Friday, 2 February 2007

FROM HELL: 5/1

This is the first official outing with my redesigned space here at campbell blogspot. I've given myself a wider cloumn and I've boldened the header and colours and added a few jests in the sidebar. And after the criminal amount of time yesterday spent figuring out html codes, today I'm going with a post from my stash, typed last week by my daughter Erin. This is the tenth selection from Alan Moore's From Hell scripts.

This page of From Hell first appeared in Taboo 6, in 1992. It was something of a landmark. We were 109 pages into the project, and some three and a half years, and we'd only just arrived at the first of the murders. If I'd gotten into it for the horror I would probably have jumped ship by this time.
This chapter was also the one in which Pete Mullins started helping me out. I see his detailed touches first popping up around page 14. Steve Stamatiadis worked with me on the previous one, chapter 4, but he did jump ship. He has his own computer game company now, so all was for the best from his point of view I'm sure. This chapter reminds me of a predicament I used to notice in an artist such as Gene Colan, where he would start with a lot of energy and attention to detail but end in a hurry with things looking a bit scrappy around page 19. The deadline and a rapidly emptying wallet were getting the better of him. With Bacchus I used to do the pages in a non-consecutive order so that the gradual depletion of enthusiasm would not be obvious to the untrained eye. This page looks like I was arriving fresh after a lay-off, prepared to put in some effort.
(For anyone keeping track, this one is 1662 words long, which is on the heavy end of the spectrum)

Alan Moore's script for: FROM HELL. CHAPTER V.
“THE NEMESIS OF NEGLECT” (40 PAGES)
PAGE 1.
PANEL 1.
HELLO, EDDIE. WELL, HERE WE ARE: MORE THAN A HUNDRED PAGES INTO THE STORY AND WE FINALLY REACH THE FIRST MURDER. IT STRIKES ME THAT HAVING DONE SUCH A GOOD JOB OF MAKING THE MUNDANE MEANINGFUL AND DRAMATIC FOR THE PAST FIVE INSTALMENTS. WE MAY HAVE SOMETHING OF A PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO THIS FIRST MURDER; THE FIRST CONVENTIONALLY DRAMATIC MOMENT THAT WE’VE BEEN CALLED UPON TO DESCRIBE. I THINK WE NEED TO MAKE IT AS FLAT AND UNEVENTFUL AS WE DID THE SEX SECENE BETWEEN ANNIE AND EDDY BACK IN CHAPTER ONE, ALTHOUGH AT THE SAME TIME WE DO NEED TO CONVEY SOME OF THE HIDEOUS FORCE AND MOMENT THAT HAS GONE INTO THE EVENT. ALSO, WHILE WE MAINTAIN THE AIR OF NORMALITY THAT WE’VE CAREFULLY BUILT UP, WE ALSO HAVE TO MAINTAIN THE ATMOSPHERE OF STRANGENESS THAT WE’VE IMPLIED BEHIND THE EVERYDAY VICTORIAN FAÇADE. A TRICKY ONE, BUT I’M SURE WE’LL HANDLE IT OKAY WHEN WE ACTUALLY GET TO THE SCENE IN QUESTION.
THIS FIRST PAGE IS ONE OF THREE THAT MAKE UP OUR OPENING SEQUENCE, A PUZZLING AND ANOMALOUS LITTLE VIGNETTE THAT TAKES PLACE IN AUSTRIA. THE FIRST PAGE HAS THREE TIERS. ON THE UPPERMOST TIER WE HAVE THE BORDERLESS WHITE SPACE TO THE LEFT WHERE WE TRADITIONALLY SET OUT EPISODE TITLE, AND THEN A DOUBLE WIDTH PANEL TAKING UP THE REST OF THE TIER. THE LOWER TWO TIERS EACH HAVE THREE PANELS, MAKING THIS AN EIGHT-PANEL PAGE, INCLUDING THE TITLE PANEL.
TITLES: CHAPTER V: THE NEMESIS OF NEGLECT

