Script!

It was a busy week of writing and I finally got to the one script I was really wanting to write; a short story featuring everyone's favorite ninja. I had this idea of Raphael patrolling this harbor and coming across a bunch of mob thugs holding a father and daughter hostage. Raph's a loner and I'd love to see a solo series of him running around dispensing gritty, vigilante justice across the 5 boroughs. This was a lot of fun to write and it felt great to finish it, like it was something I had been wanting to do for quite some time. By the way, this awesome piece of art is from artist Jeremy Roberts. I found the piece off of deviant Art and I couldn't resist posting it here. You can find the rest of his gallery right here: http://jprart.deviantart.com/

Anyway, here's the script:
Docks


I had a great time seeing Inception last week. What a fantastic movie. I guess everything Nolan touches is gold because right now the man is on a serious hot streak. Like The Dark Knight, this movie is just a freight train that keeps moving full steam ahead to the climax. Just so well done. The soundtrack ain't half bad either. I've had the track Time running non-stop when I write.

So, this movie got me thinking. There are a lot of great heist flicks out there. So many to name. But, to me, my favorite of all time is Sneakers.

There is so much to love with this movie. The cast, the story, the soundtrack. But, above all else, it's cool to see this plan come together. And that's what you have here. If you've never seen it, check it out. What are some of your favorite heist films? I'd love to hear.

T-U-R-T-L-E POWER!


So where does a passion for comic books begin? For some it's a regular dose of Marvel or DC. Spider-Man slinging webs, Superman bending steel. And, while I have fond memories of digging through long boxes for Incredible Hulk back issues or a copy of Batman that had cool cover art, my obsession for comics came when I read the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ridiculous one might think, but, let me explain.

I was eight at the time and I picked up the first issue at my local comic shop. I knew the cartoon, of course, but the comic was something special. I was used to brightly colored superheroes dashing across the page and punching their way to victory. But, there was very little blood shed. That all changed when I opened my first black and white comic.

It was packed with gritty, bloody carnage. Everything a growing boy needs. I remember falling in love with the artwork, especially the inks. Every time there was an arterial spray, the inky blood added a level of coolness I never knew existed. But above all, there were ninjas. Lots of ninjas.

The rooftop battle in that first issue, where what seems like hundreds of ninjas are pouring out of the wood work, made me understand at a young age what it meant to geek out. I mean, who doesn't love ninjas. Especially ninjas receiving bloody, jagged wounds. And lets not forget, our heroes actually kill the villain. They stab him in the friggin heart with a katana and then tell him to kill himself! How many comic book heroes do that?! Easy to see why I loved it so much. After that first issue I got the collected volume and kept on going. When I look back on what had an influence on my love of comics I will always mention Batman, Hulk, and the like. But it was that first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that defined it.

Recently a bit of nostalgia hit me square in the face and I made an impulse purchase. A few years ago NECA released some limited edition action figures based on the original comic art. Well, after a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally picked up a set. Thankfully, my lovely wife doesn't mind having some bad ass action figures on the book shelf. I'm one lucky guy.

Now, just for the hell of it, I thought I'd give you a bit of early 90's nostalgia. Go ahead, give the guys a click...

OK, so enough about the turtles. What have I been reading lately? I finally got to two books I've been wanting to read for a while now. The first is CHEW.
I really enjoyed this. A cannibalistic detective who gets clairvoyant visions from his...er...victims? Pretty damn original. This is a very humorous book that doesn't take itself seriously in a good way. These guys are having fun. I particularly enjoy Rob Guillory's art. Very stylized. A solid ground work is set for some great cop drama. I sneaked a peek at the next volume and, much to my excitement, vampires are coming! Looks like fun.

The other book was RED.
The concept was cool. I'm a fan of old assassins kicking ass once again. This was a quick read with not much meat to it. It explores some interesting themes but I wished it went a little deeper. I got to the end and I wanted to see this guy keep going. I'll tell you what is cool, the way Ellis paces out the intricate kills. I found myself going back and admiring the way he set them up and how Hammer knocked it out. Some very cool action paced and executed very well.

