Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The current Straitjacket Ninja script I'm working on is numbered 17. Six-pages in which the nutty ninja interacts with a stray cat.
I'm a cat person. We have two-and-a-half of them. Two we feed, stroke, de-flea, talk to, and play with. The half-a-cat is one that sneaks in late at night and eats whatever the other two have left behind. This stray black and white cat is old, judging from the fur at it's temples, and very cautious. It has let me stroke it twice, purring each time, but it doesn't seem to want to repeat the petting in a hurry.
My wife is less enamoured with the half-a-cat than I am, mainly because it has been responsible for occasional puddles of pee in various corners of the house. However, she puts up with my attempts to make this stray our third cat. She is a very understanding woman.
The stray cat in the script is black and orange, because that's the colour specified in the classic song, Stray Cat Strut by the Stray Cats. I've borrowed and adapted snippets of lyrics and the title, from the song for the story. Our straitjacketed ninja envies the freedom of the cat, and reveals some of the mixed-up workings in his less-than-sane mind.
I found this episode slow to write because it focuses on the twisted logic of the hero. The first incarnation of SN back in the 90s was a very one-dimensional character -- based on a stand-out doodle of Simon's on a page of random ideas. This time around we have worked hard to make SN something more than a one-joke parody while still retaining the silly and wacky things that made him locally popular in the first place.
I quickly constructed the skeleton of the script, noting down what needed to happen on each page, coming up with the actions of the cat. But the words coming from the mouth of our straitjacketed hero eluded me. I knew the kinds of things he needed to say in order to make it a story. I knew what drives him, how he sees the world. But for some reason the words wouldn't some out of his lips.
For the last few days I kept coming back to the script. Deleting a line or two. Adding some punctuation. Messing with it, but not really getting anywhere. Then one night after a few glasses of wine, when the sleep deprivation from living in a house with a wee baby was really starting to take its toll, the ramblings of Straitjacket Ninja just poured out. My zonked brain was in just the right mood to channel the speech of the insane one.
All that remains now is to add some panel descriptions and tidy things up and another script will be done. I'm already churning away on the next one in my head.
Art copyright Simon Morse