TPG Week 31: Small Tweaks

| July 29, 2011 | 1 Comment

Hello, one and all. Welcome back to The Proving Grounds, where we have our own Tyler James once again under public scrutiny!

Just some disclosure: I’m editing this title for Tyler.

And now, let’s see what happens at the beginning of

The Red Ten #2


Page 1 – 5 Panels

Note: We’re starting this issue off thirty years in the past, getting a little flashback of Red as a child, which will tie into the story.  To call this out, let’s do something a little different stylistically.  Let’s have the opening panel be an establishing shot that’s not contained in a panel, and goes full bleed to the outskirts of the page.  And, for this and all flashback sequences going forward, let’s do ALL WHITE panel borders, instead of the ALL BLACK, for another visual cue that this is a flashback.  Sound good? (See this, folks? This is Tyler talking to the artist within the confines of the script. This is perfectly acceptable! You can do that, and no one will ever beat you up over it! Certainly not me. Can you do this all the time? Certainly. It also helps that this comic is in production, and Tyler knows the artist. One thing you all need to remember, though: if a single page in a book goes full bleed [all the way out to the edges], then the ENTIRE BOOK has to go full bleed if printed. Just something to keep in mind.)

Panel 1 – Establishing shot of the Revere Estate at sunset.  It’s an older, well-kept, secluded mansion.  Plenty of wildlife around it. Something like this, perhaps. Maybe see a kid’s bike on the lawn. (Tyler has done something else that his artist is going to love him for. He provided reference as a link in the script. Cesar, are you loving Tyler right now?)

CAP – Thirty years ago.

CAP – Swanstown Heights.

CAP – The Revere Estate.

Panel 2 – We’re in the library/ home office of District Attorney Michael Revere.  The DA is a fit gentleman of 45, with a strong physique and chin, and a Tom Selleck mustache.  He wears a pair of reading glasses, and is sitting at his large, expensive desk writing on a legal pad. We’re pulled back far enough to get a sense of the room, which contains a large library.  His desk should have a number of large legal books on it.  Either directly behind him, or at an angle off to the side of him, is a large collection of evidence that’s been pinned and posted on a moveable cork board (something like this.)  (Note: We saw a similar shot to this in issue 1, with Daniel looking at a wall of evidence.)  The evidence, which we will see a bit closer later on in the page, contains a combination of surveillance photos of businessmen, newspaper clippings, and other documents, and some string connecting them.

Michael is looking down scribbling in his pad, but always the perceptive man, notices his daughter off panel…

MICHAEL REVERE – Shouldn’t you be in bed, young lady?

Panel 3 – We have an angled shot looking down at a cute little red haired girl, hair in pigtails, but those same red locks we saw to open issue 1.  It’s Alessandra Revere, age 8, in her pajamas.  She’s standing there in the doorway, a bit sheepish, as she knows she’s not supposed to be out of bed or bothering her father while he’s working.  In her hand is a book, and we should be able to see the title.  It’s NEMESIS.”

ALESSANDRA- Got stuck on a word, Daddy.

Panel 4 – Here we have a cute side profile shot.  Alessandra has approached her father’s desk, and looks up at him, but she’s small, so we can just see from about her nose up, as that’s about all that can see over her dad’s large desk.  We see Michael Revere still hasn’t raised his eyes from his notes, but is on the right side of the panel, facing his daughter.

MICHAEL REVERE – That’s why God made dictionaries.

ALESSANDRA – Couldn’t find one.

MICHAEL REVERE – What’s the word.

ALESSANDRA – Ensanguined.

Panel 5 – Close up shot of Michael.  (This is a cool one now, so let’s try to pull it off.)  We’re in close on the Michael, who, at the word, has finally picked up his head to look at his daughter.  With his right hand, he’s sort of taken his reading glasses down his nose a bit.  And IN THE GLASSES, we can see the reflection of cute little Allie, who has a smile on her face. (Five panels for this page. That means that the panels themselves will be decently sized. However, in order to really get what Tyler wants, we’re going to have to do one of two things: we’re either going to need a bigger panel in order to get the reflection, or we’re going to need to get in closer in order to see the reflection. This will definitely be up to Cesar, whom I know is up to the task, but I just want you all to be aware of what it is that is being asked. Without one or the other, the reflection won’t show up well.)