PANEL 2.
IN THIS FIRST PANEL WE HAVE AN AERIAL SHOT OF A SMALL TWO STORY BUILDING THAT STANDS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE UPPER-AUSTRIAN TOWNSHIP OF BRAUNAU. WE ARE LOOKING DOWN AT THE HOUSE, WHICH STANDS IN A FAIRLY ISOLATED POSITION RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE TOWN, THROUGH A FINE VEIL OF POWDERY, FALLING SNOW. WE ARE HIGH ABOVE IT HERE AS WE LOOK DOWN, AND THE ISOLATED HOUSE IS THE MAIN FOCUS OF OUR VISUAL ATTENTION, WITH THE REST OF THE TOWN MERELY A SUGGESTION; A DARK HUDDLE OF BUILDINGS SOMEHWERE TOWARDS THE UPPER REACHES OF THE PANEL THAT DOES NOT DISTRACT FROM OUR FOCUS UPON THE HOUSE. IT IS THE EARLY AUGUST OF 1888, AND IT IS NIGHT TIME, ALTHOUGH THE CLARITY WITH WHICH WE CAN SEE THE HOUSE FAR BELOW US, EVEN THROUGH THE FALLING SNOW, SUGGESTS THAT THE SCENE MUST BE ILLUMINATED BY THE LIGHT OF SOME OFF-PANEL FULL MOON. THE SNOW BLOWS IN WILD GUSTS ACROSS OUR IMAGE, BUT PERHAPS WE CAN SEE A TINY PIN PRICK OF LIGHT IN THE UPPER STOREY OF THE BUILDING: A LIT WINDOW. IF WE ARE TOO HIGH FOR THIS TO BE PRACTICABLE, THEN JUST LEAVE IT OUT AND WE’LL ESTABLISH THE LIT WINDOW IN OUR NEXT PANEL.
CAPTION: Braunau, Upper Austria. August, 1888.

PANEL 3.
NOW THE FIRST OF THE THREE SMALLER PANELS THAT MAKE UP THIS CENTRAL TIER. SLOWLY, WE ARE CLOSING IN FROM OUR OPENING IMAGE, ZOOMING SLOWLY DOWN TOWARDS THE HOUSE BENEATH US. (YOU SEE WHAT A SEMANTIC MUDDLE YOU GET INTO WHEN YOU START USING CINEMATIC TERMINOLOGY? “ZOOMING SLOWLY”.) ALTHOUGH THE SNOWFLAKES STILL BOWL IN A LUMINOUS FREE-FALL ACROSS THE FOREGROUND OF THE PANEL, WE CAN NOW SEE THE HOUSE IN MUCH GREATER DETAIL, SINCE WE ARE HOVERING JUST ABOVE THE ROOF AND LOOKING DOWN. WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE LIGHT IN THE UPPER STORY WINDOW, ALTHOUGH THE REST OF THE WINDOWS ARE DARK. ALTHOUGH IT IS MADE NOWHERE EVIDENT IN
THE TEXT THAT FOLLOWS, THE HOUSE IS THAT BELONGING TO THE CUSTOMS OFFICIAL ALOIS HITLER AND HIS WIFE KLARA. I’M AFRAID THAT THE BIOGRAPHY OF HITLER THAT I’VE CONSULTED FOR MY REFERENCE HAS NO PICTURE SECTION, SO YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN AS FAR AS FINDING REFERENCE FOR THIS ONE GOES. IF YOU CAN’T LOCATE A SPECIFIC IMAGE OF HITLER’S PARENTS' HOUSE THEN JUST DO A PIECE OF TYPICAL AUSTRIAN ARCHITECTURE FROM THAT PERIOD. AS WE LOOK DOWN ON THE HOUSE HERE, THE ILLUMINATED WINDOW ON THE UPPER STORY IS BECOMIING OUR VISUAL FOCUS OF ATTENTION.
No Dialogue

