Saturday, 21 April 2007

FROM HELL 5/32

B elieve it or not, there are two versions of the opening two panels of this FROM HELL page, and I still can't decide for sure which is correct. Sometimes you question a drawing once and you are never capable of having a clear thought about it again. 'left to Right". Gull's left hand, Polly's left, or the viewer's? I scanned the top two panels from the Old Kitchen Sink press edition. I changed it later for my own edition, but looking at it again... AAARRGGG.
A couple of other things are different from the script. Alan asks for eight panels and I made it nine; he also asks for an intercut of an earlier image from chapter two of the boy Gull holding the dead rat in his hand and dissecting it with his pocket knife, but I felt that offering an escape from the oppressing horror of the moment, whether as a flashback or into the mind of the murderer, might weaken the scene.

FROM HELL. CHAPTER FIVE. PAGE 32. ( 1318 words)
PANEL 1.
NOW AN EIGHT PANEL PAGE. THERE ARE THREE PANELS ON EACH OF THE TWO BOTTOM MOST TIERS, AND TWO PANELS ON THE TOP TIER. THE FIRST PANEL ON THE TOP TIER IS A SINGLE WIDTH PANEL, THE SECOND A DOUBLE WIDTH PANEL. IN THIS FIRST PANEL, GULL CROUCHES BY THE BODY WITH THE LISTON KNIFE NOW IN HIS RIGHT HAND. THE HAND IS CROSSED OVER HIS CHEST AS HE RAISES IT, SO THAT THE BLADE IS HELD OVER HIS LEFT SHOULDER IN PREPARATION FOR THE DOWNWARD ARC. WITH HIS FREE HAND HE GESTURES CASUALLY AND DEMONSTRATIVELY TOWARDS THE HAND IN WHICH HE HOLDS THE KNIFE, LIKE A SALESMAN GIVING A FREE DEOMONSTRATION. PERHAPS HE EVEN GLANCES UP TOWARDS NETLEY TO SEE IF THE COACHMAN IS PAYING ATTENTION. GULL IS ENTIRELY CALM AND RELAXED. STANDING JUST BEHIND HIM, NETLEY HOLDS THE TREMBLING LANTERN AND LOOKS ON, APPALLED YET UNABLE TO LOOK AWAY, MESMERIZED BY THE GENTLE AND REASSURING CADENCE OF GULL’S VOICE. THE MOST IMPORTANT OBJECT TO FOCUS ON IN THIS PANEL IS THE HAND IN WHICH GULL HOLDS THE LISTON KNIFE, POISED UP ABOVE HIS LEFT SHOULDER AND READY TO FALL.
GULL: Thank you. Now, watch me closely:
GULL: Left…

PANEL 2.
NOW THE DOUBLE SIZED PANEL, TAKEN FROM THE SAME ANGLE AS OUR LAST SHOT. BUT BIGGER. GULL SEEMS TO HAVE HARDLY MOVED A MUSCLE, AND YET NOW HIS RIGHT HAND IS RAISED BY HIS RIGHT SIDE, FLUNG OUT FROM HIS BODY, AND IS NO LONGER ACROSS HIS CHEST. THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS MOVED. OTHERWISE, GULL IS COMPLETLEY STILL. THERE IS NOT AN OUNCE OF WASTED EFFORT OR MOVEMENT. THE CUT HAS ALSO BEEN MADE WITH TREMENDOUS SPEED AND CERTAINTY. IN THE FOREGROUND, POLLY’S SHOUDLERS HAVE LIFTED OFF THE FLOOR WITH THE TREMENDOUS FORCE OF THE BLOW. HER HEAD DANGLES BACK HORRIBLY FROM HER NECK, AND WE CAN SEE THAT IT IS ALMOST SEVERED. THE BLADE HAS ALMOST CUT COMPLETELY THROUGH POLLY’S SPINE, ALL IN ONE TERRIBLE MOTION, TOO SWIFT TO SEE. GULL’S EXPRESSION IS STILL COMPLETELY CALM. IN THIS IMMEDIATE BACKGROUND, NETLEY TAKES AN INVOLUNTARY STEP BACKWARDS AND RAISES HIS FREE HAND TO HIS MOUTH, HIS OTHER HAND STILL HOLDING THE LATERN. HIS EYES ARE WIDE WITH SHOCK AS HE WITNESSES THE NEAR-DECAPITATION. THE MIAN THING TO CONVEY HERE IS THE HIDEOUS FORCE COILED IN GULL; THE TERRIBLE SENSE OF DEVASTATION WITHOUT EFFORT.
GULL: ..to right.

