New Sponsor: Fructose Pies™

Walt Now Studios and its entertainment productions are brought to you by Boastess™ Fructose Pies. Five delicious, delectable flavor combinations. Huckleberry! Coconut Pitaya! Crabapple Persimmon! Tomato Ugli! See for yourself. Click through these packages as you dream of these delights.

Boastess™ Fructose Pies™

There’s a sugar crash in every dash!

Making your mouth water? Want another bite? Watch for new Boastess™ Fructose Pie™ content coming soon from:

Walt Jaschek: Concept Creator

Don Secrease: Flavor Namer and Package Designer

© 2021 Walt Now Studios

Latest from the Blog

Walt Jaschek “calls in” to St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

The St. Louis Media History Foundation asked writer Walt Jaschek to add some comedy to its 2021 Hall of Fame video. This “Zoom call” is the result. Congratulations to the new honorees in the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, which due to The Current Situation is a video celebration only, archived on YouTube.Ken Ohlemeyer … Continue reading Walt Jaschek “calls in” to St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

How to Kill a Pitch: Ad Biz Satire, Walt Jaschek Script

Oh, creatives! Don’t fall on that sword over your favorite idea. Certainly don’t pull pistols! “How to Kill a Pitch” is a cautionary comedy video Walt Jaschek wrote on this subject, directed by Angie Lawling, shot by Chris Lawling, produced by Mercury Films. All in good fun: it’s movie blood. Client not loving your latest idea? There’s … Continue reading How to Kill a Pitch: Ad Biz Satire, Walt Jaschek Script

22-Minute Writing Sprint

Overcome procrastination and writers’ block! In a new “timed writing” video, writer Walt Jaschek prompts you to join him as he writes uninterrupted for 22 minutes. (It works!) Is there something you need to write? Are you in avoidance mode? Would a timed, 22-minute deep dive move something along? And would watching Walt write at … Continue reading 22-Minute Writing Sprint

Slightly Bent Comics: Mall Cop, Dude-Guy, Danger Dad & More

Slightly Bent #1 and #2 are black-and-white anthology comics written by Walt Jaschek, starring creator-owned characters. Top St. Louis comic artists supplied visuals.

This 2-issue series, self-published as “Slightly Bent Entertainment,” was distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors to comic books stores across the United States in 1998. Walt Jaschek designed the Slightly Bent logo and the covers, and hired his talented friends to draw scripts for his creator-owned characters. Don Secrease served as art director on both books.

The comics feature the second and third print appearances of the original Mall Cop, Mel Cop, with art by Secrease. They also showcase the first appearances of Dude-Guy, with art by Craig Skaggs; Danger Dad, with art by Jaschek and Darren Goodheart; Corp Rut™ and Smirk Du Jour, with art by Tony Patti; Attorneys in Space, with art by Paul Daly; and Those Dang Gnats, a comic strip by Jaschek, who also wrote humorous editorials for both issues.

Reviews of these issues are on Steve’s Reads and on Flooby.

Buy Slightly Bent Comics on Walt Now Comics

Says Walt: “The series was a fun experiment, a deep-dive immersion into self-publishing during the black-and-white comics boom, and a launch for characters and concepts bouncing around in my brain. It was also a nice, creative distraction from my day job writing funny radio commercials.

Approximately 800 copies of Slightly Bent Comics #1 were ordered by comic book stories, according to statistics from Diamond. Approximately 400 copies of issue #2 were ordered. These are the only copies of these two issues in circulation. Some issues are often spotted on eBay and other “back issue” platforms.

Here are select pages from the two issues. The characters and pages are © copyright 1997-2022 Walt Jaschek and the respective artists.

Slightly Bent Comics 1 cover
Slightly Bent Comics 1 inside front cover
Slightly Bent Comics #1 | contents page
Slightly Bent 1 Dude-Guy

Read more about Dude-Guy.

Slightly Bent Comics #1 | Mel Cool: Mall Cop

Read more about Mel Cool: Mall Cop.

Slightly Bent #1 | Smirk Du Jour

See more Smirk Du Jour comics.