PANEL 4.
WE CONTINUE TO CLOSE IN UPON THE ILLUMINATED WINDOW THAT SHINES BENEATH THE OVERHANGING QAINTNESS OF THE PERIOD AUSTRIAN GABLES, ITS WAN YELLOW LIGHT PICKING OUT THE SNOWFLAKES AS THEY TUMBLE DOWN PAST IT. WE ARE LOOKING DOWN AT THE WINDOW FROM SUCH AN ANGLE THAT WE CAN SEE A LITTLE OF THE ROOM BEYOND IT, ALTHOUGH THIS NEEDN’T BE VERY VISIBLE OR DETAILED AS YET. JUST SO LONG AS WE ESTABLISH THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE A LITTLE OF THE ROOM IF WE CONTINUE TO CLOSE IN ALONG OUR PRESENT COURSE. A SINGLE, TAILLESS SPEECH BALLOON HANGS IN THE SNOW-SPECKED DARKNESS OUTSIDE THE WINDOW.
TAILLESS BALLOON: ungh

PANEL 5.
NOW WE CLOSE IN SO THAT THE WINDOW FRAME ALSO FILLS THE ENTIRE PANEL, STILL WITH SOME FLAKES OF SNOW TUMBLING PAST IN THE FOREGROUND. AS WE LOOK DOWN AND THROUGH THE WINDOW WE CAN SEE INTO THE BEDROOM BEYOND, AND WE CAN SEE THE TOP HALF OF THE DOUBLE BED THAT IS PRESUMABLY POSITIONED NEAR TO THE WINDOW. THE SCENE INSIDE THE ROOM IS LIT BY AN OIL LAMP, SOMEWHERE OFF PANEL. SPRAWLED UPON THE BED, ONLY PARTLY VISIBLE TO US HERE, ARE A MAN AND A WOMAN. THEY ARE HAVING SEX IN THE MISSIONARY POSITION, THE WOMAN’S LONG NIGHTGOWN PULLED UP IN A CRUMPLED RUCK TO JUST ABOVE THE BREASTS AS SHE LIES FACE UP BENEATH HER HUSBAND. THIS IS KLARA HITLER, FORMERLY KLARA POLZL, AND AS WE SEE HER HERE SHE IS TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD. THE MAN ON TOP OF HER IS ALOIS HITLER OR HIEDLER, AND HE IS FIFTY-ONE YEARS OLD. AS WITH THE HOUSE IN WHICH THIS IS HAPPENING, I HAVE NO VISUAL REFERENCE FOR EITHER OF HITLER’S PARENTS. IF YOU CAN’T FIND ANY EITHER, THEN JUST GO AHEAD AND MAKE THEM UP. I SEE BOTH OF THEM AS BEING QUITY FLESHY PEOPLE, NOT ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE IN ANY OBVIOUS PHYSICAL SENSE. AS ALOIS GRUNTS AND THRUSTS ON TOP OF HIS WIFE, HIS OWN NIGHTSHIRT HAVING RIDDEN UP TO HIS WAIST TO REVEAL A DIMPLED AND CORPULENT BEHIND, BOTH OF THEIR EYES ARE CLOSED. ALOIS CLOSES HIS EYES WITH A SQUINT OF MIGRAINE-INDUCING EFFORT, WHILE KLARA CLOSES HERS TO ESCAPE TO SOMEWHERE WITH A MORE PLEASING VIEW. FROM OUR VANTAGE POINT AS WE LOOK DOWN INTO THE ROOM WE CAN SEE MOST OF THE BED, AND WE CAN PROBABLY SEE THE TWO BODIES MORE OR LESS FULL FIGURE HERE AS THEY LIE THERE ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. LIT BY THE CREPUSCULAR YELLOW GLOW OF THE OFF PANEL OIL LAMP, THE LEANING SHADOWS MAKING SOMETHING STRANGE AND FANTASTIC OF THE SCENE. IT IS THE LIGHTING OF A CRIMEA SURGICAL TENT, OR THE MURDER ROOM IN A VICTORIAN MELODRAMA. THE BALLOON, BELONGING TO ALOIS HITLER, IS NEVERTHELESS TAILLESS AND FREE FLOATING, HANGING THERE IN THE FOREGROUND AMONGST THE TUMBLING SNOW.
TAILLESS BALLOON: ungh

