I recently wrote the first half of a graphic-novel adaptation of a Sherlock Holmes story for my "writing for comics" media seminar. Much like the seminar, this piece is kind of a dry-run for the novel I intend to write one of these days (from which this blog derives its name, by the way), addressing similar themes and using the same sort of style. I'm rather proud of how this one turned out so rather than let it languish forever unknown in the depths of UCT's media department, I've posted a copy below. It's the script for an 8-page comic so it has panel descriptions (not labeled due to having to import it from the program that lists them automatically) which you can skim over to get the general idea, and dialogue expressed through balloons represented by the name of the character speaking with the words under it. There are also semi-dialogy captions which are described in the panel descriptions and are followed by a colon. Here's an example of how the pages go:
Page X - 1 panel
STEVE is standing in a field and talking to himself. Caption top left (panel description)
(Narrator): Steve was talking to himself one sunny day... (caption - basically one of those square text boxes that aren't speech balloons)
Which you could use your fancy shmancy imagination to deduce would look something like this:
but, you know, good.So without further Ado:
Setting: London 1960s
Page 1 - (8 panels - 3x3 grid of panels with the last two(i.e. bottom-right) panels merged to make a panel that is double the usual width)
DOBSON (White collared shirt with maroon tie, black pants, black shoes) is sitting at his desk, on a swivel chair (over the back of which a brown waistcoat is draped), in his office (darkened, 3.5m x 3.5m, sterile white colour motif), writing something (presumably paperwork related to his medical practice). We view him from his left side in a semi-profiling medium shot: the whole left side of his face is visible and illuminated by the light of a small ceiling fan (only about 7.5 feet off the ground due to the office's low, cramped ceiling). A small fraction of the right side of his face is visible, but is basked in shadow. The tired and morose-looking DOBSON is writing with a pencil. The surface of DOBSON's desk (placed against the room's Western wall, assuming the door faces North, as we shall do from now on for the purposes of description) is mostly visible, but its left edge is hidden off panel ('under' the panel). On the rightmost edge of this surface is an intercom (to communicate with the secretary, DEIDRE) the papers DOBSON is writing on are in the middle of the desk. On the left-hand side of the room's Northern wall (furthest from the reader, facing him/her) is a sturdy wooden door (hinged on its right) which has been bolted on its left side (despite the fact that it leads to his private practice's reception area), keeping the outside world where it is. A caption (black text on pale blue background- indicating that Dobson is thinking) is placed against the top-left corner of the panel.
Similar to Panel 1, but looking at DOBSON from his right side. The lighting on DOBSON's face has swapped sides (now illuminating the right side of his face because he has turned his chair slightly clockwise, making his right side face the ceiling-light. Mirroring panel 1, his face's left side is partially visible, but covered in shadow.). DOBSON (HOLMES), distracted from his work, is leaning back in his chair and examining his pencil with deep, contemptuous scrutiny, as if trying to deduct its entire life story from its every scratch and blemish (any alternative to dull paperwork, which HOLMES strongly resents having to sit through). On the Southern wall (where the North wall was in the last panel) to the left is a curtain presumably covering a window (the curtain is crimson with maroon lining, framing the view of the outside world with passionate colours that are in stark contrast to the rest of the room). To the curtain's right is an analog clock that shows that it is 11:00PM. The left edge of the desk is now visible, on which a tobacco-pipe lies. A caption (black text on pale orange background, indicating Holmes is thinking) is placed against the right edge of the panel (under the clock, above the desk, to DOBSON's right).
Profiling close-up of the left-side of DOBSON's face, illuminated again as in Panel 1. He looks like he is sternly concentrating on his work (off panel, to the bottom left, to which his head is pointing). The left edge of the office door (specifically its bolt) is visible on the right side on the panel. A DOBSON-caption lies against the top-left corner, as in panel 1.
Like Panel 2, but DOBSON is now looking at the clock (which now reads 11:05PM), stretching (arching his back , arms raised and bent, clenched fists) and letting out an audible yawn. There is a Holmes caption as there was is panel 2.
A medium profiling shot of DOBSON's left side. He looks strained and angry. His eyes are squeezed shut. His teeth are clenched, as are his fists which are pressed hard on the edge of his desk closest to him. The visible left side of his face is less illuminated than usual, shadow having crept westwards from the back of his head to his cheek. A DOBSON-caption fills the top of the panel.
