Monday, 7 December 2009

Here's the Marvelman script...

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Circa 1981, Alan Moore wrote the following cover letter and sent it to Dez Skinn along with his first script for the Marvelman revival. In the letter, Moore mentions a couple of problems relating to the script and describes the difficulties encountered when attempting to add a 'contemporary realism' to the story. I didn't find mention of it over at 4ColorHeroes, so I could be wrong, but also worth noting is the postscript at the head of the page, where Moore mentions that he's also enclosing a synopsis for a project entitled 'The Ace of Shades'. Unless I'm mistaken, that very project was later renamed 'V for Vendetta'. If that is the case, the 'Dave' he mentions fits in nicely and the letter becomes incredibly noteworthy.

Transcript follows.



Transcript

30, WALLACE RD
NORTHAMPTON.

Dear Dez,

Salud. Here's the Marvelman script, more or less, with all the errors of typing, grammar and basic literacy that one must expect from a truly great artiste such as myself. I had a couple of minor problems with it, so just to put you in the picture:

Firstly, it's a page over the original intended length..i.e. it should run over seven pages..six frames a page with four frames on the second (splash page. This is because I found I needed the extra page to fit in all the elements that were necessary in this opening story..I wanted to get in a few frames of Moran's pre-Marvelman homelife in order to establish a running plotline for future episodes. I also felt that the teaser-prologue featuring the dialogue between the terrorists was necessary in order to make the story some sort of coherent whole. Also, the basic language of the strip..captions and so forth.. at first glance this might seem a little elaborate, but I felt it was needed to give the tone of the series a little more depth and grittiness.

Even given the extra page, maybe some of the frames are a little word-heavy and the final few frames don't flow as well as I would have liked, having a sort of squeezed-up feel to them. In order to remedy these flaws as far as possible, I figure that once the artwork has been put together for the 'demo' copy, minus the lettering, then maybe I'd have time to give it the once over in stat form and polish the script accordingly..pruning down any unecessary verbiage where needed, or maybe adding a caption here or there to clarify any weak or obscure sequences. Frame 39, as an example, could maybe use a brief caption to smooth the transition between the explosive violence of the previous frame and the quiet aftermath of frame 39.

As far as dialogue goes, I've tried to do something a little different with it. In order to create an atmosphere of contemporary realism I've tried to avoid the Americanized dialogue-cliches of the Marvel school..not wholly successfully, I'll admit, but I think I'm getting there. One problem was trying simultaneously to avid the equally cliched Lowest-common-denominator Wotcher-Cock english of the British boy's comics, and the other was trying to handle semi-adult dialogue without knowing quite how far I was allowed to go. I've assumed that you'd probably like to avoid the Derek and Clive version of Marvelman until we know a little more about our audience. Therefore you'll find a lot of reference in the dialogue to various Gods, Christs and Jesus'. Again, if I've gone over the top here it should be something I can easily correct upon seeing the finished artwork prior to lettering.

Anyway..hope you find the basic script serviceable. If there's anything so chronically misconcieved that it needs a total rewrite before going to the artist then let me know and I'll oblige. Regards to all at number I0. Hear from you soon. All the best...

(Signed)

P.S-

ALSO ENCLOSED FIND ROUGH SYNOPSIS FOR "THE ACE OF SHADES". THIS IS ONLY A FIRST DRAFT. IT WILL HOPEFULLY HAVE SHAPED UP INTO SOMETHING MORE COMPLETE BY THE TIME DAVE GETS MY FIRST SCRIPT