Jacob Riis goes into a negro tenement

Panel 1: Another Jacob Riis narration opens the page: “I have to get to the one person I know has some answers…” We see the (very detailed) front and side facade of a six-story tenement, it looks fairly nice as tenements go. A gaslight on the sidewalk at left is lighting the storefronts with canopies that line the ground floor. The above five floors are lined with apartment windows, some filled with light, some unlit. Eerie fog with a greenish hue provides a spooky background.

Panel 2: While the building looks OK on the outside, this panel reveals the interior to have held up much worse. This is the tenement’s small entry room. At left stands the tenement’s entrance. At center are long, steep wooden stairs behind a creaky, open door. The wood is crumbling; the other door in the right corner has lost its doorknob. Below the door is a dead man whose face is covered by a flat, round, floppy “old guy hat” and a bloody hand. This dead guy is about to zomb at any moment. Jacob Riis dashes up the stairs (you can see his leg and his feets on the steps at the top of the frame) and in the upper-right corner, his narration box explains, “I hurry up the steps, eager to put distance between me and the dead.”

Panel 3: The black guy in the last panel who was about to zomb at any moment? Well, he’s a zombie now, up on his feet and ambling toward the stairs in the same entry room as before, his round hat barely staying on, his face dominated by big, blood-shot eyes and lips reflecting moonlight. His weird, bloody, dead hands react out to scratch some unsuspecting victim. Remember, zombieism effects everyone without sex or race discrimination.

Panel 4: Jacob Riis heads up the stairway, gripping the hand rail. We see him in the same hat, glasses and coat, stepping up weirdly grimy stairs, the stains and maple-ish hardwood reflecting light. Riis’ narration box says: “Ms. Ann was the primary source for my chapter on negro tenements.”

Panel 5: Riis, his back to us, stands before Ms. Ann’s wooden apartment door, which is blocked with a period end table and chair to keep the zombies out. Riis shouts “Miz Ann?!” hoping that she’ll answer (and is still in one piece). Another narration box, still in the font of a journalist’s manual typewriter, explains “She’s also familiar with African mysticism, ‘voodoo.'”

Panel 6: Another narration box: “Lifting this zombie-blocking furniture in order to gain entry is going to take me a while.” We see Riis, is face front-on (we see his high hairline and sparse, gray locks because he’s taken off his hat) and his body trying to lift the table, which has his hat on it. He grunts “UFFH” with effort (and even his grunts are in typewriter font).
© 2011, Nick Dupree, all rights reserved, educational use is not just allowed, it’s encouraged!  email me for educational or commercial use