Thursday, January 31, 2008

Comic Strip Gag Writing: Postage Stamp Story - From Scripts to Strips

PC & Pixel by Tak Bui

Where would PC Odata go if he had a stamp stuck to his tongue? That was the question I asked myself while writing a series of gags for the daily comic strip PC and Pixel by Tak Bui.

What if this stamp was stuck really, really good ... Where would you go? The doctor? Hospital? Dentist?

Well, if someone buys a product and it doesn't work properly, they usually send it back to the manufacturer (or store where they bought it). So, if a stamp were to malfunction, I figured there's only one place where PC would go:

Hawaii.

The complete story took place over a series of three Sundays. All three parts are included below.

For those who might be interested, I've also included a copy of the original script beneath each part. These will give you an idea as to what I submit to Tak for consideration. Whenever I'm writing comic strip gags, I always try to think visually. You see, although I'm describing each panel in words, I have to consider the pace and timing of the strip in its final form. For example, not every panel requires dialogue, but they should tell a key part of the story/gag. And so, I include suggestions with respect to camera angles, character acting/poses, etc. (anything that might help the overall presentation).

Of course, the scripts are just the ideas. I always look forward to seeing Tak's drawings bring them to life.

I hope you enjoy them too ...

ORIGINAL SCRIPT - PART 1/3:

[Sunday Format]
The first 5 panels should all be drawn from same angle and size, and occupy top tier. Waist up is best, with PC’s gut covered by his kitchen table at the bottom of each panel.

  1. PC is holding a sealed envelope in one hand (we see the back of it) and he licks a stamp with his other.
  2. He pulls his hand away (mouth closed), but no stamp is there. PC looks at little confused.
  3. He tilts his head back and sticks out tongue, revealing the postage.
  4. He tries pulling it off, stretching his tongue out far.
  5. Panel shows his empty chair.
    Bottom tier is two panels:
  6. Pixel see PC putting his coat on by the front door:
    - "Where you going, PC?"
  7. PC bends over and sticks out tongue, showing the stuck stamp to Pixel who says:
    - "You’ll need to add more than THAT."

ORIGINAL SCRIPT - PART 2/3:

  1. PC approaches a large desk in the postal manager's office. The well-dressed manager greets him:
    - "I understand you have a concern with one of our stamps, Mr. Odata?"
  2. PC sticks out his tongue and points:
    - "Uh-huh! Wyatt Heeya!"
  3. The manager examines it closely:
    - "Oh dear ... I'm afraid that's one of our new SECURE stamps."
  4. PC scratches his head, looking a little nervous as he is led out of the office:
    - "Th-th-thick-ear thumps?"
  5. The manager explains, hitting his right fist into his open left palm:
    - "Yes, the gum refuses to release until the postage has been properly cancelled."
  6. They enter the sorting room where conveyor belts are shooting millions of letters and parcels about. The manager is walking towards a giant machine that looks like an automobile wrecker and says to PC:
    - "This way please ..."

ORIGINAL SCRIPT - PART 3/3:

  1. Interior of PC's home. Pixel is awoken by the doorbell (DING-DONG).
  2. Pixel opens the door and is greeted by two mail carriers. One holds out a clipboard to and says:
    - "Special delivery ... Sign here please."
  3. As Pixel signs, the two carriers lug a large cardboard box with "FRAGILE" written on it. PC's head is sticking out of the top where a hole has been carved.
  4. Pixel jumps on top of the box and stares at PC's head:
    - "I thought you had a stamp stuck to your tongue."
  5. She jumps down and claws the box (tearing it open) as PC says:
    - "I did, so I went to the post office ..."
  6. PC emerges from the box wearing a Hawaiian shirt:
    - "But I got lost on the way back."
THE END

You can read PC and Pixel daily at United Media's Comics.com.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

4 comments:

  1. Mike, Thanks for the behind the scenes look!

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  2. Thanks for visiting, Larry!

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  3. Brandy James11:47 PM

    Great presentation. Who came up with the litter box line. It was like a double funny punch line.

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  4. Thanks for visiting, Brandy James!

    Pixel's litter box comment at the end was a dash of extra spice from Tak. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the double punchline :)

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