As for my writing, a lot is going on. Hopefully I'll be able to share some things in the near future. What I am going to do is a TMNT short script to satisfy this itch I've got. I'll post it up here for fun. Until then, take it easy.

Ah, Summer.


It's in full swing. The days are long. The skies are blue. The burgers are grilling. And I'm inside writing a blog post. So, it has been a while since I posted and there are a few things I want to get to. First, comics. I finally started reading Kirkman's The Walking Dead. Jesus, talk about being late to the party. But better late than never, I always say. I'm loving them so far. I got my hands on the first couple of trades and it's nice to be able to plow on through them. Who want's to wait? I'm wondering if I should just pick up the big omnibus that's out there.


Next, movies. I've been on a movie buying kick lately. I read The Road a few years ago and I wanted to check out the movie. It was well done and Viggo Mortensen was great. So was the kid. But as with any movie adaptation, it will never live up to the book. When I read that story, I felt like I was living it. It wasn't the same watching it play out. For the badass in me I picked up one of my all time favorite action movies, The Road Warrior. Man, I've seen it so many times and it just gets crazier every time. The truck chase is one of the best action sequences out there, that's because real trucks, real cars, and real stuntmen are flying all over the screen. And, I mean, who doesn't love this guy:

















Vernon Wells. That's the same dude Arnold fights in Commando. Two Oscar-worthy performances. I mean "NOOOOO!!! WE GO INNN!!!!" is right up there with "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".

Next is a movie I had been teetering back and forth on and finally bought it. Let the Right One In. This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It is just messed up beyond belief but powerful at the same time. And for anyone that's seen it, how awesome was that ending? They are remaking it and releasing it this fall. I don't know why. This movie is an instant classic. Seriously. If you have not seen this, you need to.

Finally, (500) Days of Summer. This is probably the most guy accessible romantic comedy I've seen. The two stars, that kid from 3rd Rock and that chick from Elf, are great together. I thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of this film and I'm interested to see how the director takes on Spider-Man. Ah, who the hell cares.

One more thing. I caught wind of this fan film and it blew me away. It's called City of Scars and features everyone's favorite Caped Crusader. You can find it right here. Just click on the poster.




















So, that's about it. Have fun out there.

Uncle Mike


Something incredible happened on April 30, 2010. My nephew was born and my world has been changed forever. It's been incredible watching my sister-in-law go through this experience, knowing that one day her son would be here. That there was this little man that would be right along side all of us for the rest of our lives. But, it's one thing to talk about it, to wonder what he will be like, look like, act like. All that dreaming is nice, but, I was not prepared for what that day would bring.

At the hospital, my wife and I joined the rest of the family in a small, warm waiting room where the only thing to read were pregnancy magazines with exposes on strange "devices" for feeding your baby. But besides the lack of reading material for guys, this hospital was something else. Truly awesome. The greatest part, besides the care, was that when ever a baby is born, a gentle, twinkling lullaby is played softly over the speakers through the entire hospital. Talk about a morale booster. Hospitals generally have this frightening aura around them. But being there for the opposite end of the spectrum, you see life full circle. It's nice.

So, there we were, waiting. The next time we heard that lovely music we knew the little guy would be with us. And that's what blew my mind in all of this. The lullaby played and this feeling of the world changing was undeniable. A new human had joined us all. He was here, right here with us. Man, life is so inspiring.

From Script to Page: Part 2

Welcome back to another installment of From Script to Page. Today we have a look at the making of page five for Astronautica. Enjoy!

Page 5: 4 panels

Panel 1: Wide angle shot of the same military compound.

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Panel 2: Medium shot inside the same bright lab as Bernard helps Danny step out of a large gym bag.

DANNY: Geez! Why did I have to sit in that bag?

BERNARD: Shh. Low voice. No one can ever know you were here.

Panel 3: Angle on Bernard as he slides an access card into a security keypad.

DANNY (Off-Panel): So, where’s the secret?

BERNARD: Behind this door.

SFX: Ka-Chunk

Panel 4: Wide, low angle shot behind Bernard and Danny as the giant doors slide open to reveal a brilliant, gleaming aluminum flying saucer inside a massive hangar.

ELECTRONIC VOICE: Welcome, Dr. Wong.