MICHAEL REVERE – Alessandra Revere, whatever are you reading?

ALESSANDRA – It’s a mystery, daddy. (Technically, this is off panel, because the dialogue will not be coming from the reflection.)

I’m liking the setup of the page. I think it’s doing everything it needs to do. It’s drawing the reader in and holding their attention. The only thing I’m not overly wild about is the very last line here. I think it deflates some of the punch of the question. I’d rather move the line down to the next page.



Page 2 – 5 panels

Panel 1 – Let’s try an overhead downshot, looking down at the father and daughter.  Allie has jumped up and is now sitting on her father’s desk.  She’s looking toward the wall of evidence that’s near the desk. (What’s poppa doing? And instead of her hopping up, I think it would make a better show if poppa picked her up in order to set her on the desk. It would say something about their relationship. It’s a small thing, but will stick with readers more.)

MICHAEL REVERE – Tell me, my young Detective, did the butler do it?

ALESSANDRA – There’s no butler in this one, daddy.

MICHAEL REVERE – What? No butler?  I’d toss it immediately.

Panel 2 – Allie has hopped off the table, and now stands looking up at the wall of evidence on the cork board near the desk.  Her back is to us, and she’s tiny compared to the board full of evidence.  Some of the pictures should be of men in business suits, taken FBI surveillance style.  Maybe pics of some cargo boats, some newspaper clippings, etc.  Revere is working on taking out a huge international drug cartel.  It’s important that that the pics don’t look like greasy thugs, but rather average, wealthy businessmen. (Keep her on the desk. The hopping up and down will make Cesar look bad. Like he couldn’t decide where he wanted her. Let’s not do that to him. Just move the camera to behind her, so we can see the board.)

ALESSANDRA – What’re all those pictures for?

MICHAEL REVERE – Daddy’s working, honey.

ALESSANDRA – Working on what?

Panel 3 – Medium close on MICHAEL. A more serious look on his face.

MICHAEL – I’m putting together a case that will send some very bad men to jail for a long, long time.

Panel 4 – Shot of Allie, now with Michael standing next to her, one hand on her shoulder.  They’re still looking at the board.

ALESSANDRA – They don’t look like bad men.

MICHAEL – The worst ones never do.(I like this line. It resonates with me This is partly the story being told, and partly because this is just a good line.)

Panel 5 – Shot of Michael, who has now scooped Allie up in his arms, and is walking away from us, toward the door exiting his office.  Allie has her arms around her father, and her book in one hand.

MICHAEL – Come on, pumpkin patch.  Let’s get you back to bed before Mommy finds out.

ALESSANDRA – What about my word?

MICHAEL – Oh, right…

Another good page. You kept the reader’s attention.

Page 3 – 4 Panels

Note: Panels 1-4 are all equal sized wide-screen panels.  The effect I want is that it’s the comic equivalent of a stationary camera starting in and zooming out.

Panel 1 – Medium shot of the exterior of the REVERE ESTATE.  It’s full on night time now, and really there are only two lights on in the house.  One is coming from Allie’s bedroom on the left side of the panel, the other is coming from Mr. and Mrs. Revere’s bedroom on the right side.

CAP (MR. REVERE) – …it means bloody.

Panel 2 – Same shot, but pull back a bit more.  The light on the left side (Allie’s room) is now dark, leaving the light on the other side, the only light on in the house.

CAP (ALLIE) – G’night, daddy.  I love you.

CAP (MR. REVERE) – I love you too, Red.

Panel 3 – Same shot, but pull back a bit more still.  Now all lights are out in the house, and all is still.


Panel 4 – Same shot, but pull back still more.  The house is now entirely in view.  But on the right hand side of the panel, we see a gloved hand containing a gun in it, the hand of a killer about to enter the house.  And the gun should be familiar.  It’s the same gun we saw in the assailants hand in the opening scene of issue #1. (The person wielding the gun is a lefty? Are they facing the house, or facing the camera? How are they holding the gun? Up, or down by their side? If it is down by their side, then they have to be facing the camera if they’re a righty, otherwise, their body will obscure the gun. If they’re a lefty and the gun is down, then it doesn’t matter. If it’s a pov shot, then the gun has to be up, and can stay in the right hand as the shooter faces the house. I like the placement, but answer the questions.)




