Issue #4 - "Stop The Vote"
Written by Mikey Flowers
Art by Gustave Beauregard
Letters by Josephine Renaut.
Title at top of page.
Credits along bottom.
In between, include the following disclaimer: This is a work of satire. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the author, artist, or publisher.
Wide shot. Day. Open on the back of a farmhouse with a wide porch. Draw the scene from a high enough perspective that we can see the street and driveway behind the farmhouse. A man sits on the porch in a rocking chair.
Same shot, but now we see a car pulling into the driveway.
Same shot. We see two children, a boy and a girl, getting out of the car and running toward the front of the farmhouse.
PAGE 3 (SPLASH)
We see GRANDPA, the man on the porch up close. He's an elderly white man, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt. He wears a red hat. It's obviously old, and the white lettering has worn off over time. We can make out the letters: MA E MERICA GR T AG IN.
GRANDPA sits in the rocking chair, looking out at the back yard. On his knee, he holds a beer can in a faded red koozie. We can just make out the design on the koozie. It's an image of the Confederate flag, cracked and peeling.
The kids, RUPERT and KELLY, run onto the porch. GRANDPA sits on his rocker on the left side of the panel. RUPERT is older, about middle school aged. He wears a backpack. KELLY is an elementary school student. She carries a stuffed elephant. Both kids are blonde and blue eyed.
RUPERT: Hey, Grandpa.
KELLY: Hi, Grandpa!
GRANDPA grunts in greeting as the kids sit on the porch steps. KELLY sits on the left side of the steps and RUPERT sits on the right.
Close up on RUPERT, as he pulls a notebook out of his backpack.
RUPERT: Grandpa, can you help me with a project?
GRANDPA (from off-panel): Hmm.
RUPERT: I have to write an essay for Civics class.
GRANDPA (still off-panel): On what?
Wide shot of the porch.
RUPERT: The topic is "What did Thomas Jefferson mean when he said, 'The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants.' Do you think that statement still applies to today's world?"
KELLY: My friend Tasha says Jefferson was a rapesist.
GRANDPA: Watch your mouth.
RUPERT: I have no idea what to write. What do you think the answer is Grandpa?
Close up on GRANDPA, his brow furled in thought.
GRANDPA: This country has grown complacent, but it wasn't always like that. This country used to be great and people like me fought to keep it that way.
GRANDPA leans back in his rocking chair.
GRANDPA: Listen up, kids. Let me tell you about the time myself and some fellow patriots fought to protect the sanctity of democracy.
PAGE 6 and 7 (SPREAD)
We see hundreds of people gathered in front of the Capitol building in Washington DC. Many in the crowd carry flags that blow in the breeze. We see American flags alongside yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags and red flags that say, "TRUMP America First."
GRANDPA (narration): Back in 2020, the Democrats tried to steal the election. Lyin' Joe Biden had been fraudulently elected, stealing the presidency from President Trump. True Americans, like me, knew that we couldn't let that stand.
TIME STAMP: January 6, 2021. 12:17 PM
We see President TRUMP standing at a podium bearing the POTUS seal. Over his right shoulder, a fountain shoots a stream of water into the air. American flags wave on either side of the podium, forming the edges of the following scene as they flap in the breeze.
GRANDPA (narration): Congress was about to certify the election results and hand the election over to that pansy Joe Biden. I was in Washington DC, listening to the President give a speech.
TRUMP: After this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you. We're going to walk down to the Capitol.
TRUMP: We're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and -women.
TRUMP: And we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.
TRUMP: Because you'll never take back our country with weakness.
TRUMP: You have to show strength and you have to be strong.
PAGE 9 (SPLASH)
TIME STAMP: 12:29 PM
We see Trump supporters marching en masse down Constitution Avenue. GRANDPA is clearly visible toward the front of the moving crowd.
GRANDPA (narration): Before our leader had even finished speaking, many of us made our way toward the capital. He was calling us to action, and we were eager to respond.
For the next six panels, focus on the mob surrounding the Capitol building. Different shots of the crowd. A mix of close-ups on small groups and individuals as well as shots showing the scope of the crowd. Everyone is Caucasian, dressed in camouflage or clothing emblazoned with TRUMP.
TIME STAMP: 12:45 PM
GRANDPA (narration): On the west side of the Capitol building, those of us who had been at Trump's speech found hundreds of our fellow patriots already gathered.
GRANDPA (narration): Men and women of all ages, rallying together to protest injustice.