DANNY: Holy cow…

BERNARD: Neat, huh?

DANNY: Who’s Dr. Wong?

BERNARD: My, uh, codename.




You can find the finished page five right here: http://apecmx.com/ufo/

So, there you have it, folks. Another edition of From Script to Page.

Astronautica has ten pages left with a lot of adventure still to come. Don't forget, updates are every Sunday and Thursday. Be sure to check back here for more behind the scene looks.

Hey you GUYS! An interview with Christopher Tupa!


Astronautica is on page three right now and really picking up steam. Lots of cool things yet to come. One of the key pieces to Astronautica is the fantastic, light-hearted artwork by Christopher Tupa. Super Tupa as I like to call him. I got to know Christopher over this past year as Astronautica came together. I've never met someone as genuinely nice as Mr. Tupa. He's got a great attitude about him and you can see how young at heart he is in the art he creates. It was an outstanding experience working with Christopher. I got a chance to talk to him recently about his artwork, his inspiration, and his love of the Goonies.

When did you know you wanted to create comic art?

Wow, that takes me back...I'd have to say in high school. I had been drawing for quite some time, mostly cartoony stuff and Dungeons and Dragons characters and I started collecting comics in the 90's right when the big boom started and I thought that would be a good career: drawing comics. So then I really focused on comic art.


What are some things you do to develop your craft?

So many things! I love to watch movies and 80's TV shows and cartoons. I read whenever possible. I like to go to stores and the mall and just look at what’s out there; fabrics, design, etc. I surf the web all day at work :) and look at pop culture sites, tons of art and artist sites.
I like to look at art books and tutorials and chat with other artists when possible. I also listen to art podcasts.

Who inspires you as an artist?


So many wonderful artists out there! I can't even begin to name them because I have folders full of images on my desktop that I look to for inspiration as well as hundreds of sites bookmarked. Cartoons; both old and new. I have to say my 4 yr old daughter constantly inspires me with her craziness.

Take us through your creative process. How do you approach constructing a page?
First I go through the whole page in my head, usually at work or in the car and then when I have a picture in my mind I draw a quick thumbnail or two until I like that. After that it's just a matter of penciling it and working out the details. Usually each panel then goes through the same process of thinking about it and then thumbnail, then the pencils.

Tell us about your love of the 80's, particularly The Goonies!

I LOVE the Goonies! It captures the spirit I had as a child and try to maintain today. Riding my bike, exploring the neighborhood. We had a wooded area behind our house that we could play in. The ending of that movie always made me kinda sad because it was the end of their adventure and I hated to see it end. I would often times watch the movie right at the end of summer before school would start again. I have done quite a bit of Goonies fan art. Love those guys!

How did your Star Wars sketch project come about?

Oh, that was a fun one! I had seen a lot of monster a day sketchblogs and girl a day, stuff like that and wanted to do something along those lines. Since I also LOVE Star Wars I thought it'd be neat to watch the movie and draw every person that came on screen, even the extras. I've thought about doing it again with Empire Strikes Back...




What are you working on right now?


Right now I just redid my website that now has a blog, which is really fun. I also started a podcast where we chat about random topics which is so much fun! We are always looking for new people to chat with if anyone wants to talk about topics ranging from Zombies to LEGOs to trains.
I am also working with a writer on a children's book. I am editing and contributing to a kid’s book anthology i just initiated. I've been doing quite a few 80's themed commissions which have been great fun. And last but not least I've been doing a bunch of Star Wars, G.I. Joe and other random illustrations for fun.

The all important question: What's your theory on U.F.O's?

Not sure. Never seen one but I don't discount it. I saw a show on TV about UFOs and it was saying how in the bible they mention UFO type objects and that maybe when people saw angles they were UFOS or that what we think of as UFOs are angels. Interesting theories...

Thanks for taking the time to answer these for me,Christopher!


Thank you! My first interview, I am so excited!

So, there you have it, folks! A great look at an awesome creator and human being! You can find more art by Christopher or request commissions right here at ctupa.com

From Script to Page

It's an exciting time as Astronautica makes its debut at APE Entertainment. The story is updated every Thursday and Sunday right here at http://apecmx.com/ufo/

So far we are on page two and there is a big adventure waiting for Bernard and his son. With the work that Christopher Tupa, Wade Webb, and E.T. Dollman did on this story, you are in for a real treat. Stay tuned!

