Franks' Log (Faerie Apocalypse, Sixsmiths)

edited November 2017 in Work Logs

Aside from my (once more increasing) volume of prose work, I have three new comics projects I am presently in the process of ramping up to pitch.

I can't speak much about BAD MOON yet. I'm co-editing it and, if it goes ahead, I will be writing almost half of the content. I'll be spending most of this week working on it.

BUCKET OF GLASS is a social-realist piece about a trio of goth kids who live a small town in rural Australia. But they're not just three outsiders wallowing in misery--they're three outsiders with a plan. This is being illustrated by Jose Pimienta (penciller and plotter of A FRIENDLY GAME) and I think I believe he's done with the initial pages now--just waiting for the high res scans. Once I have lettered the pages I'll post them here. 

ZYCORAX (working title) is a horror/urban fantasy/police procedural about a pair of cops from the Unconventional Incidents Unit who have to deal with the titular demon, who has been set loose in LA... but the freelance sorceror they enlist to help them bring down the demon is dangerous in his own right, and Zycorax himself does not respond as expected. Or maybe it's the story of a demon trying to make his way in a new country while beset by the police and a freelance sorceror. Emphasis is on the characters here--the cops, the contractors, and particularly the demon--so the story takes some turns that, I hope, are not as obvious as the premise suggests. Paul Abstruse (THE WITCH KING) is presently laying out the pages and it's looking fine indeed.

-- JF



  • edited April 2011
    I'm intrigued by Zycorax, but I'd think of a better, catchy title. It sounds like an anti-allergy medication. "Night of the Demon," "Demon Hunters," Even "UIU: Unconventional Incidents Unit," which is kind of a take-off on LAW&ORDER: SVU."
  • UIU is currently the top contender, but I'm trying to find something a bit more abstract. The UIU characters only account for about 1/3 of the story, although they do provide a frame for any future stories I guess.

    I don't usually find the title until after I've completed the writing of the story, but in this case I've written the entire first issue and so far I got nothing. I'd like to have something that references demons or hell and ice, for story reasons. Maybe HELLFREEZE or something like that... or perhaps I'll find something in a quotation...

  • Ah, there are the TIFs from Jose now. Superb. :)
  • Couple of pages from Paul Abstruse for ZYCORAX. Still working on a proper title for the book. Current favourite is is TYGERS OF WRATH.

  • I see some Todd McFarlane influenced art there! Great layouts!

  • Thanks, Mario! Paul has pulled out all the stops for this opening scene. I'm a bit afraid to sully it with dialogue.

  • Okay, it occurs to me that I haven't actually said much about what this project is about, besides an occult police procedural, so let me get into it a bit.

    Firstly, I think we're going to call it THE TYGER, after the poem by William Blake. I'm a bit shocked that nobody seems to have done a series with this title before, although Garth Ennis did do a Punisher one shot called this. If anybody there knows a book called THE TYGER please let me know.

    Okay, THE TYGER begins with a summoning gone awry. A hapless amateur sorceror summons a very powerful demon named Zycorax (the tyger of of the title), but he fucks it up and by the end of page 5 (see above) the sorceror is dead and the tyger is loose in Los Angeles. (Well, it was gonna be Sydney, but for this book bigger is better).

    The LAPD's Unconventional Incidents Unit is assigned the case. The unit consists of two cops--Danik and Livia, and their department liaison, Meyer. Most of the incidents they investigate are minor, and few turn out to be truly unconventional at all--hence the small size of the unit. But this is a big one. With a tyger on the loose, Danik and Livia have a serious problem to deal with, and so they enlist the help of Beaumont Briggs, a freelance magician, and his apprentice, Trevor Arataki.

    The UCU wants to stop Zycorax before the death toll gets out of hand--who knows what horrors a loose demon will get up to? But Zycorax goes to ground pretty quickly. Beaumont, meanwhile, seizes this opportunity to legitimize himself, and realises that he needs to power up. In the meantime, Zycorax discovers a taste for dairy products, particularly desserts. 

