The Burning Leaf

Issue 1, 2nd draft

Ryan's spin

The Valley of the Spirits
Issue #1
“The Land Before The Lost Forgot”
Story by Jesse Reynolds
Written by Ryan French and Jesse Reynolds
Art/Ink/Colors by Someone
Other Stuff by Someone Else

Page 1
Full page spread: Surface world, sun visible, Titans and dark Angel figures fighting each other over a decimated medieval city landscape—they are taller than the buildings, crushing and destroying everything in their wake as ant-size humans flee in panic.
BLACK TEXT BOX: I am the hero of this tale.

Page 2
4 equal panels, dividing the page into 5 horizontal bars
Panel 1 – One Titan just clocks an Angel, he’s about to fall right onto some kind of tenement building and crush it.
BLACK TEXT BOX: My actions are guided by prophecy.
Panel 2 – Two 12-yr-old kids, 1 boy 1 girl, are putting obstacles in the path of a line of ants as they try to haul food back to their anthill.
Panel 3 – Closer view of the Angel falling onto the tenement building, ant-size humans are jumping from the windows trying to flee before he crushes them.
BLACK TEXT BOX: My name will be sung through the ages.
Panel 4 – The 12 yr old boy is jamming a stick down the hole in the anthill while the girl plays with an ant, her back turned to what he’s doing.

Page 3
6 equal panels, dividing the page into 5 horizontal bars
Panel 1 – A close up of an ant on the child’s hand, the girls eye and face in the background as she studies the insect.
Panel 2 – the dark Angel is sprawled out on the ground. As a building he brushed into collapses, a human has landed on his face.
BLACK TEXT BOX: I will win this war…
Panel 3 – The girl notices the boy stomping on ants left and right, she looks slightly troubled.
Panel 4 – The downed Angel flicks the human off of its face. In the background, the Titan readies a finishing blow.
BLACK TEXT BOX: …no matter the cost.
Panel 5 – A low angle (knees down is all) of the boy kicking the anthill, destroying it.
Panel 6 – The final blow is struck, causing a wave of fiery distraction that imolates the surrounding area.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Just what do you two think you’re doing!

Page 4
Inset panel, upper left: the girl is startled and guilty, the boy surprised but still excited from his exertion.
Full page panel: The first view of our heroine. She is standing with her hands on her hips, facing us, almost tapping a booted foot. A scowl on her face. The children are in the foreground, backs to us. A bustling village is in the background. She is wearing her everyday clothing.
NINA: How would you like it if I came and stomped all over your home?
Inset panel, lower right: The boy hurumphs and crosses his arms, the girl looks sheepish.

Page 5-6
Panoramic spread: view of the village, people are out and about, doing their business, People are working, selling, chopping wood, gossiping etc. The village has been built in a large depression dug in the ground, the streets are dirt. The buildings are almost entirely made of straw. People wear earth tones mostly. 4 different images of Nina and Priya (the 12 year old girl) as they walk through this scene. The girls interact with each other and the village people.
First vignette: Nina is dragging Priya away from the boy.
NINA: How many times do I have to tell you, do not play with Kelin Kahm-Monger. He is a bad influence on you.
PRIYA: I try Nina, but it’s hard making friends when your big sister is the Ancient One.
Second vignette: Villager waving to them in greeting, Nina irritated. Priya confused.
VILLAGER: Oy! Good afternoon, Ancient One!
NINA: (aside to Priya) I wish no one would call me that.
PRIYA: But that’s what you are.
Third vignette: Nina exasperated. Priya excited, making gestures.
NINA: Not you too!
PRIYA: It’s an honor
NINA: —one I didn’t ask for.
Fourth vignette: Priya marching, boasting, grand gestures. Nina rolling her eyes.
PRIYA: Leader of the fire!
NINA: (sarcasm) This way torches, follow me!
PRIYA: Binder of the leaf!
NINA: Just the one, of course.
PRIYA: Dawn bringer!
NINA: Don lives down that street, right?

