE NINTH! JUST FOR BEING A LAWYER! WHAT KIND OF JUSTICE IS THAT?!
- As they approach the massive gates (see also next page for the sign), they see a small version of the Space Warp opening in the middle of it: a PORTAL! To Freedom! An awe-inspiring final image! Richter’s eyes light up!
DLR: THE PORTAL! JUST AS HE FORETOLD!
STEPHANIE: NO! I HAVE TO STAY, DE LA RUE. YOU SHOWED ME THAT.
RICHTER: COME ON! FORGET HER!
1. They’re close to the portal now. It’s hovering evilly in the air.
And we can see some metal writing ABOVE the gates of Hell. Only it’s in reverse, so we can’t make it out at this point.
DLR and Steph look lovingly at each other as Richter complains.
DLR: WHAT DO YOU MEAN I SHOWED YOU…?
STEPHANIE: BY CARING FOR ME. IT HELPED ME UNDERSTAND WHAT I’D DONE ON EARTH.
(2): AND WHY, MAYBE, THERE’S STILL HOPE FOR YOU.
RICHTER: DE LA RUE! LEAVE HER TO THE ULTORS!
2. The Ultors run towards us. Scary as Hell! Literally! And they’re making EYE CONTACT with US!!!
VOICE: HERE THEY COME!
- De La Rue and Stephanie exchange a fiery kiss. Potentially this could be a really iconic scene, so worth taking your time over. It may just be their lips that are on fire! A Hellish Valentine!
- The portal’s closing! Laser fire from Ultors off-pic flying perilously close to them. Stephanie and DLR smile and exchange a last meaningful look. A little SMOKE coming from their mouths. Richter yells impatiently at DLR.
STEPHANIE: THAT WAS… HOT.
DLR: YOU ALWAYS LIGHT MY FIRE.
RICHTER: ENOUGH WITH THE HEAVY SMOKING! THE PORTAL’S CLOSING! LEAVE THE CLASS A BITCH!
- De La Rue and Richter run for the portal. It’s continuing to close! Laser fire from the Ultors, CLOSER YET!!
Ideally, have the Ultors in the picture. Stephanie fallen to one side.
PANEL: ‘STEPHANIE WAS IN FOR DRUG-TRAFFICKING. SHE’D DESTROYED THOUSANDS OF LIVES. BUT HE WOULDN’T SEE IT.’
(2): ‘EVEN THOUGH HE’D STUDIED COSMIC LAW IN DIS.THAT’S HOW WE MET.
(De la Rue’s dialogue below should flow on from previous pic when it’s drawn)
DE LA RUE: DON’T START ABOUT HER CRIMES, RICHTER. YOU’RE NOT IN HERE FOR STEALING OTHER KIDS’ LUNCH MONEY!
- EXTERNAL AND AWESOME VIEW OF OUTSIDE OF HELL!!!
De La Rue and Richter dive through the portal to FREEDOM. Just as it closes. DLR a little ahead.
And we see the famous, chilling, terrifying writing above the MASSIVE Gates of Hell. The Gates could be a hundred feet high or far more. Writing is like the awful ‘Work Sets You Free’ in Dachau.
ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE
(Worth bearing in mind there will be a future episode where we see the Infernals breaking out, bursting through the gates in a MASS ESCAPE. DLR is the first, but many will follow.)
The portal is high up on the gates.
(For future reference – the portal emerges in East Anglia around Shotley, Harwich and Felixstowe. It’s here that the government will set up Infernal Internment Camps.)
RICHTER: ER… AS A MATTER OF FACT, THEY GOT THAT ON MY RAP SHEET, TOO.
DE LA RUE: THE ULTORS MISS NOTHING.
- In New Scotland Yard. Conversation between Archbishop, Judge, Detective Inspector and Richter, now decapitated and on a ‘life support’ stand. See notes. See ref. There can be a little SMOKE coming out of his mouth as he snarls at the cop.
PANEL: NEW SCOTLAND YARD, EARTH.
JUDGE: AND THEN, AFTER YOUR RETURN TO EARTH, YOU WENT BACK TO BEING A CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER?
RICHTER: YEAH. AND, TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE, ALL I HAD TO DO WAS STAY AWAY FROM SMOKE ALARMS… AND KEEP MY HEAD DOWN…
(2): THEN THIS SNARKY BITCH BLEW IT OFF!
- DI McNeal raises an eyebrow at Richter who protests.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR: THREATENING TO SET PROSECUTION WITNESSES ON FIRE WAS A BIT OF A GIVE AWAY.
RICHTER: WELL, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO? BECOME AN UBER DRIVER? IT’S ALL I KNOW!
- The Judge and Richter. Richter leers VERY KNOWINGLY at the Judge.
