Monday, October 20, 2008

Soul of a Zombie - My First Comic Script

Through a series of events I ended up submitting a script for a comic book to an independent publisher. While I have always harbored the desire to write comic books I have not been actively trying to do so due to time constraints and other considerations.

The process was a real learning experience as my thought was to layout some of the direction and settings for the story (as though I’m writing to the artist). I was told to strip it down and tell the story as cleanly and quickly as possible.

Ultimately it was rejected, but done so nicely that I think we can still be friends. All sarcasm aside, it was done nicely and it was all something of a set of happenstances, but I do like the story and thought I would share it.

The Soul of a Zombie

Page One (Six panels)

Panel One

Danny is waking up in bed, his wife is already gone.

Caption: Another morning.

Panel Two

Danny is getting ready for work.

Panel Three

Danny is coming down the stairs.

Caption: I like my life. Mornings I sometimes hate.

Panel Four

Danny is sitting down to breakfast with his wife and daughter. His wife is wearing a distinct ring.

Panel Five

Danny hits the front door kissing his wife good-bye.

Danny “Don’t forget date night tonight.”

Panel Six

Danny is driving into work.

Caption: It’s too nice a day to work.

Page Two (Six panels)

Panel One

Danny arrives at walk and is walking down an aisle of cubes.

Panel Two

Danny stops at his boss’ office.
Danny: “Sorry I’m a little late.”
Boss: “No problem, I’m just glad you showed up.”

Panel Three

Danny scans the office.
Danny: “Everyone sick?”
Boss: “So they say.”

Panel Four

Danny looking outside. Coughs.
Danny: “Can I be sick to?”

Panel Five

Danny’s sitting as his desk. A picture of his wife and daughter sits on his desk.

Panel Six

Danny is driving back home.

The car radio “CDC has raised the alert level about this recent flu epidemic.”

Page Three (Four panels)

Panel One

Danny and his daughter are playing in the back yard.

Panel Two

Danny and his family at the dinner table.

Caption: At times it seems like I have a perfect life.

Panel Three

Danny and his wife are putting their daughter to bed.

Panel Four

Danny and his wife are watching TV.

Danny “Its date night.”

Page Four (Two panels)

Panel One

Danny and his wife in bed after sex.

Panel Two

Danny is in the bathroom, coughing up blood.

Wife: “Danny; Are you okay?

Page Five (One panel)

Top of Page: One year later:

Danny is a zombie.

Caption: They call us the walking dead, zombies.

Page Six (Six panels)

Panel One

Danny is joins a group of zombies.

Caption: They call us that because we appear to all tests to be dead.

Panel Two

The group is moving into the street and joining other zombies.

Caption: Our bodies are decaying and we can’t speak, but we are here, or at least I am.

Panel Three

The group moves to a barricaded wall. Guards are atop the makeshift wall.

Caption: I remember when they pulled the plug on me.

Panel Four

More zombies are joining and are all heading for the wall.

Caption: The doctor told my wife the slight brainwave function meant nothing I was dead.

Panel Five

The zombies attack and the humans begin to shot their weapons at them.

Caption: I wish to God, they understood what has happened to us.

Panel Six

The zombies are starting to break thru the wall.

Caption: We are alive in a sense, but trapped inside a living engine of hunger with no way to control it.

Page Seven (Four panels)

Panel One

The barrier break, the fighting intensifies.

Caption: I sit inside this thing I wish I could go mad.

Panel Two

Zombies are overrunning the compound and the humans are scattering.

Caption: I pray for a head shot they may finally kill me.

Panel Three

Danny with a small group is chasing after some humans, which includes a woman and a young girl running into a building.

Caption: Why I remain sane as I am eating human flesh is itself maddening.

Panel Four

Danny’s zombie group follows into the house and is hit by gun fire from a hand gun.

Caption: But I’m still here, inside and I wonder how many others are still sane and suffering.

Page Eight (Two panels)

Panel One

Danny and one other zombie approach the humans. The gun clicks empty and we see it is Danny’s wife and child.

Caption: This can’t be happening. Please let me go mad, I need my mind to break. I need this to end, I can’t be this. I can’t be doing this.

Panel Two

Danny is eating is wife’s hand, we see her ring. It almost appears as if Danny is crying.

Caption: Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! (an unending scream)


And there you have it. There are so many elements to writing something even this simple that you don't realize until you start to do it, but for me pacing is a huge key and I had three of four ideas of how to do it. You should see my first shot at the script and see how much more was in it and I thought that was light. This is stripped down to its bones, but it does allow someone to read the story and determine if they want to go forward with it or not. It was a lot of fun just trying my hand at it and the people behind it who pushed me I have to say thanks. I can see why it is very difficult for a writer to break into this business. One day I would like to take another stab at this stuff.


  1. I really like the first half with pages two and three being my favorites. The one line captions are great and very funny, especially "Can I be sick too?" and "It's date night". I like the jarring transition on page Four.

    After that I get kinda lost in the zombie-stuff and I understand the premise, but still I have a hard time buying that this guy can remain "sane". He's a little too casual. He could still be himself, but you'd think he'd be wracked with guilt. Peter Parker has more angst. I do like the line, "I remember when they pulled the plug."

    I think the ending could be more suspenseful (sorry, I watched the brilliant Rear Window yesterday). I think the reader should witness the confrontation with his family a little differently. Maybe more panels (Does she recognize him?). Also, the significance of showing the ring is lessened because we already know it's his wife. I do like the ambiguousness of the last caption. Does he finally go insane or is it just his grief.

    I think you should get one of your indie buddies to let you co-plot or at least try scripting a book. You have such a talent for saying very funny, succinct punch lines that are completely natural.

    Tag Line: Laugh Out Loud Funny (in places), Jim Martin has the potential of being comics' Woody Allen. Although, he might want to use his spell checker more. :)
    -- One Mann's Opinion

  2. Matthew - Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed it. I'm sure if it had gotten further we would have made some of the changes that you suggest.

  3. Jim, I loved it. Maybe a little too WALKING DEAD for me (even though I don't read it except in the store), but still a nice start. Pacing was good and even though I knew what was coming, still held my interest. Look forward to seeing more from you, sir!

  4. I actually like it quite a bit. But if I may interject some wisdom, I'd have to say it's best to spell words correctly, such as "through" instead of thru. Oh, and while spellcheck works, it will not find errors, like shoot were you have shot. Have someone else proofread it and get the thing published. It's cool.

  5. I still think it's a great short story.

  6. I loved your story. I am also writing a zombie comic script for school at the moment.