Page 7
Divided in 6 panels.
Top left: Priya shouting at her sister, scandalized. Nina with her eyes closed, long-suffering martyr face.
PRIYA: Soulseeker!
NINA: Ghostbuster!
PRIYA: Bane of the Beneath!
NINA: Seriously. All of those titles are ridiculous. Why can’t you just call me Nee-ya like you used to?
Top right: Priya clearly upset at her sister, lower lip trembling, close up shot.
PRIYA: They may seem ridiculous to you, but those titles are very important, to all of us! You’re the Ancient One, the leader of the Kahm!
WHITE TEXT BOX: She really believes this stuff.
Middle left: Nina looking embarrassed, eyes down. Priya with arms crossed, very upset.
NINA: Tell that to the Council of Elders. They treat me like a little girl still in skirts!
Middle right: Nina even more embarrassed, facepalm. Priya spreading her skirts and looking mad.
NINA: …sorry!
Lower left: Nina extending the arm she was facepalming with, explaining to her sister. Priya arms crossed.
NINA: It’s just that—Grandmother was so strong. She spoke, and the Elders listened. I’m only eighteen years old—they barely know I exist!
WHITE TEXT BOX: So far, most of them pretend I don’t!
Lower right: Priya grabbing her sister’s outstretched hand, laughing. Nina smiling but still embarrassed.
PRIYA: I’m sure you’ll grow into it. Grandmother was the Ancient One for years and yearsPapa says that she had to spank most of the Elders when they were my age!

Page 8
1 panel as top 1/3 of page, 3 staggered panels like overlapping photographs spread out make up bottom 2/3.
Top panel: Nina and Priya walking away from camera, toward their hut, arms around each other.
PRIYA: You just have to make them respect you!
NINA: I wish Mother was here…
PRIYA: Me too.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …because I don’t think I can pull this off.
Middle left (bottom of stack): A much younger Nina and Priya, both in skirts, run playfully near the treeline. A panther-like horned cat stalks them between the trees.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Some memories fade easily, like what your mother might have said about not playing beyond the eastern fields.”
Middle (middle of stack): A shadow falls across Priya’s face, and she looks terrified.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “But others are with you forever, always just beneath the surface…”
Lower right (top of stack): As the cat lunges out of the trees at the two girls, a woman lunges to meet it, spear in hand.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…no matter how hard you want to forget.”

Page 9
3 panels, each about 1/3 the page, slightly overlapping like last page – this will be our normal “flashback” method, very different style than the “current” action.
Top panel: The cat swipes its claws deep into the woman’s middle as she spears it through the throat, the girls looking on in terror.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “We never heard her yelling to us.”
Middle panel: Priya on her knees, holding her mother’s hand, Nina running off-panel. The dead cat lies nearby half-seen.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “I’d never run so fast in my life.”
Bottom panel: Nina running, arms up, shouting at a man in the village (her father) who looks up surprised.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Father would know what to do. He had to.”

Page 10
3 panels, each 1/3 of the page.
Top: Completely blank, black.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “He said if we prayed hard enough…”
Middle: Present. An uncut stone in what is clearly a graveyard, the name Triya Kahm-Mira on it.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…the Spirits would save her.”
Bottom: Priya and Nina holding hands, backs to camera, looking off at the graveyard in the distance.
WHITE TEXT BOX: We prayed for hours.

Page 11
Top half divided horizontally into 2 panels, bottom half divided equally in four panels.
Top: Priya and Nina from waist down, bracing as the ground rumbles beneath them (division between this panel and the next is a big series of jagged lines representing the rumbling).
Upper middle: Priya excited, Nina a mix of fatalistic and sardonic.
PRIYA: It’s almost time! You better get ready!
NINA: The Ancient One can’t be late to her first ritual?
Lower middle left: Close up on Priya’s face, looking very “what did I just tell you?”
PRIYA: Nina!
Lower middle right: Close up on Nina’s face, rolling her eyes.
NINA: I know, I know…
Bottom left: Nina, face down, eyes closed, looking scared.
NINA: …I have to take this more seriously—
Bottom right: Priya leaving, waving over her shoulder as she half-turns.
PRIYA: Just make sure the Spirit’s not late!
WHITE TEXT BOX: —if I’m going to fool everyone tonight.

