During Thing a Day month in February, we’ve been posting snippets from the screenplay of The 23rd Letter, to accompany artist Patrick McColley’s illustrations for the graphic novel we’re writing of the story. Without giving away the whole plot, so far we’ve revealed that a mysterious rabbi sends our hero Dexter Sinister on a mission to find the missing letter and sound. Dexter’s psychic daughter Rachel is on a trip to Israel when Japanese fanatic Shiyama’s Shidoists blow up the Dome of the Rock, precipitating a Middle East conflict that they hope will bring on the apocalypse. The whole Dexter Sinister family including Dex’s wife Lola Corolla will be involved in the events culminating in the midst of an Arab-Israeli war. There a few subplots we haven’t delved into yet, like the boyhood friendship between Israel Dan Epstein and Arab leader Ras Mohamed. Maybe we’ll get to those before the end of this year’s Thing a Day. But we’ll have to hold back on revealing the exciting resolution to the screenplay, when the whales arrive in the Mediterranean by parachute and…gotta save something for the movie!
In the magical realism of The 23rd Letter, whales have learned how to talk, imitating human speech. This is not so far-fetched. See this news story.
The whales are the ones who are guardians of the sound of the 23rd letter. The Japanese fanatic Shiyama is trying to force them to make the sound for his own evil uses. They have refused, and he is torturing and killing them. Dexter’s psychic daughter Rachel has a special connection to the whales, and will come to their aid later in the story. The whales give artist Patrick McColley lots of opportunities for interesting visual panels in the graphic novel, like the moment when the whales are parachuted into the Mediterranean by the U.S. military!