Slightly Bent #1 | Attorneys in Space

More information on Attorneys in Space.

Slightly Bent #1 back cover
Slightly Bent Comics #2 cover
Slightly Bent #2 contents page
Slightly Bent #2 | Due-Guy recap
Slightly Bent #2 | Danger Dad™

Here’s more information about Danger Dad.™

Slightly Bent #2 | Corp Rut

Here’s more of Corp Rut™.

Slightly Bent Comics 2 back cover

Buy Slightly Bent Comics on Walt Now Comics

Latest from the Blog

HyperX Quadcast Review: Cool Mic, Good Price, Hear It In Action

Walt Now fires up his new HyperX Quadcast USB external mic and records a video with it – to review the mic itself. (It’s on Amazon. #ad) Looking for a good, external USB mic for your home/office? Found a cool one! I realized I needed an external USB mic to up my YouTube game (and … Continue reading HyperX Quadcast Review: Cool Mic, Good Price, Hear It In Action

Christopher McKarton: 1974 comic strip debut

Walt Jaschek’s first published comic strip: Christopher McKarton, dramatic thriller, serialized weekly in The UMSL Current, Fall, 1974. Script and pencils: Walt. Inks and letters: Gary Hoffman. It was a dramatic debut for Christopher McKarton, my rookie homicide investigator called to an ominous and familiar location. Here are the first four panels as they appeared … Continue reading Christopher McKarton: 1974 comic strip debut

Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop Based on Mel Cool: Map Cop?

The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won. But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade … Continue reading Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop Based on Mel Cool: Map Cop?

One-Shot Western, Caliber, 1991 Comic Book with The Savage Sisters

Walt Jaschek recalls his first published comic book story: “Last Dance Before Daylight,” starring The Savage Sisters, a pulpy tale of the demands of the Old West.


You never forget your first.

Your first published comic book story, that is.

Mine was a two-part Western tale starring those heroic, young “Savage Sisters” in One-Shot Western, a (you guessed it) “one-shot comic” published in 1991 by Caliber Press of Plymouth, Minnesota, one of the leading independent comic companies of the era. It sat amid other black-and-white indy publications on the shelves of comic book shops back in the day. Here are the first three pages, recently re-lettered by me to fix (ahem) a little bit of amateur verbosity. We open on… the moon. Or is it the moon?

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The Savage Sisters page 02
The Savage Sisters page 03

The story, “Last Dance Before Daylight,” puts into action characters created by Don Secrease specifically for this title. Don was the penciller and the creative director of this feature, and Mark Lamport the inker. Famous DC comics artist Rick Burchett contributed the cover and cover logo. Rick also has a feature in this issue: “Torn Path,” starring a John Wayne look-alike.

I recently found some slightly yellowed copies of the book, had Rick and Don autograph them, added mine, and now those autographed copies of One-Shot Western reside quietly on eBay waiting for a fan of Western comics or 90s comics or Rick to scoop one up.

Autographs on One-Shot Western, 1991

As I reread “Last Dance Before Daylight,” I expected to squirm at my writing, but the story isn’t terrible. The opening 9-panel sequence and splash page seem to really hold up, and Don did a great job creating what was described in crazy detail in the script: a vivid dream sequence of illusion and foreshadowing.

The story itself is, like the metaphor of “last dance,” a pulpy meditation on loss of innocence. The story’s young heroine must endure a kind of hardening that might be required of otherwise idealistic settlers in the 1870s frontier. There is also romance, gunplay and implied nudity, so we have those going for us. More pages to be scanned soon, so saddle up. And remember, if you want to see it as it appeared: eBay.

Bonus: Here are Don’s first sketches of the Savage Sisters, circa 1991.
Samantha Savage by Don Secrease
Savannah Savage by Don Secrease

Thanks for reading, partner.

