What hath God wrought?!


Panel 1: Journalist Jacob Riis, speaking in an old typewriter font, explains the situation in the caption box atop this panel: “I walk my usual beat, looking for evidence. The streets are abandoned…aside from the dead, many I found with grisly wounds…” Riis walks a narrow alley, a shop and its sign at left and a stone building facade at right; everything’s lit by the gaslight behind him, the green colored lamp exterior creates a greenish hue to the light source (green, suggesting zombies). On the bench that Riis is beginning to walk past lies a dead policeman leaned backward, with fatal, bloody wounds across his throat and elsewhere, in a Victorian era American police uniform (blue suit uniform with tails and a round helmet). Riis has his brown coat pulled over his mouth and nose, and he adds “Lord, the stench.” right below the first caption.

Panel 2: Riis is seeing the effects of the zombie apocalypse on the poor tenement districts he famously profiled in his exposé book How The Other Half Lives. Another caption box atop the panel provides more of Riis’ narration in his old typewriter font: “Little Italy, usually bustling, now has only one distraught woman on her streets.” We see another policeman in round helmet and long blue suit, but he’s fully alive and clasping his hands around a heavy-set elder woman’s hands, half comforting, half restraining her as she shouts “MY SON BIT ME!” The policeman responds “Remain calm please, I’m certain it’s nothing.” The woman is in a dull, worn, pinkish sweater and matching rounded wool hat, along with a long, white skirt. Both are standing on a sidewalk near another gaslight emitting light for the scene with a vaguely greenish hue (hinting a zompocalypse is afoot). Across the street stand numerous old brownstones alongside unwelcoming tenements.

Panel 3: We see an unlit pharmacy storefront window and door alongside a different sidewalk. The storefront window has a Bayer Pharmaceuticals advert in it announcing Bayer brand aspirin and heroin for sale; I got the poster from this page about real life Bayer heroin (heroin was first marketed by Bayer Co. and sold at your local pharmacy without a prescription until 1914). The pharmacy door has two steps, and we can see a zombie attack victim in slacks and suspenders (visible only from the torso down) draped nearly flat across the steps, a bleeding wound seen on his sock right above his shoes. Riis’ narration continues: “Down Mulberry St., I see no one, aside from this dead man, killed by…is that a bite??”

Panel 4: We see Jacob Riis straight on, he’s a small-framed, short fellow with a wispy graying mustache and round eye-glasses below a round gentleman’s hat. He ends the page with another narrative box, which says, “I’ve never seen Downtown Manhattan like this! What hath God wrought?!


Audience participation!  The full, unobstructed-by-speech-bubble painting of one of the panels above will be emailed to the first commenter who can identify one of the two historical sources that brought us the famous phrase: “What hath God wrought”


© 2011, Nick Dupree, all rights reserved, educational use is not just allowed, it’s encouraged!  email me for educational or commercial use