minicomic weekend 3– a script written between naps

Today was mostly naps as I tried to sleep off the illness-that-is-definitely-not-the-flu.  Needless to say, this is not the weekend I planned, but it’s the weekend I got, and cartooning goes on.  At least the writing part.  For some reason I can write when I’m too sick to draw much, and that’s a lucky thing because  the thought of sitting queasily all day watching cross country skiing and bobsled races and morbid tales about the lives of the Olympians gives me even a worse headache than the one I’ve actually got.  Considering the character of Little Maudie and coming up with a writing style for her unknown creator are much more entertaining.  The last is a work in progress– I know that she (she’s definitely a woman) uses Interesting Capitalization for the sake of Emphasis, but the exact placement of the extraneous caps is eluding me.  I did finally come up with a more or less finished script, which is under the cut since it is getting pretty long:

Birds in a Sluddle (script, first draft)

Cast: Iowa, Gideon. Little Maudie and Shadow the Small Bad Wolf (being read aloud). Also, some birds. Words: libation, portmanteau, conscientiousness, serendipity, shadow, song, ponding

Front cover/page 1: Live panel, Iowa reading aloud. “Little Maudie and the End of Winter. Chapter Three: Birds in a Sluddle” Words are typset in the same font as the story excerpts, in such a way that it should be clear that “Birds in a Sluddle” is the title of the piece.

Iowa (reading, typeset): One day everything started to melt, Little Maudie knew it was time to start her Search for the Blueberry McGuffin.

Page 2 (left)

Iowa: are you sure you want me to read from this? It’s a kid’s book. And it looks like it’s for girls.

Gideon (getting increasingly dramatic until he is flopped down on the office couch in his dressing gown) Don’t be biased, Ms. Ginsberg—that last sentence smacked of both sexism and ageism. And it’s not like I haven’t caught you with Ballet Shoes or Anne of Green Gables. The fact remains I’ve lost my glasses, and I can’t see, and I have a splitting headache, and it’s snowing again and I just want you to read to me from a nice soothing book about slush.

Iowa: OK, OK. (She reads aloud, her words may be hand lettered since we are not in the world of Little Maudie quite yet.): She put on her Stripey Scarf and her Green Galoshes, filled her jacket pockets with Useful Books and picked up her Parasol with Pink Pagodas in case of rain. It was time to consult with the birds.

Page 3 (right)

Mostly full page from the little Maudie book, with Iowa reading aloud. Text is typeset, wrapped around the illustrations in some way:

Narration: The world was in a muddle. The Sky was grey with clouds and the Ground was grey with old snow and the birds couldn’t tell the difference. This made them even grumpier, and they were grumpy to start with because they were so dirty and hungry from hiding in the bushes that they all looked the same, and the Birdbaths were empty so they couldn’t bathe and sort themselves out. Little Maudie suggested they bathe in the Puddles, which were many and deep, as they always are during a thaw.

page turn

Page 4 left

Another full page, this one introducing Shadow the Small Bad Wolf.

Narration: The birds objected, saying they were not proper puddles. Little Maudie could not argue with this, since the puddles left a lot to be desired, being mostly old snow. The debate was stuck there, in the dripping grey world, until Shadow the Small Bad Wolf crept out from his den in the Old Double Garage, to say that they were not Puddles, they were Sluddles, and must be judged on their own merits.

Iowa looks up to see that the Professor is now listening in his wolf form.

Iowa: Now I see why you like these books so much—there’s a humorous wolf in them.

Page 5 right

More Little Maudie, this one bringing the first part of the story snippet to an end

Narration: A Sluddle, said Shadow, is part Slush and part Puddle, and is the proper thing to bathe in between Winter and Birdbath. It is certainly clean enough, and he drank to prove it. Little Maudie was privately skeptical, knowing some of the things that Shadow liked to eat, but she kept quiet, since the birds now seemed willing to Cope with Circumstance. When they were clean, she said, she would get out her bird book and sort them out.

page turn

Page 6 (left)

Eureka—the Moondog leaps up

Iowa: You are really picky today—first you want a story, now you’re all Timmy fell down the well … I wish I could understand what you were saying like Little Maudie does.

She picks up the dressing gown automatically and follows him out. The Moondog drags Iowa on a chase through the basement of the library until the Moondog is jumping up and down next to a particular table under a window. (Yes, the library basement has windows. It is a very strange basement.)

Iowa: What do you want, Professor? The cigar box? The catalog drawer? The padded envelope? The binocular case?

The professor yips enthusiastically.

Page 7 (right)

Iowa, humoring him, pulls the binoculars out of the case, and underneath them are the Professor’s glasses.

Iowa: How the heck did those end up in there? And how did you know?

Iowa holds the glasses and turns her back while the Professor changes back and puts on the dressing gown.

Gideon: I was inspired by Little Maudie and her bird book– I remembered I had dug out those binoculars– they’re vintage Zeiss, excellent optics– to observe the hawks in the courtyard, and I must have put my glasses in the case

Iowa: You should have spares.

Gideon (slightly ashamed of himself) Those are the spares. Anyway, credit the solution to serendipity.

page turn

Page 8

Iowa: Or you just remembered the answer was in this crazy book. Maybe subconsciously. You do sort of remember everything.(She looks at the book curiously.) This is pretty cute, actually. Old fashioned, but with funny word play … Why don’t I remember these from when I was a kid? I would have really liked them, and there’s a whole series. That’s like catnip to new readers. And why is Little Maudie a little devil girl?

Gideon (lying down again): The first answer leads to the second. The books have never been published here, or anywhere near here. Remember that library we visited?  The one that was … very far away?

Iowa: The one where the librarian was a …

page 9

Gideon: Yes, that’s the one. The Little Maudie books come from there, wherehey are very popular. And she’s not a “little devil girl” at all. The author’s people prefer the word “demonic”, and Little Maudie is just a not quite ordinary child in that community. There is a new edition with illustrations that make Little Maudie a baseliner, a human like you and me …Well, more like you …

Iowa: That sounds awful!

Gideon: Spoken like a true librarian. Yes, the originals are much, much more satisfying, as you are discovering.  Read on, Ms. Ginsberg—let’s see what happens with the birds.

page turn

page 10—

Narration: So the birds bathed in the Sluddle, and when they were done, it was very easy to tell the Sparrows from the Grackles from the Blue Jays, which was Good Luck, since when she checked her pockets Little Maudie found she had brought a book on identifying seashells and one on the architecture of castles and no bird book at all. But the Blue Jays were happy to show her the One Blueberry Bush on the Block anyway, although Shadow said the Search would go faster if they started at the Bakery. Little Maudie said he just wanted a scone, and Shadow agreed. I do, he said, I do want a scone.

Page11: Last panel of story, full page drawn in the style of the Little Maudie. Maybe with the Professor in his wolf form. This doesn’t have to be explained if Iowa is dressed as Little Maudie– which is why she and the Moondog can speak here.

Iowa (holding the book she has been reading from): I suppose Little Maudie finds the blueberry McGuffin with the help of the seashell book and the castle book.

Gideon/Moondog: Of course. And Shadow gets his scone, that small bad wolf, and also the last word, which is more than I usually get.

Iowa: No worries. You’re at least a medium sized bad wolf, sir.

Back cover (page 12). Birds in a sluddle drawing, explanation of portmanteau words. Credits.

This entry was posted in comics and cartooning, minicomic weekend and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to minicomic weekend 3– a script written between naps

  1. Rick Santman says:

    Spot on.

    Delightful

    Why, oh WHY didn’t I hand you a scone yesterday, instead of a croissant? (Slaps forehead)

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