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  1.  (150.1)
    As I've said elsewhere, I'm writing "scriptments" for Mike to adapt into full script for Raulo to draw. The scriptment for the first full issue was five pages long (and that's at Times New Roman 11-pitch, pretty compact). The first page or so looks like this:

    GRAVEL

    1: LOVE FROM DEEP BLACK COLD


    OPEN ON: An English village. Dead birds on the road as WILLIAM GRAVEL walks to a PUB in the gathering dusk. An old man stands outside the pub, selling copies of the local paper. The little stand next to him has the headline, printed on a big white sheet under the wire grille of the stand: THIRD GIRL MISSING.

    Inside the pub, as Gravel orders a pint of IPA: farmers bitching about the sudden die-off of their crops, leaving them fucked for winter earnings. Maybe the rainy summer did it? Fuck that: see the flowers all bloody die this month? The birds dropping out of the trees? Someone’s poisoned the fields, maybe. Maybe it’s global warming…

    Gravel leaves the pub. Walks out of the village. Down a tiny woodland-fringed private road. (These are often marked with handmade wooden signs nailed to posts simply reading PRIVATE ROAD.) Down the oppressive road, to a COUNTRY HOUSE.

    There’s a light on, visible through a gap in the heavily curtained windows.

    Approaching the house, he stops: in the gravel of the courtyard, he spots drag-marks. Like the marks that might be left by dangling feet if an unconscious person was being dragged to the front door?

    Gravel checks the GUN he keeps holstered behind him, under his coat. And the KNIFE in a breakaway sheath sewn into the inside of his jacket breast. And says to himself: “You just couldn’t stop yourself, could you?”

    Bangs on the front door.

    “Who’s there?”

    “William Gravel. I’m looking for Jerome de Montfault.”

    “He’s not here.”

    “Don’t fucking lie to me, Jerry. I recognise your voice.”

    “William Gravel’s dead!”

    Gravel looks behind him to make sure no-one can see, as he takes a lighter out of his pocket. He touches one finger to the doorlock and just flicks the lighter into life with his other hand. Instantly, the door becomes nothing but a sheet of flame...
    •  
      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007 edited
     (150.2)
    Warren, seriously, I thought you were doing a political post about Mike Gravel. No joke. And when I started reading the post I got even weirded out, imagining Mike Gravel working off a Warren Ellis scriptment.
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      CommentAuthorJohn Smith
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (150.3)
    Okay, so if you look at that page of script, do you have an idea how many pages it'll amount to, or do you just put it in Mike's hands to make the 5 pages expand or contract? Does this question make sense?
  2.  (150.4)
    Wicked.
  3.  (150.5)
    In my head, that bit there is about four pages. But I'm letting Mike go any way he wants with it.
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      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
     (150.6)
    Interesting reading, and interesting procedure.

    How will the credits work? "Story: Warren, Script: Mike" or some such?
  4.  (150.7)
    The procedure is quite interesting and quite a lot of fun, too. Warren provides me with everything I need; I know what's going to happen and what will be the most vital story points and dialog. It's my job to make the decisions how things happen, how we get from Point A to Point B, and how the story will unfold visually.

    Warren pictured the above passage as 4 pages. In the final script, this became six pages. I have a tendency to rely on the slow-burn, a gradual build-up of suspense, so I do a bit of padding to extend sequences leading to action, throwing in small panels here and there to give the reader a few extra "beats" as they anticipate the inevitable. I also try to NEVER do scene changes within the body of a page, but reserve those for the first panel of the next page. As for "reveals", such as Gravel's use of magic to transform the door into a sheet of flame, I really like those to fall on even-numbered pages so that the reader gets that surprise when they turn the page (as opposed to seeing the set-up on Page 2, but already peripherally seeing the effect on the facing Page 3).

    The final product will speak for itself, as you'll see that despite my input, this is undiluted Warren Ellis. I'm not subtracting, only adding and Warren gives me plenty with which to work. You guys should see the entire issue "scriptments"; they read like short stories. Beautiful. It's so unlike the methods of other creators with whom I've worked in the past, who provide a plot for the artist that's barely there.

    "Page 1: They all stand around and talk."
    "Page 2: Somebody gets pissed off."
    "Page 3: Two of the girls kiss."
    "Page 4 - 22: Action- They all jump and do shit."

    Let's just say I'm really glad to be where I am right now.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (150.8)
    I started reading one of these books on this character, though I can't recall which one it is, seeing as there are several mini's on it, I remember it starting with some woman loosing her purse in the water and it turning into a corpse. I liked the mix of like, detective, with, black magic?, it's interesting. I'm definitely going to be buying the first issue, though you had me at two girls kissing. Sounds like a fun project.
    •  
      CommentAuthorwesunruh
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (150.9)
    I too thought mike gravel and kept confusing mike wolfer with wolf blitzer
    when i first started hearing the press on Gravel
    (though I doubt even the hideous Saaamaaaa Ritual
    could get Gravel into office next year) and I've already added this to my pull list.

    incidentally, all but three of the comics on my pull list are Avatar comics.
  5.  (150.10)
    Wesunruh - You are officially one of my favorite people ;) Thanks for your support man!
  6.  (150.11)
    @Mike Wolfer

    I really like those to fall on even-numbered pages so that the reader gets that surprise when they turn the page (as opposed to seeing the set-up on Page 2, but already peripherally seeing the effect on the facing Page 3).

    This is very good.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (150.12)
    @Mike Wolfer
    The procedure is quite interesting and quite a lot of fun, too. Warren provides me with everything I need; I know what's going to happen and what will be the most vital story points and dialog. It's my job to make the decisions how things happen, how we get from Point A to Point B, and how the story will unfold visually.
    Thanks for the rundown of how it goes. Sounds like a great way to transition to writing.
    •  
      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (150.13)
    I was excited about GRAVEL when Warren Ellis first mentioned it, but reading this thread, seeing the approach that is being taken here, has me really interested in seeing the product of this collaboration. I'm thinking its going to be one wild ride!
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      CommentAuthorTed
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (150.14)
    The more I read about this, the more I'm looking forward to the release...

    Getting up to date with all the backmatter (I haven't read anything with Gravel in yet) will be costly, but what the hell. It's only money.
  7.  (150.15)
    T.B: I'm not going to be the one to discourage you from spending your hard-earned money on trades, but GRAVEL is designed to make new readers feel right at home. While the previous material may give you a better appreciation of the bitter, "What fucking now," attitude of William Gravel, we're launching into all-new territory, so surprises are in store for both new and old readers.
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      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (150.16)
    Mike/Warren, is the way you are approaching this comic the same way you guys collaborated on Strange Kiss and Stranger Kisses (ie- writing/scripting/art)?
    •  
      CommentAuthorcarney
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (150.17)
    Is there a correct procedure to produce a comic book?
    •  
      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2007
     (150.18)
    For those of us that are interested in the behind the scenes stuff, after the book hits the shelves, is it possible we could have a look at the scripted bit that accompanies the "scriptment" that Warren Ellis posted above?
  8.  (150.19)
    I think that's entirely possible, Kim. In fact, GRAVEL #0 should hit the stands in roughly two weeks, so after it's out I'll post a bit of Warren's original scriptment and the corresponding final script for a few of that issue's pages.
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      CommentAuthorGypsy
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2007
     (150.20)
    Mike, that would be awesome!!! :-) ...now I have to find something that will keep me adequately preoccupied until then...