Close up profile shot of DOBSON's face (right side), looking up at the ceiling (and, incidentally, the top-right panel in which Dobson's face's left side is looking down). His eyes are half open and his mouth is smirking lightly, giving him an expression of serene smugness in stark contrast to his strained frustration in the previous panel. A HOLMES-caption is above him.
Medium shot facing DOBSON's front directly. DOBSON has swiveled his chair 180 degrees and is now facing away from his desk. He is seemingly in actual mental pain now. His face is stretched into a tense grimace, his eyes are jammed shut and his left hand is pressed firmly into his left temple. His right hand is still on his desk, beginning to take hold of his pipe. Shadow has all but consumed the left side of DOBSON's face, while light seems to gradually be filling the right side. A DOBSON-caption is placed against the upper-left corner of the panel, and a HOLMES-caption is placed to its right, as low as possible without overlapping with DOBSON's head.
Extreme close up of DOBSON's head, which takes up all of the panel's vertical space, and about 2/3 of its horizontal space (placed in the middle). DOBSON's head is bowed forward, facing the reader directly, the left side of his face (to the reader's right) is completely bathed in shadow, as is the background. His illuminated right-side of his face holds an expression of smug, cruel vindication. His smile is wide and thin, and his eyes look straight at the reader. DOBSON's right hand is visible in the left of the panel, holding his pipe and pressing it into the right corner of DOBSON's mouth (once again, to the reader's left). A small HOLMES-caption is placed against the top edge of the panel, in the middle.
Page 2 - 7 Panels. 3x3 grid, Panels 1 and 3 double width.
Frontal medium wide shot of Dobson sitting behind his desk (torso+arms and most of desk's surface visible). He is almost fully illuminated now (his face completely so). He looks surprised by the sudden transmission emanating loudly from the intercom on his desk. His arms are near to their prior position, but jolted slightly out of place. He has dropped his pipe which is seen hanging in mid-air, just outside his grasp and on its way to the floor.
(Jagged balloon - tinny intercom sound)
Medium shot of Dobson on the floor who is fumbling for his pipe on the the underside of his desk. His torso is facing downwards (parallel with floor), his right arm is on the floor, supporting him. His left arm and head are turned towards his pipe which is deep under the desk (face turned away from the reader and not visible). There is a Holmes caption and a Dobson one in the upper left and bottom right corners of the panel respectively.
Same as Panel 2, but DOBSON (now possessed by HOLMES) is holding up his recovered pipe with both hands, carefully inspecting its hole for leftover tobacco. His brow is furrowed thoughtfully (as it most often is when HOLMES is in control) and his mouth is pouting slightly in an expression of disappointed contemplation. There is a Dobson and Holmes pair of captions as in Panel 2.
Dr. Dobson, answer me please.
Close up of HOLMES' hand pressing the intercom's button. A small DOBSON caption in in the top left and a HOLMES one is in the bottom right.
Um, Yes Deidre? Did you want me- I mean, did you need something?
Ah, at last. Come down to reception please, Doctor. We've an emergency.
Oh dear me. I'll come as quickly as possible.
Full body shot of HOLMES in the process of getting up from his desk and picking his waistcoat from the chair. His whole face is visible, and holds an expression of Holmesy smugness. A Holmes caption is in the bottom right.
As in Panel 5, but HOLMES (now wearing his waistcoat) is now standing and beginning to turn towards the door. He is putting his pipe in his waistcoat's inner pocket. He looks a bit annoyed. A Dobson/Holmes caption pair (as in panels 2&3) is visible.
Medium close up of the back of the left 2/3 of HOLMES' torso (including head)up against the office door. HOLMES has his right hand on the doorknob (bottom left of the panel) and seems to be leaning against it: waiting to act until his mental conflict is resolved. HOLMES' head is turned slightly to the left and what is visible of his face is cast in shadow. Four captions (Dobson-Holmes-Dobson-Holmes)begin at the top middle of the panel, going down and to the right as space allows.
Page 3 - 8 panels, 3x3 grid. Second panel double width.
Frontal body shot of DOBSON emerging from the other side of the aforesaid door, entering a very short passageway. He is still holding the door handle and has put his left foot carefully forward. He holds an expression of weary apprehension. His whole face is illuminated (as it will be from now on unless otherwise stated). He is talking to the unseen DEIDRE. On the wall to the right of the doorway, some Doctor's certificates are hung (DOBSON puts them there to build clients' confidence in him, though he can't bear to look at them himself). A Holmes caption is placed on the upper right side of the panel, next to Dobson's head.