POLLY LIES TOWARDS THE FOREGROUND HERE, WITH HER HEAD POINTING AWAY FROM US, LOLLING HORRIBLY TO ONE SIDE. GULL, STILL CROUCHING, IS DOWN BY HER FEET TOWARDS THE FOREGROUND. STILL HOLDING THE BLOODIED LISTON KNIFE IN ONE HAND, WITH THE OTHER HE IS IRRITABLY RAISING POLLY’S SKIRTS UP AROUND HER WAIST. THERE ARE ABOUT THREE OF THEM IN ALL, INCLUDING THE TWO UNDERSKIRTS. SHE WEARS NO OTHER UNDERWEAR, AND ABOVE THE TOP OF THE DIRTY, BLACK-WOOL STOCKINGS THERE IS NOTHING BUT THE DEAD WHITE FLESH AND SAD GREY FUR OF THE PUDENDA, PATHETICALLY EXPOSED. GULL MUTTERS IRRITABLY TO HIMSELF AS HE LIFTS THE SKIRTS UP OUT OF THE WAY, EXPOSING THE DEAD WOMAN’S BELLY. STANDING IN THE IMMEDIATE BACKGROUND WE SEE NETLEY, STILL HOLDING THE LANTERN. HE TURNS HIS FACE AWAY, UNABLE TO WATCH AND HORRIBLY SHAKEN BY THE NEAR-BEHEADING HE HAS JUST WITNESSED. WILL THIS PARADE OF HORRORS NEVER CEASE?
NETLEY: Oh God..
GULL: Now for the rest. Ah, these confounded under-skirts! How many is she wearing?
GULL: Ah. Ah, there we are…

PANEL 4.
NOW WE ARE LOOKING THROUGH GULL’S EYES AS HE CROUCHES BY THE BODY. IT LIES THERE BENEATH US WITH THE SKIRTS RUCKED UP AROUND THE WAIST, THE WHITE BELLY-FLESH REVEALED. ALL WE CAN SEE OF GULL HERE ARE HIS HANDS, THE RIGHT ONE HOLDING THE LISTON KNIFE. HE IS PUSHING THE POINT OF THE LONG BLADE INTO THE FLESH DOWN TO THE RIGHT OF THE PELVIC AREA, NEAR WHERE THE DIAPHRAGM IS IF I HAVE MY ANATOMY RIGHT. FROM HERE THE BLADE WILL TRAVEL ACROSS THE ABDOMEN, MOVING UPWARDS IN A ROUGH DIAGONAL UNTIL IT COMES TO REST TWO OR THREE INCHES FROM THE LEFT HAND SIDE. THE POINT OF THE BLADE HAS ALREADY BEEN PUSHED ABOUT TWO INCHES INTO POLLY’S FLESH HERE, AND THERE IS NO DOUBT FROM THE ANGLE OF IT BUT THAT IT WILL GO DEEPER. HOWEVER, THE CUT IS ONLY JUST BEGUN. WE JUST SUGGEST VISUALLY THE APPROXIMATE LINE IT WILL TAKE FROM THE ANGLE AT WHICH GULL IS HOLDING THE BLADE. WE ARE UTTERLY ABSORBED IN THE MUTILATION HERE, AND NETLEY NEED NOT BE VISIBLE: JUST POLLY’S BELLY AND GULL’S HANDS.
No Dialogue.

