Kristine L Ming

Freedom2014: The Key

An exclusive comic created by graphic artists Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes for the BBC’s freedom2014 season. The award-winning artists tell a story of freedom, which, apart from the title, has no words. Find out more about the story behind The Key, in an interview with the creators.

The Key - title page with an image of two keys - one is grey (a state key) the other is made up of lots of small individual keys in different designs and colours

Our hero - a figure, faceless and sexless, with a bag covering his head - stands on the end of a pier surrounded by three soldiers of the state who are pointing guns at him.

The hero has a key hanging around his neck on a chain. It is ripped from his neck by one of the soldiers.

The key, which is quite ornate, is then dangled in front of the hero's face...

... the key is dropped into the water below the hero's feet.

The soldier smiles and holds up a different key - it is grey and plain with a long number on it. It is a uniform state key.

The soldier uses the key to lock a padlock around the hero's neck instead.

Meanwhile in the city, we see surveillance drones fly high above people with thought bubbles above their heads, each containing the 'state' key.

Close up of padlocks on chains hanging around people's necks.

A silhouette image of the guard kicking the hero off the pier.

Our hero falls into the water, with his arms tied into a straightjacket and the padlock chained around his neck.

Our hero sinks deep into the water, following the path of the ornate key which had been originally ripped from his neck.

Our hero sinks even deeper into the Abyss. The chains continue to drag him down in a foam of bubbles. The ornate key seems to be further away.

The soldiers watch from the pier, there are some ripples in the water.

The soldiers continue to watch as the ripples get fainter.

The captain of the soldiers looks at his watch.

Still looking at his watch, the captain smiles and gives the thumbs up.

An image of the hero - faceless and sexless - appears with an image of his ornate key. Our hero's face is marked with a big red X.

Back in the city and the same image of our hero's face, marked with the red cross, appears on a big screen for people to see.

A figure turns and stares at the picture.

The figure is revealed to be a woman's profile.

A close up of her face, some sort of realisation dawns upon her. She stares open-mouthed.

Suddenly, she yells - a speech bubble appears with a picture of her key, but it is not the state key, it is more beautiful and individual.

Meanwhile, back to the water and the hero's key is still sinking.

As it reaches the sea bed there are lots of other keys - again they are not the state keys, but a variety of individual ones.

In the city people scream, speech bubbles appear, all with their individual, unique, keys inside.

People take their keys from around their necks and unlock their padlocks, which also hang around their necks.

A silhouette of someone unlocking another person's padlock

People remove the padlocks, which had been around their necks

People stand behind a chain-link fence.

They start attaching their padlocks to the fence.

A close up of a padlock on the fence

A close up of people holding hands behind the fence.

Even closer up on the hands - so close up the fence can hardly be seen.

Back looking over the water, ripples appear on the surface.

Now bubbles appear...

And a hand - the hero's hand - bursts from the water full of lots of different keys.

End page - lots of grey state keys in lines.

Followed by a page of coloured, ornate individual keys

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