PANEL 6.
WE CONTINUE TO CLOSE IN. WE ARE NOW WITHIN THE ROOM, LOOKING DOWN UPON THE BED UPON WHICH THE COUPLE ARE… UH… COUPLING. BECAUSE WE ARE CLOSER TO THEM HERE, WE CANNOT SEE SO MUCH OF THEM. HERE, WE SEE THEM ROUGHLY THREE QUARTER FIGURE AS THEY LIE THERE BELOW US. THE FOCUS OF OUR ATTENTION, VISUALLY, IS THE FACE OF KLARA HITLER AS SHE LIES THERE PACING UP TOWARDS US FROM BENEATH HER THRUSTING HUSBAND, HER FACE VISIBLE OVER HIS SHOULDER. THE ROOM IS SLOPPY AND LIVED IN, MAYBE WITH THE SIGNS OF HAVING HOSTED TWO PREVIOUS HITLER CHILDREN, GUSTAV AND IDA, WHO BOTH DIED IN INFANCY. THE SPEECH BALLOONS ARE STILL TAILLESS AS THEY REMAIN THROUGH THIS SEQUENCE, ALTHOUGH IF THEY COULD BE PLACED ON ALOIS’ SIDE OF THE PICTURE TO CONVEY THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY ORIGINATE WITH HIM, IF ONLY SUBTLY.
TAILLESS BALLOON: ungh

PANEL 7.
WE CONTINUE TO CLOSE IN. SO THAT NOW WE ARE LOOKING DOWN AT THE HITLERS FROM JUST ABOVE THEM, AND THUS SEE THEM ROUGHLY HALF FIGURE. THE FOCUS OF OUR ATTENTION IS STILL KLARA’S FACE AS SHE TWISTS AND WRITHES BENEATH THE WEIGH OF HER HUSBAND. HER FACE, VISIBLE OVER HIS SHOULDER, HAS A BROW THAT IS STUDDED WITH BEADS OF SWEAT AND THE EXPRESSION OF ONE WHO TOSSES AND TURNS IN A FEVERISH AND ANXIOUS SLEEP. OBLIVIOUS TO THIS, ALOIS CONTINUES TO GRUNT AND THRUST ABOVE HER, ONLY THE BACK OF HIS HEAD VISIBLE TO US HERE.
TAILLESS BALLOON: ungh

PANEL 8.
IN THIS FINAL PANEL WE CLOSE RIGHT IN FOR A HEAD AND SHOULDERS SHOT OF KLARA AS SHE FACES UP TOWARDS US FROM UNDER HER HUSBAND, HER EYES TIGHT SHUT AS HER HEAD PITCHES TO AND FRO WITH THE RHYTHM OF THE
COUPLING. THE SWEAT STANDS OUT ON HER BROW, HER FACE RED AND FILLED WITH BLOOD SO THAT THE SKIN BECOMES TIGHT AND SHINY. IF WE CAN SEE ANYTHING OF THE BACK OF ALOIS’ HEAD IT SHOULD ONLY BE ONE EAR OR A BIT OF ONE SHOULDER, VISIBLE OVER TO THE EXTREME RIGHT EDGE OF THE PANEL, WITH THE FOCUS OF OUR ATTENTION BEING FIXED SQUARELY UPON KLARA’S FACE. TO BE MORE EXACT, THE FOCUS OF THE PANEL IS KLARA’S EYE, SINCE THIS IS THE POINT THAT WE WILL BE ZOOMING IN UPON NEXT PANEL. (I KNOW THAT YOU HATE MEANINGLESS TIGHT CLOSE UPS OF EYES, BUT THERE IS A VALID STORYTELLING PURPOSE BEHIND THIS ONE, SO TRUST ME.) THE EXPRESSION OF KLARA’S FACE IS THAT OF SOMEONE WHO IS TWISTING AND TURNING IN A RESTLESS NIGHTMARE RATHER THAN IN THE THROES OF PASSION. THE TAILLESS BALLOON HANGS IN SPACE, SOMEWHERE OVER TOWARDS ALOIS’ SIDE OF THE PANEL.
TAILLESS BALLOON : ungh

Labels:

9 Comments:

Blogger Adam said...

the one with the helicopter shot of the austrian buildings! was that a campbell or a mullins?

a lousy anecdote with a lousy ending, but maybe it's something you'd probably appreciate: i buy a copy of AFTER THE SNOOTER that has a strip of paper on the cover saying it was signed by you, the author. upon arriving home, i open it and find that it is an unsigned copy. i resolve to bring it back to the bookshop but not without reading it first.

the next day, i'm at the booksellers and have the book exchanged for THREE PIECE SUIT, this time sporting a black ballpoint scribble from you, the author.

i complete my ALEC books when i eventually buy an unsigned copy of AFTER THE SNOOTER at a different store, with BACCHUS 3, from the proceeds of the sale of my cat-piss-stained copies of WATCHMEN and DKR.

upon reading the parts with Danny Grey in it, i actually cry a bit. how is the real Danny Grey, postSNOOTER?

