This is the last comic script I wrote, which was a proposal for a new take on the Darkness. The idea was to write the book as a horror series, more like American Horror Story, where there was no clear hero or villain, just an unstoppable evil that would try to ruin the lives of everyone it encountered. I finished writing this just as Stranger Things came out, and there were some close similarities, such as the “Darkness World” that was leaking through to our realm.
Since it has been well over a year and no one even contacted me in regards to this script, I am going to assume Top Cow and I have no further business together and I am posting the script for the world to read.
As always, feel free to comment or contact me about it. Artwork by the wonderful Rob Doria.
Panel 1: ESTABLISHING SHOT of the brand new CALIFORNIA STATE HOSPITAL, a prison for the mental ill and deranged. It is 1955, the building is new and the paint still fresh, the flowers that grow in the garden are tall and full of color.
A van sits in the parking lot to the left side of the building, with the word’s THE MARVELOUS MIFF on the side. The truck belongs to Miff the Magician. It is painted black with playing cards and gold stars on it.
Panel 2: INSIDE the hospital, in the open gymnasium. Magic Miff has set up his gear in front of the basketball net. The inmates sit in chairs about twenty feet away, with orderlies stationed next to all the rows of seats. There are 12 rows all together, totaling just over sixty inmates. Doctors are scattered among them, as well as a few nurses. A young nurse, blonde, tall and slim, stands in the front row, a clipboard pressed to her chest. Miff is a round, happy, man with an unusual moustache. He wears a red vest over his black tuxedo and he holds a long, black, wand in his hand. Nearby covered under a black blanket is a six-foot tall ominous looking box.
MIFF: THANK YOU, ONCE AGAIN, FOR ALLOWING ME TO PERFORM HERE TODAY, FOR ALL OF YOU. FOR MY SECOND TRICK, I WILL NEED A VOLUNTEER.
Panel 3: Miff looks at the inmates, smiling at the assorted freaks and weirdoes, a wide grin on his face.
MIFF: THE TRAVEL BOX REQUIRES A BRAVE SOUL, WHICH OF YOU WILL IT BE, EH?
Panel 1: The old hospital administrator, a mean looking old man who leans on a black cane, approaches the young blonde nurse. His name is Mr. Coldfax and his eyes are too large and too shiny, he is clearly not well.
- COLDFAX: MARTHA, WHY DON’T YOU VOLUNTEER? I’D PREFER HE LEAVE THE INMATES IN THEIR SEATS WHERE THEY CAN ENJOY THE SHOW.
Panel 2: Miff takes Martha by the hand and leads her toward the Travel Box.
MARTHA: THIS BOX CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, ANYWHERE YOU WANT TO GO. YOU WON’T REMEMBER IT OF COURSE. . .THAT’S THE MAGIC OF IT. . .
Panel 3: The young woman takes Miff’s hand is lead into the box.
MIFF: WHEN I CLOSE THE DOOR, I WANT YOU ALL TO CLAP YOUR HANDS AND SEND THIS NICE YOUNG LADY ON HER MAGICAL JOURNEY! ACROSS THE STARS TO WORLD’S UNKNOWN!
Panel 4: TIGHT SHOT: The door is closed, the latches secured. The crowd begins to clap.
Panel 5: The magical box is rotated around on its special stand. Two or three times the box turns, turns, turns.
Panel 1: The box comes to a stop, the Magician smiles for the clapping crowd.
Panel 2: Opening the door, Martha is gone! Miff bows, his hat in his hands.
Panel 3: Closing the door again, the Magician continues with his trick.
MIFF: THANK YOU, THANK YOU! NOW LET’S BRING HER BACK FROM HER AMAZING JOURNEY!
Panel 4: Once again the box is revolves around and around. This time the shot is closer, tighter, more claustrophobic.
Panel 5: Miff throws open the door, but Martha is gone. We do not see the back of the box, instead we see only darkness.
Miff peers into the box. The rest of the audience is worried, they can sense something is wrong.
MIFF: EXCUSE ME, FOLKS. JUST A MINOR SETBACK HERE.
Miff studies the box, front and back, but cannot figure out what happened.
CROWD: WHERE IS SHE, WHERE IS MARTHA?
The Magician gets closer to the box, trying to see into the blackness.
Miff steps into the box, his face just inches from the dark.
CLOSE-UP of Miff’s horrified face. Suddenly Miff can see into the dark, down into the blackness and what he sees is madness and evil incarnate.
FULL PAGE SPREAD:
The panel is framed by the magical box and we can tell that this is what Miff sees.
Martha drowns in a sea of blackness, surrounded by massive white gleaming teeth. Her clothes are shredded, her flesh torn open, her face twisted in horror and pain. It is the Darkness incarnate and it is terrible to behold.
CUT TO: A beautiful suburban neighborhood. Prominent in the panel is a gray family van parked on the street with those stick figure stickers on the back. There is one for a mother, a father, a cat and a baby sticker.
