Attached above is my “Room with a View” assignment for my Tuesday Graphic Narrative class, which I completed using Adobe Illustrator. I was tasked with creating a series of panels in which the viewer could see two scenes occurring at once– one in the foreground and one in the background within each frame. My project was partially inspired by the cinematography of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1947), which features the protagonist (a photographer) watching numerous events unfold in the apartments of an apartment building right across from his own home through his window. Similar to how Rear Window starts off innocuously enough, but then turns into a murder mystery when one of the apartment residents apparently goes on a killing spree, my project replaces the apartment building with a hotel housing seven residents representing the seven deadly sins– most of whom end up dying, one way or another, because of Wrath going a killing spree. The design of the Seven Sins Hotel intentionally makes it look like a kitschy run down place with a Las Vegas casino-type sign with malfunctioning letters (the red spells “Hel”, alluding to “Hell”). The hotel is also 2 stars out of 5
The plot for my project is as follows:
Panel 1: All the residents representing the deadly sins are introduced. Wrath has just killed a man in the center window out of rage, Gluttony is devouring some fast food while sitting on his reclining chair, Greed is suspiciously checking a suitcase glowing with an unknown amount of money, Lust and her boyfriend are in the middle of some very passionate lovemaking, Envy is listening to Lust’s groaning through the floorboards (he is filled with jealousy because Lust used to be his girlfriend), Pride is beaming with pride standing akimbo and thinking herself the greatest, while Sloth is fast asleep, alongside his cat. Sloth is the only character which nothing happens to, because he is too lazy to do anything about what is going to happen in future panels.
Panel 2: Wrath slams the door to his hotel room shut as he runs towards the direction of Lust’s room for more murder. Greed hears the commotion and looks up from his suitcase. Pride also notices and looks the ceiling above her, curious. Envy’s eyes shift subtly as he grows steadily more jealous of Lust’s enjoyment. Lust and her boyfriend intensify their lovemaking, as Gluttony continues to eat, and Sloth continues to sleep, completely oblivious to his surroundings.
Panel 3: Wrath breaks into Lust’s hotel room and ambushes both Lust and her partner, threatening to kill them with the same bloody knife he killed the man in his own room. The couple retreats to the furthermost wall of their room out of fear, covering their naked bodies with the blanket of the bed. Envy decides to act on his jealousy and grabs a baseball bat in order to bash Lust’s boyfriend so hard he will die, so that Lust can be his again. Greed shuts his suitcase and feels like something terrible is happening two rooms over. He contemplates leaving his room entirely, fearful of what might occur soon. Pride’s expression transforms from simple curiosity to horror and terror. Sloth remains asleep (the insect on his cobweb filled window scuttles slightly, suggesting the place is in disrepair out of neglect), and Gluttony continues to eat, chewing on French fries.
Panel 4: Wrath kills Lust’s boyfriend in cold blood, resulting in the love bed being partially stained with red. Lust looks down at her lover in sorrow and fear, afraid she too will die from a crazed murderer. Envy leaves his room, exclaiming that Lust’s boyfriend (who he does not realize is already dead) will pay for “fucking his girlfriend”. Greed now knows something is VERY wrong, and curses to himself as he leaves his room as well, with his suitcase full of money, intending to visit Pride. Pride looks to the ceiling facing Greed’s room and wonders why Greed is making such a commotion. Gluttony suddenly begins to experience a heart attack (symbolized by his swelling heart) as a result of his being overweight and its associated cardiovascular consequences. Sloth’s bug on the window moves slightly more to the left– he is sleeping through a train wreck.
Panel 5 (not intended to be the last panel): Envy barges into Lust’s room only to be immediately killed by Wrath, causing Lust to panic and scream in terror even more. Envy drops his baseball bat and falls dead to the ground. Greed descends to Pride’s room, and Pride asks Greed what is going on, but Greed has no time to explain. Gluttony continues experiencing his heart attack, and dies due to a lack of medical attention and because he is alone. Sloth remains asleep.
I did not have time to create two more panels for the project, but the narrative ends with Wrath leaving the building with Lust, Pride killing Greed and stealing his suitcase, and Pride and Wrath getting into a fight in the streets that results in Pride’s death and Wrath running away from the hotel, which prompts you, the individual staring out your window, to call the police.
Moral of the story? Sin ends and ruins lives.