DAREDEVIL: THE LOST TALES

Frank Miller/Walt Simonson Unpublished DAREDEVIL Script

In 1996, I had graduated from university and got my first job at a multimedia company in downtown Toronto that produced CD-ROMs, websites etc. There was talk of a project based on Will Eisner's work, and several people on staff were avid comic fans. It was a great place to work. I had only been running my site since January of that year, and one of the artists there did a whole bunch of new graphics for me. I loved this job.

In December, we had a gift exchange for Christmas. I opened my envelope and this was on the first page:

So... over the years I've kept the script under wraps as promised. I won't reproduce the whole thing here, but I will do my best to describe it. I know a lot of you have been asking me for years about this, so hopefully the wait was worth it.

The script is typewritten, with several passages scratched out either with "XXXX" or with handwriting.

PAGE 1

THE DEVIL'S OWN. A full black page with a pentagram and the credits.

PAGE 2

Foggy is sitting in Manhattan traffic in a convertible. He's thinking about Glorianna O'Breen and her new job. He stares at his reflection in the mirror and forces a smile. He's slightly jealous of her. He tries to convince himself he's not a bad looking guy. Suddenly, the mirror breaks. He looks around. He didn't see anything hit it. No kids around. Don't be superstitious he tells himself.

Switch to a medium shot of a "fat man in his early thirties", wearing a denim jacket. His face is pale, has mirrored sunglasses. He's sitting on a stool, a hot dog in one hand, a cherry coke in the other.

Miller notes that captions marked "CAP(M)" should be lettered with a childlike scrawl and there will be misspelled words and words with upper and lower cases.

In that scrawl, the man thinks:

PAGE 3

We learn the man's name: Martin. He's in a train station. There's only a young couple and their son, sitting on a bench. Martin thinks that what he has to do would be easier if the parents were asleep, because the father looks strong and mothers always scream. Martin lowers his glasses, staring forward. The parents both fall asleep. He thinks "Be GOOD if Honered One hAd to use MENS ROOM". The kid walks toward the men's room. Martin gets up from his stool and follows the child in.

PAGE 4

On a rooftop, Matt, Karen and a construction worker, Jeff, are talking. Jeff and Karen are holding a pane of glass, and we are given notes that Matt's rooftop apartment has been partially rebuilt from the damage in #232. Miller instructs editor Ralph Macchio to give Walt Simonson xeroxes of #231 and #232 for reference.

Matt wants to help with the pane of glass, but the other two want him to stand back. They try to place the pane, while joking about how this is like a comedy routine from old black and white movies.

Looking through the glass, Karen says "oh, no". The glass shatters. Everyone tries to shield themselves.

PAGE 5

Matt senses Jeff has cut his arm but it's not serious. They all go inside the apartment and Karen washes Jeff's arm in the sink. Matt is bewildered. There were no kids around, no change in temperature, no breeze... how did the glass shatter?

Caption: As a boy, Matt Murdock was blinded by radiation. His remaining senses are superhuman. They have never encountered what they will tonight.

PAGE 6

Close on Martin's hand as he shoves the child's head against the bathroom wall. He lifts the unconscious boy through a window and makes an escape across the tracks. During this whole sequence, Martin talks to himself about being a loyal servant, how he made sure the window was not rusted, and how he knew he'd find someone for his master.

Switch to Glorianna in her apartment. She's sitting, slumped in a chair with broken camera lenses all around her. She's on the phone with Foggy, perplexed about being robbed but they didn't steal anything... only destroyed five hundred dollars worth of her best lenses.

Back to Martin. The boy wakes up, bites Martin's hand. They are on a dirt road, somewhere.

CAP(M): "We neer HOLY PLACE And Honered One wAke up too soon. BITE with liddle teeths."

The boy tries to run away but his legs don't want to cooperate.

CAP(M): "Good if legs don't work"

PAGE 7

Matt and Karen are on the roof, cleaning up the mess. Karen is telling Matt things like this happen all the time, but he's not convinced.

Martin carries the boy to an auto dump. A sign says they are in Clayton, Minnesota.

Back to Matt's apartment. He's making grilled cheese sandwiches. A sheet covers the space where the window pane should have gone. Miller directs Simonson to make the apartment look cheap and ratty, a picture of New York poverty. Karen tells Matt to stop worrying about the window. The diner is closed, so maybe they can help out Maggie at the Mission today.

Karen has a carton of milk with pictures of two missing children. "Where do you suppose they go?"

Martin looks down, smiling. "YUNG ones Are BEST". He ties a rope around the boy's wrists. "And they your fAvrits, oh Lord most greAt"

PAGE 8

Switch to Maggie's Mission. There is a prominent stained glass window in the background.

What is interesting here is that Miller out right says Maggie is Matt's mother. Writers after Miller only strongly hinted about it, until Kevin Smith wrote it as true.

Matt talks with Maggie about the window. She says "Those wonderful senses of yours can't tell you everything, Matt".

So she knows about Matt's senses and she knows Matt is Daredevil.

Back to Martin. He's opening a tool box. He is in a wooden shack.

Close-up on Matt. He's alert, alarmed.

Back to Martin, grinning. "I get to WORK"

Maggie asks Matt what is wrong. "BAD -- feel -- something BAD --"

PAGE 9

Another full page panel.
The entire stained glass window shatters, exploding into dozens of shards. Matt grabs Maggie, twisting his body to protect her.

PAGE 10

Martin says "His VOYCE come bAck"

Matt holds Maggie. "Are you all... Maggie?"

Martin: "He FITE but rope STRONG"

Maggie looks like she is screaming, with tears running her face. Matt thinks she is having a stroke.
A close-up of Maggie's hands. Blood drips between her fingers.
Her whole body goes limp.

