Friday, April 21, 2006

Sipahi - Sindalu - B4K Ashcan

For those of you following me and my brothers' slowing, bumbling, meandering and potentially meteoric rise to fame in comic books, Jack, the aesthetic talent of the group is putting together our website. It is under construction mind you, but you can visit there nonetheless, and whistle or make disparaging remarks about the work habits of its employees by clicking on the link below:

Two weeks ago we bought a table at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco, to see what people thought of our work. I'll be posting more on that soon, but in the meantime, let me share with you the script for one of the ashcans that we photocopied and stapled for the convention.

It was inspired by the film, The Rising, which is the story of Mangal Pandey and his role in the sparking the First War of Indian Independence. Here is the introductory text that I put in the ashcan as well as the script itself:

"The agent of revolution, whether it be a single person, a small group or an entire people requires an element of myth, a flexible excess of meaning, which is precisely what allows the impossible to suddenly seem not just possible, but inevitable. What happens to this pre-revolutionary excess, if the revolutionary is successful, or worse yet, if it fails?"

Battle For Kamchatka ASHCAN:

Page 1: [A close up of Mangal Pandey’s face, it is up to you whether or not you want the noose around his neck to show, but definitely the rope going up over his head should be visible. His face should be beaten up a bit, and he has to have a red slash of paint on his forehead. One of the images I’m sending you has it, it’s a blessing.]

I was to be hung ten days from now, but the Company refuses to wait. Although they have marked me as the worst of criminals, in the eyes of those that are the bones and guts of this army, I am something else.

The blows I struck, the blows I strike are theirs as well.

Page 2: [Mangal Pandey is being held up, he has a sword in his hand which is bloodied, and he is being grabbed from behind around the arms by an Indian Soldier and a British soldier. In front of him, on the right side a British officer is holding a wound on his arm. In the background is a battalion of soldiers, not moving, still at attention.]

The dog dares to command me! Command me into a life without faith! A life of unclean damnation so that he can own these lands and all our riches! He commands me to kill the enemies of the Company, my enemies. But with each village razed, farmed taken, each day these “enemies” appear more and more like me.

But before I can strike the fatal blow, arms grab me from all sides. The bastard whimpers away bleeding, but still breathing.

Page 3: [Mangal Pandey, his sword arm forward, as his blade is run through the officer, who is in the right side of the panel. The two soldiers that were holding him earlier are grasping his arms. Behind them the soldiers are still indistinct, unmoved.]

And then, I am there again, but this time my sword strikes true! Their grips slip easily, unable to stop my slashes. The dog is dead! His face full of an animal horror that only pushes me further.

The dog is dead!

Page 4: [Mangal Pandey, his back now to the viewer, with his sword up in the air after he has slashed a number of soldiers. In the other arm which is lowered before him, he could be holding a bloodied British soldier by his collar. Around him, soldiers are clutching their necks and their bellies following his terrible blows. In the background the soldiers still indistinct as if in the fog of war, should be preparing for battle, (meaning no longer, immobile at attention.]

And then I am there again, five more fall over the one I know will die. The fear now bleeds from the eyes of those dogs around me. Their arms falter, their swords drop, they know they cannot stop me.

Page 5: [The battle is more violent now, Mangal Pandey is still in the center of the action, but perhaps you could have a person with a decapitated arm in the foreground screaming. More people are keeling over dead, in anguish around Mangel Pandey. If possible the people in the background should be fleeing.]

And then, the bodies pile higher. My sword shatters both metal and bone. Twenty, perhaps thirty, I lost count, I cannot count, the rush of victory, the roar of revolution is the crashing of these bodies atop each other! They cannot stop me! They start to turn and flee. Fleeing home to their precious island with their tongues and tails between their legs!

Page 6: [Mangal Pandey is now in the left corner of the scene, covered in blood and remnants of war. His sword is lifted skyward, and his face is intense. Around him, bodies are littered around the fortress, some in pieces, others visibly in the final throes of death. Behind him there the door to the fortress, beyond it there is flames (representing the battle in the streets). If you want, you can have silhouettes there locked in combat.]

And then, the bodies overflow the fortress, the piles spilling into the streets. The hundreds that I dispatch joined by the dozens cut down by shovels and hammers by farmers and artisans, who are sick of the Boot of Company Raj across our necks and bellies. Their screams rise up into the sky, traveling across mountains, across kingdoms, not the screams of conquerors, but of animals.

Filthy greedy animals, that cannot stop us!

Page 7: [Mangal Pandey in the same basic position as the previous panel, but now the bloodshed and war behind him is gone. His face could be confused, looking around. Behind him now, is a forest and sunset. He is in Kamchatka now.]

And then, nothing. Nothing but me.

Page 8: [Mangal Pandey turns around, his back now to the reader. Suggested in the folds of his shirt is the Union Jack, signifying the shift, the loss of the First War of Independence.]

My sword is unbloodied, my arms unbound, my neck safe. The war…?

Page 9: [A close up of Mangal Pandey’s face on the left side of the panel from the side, his hair blowing to the right. A single tear should be trickling down his cheek.]

Did I lose? Am I lost? I feel the fight elsewhere, it continues.

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