Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Seekers' Entry

Since it has been requested, here's what I wrote:

Excerpt from Issue One—“The Awakening”

1—Establishing shot of Death Valley’s desert wilderness. Rocky sand, scattered brush, and rising mountains make a barren pressure cooker for Arthur and Jennifer to meet. See for great pictures.
JENNIFER (no pointer): Doctor—

The next four panels are flashback. Note to colorist: Gray scale, please.
2—Inside a collapsing cavern, rock and debris rain from the ceiling, and through the horror, a young man, in his mid-twenties, reaches out to the camera. He has brown, spiky hair and sun-darkened skin with a short-sleeved shirt and khaki pants. He’s terrified.

3—In a similar shot, an older African American man (in his mid-forties) is caught in the falling rock as well. He’s dressed similarly to the young man and is built like a former football wide receiver. He, too, is scared but is holding it together as the world collapses about him. He yells to someone off-panel.

4—Close-up of ARTHUR NORDEN’s face. He’s in his mid-forties with dirt brown hair, soft hazel eyes, and a fatherly face. Scars from his rock climbing days litter his muscular cheeks, and his eyes are wide with fear as he watches the two people he loves most crushed to death.
JENNIFER (no pointer): Doctor Norden—

5—From a hole in the floor, a rather muscular man (think WWE wrestler) rises. (He is the GATHERER!) He has tanned skin, rich, raven hair that falls to his shoulders, and striking green eyes underneath his long bangs. He’s nude save the golden wrist hugger on his left wrist. (Please use discretion. Tweens might read this!) For reference: The formation of the hole caused the earthquake that collapses the ceiling.
JENNIFER (no pointer): I know you said, “GO TO HELL”—

1—We’re back in the present. Worm’s eye view of JENNIFER HART. Camera’s positioned in a hole in the cavern floor, looking up at Jennifer as she sits on a ledge with her feet dangling into the very same hole from where the Gatherer rose. She’s dressed in hiker’s shorts, a tank-top with an over shirt, and hiking boots. In her mid-thirties, she’s beautiful but doesn’t try too hard to show it with her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and a reporter’s sarcasm. She’s holding a bottle of water and sweating noticeably. Above the hole is a spring-loaded camming device attached to a rope that descends into the darkness.
JENNIFER: —but since we’re already there, you might as well answer my question.
ARTHUR (off-panel, down the hole): I hate repeating myself, Ms. Hart.

2—Mid-shot: More detail on Jennifer now as she holds a digital voice recorder to her mouth. Strands of hair frame her flushed face, and she rolls her sky blue eyes. She’s been here before with her interviewees.
JENNIFER: You LOST two members of your expedition crew—one a GRADUATE STUDENT from UCLA and the other your RESEARCH PARTNER of more than FIFTEEN years.
JENNIFER: Like a lunatic, you come out here all by yourself to prove some MYSTERY MAN from the CENTER of the EARTH exists and that HE caused the cave-in.

3—A silhouette of a muscular man in the right hand corner of the panel emerges from the hole, while Jennifer holds out her recorder.
JENNIFER: The world wants to know. Has the great archeologist ARTHUR NORDEN gone CRAZY in his old age?

4—Arthur wears a harness and an archeologist’s hat (the one with the light on the front) as he dangles over the hole. His eyes are dark. There’s no humor to his features. He’s dressed in khaki pants and a sweaty, dirty tank top that shows off his muscles. Workman’s gloves cover his hands, and he holds the rope in one hand, while grabbing the recorder in the other. He needs to say this.
ARTHUR: I’m NOT crazy.

1—Arthur unhooks the carabiner from the rope, standing on the side of the hole. Jennifer comes up behind him.
ARTHUR: I KNOW what I saw.
JENNIFER: And so does a CRAZY PERSON. Give me something CONCRETE, Doctor.
\ARTHUR (linked): Glad you asked, MARY.