JUDGE: NOW I NEED TO KNOW WHY DE LA RUE BEGAN HIS KILLING SPREE.
(2): WE KNOW HE WAS A MERCENARY AND A MURDERER. THE LAST MAN TO HANG IN BRITAIN.
RICHTER: SENTENCED TO DEATH BY YOUR FATHER, IN FACT. RIGHT, JUDGE?
- Richter continues to leer, stirring it, enjoying winding up the Judge, maybe winking knowingly at him. The Judge responds coldly and defensively. We can tell Richter has really struck a nerve!
(The Judge is desperate to destroy or capture DLR to protect his dubious father’s reputation. His father was seriously weird and was actually turned on by pronouncing the death penalty. This is based on the unwholesome behavior of a real life modern British Judge who sentenced prisoners to death.)
RICHTER: AND NOW HE’S BECOME AN INSTAGRAM STAR. AN INFLUENCER WITH FAN ACCOUNTS. RAPPERS ARE NAME-CHECKING HIM. AND THAT’S SULLYING DADDY’S MEMORY. RIGHT?
JUDGE: DE LA RUE IS NO HERO. HE’S A COLD-BLOODED KILLER.
- Richter snarls, revealing flames inside him. The Detective looks coldly, politely and unsympathetically at him.
RICHTER: HEY – NOT SO MUCH OF THE COLD-BLOODED! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ON FIRE? FOR ALL ETERNITY?!!
INSPECTOR: CAN I GET YOU A CHOC-ICE FROM THE FRIDGE?
- Flashback to one of De La Rue’s past crimes. An ex-Home Secretary, Paul Muncey, was swimming in his indoor swimming pool.
Like all characters in this story, he should not resemble a known public figure. Maybe base Muncey and other characters on people you know, to give it that extra edge.
Here we see the pool turns to boiling pitch in the swirling form of a spiral that we recognize as the Space Warp.
The shadowy, sinister figure of De La Rue looks on as the Home Secretary dies.
He’s wearing his ubiquitous evening suit.
PANEL: ‘OKAY… IT’S ALL TO DO WITH COSMIC LAW. PAUL MUNCEY, EX-HOME SECRETARY…? HIS AUSTERITY POLICIES WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR 120,000 PREVENTABLE DEATHS.’
(2): ‘SO THAT IS A CRIME IN COSMIC LAW. THAT’S WHY DE LA RUE IMMERSED THE POOR DEVIL – NO PUN INTENDED – IN BOILING PITCH!’
- The interrogation continues.
JUDGE: HE USED THIS ‘SINGULARITY’ DEVICE GIVEN TO HIM BY SCHLOCK?
RICHTER: CORRECT. WHEN HE MADE HIM AN ENFORCER.
BISHOP: AND SCHLOCK IS SOME KIND OF HORNED DEMON… ? SO LUCIFER HIMSELF COULD BE BEHIND THIS?
- Richter looks knowingly towards the Bishop who steeples his fingers as he reflects that every cloud… The cop pursues the immediate objective.
RICHTER: THAT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME, BISHOP. ALTHOUGH HE WAS ABOVE MY PAIN GRADE IN HELL.
BISHOP: H’MM… WELL, IT’S NOT ALL BAD, OF COURSE… THE THOUGHT OF INFERNALS SECRETLY LIVING AMONGST US HAS FILLED THE CHURCHES ONCE MORE.
INSPECTOR: WHO IS DE LA RUE GOING AFTER NEXT?
- Richter looks heroic, almost saintly. The Judge makes him an offer.
RICHTER: I COULD NEVER, EVER BETRAY MY BEST FRIEND.
JUDGE: TELL US AND WE’LL PERMIT YOU TO REGENERATE AND RELEASE YOU WITH AN ELECTRONIC IMPLANT.
- Richter reveals all. McNeal gives an order to her assistant Boothman, who has been standing back, probably off-pic, in earlier scenes..
RICHTER: THE PRIME MINISTER. KENNETH DOWD. TONIGHT. CHEQUERS,
INSPECTOR: GET ONTO SECURITY AT CHEQUERS!
- We see De La Rue at a Chequers banquet. He’s sitting opposite Dowd. If you’re looking for a possible role model for the PM, Tom Driberg is a good possibility. There is something visually villainous about him to my mind, anyway. And of course there are other more recent role models. Dowd should be confident, handsome, a middle-aged bachelor.
Everyone wearing evening costume and looking rather splendid. It’s a glittering event.
PANEL: (De La Rue’s thought. No need for different lettering style)
DOWD WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF OVER HALF A MILLION CIVILIANS DURING HIS RECENT WAR.