A middle-aged female real estate agent Linda Blair walks toward the van as the James family gets out and gathers in the front yard. A moving truck is parked in the driveway and the movers are almost finished moving everything into the house. The side of the truck reads FULL SERVICE MOVERS. PACKING AND UNPACKING OUR SPECIALITY.
Robert James, his wife Tabitha and their baby girl Mona are a beautiful, young, hip, family. Robert holds the baby, since Tabitha was driving the van.
LINDA: MR. AND MRS. JAMES! HELLO AGAIN!
Linda hands the keys to the house to Tabitha, a big grin on her face.
LINDA: THE MOVERS ARE ALMOST DONE, EVERYTHING IS READY TO GO! HOW WAS THE DRIVE?
ROBERT: LONG. VERY LONG. I’M GOING TO FEED THE BABY AND PUT HER TO SLEEP.
LINDA: HER ROOM IS ALL SET UP, I MADE SURE OF IT PERSONALLY.
As Robert enters the house, the two women stand in the yard.
TABITHA: THANK YOU, LINDA. WE REALLY APPRECIATE ALL YOU’VE DONE FOR US.
LINDA: HEY, IT WAS MY PLEASURE. MOVING ACROSS COUNTRY IS A BIG STEP, ESPECIALY WITH A NEW BABY. I WAS GLAD TO BE OF HELP.
Robert has just laid the baby down in her crib and leaves her room, quietly closing the door behind him.
Tabitha and Linda are in the kitchen having a coffee when Robert enters.
LINDA: SO WHEN DO YOU START WORK, MR. JAMES? YOUR WIFE TELLS ME YOU GOT A GREAT PROMOTION.
ROBERT: I START MONDAY MORNING.
LINDA: OH WELL GREAT, YOU AND YOUR WIFE HAVE SOME TIME TO GET YOURSELVES SETTLED IN.
ROBERT: ANY IDEA WHICH CUPBOARD THE CUPS ARE IN?
Following he directions, Robert finds his favorite coffee mug.
LINDA: LEFT OF THE SINK, I BELIEVE.
ROBERT: THANK YOU. ITS GOING TO BE A PAIN IN THE ASS FIGURING OUT WHERE THEY PUT EVERYTHING.
TABITHA: STILL BETTER THAN DOING IT OURSELVES, ROB.
ROBERT: I GUESS.
As Robert drinks his coffee, the two women share a laugh.
LINDA: TYPICAL MAN. NEEDS TO DO EVERYTHING HIMSELF.
OUTSIDE SHOT of the House.
OUTSIDE SHOT of the James house. Now it is night and the house is dark. There is a shadow in the panel of the Darkness Man; his shadow is almost concealed by the dark, almost but not quite. If a reader looks carefully, he can spot it.
Robert gets out of bed, light coming in from the street outside.
He enters the washroom, reaches in and flips the switch but nothing happens.
Robert continues to flip the switch then decides to go ahead anyway.
FROM IN FRONT: Robert sits on the toilet in the dark, the door closed.
FROM BEHIND ROBERT: The shower is in front of him, curtains closed and we can see the shape of the same man, The Darkness Man, standing directly in front of him.
Fear crosses Robert’s face. He can make out the shape of the person in shower even in the dark.
SLOWLY he leans forward on the toilet seat and places his hand on the curtains.
He pulls the curtains back, revealing a terrible face, similar to previous versions of the Darkness but twisted and evil.
Robert wakes up in bed, still screaming in silence.
OFF PANEL: ROBERT!
Tabitha peeks in from the bathroom.
TABITHA: WHAT DID YOU DO? THERE IS PISS EVERYWHERE IN HERE!
Robert gets up from bed, confused and still shaken.
Robert joins his wife in the bathroom. The shower curtains are now open. His wife looks down at the seat with a look of disgust and anger.
ROBERT: I’M SORRY, I MUST HAVE BEEN HALF ASLEEP. THE LIGHT DIDN’T WORK.
TABITHA: WELL IT WORKS NOW. CAN YOU CLEAN THIS UP PLEASE?
ROBERT: SURE. YEAH.
Tabitha pushes the baby down the suburban street in a modern stroller. She is in a good mood and enjoying the sunny weather.
Tabitha walks passed a neighborhood park.
The Darkness Man waits near the sidewalk, concealed beneath the shadow of a massive oak tree. He tips his hat to the passing woman, his face twisted with a large grin.
THE DARKNESS MAN: GOOD AFTERNOON.
THE DARKNESS MAN: WHAT A LOVELY CHILD.
Tabitha slows down a little; she is slightly suspicious but trying to be polite to her new neighbors.
TABITHA: THANK YOU.
The shadows around him conceal his features, making him seem like nothing more than haunted eyes and a gaping mouth.
THE DARKNESS MAN: CAN I SEE HER? BRING HER A LITTLE CLOSER. MY EYES ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE.
