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Darkness Visible

By John Ridgway and Gina Hart

Darkness Visible was a strip by Nick Abadzis, John Ridgway and Gina Hart, published in 2000 AD progs 975 to 979. Alec Perry became a private detective after his daughter Sally vanished without trace, causing the break-up of his marriage. Now he's looking for another missing girl, Jenny Randall, the disciple of a mysterious 'religion' called Paradise Promised. His investigations reveal that Jenny has been turned into a zombie by the sect, which sucks the life-force from young people so that they can use it to gain economic and political power. But a dead witch (pictured) returns from the grave to help him defeat the cultists, calls him 'Lightbringer' and promises that he and his daughter will be reunited. (Sadly, Jenny is still dead.)

Perry is left remembering "the night when darkness was made visible to me — when it opened its blazing eyes and looked straight into my soul. It will come looking for me again, I know. And yet, for all its fearful promise, I'm looking forward to the next encounter. Because it left me with something that had become all too rare for me... hope."

Notes[]

1) The story's title is a reference to Milton's description of Hell in Paradise Lost:
"A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end."

2) Nick Abadzis says of Darkness Visible that "the feedback was very positive indeed, but then incoming editor David Bishop decided not to re-commission it. I was told that 2000 AD no longer did horror strips, so that was unequivocally that. I entirely understand the desire of the 'new broom' to houseclean but it meant that readers would never know the end of Alec Perry's tale and what actually became of his daughter." (Judge Dredd Megazine #363.)

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