Page 12
Six stacked panels of flashbacks. In each panel, Enna slowly puts on the full regalia of the Ancient One.
Upper left: Enna in normal dress, in her hut with a young Nina (this is just hours after Triya’s death).
ENNA: Nina, you will be the Ancient One when I am gone.
Upper right: Buttoning up the elaborate dress, Nina protesting.
NINA: No, gram—
ENNA: You will represent the Spirits to our people.
Middle left: Arranging the ornate necklaces.
ENNA: You must be wise…
Middle right: putting on the slippers.
ENNA: …and strong…
Lower left: putting on the headdress.
ENNA: …but most of all…
Lower right: turning now to the camera, looking extremely wise and powerful.
ENNA: You must keep a secret:

Page 13
10 panels in two columns.
Top left: A close up shot of a box full of odd packets and bottles that Nina has opened.
GRAY TEXT BOX: —The Kahm have no Spirits.
Top right: fingers sorting through the box.
NINA (off panel): Think, Nina! What did Grandmother teach you…
Upper left: Fingers pulling out a small leather pouch.
NINA (off panel): Withervine needles…
Upper right: Fingers taking needles out of the pouch and tucking them up her sleeve.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …to make the fire burn blue!
Middle left: Fingers grabbing tufts of cotton.
NINA (off panel): Fire cotton…
Middle right: Tucking the cotton into hollow walnut shells.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …to make it flash and blind them!
Lower left: Fingers selecting a small corked bottle.
NINA (off panel): Nectar from the madris blossom…
Lower right: Dripping the liquid into one eye, the other already turned a milky white.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …for milky eyes, like the Spirits speak through me!
Bottom left: Taking out a bundle of aloe vera -like leaves.
NINA (off panel): Leaves from the Maiden’s Tears…
Bottom right: Weaving the leaves into the torch heads.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …will make the torches sputter and go out.

Page 14
The lower left corner of the page is being lifted up like a tent flap (it’s the hanging between the Ancient One’s hut’s living area and the ritual room). From the point where the tent flap meets the page, several other lines with the same type of slope stream out in other directions, making 4 different panels, to be read counter clockwise from the top right.
Top right: Tight shot in on Nina buttoning up the dress, the necklaces askew, her bracelets falling off.
WHITE TEXT BOX: Grandmother always looked so….powerful in this.
Upper left: Nina from the shoulders up, trying to balance the headdress and clearly not doing great.
Lower left: The Elders entering the ceremonial hut (not the one Nina is in).
Bottom right: Nina peeking her head out of the tent flap.
NINA (whispering): Time for my big entrance

Page 15
Full page image of Nina in the ceremonial outfit. She is blushing. There is a small bonfire burning in the center of the room, it is bursting huge in front of her as she just swept into the ritual chamber. We are looking over the shoulders of the Elders. A line of bright torches light up the perimeter of the room.
NINA: I am the ANCIENT ONE! [in a major awesome font]
WHITE TEXT BOX: Why do I look so…ridiculous?

Page 16
4 even panels stacked on top of each other.
Panel 1: Nina striking a pose, making ritualistic signs with her hands. The Elders we can see are clearly evaluating her performance.
NINA: Attend, ye Elders of the Kahm!
GREY TEXT BOX: “The first time you must do this ritual, Nina—”
Panel 2: Nina sweeping her hands out over the bonfire in the center of the room. The flames have turned a bright blue, coloring everything in the room.
NINA: I am Leader of the Fire!
GREY TEXT BOX: “—will be the most important.”
Panel 3: Nina grabbing a ritualistic spear with a leaf-shaped blade as the torches in the room sputter.
NINA: I am Binder of the Leaf!
GREY TEXT BOX: “It will be your introduction.”
Panel 4: The torches are out, the blue fire casting an unearthly glow on Nina’s face as we pull closer.
GREY TEXT BOX: “And it will be sooner than you or I could wish. (cough, cough!)”

Page 17
4 even panels stacked on top of each other.
Panel 1: The fire erupts in a blinding flash. Nina’s eyes are closed, ready for it.
NINA: I am the Dawnbringer!
GREY TEXT BOX: “You have had the least training of any Ancient One in living memory.”
Panel 2: The fire burns brightly as Nina beings weaving intricate symbols with her hands.
GREY TEXT BOX: “The burden will be great.”
Panel 3: Nina opens her solid-white eyes wide as we are right in on her face.
NINA: I am the Soulseeker!
GREY TEXT BOX: “The Elders do not know…”
Panel 4: Nina now has her hands up in supplication. Her headdress teeters maybe.
GREY TEXT BOX: “…must not know.”