Latest from the Blog

Bad Ash™: Coming Soon from Walt Now Studios

Here’s a preview image and description of BAD ASH™, Overdue Accounts Collector, the new comic book action hero created by Walt Jaschek, and coming soon from Walt Now Studios. This rare, original concept art of Bad Ash by Walt Jaschek is for sale. Bad Ash is a high-tech bounty hunter in a glistening city of … Continue reading Bad Ash™: Coming Soon from Walt Now Studios

Review of True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee

With great power comes great responsibility. And with great responsibility comes fame, fortune, last-act misfortunes, a cross-maze of lawsuits, and a boatload of movie cameos. Walt Jaschek reviews Abraham Riesman’s new biography, True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. It’s in hardcover and Kindle on Amazon. Check current price. #affiliatelink Here are my … Continue reading Review of True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee

New Sponsor: Fructose Pies™

Walt Now Studios and its entertainment productions are brought to you by Boastess™ Fructose Pies. Five delicious, delectable flavor combinations. Huckleberry! Coconut Pitaya! Crabapple Persimmon! Tomato Ugli! See for yourself. Click through these packages as you dream of these delights. Boastess™ Fructose Pies™ There’s a sugar crash in every dash! Making your mouth water? Want … Continue reading New Sponsor: Fructose Pies™

Recycled Man:™ The Character, the Comic

Recyled Man: What Goes Around is a new digital comic book on Kindle from Walt Now Studios. In the his introduction, writer Walt Jaschek explains the character’s “acceleration of Karma.”

Recycled Man™ was created by Walt Jaschek and Paul Daly. The star of dark drama first appeared as a preview in Slightly Bent Comics #2, published in 1998. His most recent appearance is in a full-color, one-shot comic for mature readers available now on Amazon Kindle.

When Endings Begin: An Introduction

By Walt Jaschek

What goes around, comes around.”

A somewhat world-weary, cigarette-smoking art director I worked with back in my ad agency days used to say that a lot. 

He was right a lot.

He wasn’t talking metaphysically. More transactionally. If the flu is going around, you’re going to get the flu. (That was before the the shot. I am pro-shot.) If a client pays late, the agency is going to pay late. If somebody buys lunch with a counterfeit dollar, you’re going to get it as change.

He also used lean back, blow a smoke ring, and say, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” My younger self had to actively shrug that off. My carefully crafted optimism had to be shielded. 

But he was right about that, too, in his way. We’re here for a blink, the challenges never stop, and if you don’t hone optimism and resilience, life will seem, as per Thomas Hobbes, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”  

“Life’s a bitch and then you die” is snappier, I think.

All those quotes were on my mind when the notion of Recycled Man was born a few years ago, in a notebook, late at night.

My concept of Karma – as in, creating your ultimate fate through the arc of your daily behavior – was continuing to evolve. I kept seeing both good and bad behavior manifest fate indirectly, and over time. Thieves don’t necessarily get robbed in return, but check out prematurely. Robbed of time. The corrupt are called out, at least by history. The poor winner loses it all.

Eventually. But often the pace of Karmic repercussions can be glacial, as in glaciers, which we used to have.

My impulse for Recycled Man was that he could accelerate Karma. He could cut to the chase. See the nasty out the door.

This introductory story, in which he does just that, hints – not subtly – at a backstory I worked out in the very same notebook.

It is, I hope you’ll understand, a deliberate change-up for me: a toe-tip into (what I hope is) pulpy drama. That’s new for a writer whose work is typically more light-hearted. Or was.

Recycled Man page 02

But as Don Secrease started adding seer-your-retina color to Paul Daly’s evocative art, I knew we had to get a print and digital edition out there – partially to gauge reaction, partially to give our new publishing company, Comicmood, a jump-start. (Will the story continue? Oh yes, if engagement and sales warrant. Let us know what you think in the comments below.)

Filling out the issue: a new story I guest-wrote for Terranauts: 2020, an incarnation of the long-running team created by Paul and Don, and on loan for this appearance. “The Call of Cold, Dark Places” matches the book’s tone, I thought. 

More characters are in development — get ready, here they come —and I think they all have a certain Karma of their own. The unworthy will vanish quietly. (Or maybe not-so quietly. I’m a comics fan, too. I know how we are.) The worthy?

