Gregory T. Burgess ~ Anxiety Man (excerpt)

55th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Original 1962 Super Deluxe Issue No. 2
Title:  The Foreboding Visitation

Cover:  Anxiety Man, cen­tered in illus­tra­tion, one hand col­lar­ing an alien being (green skin, anten­nae), the oth­er hand drawn back in a fist ready to pum­mel it.  Behind Anxiety Man stand Special Woman, Private America, Dr. Val Ium, and the Pink Procrastinator, each in fight­ing pos­ture.

Page 1

SPLASH PANEL (2/3 page): View from space of Earth, the Western Hemisphere sun­lit, the Eastern Hemisphere in shad­ow.

Caption: “The third plan­et of the Solar System was turn­ing at its usu­al steady pace.  It was a bright sun­ny day, or a cool tran­quil night, for most of the peo­ple of the world.”

THREE PANELS (bot­tom tier):  Peruvian farmer tills hill­side; American man oper­ates jack­ham­mer on busy city street; French pros­ti­tute eyes a patron seduc­tive­ly at a Paris jazz club.

Page 2

PANEL (upper left hand cor­ner):  A man in India, using a high-pow­ered rifle equipped with an infrared scope, shoots a tiger through the win­dow of the bed­room where his chil­dren lie fast asleep.

SPLASH PANEL (full page):  Close-up of hand­some man, blue-black hair part­ed to the side, chis­eled fea­tures, slight­ly tan com­plex­ion, dressed in black trousers and turtle­neck sweater, with a tense expres­sion on his face.

Caption: “But not for Anxiety Man.”

Page 3

SIX PANELS:  Sundry anx­ious expres­sions shown at dif­fer­ent angles, brow depressed or raised to vary­ing degrees, mouth twist­ed, eyes direct­ed, in dif­fer­ent direc­tions.  In fourth pan­el, plewds indi­cate beads of per­spi­ra­tion spray­ing from fore­head.  Fifth pan­el shows man in sil­hou­ette, in an aus­tere room, seat­ed at a table, with bot­tle of liquor (boo­sex­es on the label).  A small book­shelf appears in the back­ground, the titles of some of the books vis­i­ble on their spines: Being and Nothingness, Being and Time, The Sickness Unto Death.  Final pan­el returns to close-up of man, eyes shut, fore­head rest­ing in hand.

Thought Bubble (dis­trib­uted over six pan­els): “The Lords of the Ominous Inevitability…the most evil super villains…in the galaxy…are heading…to Earth…in their space ship.”

Page 4

PANEL (upper left hand cor­ner): Man, still with anx­ious expres­sion, stares into an oval view screen.

Thought Bubble: “I’m not exact­ly sure what they plan to do.  But they can’t be up to any good.”

SPLASH PANEL (full page):  The Lords, some with human fea­tures, vil­lain-like mous­tach­es, oth­ers with point­ed ears, anten­nae, green or blue skin, etc., in var­i­ous­ly designed space suits, gath­er in their space ship around death ray can­non point­ed direct­ly at Earth.

Speech Balloons: “Their sun will engulf their plan­et in flames in 5 bil­lion years or so any­way,” Lord with mous­tache.  “That’s right.  We’re just has­ten­ing the inevitable,” insec­toid Lord.  “Why should their sun have all the fun?” young Lord, wear­ing whoopee cap, sus­penders and ragged sweat­shirt, foot perched on a skate­board.

Page 5

FIRST PANEL:  Anxiety Man, in sil­hou­ette, leans over table, both hands clasped over face.

PANELS IN CIRCLE:  Anxiety Man slow­ly removes hands from face until eyes appear, full of despair, star­ing straight ahead at read­er.

Thought Bubble: “The Ladies of the Ominous Inevitability are sure­ly with them.  They are even more evil than the Lords.”

CENTER PANEL:  Group of march­ing Ladies, in tight cos­tumes that high­light large breasts and long legs, dis­pense whip lash­es to var­i­ous grov­el­ing humans on the ground.

Speech Balloon: “You’ll wish you had died in the con­fla­gra­tion with the rest of them,” cen­tral Lady.