2—Camera positioned over Arthur’s shoulder as he holds out a harness for Jennifer to take. Jennifer’s eyes narrow.
JENNIFER: My first name’s JENNIFER, not MARY.
ARTHUR: Well, you have to excuse me. I thought I was getting a JOURNALIST from the WORLD NEWS NETWORK, not the reason hard news is DYING.

3—Jennifer scowls as she grabs the harness.
JENNIFER: I AM a serious journalist, DOCTOR Norden, and it will serve you well to remember that.

4—She steps into the harness.
JENNIFER: Otherwise, I might ask my producer to STICK your story right after the six-thirty-two SENIOR BIRTHDAYS.

5—She clips her carabiner onto the SLCD’s rope, while Arthur lunges forward.
ARTHUR: What do you think you’re doing!
JENNIFER: And here I thought you were supposed to be bright. I’m heading down to see the FIGMENT of IMAGINATION you call HARD EVIDENCE.

1—She grabs his hat as she jumps down into the hole.
JENNIFER: RACE you to the bottom.

2—Jennifer falls through the darkness. She’s smiling slightly, not afraid of what she’ll find but not suicidal either.
ARTHUR (off, shouting): You don’t know what’s down there!

3—Jennifer lands.

4—Jennifer dusts herself off.
JENNIFER: Please, what could POSSIBLY be so—

5—Jennifer’s eyes widen; now she’s shocked, unsure of what to make of the sight but now ready to entertain Arthur’s story.
JENNIFER (shocked): …whoa.

1—Two-Page Spread—Jennifer stands with her back to us in the opening to a massive cavern. (Think Batcave not modernized.) It’s dark with Jennifer’s helmet the only light. She stands on a landing before a huge chasm in what appears to be a circular “doorway” into the cavern. The opening looks like it’s been blown out to allow entrance. On the left hand side of the page is a rushing waterfall that hits several landings before plunging into the darkness; on the right is a rising rock formations, all covered with ancient -looking alien carving. They glow an ice blue. In the back of the cavern shimmers a large, ice blue crystal. It’s shaped like a tomb and cracked in half vertically.
References for caverns:
JENNIFER: There better not be huge BUGS in that crystal ready to FEAST on my BRAIN.

1—Arthur walks up behind her.
ARTHUR: As far as I know—no. And if anything, they’ll feast on YOUR ASS. I don’t think YOUR BRAIN is JUICY enough for them.

2—Jennifer glares back at him.
JENNIFER: Well, good, then I’ll SERVE them you first.

3—Jennifer walks over to the markings on the wall, studying their glowing; behind her, Arthur walks toward the glowing broken crystal.
JENNIFER: So, you think this is where your MYSTERY MAN came from? A cracked glowing egg in the middle of the BATCAVE on ACID?
ARTHUR: I think this proves that I’m NOT CRAZY.

4—Jennifer runs her fingers along the alien markings. Ice blue fire follows her fingers.
JENNIFER (whispering): I wouldn’t be too sure about—WHAT THE—

5—Arthur lunges for her.

6—Ice fire consumes Jennifer. Arthur’s fingers are close to her body.
ARTHUR (off): —THAT!

1—FLASHBACK—Extreme close-up on Jennifer’s wide and frightened eyes.

2—Jennifer now sits up on rock, like she’s still in Death Valley but now on a high hill. Behind her and off the cliff, she hears voices.
RAN (off): I don’t like this, Brick. Seems like OVERKILL to me.
BRICK (off): We don’t QUESTION, Ran. This is the RITE OF THE SEEKERS.

3—Like we’re looking up at Jennifer, she’s laying stomach-down on the cliff, trying to observe without being caught.
RAN (off): I still think this is WRONG.