    I don't want to say any more, because it gets twisty-turny after that. Hopefully it's depraved and action-packed and funny without being farcical. I'm shooting for something new and original, rather than the usual genre-mashup pastiche we see in comics so often, and I am pretty jazzed by this project.

  • edited May 2011
    By request, the script for the double-spread:

    (AAARRRGGH! Formatting!!!)

    Pages 4-5.

    Double page spread. Break out of the grid for a big slo mo,
    gore-splattering montage. Panels 1, 4, 8 and 9 are probably island panels that
    drive us through the action.

    Be creative with the way you show the sequence that runs
    through 2, 3, 5, 6, 7. Maybe some tall, vertical panels, maybe no borders. Play
    around, have some fun. This is our show piece.

    The brazier hits the floor at his feet, spraying ashes and disrupting the pentagram.

    We’re behind and above Underkopfler as he bends forwards, raising his clawed hands, his head down. The brazier is rolling away.

    3. A third hand erupts from his chest cavity, arching him over backwards. Bits of rib and internal organs and a whole lot of blood spray in all directions.

    The brazier keeps rolling.

    The new arm reaches over and behind Underkopfler, grabbing him by his neck.

    The arm tears out his spine, pulling it forwards over his head.

    Underkopfler’s ruptured body falls backwards. The head is missing and so is a chunk of spine.

    Near the body, the brazier stops rolling. It’s empty, having left a tail of ashes behind it.

    LOW SHOT. The brazier in the FG. The body lies sprawled in the MG. Behind it, in the BG, Underkopfler’s
    head hangs on the end of its length of spinal column from a twisted hand with too many fingers.

    Zycorax speaks out of Underkopfler’s head, still hanging upside down.

    I guess you’ll just have to do
    better next time.
    Won’t you, Scottie
  • edited May 2011
    Huh. Paul isn't happy with the title, so the search goes on. 

    Meanwhile, this here is have a look at the character sheet, which I think quite nicely reflects the feel we're going for.

    Hopefully the formatting doesn't get too fucked up this time...

    Dramatis Personae

    The Cops

    Fifteen years on the Force has made Danik into a hard woman. She had to fight twice as hard as her male colleagues for every promotion, every win, every sliver of respect. As a result, Danik is twice as good a fighter and twice as good a cop. She keeps in shape, physically as well as mentally—and she lets you know it. She’s beginning to suspect that her detective promotion into the UIU was a move intended to sideline her. A tough, smart, tenacious operator.

    Danik’ partner, Olivia, is a former scientist. A PhD in physics, but with enough credit to have undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology as well, Livia is a brain with a capital B. At the end of all of her study, Livia found that she was tired of dusty labs and classrooms and she wanted to spend some time outdoors, around normal people. (Only a scientist would think that cops are normal.) Five years later, she holds the rank of Senior Forensics Scientist and spends most of her days in a dusty office investigating all of the crimes that are too strange for the regular police establishment, wishing she could spend more time outdoors with normal people.

    Meyers is, technically, Danik and Livia’s supervisor. He’s a lawyer turned bureaucrat whose job is basically that of a fixer. He arranges warrants, liaises with other police and intelligence agencies, the justice system, politicians and, sometimes, factions that belong on the wrong side of the law. Meyers is useful  to Danik and Livia and generally stays out of their way. 

    The Contractors

    Beaumont Briggs is a professional sorcerer, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to me. It’s damn hard to make a living doing as a true magician, especially if one is too proud (or lacking in charisma) to take the stage. Beaumont makes his living doing exorcisms and other minor gigs, but the work is sparse and the money isn’t great. He has (magically) dabbled in petty crime, but he finds that almost as undignified as vaudeville. Beaumont is now in his forties and is becoming increasingly desperate to make his mark—and for that, he’s going to need to power up some. First, however, he has to make the rent.

