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Over There

Written by David Tulloch

This is a story about a boy (an only child) having a deep conversation with his plastic toy soldiers as he tries to work through some stuff. One toy in particular, the Sarge, does most of the talking back to the boy. The story takes place in the boys bedroom, which is being prepared for a battle.

The artwork and layout could be quite experimental, since most of the panels are the boy or the toy soldier talking.

Page ONE
The Sarge plastic toy soldier. He should be an unpainted green soldier with a commanding attitude, maybe beckoning to other troops to follow.
Sarge: "I've never seen so many."

A large frame, the main frame of the page, showing a boy who is putting together some sort of Lego block bunker. The Sarge is visible on the floor some distance away from where the boy is building the bunker. The boy's room has a bed , which forms once side of the valley, with a desk and wooden chair at the end. It is the desk and chair that the boy is turning into a fortress, with machine gunners, bunkers, artillery, snipers, and assorted bits and pieces. While the soldiers who are attacking are all basically the same, US or British green-plastic infantry, the defenders are whatever other toys the boy has available. German infantry, French legion, Russians, Romans, tan-coloured, grey, blue, etc.
Sarge: "It looks a bit overwhelming."

Much the same as 2, but smaller.
Sarge: "When do we have to attack?"
Boy: "Soon."

The Sarge in close up, his unchanging expression.
Sarge: "I'd better tell the lads."

Page TWO
The boy placing the Sarge with his squad. Various assorted toy soldiers. You may want to look online, unless of course you have some buried in a box somewhere. There's usually one standing with a rifle, one kneeling with a rifle, a machine gunner lying down, one throwing a grenade, etc. One of the soldiers speaks.
Soldier 1: "Sarge is coming back, boys. Look lively."

The toys talking among themselves, but the boy should be at least partly visible in all these shots, as the conversation is really in his head. The boy continues to build the defenses on the desk and chair.
Soldier 2: "No air support at all?"
Sarge: "He says there's none available."

Soldier 2: "That's bullshit! Look at all the blocks he's using."
Sarge: "Easy, Charlie, easy."

Soldier 2: "Sorry, Sarge. But ... we're going to get slaughtered."
Sarge: "What can I say. I think the kid's in a bad mood."

Soldier 3: "Maybe you could reason with him, Sarge?"
Sarge: "I'll try ... "

Full page shot of the room, looking from the door end toward the desk. Here's a written description, but feel free to alter things as you see fit.
On the right hand wall of the room there were several Lego-block machine-gun nests. On the left, hiding under the folds of the duvet, were snipers. But it was the far end of the room that held the biggest challenges. The desk had been turned into a bristling death trap. Lego bunkers on the desktop itself. Then balanced on the open drawers several crouching riflemen. The chair, pushed into the desk, housed more riflemen—both the crouching and the standing varieties. They were using the strut-supports of the chair-back as cover. Finally, on either side of the chair legs stood more sharpshooters.
Right in the fore-ground of the picture should be the Sarge.
Sarge: " ... Lord knows, I'll try."
Story: David Tulloch
Art: You

Page layouts from this point on can be anything you want. Since the story is all a conversation between a plastic toy solider and a boy you can be quite experimental with the layouts. For example ... a zoom in page that starts with a panel showing the whole room and zooms in panel by panel until it's a close up of the toy soldier. Or a zoom out page. How about a one picture several panel page, that is a page made from a single image, but still with panel divisions. Go nuts. Have fun. All I ask is that you try to keep the panel/text groupings together.

Sarge: "You really want us to go into the valley of death?"
Boy: "We all have to go places we don't want to."

Sarge: "Is that what this is all about? Your trip to London?"

Boy: "Maybe."

Sarge: "You're about to suffer, so first you make us go through hell? That's not very fair, is it?"

Angry boy.
Boy: "Nothing's fair! Why should I be fair?"

Boy: "Is it fair that I have to stay at my aunt's all month?"

Boy: "Is it fair that I have to put up with Miss Perfect and her creepy little sister for the whole time?"

A two-bubble speech bubble from the boy ... you know, one of those speech bubbles that has a connecting bit so there are two individual bubbles but both coming from the same person, so that it indicates two separate bits of related talking.
Boy: "They always talk about me, and giggle and point." "Or they just roll their eyes at me and burst into fits."

Boy: "They seem to always be fighting, yet always agreeing on things."
Sarge: "Siblings are like that."

Boy: "How would you know?"

Page SIX
Sarge: "Well, I do have about a thousand or so identical twins."
Boy: "Really?"

Sarge: "At least. But even without them I've got my brothers in the squad."
Boy: "You're all related?"

A two-bubble speech bubble for the Sarge.
Sarge: "Not by blood, or plastic, or even batch number ... " " ...but by all being forced together in danger against our will."
Boy: "Oh."

Boy: "I'll have to play with their stupid dolls and ponies and other dumb things, rather than my own toys?"
Sarge: "You'll cope, kid."

The boy is angry.
Boy: "You think so ... ?"

Getting even angrier.
Boy: " ... well, let's see how you cope."

The angry boy in the act of placing the Sarge with his men, but he never actually places him down.
Boy: "The battle starts now! No support, no reinforcements, no nothing!"

The boy holding Sarge in a tight fist.
Sarge: "You could take us with you to London."
Boy: "I can't!" Mum says I might lose you guys."

The boy calming down.
Boy: "She's probably right too. I always seem to leave things behind at places."

The boy now more sad than angry.
Boy: "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you guys."
Sarge: "We feel the same way, kid.

Boy: "Thanks, Sarge."

Boy: "Maybe you do need some air support for this one."

Sarge: "We will make the most out of whatever we get."

Boy: "You always do."
Sarge: "Do what?"

Boy: "Make the most of it."
Sarge: "We just do our job."

Boy: "But no matter what I throw at you and your men you always put on a brave face. You always go in to battle, no matter what the odds."

Sarge: "Of course we do. We obey our orders."

A two-bubble speech bubble for the boy.
Boy: "Is that what I should do?" "Follow orders."
Sarge: "Hell no!"

Sarge: "We're just plastic toys with no brains. Of course we follow orders. That doesn't make it a clever thing to do."

Boy: "So I should take you guys?"

Sarge: "Just take me."

Boy: "You! But of all my toys I wouldn't want to lose you."
Sarge: "That's why you won't. You'll keep me safe."

Page TEN
Boy: "You don't mind going?"
Sarge: "No. I like to travel. I came from China originally, you know."

Boy: "I know. It's printed on your base.

"Really? Anything else down there?
"No. It just says 'Made in China'."

The boy placing the sergeant back with his squad. The squad greeting the Sarge.
Soldier 1: "Hey, Sarge!"
Soldier 3: "Welcome back, Sarge."

Soldier 2 (Charlie): "How'd it go?"
Sarge: "We got air support, Charlie. We got air support ..."

The Sarge in close up.
Sarge: " ... and I'm getting some R&R in London for my troubles."


The material on these pages belongs to David Tulloch, and may not be suitable for younger readers.
If you want to use or draw some of it just ask him at david@virtuallycomics.com