The first fave pages of my graphic novel:
Panel 1 (small): Hands tightly gripping a steering wheel. Viewpoint look out from a dirty windshield, wipers in motion clearing the rain. Cars are backed up bumper to bumper on the freeway.
Panel 2: Profile view of John sitting in his driver’s seat, late twenties. In the background through the thick rain, the man in the SUV next to him is visible through the window picking his nose and looking at his phone.
Panel 3: Birds’ eye view of the freeway, green freeway sign that reads Sepulveda Pass. Cars are lined up for miles, unmoving Lego bricks. The sky is blurred by mist. Trees hedge in either side of the freeway, bending in the rain and the wind.
Panel 4: Long horizontal panel of tanker truck, overturned. Cars are spun out around it at awkward angles. People nearest the accident have exited their cars and are huddled on the side of the road, police cars are all painted gray by the stormy weather. In sharp contrast, fluorescent green fluid pours from the overturned truck. The emergency lights from the police cars light up the green liquid, muted out at the edges by the blurring rain. A helicopter is flying overhead, the hazy outlines of buildings visible in the background.
Caption (staticy style bubble, small text): …reports of a bio-hazardous chemicals spill from overturned tanker…traffic backed up from the Sepulveda Pass to the 5. Expect major delays…
Panel 5 (small): Shot of John in his car, the exit: Sepulveda Boulevard sign already behind him. Even one the exit, cars are jammed as far as can be seen pass the curve in the road. There is a slight haze of green in John’s car. He coughs.
Caption: …until the spill is cleared, otherwise officials recommend surface streets…
Panel 6: John’s head is pressed into the steering wheel in defeat. A fuzzy globe hangs from his car window. Slumped forward on the wheel, the exposed back of the leather car seat is torn and peeling.
Caption: …in order to ensure the safety of drivers until the accident is cleared.
Panel 7: Looking down through the helicopter blades over the clogged freeway, everything below very small, but the green sludge spreading across the ground.
Panel 1: Large horizontal panel of landscape of LA, mountains in the background, skyscrapers rising into the sky. Lightning sears across the clouds, the silhouette of a crescent moon still visible in the foggy morning sky. The fingers of lightning seep through the gutters and bleed into the next panel.
Panel 2 (drawn intersecting into panel 3): John coughs, a green haze barely visible inside his car. He glances at the watch on his wrist. View from his perspective, pulling into the driveway of an enormous mansion with a lifted Dodge Challenger parked in the front, bearing the custom license plate 4DCircle.
John: Early’s on time, on time’s late, and well, two and a half hours late is a death sentence – so I’m dead!
Panel 3: The three story modern-style mansion sits walled in by rows of palm trees, half a mile of perfectly trimmed lawn leading to the elaborately woodworked doorfront and four car garage. Rows of windows peer over the stone driveway from the four story home. John is letting himself into the door, using a keychain stuffed with dozens of keys. The other hand holds a Starbucks cup.
Panel 4: View from the bottom of wooden staircase spiraling up the four stories of the home, contained by high arched ceilings. Two tiny Chihuahuas bound up to greet John, one wearing a blue studded collar, the other a pink bow.
John: Hi Chip, hi Daisy. You guys have any idea how screwed I am?
Panel 5: John walking through a hallway. Various paintings decorate the walls – very expensive looking, elaborate battle scenes are juxtaposed against frames of provocatively posed women.
John (coughing): Hey, 4D? Sorry I’m late! There was this freak freeway accident, and still smell like a Windex shower, but I brought you your –
Panel 1: A man is asleep in a white chair with an enormous back. One of his legs is angled awkwardly over the arm of the chair, the other sticks out under a cashmere, boot still on his foot. A baseball cap with a hashtag on the front is pulled over his eyes, askew. John places his Starbucks cup on a table next to him with a flat top shaped like a mushroom.
John: venti mocha caramel macchiato.
Panel 2: Overhead shot looking down from the top of the winding staircase, John climbing it with one hand on the bannister. Daisy and Chip trail at his heels. John coughs violently.
John: Glad my com degree can be used on a sleeping dude.
