The Belbridge Mystery: The Lost Comic Strip

copyright Owen Quinn Mentara concept drawing by Stephen Mooney

By Owen Quinn author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues

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Long before the latest exciting book in the Time Warriors series debuted in full length novel form, it was almost a very different animal. At one point it was going to be a comic strip in one of Lightning Strike’s comic books. Alas due to various reasons it never happened.

There are some differences to the published book. The main change was the setting. Originally it was going to be a small town setting in modern day. It was still the Mentara who harvested the entire town’s population just as they did in the book. I changed it to the Wild West for the book so we got to see a bit more time travel and to give us a different perspective. I’ve always been fascinated by the Old Wild West and how it faded away to become the America we know at the turn of the century. In the comic version. It would have been a commentary on how we do not look round us any more and how the disappearance of an entire town either goes unnoticed or becomes the subject for a YouTube video. Who really looks out for their neighbours when how many likes we can get on social media is much more important than the welfare of others.

copyright Owen Quinn Scythe Mentara concept art by Stephen Mooney

Writing the comic script was my first time doing something like that so it was a real lesson. The dialogue had to be much sharper to allow the panels to flow better into each other. A good example of that is the sudden appearance of the town’s sole survivor jumping from the fountain just as Michael says ‘Nothing surprises me any more.’

In the book this role was taken by Elijah, the town’s resident gambler. Having grown up on comic books and shows like Doctor Who, cliffhangers have been a part of what draws me back to something whether it be comic strips or television. Who didn’t tune back in each week when the Doctor was in trouble? Let’s face it ‘I am Locutus of Borg’ left you you breathless for more as the end credits rolled. So we had to end it on a cliffhanger big enough to get the fans to buy the following issue. So the supermarket setting was replaced 2ith the horse stables for their shock appearance.

So I had the appearance of the Mentara in its full tarantula centaur form. I couldn’t wait to see if the artist caught what I saw in my head. It wasn’t to be sadly. It wasn’t until I met local artist Stephen Mooney. He has come closest to what I see the Mentara to be which to be honest was a god send. Hence I commissioned him to do the book cover. More than that he got what the Time Warriors were all about.

Copyright Owen Quinn Mace swinging Mentara concept art by Stephen Mooney

So here it is folks. The unmade first part of the Time Warriors The Belbridge Mystery. Oh and if any comic book companies out there want to adapt it drop me a line.

                                                    LIGHTNING STRIKE PRESENT

                                                          THE TIME WARRIORS

                                                    THE BELBRIDGE MYSTERY

                                                         WRITER: OWEN QUINN

                                                            PAGE NUMBER 1

Full page split into four images, lightning separates each one.

Image 1 Varran, mid thirties, thin face, sapphire eyes, white hair, short, dressed in black jumper, image is from the chest up portrait type. Image of an exploding planet in the background.

Worded like so: Varran, a scientist from a dead world, Xereba. He unlocked the secret to time travel, brought to Earth by a vision. He cannot age yet doesn’t know if he is immortal.He stands as the silent guardian angel of Earth.

Image 2: Jacke, black girl very beautiful, 24 years old,would remind you of Beyonce, again chest up portrait,long dark hair, almond eyes

Worded like so: Jacke (short for Jacqueline) Baker, an Irish girl descended from the survivors of Xereba. She is the calm in the storm and is a sensitive.

Image 3: Michael, stocky, brown hair, 20 years old, would remind you of Tyrone from Coronation Street, chest up portrait wearing an open necked checked shirt

Worded like so : Michael, an orphan from London, also a Xereban descendant, the dreamer who now lives the dream

Image 4: Tyran, girl of about 19, another child of Xereba, short bobbed hair dyed pink, pretty features, aquiline,

Worded like so: Tyran, the daughter of a multi millionaire, spirited and a technical genius.

They came from a world torn apart in a time experiment. They key to infinity became their death knell. The last survivors, huddled together in the Juggernaught, a military base craft, were led to Earth by a vision. Varran, the man behind the destruction, had seen the future. A darkness was coming to consume creation itself and the last battlefield lay on a blue green planet in a system of nine; Earth. Now they live among us, living by our laws and rules since the 19th century while Varran watches from above. They could be the lollipop man, your best friend, the banker or the old lady that watches the world from behind net curtains. Waiting for the call to battle when darkness falls. Now Varran along with Jacke, Michael and Tyran, descendants of the Xereban race are the guardian angels of Earth. They don’t know when or what form it will take but it is coming. Earth must be protected. They are the Time Warriors. 

PAGE TWO: 4 panels

Panel 1 close up of a pair of frightened male human eyes

  1. They used to say in space no one could hear you scream…

Panel 2 Man running down a dark alley in his dressing gown

           They lied….

Panel 3  Same man cowering behind bins expression of terror as shadows close in around him

On Earth no one can hear you scream amid a thousand others…

Panel 4 Something large and dark’s shadow falls over him, he is still cowering but is partially looking over his shoulder, terror etched on his face as he sees what looms up over him as the bins are scattered by something.

Because when the darkness came, our screams fell like angels from heaven as the darkness swallowed us all

Page 3: 5 panels

Panel 1: Widescreen shot of a street, papers blowing in a breeze as four figures materialize Star trek style; the beams are a double helix of blue energy. It’s Varran, Michael, Jacke and Tyran half formed as their bodies solidify in the beams. Varran dressed in black v neck jumper, three quarter length black coat and grey trousers with lace up brogues. Jacke in jeans, trainers, half jacket and top. Tyran is black top and bottom with black trainers. Michael is in t shirt and hoodies, again jeans and doc martins. The streets are littered with dead birds.