4—Camera positioned like we’re Jennifer, looking down at two aliens. Brick and Ran are not much different from us. They’re built like linebackers with skin-tight black jumpsuits. On the space suits is a blue insignia of a bird’s long tail in a circle, surrounding the head of a screeching phoenix. Ran is younger—early twenties—and is the darker of the two with tanned skin and large, glowing purple eyes. His long brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail. His eyes and face are pointy and narrow. Brick is lighter with a purple tint to his skin, has short, spiky black hair, and a round face. He’s in his early forties. They stand on a cliff overlooking a river basin. Next to them is a spaceship—a long narrow fighter. Its nose acts as a wedge, lowering a glowing ice blue and purple crystal into the basin.
BRICK: You can think what you want, Brother, but this is the only way to stop it.
RAN: But does PROGRESS need to be STOPPED?
BRICK: When it leads to WAR—YES.
1—Mid-shot of Ran as he throws up his hands.
RAN: There must be a BETTER way. DESTROYING war-torn WORLDS is not the ANSWER.
2—Brick keeps his arms crossed.
BRICK: Then what is the ANSWER, Ran? You’d rather this world turn into a BLIGHT to INFECT the rest? We’re SAVING the universe here.
3—Ran glares at Brick, who rolls his eyes.
BRICK: You forget that they have a CHOICE. They can save their own planet, if they wish. The Seekers are here to help them—or stop them. All the INHABITANTS have to do is choose.
RAN: And what of the GATHERER?

4—Like page eight, panel three, we’re below Brick, looking up at him as he affirms:
BRICK: When the time comes, he will be AWAKENED, a GATHERER to find the SEEKERS, the SEEKERS to find the DEVICE, the DEVICE to SAVE or DESTROY the WORLD, the WORLD to find PEACE or DEATH.

1—PRESENT—The ice fire burns off Jennifer as she falls to the floor of the cavern, gasping.
BRICK (no pointer): It is THEIR choice.

2—Arthur’s at Jennifer’s side in a moment, grabbing her shoulders.
ARTHUR (panicked): JENNIFER! Jennifer, are you all right?

3—Jennifer glares up at him, her face grim, her eyes frightened.
Jennifer: We’re DOOMED.

I split the 110- page graphic novel into five, twenty-two-page issues of MTV Comics and Stan Lee’s The Seekers.

An alien space craft crash lands on Earth 200,000 years ago. Two humanoid figures emerge to see cavemen sharpening tools. They discuss how to ensure Earth does not “go too far.” One assures the other there are ways to prevent such actions from occurring.

In the present, a Seeker—ASTRA—awakens underneath Planet Hollywood Las Vegas and steals a shirt with the help of her golden, jeweled bracelet. It is paid for by an aggressive young man who wants her attention. After breaking his wrist, Astra is shocked by how much time has elapsed since she was last awake. She leaves to find the Gatherer.

JENNIFER HART, a reporter for World News Network, finally wears down ARTHUR NORDEN, the famed archeologist, for an interview, and they meet in the same cavern in Death Valley where Arthur’s excursion crew members were killed in a cave-in. (In flashbacks, the two members are shown to be Arthur’s best friend and research partner of fifteen years; and his son, a graduate student.) Arthur explains that a being rose from the earth and caused the collapse. Jennifer follows Arthur into a cavern with glowing, ice blue ancient markers on the wall and a large, cracked crystal tomb. The markers are written in an alien language, and when Jennifer touches one, she is transported back to the original landing of the Seekers/Gatherer. She sees a bomb-looking device being lowered into the planet and realizes the world is in jeopardy.

Not too far from the site, the GATHERER crouches by a concealing clump of bushes by the side of a deserted highway. He whispers into his gauntlet, “I will find and gather them. The time has come.”

The Gatherer stands in Yosemite National Park as another Seeker, JAXON, rises from the earth. The Gatherer asks Jaxon if he is remorseful for his crimes, but Jaxon attacks the Gatherer, who kills him. The Gatherer then looks at his bracelet. His next target is in the Grand Canyon.

Jennifer and Arthur search for clues and take pictures when Jennifer finds a Seeker’s bracelet. When she places it in her pocket, the ancient markers suddenly glow red. Arthur and Jennifer race out of the cavern as it collapses. They split ways—Jennifer to get a camera crew; Arthur to get a recovery crew.