Page 6

FIRST PANEL (upper left hand cor­ner):  Anxiety Man, shoul­ders hunched, stares down at his shoes.

Thought Bubble: “I could def­i­nite­ly use the help of Special Woman.  But I’ve been wait­ing for her for hours.”

SPLASH PANEL:  Special Woman’s ser­vant, Mildred, in the fore­ground, wear­ing black dress, white apron, and lace cap, knocks on opened bath­room door.  In the back­ground, Special Woman, in bathrobe, head wrapped in a bath tow­el, sits on toi­let seat, paint­ing her toe­nails.

Speech Balloon: “Mizz, I done laid out your super cos­tume on the bed just like you likes it when you get­ting ready to go out.”

THIRD PANEL (low­er right hand cor­ner):  Special Woman looks up irri­ta­bly from the toi­let.

Speech Balloon: “Don’t rush me.”

Page 7

FIRST PANEL:  Close-up of Anxiety Man, with anx­ious expres­sion.

Thought Bubble: “I could also use the help of the Pink Procrastinator.”

SECOND AND THIRD PANELS:   A chub­by Pink Procrastinator, with a blonde crew-cut, in pink cos­tume with light-blue col­lar, sleeves, and boots, leans casu­al­ly against the wall of a build­ing, smil­ing and talk­ing to var­i­ous peo­ple, one of whom is star­tled (emana­ta around head) to see a rob­bery shoot-out occur­ring in the back­ground.

FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH PANELS:  A series of “wor­ry waves” (indi­cat­ed by radio­rads) is trans­mit­ted from Anxiety Man’s fore­head, prop­a­gate through space, and reach the Pink Procrastinator, seat­ed in an arm­chair, play­ing with his Procrast-O-Phone.

Thought Bubble (in fourth pan­el): “I’ve emit­ted a wor­ry wave inform­ing him of the Inevitable.”

Broadcast Bubble (in sixth pan­el): “The Inevitable is com­ing.”

SEVENTH AND EIGHTH PANELS:  Close-ups of the Pink Procrastinator, grin­ning and talk­ing on phone.

Thought Bubbles (in sev­enth and eighth pan­els) with tail lead­ing to ninth pan­el: “He even­tu­al­ly called me” (sev­enth pan­el) “and said he could help me – tomor­row or the next day!” (eighth pan­el).

Speech Balloon (sev­enth pan­el): “Hey, how’s it hang­ing,” Pink Procrastinator.

NINTH PANEL:  Close-up of Anxiety Man, with anx­ious look, star­ing direct­ly at read­er.

Scream Bubble: “By then, it will be too late!”

Page 8

FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD PANELS:  Anxiety Man, in sil­hou­ette, paces back and forth.

Thought Bubble (first pan­el): “Where is Special Woman?”

FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH PANELS:  Special Woman puck­ers her lips in front of the mir­ror, then, still dressed in bathrobe, enters her liv­ing room and sits down on the sofa in front of the TV.  Mildred looks on.

Caption (fourth and fifth pan­els): “Meanwhile, Special Woman is still get­ting ready to go out.”

Speech Balloon (sixth pan­el): “Mizz, you might wan­na know.  It near­ly noon,” Mildred, stand­ing in fore­ground, side-view of face show­ing con­cerned look.

Speech Balloon (sixth pan­el): “My nails have to dry,” Special Woman.

Page 9

SPLASH PANEL (full page):  Anxiety Man stares into an oval view screen show­ing a bright lumi­nous dot.  An assort­ment of oth­er elec­tron­ic equip­ment, with big knobs, ana­log dials, and a reel-to-reel tape, is stacked up beside the view screen.

Thought Bubble: “Based on the changes in the appar­ent lumi­nos­i­ty of the Lords’ space­ship, I should be able to cal­cu­late the Inevitable’s pre­cise arrival time.”

PANEL (low­er right hand cor­ner):  Special Woman slouch­es on the sofa, bare toes point­ed upwards, fin­gers splayed and held upwards (agitrons indi­cate wig­gling of fin­gers and toes).

Page 10

FIRST PANEL:  Same illus­tra­tion as pre­vi­ous pan­el.