GRANDPA (narration): I fell in with a group of men close to my age. Thirty somethings from different walks of life. Factory workers like me, alongside other blue-collar folks, farmers, and even small business owners.
GRANDPA (narration): We were all united in distrust of the fake news media.
GRANDPA (narration): Aligned together against the crooked libtards and leftist extremists.
GRANDPA (narration): All of us came together to defend the country's honor. Ready to show our leader that we could be brave. That we had what it took to stand up for what was right.
TIME STAMP: 12:54 PM
The first barriers give way.
GRANDPA (narration): The Capitol police could only contain passion such as ours for so long. Soon our commitment to the cause overwhelmed them. The people at the front of the protest broke through the barriers and pushed past the cops.
The group surges across the Capitol lawn, making their way to just outside the building and the final set of barricades. A young GRANDPA in the foreground, his fist in the air, urging those in front of him forward. No one is wearing a mask.
GRANDPA (narration): We moved together. An army of patriots. An impromptu militia. Ready and willing to stand up for democracy.
TIME STAMP: 1:03 PM
We see MIKE PENCE and NANCY PELOSI standing side by side in the House Chamber. They are wearing masks.
GRANDPA (narration): Inside, the certification of the Electoral College results had begun.
We see TED CRUZ speaking on the floor of the Senate. He is maskless.
GRANDPA (narration): On the floor of both houses, our allies demanded the votes be thrown out.
Half page, from a perspective above and behind the crowd directly outside the Capitol building.
GRANDPA (narration): On the grounds, we chanted our support.
In big black letters above the heads of the crowd, the words "WHOSE HOUSE?" on left half of panel and the response of "OUR HOUSE!" on the right half.
TIME STAMP: 1:15 PM
Half page. Police officers in full riot gear arrive on the scene.
GRANDPA (narration): As both sides of Congress fought each other with words...
Half page. Rioters and police clash, spraying tear gas at one another.
GRANDPA (narration): We fought fire with fire, force with force.
PAGE 14 and 15 (Spread)
Aerial view. Directly above the grounds with the Capitol building in the center. Thousands of rioters congregate on the west and northwest sides of the building. Hundreds can be seen on the east side.
GRANDPA (narration): For nearly an hour, we pushed back against the police and we weren't alone. On the other side of the building, where less cops had been stationed, another group of true Americans was pushing closer and closer.
TIME STAMP: 1:58 PM
Police Officers move a barricade on the northeast side of the building. A man in a gray hoodie can be seen waving his arms at the mob, rallying them to move forward.
GRANDPA (narration): The tide was about to turn.
TIME STAMP: 2:00 PM
On the east side of the building, the mob breaks through the last barrier separating them from the Capitol building. We see police officers running up the east front steps of the building as the mob surges forward.
GRANDPA (narration): When the east barrier fell...
Wide shot. The mob is now gathered in front of the doors on the east side of the Capitol building.
GRANDPA (narration): a surge of awareness seemed to pass through the air...
GRANDPA as a young man. A close up on his face. He is wearing a MAGA hat, the letters are pristine.
GRANDPA (narration): and we knew our time had come.
TIME STAMP: 2:10 PM
The mob gathered on the west side of the Capitol building breaks through the barrier. They barrel past the police officers, knocking a few to the ground.
GRANDPA (narration): My faith in our cause was rewarded...
We see young GRANDPA scoop up a fallen riot shield.
GRANDPA (narration): I found myself at the front of the surging crowd.
Young GRANDPA runs up the steps of the Capitol building.
GRANDPA (narration): We were about to do it...
Young GRANDPA uses the riot shield to break a window.
GRANDPA (narration): We were about to stop the vote.
PAGE 18 (SPLASH)
TIME STAMP: 2:13 PM
Young GRANDPA stands in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda. He looks up in awe, the riot shield lays on the ground by his feet. A man in a Trump beanie walks past in the background, carrying the Speaker of the House's podium.
GRANDPA (narration): That was the first and only time I'd ever been inside the Capitol. As patriots scattered around me, I stood transfixed by the beauty of the room. Everything around me was chaos. People milling about, taking pictures and stealing things. Our movement had felt so organized before, but now, it all just felt too wild.
PAGE 19 (SPLASH)
Aerial view from the perspective of someone standing on top of the Capitol building and looking out at Pennsylvania Avenue. The street is flooded with people as far as the eye can see.