They’ll come around.  •

Recycled Man: What Goes Around is available as a digital download on Amazon Kindle. Recycled Man is trademark and © 2021 Walt Now Studios.

Latest from the Blog

Cooler Heads Prevail in this Beer Promo Pitch

Copywriter Walt Jaschek recalls a college poster campaign concept he pitched to the Budweiser team at Anheuser Busch. Did the Cooler Heads prevail? Happy first day of Summer! Here’s a seasonal flashback from back in the day, when I was invited by the Budweiser promo team to pitch ideas for a college poster campaign with … Continue reading Cooler Heads Prevail in this Beer Promo Pitch

Walt’s Words of Wisdom: Cilantro

Writer Walt Now has “a line in the sand” when it comes to a certain controversial herb. He’s talkin’ cilantro, and he says the only right way to think about it is: love. As I was saying: There are two kinds of people in the world. People who love cilantro. And people who are wrong. … Continue reading Walt’s Words of Wisdom: Cilantro

Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot

Scriptwriter Walt Jaschek finds rare, 1992 CBS-TV holiday spot with performances by dozens of TV stars of the day. It’s enchanting. Here’s a holiday TV blast from the past, never before seen on the internet, at least as far as we know. In 1992, CBS-TV offered our agency Paul & Walt Worldwide the opportunity to … Continue reading Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot

Walt Jaschek IS Dr. D’abo IN “Sons of the Saddle” (1995) B-Western Movie Parody

It’s 1899 and Dr. Devlin D’Abo (Walt Jaschek) believes he alone can lead the United State of America into the Twentieth Century. To help him take control of the federal government, D’Abo creates a weapon that will make his arm of desperadoes invisible. Only the Sons of the Saddle (Don Secrease, Rick Burchett, Bill Lux) stand between the mad doctor and his plan to unite western hemisphere under one supreme leader… D’Abo himself!

— From the DVD jacket for “Sons of the Saddle: The Invisible Rayders: Chapter 4: Doorway to Doom”

Writer/director Don Secrease (working under pseudonyms Sean Ryan and Manny Handz) was the creative force behind this amateur film and B-Western movie parody made by enthusiastic B-movie fans. As backstory, Don wrote the below…

Abbreviated Backstory

This serial chapter of Sons of the Saddle’s “The Invisible Rayders” (chapter 4 “Doorway to Doom”) was made by a group of B-movie/serial fans for fun, to be shared by friends and family.

It was the summer of ’95, a few of us were discussing fan-made, straight-to-video movies, comparing good to bad, FX, etc., produced by Skeleton Creek Prod., W.A.V.E. Prod., B. Black’s Nightveil Media (its contemporary name.) These films were viewed, discussed, admired for their ingenuity and enthusiastic presentations.

Our ragtag team of B-movie aficionados decided to gather friends and family and create our own movie-making inadequacy.

We selected characters from our daily gag comic strip, “Sons of the Saddle,” wrote a 12-chapter serialized story, picked a random chapter, scripted it – then started rounding up the usual suspects – not to mention costuming, horses and tack.

All fell into place once we scouted our locations. Our major battles filming that summer: a Missouri heatwave, reliable video cameras and, finally, appropriate music. Since this was made for private amusement (or condemnation) and nor for sale, we picked background music from a few public-domain serials & B-westerns.

Enjoy!

Why we created the Herobots™: It begins with a bored boy…

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By Walt Jaschek

When I approached ace St. Louis illustrators Don Secrease and Bill Lux for help in bringing to life The Herobots and launching the characters in a coloring and games book, I was thinking of a bored 6-year-old boy. And myself.

It started with a specific 6-year-old boy. A crabby, impatient, hungry one. I don’t know his name. But he was part of a big crowd enduring a long wait in the lobby of a pancake restaurant with his mother. He was squirming, and I could tell he was desperate for some stimulation, any stimulation. His mother didn’t engage him; didn’t hand him a pencil and paper; or even her phone. (I guess I should be happy about that part.)