I think a shout out to these three gentlemen is in order. I can't express enough what a great experience I had working with them. Their professionalism was at its highest at all times and made the whole process a real joy.

I don't know about you, but I love a good behind the scenes look. So, why not have an inside peak at the creation of Astronautica's first page, from script to final product? Without further ado, here is the evolution of a page.

Page 1: 4 panels

Panel 1: Wide angle shot of a military compound etched between two desert mountains at night. The facility lies in obscurity, far from prying eyes. A lone road leads toward a large granite compound that resembles a bunker. Several large hangars are scattered across a stretch of runway. Watchtowers are positioned strategically, giving guards unobstructed views for miles. Chain link fence encases the entire compound.

CAPTION: Classified Air Force Research Facility.

CAPTION: Green River, Utah.

Panel 2: Medium shot of a military lab as technicians in white lab suits work at various stations. We focus on two particular workers. Bernard and Dr. Wong. Bernard is in his mid-30’s and is a bit of a nerd. He has a tall, slender build and wears glasses that he’s probably had since college. His hair cut is certainly behind the times. The two men are both standing at a table littered with high-tech equipment. The lab itself is pristine. The walls are white with high ceilings and bright lighting.

DR. WONG: Bernard, now is not the time for this.

BERNARD: I know, doctor. But, I think I’ve redeemed myself these past few months.

BERNARD: I mean, everyone has an accident now and then. Don’t you think I’m ready for another chance at level four clearance?

Panel 3: Angle on Dr. Wong and Bernard.

DR. WONG: Bernard, no one questions your intelligence. That’s why they haven’t gotten rid of you yet.

DR. WONG: But, the Air Force doesn’t forget things like accidental explosions. Level four just isn’t an option anymore.

Panel 4: Close on a dejected Bernard. He looks down in defeat. It’s a sad, solitary image.

DR. WONG (Off-Panel): Now, I need you to run those numbers for me again. General wants an update at nineteen hundred hours.

BERNARD: Yes, sir.




So there you have it, folks! The evolution of a page. Be sure to check out future installments of From Script to Page as we go deeper into the story of Astronautica.

Astronautica


Astronautica, a story I wrote with art by Christopher Tupa, will be premiering on March 25th! The story is part of APE Entertainment's online U.F.O. Anthology. The anthology has had some great stories so far and they can be read right here at apecmx.com

Check back here to see some behind the scenes looks at how this fun father and son tale was created!

Hans. Booby! I'm your white knight.


I love a good bad guy. Villains just make a good story great. They are that external force of antagonism that just digs and digs, pushing our hero to the brink. I get all giddy seeing a kick-ass villain introduced into a cool story. My mind races to the end with all these thoughts of a climactic battle where this bad dude is going to get his. I'm sure you do, too. So, why am I writing about it? Well, I've found myself reading something over and over again, admiring the execution of how two villains are introduced. I'm talking, of course, about Hazel and Cha-Cha, those two, sugar-induced, Girl Scout cookie-loving killing machines from Gerard Way's fantastic The Umbrella Academy .

In the second issue of the story Dallas, we are introduced to these two sociopaths in one of the most disturbing, and perfectly constructed ways. It's an extended scene that spans over a discussion of delicious apple pie and Girl Scout cookie etiquette to a final kill order from an unseen mastermind. We quickly learn these two nut jobs are killers for hire, but, they have no qualms about killing for the pure thrill of it. This disturbing character trait is revealed to chilling perfection in these opening pages. In this scene alone they forget the reason why they have tortured two innocent diner workers, which was to obtain the secret recipe for their delicious apple pie. The scene is so creepy but so perfectly constructed, I've found myself re-reading it, admiring how these two freaky, cartoon head-wearing villains are brought to life. Of course, they get what they deserve in the end, and the way that is done is even cooler then their introduction. So, if you haven't checked out The Umbrella Academy, pick yourself up a copy, and if you have, well I'm sure you'll all agree with me when I say I can't wait to see what happens next to this awesome family.

