“Black Magic Mastiff”
Panel 1. JOE watches incredulously as STAN holds up a dusty book in one hand to read in the corner of the school library. Stan stands before a large piece of poster board on the floor that has a pentagram circumscribed by a circle all drawn with black marker. A lit candle resides at each of the five points of the pentagram. Joe and Stan are otherwise in the dark, but Stan holds a flashlight in his free hand to read the book. In general, Joe is more practical whereas Stan is wily, and they both wear name tags as participants in the science fair. That’s really all you need to know to design their looks as fifth graders.
1 JOE:Will black magic really help us beat Will and Keith?
2 STAN:It will when it summons up a devil dog that only likes to eat kids’ homework!
3 STAN:You know a mutt like that will treat a science fair project like it’s a T-bone steak--
Panel 2. Pan in on the spine of Stan’s book. “100 Spells for the Junior Satanist” is discernible as the title. Maybe include a cute little kid holding a bloody sacrificial knife on the cover if there’s room. Stan himself might be slightly off-panel with his dialogue.
Panel 3. Joe gestures with a hand for Stan to get on with the ritual, though he is still pretty skeptical of the whole concept and rolls his eyes. Stan gives him a confident smirk in return.
5 JOE:If you say so, Stan. Just make it quick. It’s almost our turn to present.
6 STAN:Ten-four, good buddy.
Panel 4. Stan spreads his legs out in dramatic fashion as he reads from the book. A malevolent mist starts to grow and spiral around his legs and the pentagram. Go melodramatic with the word balloon!
7 STAN:Oh, black lord of the netherworld, king of deceptions, take mine lust as seed and sire forth a fiend made great on youths!
Panel 1. An enormous, quasi-demonic mastiff explodes into existence over the pentagram (sound effect), mist spewing in all directions. Let’s just call him the DEVIL DOG because it’s simpler that way. The devil dog has eyes that almost seem to burn, underscoring a ferocity that can never be sated. Joe and Stan are both understandably terrified at the sight of the creature, even though Stan had thought it was a great idea only seconds ago.
Panel 2. Stan looks back at the open page of the book with intense, bulging eyes.
3 STAN (small print):Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no.
Panel 3. Joe takes Stan by his shirt collar in a frenzy. Stan’s confidence has disintegrated.
4 JOE:What? What’s the matter? Your spell actually worked!
5 STAN:Sure, but, uh, my thumb covered up the last word of what I was supposed to read.
Panel 4. Flip the angle. The devil dog’s furious head looms just behind Stan and Joe with narrowed eyes. Stan and Joe share the same blank, mortified expression as they look at each other.
6 STAN:I stopped at youths. I was supposed to say youth’s toil.
8 STAN:This pooch gobbles kids like they’re potato chips.
Panel 1. Joe and Stan barge out of the library doors, the devil dog in hot pursuit.
1 JOE AND STAN (yell):Yaaaaah!!!
Panel 2. We see that they have all entered into the central hallway of the elementary school where the science fair is being held. Experiments recorded on standing poster board are on display on foldable tables. Students and teachers alike are taken aback by the sight of the raging feral canine. This is a pretty decent-size event, but don’t drive yourself insane drawing kids and adults and tables. Although this panel is basically an establishing shot, feel free to fudge the details where you can. Joe and Stan try to get lost in the crowd in the hopes of shaking the devil dog. Dialogue here is from arbitrary spectators.
2 TEACHER:Hey, no pets without a leash!
3 STUDENT:I wish I had a dog.
4 OTHER STUDENT:Do dogs usually try to kill people?
Panel 3. Joe looks back to find the devil dog has switched its attention to a fifth grade GIRL who thinks the hellhound is positively adorable.
5 GIRL:Aww! You’re just so cu--
Panel 4. The devil dog swallows the girl whole (sound effect), a single shoe left behind for its efforts. Onlookers react with shock (sound effect).
Panel 5. Joe puts his hands to his head with grit teeth, more than a little disturbed at what he has just witnessed.
7 JOE:So much for man’s best friend!
Panel 1. More or less everyone in the general vicinity decides to flee for the exits at this point as the devil dog eats up a second child (sound effect). Dialogue again comes from an arbitrary spectator.
2 TEACHER:Run for your lives! In single file, of course.
Panel 2. By chance, Joe and Stan end up at the table of their rivals, WILL and KEITH. Will and Keith are both intellectual types, so glasses and a pocket protector might be an old easy standby for them. Incidentally, they are also wearing name tags. Stan leans over their table, head down, contemplating how everything went so wrong so fast. Joe meanwhile observes his rivals’ science project. The title of their project printed across their poster board is “RABBIT REPULSION GUNK.” Two very large jars filled with dark, stinky gunk sit in front of the poster. Will and Keith are as disturbed by the presence of a murderous demon dog as any, but they are at present too paralyzed with fear to move.
3 STAN:This is not how I wanted to win the science fair.
4 JOE:It’s not like gunk could be that hard to beat anyway.
Panel 3. Will, spurred back to life, sneers at Joe for his ignorance.
5 WILL:You think so, Joe? This gunk stinks to high heaven! By its disgusting nature, it deters rabbits from approaching all your garden vegetables.
Panel 4. Stan points a shaky finger at the devil dog as it encroaches ever closer upon them. The devil dog’s head is facing up as the force of gravity pushes a third child down its cavernous throat.
6 STAN:Do you think it deters demonic dogs summoned out of old library books too?
Panel 5. Keith gestures with a thumb his intention to high tail it out, using his other hand to grab Will by the shoulder.
Heck no! We’re out of here.
Panel 6. Joe puts a hand to his chin as he stares at the jars of gunk. No dialogue.
Panel 1. Joe abruptly dumps the contents of the jars all over Stan, turning him into a rancid, not-quite-Swamp Thing of a boy.
1 STAN:Hey! What are you doing?
Panel 2. Joe uses his elbow to nudge Stan into the direction of the arriving devil dog.
2 JOE:Just trust me.
Panel 3. The devil dog swallows Stan whole (sound effect).
Panel 4. Close up on the devil dog’s eyes which have begun to water. Its homicidal intent has been offset by an impending urge to vomit up Swamp Thing boy. No dialogue.
Panel 5. The devil dog throws up (sound effect) all four of the children that it had swallowed whole, a thick film coating their bodies. The vomited kids clearly look a little rough around the edges.
Panel 1. Joe stands with arms akimbo as Stan gives him a thumbs-up, stomach slime dripping off his hand. The devil dog has resigned itself to a seat on the floor, all tuckered out (sound effect) from hurling its lunch. A TEACHER approaches with a hand behind his back. The other barfed up students wobble away in a daze.
I’ll never doubt you again.
Panel 2. The teacher secures a large pink collar with accompanying leash to the devil dog. It looks in no way like an effective means of securing the animal.
That oughta hold him.
Panel 3. Two JUDGES, both wearing tags that say “JUDGE” on them, inspect Stan with great interest.
4 JUDGE #1:
Well, it doesn’t take a genius to see who wins this science fair.
5 JUDGE #2:
No, no it does not.
Panel 4. One of the judges awards First Prize ribbons to a nearby Will and Keith, both of whom beam with pride as the ribbons are attached. If you can squeeze in Stan’s disappointed reaction, that’s terrific.
6 JUDGE #1:
First prize goes to Will and Keith for their amazing anti-killer dog sauce!
Panel 5. An exhausted Stan and Joe share a bittersweet moment, having accidentally orchestrated the victory of their rivals.
Next year? Maybe we skip the black magic.
Next year? Maybe we skip the black magic.
I’m thinking a volcano.
Volcanoes are good.