[MISC] Patents Pending #2 - Misery Date

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Tue Jun 15 10:40:10 PDT 2004

[This is the story for the second issue of Haptic Press's anthology.  I never
did get around to writing the remaining 4 parts I envisioned for the arc.  If
anyone ever expresses an interest in publishing the complete story and finds
an artist for it, I could be convinced to write the rest. :)  For now, it's
copyright 2000 by Dave Van Domelen, all rights reserved, etc.]

Patents is a Virtue #2 - Misery Date


     Clive - One of the guards who keeps unauthorized people (i.e. people
like Jason) out of the teleporter chambers.  Very big, armored, etc.
Actually pretty intelligent for a guard type, but not so intelligent that he
has trouble coping with the monotony of guard duty.  Clive does not shout
very often, but his words should be lettered larger than normal, and thicker,
to represent his deep bass voice.

     Robots - While Winken et al might be humanoid (but should be
genderless), most of the robots seen in this issue will be clearly not
humanoid.  They're special purpose bots, and often of odd shapes.  The
waiterbots come closest to human, but they roll along rather than having

     Animatrix - Some bits of her will be visible this issue.  She wears a
suit made from circuitry strips, kinda like Circuit Breaker from the
Transformers comic (http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~dvandom/josie.html for
a visual ref).  However, she wears a skullcap and keeps her head shaven
underneath it.  Mind you, only her arm is going to be visible this time out.

     Carol - A dentist, in her early 30s.  She should be reasonably
attractive, but no more a knockout than Jason is.  Other than that, the
artist should feel free to pick her appearance.  No last name given, since it
never comes up (which also frees the artist a bit more to choose an

     Taxi - Okay, not a character, but a detail to mention here.  The taxis
in Sanctuary are self-driving electric vehicles run by robotic control
systems.  They're provided mainly for the normals like Jason, since the
citizens will tend to prefer their own modes of transportation.  They have
some details that are clearly taxi-like (such as the "on duty" lamp on the
roof), but otherwise the appearance can be as odd or fanciful as the artist


     Five panels.  The layout is like a six panel grid with three on top and
three on bottom, but the fifth and sixth panels have been merged into one
double wide panel.  Panels 1-4 will have the same basic layout: Door to
teleporter room at the leftt (about 10 feet tall), Clive standing to the
right of the door (about 8 feet tall), Jason standing downpanel of the door,
probably about six feet from it.  Clive is in his guard armor, Jason is in a
business suit that has a neat hole about a foot in diameter punched in it,
front and back.  It's as if someone blew a hole in him with something that
didn't harm people, just clothing (which is what happened).  Jason's back is
to us.  

     Panel 1: Jason is gesturing hopefully at the door and addressing Clive.
Jason's speech bubble is above his head, Clive's speech bubble is in the
blank space at the lower right of the panel.

SPEECH 1 (JASON): So, Clive...think I could get in?


     Panel 2: Clive looks down a bit, focusing on the hole in Jason's suit.
Speech bubble in upper right corner, it's small.

SPEECH 3 (CLIVE): ? (yeah, just a question mark)

     Panel 3: Jason twists around so that the readers can see the hole is in
the front of the suit too, as he looks down at himself.  Speech bubble at
lower right.

SPEECH 4 (JASON): Ah.  This.

     Panel 4: Jason is facing Clive again and shrugging.  Speech bubble
covering part of the doorway.

SPEECH 5 (JASON): The Exhibitionist perfected his Nudetron Ray.

     Panel 5: This panel is double-wide.  Clive and the door are positioned
at the left, same composition as in panels 1-4.  Jason is crossing past
Clive, walking to the right but looking back over his shoulder at Clive.
Carol is coming on-panel from the right, looking a bit harried and looking
over her shoulder to someone off-panel to the right.  She's wearing scrubs,
having just come from her dentist job.  Speech balloon placement up to the
artist, there should be plenty of space in this panel for it.

SPEECH 6 (JASON): Well, see you later, Clive.

SPEECH 7 (CAROL): No, I don't need a...


     Splash page.  Series title, story title (Misery Date) and credits across
top quarter of the page.  Jason and Carol have just run into each other and
are about to go down in a tangle of limbs and embarrassment.




     Nine panel grid.  This page gets a bit talky, but there's not a lot of
action, so the artist should be able to leave room for the speech bubbles.  

     Panel 1: Jason and Carol are all tangled up on the ground.

SPEECH 1 (JASON): Sorry, I'm...

SPEECH 2 (CAROL): No, excuse ME...

     Panel 2: The two are awkwardly trying to help each other to stand,
Jason's trying to be chivalrous and Carol's trying to beat him to the punch.