(To DEIDRE) Yes fina- um...you needed me for something Deidre?
Long shot of the reception area of DOBSON's practice from his current perspective. Opposite the reader is the room's 'northern' wall, which has a door, a window and a coat rack holding a coat placed against it. The room has the slightly warmer motif than the office, as it has wooden flooring and off-white walls. Its windows (with a view of the street) are barred and draped with white curtains. The only other colour in the room (people aside) comes from a small collection of potted flowers arranged neatly on the reception desk (partly visible on panel left - its left border is against the western wall and its back is near the southern wall, of which we see the corner on the far left). The left edge of the door of the practice is visible in the background (panel right). A table topped with magazines is in the centre of the room, in front of six soft-looking felt chairs. These chairs are lined along the western wall. DEIDRE and KATE Whitney are sitting on the 4th and 5th chairs from the left respectively. DEIDRE is dressed in a floral dress and woman's vest. Her hair is held back by a blue Alice-band and some reading spectacles hang from a string around her neck. Her outfit gives the impression that while she holds some regard towards workplace formality, DOBSON lets her get away with as much casualness as she wants. DEIDRE is looking at DOBSON and talking to him. Her head is slightly tilted to the right and her expression both displays and evokes sympathy. Her hand is placed tentatively on the hunched shoulder of KATE, who is sitting bent over with grief in the chair to DEIDRE's left (panel right). KATE is dressed in a long black overcoat that looks recently rained-on, and she wears a black bonnet. Her hands cover her face as she weeps into them.
Dr. Dobson, at last! She burst in a few minutes ago, crying something about her husband. I haven't made out much since then.
Medium frontal shot of (from left to right) DOBSON (busy taking a seat and talking to DEIDRE), DEIDRE (talking to DOBSON with her hand on KATE's shoulder and handing her a tissue) and KATE (still crying).
to DEIDRE: I see.
to KATE: Might I ask your name, Madame?
Kuh, *sniff* K, kuht...
This is Kate Whitney, James. Surely you remember her? She and her husband come in for checkups every month.
Like Panel 3, except DOBSON is settled in his chair with his hands folded in his lap, listening intently. DEIDRE is looking down at the hunched KATE sympathetically. KATE, whose modest touch of mascara is running for all its worth, has turned her head out of her hands to look at DOBSON. There is a Holmes caption in the top left of the panel.
Ah yes, your husband, uh...
Isa Whitney of course. Um, how is the old chap?
Close up of KATE from her left side. She is staring wide-eyed at DOBSON with an expression of mingled shock, grief and disbelief at his insensitivity.
Frontal close-up of Dobson, who gapes stupidly, looking greatly taken aback by KATE's statement. Holmes caption, bottom left. A bubble from DEIDRE is visible to the caption's right
Dead? I-I'm sorry I...
Oh, Kate! Really?
Like panel 4,except DOBSON and DEIDRE look shocked and surprised, and KATE is blowing her nose. Her speech is separated into three speech bubbles.
...or living in a drug den.
T-take your pick.
Like Panel 4, but DEIDRE and DOBSON seem a bit relieved, although still concerned. DOBSON is leaning forward towards KATE, questioning her. DEIDRE is getting another tissue for KATE. Holmes caption top left and bottom right. KATE's head is turned angrily towards DOBSON. She looks hurt and angry, and is clenching her old tissue to her chest.
Well, uh, I don't suppose you have any idea where Isa might be? I mean, assuming he's ali- assuming he is in a drug den anyway.
Of course I know!
Page 4 - 7 panels, 3x3 grid (4th and 6th panel double width)
Medium shot of KATE and DOBSON. KATE is standing now. She is leaning aggressively towards DOBSON, who is sitting back in fear with his hands held open palmed by his chest, facing her. KATE is shouting in rage, her mouth is wide open and she is glaring daggers at DOBSON. DEIDRE is leaning to the right, out of KATE's way (her head is visible between KATE's back and the panel's right edge). Holmes caption bottom right.
Listen, you pathetic worm, do you think that if I knew my husband was associating himself with such vagrant, jobless, lowlifes as inhabit a fucking drug den, I wouldn't make sure I knew every possible detail? What kind of wife do you think I am?
