THE HAPPIEST DAN ALIVE
BY RUSSELL HILLMAN
Page 1, panel 1:
A suburban kitchen. Dan (thirtysomething, smart casual, dark hair styled not sculpted) is spooning takeaway curry from a tray onto a plate. He is shouting to someone in another room.
Emily! Damn it!
Anna! Just dishing up now!
Page 1, panel 2:
The living room of the same house. A different night. Dan is dressed more casually. He’s holding a landline phone.
Emily! Damn it!
Page 1, panel 3:
Dan (similar outfit to panel 1) and his mate Phil (younger, shorter and not as well groomed) stand outside a bar, smoking.
I don’t get it. I broke up with Emily about, what, fifteen years ago now?
Pretty much. You’ve been married to Anna for nine years.
Page 1, panel 4:
Continued from previous. There is a flash from off-panel.
So why do I keep wanting to call her Emily?
Page 1, panel 5:
Phil is frozen. Dan has turned his head toward the off-panel flash.
I believe I can answer that!
Page 1, panel 6:
Dan shaking hands with Daniel. Daniel is a sci-fi version of Dan – interpret that however you want. Cyberpunk, retro-thirties Flash Gordon, whatever works for you.
Dan, I’m Daniel. I’m you from another universe.
I’m also Emily’s husband.
Page 2, panel 1:
Full-width panel. Daniel is now standing with various other Dans. There’s a seventies smart casual Danny, robot DAN-10, Dan-the-Dog (a dog in clothes), a girly Danielle, a lesbian stereotype Danni, cool black dude D-Man and ludicrous hipster The Dan-Meister. Assemble them wisely, for they will move around as we go. Put the odd stray Dan in the back of panels to show that they don’t just vanish when they have no dialogue.
She was my girlfriend!
She left me for another woman!
It’s a multiversal echo, you see? You’re getting our stray thoughts.
Page 2, panel 2:
On Dan and Daniel.
So, you’re all me from other worlds? What are you doing here?
We’re here to find out a universal secret.
Page 2, panel 3:
Daniel has grabbed Dan by his shirt front, and is yelling at him.
HOW DID YOU GET OVER EMILY?
Page 2, panel 4:
Daniel has now let go of Dan, who is straightening out his shirt front. Dan-The-Dog is nearby.
I dunno. I mean, I guess it helped that she dumped me.
Yeah, me too.
Page 2, panel 5:
Continued from previous.
And she was cheating on me.
So is mine.
Page 3, panel 1:
Full width panel. The assembled Dans again. Shuffled around a bit, but still all there.
Emil-Lee made me watch him with other women!
Mine meets guys online for sex.
Mine has been sniffing around other guys, I just know it!
In every universe, she’s broken our hearts. You’re the only Dan who ever got over her.
Page 3, panel 2:
On our Dan.
Wait. In other universes, I’m a robot? Was Emily a robot too?
Page 3, panel 3:
DAN-10, D-Man, The Dan-Meister and Dan-The-Dog.
Yup. The M-L-E-5000
Mine was a bitch. An actual canine, I mean...
Page 3, panel 4:
DAN-10, D- Man and Dan-The Dog all glare at The Dan-Meister. No dialogue.
Page 3, panel 5:
On our Dan. Arms open, heartfelt.
The thing is... I can’t really help you.
I don’t know how I got over her. Eventually, I just did. Give it time...
Page 4, panel 1:
Full width panel. The Dans assembled one final time. Everyone is standing slightly apart from The Dan-Meister. They are starting to fade out.
Give it time? What?
Is that it? I travelled to a parallel universe for THAT?
Worth a try, I s’pose...
Page 4, panel 2:
Dan and Daniel, the last one to fade.
Plus, meeting Anna really helped...
Wait! Who’s Anna?
Page 4, panel 3:
Dan and Phil again. Phil is now unfrozen.
No, I think I’ll call it a night. Seeya!
Page 4, panel 4:
Back at home. Dan striding purposefully through an open door, holding a big bag of Chinese food. You can tell it’s Chinese food because the artist has drawn something on the bag to make that obvious, like a pagoda or something.
In a thousand worlds, I’m the only one who found happiness! I’m the only one who got over Emily!
Right, let’s see if this had any effect.
Page 4, panel 5:
Continued from previous. Dan is calling to someone off-panel.
Hannah! Ann! Annie! A/N! Andy!
The Happiest Dan Alive
Written by Russell Hillman