PS
FATE OF THE ARTIST is still nowhere to be found here in Manila.

2 February 2007 1:34:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Patrick Alexander said...

Adam, perhaps you could try looking in Upper Australia.

2 February 2007 3:40:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Emmet said...

I always thought the buildings in the 2nd panel were supposed to look like the edge of a swastika, I was surprised not to see it refered to in the script.

Did the script really say Australia instead of Austria?

2 February 2007 5:15:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Adam,
the first few pages in this were all mine, as I remember. If something looks all right i usually suspect that somebody else worked it over, but I'm quite pleased with this one.

haven't spoken to the real danny grey since the incidents described in the book. don't know where the time goes...

Patrick
Autsralia damn it. thought i'd caught all of them. fixed now... ERIN!!!

emmet
swastika
never thought of that... If I was doing it again I'd have to get that in there now, wouldn't I...

Eddie

2 February 2007 8:42:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Regarding FROM HELL, the best in horror transcends the genre. This is what you guys achieved. It's just a great bit of literature.

2 February 2007 5:34:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

thank you, james.

3 February 2007 7:08:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Jack Ruttan said...

Watching the BBC item on Alan Moore (http://jlroberson.blogspot.com/2007/02/alan-moore-on-bbcs-culture-show.html) makes me wonder if writers have done "closet comics," where a detailed script is put out there just for the reading. And maybe somebody will draw it.

Disadvantage, I think, is that a total klutz, or at least the wrong person, will take it up. Probably better than having a bad 100 million $ movie made. (but less profitable)

George Bernard Shaw sort of did this. Though his plays were produced, he liked to kick around his ideas as well. He was a prolific, wordy guy, too. In ways, a Moore protoype, I think.

I know I should put this in my own blog, rather than writing fannish comments on a celeb's (at least in this little medium) site. But what I admire about you, Mr. Campbell, is that you've managed to integrate being a creator with some popularity, with being an individual who can still interact with the world.

Most professional's blogs are boring "toured here, wrote for ten hours. It's all secret." Getting a bit of success with my own work, I understand how that happens.

But it's cool how you can keep something like this blog going, and have the new work coming out (congrats).

I'd be curious to know how many hours you put into this, compared to drawing things, and real life. Are yuo going to keep it up?

5 February 2007 8:44:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

thanks for the words, Jack
mostly with this thing i'm writing it while doing my drawing,... scribbling notes on the side, or while i'm heading into town on my bike (i'll stop every couple hundred yards and pull out scraps of paper and a pencil). it's the stuff that's rolling around in my head anyway. And every time I'm waiting for a patch of paint to dry, or i've just stretched paper and I'm waiting for that to settle, i'll switch to the other chair and bang away at the keyboard for fifteen minutes.
I had a huge big essay on interesting areas where the differences between one medium and another blur, or i have a lot of notes for it... which i've been breaking down into small quick essays. Quite a bit of that still in the can.
lots more to say

best to ya
Eddie

5 February 2007 4:32:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Jack Ruttan said...

I write in the street, too, when good ideas hit me (notebook in the knapsack). Have ideas in the bath, as well.

But, I have to focus on a job, else anxiety creeps in, and I'll become a basket case. For big jobs (TV gives you short deadlines: an hour documentary script is about 40 plus pages due in two weeks) I push hard, but have to decompress after.

I'm not too cozy with putting my real life or friends into work, because it's not all roses. Of course, bits of it alway ends up there. I forget the name of the writer who said he puts his friends into his work, but pulps them first, like sausages.

That "King Canute" notebook was amazing. Blogs are great for giving insight into the processes of different artists.

5 February 2007 6:46:00 pm GMT-5  

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