6. DLR smiles a sinister, noir, Dracula smile at Dowd. They’re raising glasses to each other.
(NO smoke in scenes like this where DLR is under cover)
PANEL: (DLR’s thought) WAR IS DELIGHTFUL TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD NO EXPERIENCE OF IT.
- Back to New Scotland Yard. McNeal’s assistant looks RELIEVED as he reports to the Inspector and co.
BOOTHMAN: GOT THE ALL CLEAR FROM CHEQUERS, MA’AM! THERMAL HEAT CHECKS SHOW NO EVIDENCE OF INFERNALS. ALL THE GUESTS HAVE DEPARTED AND THE PRIME MINISTER IS ABOUT TO RETIRE FOR THE NIGHT.
RICHTER: BUT I GOT HIM HIS INVITATION!
INSPECTOR: I’M GOING DOWN THERE!
1. De La Rue’s hand holds the Space Warp aka ‘The Singularity’.
PANEL (DLR thought):
‘TO SEE A WORLD IN A GRAIN OF SAND
AND A HEAVEN IN A WILD FLOWER
HOLD INFINITY IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND
AND ETERNITY IN AN HOUR.’
- Dowd in shower. Singing happily to himself.
The sinister shadow of Hellbreaker falls across the shower!
PM: (musical notes) SO TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT!
- Dracula-like, De La Rue enters the shower, holding the Space Warp singularity.
He is SMILING CRUELLY!
There could be a small trail of smoke from his mouth if it makes him seem more sinister. It’s the equivalent of a vampire’s fangs – only seen rarely and usually dramatically.
DE LA RUE: WELCOME TO HELL!
PM: WHO …? SECURITY!
- For your reference:
In the first round of the seventh circle, the murderers, war-makers, plunderers, and tyrants are immersed in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood and fire. Ciardi writes, “as they wallowed in blood during their lives, so they are immersed in the boiling blood forever, each according to the degree of his guilt”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante))
Boiling blood and fire pours down from the shower onto a screaming Dowd, melting him.
PANEL: THE PUNISHMENT IN HELL FOR WAR-MAKERS AND PLUNDERERS IS TO BE IMMERSED IN A RIVER OF BOILING BLOOD AND FIRE.
- His melting hand/s smear down the shower wall.
PANEL: (DLR thought) THE SPIRITS OF HIS VICTIMS WATCH, BOUND TO HIM BY THEIR COSMIC CHAINS.
- The blood swirls down the plughole in a swirl that we see is the Space Warp!
PANEL: (DLR) AND ARE SET FREE.
- As De La Rue heads down a corridor, away from Dowd’s private apartment, he is confronted by McNeil and a squad of her Cops running towards him. They are wearing protective clothing as described in the notes. (See Dark Knight for the kind of feeling for action and hardware I’m looking for here.)
INSPECTOR: DE LA RUE!
1. DLR bursts into flames and charges towards us. A terrifying figure.
VOICE: HE’S WARPING!
- But the cops are protected from his flames by their specialist clothes
INSPECTOR: YOUR MOLOTOV COCKTAIL ROUTINE WON’T WORK ON US!
- Still on fire, DLR launches himself high into the air in a canne de combat move.
Cops (probably off pic here) fire their high-ex guns at him but their bullets explode around him.
This is because he is protected by the UNSEEN Singularity, which provides an invisible aura and neutralizes the effect of the bullets that would otherwise tear him apart.
There can be significant SMOKE in this and subsequent scenes.
DLR: NEITHER WILL YOUR WEAPONS, INSPECTOR.
4. He strikes down one cop with his cane. It needs to be a super-human blow to knock him out.
DLR THOUGHT PANEL: CANNE DE COMBAT, THE FRENCH MARTIAL ART. LEARNT IT FROM ONE OF THE OTHER PRISONERS.
INSPECTOR OR VOICE: WAIT! IF YOU STOP NOW, WE CAN DO A DEAL WITH THE ULTORS.
- Still under gunfire, the terrifying, demonic figure leaps spectacularly through the air towards his second victim. His flames are now extinguishing.
INSPECTOR OR VOICE: SEND YOU BACK TO THE FIRST OR SECOND CIRCLE. EASY PRISON CONDITIONS. NO TORTURE. NOT EVEN WATER BOARDING. WHAT DO YOU SAY?
DLR: I THINK I’D LIKE WATER BOARDING, INSPECTOR. IT COULD MAKE A PLEASANT CHANGE.
- DLR strikes down a second cop with another spectacular canne du combat blow.
DLR: I’VE SERVED MY TIME.
(2): I’M NEVER GOING BACK.
1.Other cops have been knocked unconscious between the last picture and this one. Could be as many as eight or nine cops. So now it’s just McNeal left standing. DLR, his face molten, eyes white or black, advances menacingly on the Inspector.
