OKAY, THIS MAY NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. IT’S SOMETHING THAT WAS CAST DOWN AS A CHALLENGE AND I’VE PLANNED IT AS A TRILOGY OF GRAPHIC NOVELS, IT’S PRETTY MUCH THE HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS FROM THE PENNY DREADFUL TO THE FLIMSIES WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE TODAY. WHETHER IT WILL EXTEND TOWARDS DIGITAL PUBLISHING–I DON’T KNOW. IT’S A STORY ABOUT A STORY, BUT IT’S A DIABOLICAL STORY–MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–*AHEM* . ANYWAY, HERE’S THE FOUR PAGE PROLOGUE:
3 panel Page. Panel one taking up half the Page. Panels 2 and 3 dropped in at the bottom. Credits etc. at the top of page.
PANEL 1: A wintery British day we are looking upwards from the ground on a busy shopping street somewhere in the UK. London actually, Charing Cross Road to be exact we can see the shops and stuff behind and around him, bookshops a Subway. We are focused on a young man with wild cut hair of varying lengths. He has a longish face and he is hunched into his leather jacket his hands thrust under his armpits whilst around him the world is scurrying around doing their business wrapped in scarves and overcoats. He is just over 6” tall and about 25 years old. It’s afternoon and the light is beginning to fail.
CAPTION: I’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE DAY I WALKED INTO THE BOOKSHOP JUST OFF CHARING CROSS ROAD. IF I’D KNOWN THEN THAT IT WOULD BE THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT OCCURRENCE OF MY LIFE, MAYBE I WOULD’VE TURNED AROUND AND GONE FOR A PINT.
PANEL 2: Backshot of the young man(ADAM) standing in a dusty shop doorway, one of those alcove doors, set back in shadow, a dim light can be seen through the dirty window of the shop door. Inscribed in faded gold leaf “A. HARMSWORTH & SON rare books & stamps”., his arm and hand outstretched to the brass handle that would open the door of the shop.
CAPTION: I REALISE HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 AS THEY SAY AND I WAS JUST EAGER TO GET MY HANDS ON SOMETHING I’D HEARD OH-SO MUCH ABOUT BUT NEVER SEEN..
PANEL 3: The door opens onto a musty interior. This is POV from the Punk’s perspective, we can see his hand and arm on the door knob. We are looking into the interior of one of those old bookshops (do they still exist?) piled high with dusty books on “Swan-tupping in the Upper Silesian everglades” or “Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley”. They’re piled everywhere. The counter is small and class with rows of stamps on display trays with a few choice books open at significant pages under the glass. Columns of bookshelves rise up to the high ceiling behind the counter, stuffed with books. There is a wee old man behind the counter, he is hunched wearing a cardy has a bald head with a ring of longish hair around the baldness. He has a pair of pince-nez perched on the tip of his long, hawkish nose. He looks up as Adam (the Punk) walks in.
HARMSWORTH: AHH ADAM. A NICE SURPRISE–I PRESUME YOU RECEIVED MY TELEPHONE CALL?
A 5 Panel Page. 1 to 4 in the top half and panel 5 along the bottom of the page. This is all the interior of the bookshop.
PANEL 1: A side view, Adam is now at the counter one hand resting on the countertop and the other still thrust into the pocket of his leather jacket, Mr. H is obviously on the other side.
ADAM: HI MR. H. YEAH I FLEW INTO LONDON YESTERDAY BUT I’VE ONLY MANAGED TO GET AWAY THIS AFTERNOON. DO YOU HAVE IT?
MR. H: MY, MY. WE ARE THE ANXIOUS ONE, AREN’T WE?
PANEL 2: This is slightly from behind Mr. H has turned away from Adam and is going to pick something up from the shelf behind him. We can see Adam’s face in profile.
ADAM: YEAH, WELL I’VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME LOOKING FOR THIS AND I’M A BIT ANTSY ABOUT GETTING MY HANDS ON IT. YOU’RE SURE IT’S GENUINE?
MR H: OH YES. I HAVE PROVENANCE.
PANEL 3: Mr H has turned back to Adam. There is a malevolent smile on his lips, but Adam doesn’t seem to notice as his eyes are on the book that is in Harmsworth’s hands. For Mr H is holding a book that is busting it’s binder, little bits of paper hanging out in a few places, it is very old.