Now then Kate...
Close up of KATE, still standing and facing to the left, away from the wall and chairs, on which DEIDRE and DOBSON (centre and upper right of the panel respectively) are still sitting.
Her head (on the right side of the panel) is tilted away from the reader and slightly shadowed. She is dabbing her right eye with the new tissue. DOBSON, recovering from his scolding, has his fist held up against his chin, and his head is tilted down and to the left in an expression of sheepish embarrassment. DEIDRE has one arm on her knee and the holds the other (bent slightly) out in front of her in a questioning manner. She is talking sympathetically to KATE.
Please Kate, try to relax. It was very sweet of you to come to us. I'll get you some water and you can tell us all about it - Would you prefer it if James left?
Medium frontal shot of KATE, who is sitting again. She is hunched forward, her elbows rest on her knees, which are about 30cm apart, and her forearms hang defeatedly downwards in the space between her legs, angling towards each other. KATE seems of the verge of tears again, her eyes lightly clenched shut and her mouth opened in a small, forlorn grimace. Holmes caption bottom right.
No, no, I'm sorry Doctor, please stay. I'm just...I've no one else to turn to. The police would just arrest him and if people...It's just he's been gone for days with no word and I just can't stand to think of him in that place with those people and no way for me to know what he's doing! All I know is that I last saw him at the-
Medium shot of KATE and DOBSON, facing away from the western wall and out into the rest of the room. In the background, from the panel's top middle to centre right, are the Eastern wall, on which is the door to the bathroom which DEIDRE has emerged from, carrying a glass of water), the short passage to DOBSON's office and the reception desk. DOBSON (right) has his head turned towards KATE so that only the left side of his head is visible. He looks angry, and is saying "no" loudly and sternly, with a speech bubble coloured like a Holmes caption. KATE and DEIDRE look somewhat shocked at this brief outburst.
Close up of DOBSON, whose head is turned slightly towards the right. He looks nervous and horrified at himself. His left eye is half-squinting and his mouth is half open in a stammering gape. There are four captions and two speech balloons arranged from top to bottom in this order: Dobson caption (DC) speech balloon (SB), Holmes caption (HC), DC, HC.
Uh, I mean, um...
Like panel 4, except DEIDRE is now standing in front of KATE, handing her the glass of water. DEIDRE is staring at DOBSON quizzically and somewhat sternly. KATE seems a bit annoyed, but she seems to have calmed down a bit. She is wiping away her running mascara with her right hand while she accepts DEIDRE's water with her left. DOBSON is trying desperately to seem friendly after his outburst. He is smiling unconvincingly and his hands are held up towards KATE as if imploring her to speak. HC bottom right.
I just think it would be best if you told us the whole story.
Yes...perhaps you should, Kate dear.
Medium shot of KATE from DOBSON's perspective (i.e. her right). She is sitting and looking forlornly into her glass. HC centre left, DC bottom right.
A-alright. I suppose it began when...
Page 5 - 7 panels, 3x3 grid. First panel double width.
Like the previous panel, but zoomed out a bit to show KATE's whole body, calm and a bit more relaxed now, is now looking upwards, seemingly in thought. The background, its reality completely forgotten, appears as a dark, cloudy, reddish vortex. One HC next to and partially overlapping the first SB (not covering any significant info but giving the impression that there is only space in DOBSON's mind for the bare bones of the monologue once HOLMES' powers of deduction begin) and one on the bottom right (after the last SB).
(balloon partially covered by HC)
Well It's been months that I've known something strange was going on. I mean his behaviour was a bit...off, you know? A bit elusive, a bit closed. I mean at first I put it down to his little theatre fantasies not working out and him quitting his job at the paper, but even after he got taken on by this out-of-town consulting firm he was acting odd. I mean, you can imagine the things I suspected. Though I'd never have dreamed it was drugs until I followed him on one of his "errands" and found him at that abominable drug den. When he stopped there I-
Sorry, but where was that exactly?
Long shot of DOBSON, DEIDRE and KATE. DOBSON is on the left, an open chair is between him and KATE (who is looking up at DOBSON, slightly bemused at the interruption to the left of whom is DEIDRE. DOBSON is leaning back, his head turned towards the women so that only its right side is visible. He looks uncommonly smug, considering HOLMES isn't in control. HC under the SBs, and a DC to the bottom right of that.