WIDE PANEL: Tabitha looks around. It is a beautiful day, people are out playing in the park, but she feels a sudden sense of danger. The shadow of the tree is just a few feet from the baby and the Darkness Man waits there patiently, hands folded in front of him.
CLOSE-UP of the grinning face of the Darkness Man.
THE DARKNESS MAN: JUST A LITTLE CLOSER.
Suddenly a chestnut coloured dog appears, barking furiously.
The dog’s owner, a middle-aged woman dressed in running clothes, runs over to her pet.
FEMALE JOGGER: COFFEE! STOP THAT! HEEL! HEEL!!
The Darkness Man is gone, but the dog continues to bark at the shadow where he had been.
FEMALE JOGGER: I’M SO SORRY! HE’S HARMLESS, TRUST ME.
TABITHA: IT’S FINE.
Tabitha picks the baby up and holds her close to her. The jogger attaches her leash and walks away with the dog. The park seems harmless but Tabitha looks distraught, she can feel the evil that was only a few feet from her just a moment ago.
CLOSE-UP Of the baby. A dirty diaper lays nearby as Tabitha finishes changing her diapers.
The baby is awake and clings to her mother’s chest.
Robert appears behind them, dressed in a casual business suit.
TABITHA: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST DAY?
Tabitha hands Robert the baby and a partial scowl crosses his face.
ROBERT: CAN’T I AT LEAST SIT DOWN FOR A MINUTE?
TABITHA: YOU CAN SIT WITH THE BABY SHE WON’T STOP YOU.
Tabitha leaves the babies room and heads toward the computer sitting in the living room by the window. Robert follows her, the baby in his arms. The baby fusses and squirms in his grip.
TABITHA: THERE ARE A FEW JOBS I WANT TO APPLY FOR BEFORE IT GETS LATE OR I FORGET.
ROBERT: WHAT ABOUT DINNER?
TABITHA: ORDER WHATEVER YOU WANT.
Time passes, Robert sits in front of the TV, pizza box on the coffee table, baby in his arms.
He yawns as he carries the baby to the bathroom.
Robert finishes giving the baby a bath and wraps her in a blanket.
He turns on the light in the baby’s room, heading for the changing table next to the window.
He dresses his daughter in a pretty jumper with tiny rosebuds on it.
He wraps the baby in a blanket and then puts her down in her bed. Tabitha stands nearby, watching.
Tabitha leans over the baby and gives her a kiss while Robert waits with his hand on the light switch.
Robert slowly closes the door to the room after his wife exits. The room is dark and the house is quiet.
Tabitha and Robert slip into bed for the night. The clock on the nightstand reads 11:33.
CLOSE-UP: Robert lays his head on his pillow and closes his eyes.
Suddenly Robert’s eyes open wide in shock.
He bolts upright; the clock says 3:00.
He sits upright, in the dark, and the cries of his child can be heard coming down the hall.
SKEWED ANGLE: Robert walks down the hall to the baby’s room, with the panel shifted askew to show the strangeness of what it happening.
Robert hurries down the hall but it seems to lengthen and stretch away from him.
The baby has stopped crying, replaced with a haunting hymn that fills the house.
OUR DARK GOD IS IN HIS TEMPLE
IN THE EVIL, ROTTEN MIND
Robert reaches the door but it seems to be locked. He tries desperately to open it.
HE HAS COME FROM DEEP WITHIN YOU
COME TO SWALLOW ALL MANKIND
The door flies open and Robert tumbles into the room, scrambling to turn on the light. The baby’s crib is hidden beneath the viewer’s eyeline, bottom of the panel.
HE WILL FEED OUR DESPERATE HUNGER
HE WILL SEE THAT ALL HAVE DINED
The light switch won’t work, but now we can see what is in the crib: The baby is surrounded by vicious looking little Darklings.
UPON THE SOULS OF ALL THE PEOPLE
DARKNESS FALLS ON ALL MANKIND
Finally the light comes on, Robert runs to the crib. He is obviously scared worse than ever before in his life.
Robert runs his hand along the bottom of the crib but the baby is gone.
ROBERT: OH NO. NONONONONO!
Panel 3: He begins to search in panic, moving the crib, tossing blankets.
CLOSER: To Robert’s face, twisted in anger, the first signs of madness in his eyes.
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE: The Darkness Man walks toward the house, where the van sits in the driveway. We can only see him from behind.
Robert’s screams echo outside the house. The Darkness Man now stands near the rear of the gray van.
SFX: NOOOOOOOO!!! NO! SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!!!
TIGHT SHOT: The Darkness Man peels the sticker off the back of the van of the baby. His nails are clean but inhuman looking, his fingers boney and misshapen.
TIGHT SHOT: The Darkness Man places the baby sticker on his tongue, a grin on his face, and swallows it.
TO BE CONTINUED.