    Trevor Arataki is, in theory, Briggs’ apprentice. In practice he’s more of a porter, chauffeur, bodyguard, and secretary. Briggs has no intention of teaching Trevor any actual magic, and Trevor knows it… but Trevor is far from stupid. Briggs has genuine power and resources and Trevor has already learned some Art from Beaumont’s books, as well as from watching him in action. A kinder, younger man than Beaumont, but also a cunning one. Trevor is biding his time. 

    The Demon

    Zycorax is a demon from hell: an innately evil being who draws power from violence, depravity and death. He’s loose in LA without any kind bindings, so he has full use of his own volition. At a baseline, Zyke is as strong as fifteen men and as tough as tank. He’s a shapeshifter and he’s also a highly adept magician. In other words, Zycorax can take on all comers. But that’s not to say he’s an asshole. Zyke is generally laid back, reasonable, and optimistic. Every day he finds himself living on Earth instead of Hell is a good day indeed, and he’s grateful for it. He has developed a taste for frozen dairy desserts, which are not readily available where he comes from.

  • You are much, much better at character descriptions than I am.
  • edited May 2011
    I think yours are good, man. Nice and efficient. I spend way too long trying to make mine pretty.

    Truth is, I hate doing them. Hate hate hate. And I hate doing synopses even more. I love writing script... that's the job I signed up for, right? Character cheats or synopses are a very different discipline. Always, for me, the most difficult part of any project.

    Aside from, ahem, personnel management...

  • Bit of procrastination happening over here, so I figured I'd post a bit more about this.

    Elevator pitch is "The Wire meets Hellblazer meets Frogurt."

    I am hoping that the characters, outlined above, will all be a bit different from the usual comics fare. 

    The two police detectives are both female. They're tough and well-adjusted and smart, and neither one of them is a sexpot. Zycorax is a cool guy who you'd probably enjoying hanging out with, despite the fact he's a demon escaped from hell. Beaumont is a magician with some skill but little material success who is having a mid life crisis. Trevor's a tank with a dry sense of humour and a long-view idea about his place in the world.

    The plot itself twists the police procedural and the magical quest together, with added horror, action and humour. I think it's gonna be an interesting mix.
  • I done wrote a novel.

    Got a green light on something a comics-y that's a bit different; still waiting for permission to announce it. The title has changed and I've been cagey about it since I started this worklog, but soon all will be revealed.

    Waiting for new pages of Zycorax, but Paul may not be able to get onto them until after SDCC. Jose has done a bunch of new pages for Bucket of Glass, which we have rejigged a little. I am just waiting for BG fixes now. Both he and Paul have had interim gigs crop up but I expect we'll be back on track shortly. 

    New inspiration for an old idea that I don't have time to write, but GOD DAMN I am keen to get onto it. I went to a concert on Saturday and somehow walked out of there with a full cast of characters in my head. I don't know how it happened.

  • Speak of the devil, 2 pages of layouts from Paul came in right after I posted that.
  • Posted a panel from the new McBlack short in my facebook and somebody immediately asked me to draw a story for his project. I felt flattered, but I had to say no--I'm a writer; art is not my forte.

  • edited August 2011
    Long promised pages from Bucket of Glass, by Jose Pimienta:

    Chapter 1 title card
  • Dude, those look fucking terrific. He's good.
  • Looks good, brother. And that title page is stunning.
  • Thanks, guys. Jose is one of the most enthusiastic and cooperative artists I've ever worked with and it really shows.

    Jose's prior book, A Friendly Game, was inked by Lindsay Hornsby and toned by Lauren Affe, it has a really slick look to it that I really enjoyed... but when he sent me sketches with that bodacious brushed artwork I knew he was the right man for the job.

    We have 3 chapters complete now (I've just posted chapter 1) and the pitch will go out this week.
  • First scene for Zycorax. (Still haven't finalizex the title, but I'm still favouring 'Tigers of Wrath').

    Art by Paul Abstruse, colour by David Aravena.


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