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The Official Bryan Talbot fanpage / Articles

Heart of Empire script example: from Popimage


When I asked Bryan to supply a script to compare his notes to the final version I had no idea what I would get, which then turned out to be the script for HofE, chapter 2. I greatly enjoyed reading the script, and I wish I could share the whole thing with you, but if I were to do it the way I intend to, it would take a while. Bryan warned me there was not much description of individual scenes, which is often the case if the writer is also doing the art or if the writer trusts his artist so completely that he does not need a detailed description, as in the relationship between Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

HEART OF EMPIRE has been nothing if not a visual extravaganza from chapter 1 to the current chapter 7. What stands out in chapter 2, though, is the first appearance of The Queen, Anne Regina Imperatrix.

The pages I have chosen to accompany the script are pages 46 and 47 of chapter 2, which depict the QueenĂs grand entrance. The scriptĂs transcript is in bold while my own comments are in normal font. The transcript is based on TalbotĂs original notes without the handwritten comments, which I will point out in my comments.

Page 46:

Splash. We see Anne in all her glory - she seems about 9' high including hair, her hooped skirt 12' across, puffed sleeves, huge lace collar with wings etc. Orb and scepter. An Elizabethan fever dream, she looks astounding. Superheroine costumes would look mundane besides this! Near her is her dwarf KENNETH (Kenny Baker of Star Wars), dressed in a braided military costume.

This first real look at the Queen of the Empire is a truly stunning piece of art. Flanked by her personal guards, here is a woman who radiates power and is not afraid to flaunt it. Kenneth appears on the previous page (45) rather than this splash page, as he is too far in front to be seen. This is something Talbot decided afterwards, and he indicates the new addition to the previous pages in the last panel with an arrow.

Page 47:

1. Inset, Hiram and Angie reaction shot.


2. Inset. CU Vicky, looking queasy, touching forehead.


As seen in the picture above Talbot chose to add the monk Barberini, who unlike Hiram and Angie, is not full of awe for Her Majesty, but rather has a look of contempt on his face. Vicky herself is not touching her forehead, but rather her temple, while sweating and grimacing due to pains as yet unexplained at this point in the series.

3. Inset; Beefy (Lord Chamberlain) holds up his arms and bellows.



4. Large. Anne is now ensconsed in a canopied, luxuriously curtained structure, surrounded by her entourage, facing the crowd.

Anne; Beloved subjects. In four days time We celebrate Victory Day, the anniversary of The Glorious Revolution, Our Accession to the Throne and the birth of the magnificent Adventure that is Our Empire.

5. Anne, not to CU.

Anne; For twenty-three years We have extended Our boundaries "wider still and wider" to bring The Pax Britannica to the four corners of the globe... provide for Our peoples, educate benighted savages andliberate other lands from petty tyrants and internal strife.

Indeed expansion has been the very lifeblood of Our enterprise.

6. Inset; Vicky, hand to mouth.

Vicky; *ulp*

The Lord Chamberlain does not lift his arms, as was the original intent. Also he has been given a new line: OUR GRACIOS QUEEN, WHOSE RICHEST EXCHEQUER IS HER PEOPLEĂS LOVE, THEIR HAPPINESS. HER GREATEST GLORY! ANNA REGINA IMPERATRIX! Not described here are the people surrounding the Queen, Kenneth stands slightly in front and on the QueenĂs right side and Vicky stands on her rigth slightly behind Anne. In front of Anne her guards stand menacingly and the crowd gazes on the awe-inspiring Queen. The Pax Britannica is of course Latin and stands for The Peace of Britain. Once more Talbot refers to history repeating, as this is a term originated in Rome when they started their campaign of conquest under the guise of bringing peace to the surrounding lands. Pax Romanis, The Peace of Rome led to the near total control of Europe by Rome for hundreds of years. These words spoken by Anne should give the reader a good idea about what is really happening in The Empire.

If what you just read had been written for another artist, that person would have had a free rein to do as he pleased, but as I said at the beginning, Talbot drew it all himself and therefore had most of the images in his head the whole time.

After having looked at how a script for a series like this is written and seeing what goes on behind the scenes, it seems increasingly clear that scripts should be collected and published. Up until now, few have published entire scripts and it is more common to see parts in books like WRITERS ON COMIC SCIPTWRITING. A look at the scripts will give the person reading it more insight into the creators thoughts as he writes, and thus greatly enhances the experience the book imparts on that person.

Many thanks to Bryan Talbot for the script draft and lettering draft.

The design and content of this page and this entire website is copyright 1999, 2006 by James Robertson: all images are copyright 1999, 2006 by Bryan Talbot