a rough outline of an epistolary comic story
Many years ago…
We open with a child writing a letter.
“My naim is Mikey. Back in janary you saved me and my momy from a fire.”
We see this fire, and Superman flies the family to safety.
“im very thankfull so i wuld like to invitate you too my berthday party this saturday”
The next panel is of a crude drawing of the previous image.
The boy ties the note to a balloon and releases it, in hopes that Supes will see it.
The next day, the boy has his party, but Superman isn’t there. He waits in hopes that his hero will come, but he sees on TV that he’s busy elsewhere fighting a monster.
10 years pass.
The boy, now a teenager, sits in his room writing.
“It’s me, Michael. You probably don’t remember me. When I was a kid, I wrote you an invitation to my birthday party. You didn’t come, and you probably never even got the letter, but that’s okay. You’re busy doing heroic things.”
We close in on the boy’s face and see a bruise.
“I got beat up at school today. It doesn’t matter why.”
We see a larger boy approaching Michael in the hallway.
“Hey Mike! Heard you had a thing for my sister. Izzat true?”
He grabs Michael by the shirt collar.
“Then why’d I see you talkin’ to her yesterday askin’ if I’d be in town this weekend? You gonna pull somethin’ on her?”
“I wasn’t… asking… for her…”
We cut back to the boy writing in his room.
“Just a misunderstanding.”
The boy looks up, and turns his head to look out his window. He sighs. The “camera” zooms toward a billboard. Visit METROPOLIS, Home of SUPERMAN!
2 more years pass.
The “S” shield from the billboard in one panel has become a decorated graduation cap in the next.
“I finally graduated high school. I painted your “S” on my cap.”
We see Mike crawling around trying to find his hat after having tossed it.
“I hope you don’t mind.”
We see Mike and some friends at a graduation barbecue.
“Most of my friends are going to stay around here, but I’m planning on going to Metropolis University this fall.”
Mike takes a bite of a sandwich.
“I probably shouldn’t. Not that I’m a bad student, things are just”
He looks over at his friends, dancing with their girlfriends.
His mom comes over to sit next to him while he’s eating.
“This is going to sound crappy, and it is, but”
His dad, off panel, says he’s going to take a picture.
“I really just need to get away from my parents.”
We cut to a few panels of his parents doing things parents do, pushing him
into sports, asking why he doesn’t have a girlfriend, asking why he doesn’t get out more, and things like that.
“They mean well, I know.”
We see the family at church. The preacher is a real fire-and-brimstone type. After church, the family is at lunch. They make fun of the limp-wristed waiter after he takes their order.
“I just need to get away.”
Another year passes.
We see Mike at a party. There are kegs and red Solo cups aplenty.
“I’m afraid this might be my last letter.”
Mike begins drinking.
“I went to a party. I drank too much. My fault, I know. What isn’t?”
Mike kisses another drunk boy, and they head to a bedroom.
“Every kid there had a cell phone, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when my parents saw the pictures online.”
We see Mike in a really shitty one-room apartment.
“They cut me off, and I couldn’t afford to stay in school. My grades were slipping, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I flunked out anyway.”
Mike takes off his work uniform and sits on his mattress on the floor.
“I’m not sure why I ever wrote you in the first place. You’ll never read this.”
Mike throws the paper at the trash can across the room. Then, he stands up, opens the window and looks down at the cars below. He wants to jump. Before he does, though, a man speaks from off panel.
Mike looks up, and leads us to a final splash page. It’s Superman, holding out a hand.
The Drink in Question