SPEECH 3 (JASON): My name's Jason.

SPEECH 4 (CAROL): Carol.

     Panel 3: Both are now standing, and brushing off, straightening clothes,

SPEECH 5 (JASON): So...you're a doctor?

SPEECH 6 (CAROL): Dentist.  Got here last week.  You?

     Panel 4: The two no longer have anything to do with their hands, and are
starting to feel a little awkward.  Artist can pull in to an upper body shot
any time from this panel on, or even start a slow pull that ends in a face to
face in panel 9.  Whatever seems to work best.

SPEECH 7 (JASON): A few months.  I'm a patent attorney.


     Panel 5: See above.  If the dialogue doesn't fit, feel free to chop the
second sentence of SPEECH 9.

SPEECH 9 (JASON): Oh, Lord Carnage decided Sanctuary needed a way to keep
inventions straight.  Just internal, no one's looking for U.S. patents.

     Panel 6: While holding Jason's gaze, Carol lifts a hand and points down
at his chest, smirking slightly.

SPEECH 10 (CAROL): And the suit?

     Panel 7: Carol holds her pose, but her smirk turns to a grin.  Jason
looks down at his chest and flushes with embarrassment.

     Panel 8: Jason looks back up, Carol puts her hand back down, but is now
smiling broadly.

SPEECH 11 (JASON): Ah, heh...accidents happen.

     Panel 9: If the artist has decided to keep to a medium or longer shot,
Carol sort of cocks her head to one side and puts her hands on her hips.  If
we're on a pair of talking heads at this point, she winks instead.  Either
way, she's still smiling, warmly.

SPEECH 12 (CAROL): So...show a newcomer the town?


     Four panels, equal quadrants.  We're in Jason's bedroom, which is
somewhat spartan, as he's still resisting the idea of really settling in.
He's wearing a different suit, a rather nice one.

     Panel 1: Jason examines his reflection in a full length mirror on the
left side of the panel.  Behind him, Winken is just sort of standing there,
having already handed Jason his jacket, tie, etc.  Jason is talking to Winken
without looking at him.  Jason's speech bubble is upper right.  Winken's is
right under that if it fits (depends on how tall Winken ends up being, but I
think belly-height might be best) and may be tech-ish, squared, etc.

SPEECH 1 (JASON): So, long and short of it, Carol asked me out to dinner.  My
first date since I got here.

SPEECH 2 (WINKEN): She's all wrong for you.

     Panel 2: Same setting and camera angle, but Jason has whirled around in
surprise to face Winken.  Winken might have backed up a little bit.  Same
sort of balloon placement.

BURST 3 (JASON): What?

SPEECH 4 (WINKEN): I've checked her psychometric data.  She is an
incompatible match.

     Panel 3: Jason has calmed down a bit, but still looks a little shaken or
nervous.  He's patting Winken on the head, leaning over to do so if need be.

SPEECH 5 (JASON): Hey, it's just a date, not marriage.  Besides, numbers
aren't everything.

     Panel 4: Jason is walking off panel to the right.  Winken has turned to
face the audience, and he has a sour expression.  Or what passes for one on
the face he ends up being given.  (This is actually Animatrix's reaction
feeding through the robot.  I considered a thought bubble, but decided
against it.)


     Eight panels, in two columns of four each.  The left panel in each row
begins something, then the right panel shows it going wrong somehow.  This is
basically a time-condensation of how the date goes.  No words, no sound
effects, just silent panels.

     Panel 1: Jason is helping Carol into a taxi.  Carol is in a nice evening
dress or pantsuit, artist's choice.

     Panel 2: The taxi shuts its door on Carol, slamming her into the back
seat in a tumble.

     Panel 3: Jason and Carol look out over the city from an observation deck
built into the roof of the cavern that contains Sanctuary.

     Panel 4: The guardrail has given way and Carol is dangling over the
edge.  Jason is holding onto her arm with both hands.  There should be a
robot in the background.

     Panel 5: Carol looks a bit nervous now, but is trying to make light of
the situation as she and Jason stroll through a zoo of exotic animals.  Feel
free to make up alien or mutant critters for this.  There's a robotic
zookeeper in the background.

     Panel 6: Jason and Carol flee from several freed animals.

     Panel 7: Inside a movie theater (smallish, the entire population of
Sanctuary is probably only a few hundred).  Carol gratefully sinks into her
seat, glad to have found a safe activity.

     Panel 8: The seat folds up, folding Carol in half.  Her feet waving up
around her head, that sort of thing.  Jason's trying to pull her out.