INSPECTOR: WHAT IS THIS? SOME TRICK YOU PICKED UP FROM GHENGIS KHAN OR ATTILA THE HUN?
DLR: THEY WEREN’T ON MY WING. HENRI DÉSIRÉ LANDRU, THE FRENCH SERIAL KILLER, WAS.
2. DLR knocks her gun out of her hand.
INSPECTOR: OKAY. OKAY. I KNOW IT WAS… HELL FOR YOU IN HELL.
(2): I HAD IT TOUGH GROWING UP MYSELF. CHRISTMAS WAS EVERY SECOND YEAR IN OUR HOUSE. BUT SENSELESS KILLING IS NOT THE ANSWER.
- DLR has pressed an unseen control and a blade has sprung out of the end of his cane. He points it at her throat. She responds grimly and heroically.
DLR: ACCORDING TO COSMIC LAW, DOWD WAS A MASS MURDERER, INSPECTOR. AND YOU TRIED TO PROTECT HIM. THAT MAKES YOU GUILTY, TOO.
INSPECTOR: I DO NOT RECOGNISE COSMIC LAW.
DLR: YOU WILL WHEN YOU’RE DEAD.
4, He continues to point the sword-stick at her throat. His skin is now starting to return to normal, so he’s starting to look handsome once again yet also very sinister and Dracula. And there’s a bitterness about his expression, too. He’s seen how his fellow Infernals have suffered in ‘resettlement camps’.
SMOKE curls from his mouth. This is a useful and unique visual opportunity to have a character ‘smoking’ like classic gumshoe private detectives, but without showing cigarettes.
She responds, perhaps with a touch of guilt/regret on her face at the cruel steps that it was necessary to take. Or she could be bullish and defiant. Depending on how you play her character.
DLR: OR WHAT ABOUT THE BOMBING OF ORWELL CAMP? HASHTAG FINISH THE INFERNALS?
INSPECTOR: THEY ATTACKED FIRST. WE HAD THE RIGHT TO PROTECT OURSELVES.
- He lowers the cane, the blade sliding back into the stick. Now he smiles triumphantly at her.
Although we can’t cover it here, the cop reminds him of Stephanie. So there should be a reasonable physical resemblance. We may even suspect that this is why DLR has probably spared her.
McNeal might remain hard-faced, or we might see some sympathy on her face here as she responds. Again, it depends how you decide to visually interpret her character.
However, there is a physical attraction between them they are both likely to deny for some time but may be explored in a later episode. And readers may pick this up already.
DLR: SO ‘ETHERIC CLEANSING’ WAS NECESSARY…? BUT IT’S OKAY. THEY REGENERATED. YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO US ANY MORE, INSPECTOR.
INSPECTOR: WE’RE WORKING ON THAT.
DLR: AND OUR RIGHTS?
- DLR, cane in hand, walks away down the corridor. Leaving behind numerous stunned cops. And a scowling Inspector who calls after him.
DLR looks sinister, handsome and human. And, perhaps, a hint that the cop is wounding him with her painful words. He’s also still thinking about Stephanie – the woman he loved in Hell (and who he may return for one day).
DLR is walking towards us, if possible making EYE CONTACT with us (even though he’s talking to the cop).
The scene might have enough SMOKE in it to create a memorable final image. So it could seem that DLR – like Jack the Ripper or Dracula – is heading into or out of the London Fog.
INSPECTOR: YOU’RE DEAD. YOU DON’T HAVE ANY RIGHTS.
(2): GET THE MESSAGE, DE LA RUE. YOU AND YOUR KIND ARE NOT WELCOME ON EARTH.
DLR: UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, INSPECTOR.
IN THE NEXT EPISODE (Not scheduled at this point)
McNeal, with a small delegation of humans, probably including the Judge and the Bishop, will leave Harwich (A crude, improvised road sign up : Harwich. Twinned with Dis, Capital of Hell.). She will go through the heavily guarded portal there to Dis to meet the Ultors.
She is probably the first person to go the other way – to break into Hell!!
She will look around the sinister futuristic city and say ‘This is definitely not Diss, Norfolk.’
(I want to make this a repeat catchphrase in the story like, ‘I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’)
She’s gone there under a safe passage agreement to find out more about DLR. The Ultors want DLR back badly. She asks them if she captured and returned him to Hell, whether they’d consider putting him in the prison on the First Circle…?
She looks fearful.
Meanwhile, Richter has regenerated and has an electronic implant. The cops are hoping he will lead them to DLR who is planning to kill his next victim, who is guilty of crimes against Cosmic Law.
Literally the anticipation is comparable to the long wait for Empire to be released.
Estimated print date?
All the best with it Pat.
Thanks! Aiming for early spring 2020.