Speech Balloon: “Mildred!”

Broadcast Bubble (tail point­ed toward TV set, shown in side­view): “Richard, I no longer know who you are.”

SECOND PANEL:  Same illus­tra­tion as pre­vi­ous pan­el, with the excep­tion of Mildred’s wor­ried face appear­ing on right-hand side.

Speech Balloon: “I haven’t eat­en any­thing yet today.   I sup­pose I should have break­fast,” Special Woman.

Speech Balloon: “You want your usu­al, toast and grape­fruit?” Mildred.

Broadcast Bubble (tail point­ed toward TV): “Mary, I know who you are only all too well.”

THIRD PANEL:  Same illus­tra­tion as pre­vi­ous pan­el, except Mildred’s face is now smil­ing.

Speech Balloon: “No, I’m real­ly hun­gry.  I’d like some eggs,” Special Woman.

Speech Balloon: “I could scram­ble some up for you, wouldn’t take no time at all,” Mildred.

Broadcast Bubble (tail point­ed toward TV): “Whiter than white whites!”

FOURTH PANEL:  Same illus­tra­tion as pre­vi­ous pan­el, except Mildred again has a wor­ried expres­sion.

Speech Balloon: “You know, I think I’m in the mood for a souf­flé,” Special Woman.

Broadcast Bubble (tail point­ed toward TV): “Brighter than bright brights!”

FIFTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man seat­ed at work sta­tion, with yel­low pad and pen­cil.  (Agitrons over fin­gers indi­cate fran­tic move­ment.)

Speech Balloon: “I can’t con­cen­trate.  I’ll nev­er get this math right.”

SIXTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man turned side­ways in his chair, head inclined down­ward, hand clasp­ing fore­head.

Speech Balloon: “Where’s Special Woman?  I can’t do any­thing with­out her.”

Page 11

FIRST PANEL:  Close-up of Special Woman, back in her bath­room, brush­ing her teeth.   (Agitrons indi­cate vig­or­ous brush­ing.)

SECOND PANEL:  Close-up of Special Woman floss­ing her teeth.  (Agitrons indi­cate vig­or­ous floss­ing.)

THIRD PANEL:  Close-up of Special Woman, bath tow­el removed from her head, blow dry­ing her shoul­der-length blonde hair.

FOURTH PANEL (across mid­dle tier):  Special Woman dressed in her super cos­tume, a tight-fit­ting out­fit of span­dex, yel­low with red trim, red on sleeves up to elbow.  Special Woman holds her arm out to Mildred.

Speech Balloon: “Mildred, there’s a stain on the sleeve,” Special Woman.

Speech Balloon: “I don’t see no stain, Mizz” Mildred.

Speech Balloon: “I can see it.  You’ll have to get me anoth­er cos­tume,” Special Woman.

FIFTH PANEL:  View of Special Woman from the back, fac­ing a wor­ried Mildred.

Speech Balloon: “All your oth­er reg­u­lar cos­tumes is at the clean­ers.  All you have here is your Princess out­fits,” Mildred.

Speech Balloon: “Then get me one of those,” Special Woman.

SIXTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man, head buried in his arms fold­ed on his desk.  (Lightly drawn radio­rads indi­cate faint “wor­ry waves.”)

Thought Bubble: “I know she can pick up on my wor­ry­ing.  Why doesn’t she at least give me a call?”

SEVENTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man rais­es his head, eyes direct­ed toward right side of pan­el.  (Onomatopoeia, e.g. CRASH, THUMP, THUD, indi­cates loud noise out­doors.)

Partial Maladicta Balloon: “What the [grawlix]?” Anxiety Man.

Page 12

SPLASH PANEL (2/3 page):  Illustration of Anxiety Man’s front yard, Anxiety Man in back­ground, stand­ing on front porch.  In the fore­ground, a 50’s‑style pan­el truck strad­dles the lawn, a lamp­post smashed against its grill.  Lettering on the pan­el of the truck says “Private America.  Super Service for Less.”  A super-cos­tumed man lies in the bush­es, tan­gled in a stars-and-stripes-pat­terned cape.  He wears a metal­lic hel­met, with no eye holes, down over his face.  (Squeans encir­cle head.)