MR. H: HERE WE ARE THEN. THE LAST JOURNAL OF FREDERICK ANSTEY, THOUGHT LOST BUT NOW FOUND AGAIN.
ADAM: AT LAST! YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH THIS MEANS TO ME MR. H.
MR H: OH BUT I THINK I DO—OH YES I REALLY THINK I DO.
PANEL 4: Adam is walking out of the shop, the journal under his arm.
ADAM: THE USUAL ARANGEMENT MR. H.?
MR. H: ALREADY PUT ON THE ACCOUNT ADAM. HAVE FUN.
MR. H: OH YES, THERE’S SOME SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL I DUG UP WHEN LOOKING FOR THE JOURNAL, IT’S AT THE BACK OF THE BOOK.
PANEL 5: This is a shot of St. Giles High Street from Tottenham court road as you come under the centrepoint or whatever it’s called nowadays. You have that wee road that comes round and the church on your right, then runs down towards Shaftsbury avenue. Adam is walking towards the pub with his book under his arm, we are looking from behind.
CAPTION: I DO MY BEST THINKING IN PUBS, WHETHER IT O’REILLEYS DOWN ON 4TH AND 23RD IN NEW YORK OR HERE IN THE ANGEL, ST GILES I GET SOME SERIOUS READING DONE. MOSTLY BECAUSE NEITHER PUBS HAVE MUSIC.
A 4 PANEL PAGE:
PANEL 1: ADAM is walking into the pub. Mike the landlord is behind the bar, there are a couple of customers scattered about the wee tables. Mike recognizes Adam and begins pouring a pint of bitter.
CAPTION: I’D BEEN COMING HERE FOR ABOUT TEN YEARS. MIKE’S BEEN THE LANDLORD HERE AS LONG AS I’VE BEEN COMING IN, HE’S FROM MANCHESTER—BUT HE SAYS HE PREFERS LONDON. I DO TOO I THINK.
MIKE: EH UP ADAM! HOW’S IT GOIN’ DIDN’T EXPECT TO SEE YOU SO SOON.
ADAM: HIYA MIKE. WELL I HAD SOME BUSINESS OVER HERE, YOU KNOW ME.
PANEL 2: Adam is taking his pint over to a corner table, we see him waist up from the front, Mike and the bar behind him. Mike is smiling his big landlord smile. Adam already has the journal open and is carrying his pint in one hand.
CAPTION: MR. H SAID ABOUT “SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL”. IT’S HERE AT THE BACK OF THE BOOK. IT LOOKS A LOT NEWER THAN THE REST OF THE JOURNAL, KINDA SLOTTED INTO THE BACK OF THE BOOK.
CAPTION: PROBABLY MR. H HIMSELF THAT TUCKED IT IN THERE. THAT WAS THOUGHTFUL OF HIM.
PANEL 3: Adam is now sitting in the corner his back wedged into the curved part of the seat, his leather jacket lying along the right hand wing of the seat. It’s a mid-week day so there probably won’t be many customers in, but it’s a way of distancing others from himself.
CAPTION: SO HERE WE ARE AT LAST THEN. THE JOURNAL OF FREDERICK ANSTEY– NOTED PUBLISHER OF PENNY BLOODS AND ERSTWHILE MEMBER OF THE “TEMPLE OF MITHRA”. GRANDAD WOULD’VE BEEN PROUD OF ME—THAT I DO KNOW.
PANEL 4: we are looking at Adam from a distance now, his attention drawn by the journal, we are going back in time. The lettering should be handwriting as this is the journal:
CAPTION: REDBOURNE HOUSE, HARPENDEN, OCT. 31ST 1888. I, FREDERICK ANSTEY MUST NOW RELATE TO YOU THE TERRIBLE DEEDS THAT I AND OTHERS HAVE PERPETRATED THESE LAST FEW WEEKS.
CAPTION: I MUST LEAVE BEHIND THIS RECORD AS A WARNING TO OTHERS WHO MAY ALSO SEEK TO WALK THE PATHS THAT WE HAVE WALKED IN OUR FOLLY. THE STORM GROWS OUTSIDE AND I FEAR THAT MY SOUL WILL BE FOR DAMNATION THIS NIGHT.
———END OF PROLOGUE———————————————————————————-