Panel 3: John sits, hunched posture, at an ornate mahogany desk. Stacks of letters teeter on the desk and spill over onto the floor. A large sheepskin rug rests at his feet backdropped by a king sized canopy bed, the bedposts rising high into the ceiling. Out of place from the high-end atmosphere is the hat rack, adorned entirely by baseball caps and snapbacks emblazoned with sayings like “Swag,” “4Life,” and “4DCircle.” One just says, “Yo.” The beginning of the letter that John is reading is partially visible.
Panel 4: Close view of the letter, written in loopy, bubbly script.
Letter: Dear Mr. 4DCircle, my name’s Kacey and I just wanted you to know me and the bro went to your concert in SD last week and it was off the hook, like, my ears are still ringing especially after you shot off those rocket fireworks and I thought I was your number one fan before but after that –
Panel 5: Another letter:
To Mr. 4DCircle and associates,
I am writing to inform you my son has been listening to your rap music and I do not approve of the lyrical choices that you –
Panel 6: Another letter:
4D yo man I hope you doing well, listen I was wondering if you could hook me up with some tix to your Vegas tour. I listen to your stuff all day during my mail route and –
Panel 7: John’s hand writing the return letter:
Thank you for being my number one loyal fan, I am writing to let you know I am not actually 4D but his personal assistant who covers for the fact that he can’t even spell the name of the whiskey he’s currently still hung over from –
Panel 8 (small): John crunches the paper.
Panel 9 (small): John shoots the crumbled paper like a basketball into a jewel-encrusted trashcan.
Panel 10: John’s hand writing another letter:
Kacey!! My girl. Thanks for being my number one fan, it’s fans who got me where I am today, and like I say in my song “eternally grateful,” I’m eternally grateful. Please enjoy this signed photo, and you keep doing you!
Panel 1(small): John’s blue iPhone lights up with an alarm: 4:59 P.M. Go the hell home!
John: Thank you sweet baby Jesus.
Panel 2: John sweeps the stacks of dozens of envelopes into his arms. Chip has his legs up against the back of the now empty seat where John sat, nose upturned to John as he carries the envelopes. Daisy sits in the doorframe.
John: See you guys tomorrow. And every day into the foreseeable future until I die.
Panel 3: John walks down the enormous staircase, peering over the stack of envelopes balanced in his hands. A woman is pushing a vacuum into a room on the entrance of the third floor landing.
Woman: Bye, John. Oh, Mr. Circle said his coffee was cold and for it not to happen again.
John (coughs before speaking): Sorry, Tricia, first time and last time.
Panel 4: Close of John’s Converse tennis shoes, one shoelace untied with his foot crossed unsteadily underneath it.
John: I have another good idea what he can do with his venti caramel flippityahoo, he can shove it up his –
Panel 5: John trips and loses his balance completely.
SFX: Bump bump bump shuffle shuffle flutter
Panel 6: Letters fluttering in the air.
Panel 7: John is in motion, rolling on the stairs, almost at the bottom of the landing on the first floor.
Panel 1: The letters are still a cloud in the air.
SFX: Chip and Daisy barking.
Panel 2: A box sits at the bottom of the stairs. Standard size, tan shipping box.
Panel 3: Most of the letters land neatly inside the box.
Panel 4: Shot of the box, looking down from the stairs, perspective of Chip and Daisy, still barking.
Panel 5: Chip is sitting inside the box, Daisy has a letter in her mouth and has one paw balanced on the open flap.
Panel 6: Tricia descends the stairs, lugging the vacuum in tow.
Tricia: Ugh, that boy, always leaving things out – John! John?
Panel 7: She puts the rest of the rest of the letters into the box, and out of the window she can see John’s tan Honda Civic still parked outside. Her eyebrows are raised in confusion.
Panel 8: Tricia exits the house and places the box full of letters onto the hood of the Civic.
Panel 9: Shot of the box on the hood of the Civic, the San Fernando hills in the background. The fuzzy globe hanging from his rearview mirror is still visible. The car is visibly scuffed from wear, paint fading. Some stars have appeared in the sky.
Panel 10: Shot of John cross-legged on his car, holding fistfuls of letters, others spilling over onto the ground. He looks utterly dumbfounded.