It’s important for the layout that the chapter prior to this have an even number of pages. Pages 2&3 and 4&5 should be across from each other.
The top three panels are small and run along the top. The following panels are page-wide shots.
Panel 1- Close up of an arcane symbol carved in ancient stone.
Panel 2- Pull back and we see the symbol is carved into a headstone that is lying on the ground. There is some loose dirt around. It’s dusk. The sun is just about setting, casting long shadows of some people and other headstones. A dead thug wearing a dirty suit with rolled up sleeves lies bleeding from a large cut nearby. There is a shovel somewhere nearby, or just barely in the panel.
CAPTION: JAPAN. 2007.
(From here on the captions can be distinguished as thoughts by either italics, different font, quotes, etc.)
Panel 3- Close up of the right side of JET BLACK’S face. We see only his eye, which is narrowed and determined, and his cheek that has a fresh cut across it and blood is just beginning to drop from it. On the right side in the background we see the tombstone and empty grave.
Panel 4- Wide shot of JET BLACK from about the chest up as he stands in a fighting position. (See me for a picture for visual reference, otherwise picture Jet Li.) He looks a little worn, and sliced up. A black shirt hangs from him in tatters, barely covering the multiple sword slashes that are bleeding. It doesn’t look too serious, but enough for dramatic effect. In the background, all around him, are fleshy zombies (think of the Imhotep from the Mummy before he fully regenerated) in partial samurai armor, and holding swords.
CAPTION: Somedays…it sucks being a man of honor.
CAPTION: Sure, it all sounds good on paper…’my word is my bond’…fulfilling blood debts…Bushido...’the way of the warrior’ and all that.
Panel 5- Flip the scene, and now we’re looking over JET as he stands before a massive samurai zombie in full samurai armor. He is wielding a massively long sword that has just a hint of blood on it. The sun rests just above the horizon.
CAPTION: But Kaneshiro never said anything about sword swinging zombies…
CAPTION: Serves me right…should never have let myself owe anything to the Yakuza.
TITLE: JET BLACK - HONORBOUND
Three page wide panels. The panels of KANESHIRO and JET should be taller than the JET & zombie panels, but not by that much. Just enough to give it that widescreen feel. On the following pages make the panels with JET & the zombies get taller as the restaurant panels get smaller, to give the feeling that the tension is mounting and the serious action is about to begin.
Panel 1- There will be a few panels alternating with the standoff between JET and the samurai zombies which will help explain the backstory before the big fight scene. Far shot of a well lit Japanese styled restaurant (I’ll see if I can get photo reference). It’s mid-afternoon and the sunlight is pouring in. There are two men in black suits sitting at a large table. KANESHIRO has his back to the wall. Across from him sits JET in a nice suit. There are four or so thugs in suits surrounding KANESHIRO looking for suspicious activity, even though there is no one sitting at the other tables.
KANESHIRO: Jet. You know we, like our fathers, are men of honor.
JET: Even though they did try to kill each other time and again.
KANESHIRO: Just as we have.
KANESHIRO: So you know I wouldn’t have called in this favor were it not necessary.
Panel 2- JET, from a side view facing the right side of the page, is still standing rigidly in his fighting stance as he stares ahead. In the background are two samurai zombies spaced evenly apart. One on either side of him.
Panel 3- Zoom in on the restaurant scene some. Enough so we get a decent look at everyone. KANESHIRO is a mean looking badass. He’s wearing sunglasses, has semi-long black hair, and has a fairly noticeable scar across his cheek, just below his eye.
JET: I didn’t think you’d be cashing that in for awhile.
KANESHIRO: I wouldn’t have…except…we’re running out of time.
KANESHIRO: A couple of hours out of the city, there’s a graveyard. I just need you to retrieve something for me.
Panel 1- Spin the restaurant scene slightly so we get a better look at JET. He looks wary of KANESHIRO’S proposal. He’s wearing sunglasses as well.
JET: Doesn’t sound too hard.
JET: What’s the grab?
KANESHIRO: It’s a samurai sword, buried with the body of an ancient samurai warrior.
Panel 2- This is the extension of Page 2, Panel 2. Facing the left of the page is the main undead samurai warrior with his sword raised. It’s an impressive and long samurai sword, and feel free to add any embellishments to the sword that you want.
Panel 3- Back to the restaurant. Medium shot of KANESHIRO and JET. JET looks almost uninterested.
KANESHIRO: I’ll have two of my men go with you to dig it up.
JET: Why me?
KANESHIRO: Someone else will be looking for it. And he’ll have his hands on it by nightfall.
KANESHIRO: I need you to grab it before he does, and get it to me by sundown.
JET: Lucky for you I was killing some time in Tokyo then.
Panel 1- Tight shot of KANESHIRO as he takes off his sunglasses. He looks deadly serious.
KANESHIRO: This is serious Jet. This goes beyond you and me. This is big league stuff.
KANESHIRO: That’s why I’m calling in your debt to me.
KANESHIRO: You do this…we’re even. Blank slate.