PANEL 5.
NOW, THIS NEXT PANEL I’M INTO TWO MINDS ABOUT. WE HAVE TO GET OVER A NUMBER OF MUTILATIONS IN ABOUT THREE PANELS HERE. SINCE WE CANNOT SHOW HIM MAKING EVERY STROKE, I FIGURED WE HAVE TO CONDENSE IT SOMEHOW. NOW, WHAT I WANT TO DO IN THIS PANEL IS TO SIMPLY REPRODUCE THE PANEL FROM CHAPTER TWO WHERE WE SEE THE RAT BEING DISSECTED THROUGH THE EYES OF YOUNG WILLIAM GULL, THE BLADE MOVING UP ACROSS ITS DEAD BELLY, SLITTING IT OPEN. I THINK THAT WOULD WORK OKAY DRAMATICALLY AND WOULD GIVE A SENSE OF THE PURELY CLINICAL AND DETACHED MEDICAL MIND AT WORK HERE. THE ONLY THING IS THAT I HAVE A SLGIHT FEELING THAT IT MIGHT LOOK AS IF WE’RE BEING SQUEAMISH, OR BEING ARTSY TO AVOID OUR PROCLAIMED INTENTION OF PRESENTING THE MURDERS HONESTLY AND REALISTICALLY. ANYWAY, SEE WHAT THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE IT IS, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, BUT IF YOU CAN THINK OF A BETTER WAY THEN PLEASE GO AHEAD. IF WE GO WITH THE RAT IDEA THEN ALL WE SEE HERE IS AN EXACT REPRODUCTION OF CHAPTER TWO, PAGE SIX, PANEL THREE, WITH THE BLADE MOVING ACROSS THE RAT’S STOMACH.
No Dialogue.

PAGE 32.
PANEL 6.
NOW BACK TO REALITY, FOR A SHOT ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME IN COMPOSITION AS PANEL FOUR. WE LOOK DWON THROUGH GULL’S EYES AT POLLY’S ABDOMEN. THERE IS THE ROUGH AND JAGGED DIAGONAL CUT RUNNING FROM ABOUT THREE INCHES FROM THE LEFT OF POLLY’S STOMACH DOWN TO HER DIAPHRAGM. THERE ARE THREE OR FOUR CUTS RUNNING VERTICALLY DOWNWARDS ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE, AND THERE ARE SEVERAL INCISIONS RUNNING HORIZONTALLY ACROSS THE ABDOMEN. IN ADDITION TO THAT, THERE ARE TWO CUTS AROUND THE VAGINAL AREA. ALL OF THESE CUTS ARE VERY DEEP, AND ARE SEEPING PROFUSELY WITH BLOOD. ALL IN ALL, GULL HAS MADE A REAL FUCKING MESS OF HER. AS WE SEE HIS BLOOD STAINED HANDS HERE HE IS JUST STARTING TO WITHDRAW THE DRIPPING LISTON KNIFE, HIS WORK FINISHED ACCORDING TO HIS SATISFACTION.
GULL (OFF) : There.

PANEL 7.
STILL LOOKING DOWN THROUGH GULL’S EYES AT POLLY’S ABDOMEN, BUT HERE HE HAS PUT THE LISTON KNIFE DOWN SOMEHWERE OFF PANEL, PERHAPS RETURNING IT TO ITS CASE. HERE, HIS HANDS ARE EMPTY, ALTHOUGH HEAVILY BLOODSTAINED, AS HE REACHES DOWN AND STARTS TO PRY HIS FINGERS INTO THE RAISED LIPS OF THE DEEPEST WOUND THAT RUNS DIAGONALLY ACROSS HER STOMACH. HIS FINGERS DIP IN, ABOUT TO PRY THE EDGES OF THE WOUND APART. EVERYTHING IS DARK AND BLOODY.
GULL (OFF) : Now..
GULL (OFF) : Let’s see what we have h..

