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Steven Forbes 05-13-2016 10:44 PM

TPG Week 281: The End Of An Era
Welcome back, one and all, to the last installment of The Proving Grounds.

Yes, the last. I've been saying it for a few weeks now, and the day has finally arrived. This is the last one.

All things must come to an end, and this column's time has come around...again.

The bulk of you don't know that this is the second time I've done this column. It used to be over at Project Fanboy (which turned into the now-defunct Fanboy Buzz), and ran for about a year. I stepped away from it because I picked up a client who was supposed to have a massive job for me, but that fizzled.

Then Tyler James and I started ComixTribe, and the goal was to give creators something they couldn't get anywhere else: good, free information and help situated under one roof. I've written various columns over the years, but the two that creators have found most helpful have been Bolts & Nuts and The Proving Grounds.

Six years. Hell, I'll call it six and a half. I've had to do some recruiting for scripts every so often, but six and a half years of doing this weekly takes its toll. To be honest, I'm shocked it lasted this long. I'm not easy, and yes, some of it is showmanship, but some of it is also an outlet for the truly crappy scripts that have come through.

Yes, a lot of it is usery. Most of the writers who come through here wanted to take advantage of the free editing. The overwhelming bulk of writers, actually. I don't mind overmuch. I've been able to help those who wanted to be helped, and that's what this entire adventure was all about.

Click here to read more.

Artloader 05-14-2016 10:13 AM

Wow that is a long list of names! Thank you Steven for keeping this going for the last 6 and a half years! I only discovered TPG relatively recently but I feel that it has put me on the road to Comic Scripting Enlightenment! I for one will be continuing to browse the TPG archives and Nuts and Bolts.

Steven, I hope this frees you up for whatever you wish to pursue next and I wish you the best of luck mate :).

Frank, congratulations for making it through as the last submitter! I enjoyed your script and found it to be thought-provoking. It made me think about greed, gratitude and keeping promises.

As Steven pointed out though, I did feel that there were a few contextual questions that you could have answered to give your story more punch. What was the importance of her One Rule "Never speak a word of where I came from"? Maybe the man's behaviour could have continued to worsen with the woman enduring everything until her One Rule was broken?

Anyway keep going and good luck with your projects Frank :).

SamRoads 05-14-2016 08:02 PM

Thank you Steven. I've learned more from from ComixTribe than any other comic resource. Good things seem to be happening in my comic career and I'm grateful to you (and also especially Yannick) for helping me.


scrappy 05-15-2016 03:29 PM

Thank you Steven.

To give a little context, this story was created for a contest to create a five page short. The theme was African mythology and my goal was to do a modern re-telling of this:

Thanks again.

Screwtape Jenkins 05-15-2016 07:07 PM

Thanks for all the help you've given me and everyone else who submitted, Steve. That column will be missed.

DarkHalf05 05-16-2016 10:35 PM


A close up of the bubbling surface as we see an old, ugly woman emerging from the water. She is wearing an old, tattered cloak. Her wet hair is long a clumpy, which barely covers her wart-ridden face with its long nose and asymmetrical cheeks. Like a cliché Halloween witch. (This isn’t the best visual. Not the best explanation. Ryan? It looks like you’re up early. I have two different visions of this: Excalibur’s Lady of the Lake where the woman stayed submerged but she was able to stick her hands out of the water to give/retrieve the sword, and someone rising/descending vertically. I don’t want you to draw them both. I want you to draw what you think is best, based on what’s given.)
Can it be that time is here already? Here is this week's panel, one last time.


The trickiest thing with this panel description is that it calls for a close up, but what is being described sounds more like a medium shot...with the face, cloak, and bubbles. I opted to go with a best of both worlds approach, using a medium shot to be sure to include all the detail asked for, but kept it as a tight shot to make it feel like a close up of the character.

Reading the description, the visual I got was the rising vertically one. Even after reading the edits with the different suggestions for approaching it, I decided to keep it the way I initially pictured it. Looking at the script, I felt that this was the best option for the story. If the woman was submerged, she would have to slightly distorted to show she is under the water. By having her already out of the water we get a clear visual of the character and no risk of reader confusion. Is it likely that that would happen? I dunno. But I do know that clear story telling is always a better option, so that route I shall take!

Also, I like how having her out of the water helps the story come full circle to how it ends, with the people entering the water.

That's all I have for this week. A short and simple one to end on. Fun stuff, Frank, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your work and picking up Modern Testament #2 soon! No sleep for you. Back to work making more stories!

DarkHalf05 05-16-2016 10:56 PM

I have to give a big thanks to Steven for all that he has done here. I've learned so much over the last four years since I found the TPG column, and have been reading it weekly since. ComixTribe's columns have educated me in more ways than I can count, and have helped me grow as a creator.

Just as big of a thank you to all the other editors that have been a part of TPG. It's been great having Steve back over the last couple weeks. Who can forget Yannick's 8000 word essays that accompanied each weeks script? I got to meet Sam at NYCC two years ago, and her words were very inspiring. And Liam, whom I have had the absolute pleasure of bringing one his scripts to life over the last two years (which was a TPG submission!). You're time each week has been informative.

And, of course, a big thanks to all the regulars out there. I've always learned just as much from the forums as I have from the columns. Having different perspectives on stories really opens one's eyes to how they can be interpreted and improved. I'll miss that, for sure.

If anyone ever has any questions, and definitely when you have some books to pick up (I want to keep up with what you all are doing the best I can), don't hesitate to hit me up with an email. I can be reached at

Keep in touch, everyone!

gmartyt 05-17-2016 01:53 AM

Those captions, man. They're not necessarily bad, but the fact that they're there means that everything that happens in the first three pages has already happened. Being told/shown what has already happened isn't very interesting. Put the reader in the moment.

Based on the link you provided, your story seems to be missing two important things: the fact that the man lost everything and the fact that the Lady of the Lake seemed to do everything. I get the analogy of people as cattle, but, as Steven mentioned, he still has all the money he already earned. As for the other part, it seems like one of the main points is that the man didn't earn his wealth by himself, while in your version he did (or at least seemed to), which completely changes the meaning of the story.

gmartyt 05-17-2016 02:38 AM

I had a big, long speech prepared, but I can't remember it, so I'll just hit the main points.

Thanks for not letting me ruin my stories.

Thanks for creating a community to discuss the ins and outs of comics.

Most of all, thanks for caring.

Everyone else, thanks for being you. You managed to take something great and make it even better.

SeanIanMills 05-18-2016 09:34 AM

Thanks for The Proving Grounds! It's taught me a lot, both in my own submissions and in reading all the others. Hopefully some of it has actually stuck in my brain and I'll write better from here on out.

Kiyoko, Rin 05-20-2016 07:07 AM

Alas, the end of an era. And what an era it was - 281 installments is a great effort of time, commitment and effort.

I'm so grateful TPG existed, and I learned loads - from Mr Forbes, the other editors, from Mr Kroboth, from the legion of Brave Ones, and the great community chipping in their two cents on the forum. (Hmm. I wonder how much mental currency has been spent on these boards over the 6 and a half years.)

So thank you, Mr Forbes. Best wishes and best of luck for your future endeavours.

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