Written by John Edward Betancourt
It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the 1980's horror serial series, Tales from the Darkside. Back in the day this was a show that truly went to some scary and ugly places and once it found its stride, it provided top notch storytelling that was as thought provoking as it was terrifying.
In the many years since this series went off the air, multiple producers and writers and directors have tried to resurrect it on a particular network...to no avail. It seems that in many ways, time has simply moved on when it comes to the horror themed television serial. But while TV may not want to provide us with tales of total terror, the comic book market is happy to do so since IDW recently released a brand new entry in the storied saga of this show with Tales from the Darkside #1.
This story, entitled 'Sleepwalker', introduces us to a young man named Ziggy who is a man completely without direction in his life. Given the option, he is all about living in the moment and living the good life and eventually his laid back style comes back to haunt him when he falls asleep as the on duty lifeguard, only to be pulled from his slumber to discover that someone has died in the water during his nap. A medical condition, and help from a good lawyer absolve him of any wrong doing, but the loss of life continues to haunt him to the point where he no longer sleeps and a special ability suddenly begins to manifest itself; anyone that looks into Ziggy's eyes will fall into the slumber he so desperately desires and he comes to realize that the only way to free himself of this waking nightmare is to take responsibility for his actions...but it will be a race against time, since the husband of the woman who died at the pool, is ready to take matters into his own hands...and deliver his own brand of justice upon Ziggy.
What makes this story so special, is the fact that it goes beyond simple homage to the original show, this is in fact the adapted pilot for a reboot of the series that never got off of the ground and well, the fact that Joe Hill wrote the original teleplay for this pilot episode makes it all the more special. After all, Joe is the son of horror legend Stephen King, who ironically enough worked on the original series and well, Joe's love of the original show he grew up watching shines through because 'Sleepwalker' has the feel of a classic episode, but at the same time, there is certainly an evolution to be found here, one that brings Tales from the Darkside into the modern era...and that's not a bad thing.
While the original stories often times featured bad people in equally bad situations who often times got their just desserts, this tale adds a new wrinkle to the fold. The biggest difference in Hill's vision of Darkside is the fact that the characters are aware of their actions, and actually want to do something about it. Ziggy wants to set things right and that's definitely a departure from the stories of old, and that's the last we'll discuss of the plot because if you're a fan of the 80's series, now is your chance to enjoy fresh new stories in a universe you know and love and quite frankly...this first issue definitely does the original proper justice and well, I can't wait to pick up the next episode. Until next time, try and enjoy the daylight.