PANEL 8.
SAME SHOT, LOOKING DOWN THROUGH GULL’S EYES. HERE, HOWEVER, HIS FINGERS HAVE PULLED THE SIDES OF THE WOUND BACK. OPENING IT TO OUR VIEW. INSIDE POLLY NICHOL’S STOMACH CAVITY THERE SEEMS TO BE A PURE AND LOVELY GREY-WHITE LIGHT, POOLED IN A BRILLIANT AND LUMINOUS LIQUID MIST. IT SHINES UPWARDS, ILLUMINATING GULL’S BLOODIED HANDS, ITS SOFT, ALMOST HOLY GLOW LIGHTING THE CRUMPLED FOLDS OF POLLY’S RAISED UNDERSKIRTS, LIGHTING THE WOUNDS ACROSS HER STOMACH AND FLINTING UPON HER PUBIC HAIR. THE LIGHT SHINES OUT OF POLLY, RELIGIOUS AND BRIGHT AND MYSTICAL. POURING THROUGH HER JAGGED WOUND AS GULL’S FINGERS PRY IT OPEN.
No Dialogue

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5 Comments:

Blogger drjon said...

A heads-up: this flickr community visit sites depicted in vintage photos and recreate the shots, showing what those sites look like in modern London.

A bit more about it in the boingboing post.

21 April 2007 12:44:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous tita said...

Ha, I was going to comment about that (differences between scripts and final panels), but my head is too muddled by flu I couldn't arrange any proper sentence in English (in fact, any proper sentence period).

I'm curious to see the sketches that aren't used in the book. Is it possible? (I've enjoyed the sketch-studies in The Disease of Language a lot)

21 April 2007 1:45:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

drjon, head over to reelstreets.com where a fellow's doing a similar project, but confining himself to UK films from the 20s to the 90s

21 April 2007 3:15:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Tita,
there isn't much in the way of sketches, alas. I do hardly any drawing that doesn't end up on the page.

E

22 April 2007 4:08:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Sean Michael Wilson said...

Was Alan ok about the changes you madeto this page (or your interpretation i should say) ?

As a comic book writer myself i am still going through the process of learning how to work well with artists. I notice that i describe the general feeling/situation less than Mr Moore does.

Here, for the hell of it, is an example from this week, of the new book I am working on called IRAQ INCORPORATED (the XXXX means a company name ive crossed out here, so they dont 'sue ones arse'!):


PAGE SIXTEEN

Panel 1: Sakina and Nazem stepping outside of the school again. They walk together a little bit to the edge of the grounds.

Panel 2: They look out at a group of Bulldozers that are demolishing a near bye building, about 50 feet away from the school grounds. The implication is that these are XXXXX machines, but we are leaving that unspecified. So there should be no corporate signs on the ones shown here in Iraq.

NAZEM
What’s going on here?

SAKINA
They are knocking down that whole thing, it was hit by a bomb. We were lucky that the school wasn’t hit.


Panel 3: The two of them.
NAZEM
Hmm, that reminds me of something Sami told me.

SAKINA
Who was he?

NAZEM
A friend of mine from London. I mean he’s from Palestine, but I met him in London.

Panel 4: Switch to scenes from Palestine/Israel and the images of the bulldozers being used in the destruction Nazem is talking about. HERE in these scenes in Palestine we CAN directly show that its XXXXX vehicles, so all insignia etc can be shown.

CAPTION AT THE TOP (Nazem speaking): A big company, called XXXX for some odd reason, makes these huge bulldozers that are used in Palestine by the Israeli authorities.

Panel 5: More scenes from Palestine/Israel of bulldozers knocking down houses.

CAPTION AT THE TOP: They’ve been accused on using them like military weapons to destroy perfectly ok houses in the West Bank and Gaza – 1000’s of them!

25 April 2007 10:12:00 pm GMT-5  

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