Terminator vs. Predator: The Verdict
By: Marcell von dem Berge
I am a graphic design student from Germany and have been a hobby comic artist for many years now. Having written and partially drawn a complete virtual new season of "Battlestar Galactica" (the classic series), I was looking for a new challenge. After all those space battles and Cylons I wanted to know whether I was able to draw hard action characters, too. I've always been a big Terminator fan, T3 was about to hit the theatres, so it was clear to me that my next trip would take me into the world of the Terminator.
When I started writing in March 2003, I wanted to make a short story with some cliffhangers and a big climax at the end. The T-800s should be prominent, and the Predator should have some great scenes. However, the project soon developed a life of its own. What first was supposed to be a one-shot of 28 drawn pages (which would mean 8 or 10 pages of script) somehow became a tale of epic proportions (101 pages of script which would mean between 300 and 400 drawn pages). Like the Cyberdine people I was completely overwhelmed by my own creation.
However, I always wanted to draw it. But new projects came in, and "TvP: The Verdict" had to wait. Some day I realized that it would not be possible to produce the whole comic in a reasonable amount of time, but I didn't want the fans to wait any longer for this thrilling experience. So I decided to make a trailer in order to give the audience a slight idea of what I had in mind when I was writing and to have everything released "as is".
It would be really nice if I could find some Terminator and Predator fans capable of producing fine artwork and interested in bringing the complete comic to life. However, the final result should be able to cope with Top Cow productions; just look at the art of Michael Turner ("Witchblade", "Fathom") and you know what I mean. "TvP: The Verdict" should simply blow you away.
If you are interested in partnering with me on this project (skills needed)... be sure to check for contact info contained within the downloadable full script "TvP: The Verdict"... and maybe we'll talk soon on providing the fans around the world with the best comic crossover ever ;-) .
Download Script and Trailer (ZIP, 27.9 MB), by Marcell von dem Berge.
I've always loved The Terminator and the work of James Cameron and Stan Winston. T2 is still one of my favourite movies, and despite its age it is still one of the most powerful productions of all times. I was thrilled by the idea to make my own Terminator comic, however, I hadn't done anything like that before. When it comes to such a huge project, the first question to be answered is always the hardest: What should it all be about?
The original idea was to write a prequel to T2 which ended just where the movie started. A "Judgment Day" needed a "Verdict", I thought, and so I had a nice subtitle. However, having finished the first draft I found out that a similar story had already been published. Because I'm not a fan of infinity stories in which one and the same plot is told in a different way, there were two options: discarding everything or rewriting it. I chose the latter which was actually quite simple. The T-1000 turned into the T-1010, the time machine was destroyed before the leap and Cyberdine's main facility became Amtech Industries. In the end I was glad that I had been freed from T2 because the new premise gave me more freedom concerning T-101's condition. In the first draft he was not allowed to be damaged since he appeared in perfect shape in 1995 L. A. Now I could rip his skin off his face and let him wrestle with a T-800.
Another point which was imperative to me was not to interfere with previous publications in order to avoid logical mistakes. That was a big problem because in Germany it is sometimes very difficult to keep up with stories which are originally published in the USA. So I focused on new characters and tried not to harm the established ones. John is still there, but Kate is absent (mainly to shorten the story); I gave John and Kate a tomboy daughter named Sarah (which seemed logical to me since Cameron's universes are known for their strong women), and there is a new group of outlaws, pirate-like soldiers of fortune led by the mysterious and eccentric Challenger West. Everything that does not correspond with previous events may be explained by alterations in the time line due to the constant use of time travels.
In addition, TvP should be as close to the movies as possible. That included not only huge action scenes and strong characters but also lifelike dialogues (including slang) and a state-of-the-art performance. Unfortunately, many of the Terminator, Aliens and Predator comics which had been made thus far never fully pleased me because of their inadequate presentation. The characters didn't look like the real actors, the colours were dull and - there were no exploding heads. "TvP: The Verdict" should be different. It should look like a drawn movie with excellent artwork, handsome characters which also resemble their real-life counterparts, much humor and kick-ass öktschn (= action). In short, "TvP" should look like a Top Cow production ("Witchblade", "The Darkness", "Spawn").
Connection to the movies
Everything was written around the breath-taking battle scene at the beginning of T2. I was intrigued by the scarred face of John Connor, a man who didn't have any lines but whose mere presence was telling a whole story. I wondered what was going on in his mind when he was observing the battle from the distance. The determination in his face told me he was watching a human attack, carefully planned, precisely executed. But what led to this event? I was eager to find out.