So, those are my thoughts for today. Who are some of your favorite villains? I'd love to hear. Until next time...

Hey Dr. Jones, no time for love!


As a kid from the 80's, I love me some Indy. Who doesn't? I did this script as an exercise a few months back. A couple of ideas went through my head but I thought I'd do an Indy script about those lost years during W.W.II. I had a lot of fun with it. By the way, the awesome piece of art here is from a fantastic artist by the name of Mathew Reynolds. Here's a link to his deviant Art gallery http://batfish73.deviantart.com/. There are some cool things to see there. In the mean time, enjoy...

Indiana Jones and the Prison of the Rising Sun

Page 1: 4 panels

Panel 1: Wide, low angle shot looking up toward a jungle mountain peak at day. The peak is covered in thick, lush jungle.

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Panel 2: Wide, high angle shot looking down on a Japanese-run POW camp. A tall, wooden watch tower dominates the scene. It’s made from bamboo and other wood from the jungle. Several armed Japanese soldiers keep look out. On the ground below are American prisoners hard at work on a railroad line that is etched through the jungle. A small steam engine locomotive sits on the track with several open cargo cars attached to it. The POWs carry railroad ties, wheelbarrows, pick axes, shovels. It’s a scene of intense manual labor below. Armed guards are everywhere. Some are beating on a fallen prisoner. Others hold prisoners at gun point. It’s a desperate image.

Caption(Positioned at the lower left hand corner of the panel): South Pacific, 1943

Panel 3: Medium shot of a Japanese soldier patrolling the camp armed with a bayoneted rifle. He’s looking down at something that’s caught his attention.

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Panel 4: Angle on the legs of two Japanese soldiers who have clearly been killed by someone. Their bodies are hidden by several large crates of a camp stockpile.

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Panel 5: Angle on the soldier as he screams for help.

Soldier:

Page 2: 4 Panels

Panel 1: Large panel. Wide angle shot of a massive explosion underneath the wooden watchtower. The watchtower is leaning in mid-topple. Splintered wood, bodies, and debris fly everywhere. The concusion rocks the entire prison camp.

SFX: KA-BOOM

Panel 2: Medium shot of a group of soldiers as they run toward the explosion. They wave their arms, calling on other soldiers to help.

Soldier:

Soldier:

Panel 3: Angle on the group of soldiers as they are mowed down by machine gun fire. Their uniforms are ripped to shreds as the bullets perforate them.

Soldier: Gaaah!

SFX: RAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT

Panel 4: Angle on a group of American prisoners as they emerge from the jungle tree line. Their machine guns are raised, still smoking from the onslaught. At the center of the rag-tag group is Indiana Jones. He’s not the Indy we know and love. He wears a prisoner’s outfit. He’s dirty and ragged, with heavy beard stubble. He looks worn from captivity. But he still has the look of a hero in his eyes. The men behind him seem to hang on is every word.

Prisoner 1: I think you used too much explosives, Captain.

Indy: Not a chance.

Indy: Come one. We’ve got to be on that train before the cavalry gets here.

Page 3: 5 panels

Panel 1: Angle on Indy as he strikes a Japanese soldier in the head with the butt of his rifle. Behind him, other prisoners rebel against the guards.

SFX: Thak!

Panel 2: Medium shot as Indy and his group of rebels fire on a group of soldiers trying to flank them.

Indy: Move! Get on the damn train!

SFX: RAT TAT TAT TAT TAT

Panel 3: Angle on Prisoner 1. He waves on to other prisoners. Behind him, the men help each other load in to the train cars.

Prisoner 1: Let’s go boys! First stop, Brooklyn, New York!

Panel 4: Medium shot as two Japanese personnel trucks (http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ttt/pics/japanese-ww2-military-vehicles/fig3-japanese-military-truck-ww2.jpg) race toward us through the jungle. Both trucks are packed with soldiers.

SFX: VRRROOOOMMMM

Panel 5: Close on Indy as he climbs in the engine. He’s looking back toward us. He’s not too pleased.

Indy: Oh, great.

Indy: We’ve got company!