I felt the restless boredom radiate out of this young man, and I immediately I wished I had on me a coloring book young kids might like, about, oh, say, superhero robot action figures. I wished I could also hand him some crayons and tell him to “have at.” (With Mom’s permission, of course.) I even had a name bouncing around my mind: the HEROBOTS.

A few months later, after great work by Don and Bill, working from a script by me, we sent to the printers Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Here’s the front cover…

herobots-frontcover

Here’s the back cover.herobots-backcover

Here are a few pages from the story-to-color. The Herobots are actually action figures, you see, by day, living on the shelf of Sally’s Comics and Toys store. 

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The plot thickens.

And yes, there are also games!

2009646_herobots-coloringbook2-int (1)_Page_45

The 48-page softcover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but it’s the stack of hard copies I keep on me at busy pancake restaurants that I value most. Because these are the copies I can hand…

…to give random, bored 6-year olds. Bless them. Because I am one of them. Always. It’s why I create, I think. Or at least why I created this video preview of the first few pages of the book. Warning: the narration is by me. (Which you can turn off — just watch the captions!)

So, you ask, is the Herobots Coloring and Games book selling on Amazon and Barnes and Noble? We wouldn’t say it’s selling like, well, pancakes. But we don’t mind. It’s that moment of handing one to a bored kid — for free — that makes up for it.

Walt Jaschek home

Golden Adventures of Brett Hull # 1 of 3

bretthull-1-cover

Invest in an authentic, autographed Brett Hull hockey puck! Limited supply, order now on Amazon!

Golden Adventures of Brett Hull #1: “Slap Shot to Destiny.” Publisher: The Patrick Company. Agency: Hinkle & Company. Writer: Walt Jaschek and Brock Hanke. Artists: Don Secrease, Bill Lux, Rick Burchett, Bill Vann. (Full credits and backstory here.) Below are the interior spreads! Enjoy this journey back to St. Louis, 1994. “Hold on to your seats, Blues fans,” the story begins. “We’ve got some kind of hockey game here at the Kiel Center tonight…”

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To be continued in Issue #2: “Power Play: 2094!” (Read it now.)

Series backstory and full credits | Walt Jaschek home

Here’s the 1994 TV spot promoting the release of these comics. Cool work by The Patrick Company.


Walt Jaschek is a writer of comics, comedy and copy for big brands. For his work creating funny, award-winning ad campaigns for the entertainment industry, he was inducted in 2018 into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Declaring “I’m not history yet,” Walt is writing away on his original I.P. at last. Netflix gets first look.

Did you enjoy this content? Buy Walt a coffee and he will toast you with it.

Golden Adventures of Brett Hull: #2 of 3

bretthull-2-cover

Invest in an authentic, autographed Brett Hull hockey puck! Limited supply, order now on Amazon!

“Golden Adventures of Brett Hull” Issue #2: “Power Play: 2094” | Continued from Issue #1 | Publisher: The Patrick Company. Agency: Hinkle & Company. Writers: Walt Jaschek and Brock Hanke. Artists: Don Secrease, Rick Burchett, Bill Lux and Bill Vann.  Read the series backstory and full credits

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To be continued in Issue #3: “Sudden Death Overtime!”

Go back to Issue #1 | Read the series backstory and full credits | Walt Jaschek home


Walt Jaschek is a writer of comics, comedy and copy for big brands. For his work creating funny, award-winning ad campaigns for the entertainment industry, he was inducted in 2018 into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Declaring “I’m not history yet,” Walt is writing away on his original I.P. at last. Netflix gets first look.

Did you enjoy this content? Buy Walt a coffee and he will toast you with it.

Golden Adventures of Brett Hull #3 of 3

bretthull-3-cover

Issue #3: “Sudden Death Overtime!” | Continued from Issue #1
Published by the Patrick Company. Art Agency: Hinkle & Company. Writer: Walt Jaschek. Artists: Don Secrease, Rick Burchett, Bill Lux, Bill Vann. Read series backstory and full credits

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Read issue #1: “Slap-Shot to Destiny!” | Read Issue #2: “Power Play: 2094!” | Read series backstory and full credits | Walt Jaschek home

Walt Jaschek is a writer of comics, comedy and copy for big brands. For his work creating funny, award-winning ad campaigns for the entertainment industry, he was inducted in 2018 into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Declaring “I’m not history yet,” Walt is writing away on his original I.P. at last. Netflix gets first look.

