Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Use the (Open) Source

Has anyone heard of Jenny Everywhere?

She is the open-source "shifter" character, the super hero who has broken the one last death trap that has snared all heroes - free from the clutches of a mutated, corporate-biased copyright law.

The idea always interested me. I first heard about Jenny over at Barbelith - the once-great web-forum, full of ideas and debate, now lying, gone-but-not-yet-dead.

My character, The Occultist, was conceived as a fourth wall breaking, time and space manipulating agent-mage of the multiverse. 

I really had a grand idea at one point to have the character break out of copyright, and the go free into the realm of Open-Source - a nth dimension of possibilities. 

I wanted any and every creator out there to have a pop at producing a story or book featuring the character - briefly before he moved on to the next dimension to help the next reality out. 

A kind of super-hero Littlest Hobo.

The character beat me to it, and Dark Horse published a book last year featuring their own Occultist character (so very different from mine, but it stung all the same).

The idea shrank to possible having an over-sized special, a graphic novel featuring the character bouncing around different artist's take on him.


Some day.

In the meantime here is a four page script for a short I worked on with J.C. Grande back in 2008 or 2009. Consider this an open source idea, if anyone wants to take a crack at creating pages for it, or use it for sequential practice, please feel free - just remember to share the idea.


Panel 1. Wide-screen. We're in a light, nondescript room, a large bed sits at the centre of the frame, and we're low down, looking across the bed from the foot - think the ending of 2001. An old man (JACOB IBSEN) is in the bed, propped up against pillows, he is dying.

It is time.

Panel 2. We have turned around, now seeing what JACOB IBSEN (90's) can see. At the foot of the bed, either side, stand two versions of him - one in his 30's, one seemingly ageless, in futuristic and erogenous clothing, seemingly a glow coming off of him. Sitting off in the background is another version, in his 50's, holding a cane.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
When you are the inventor of time travel, it's quite a thing to realize that it!s the one thing that you've run out of.
Panel 3. Side on of JACOB 90's. His face serenely calm, a small smile plays across it.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
The question I've been asked the most in my life -- how did I make the impossible possible? --

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- Let me tell you.

Panel 4. A younger, late 20!s JACOB, in a lab, fairly high tech - a white board behind him, parts of an equation are rubbed out, as though an eraser has recently run across the centre. He looks trapped in thought, unable to break a tough puzzle.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
I worked long and hard, but always knew two things. Firstly that I alone would be the only one who could crack the problem --

Panel 5. A eureka moment across his face


JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- Secondly, that I could not do it alone!

Panel 1. Young JACOB, working on some kind of device at a workbench, goggles on.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
The answer was simple --

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- I would start to invent a time machine, and knew that once I was successful in the future, I could travel back to the past and help myself find the solution.

Panel 2. The device is finished - young JACOB presses a button, three alternative versions appear before him (FUTURE, 50's and 30's).

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
Simple, really.

Panel 3. We're in some Jurassic-era savage land. A dinosaur is chasing a person in an over the top hermetically sealed suit, stumbling clumsily away.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
At first there were concerns about how to treat the past, so as not to affect the present or future --

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- but it was pretty quickly worked out that any changes to the past simply created an alternate history, that nothing had an actual consequence to a time line.

Panel 4. Outer space, earth over-laid with earth after earth, vanishing off into the distance.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
Time could quite simply heal itself.


Panel 1. Through a snipers sight, Hitler giving a speech in 1930's Germany.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
After that, everyone had a time machine and people went to town. Changing things to prove a point --

Panel 2. The famous picture of Mohammed Ali victorious over Sonny Liston, but this time it is Mike Tyson on the canvass (maybe a banner with Ali vs Tyson is you're unsure if it's clear enough?)

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- to settle old arguments --

Panel 3. A delivery room, a woman on her back giving birth, doctors and a father struggle with an armed man who has appeared, he wears a tee-shirt saying "I wish I'd never been born!".

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- some even turned the whole thing into an extreme sport.

Panel 4. Two lines of angry protesters are separated by riot-gear clad police. Both shouting, all are aggressive. Banners held, on the one side saying "leave the past alone" the other "time is ours!"

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
Then the protesters came, the attempts on my life --

Panel 5. JACOB, old, walking down a warped street, buildings a mixture of styles and designs on top of each other. People in clashing time period outfits walk around.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
Nothing made sense anymore. The past was a mess...the present always changing...the future a blur.


Panel 1. Close, the calm face of the old JACOB in his bed.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
So we came up with an idea. We knew you could only go back.

Panel 2. The room, the 30's and AGELESS JACOB'S finishes working on a device like the first time machine that we saw the 20!s him build.

Panel 3. Another shot of the room, JACOB 90's sits up in his bed and holds up a hand, waving to the versions of himself. Big in foreground, the device.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
The only way to be sure would be to go back to the very start of time, the very beginning of all those threads --

Panel 4. As before, a hand reaches in and activates the device and the scene begins to dissolve, fade to white.

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- With the right chemistry, and a little physics --

Panel 5. White panel

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- we could be sure that the whole thing starts with a whimper --

Panel 6. Black panel

JACOB IBSEN (90'S) (Caption)
-- not a bang. 



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