A helluva guest star
However, simply describing a single 'battle of the day' seemed too trivial to me. There was so much more to tell. I wondered what life in a destroyed environment would be like, with insufficient supplies, limited food, and how people would respond to it. So the daily struggle of survival should be an essential part of the play, however, it should not be completely fatalistic or even larmoyant (which means that everybody is crying and complaining about everything all the time). So I added a lot of humour.
But I still wanted more, something special. Something... or someone. That was where the Predator came in. I felt that was a neat idea because he is a famous crossover character and a Stan Winston creature, too, and I've never seen a Terminator/Predator crossover comic that I really liked. In addition, combining the two shows would create some interesting twists. When you make the Predator a part of the Terminator universe, wouldn't it be more plausible that Major Schaeffer served as a model for T-101's outer appearance? He was the ultimate fighter, a resourceful warrior even capable of coping with a Predator. Of course, there is Sergeant Candy. However, he could be Schaeffer's half brother (two fathers, same mother; don't want to know what the mother would have looked like though ;-).
The final story
More ideas came together, and all of a sudden I had 101 pages of script - a symbolic number.
In the year 2029, a Predator is on his way to the next hunt. Passing by earth, he receives strange readings which makes him explore the situation. He soon finds out that a devastating event has taken place and that some strange beings are about to exterminate his prey. Conducting further research on his own, he accidentally gets knocked out and is discovered by some humans assuming that he is some kind of mutant. When they take him to their base, a T-800 patrol discovers his vessel. John finds out that it contains a time machine of unknown origin which could enable Skynet to send not only living tissue but also hardware through time. Terminators could be sent to the past fully armed. With the aid of a group of pirates he prepares a massive attack against Skynet's tactical facility in order to destroy the machine and to allow the Predator to go home. But the attack soon turns into a suicide mission...
Limitations (The apology)
When you read the script, you always have to keep in mind that "TvP" is supposed to be a comic. So, think in pictures. Unfortunately, due to a massive lack of time I was not able to draw the whole thing. I present it to you "as is" because I don't want you to wait any longer for this epic adventure. To give you a slight idea of what I had in mind when I was writing I chose some key scenes and turned them into a trailer. Especially the coloured pages show you how 'TvP: The Verdict' would look like if I had the time to make it.
Maybe I will colour more pages and/or make some more some day (the future is not set, you know). But at the moment I am rather busy. However, if anyone is artistically talented and interested in turning the script into a comic, feel free to contact me through the contact info available within the script download.
I tried to make it right and to write a Terminator/Predator crossover that I really wanted to see. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Download Script and Trailer (ZIP, 27.9 MB)
Have fun and - don't lose your head!
Check out some images from this FanProject.
Left click to open gallery interface and/or right click to save.
Bonus: How to draw
I was asked how I make my drawings. Well, if you really want to know everything, I would be forced to send you a Terminator ;-) . However, there are some things which can be revealed.
Everything starts with a white sheet of paper on which I pencil a sketch of the motif I have in mind. The first draft may be a real mess, with thick and thin lines, guide lines and notes everywhere, but that doesn't matter since it will soon be improved. I trace it and clean it up (maybe multiple times if necessary), add detail and ink the outline. While inking, more detail is added in order to give the motif its final shape. The picture is cleaned up again before it is scanned. In the computer the scan is cleaned up once more. This may sound somewhat repetitive, but preparation is the essence. If you don't have a proper outline it is almost impossible or at least very difficult to correct any flaws later. Then colour, text and effects are applied, and when everything looks good enough it is saved as .bmp or .jpg. In my opinion colouring and adding effects is the fun part of it because in this step you can bring your creations to life.
For colouring I use an Aiptek graphic tablet which serves me well. The first image in this FanProject (pic001.jpg) derived from my pre-tablet times which explains why it looks a bit flat. And - no, I don't use Photoshop. Why not? Well, because I can't afford it. Hence I prefer a highly sophisticated free Photoshop alternative featuring a funny fox ;-).
In the step by step analysis of the last image of this FanProjects page (pic024.jpg) you can see how the picture evolves: First, there is a sketch (1). Then comes the outline (pencil stage omitted, ink stage in 2), colour (3), the background (4) and finally the special effects and/or text (5). In this example only the outline actually exists; everything else was created virtually in the computer (the Matrix defnitely has us).
Click a specific thumb to see more (opens in new window).