Did you enjoy this content? Buy Walt a coffee and he will toast you with it.

St. Louis Comic Creators Invade St. Louis Bread Company

2017-comic-group-at-panera

A crazy, creative, collaborative crew. I am blessed to have incredibly talented artists as co-creators and friends here in St. Louis. Tonight wife Randy and I joined some of them for brainstorming, project development, catching up, and eating. Of course, eating! It was a Bread Company, after all.

Going around the table, counter-clockwise:

Kimberly Austin Daly, artist of the charming and delicate and delightful, and wife of Paul Daly (we’ll get to him.)

Rick Burchett, Eisner-winning artist of Batman Adventures; co-artist of The Death of Superman; and artist on the I-hope-gets-completed (some day) true “Help” story.

Randy Rosenbaum, artist with food; my wife; and fellow adventure-seeker on my blog, Walt A Life.

Walt Jaschek, writer of all this stuff, and then some.

Jeff Weigel, current artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip; creator of the Dragon Girl graphic novel and The Sphinx; and many more amazing comics-related wonders.

Sam Maronie, long-time pop culture journalist and author of Tripping Through Pop-Culture!: (Mis) Adventures of an Entertainment Writer. Sam is leaving St. Louis for life in Columbus, Ohio! We miss you already, Sam.

Don Secrease, co-creator (with me) of Mel Cool: Mall Cop®: Comics, the Herobots Coloring & Games Book and newly-launched Terranauts 2020; artist on our Brett Hull comicbook series; and owner of the eBay store Pop’s Culture.

Lorenzo Lizana, creator of Scarab; comic convention sketch artist extraordinaire; and collaborator with me on a project so secret, he doesn’t even know what it is yet.

Paul Daly, artist of Julie Walker is The Phantom; pencil artist of the splash page of Terranauts 2020; artist of Recycled Man (both written by me); and fan-favorite artist on his own amazing properties, which you’ll experience soon.

P.S. Some of the comics and books mentioned above are on Amazon. Like these:

            

See you all again soon, artist friends! Typing… scripts… fast… as I… can…

Walt Jaschek

Terranauts: “The Call of Cold, Dark Places.” Page 1 art — and Walt’s script

Happy to report I’m writing adventure comics again! Just completed a script (scroll to see it) for a deep-diving tale of The Terranauts, the team created by Paul Daly and Don Secrease. Splash page complete. What new menace taunts the ‘nauts? We’ll find out — in a cold, dark place.

terranauts-call-page1-color

Credits on this page: Pencils by Paul Daly. A great composition meticulously realized. Coloring by Don Secrease. Masterful. Look at that water. Copy and inks by me. (Yeah, inks, too. “Walt Jaschek inking” is not something you usually see in any reasonable reality. But I wanted to try it. Let me tell you, inking Paul’s beautiful pencils is daunting. Fun, but daunting. Also, now my carpel tunnel has carpet tunnel.)

Here’s the fully inked page, just before I sent it to Don to do his amazing color stuff.

terranauts-call-page1-bw

Bonus! Here is the 

SCRIPT

TERRANAUTS 2020
“CALL OF COLD DARK, PLACES”
8-Pager
Script by Walt Jaschek

++++++ SPLASH ++++++

CAPTION: In the middle of the Aegean, we locate the anomaly.

CAPTION: We are warned it will sense us.

CAPTION: And will not be friendly.

CAPTION: But we are…

[LOGO] TERRANAUTS 2020

CAPTION: So we dive.

++++++ PAGE 2 ++++++

PANEL 1

A hero shot. Under the surface as Adam and Maria complete the dive, each arcing upward to stabilize, a trail of bubbles indicating their trajectory.

SFX: KER-SPLASH!

ADAM: Read me, Connie?

MARIA: Si, Adam. It’s as if we’re in the same ocean.

