Here's the penultimate competition screen -- where I'm trying to bring all of that menace we've built up together, and hint at the dark night to come. I'm working, in this screen, from this chunk of the original story:
For some reason, the kid's laugh set the man off, and he stopped dancing. "Shaddap!" he yelled. His eyes flashed. "Shaddap, retard!" He turned to the woman. "Emma, Shut up your retard son."
She smiled over at the table. "Go put some more songs on, Frankie. "Her eyes were sad. The man watched the boy get up. You could see in his eyes he hated the kid. The woman was ashamed, but she said, sharp and low to the man "Don't you tell him to shut up. He's a good boy."
They stood there and looked at each other for a while like a couple of wrestlers across a mat. I'd had enough of their show. I went to leaning against the wall again, smoking real slow. I disliked the cook very much. I have a kid brother who spends his time in a class with other kids like him. Some of them are in wheelchairs, or have braces on their legs. My kid brother just can't learn. Kids at school push him around. Once they got him to take a bath in the big sink in the locker room, and brought in the girls and stood around and laughed. Then when he got out crying and swung at one of them, they blacked his eye and busted his lip. The cook reminded me of those kids.
As with the other screens, I dialed up the menace a bit in the script:
Screen 8: Four panels, the first three across the top of the screen, the fourth a wider panel at the bottom.
Panel 1: Choker-shot of the greasy cook in his paper cap. Spittle flying from his mouth, in a rage:
Cook: Shut up! Shut the hell up! Emma! Shut up your retard son!
Panel 2: Close-up of Emma, her doughy face now also twisted in anger.
Emma: Don’t you tell him to shut up! He’s a good boy!
Panel 3: Medium shot of Frankie, sitting in the booth with an empty milkshake glass pushed off to the side. Frankie’s head is enormous, the hair on his scalp sparse, his mouth open in a worried O, with a line of drool sliding down his chin. His eyes are still invisible behind the thick glasses, which reflect the fluorescent light fixtures and, warped, the café itself.
Emma (off panel): Go put some more songs on, Frankie . . .
Caption: The cook and the waitress, Emma, stood there and looked at each other for a while like a couple of wrestlers across a mat.
Panel 4: The narrator’s face, high-contrast in the light of the café window, the cigarette still burning in the side of his mouth, drifting around the lengthy captions:
Caption (top left): I'd had enough of their show. I have a kid brother in high school, a class with other kids like Frankie. My kid brother, he just can't learn. Kids at school, they push him around. Once they got him to take a bath in the big sink in the locker room, and brought in the girls and stood around and laughed.
Caption (bottom left): Then, when he got out and took a swing at them they blacked his eye and busted his lip . . .
Caption: (bottom right): Well, I found every goddamned one of them. Every. One. And now you can be damned sure they leave my little brother alone.
Hopefully leaving the reader wanting to see what lies ahead.
here's the thumbnail that Cesar worked up for this screen:
Followed by these pencils:
And these inks.
But the real beauty is in the final colored page, when the reflection comes to life. Check that out at Zuda, give us a vote, and add us to your favorites. Believe me, you want to see how this Night at the Western ends . . .