Page 4: 6 panels

Panel 1: Wide, high angle shot above and behind the speeding, rickety train as the two trucks race along both sides of it. The train rockets down the tracks in reverse. The prisoners open fire. The Japanese answer right back. Bullets rip in every direction. It’s a raging fire fight on board the train. A rocket is fired by one of the men in the truck. It impacts just in front of the train, sending dirt and debris skyward.

SFX: RAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT TAT

SFX: BLAM BLAM

SFX: KA-CHOW

SFX: FOOM

Panel 2: Angle on troops from one truck as they hurl grenades onto the train cars. (http://www.quanonline.com/military/military_reference/japanese/wwii_equipment/type97_granade.jpg )

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Panel 3: Angle on the Indy and the prisoners as they struggle to throw the grenades off the train car.

Prisoner 1: Grenades!

Indy: Get ‘em out! Move!

Panel 4: Angle on the train as grenades burst in mid –air and along the tracks.

SFX: BOOM BOOM

SFX: KA-BOOM

Panel 5: Angle on a Japanese soldier as he hurls a large grenade toward us.

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Panel 6: Angle on Indy as he bats the grenade out of the air with his rifle.

SFX: Thak!

Page 5: 5 panels

Panel 1: Angle on the driver of one of the trucks as the grenade has landed in his lap. He’s a bit surprised.

SFX: Flop!

Panel 2: Angle on the truck as the cab explodes and the truck goes crashing into the jungle with its men on board.

SFX: KA-BOOM

SFX: AIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Panel 3: Close on Indy who is quite impressed with himself.

Indy: Ha!

Panel 4: Angle on the side of the train as it is ripped apart by heavy machine gun fire coming from the sky. Sparks and chunks of the train fly off.

SFX: FOOM FOOM FOOM FOOM FOOM

Panel 5: Low angle shot from inside the train car as a Japanese Zero fighter plane pulls up from its attack overhead. (http://www.aikensairplanes.com/blue%20box/bbi_21265.jpg ). Indy and another prisoner duck in the foreground.

Prisoner 1: Jesus! They’ve got planes now!

Indy: Well you didn’t think they’d let us off that easy, did you?

SFX: VRRROOOOMMM

Page 6: 5 panels

Panel 1: Wide angle shot from behind a Japanese soldier inside the bed of the truck. He has fired another rocket that impacts the side of the train.

SFX: FOOOSH

SFX: THOOM

Panel 2: Angle on Indy. He’s got an idea in his eye. Other prisoners duck behind him.

Prisoner: It’s coming back!

Indy: We’re gonna need that rocket.

Panel 3: Wide angle shot as Indy leaps from the train toward the troop transport. He fires his machine gun in mid air.

SFX: RAT TAT TAT TAT TAT

Panel 4: Indy lands on top of the soldiers in the truck. There’s gunfire!

SFX: BLAM BLAM

SFK: THAK

Panel 5: Angle on Indy as he punches out one of the soldiers.

SFX: FAP

Page 7: 4 Panels

Panel 1: Wide, high angle shot of the train as it is riddled with heavy caliber machine gunfire from the Zero. Tracer rounds rain down toward the tracks. Impact craters are forming all over the train and the ground around it. It’s a violent scene as the train limps on.

SFX: FOOM FOOM FOOM FOOM FOOM FOOM

Panel 2: Medium, low angle shot behind Indy as he fires the grenade launcher.

SFX: FOOSH

Panel 3: Low angle shot as the Zero explodes from the impact.

SFX: KA-BOOM

Panel 4: Low angle shot as the fiery plane flies over the prisoners’ heads.

SFX: FROOOSH

Page 8: 5 panels

Panel 1: Angle on Indy as he leaps from the truck toward the train.

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Panel 2: Angle on the dumbfounded truck driver .

Driver: Huh?

Panel 3: Angle on Indy as he hangs on the side of the train. He gives a crooked grin and salutes the driver in proper military fashion as the prisoners cheer behind him.

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Panel 4: Angle on the truck as it drives off a jungle cliff as the train heads out over a bridge.

SFX: AIIIEEEEEEEE!

Panel 5: Wide-angle shot as the train rides off into the sunset.

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-End-