PAGE 11

Close-up on the boy's hand. "It stop. It done."

Matt senses Maggie's heart is still beating and the bleeding has stopped by itself.

Martin smears blood with two fingers on the floor.

Maggie wakes up. "Matt, he's coming here to New York. What he did to that boy..."

Martin draws a pentagram of blood. "It VARY good one, Lord Most Holy"

Maggie continues... "He's coming here, you have to stop him"

"Who?" Matt asks.

In small letters in a large balloon, Maggie whispers "Satan"

PAGE 12

Back to Martin, he's sitting on the floor, holding a train ticket to New York. He puts the ticket in his vinyl wallet. He walks out of the shack with his toolbox. He leaves the dead boy behind, saying that he will "Leave Honered one for COPS. COPS serve My Lord GOOD. COPS kleen MESS up"

Matt visits the Daily Bugle, asks Ben Urich about all the material he has on Satanism and ritual murder. Urich pulls out a file of newspaper clippings.

PAGE 13

Martin makes his way to the train station, has a bit of a hard time getting onboard without proof of purchase. But he does eventually get on that train, with the toolbox in his lap.

Matt runs his fingers over the newsprint, "reading" all the articles. He doesn't want to "read" any more, but he continues.

PAGE 14

We switch to Dr. Strange's house. The "Eisner/Ditko" window has been smashed inward. Strange has just woken up, and Wong rushes into the room behind him. The Eye of Aggamotto rises to Strange's forehead.
Are they under attack? The Eye closes... no, not an attack. An Omen. Something is coming, and the sorcerer will not sleep tonight.

PAGE 15

Matt senses "Dismemberment" and "Mutilation" as he continues investigating.

Glorianna is developing pictures in her dark room. Some pictures hang, clipped like laundry.
She's thinking about how Foggy is jealous of her job and how she's had enough of dealing with men's problems with her...

But then, she recoils in horror... she can feel worms in the developer... must be nerves, she's not getting enough sleep... she goes to touch the developer again to prove there weren't any worms.

PAGE 16

She raises her hands, which are covered in worms. She runs out of the dark room screaming.

Matt brushes over "Skinned Alive".

Dr. Strange combs through a large book. A million evil worlds, a thought away. He can't find an answer.

PAGE 17

Another full page panel.
Dr. Strange is in a squat, floating with his cloak around him. The window has been repaired. Books are scattered about. Something has come to the human plane that was able to pierce the Sanctum's defenses. It must be named or he will be powerless against it. He begins to chant...

PAGE 18

Foggy is on the phone with Glorianna while he holds a box of Oreos in one hand. "Worms? Come over? Of course!" Suddenly, a swarm of cockroaches crawl out of the cookie box and up his arm. Foggy thrashes as hundreds more cockroaches come out of every corner of the kitchen.

Close-up on Matt. He thinks to himself that he hates snakes, the only creatures on earth who know how to move quietly.

PAGE 19

Pull back to show Matt at a desk, going through the clippings while a King Cobra is poised to strike him. Ben drops a cup of coffee when he notices. The snake is about to strike.

Back to Dr. Strange, he can hear the laughter of lesser demons, the chatter of souls.

Matt calmly grabs the snake by the neck as it strikes. He shoves it into a drawer.

He then thinks that rats make lots of noise, as one leaps onto another desk, scaring a woman in the office.

PAGE 20

Rats appear everywhere, throwing the whole office into a panic.

The cockroaches crawl all over Foggy. He would scream if they weren't so close to his mouth.

Close-up on Dr. Strange. His foe eludes him. But there is something wrong. The smell, the color, the feel of things.

People scramble away from the office. Matt backs away from a horde of rats. Ben is squatting on top of a desk, horrified.

PAGE 21

Matt crashes a window and heads out. He holds onto the ledge of hundreds of rats fall into space.

Dr. Strange hears a voice. "Sorcerer, I SURROUND you. I SWALLOW you. Fight me, sorcerer. You want a Name? I have so many."

Strange gestures with one hand. He finds that someone, a man, may be able to help him. His cloak glides away through a doorway. The voice taunts him to find that man. The voice laughs.

PAGE 22

A mass of cockroaches shaped like Foggy crawls towards his bathtub. He struggles to turn on the faucet. The shower turns on, and the roachs fall away. Finally he can breathe. Finally, he can scream.

PAGE 23

Matt is on the ledge, with rats swarming around him, crawling up his leg. A black raven claws at his hair. More ravens appear, covering his face. He stumbles. Dr. Strange's cloak catches Matt, wraps around him.

Dr. Strange lies amid wreckage, unconscious.

Foggy lies in his bathtub, screaming.

Medium close-up on Martin, still on the train. CAP(M): "klick klack"

TO BE CONTINUED (alas, it won't)

So... why didn't this get published?

In 1997, I asked artist Walt Simonson about the project and he said:

"To the best of my knowledge, Frank never scripted Part 2. I never did pencil Part 1. And the reason was that DD was getting a new regular writer at the time after several fill-ins. The new writer wanted his first issue to come out at the beginning of the summer (the good sales period back then) so our 2 parter was put on hold for a few months. And if there's no deadline, the work never gets done--that's an old freelance rule. The gist of it is that by the time Marvel was interested in having us work on the story, Frank was off doing Dark Knight and I was off doing X-Factor. So it never happened. Too bad--it was a cool story too."

Over the years, I heard a rumor that Miller wanted to complete this story with artist Bill Sienkiewicz, but it didn't work out. Could it ever be completed? Never say never I suppose. Hope you have enjoyed this look at the script. And many thanks to my Secret Santa!



 
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