THE STRANGEST DAYS #1
Written by Ethan Dezotelle // © 2020 Ethan Dezotelle
Note to Artist: This page is a 3X3 panel grid, black and white, shifting our perspective and speed from the colorful and bombastic two, three, and four-panel grids and splash pages seen thus far in the issue.
Panel 1: Establishing shot of a nearly empty city street in the middle of the afternoon. This is the same Boston-style city street from Page 1 that was filled with people, vehicles, and all sorts of activity.
1. Narrator: There was nothing gradual about the shift in everyday reality. Normal life was here, and then it was gone.
Panel 2: Zoom in on the left side of the street to a block of old brownstones, apartments up top and businesses below. To the left, we can see a person carrying too many plastic grocery bags in both hands while struggling to open the door to go upstairs. To the right there are three businesses with signs we can’t make out yet.
2. Narrator: If anything, it started as jokes. Weirdos hoarding toilet paper and sanitary wipes. Casually racist advice to stay away from Chinese restaurants and Asian people. But mostly, it was a problem for other places.
Panel 3: Pull in tighter to show the businesses before us are a pizza joint, a hairdresser, and a comic book shop.
3. Narrator: Until it wasn’t anymore. Suddenly it was everybody’s problem.
Panels 4-6: This is a tight zoom on the three businesses, one panel per business, with a sandwich board sign outside the pizzeria offering curbside pickup and extended delivery radius for pizza, as well as no inside seating (Panel 4); a “closed until further notice” sign on the hairdresser window (Panel 5); and a sign offering mail order, curbside pickup, and cancellation of advance orders in the comic shop window (Panel 5).
No narration in these panels.
Panel 7: A shot of the comic shop window, with the week’s new releases displayed beneath the sign. Lazarus Rising #4, Immortal Hulk #3, Wonder Woman #754, KISS Zombies #3, and Once And Future #7 are laid out for passersby to see. At the lower right corner we see someone in the store, sitting at a computer.
4. Narrator: Every person, every culture, every business found itself scarred.
Panel 8: Interior of the comic shop, from the perspective of the reader as though they were standing at the counter. Stacks of comics, packaged for mailing, fill the foreground to the left and right. At the center of the frame is Barry, the shop owner from earlier, turned at an angle. He is slumped in an office chair, head in hands. The computer screen glows next to him.
5. Narrator: There were so many ways this fragile business could have come to a grim end over 27 years. Barry never would have guessed a virus would be the one to do him in.
Panel 9: Tight on the computer screen.
6. Computer: EFFECTS ON DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS
Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. For the time being, however, we have been able to develop procedures …
7. Panel in lower right corner: To Be Continued …