Jennifer’s boss denies her the camera crew because she neglected her assigned story, a dog fashion show. BOBBY, her nephew, is dropped off at work by the manny, JAMES, who recognizes the markings from the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Jennifer calls Arthur.

Meanwhile, Arthur’s denied more funding by the university. Still determined, Arthur takes a call from Jennifer, and they decide to meet. While Jennifer is on the phone, Bobby looks through her purse for gum but instead finds the bracelet.

In the Grand Canyon, a landside/earthquake occurs as a naked man rises from the depths of the earth. The Seeker—VEGA—kills a hiking family by lighting them on fire with his bracelet. He smirks and leaves to do the same to all Seekers.

The Gatherer kneels by the remains of the Grand Canyon attack before talking to someone via his bracelet. “Vega has awakened. We might already be too late.”

Vega walks down Las Vegas Boulevard, stripping a pimp of his clothes and lighting the man on fire. Vega heads toward the Luxor, laughing, “I’m going to paint the town red.”

Jennifer and Arthur meet up at the Luxor, where Bobby hero-worships all over Arthur. Arthur scolds Jennifer for bringing the boy along, but Jennifer holds firm. When they reach the T&T Restaurant, Bobby can read the ceiling, and Jennifer realizes the Skeleton Roof lights are actually written in the same alien markings as the cave. The group is attacked by Vega, who wants the bracelet, but Jennifer can’t find it in her purse. Just as Vega finds Bobby hidden under a table, the Gatherer steps in his way, creating a shield to protect Bobby. The Gatherer and Vega face-off.

As the Gatherer fights Vega; Arthur, Bobby, and Jennifer escape, and Bobby tells them to head for the Sphinx. After finding a secret passage, they enter a modernized cavern with glowing alien markings on the walls as well. On the floor on the bottom level is a glowing crystal the size of a tomb. Presumably with help from the bracelet, Bobby reads the walls, which explains that the Gatherer must collect the Seekers and find the device to either deactivate or destroy the planet depending upon the inhabitants’ aggression. Many Seekers are banished criminals; this is their punishment.

The crystal cracks, and another Seeker—HESPER—awakens, shaking the earth above them. Arthur decides the Seekers and Gatherer are too dangerous to live. He reveals to Jennifer that his son was one of the two killed in his excursion, and he won’t allow anyone else to die. He goes to kill Hesper, only to find she is a child, aged twelve. The Gatherer crashes through the ceiling, ready to kill Arthur.

As Arthur fights the Gatherer, Vega, bloodied and beaten, comes to kill Bobby, stating that all Seekers must die. Jennifer tries to give him the bracelet, believing it makes Bobby appear to be a Seeker, but it doesn’t deter Vega. Astra flies through the open ceiling to help stop Vega.

Meanwhile, the Gatherer beats Arthur and explains they must work together to save the planet. This is Arthur’s chance to save other children—like Bobby and Hesper—where he could not save his son.

Astra explains to Jennifer she wishes to find the device first to save the world, not destroy the world like other Seekers would—like Vega. Vega defeats Astra and tries to kill the Gatherer, but Jennifer sets Vega on fire using the bracelet. Arthur intercepts a blow meant for the Gatherer. The Gatherer puts Vega into the crystal tomb, freezing him for the time being. He then cares for Hesper, a rare child Seeker, and thanks Arthur for his assistance. Jennifer gives the Gatherer the bracelet and leaves with Arthur and Bobby. Later, Jennifer and Arthur decide to find the device before the Seekers do.

Two people in dark suits and sunglasses—AGENTS JONES and RAMIERZ—stand before the opening of the cavern in Death Valley, ready to investigate for Section P.

The next week, as Bobby leaves school, the Gatherer greets him, “When the time comes, Child, I will gather you.” He hands Bobby back the bracelet and leaves.


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