ADAM: Very funny, Terranaut.

ADAM: Propulsion mode.

PANEL 2

Having stabilized after the jump, Adam and Maria have activated the propulsion packs: they are jetting swiftly through the water in a downward diagonal,

ADAM: How ‘bout the ship? You with us, Harry?

HARRY (from off): With you and remind you…

PANEL 3

Back in the ship, Harry is standing with his walker, but is surrounded by sensors and screens and sonar, some of which are hologram projections.

HARRY: The sentient is self-replicating.

HARRY: It doubles in size every 6 hours…

HARRY: …along the top of a seamount ridge…

PANEL 4

Close on Maria as, through her mask, her eyes go big. She sees something.

HARRY (through transmitter): …close to surface.

Maria: Madre de Dios!

PANEL 5

In the foreground, a jagged “arm” of ice, coming from bottom right corner of panel and seeming to reach out like a warning finger to our oncoming divers in the distance.

And in alien letters and/or alien balloon, the word: S T O P

++++ PAGE 2 ++++

PANEL 1

And there is the creature in full, as seen by our divers in foreground. They are about a mile away. The creature is a huge, octopus-shaped alien crystal. It sits atop a mountain in a mid-ocean ridge. Gigantic tentacles are growing down the side of the rigge and into the surrounding ocean. It’s half holding on. And half spreading out.

Near the the top of this icy mass a “face” has formed, chunks forming brow and dark holes in the ice forming “eyes.” At the moment, the face is glowering..

Alien balloon: G O A W A Y

PANEL 2

ADAM: Getting this, Harry?

HARRY: Threat projections.

HARRY: Translated by your partner’s telepathy.

PANEL 3

Adam turns to look Maria in the eye, through his goggles and hers.

ADAM: You heard him, Connie. You’re our conduit.

ADAM: Can you get in there

ADMA: And read its “mind”?

PANEL 4

Maria is “floating” in an all-white panel with no background, to suggest she is in some other place, some netherworld of telepathy. She has her hand to her temple, reading incoming signals.

MARIA: Memory synapsis evasive…

MARIA: Like static…

MARIA: Wait… I have something…

PANEL 5

Outer space. Earth a blue ball in background. A huge comet is hurling in blackness, rocky, irregular, minerals in catching distant sunlight. But attached to the bottom is of the comet much, much smaller version of our creature, an irregular mass of icy lichen on a rock. A piece of it, though, is tugging away.

MARIA (from off): It was using a comet…

MARIA: (from off): As habitat.

MARIA: (from off): On a near-Earth pass…

MARIA: (from off): It tore itself off.

++++ PAGE 4 ++++

PANEL 1

Long shot as the creature crashes hard into the ocean, speed lines indicating its trajectory, a circle of waves where it hits.

MARIA (from off): After eons inert, all it needed was…

PANEL 2

Back in the ship, Harry has taken off his glasses and is holding the bridge of his nose with his fingers. A realization is sinking in.

HARRY: Something to drink.

PANEL 3

As close as we’ve been on the creature yet. We can see its whole “face.” And its “scrowl” is deep.

ALIEN: I DRINK.

ALIEN: I GROW.

ALIEN: I TURN YOUR SEAS…

ALIEN: INTO ME.

PANEL 4

Maria and Adam are jetting through a “cave” – AKA a hole — at the edge of a tentacle. Maria is shining a light into the foreground, where we see floating dead fish and brown, limp sea plants, and a murk of grey gasses.

MARIA: Not good, Adam.

MARIA: Whatever alien chemical stew it’s excreting…

MARIA: …is killing sea life for kilometers.

ADAM: Roger that. “Sentient bad.”

PANEL 5

Adam presses down one of the buttons that make up a grid of rectangles on his high-tech band on his wrist. The button he’s pushing is green.

ADAM: But as I’m sure Harry would agree:

ADAM: “Sentient” does not equal “smart.”

++++++

PAGE 5

PANEL 1

In the ship, Harry is looking at a looking at a screen. It shows a large panel opening at the bottom of the ship. Emerging from the panel are five, high-tech harpoons, pointed down, ready to be launched.