Oh, uh, it was "The Bar of Gold": nasty little 'bar' on Upper Swandam Lane, by the river just North-East of London Bridge, but I'm getting to that.
So, where was-? Oh yes...
(flashback) A long shot of KATE (Dressed in a stodgy black dress and matching large, identity-hiding sunhat) emerging cautiously from a London cab. Both are facing a building off panel (behind the reader's perspective, slightly to the left). The street stretches behind her, bustling with workers hauling goods into their truck, beggars sitting against buildings with their hands held out, and a staggered group of stoned people (many of whom are brightly-clothed hippie youngsters) moving dazedly away from the aforesaid building and into the harsh sunlight. The area seems to emanate poverty and the damp of the Thames. A caption occupies the top of the panel (it is simple black text on a white background, unlike DCs and HCs). A small HC is in the bottom right.
Close up of KATE (still in the flashback), looking from behind her head, which occupies the bottom left quarter of the panel and is turned upwards and to the right (enough for her to be recognizable). The street in front of her is much the same as the previously described street behind her, except that a dilapidated double story building dominates the right side of the panel. The building, painted a sickly yellow with a rusty sign proclaiming it to be "The Bar of Gold" over the door, has a large, open window on its second story, through which a man (ISA Whitney) is leaning, having just noticed KATE. KATE is glaring angrily at ISA, who looks very shocked to see her. His Shirt is unbuttoned down to his lower sternum, and his hair is ruffled. He is waving one hand frantically at her. A KATE caption takes up the top of the panel, as before. Another HC is in the bottom right.
Medium frontal shot of the three people in the same position as in panel 2, but centered around KATE. DOBSON and DEIDRE are mostly off-panel. KATE's arms are folded on her chest. Her head is tilted to the right and she is looking down into her lap with an expression of concerned despair.
I got back into the cab and left. I knew he was still in there but I just couldn't bear the idea of going in there to drag him away from all the whores and beggars and filthy bloody addicts. I just assumed he would come home that night with his tail tucked, but that was daysago!
Do you suppose he's still in there?
Maybe. It's just that I've been thinking about how he disappeared from that window. I was certain at the time he had just ducked away to hide, but I've just been thinking and thinking about it for days, and the more I do, the more certain I am that he was pulled.
Medium profiling shot of DOBSON's right side as he stands up from his chair and adjusts his tie . KATE and DEIDRE are still sitting on the chairs to his left (panel left centre and top), looking at him. The reception room's northern wall is visible in the background. There is an HC in the top left of the panel, and a DC in the bottom right.
Mrs. Whitney, if what you say is true, I feel that as my patient and Deidre's friend, you deserve nothing less than my most sincerely offered help.
Like panel 6, but DOBSON is standing next to the coat rack by the north wall, in the process of putting on his coat. DEIDRE and KATE are looking at each other. We canto see KATE's expression but she has her fists held up to her chest hopefully. DEIDRE, who looks at KATE with a hurt expression is beginning to stand up out of her chair. HC top left. DC bottom right.
Well I'd hardly say the receptionist and I arefriends but...
Oh. Well I'm still a doctor and doctors are supposed to help people past writing up their appointments. I'll have Mr. Whitney back in two hours at the most. Fetch my keys, would you DEIDRE?
But what if he's been...?
I'm certain that he's perfectly fine, Madame. Two hours, I swear.
Medium shot of DOBSON (from the same perspective as in panel 7, but closer) now wearing his coat and ironing out some of its creases with his hands. He is looking at DEIDRE with warmth. DEIDRE approaches from panel left, holding out DOBSON's keys. She is smiling faintly, her eyes squinting with wry perception. HC under the 2nd SB. and a DC under that.
Are you sure you'll be alright fighting your way through the slums to save the illustrious Isa Whitney and resist the clutches of the evil paperwork?
Relax, this is a decent thing you're doing. Besides, since when wasn't paperwork my job?
Page 6 - 3 triple width panels.
Long shot overlooking the front door of DOBSON's practice and the street in front of it, on which DOBSON's Ford is parked. It is dark, with only a pair of streetlamps on either side of the panel and the opened door of Dobson's practice providing radiating light (the moon is likely smothered by London's smog), giving the street a darkly smoldering orange ambiance. DOBSON and DEIDRE are seen silhouetted in the doorway. Four captions in this order: HC, DC, HC, DC
Good luck, James.