FIRST PANEL (bot­tom tier):   Anxiety Man stands over the fig­ure of Private America.  (Fewer squeans indi­cate return of con­scious­ness.)

Speech Balloon: “Are you…okay?  Wake up!” Anxiety Man.

SECOND PANEL (bot­tom tier).  Private America rais­es his head and is smil­ing.  (No more squeans.)

Speech Balloon: “Hey, man.  Is that you, Anxiety Man?  I heard you got some wor­ries on your mind.  Just thought I’d drop by, see if I can help you work through them.”

Page 13

FIRST PANEL:  Private America, now stand­ing, stum­bles about, tan­gled in his cape (blur­gits indi­cate errat­ic move­ment).  Anxiety Man watch­es with dis­may.

Speech Balloon: “I bet­ter call an ambu­lance for you,” Anxiety Man.

Thought Bubble: “I’m sure he’s okay.  But I got­ta get rid of this guy.  He’s the last thing I need to deal with today.”

SECOND PANEL:  Private America falls into the bush­es (hites and brif­fits indi­cate fall).

Speech Balloon: “If you could just get me untan­gled from this cape, I’ll be okay.”

THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH PANELS (mid­dle tier):  Series of illus­tra­tions of Anxiety Man help­ing Private America become untan­gled from his cape (blur­gits indi­cate com­mo­tion).

Speech Balloon (fifth pan­el): “I guess I could use a drink of water,” Private America.

Speech Balloon: “I’ll get you a drink of water, but then I’m call­ing an ambu­lance,” Anxiety Man.

SIXTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man steps through the door­way of his house.  Following him, Private America, large cape bil­low­ing behind him, trips on the porch steps (blur­gits indi­cate stum­bling).

SEVENTH PANEL:   In the fore­ground, Anxiety Man, viewed from the back, stands and watch­es Private America in the back­ground, who, with hands out­stretched before him, whirls his head about (indi­cat­ed with blur­gits).

Speech Balloon: “How can you see any­thing through that hel­met of yours?” Anxiety Man.

Speech Balloon: “Just keep talk­ing, and I’ll be able to fol­low you,” Private America.

Page 14

FIRST PANEL:  In the fore­ground, close-up of Anxiety Man (image recedes into right edge of pan­el).  In the back­ground Private America stands in front of the door in Anxiety Man’s liv­ing room.

Speech Balloon: “I’m get­ting you a glass of water.  You just stand there, and don’t move,” Anxiety Man.

Speech Balloon: “So what is it you’re wor­ried about today?” Private America.

SECOND PANEL:  Anxiety Man, in his kitchen, fills a glass with water.

Speech Balloon: “Nothing.  Nothing I can’t han­dle by myself.”

Thought Bubble (under­neath speech bal­loon): “I cer­tain­ly don’t need any help from you.”

Speech Balloon (tail direct­ed to left edge of pan­el toward Private America, who remains in the liv­ing room): “Say!  Where’d you go?” Private America (emana­ta indi­cates con­fu­sion).

THIRD PANEL:  Private America walks into lamp on end table (brif­fits indi­cate col­li­sion).

FOURTH PANEL:   Anxiety Man, back from the kitchen with glass of water, stead­ies Private America, whose cape is begin­ning to wrap around him.

Speech Balloon: “There’s a chair right here.  Sit down, and don’t move.  Here’s your glass of water,” Anxiety Man.

FIFTH PANEL:  Private America, seat­ed in arm­chair, holds glass of water.  Cape is draped around his elbows.

Speech Balloon: “So where’s Special Woman.  I thought maybe I’d find her here.”

SIXTH PANEL:  Anxiety Man bends over to pick up lamp.

Thought Bubble: “Yes, where is Special Woman?  I could use her help now more than ever,” Anxiety Man.

~

Gregory T. Burgess has pub­lished short works in the Journal of Experimental Fictionneotrope, and gestal­ten and has self-pub­lished sev­er­al longer works which are described at his web­site, www.gregoryburgess.com. He is a musi­cian as well as a writer and lives and works in rur­al Pennsylvania.