Wording: Welcome to Belbridge, population…god knows.

Panel 2

Medium close up of Varran as he looks about.

1 Quiet. Jacke, anything?

Panel 3 Jacke and Tyran standing by a parked car, Jacke holding a hand unit that resembles a mobile phone (in the overall story they take the place of tricorders and portable scanners. They are disguised as mobiles to prevent drawing attention but if stolen they self destruct if someone hacks or tries to use it). She looks puzzled.  Tyran pokes a dead bird with her foot.

1 Jacke: I’m not getting anything. The town’s empty. And dead birds freak me out.

Tyran: Very Resident Evil. First zombie has a go at me, it’ll wish it were dead.

Michael: Zombies are dead as in walking dead

Tyran: Details, details

Panel 4 Michael trying the door of a pet shop, it opens for him.

1 I can tell you this for nothing. Whatever happened, happened fast. Bunny got fried.

Panel 5: Wideshot of the inside of the pet store. Every animal is dead.

Page 4 4 panels

Panel 1 All four together now

1Varran: The Juggernaught systems picked up some bizarre readings from here five hours ago.

2 Tyran: Five hours? We’re a bit late then

3 Jacke: Wouldn’t like to send you for a midwife

Panel 2 Varran: You don’t understand. Somehow, the energy wave didn’t register in normal time until well after the event.

Panel 3 Michael looking mischievous

Michael : Timey Wimey?

Panel 4: Varran looking grim.

You need to stop watching those sci fi shows but essentially yes. Question is how does a town full of people just disappear without a trace? We need a vantage point.

Page 5: Six panels

Varran and Jacke standing on top of a building looking down over the Town Square in which Tyran and Michael are standing. There is an angel fountain and Michael is standing on it. Jacke is scanning with her hand unit, a dead pigeon on the ledge before them while Varran is looking perplexed deep in thought.

1 Jacke: Much as I feel sorry for them, I’m glad the streets aren’t full of dead humans.

Varran: Must be some sort of temporal sonic boom. Kills animals instantly. Never seen anything like it.

Panel 2: Wideshot of something watching the Time Warriors from the shadow of an alleyway. Only a distorted shadow is seen, so you don’t know whether it’s human or not.

Panel 3: Michael and Tyran at the fountain. Tyran sitting on the edge, Michael tossing pebbles into the water.

Michael: It amazes me.

Tyran: What does?

Michael: They say the world is small with the net yet nobody’s even noticed this place has gone quiet.

What does that say about us?

Tyran: My dad once said the world exists in mobiles and laptops. People have forgotten how to even say hello. They could walk over a dead body just to make sure they don’t miss the latest celeb gossip.

Michael: End of the world for fifteen minutes of fame. Nothing ever surprises me anymore.  

Panel 4: The water erupts as a figure jumps from the water smashing into Michael. It is covered in a black tarpaulin tied at the wrists and ankles with eyes and a mouth cut for air. Tyran caught in the tussle.

Panel 5: Jacke close up as she looks down at their cries.

Jacke : Jesus!

Panel 6 : Tyran face down as she grabs something the figure has dropped from beside her. It’s a straw. Her expression is a mixture of alarm and puzzlement.

Page 6 4 panels

Panel 1:Tyran and Michael in pursuit of the figure. Tyran has a weapon drawn and fires succession of laser bolts as she runs. They miss.

Panel 2: Jacke and Varran running across the square. Varran tracking the others with his hand unit.

1 Varran: Take the next left Jacke. We’ll head them off!

2 Jacke: So much for no one left. These hand units suck!

Panel 3: Figure disappears into a store with large glass panel window just as Michael and Tyran round the corner.

Panel 4 Michael and Tyran flatten themselves either side of the door. Tyran has weapon raised as has Michael.

Michael: Love it when we go all Starsky and Hutch

Tyran: Did I ever tell you you’re a knob?

Michael: On many occasions but you love me really?

Tyran: Not if you were the last man, maybe second last.

Page 7: 6 panels

Panel 1 Wideshot, Varran and Jacke arrive. They have their backs to the reader facing toward Michael and Tyran.

Tyran: About time. It’s in there.

Jacke: Is it human? I can’t get proper readings. Area is drenched in temporal fallout.

Varran: Did you get a good look at it?

Michael: No too busy chewing grass at the time. It would have been really cool if our alien ancestors had gotten super powers like Superman when they go to Earth. All we get is blisters and sunburn.

Panel 2 Varran leads the way, silhouetted in the doorway, no weapon as he doesn’t believe in them.

Varran: Hello? We’re here to help. We won’t harm you.

Panel 3: It’s a grocery store so moving along the aisles. Shelves packed with food.

Michael: Whispers: Where the hell is he?

Panel 4 The figure leaps from cover at Varran but he puts him down.

Panel 5: They pull back the hood to reveal a black woman , short hair and unconscious.

Varran: What the…

Panel 6: Medium close up of Jacke as she hears something, a clik, clik, clik

Her expression is filled with fear as she sees something.

Jacke: Varran…..

Page 8 full page one panel

The window explodes inwards as a creature burst through it.

This is the Mentara, one of the big bads from the books.

It has the body of a tarantula but is the size of a race horse. Six powerful legs hold its bulbous body up and it is covered in thick spiny hair with red colourings along the body.Worst of all is there is a human like torso at the front as if someone grafted the upper half of a human body to the tarantula body but it is arachnoid also with mandibles and compound eyes. The red colouring running from the bulbous part of the body also run along its barrel chest. It has four arms, same covering as the rest of its body with a  spear in one of its hands. It rears above them glaring down evilly.

(When you picture this it’s as if someone crossed a centaur with a giant spider.)

End of part one

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