Page 18
6 panels in two columns.
Upper left: Noal (Nina’s father) winks and smiles at her. He’s very proud of his daughter.
GREY TEXT BOX: “You must not slip.”
Upper right: Nina blushes, rolls her eyes.
NINA (whispering): Oh, father!
GREY TEXT BOX: “Do not forget what you are about!”
Middle left: Nina visibly steadies herself, gathering herself for the grand finale.
GREY TEXT BOX: “Give them a grand show…”
Middle right: Nina glaring now as she concentrates.
NINA: And I am
GREY TEXT BOX: “..and they will be yours forever.”
Lower left: Nina shouting.
NINA: the Bane
WHITE TEXT BOX: “But you’re saying that, like every Ancient One before me…”
Lower right: Nina with arms wide open, shouting.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…nothing will happen!”

Page 19
5+ panels, radiating in lightning flashes from the middle of the page. Clockwise from 12:
Panel 1: Giant hole ripped in roof.
Panel 2: A white light knocks two Elders to the ground.
ELDER: Ooof!
Panel 3: The bonfire explodes, parts of the hut catch on fire.
Panel 4: Nina rubbing her eyes, blocking her face. Her headdress is gone.
Panel 5: A white light knocks over torches and a scroll rack.
BLACK TEXT BOX: This is how my tale begins.

Page 20
Full page spread with an inset bar toward the bottom. We are looking over Nina’s shoulder at the Elders (including Noal), kneeling or fallen in disarray, staring in disbelief at a human figure limned in white light (the Guardian spirit), lying on the floor.
BLACK TEXT BOX: Not with fire and brimstone…
GUARDIAN (Spirit voice): The Seal…has been…breached.
Inset panel: Tight close up of Nina’s face, absolutely shocked.
BLACK TEXT BOX: …but with a whisper.



I like what you are doing! I have a few thoughts. I was hoping to work in 1 or 2 more villager interactions in the spread page, and 2 I’m realizing that we might have too much content for this issue :P

Issue 1, 2nd draft

So, as for the black text boxes, I assume you mean this to be the act 1 villain. Do you have an idea for the prophecy and hero statements that you are making? cause they do sound cool, or will we just have to work it in later?

Issue 1, 2nd draft

we’ll just work it in later.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

my overall concept is it a prophecy that tells the Titans the only way they can win the war, to find the Valley of the Lost. the antagonist thus thinks he’s the weapon of prophecy

Issue 1, 2nd draft

I can dig it.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

I liked my idea of having Nina mention not playing near something so that we get the reason why they were attacked. Anyway we could still keep that? I want Kahm to seem safe and separate from all the violence of the valley, very shire like. Is gives a reason why they were attacked. The is a place where they are told not to be, cause it is dangerous and they play there anyway. So I liked my line, “there are some memories that fade with time… Or that your mother told you not to range past the eastern field” this gives us why they were attacked, just my thoughts.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

that’s a good point. another reason we want the Kahm to be separate from the violence of the valley is so that Nina has to be given an explanation of what an Arbormancer and Lithomage are.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

put that line back in, added emphasis for the letterer.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

10 pages in, and it’s only act 1 of the issue!

Issue 1, 2nd draft

Yeah, we might be too ambitious with the first issue…. Cuts? Split into 2 issues? Hurry it up?

Issue 1, 2nd draft

we could probably condense some stuff. trouble is, if the ritual is act 3, then i don’t know what act 2 is. i was thinking we should have the ritual simultaneous with flashbacks to Nina training with her grandmother, or parallel to her preparation.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

i think act 1 establishes Nina as the Ancient One. Act 2 establishes that the Ancient One is a fraud. Act 3 is the ritual itself. That means the training with grandma/ritual preparation showing it is a fraud can’t be intertwined with the ritual itself, they have to be separated in the comic. so we need something cool for the ritual itself, like a focus on how the elders are really into it and stuff.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

We could have the prep from her perspective, and the ritual from the elders perspective… Her fathers perspective? So we only see the end product that fools, but see her set up for the falsehoods.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

Nina: Xxxx dust for the fire. (A close up of her placing a pouch up her sleeve.) An explosion makes for a good show. Xxxx root sap for my eyes. (She drops a white liquid into each eye) A glossy eye makes the impression that the spirits speak through me. Xxxx leaves for the torches (she places a few leaves on a torch head, it is perhaps hidden from view by the torch stand) Shortly after being lit, the torches will sputter and the go out. The darker it is, the less they see, better for me.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

Then we see the end result from their eyes, a commune with the spirits in all it’s glory… Then one actually shows up.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

i like it

Issue 1, 2nd draft

All the shots should be tight, as to not spoil her ridiculous outfit.

Issue 1, 2nd draft

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