I have decided on a whim to add my own note page companion, though I do not know how frequently nor how consistently I will post. A lot goes on in the storyboarding process, back and forth discussion and elaborating on ideas where elaboration is needed. Person to person communication isn’t always available so the marvels of messaging must suffice, where convenience and context divert to extreme opposites. There are instances where a clear direction is imagined by one and the other must decipher and capture that imagery with their own device. In this case, I did not ask the author to clarify a point which seems obscure and abstract at first notice. I am creating this page without the knowledge of the author but I imagine I will not find any disapproval when it is discovered. What inspired this post was a specific panel in the The Courier comic, in particular an instruction on the storyboard for panel four. It is only with lighthearted humor and drollery that I present the storyboard, as it is written, that the author provided me.
“Panel 4: image is of Stoke floating on a river under a starry night. Nearby is a dead animal (deceased one can only assume from the hopelessness of the darkness of the universe).“
Now, the biggest question that immediately arises from reading this storyboard is ‘how to depict, in a visual medium, what happens in a death by hopelessness of the darkness of the universe?’ It is a valid question that will fault you not for asking. To break this down let us first decipher death and its various forms. Death by heat, death by drowning, death by freezing, death by starvation, death by predator, death by disease… and so it goes on, but in none of these lists, I guarantee, will you see death by hopelessness of the darkness of the universe. There is not a wellspring of reference material for such a passing but in my attempt at capturing the feel I decided to choose my favorite animal, a frog, to be the victim of the hopelessness of the darkness of the universe. My reasoning was that perhaps this would inspire in me to get that panel just right. While drawing, I got to thinking how the frogs in our world were dead and dying too, not by the hopelessness of the darkness of the universe as in the case of this frog in front of Stoke, but instead by the inexorable hand of mankind as it drives a great extinction, be it in plane, bulldozer, car or boat. Panel four depicts a frog with its little frog spirit departing, mid transit, from body to ether. The frog is simply dead and recently at that. To answer ‘how to depict, in a visual medium, what happens in a death by hopelessness of the darkness of the universe’ I will channel what I presume the author’s response to that question would be, had I or you asked him.
For context you must have seen an old X-Men movie in which the character Storm stands over the mutant Toad who is dangling from a building by his tongue, to understand the author’s answer. I will provide the transcript of the scene in question.
“Do you know what happens to a toad when it is struck by lightning?” (it’s a short scene)
Toad is unable to reply so Storm continues and her response, the response the author would use and the answer to the question of ‘how to depict, in a visual medium, what happens in a death by the hopelessness of the darkness of the universe’.
“The same thing that happens to everything else.”
– Lotus Eater