Page 4 – 7 Panels

Panel 1 – We’re in Allie’s bedroom and she’s sprung awake by the sound of a gunshot! [ Let’s leave some dead space at the top of the panel for the gunshot SFX.]  It should be a little girl’s room, with flower bedsheets and such.  She should also be sleeping with a sort of Raggedy Ann like stuffed doll. A startled look on her face as she is jolted awake.


ALLIE – Huh-

Panel 2 – Allie makes her way cautiously down a dark hall heading towards her parent’s room.  She’s hugging her stuffed doll closely.  Down the hall, we can see the door to the parent’s room cracked open, with some light coming from it.  We’re likely above and behind Allie.

ALLIE (softly) – Daddy…Mommy…

MRS. REVERE (Off-Panel) – Th-the safe is behind the Gauguin.  The combination is s-seven, seventeen – seventy-seven.

MRS. REVERE (Off-Panel) – Please, just take the money and go.  My husband’s bleeding out and I need to get him to a-

SFX – Blam!

Panel 3 – Big panel, downshot reveal, we have a thug in a dark jump suit, wearing a ski mask, with a smoking gun in his hand, standing in the middle of the Revere’s large bedroom.  Lying on the ground, face down, in a large pool of blood is Mr. Revere.  Also laying dead, sitting upright but head down, a big wet wound of blood in her chest having been shot through the heart, is Mrs. Revere, who was also a pretty red head but with straight, not curly hair.  Having stepped in the room, witnessing the carnage is little Allie.  There should be a lamp knocked over and other signs of struggle here. Allie is positioned in such a way that the killer doesn’t see her yet, as he’s likely facing Mrs. Revere, having just shot her.

Allie – Dad…

Panel 4 – Smaller panel, reaction shot of the Killer, alarmed, spinning his head around, in reaction to the little girl, eyes wide, with murder in them.


Panel 5 – Reaction shot of Allie, frozen, she’s a dear in headlights.


Panel 6 – Upshot of the killer raising his gun at Allie.


Panel 7 – Shot of Michael Revere, lying on the ground, half dead, covered in blood, but eyes wide, gasping.  Note, I’m seeing his head sort of titled, lying on the ground, too weak to pick it off the ground, but just enough left to tell her:

MICHAEL REVERE (soft) – Run, Red…




Page 5 – 9 Panels

NOTE: Okay, Cesar, time to channel your inner Dave Gibbons with a nine panel grid. (Only one in this issue, I promise!)

Panel 1 – Dynamic shot of Allie running for her dear life down the hall.  She holds onto her doll by it’s arm, but the bulk of the doll explodes as a bullet that missed her tears through it. A look of pure fear on her face.


Panel 2 – Pull back, and we see Allie has just turned the corner heading down a large staircase.  We see, either the assailant or the assailants shadow (whatever looks best) at the top of the hallway, chasing after her.


Panel 3 – Small panel, in close, we see Allie’s foot trips on the step.

ALLIE – Ahg!

Panel 4 – Allie is now sprawled out at the landing of the staircase.  Shadow of the Killer rains down on her and the stairs.


Panel 5 – Over Allie’s shoulder shot looking up at the Killer at the top of the stairs.  The Killer’s gun is trained on Allie.

KILLER – Sorry, little girl.  Wrong place.  Wrong time.  Wrong daddy. (Put all of the wrongs into their own balloon.)

Panel 6 – Close down shot on Allie.  She covers her eyes with her hands and screams.



Panel 7 – Shot of Allie, from the side, hands still over her eyes, still screaming.


Panel 8 – Same shot, only flopped down close to her is the dead body of The Killer.  Allie’s hands are away from her eyes as she looks at the unexpected sight of the Killer’s dead body, who had been shot in the back, and has fallen forward and slid down the stairs a good ways, stopping just shy of Allie.