Like Panel 1, but DOBSON is standing next to his car, has the door open and is about to get in. His left side is partially illuminated by the streetlight. DEIDRE is still standing silhouetted in the doorway, watching him. HC top left. DC bottom right.
Like the last two panels, but DOBSON, unseen is now inside the car, which is driving off-panel to the right (its front half is already off panel). DEIDRE has turned her head to watch the car go. All we see of DOBSON is an HC (top left) and a DC over the car's rear window.
Page 7 - 5 panels, 3x3 grid. First panel triple width, 4th panel double width. 5th panel triple width.
Long crane shot of DOBSON's car as it parks outside "The Golden Bar". Three police cars are parked nearest the building, into which a handful of policemen are desperately pushing as many captured clients of the Bar as possible. Other clients are streaming out of the Bar like blood from a diseased wound, those who manage to evade the hopelessly understaffed police force stagger away as quickly as their wobbly muscles allow. Uncolored caption top left, DC in centre left, HC bottom right.
Medium shot of DOBSON approaching a police officer while trying to seem authoritative, but not fooling anybody. His left arm is holding his head, which seems to be paining him, his other is waving at The OFFICER (police uniform, 6 foot), who holds a heavily sedated a client of The Bar in his grasp, held against the police car as he is handcuffed. The OFFICER is looking at DOBSON and responding to him, seeming quite pleased to see him. There are HCs and DCs between the SBs as indicated.
Excuse me? Yes, Hello. I don't know if you recognise me, my name is Do- uh, 'Holmes'. You may remember I advised the Force on-
Medium shot of DOBSON (left) and OFFICER (right) standing and talking face to face. They both seem friendly. The top of the police car (in which the prisoner is visible through the windows) occupies the bottom of the panle. There are HCs and DCs between the SBs as indicated.
Well fuck me if it in't mister Sherlock Holmes hisself?
Suren' yeh did nae think I'd forget the man who cracked the Baker Street Burglaries? I've yeh tae thank for gettin' considered for Captain!
Ah yes, that. No need to go on about it, uh, MacNeil right? You could say it was...simply elementary.
Elemen-? Uh, right well I don't suppose Yeh've been called in just tae help convict this sorry lot, so I suspect yeh're here about the murder, aye?
Murder? I uh, yes of course. Could you just tell me what you know of it?
Medium shot from behind DOBSON, facing the OFFICER, who has successfully herded his dazed prisoner into the police vehicle (on the right). The OFFICER is leaning on his car with his left side and looking off to the left, where a section of the The Gold Bar is visible.
Well we've been meanin' tae blast these fockers for ages but wi'out a reasonable reason tae investigate it was only today that we got the chance. We got a noise complaint about a pair a' blokes screamin' at eachother on the second floor; still goin' at it when we got here even. Not hard to spot the smack once we're in aye? Thing is, tho', when we finally get tae the second floor, there's just this homeless bloke, Boone, and signs of struggle. Everyone fit tae talk confirms there's a prim bloke that goes up there regular, like, but he's nowhere, no body, nil. We've arrested Boone, but we haven't much to pin anything on 'im.
Long shot of the street, with DOBSON and OFFICER standing in the centre, both facing The Gold Bar with their backs to the reader. The officer is looing up at The Bar's second floor window and Dobson has his head in his left hand. Captions interspersing the dialogue as indicated.
Oh God...This prim gentleman, his name wouldn't be Isa Whitney would it?
Yeh know I do believe it was, but how'd yeh...?
Call it a hunch.
Fair enough, I've learned the sense not tae question yeh. Yut do yeh think yeh can find him? We've been scourin' the place for ages and we figure that with the evidence we've got, findin' him is looking pretty fockin' impossible.
My dear McNeil...
Page 8 - 1 full-page panel
Full page Frontal Full Body shot of DOBSON (Now with HOLMES in control). He has taken his pipe out of his waistcoat pocket and has placed it in his mouth, holding it with his right hand. The left side f his face is cast in shadow as his head is turned slightly to the right and downwards. He holds an expression of smug vindication and self confidance. The darkened, smoldering street, police cars, onlookers and buildings stretching far behind him. A small white caption is in the bottom right corner.
I wouldn't say it's impossible