Panel 2- Same as Page 2, Panel 2 except now JET is charging forward. Some speed lines in the background.
Panel 3- Tight shot of JET. He’s starting to realize the seriousness of the situation. He starts to stand.
JET: Fine. But I’m only doing this to clear things between us.
JET: I can’t pass up such an easy out.
Panel 1- JET is walking away from the table. KANESHIRO is putting his sunglasses back on.
Panel 2- Same shot as Page 3, Panel 2. This is the extension of Page 4, Panel 2. Facing the left of the page is the main undead samurai warrior with his sword raised.
Panel 3- KANESHIRO looks thoughtfully out the window. One of his men leans in to talk to him.
TAKAGAWA: Kaneshiro, do you think it’s a good idea sending him?
KANESHIRO: That sword will be safer in his hands than any of yours.
KANESHIRO: He’ll bring it back here as well. If nothing else, he is a man of his word.
This is where the insanity begins. Now we need some insane action. Instead of all the rectangle shaped panels before, go crazy here. Make as many diagonal edges as possible, to give it the feeling of sword slashes. Don’t forget it’s just about sunset and everything should cast long shadows.
Panel 1- JET stops short as the zombie on his left slices its sword forward. The sword comes straight down the middle of the zombie on his right slicing it in two.
Panel 2- JET snags the sword from the zombie that’s been split in two, ripping it’s rotting hand off as he does. As he does the other zombie raises its sword for another strike.
Panel 3- JET slices right through the zombie’s waist, cutting its torso in half. The top half should be in the process of sliding off.
Panel 4- JET spins around as another zombie lunges its sword forward. JET’S sword lops the zombie’s head off in mid spin. Its head goes flying off.
Panel 5- This panel should be the central shot. The main armored zombie sits, unmoving as the sun sets off in the horizon.
Similar hectic panel layout as Page 6.
Panel 1- JET launches the sword off to the right side of the page.
Panel 2- A zombie gets pinned against a tree as JET’S sword slams into it.
Panel 3- JET does a jumping spin kick and smacks a zombie’s head right off its shoulders and into another zombie knocking it off balance right before it was about to strike.
Panel 4- JET brings his leg crashing down into the off balance zombie from the panel before, cracking its spine.
Panel 5- Tight shot of JET from the waist up as he turns to face the main zombie.
Panel 6- Close up shot of JET as the tip of a sword rips through his shoulder.
This can have just a regular panel layout. Nothing too crazy though. Something calm.
Panel 1- JET falls to one knee and grabs his shoulder. The main zombie stands behind him, fresh blood dripping from its sword.
CAPTION: Being honorable really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
CAPTION: In fact…it hurts.
CAPTION: A lot.
Panel 2- Tight shot as JET begins to look up. He’s facing away from the samurai zombie and towards the setting sun. Just behind him the zombie is about to deliver its killing blow.
CAPTION: I can’t die like this!
CAPTION: Not for Kaneshiro!
Panel 3- Shot from behind and off to the side of the main zombie so we can see the zombie about to strike, JET struggling through the pain and both of them are facing the sun as it sets in the background.
CAPTION: Sorry Kaneshiro, looks like I won’t be able to get the sword to you before sunset.
Panel 4- Dusk has fallen. Close up of JET as he starts to look over his wounded shoulder.
CAPTION: He’s certainly taking his time with this killing blow here…
Panel 1- JET struggles to stand. He looks to be in a mixed state of pain/disbelief.
CAPTION: What the hell?
Panel 2- JET’S POV. We see the samurai zombie as he sheathes the sword. He has backed up about ten feet. The headstone begins to glow in the background.
CAPTION: What’s he up to now…?
Panel 3- Tight shot of the headstone with the arcane symbol. It’s glowing ominously.
Panel 4- A demonic (something Japanese) image starts to appear around the samurai zombie.
Panel 5- The samurai zombie begins to fade away as if his image was being pulled away from us at superspeed. All blurry-like.
Panel 1- JET scoops up a sword with his good hand and dives forward at the image.
CAPTION: Somedays…it’s just not worth being a man of honor.
Panel 2- Slight energy crackles and dissipates, and the samurai zombie and JET are both gone, as is the demonic image. The remaining pieces of zombies fall dead once again.
CAPTION: But I just can’t seem to help it…maybe it’s in the blood.
Panel 3- The same scene as Panel 2 but now all is silent. Nothing is moving, and all energy traces are gone.
Panel 4- Same panel as Panel 3, but now some energy is appearing, crackling in mid-air where JET disappeared.
Panel 5- Same as the above panels but now there is a gaping hole torn through reality. We can just see inside as JET dives out backwards, cut up, blood splattered, with sliced off undead demonic arms hanging off him.
CAPTION: It’s like I said before…
Panel 6- JET is walking away from KANESHIRO’S table in the restaurant. He looks very ragged, and beat up. The sword is stabbed in the middle of the table where JET stuck it.
JET: Next time Kaneshiro...
CAPTION: Somedays…it sucks being a man of honor.