HARRY: It does not.

PANEL 1-A, small inset panel. Closer on the screenshot of the harpoons. Words appear over picture: HARPOONS BOOTING

PANEL 2

Wider shot as Maria and Adam make a loop around a tentacles and shoot off in the opposite direction, away from the creature.

ADAM: Yo, cranky alien! Ever heard of the internet?


You should have used it to search… 

“Where Not to Breed Underwater.”

PANEL 3

The creature squints, trying to understand.

 ADAM (from off): Top answer:

ADAM (from off): “Above a Geothermic Vent.”

PANEL 5

Adam and Maria are booking out of there, full propulsion speed, diagonally up and away.

CAPTION: They’re all over the ocean floor.

CAPTION: Temps up to 3000 degrees Celcius.

PAGE 6

PANEL 1

Looking up at bottom of the ship. The panel is fully open and the harpoons have been fired. They’re raining down on us.

CAPTION: The vents it’s sitting on have been clogged for a while.

PANEL 2

The high-tech harpoons shoot through the surface of the ocean.

CAPTION: We’re the plumbers.

PANEL 3

Harpoons penetrate the surface of the ocean

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

PANEL 4

Alien: M I S S E D

PANEL 5

Unclogged, the geothermic vents turn into geysers of super-hot water. All around the geysers, the tentacles of the creature are instantly melting and dissolving.

ADAM (from off) Didn’t. 

PAGE 7

PANEL 1

The face of the creature as it knows it is doomed. Already the ice of its face is melting and dissolving into streams shooting upward with the hot water.

ALIEN BALLOON: [SCREAMS WHILE DISSOLVING]: AAAA

PANEL 2

ALIEN BALLOON (GETTING SMALLER WHILE THE LIST OF LETTERS GETS LONGER):   AAAAAAA

PANEL 3

ALIEN BALLOON (GETTING SMALLER WHILE THE LIST OF LETTERS GETS LONGER):   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

PANEL 4

Now back outside: long shot of the ocean as seen from the ship. A mile or so away, globules of dissolving creature are sending up wide showers of steam. A piece of the ship in foreground suggests scale and distance.

No copy

PANEL 5

Inside the ship, Harry is looking very closely at a censor and tapping on it as he does so.

HARRY: 99.9% decrease in sentience.

ADAM (communicator balloon): Not 100?

HARRY: 1% margin of error.

SFX (as Harry taps on censor screen) TAP TAP TAP

ADAM (communicator balloon): Well, I’ll round up and call that…

PAGE 8

PANEL 1

The surface of the ocean. The large raft we saw hanging from the ship is now floating on the surface, waiting, stocked with containers for food and dry supplies. On either side, rope ladders. A dripping wet Adam and Maria are climbing the ladders and climbing into the raft. The sun is low in the sky.

ADAM: …“mission accomplished.”

MARIA (a disappointed grunt): Hurmph.

PANEL 2

Maria pulls off her hood and goggles: we are seeing her face full for the first time. She is looking at Harry pointedly.

MARIA: Shortest. Mission. Ever.

PANEL 3

Reverse angle looking at Adam as he removes hood and goggles, too. Also, in the background, the silhouette of the hovering ship against the late afternoon sun. (A silhouette to save you from drawing those details.) Its presence subtly underscores what Adam is saying.

ADAM: Be thankful, Terranaut.

ADAM: They get longer.

PANEL 4

Maria hugs herself, shoulders hunched, cold. Her wetsuit is now slighting zipped open at the neck, revealing a small crucifix necklace. Adam is reaching out to her, handing her the cup from atop a Terranauts-branded thermos. It steams with a hot beverage.

MARIA: And I’m still cold.

ADAM: Warm your core, Maria Consuela Santos…

PANEL 5

Deep down below. A tiny chunk of the creature, sinking even farther into the crevices of the ocean. A stream of bubbles follows it down. It is breathing.

ADAM: “They also get colder.”

End of script

 Update: Read the finished, full-color comic now!

Walt Jaschek likes spending time in warm, bright places.