GRANDPA (narration): As pandemonium unfurled around me, I snuck out of the building, hoping that what my fellow patriots and I had done that day would be enough to make a difference.
Wide shot. Now we're back to the farmhouse's back porch. GRANDPA sits in his rocker, looking off into the distance. KELLY and RUPERT sit next to each other on the porch steps. KELLY looks amazed. RUPERT is busy writing in his notebook.
RUPERT: Did you Grandpa? Did you make a difference?
GRANDPA: Not really.
Close up on GRANDPA for Panel 2 through Panel 6.
GRANDPA: Jefferson was half right. The blood of patriots was spilled that day. One our own was shot and killed. Several cops died as well. Good men who were just trying to do their jobs.
GRANDPA: Unfortunately, tyranny won. Congress went on to certify the election results and Biden won the presidency.
GRANDPA: There were a few Congressmen who upheld their convictions and voted against the result, but their efforts weren't enough. After our showing at the Capitol, many once proud Republicans flipped and sided with the damn Democrats.
GRANDPA: Over the next few years, Trump's most avid supporters continued to spread messages of true conservatism, but the party was irreparably changed.
GRANDPA: As a political party, the Republicans became complacent and remained that way for many years. The country has gradually been handed over to immigrants, snowflakes, and welfare leeches.
Continue close up on GRANDPA, through Panel 2
GRANDPA: Sure, the Republicans would eventually retake the Presidency and the majority in Congress, but the party was never the same.
GRANDPA: After that day at the Capitol, the majority of Conservatives lost their inner fire. Bipartisanship became the norm.
Wide shot of porch.
GRANDPA: Once proudly held, the ideals of the GOP have slipped down the toilet right alongside the rest of the country.
Wide shot of porch. No one says anything. GRANDPA cracks open a new beer. RUPERT has put down his pencil and stares down at his notebook. KELLY anxiously fiddles with her shoelace, not looking at GRANDPA.
PAGE 22 (SPLASH)
Full view of back porch. GRANDPA raises the beer can toward his mouth and says:
GRANDPA: Well, Rupert? Does that answer your question?
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Oh wow. This was way different from your other stuff, but I enjoyed it all the same. As per usual, great description and such a sheet-music feel to it. It crescendos at all the right places, falling still almost on cue. It's just as lovely to read and imagine as listening to a piece of music.
Wow, that's a great compliment. Thanks so much!
Nice! You pulled the Trump quotes straight from the news, huh? That's a really nice touch. I like the ending too.
Yes, I used a NYT timeline to make sure I got the order of events right, and to accurately portray the time stamps. Thanks!
This is excellent, Michael. As a lifelong lover of graphic novels, I can say this is paced and composed perfectly. I can see the panels, the dialogue, and the onomatopoeia in vivid detail. Cassandra has articulated it beautifully by saying it reads like sheet music--as I believe all the best writing does. Loved this. : )
I enjoyed this, it was well written and I've never seen something written in graphic novel/comic strip format, so learned something new! Well done.
I think they way you went about this prompt is very unique. Did you write it in a play form because that's what this reminds me of? I think because you put it in a "play form" it made your imagery pop out a lot more and I think your story needed that so good job!! Overall I really like this story. You took a very eye-opening message and it was great!!! LOVE IT!!
Thank you. Less of a play and more of a written transcript of a radio broadcast. I love it when authors play with different formats in the same piece. So it's something I've been trying out as well.
Cool I really like the layout of it!! I'm ab to read the next one
I love that you did this, I have never seen a comic book script and I could picture the art clearly (it made me think a bit of Matt Bors, but that's probably just because he is a political cartoonist...) No big critiques, because it's a medium I do not know well, but it feels well done, and I feel inspired to play with it. My daughter (artist) and I are attempting a graphic novel together, and I may just have to write some scenes like this.
Thanks so much. I've been wanting to submit a comic book script for one of the prompts for awhile, and I finally found a good prompt. I had to re-do the formatting so that it was easily readable on Reedsy. I actually like the way it looks better on Word, with correct indentation, etc.. The story you wrote for the "unusual pets" prompt would make a cool graphic novel.
It's certainly something I am intrigued to play around with. I wish I had the art skill's to be able to do that part as well There is just not enough time in the day to focus on learning so many things!
Hi Michael, this was an excellent story! It was very different from your other stories, but that's what I liked about it. Your not afraid to push the limit with your imagination and creativity. The formatting of this was just as good as the story. I really enjoyed reading this my friend! Very, very well done :)