Panel 9 – Shot of Michael Revere, covered in blood and at the top of the stairs.  He’s still on his hands and knees, with a smoking gun in his hand.  He managed to drag himself down the hall, to shoot the Killer.  But it’s taken all the strength he has. Note, it’s important that his hands be bloody, even the one that’s holding the gun, as he was lying in a pool of his own blood and sort of dragged himself out of it.



Page 6 – 6 Panels

Panel 1 – Down shot as Allie bounds up the stairs leaping over the dead killer’s body, towards her father who lies still on at the top of the stairs.  Make sure we can see that blood is covering John Revere’s hands, and that there was a pool of blood that he dragged behind him.  The gun is no longer in his hands, but cast aside.


Panel 2 – Shot of Allie on her knees next to her father.  Her Father has struggled to sit up

ALLIE – Daddy!  You’re hurt.  Wha-what do I do? Daddy-

MICHAEL REVERE – Lis…listen to me…

Panel 3 – Shot in medium close on Allie and her father.  Michael is propping himself up on his side and is holding Allie’s face close to him with both of his bloody hands.

MICHAEL REVERE – There’s something…I want you to promise me…

ALLIE – Okay.

Panel 4 – Pull back, to a high down shot, as we see Michael is whispering something into her ear.  We’re pulled back as we want to simulate being out of earshot.  Again, should see the bloody carnage that’s taken place here.

MICHAEL – [letterer’s note- just some wavy lines, not meant to know what he said.]

Panel 5 – Shot of Michael Revere,  his head now buried in his daughters lap.  He’s taking his last breath.  We do not see Allie’s face here yet.

MICHAEL – You can…do that for me, honey?

ALLIE – Yes, daddy.

MICHAEL – Good g-girl….

Panel 6 – This should be bottom panel, full width.  Bam! Close up of Red.  Her face is ghost white, tears in her eyes, a ghostly blank expression on her face, which also happens to be smeared with blood from her father’s hands.



Okay. I believe that Tyler is going to be doing his own lettering here, but I still want to make the suggestion that poppa’s dialogue on this page should be wavy and weak. That’s the only thing I’d change.


Okay! Let’s run it down!

Format: Flawless victory! And if you notice, not only does Tyler put the page number at the top of the page, but also the amount of panels. The only caution there, folks, is to make sure your panel count is right. That’s all.

Panel Description: Pretty darned good! There was only the single glaring description that needs more explanation, but other than that, this was pretty good! And the way he spoke to Cesar, letting him know what was in his head, but still giving the space for things to change… Very nicely done. Again, don’t be afraid to talk to your team while in the script! Rarely will anyone outside of the team see it, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Pacing: Remember that dialogue is part of the beast that is pacing. They need their own way of being Red. (Heh.) From page to page, the pace was fine. From panel to panel, the pace was fine. There were only two dialogue things that stuck out to me: the last line of P1, and the dialogue with the killer. Those need only the slightest of tweaks in order to have a bigger impact. Other than that, I think it went very well.

Dialogue: I thought it read very well. There isn’t a line of dialogue I’d really change or tweak, but there are a couple of instances where I would tweak the placement. P1 going into P2 would need a tweak, and panel 1 on P2 may need a small rewrite, but other than that, that was good. P5 just needs the smallest of tweaks.

Content: Killer! Tyler brought the reader in immediately and kept their attention through setting and dialogue. There is enough going on to capture reader interest within three pages, and then he turns it up a notch. By the time you get to P6, you’re really into everything that’s going on. From a reader standpoint, this is very satisfying.

Editorially, there isn’t much for me to do. Make a suggestion or two and maybe have him add a small touch here and there, but this is pretty good stuff.

And that’s it for this week. Check the calendar to see who’s next. And I’m still looking for more Brave One’s. Don’t be afraid. It’s really not that bad!


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Category: The Proving Grounds

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at for rate inquiries.

Comments (1)

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  1. Well damn. I don’t know what to say. For once.

    Killer job indeed, Tyler. I learned a lot through example.

    “And I’m still looking for more Brave One’s. Don’t be afraid. It’s really not that bad!”

    I’m happy to announce that my script is finished. Now I just need to read through it again, find it a miserable pile of tripe and rewrite it all inside of a week.

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