     Six panels, two across and three down.  Same camera angle for all six
panels.  Jason is seated at the left of the panel, Carol at the right.
Between them is a fancy restaurant table, with candles burning in the
middle.  Right now, the candles are fresh, and pretty much stay that way for
this page.

     Panel 1: Jason looks apologetic, Carol looks somewhat resigned and

SPEECH 1 (JASON): I'm really sorry...Sanctuary's not normally so dangerous.

SPEECH 2 (CAROL): It's not your fault, Jason.

     Panel 2: Jason is looking across at Carol, Carol is looking down at her
menu, a flat expression on her face.

SPEECH 3 (JASON): Anyway, this is a really good restaurant.  The robots have
been cooking since Chef Morimoto escaped, but they're good at it.

     Panel 3: The waiterbot has arrived at the left of the panel.  Jason has
turned to give his order, but that won't be getting a speech bubble.  Perhaps
have Jason touching a part of a touchscreen on the waiterbot.  Carol has
looked up, but still isn't smiling.

SPEECH 4 (CAROL): So, how's life as Sanctuary's only patent attorney?

     Panel 4: The waiterbot has moved on to Carol.  She's entering her order
on the touchpad, and has started to smile in reaction to Jason's reply.

SPEECH 5 (JASON): Like filling one of Fangrel's cavities, I'd expect.
Exciting, but you'd rather give it a pass.

     Panel 5: The waiterbot is gone.  Carol has a slightly concerned
expression.  Her speech bubble should be above the table, and Jason's below
the level of the tabletop, to keep clear the order of speaking.  Jason is
drawing a finger across his throat in the "we're dead" symbol.  His speech
bubble has a partial burst at the end (jagged balloon) if the letterer can
swing it.

SPEECH 6 (CAROL): Do the mad scientists try to force you to take sides?

SPEECH/BURST 7 (JASON): Carnage forbids it.  And if I take a bribe...KKKKT!

     Panel 6: Jason is shrugging, Carol has a wry smile.

SPEECH 8 (JASON): If I'm not impartial, I'm not useful...so, how are YOU
settling in?

SPEECH 9 (CAROL): Well, aside from tonight....


     Four panels, two by two.  The candle at the table has burned down quite
a bit. 

     Panel 1: Same shot as the panels on page 6, but more space up top for
the waiterbot and his speech bubble.  Jason and Carol are looking at the
plates being set before them by the waiterbot.  If possible, give the
waiterbot a haughty expression.  Depends on whether you give him a face.

SPEECH 1 (WAITERBOT): Your entrees, sir...madam.

     Panel 2: Same shot as previous.  Jason is eating happily, but Carol is
delivering a spit-take.  The waiterbot has gone.


     Panel 3: Focus on Carol.  Her plate is at the bottom of the panel.  The
food should look okay, it's just been spiced horribly wrongly.  Carol is
sticking out her tongue and making a sour face.


     Panel 4: Closeup on the table, we don't see Jason's or Carol's bodies or
faces.  We see Jason's hand pushing his plate around the candle towards
Carol.  She's holding up her hand in a "don't bother" gesture.  The candle is
guttering out.  Carol's word balloon should overlap the end of Jason's,
making it clear she's cutting him off.

SPEECH 4 (JASON): Here...have some of mine while they...

SPEECH 5 (CAROL): No.  I think it's best if I go home.  ALONE.


     The top quarter or so of the page is split into two side by side
panels.  The rest of the page is a big almost-splash page.

     Panel 1: Jason is sitting in the back of a taxi, our viewpoint is from
where the driver would sit if there was a human driver.  He's slumped down in
the chair and frustrated.

SPEECH 1: Sigh....

     Panel 2: Panel 1 is statted and reduced slightly to fit in a monitor
screen that fills this panel.  Animatrix's hand brushes across the screen,
lovingly.  It's a delicate, feminine hand under the circuitry straps.

     Panel 3: Pull back.  Almost the entire panel is filled with monitor
screens of various sizes.  They all carry images of Jason.  Feel free to stat
images from any other panel this issue, or from pages 1-4 in the first story
(she wouldn't have spy eyes in Watt's house).  Make this feel as creepy and
"love shrine/schoolgirl crush" as possible while retaining an overall "big
brother monitoring system" look.  At the center bottom of the panel is a
large chair that conceals the person in it.  All we see is one arm reaching
out from the chair to caress the screen seen in panel 2.  The speech bubble
coming out from the chair is heart-shaped.  The artist should place the
bubble before finishing the art, it'll save on a monitor or two's worth of
drawing tiny little Jasons.  Caption at lower right.


CAPTION 2: Next Issue: Who's this secret admirer?  And will Jason manage to
escape from Sanctuary?  And what about Scarecrow's brain?

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