Mr. Dark



Mister Dark, as created at www.heromachine.com
"All's well that ends well... at least until the next undead
wizard in a piece of claw-machine junk jewelry shows up."
--- Mister Dark, upon the defeat of the dread wizard Alkanab

Real name: James "Jimmy" Golden
Codename: Mister Dark. Later, Mister Wonderful.
Species: Human.
Gender: Male.
Age: 23.
Character Alignment: Good.
Character Origin: Millennial
Theme song (with lyrics): "Shadows On Your Side" -- Duran Duran
Theme Song (w/o lyrics): "Havin' An Average Weekend" -- Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet
Occupation: Lighting Designer and Actor. Later, kids show host.
Team Affiliatons: The Watch (Reserves).






Background:

March 21st, 2000 - First Entry in the Diary of... Mister Dark.

It occured to me that just in case my new... lifestyle choice gets discovered, I should keep some kinda record of everything. Explain who I am, why I'm doing why I did... and try and prove that I'm not completely crazy.

My birth name is James Randall Golden and I think I'm a Milennial: one of those people who started developing odd powers shortly after New Years Day of 2000.Of course, that's a story in itself and I haven't even started mine yet. I suppose I should start out with my childhood...

I had a pretty basic American childhood. Two parents, house in Suburbia. Went through the public schools. Wasn't a genuis but wasn't dumb either. I took acrobatics classes through high school but wasn't athletic. I wasn't a 200 pounds at 10 years of age video game master either. In short and simple words, I was pretty normal and didn't really stand out in any way.

Well, that's not quite true... I had a talent for voices. Silly voices. I started doing them when I was a kid watching cartoons. I could do a passable Daffy Duck and a near perfect Elmer Fudd. When I was 12, I discovered Saturday Night Live and started copying the voices of Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers, Phil Hartman... all the great impressionists. Memorized all their routines too. Well, there wasn't much practical application for this in school except in one way... class clown.

That was my occupation for the rest of school. Class clown and all around joker. That and target of every teacher with no sense of humor and bully with lack of the same. Got so bad my 8th grade year, I had to learn how to fight in order to deal with all the guys who wanted to force feed me their fist after I got their girlfriends to laugh and they felt jealous.

Anyway, some teacher saw me doing my routine in the halls one day in Jr. High... it turned out to be the drama teacher; Mrs. Whitworth. I hadn't even known we'd had a drama teacher. She asked me if I'd consider going into her class, thinking that she could use my obvious talent for accents and memory.

Long story short, I got into acting. But much to Mrs. Whitworth's dismay, I only did comedy. Oh, she begged me to consider reading for Romeo and Juliet, but I've never liked Shakespeare that much. Even his comedy is depressing. That trend continued into high school. Whenever something like "You Can't Take it With You" or "Man Who Came to Dinner" was on the bill, I was there.

Well, I graduated from high school and started going to USC. I moved into the dorms and started majoring in Theater Arts with a focus on Performance. It was on my first day of classes that I began to realize that a serious carrear as an actor might prove a little more difficult than my person charm could cope with. I realized this after I saw 137 people in the lecture hall for my "Introduction to Proffesional Acting" class. So, I decided to start reviewing other options. By this point, I knew I wanted to do something in the theater even if I hadn't acted. Talking with a proffesor, I found out that while acting jobs are sorely fought over, there was a huge demand for lighting designers and engineers.

So, I started studying that along with the acting stuff. Whenever there was a comedy, I would try out for a part. And whenever there was a drama, I would run the lights. Four years later I got a dual degree in Lighting Design and Performance Art.
Looking back, I think it's a good thing that I did become a lighting designer, because if it weren't for that... I might not have learned about what I am as quickly... or possibly ever.

I got hired right out of college as the assistant lighting director for the Theatre Majestic: one of the larger theaters in Sunrise City. Basically, I ran the lights for each show and organized the hanging and setup of lights while the head guy took care of the design aspects. Bit dull at times, but I did get to see all the shows at that theater for free, the work was steady and paid well... and it left me enough off time during the day to start doing some voice-over jobs for local radio.

Anyway, it was while working on the lights one day that I discovered my power. The intern I was working with had left for lunch, after I'd spent a morning showing her all the tools from my box that I used for hanging lights. After she left, I went into the grid over the stage to hang some lights for the new show. Checking my toolbox, I realized that one of the special wrenchs I needed to tighten the bolts on the lights was missing. Looking down, I saw the wrench in a dark spot on the stage floor. Sighing a bit at the thought of climbing all the way back down, I wished there was some way I could reach it. As soon as I thought that, the shadow under my right arm moved and snaked it's way downward to grab at the wrench. It then slid back up and put the wrench in my hand, all in a span of about 6 seconds. I couldn't believe what I had seen so I tried it again. This time, I tried to drag a chair that was sitting on the stage. This time, something else happened. I just raised my hand up and thought about moving the chair. This time, the chair moved itself... well, actually... it didn't really move itself... after moving it around for a minute, I noticed something odd... when I thought about moving the chair, first the shadow underneath the chair would shift... and then the object itself would move...

This happened about one month ago. Since then, the reports of the new beings; the Specials hd started to come up in the legitimate media. I didn't believe the stories at first, but considering what's happened to me, I can't help but not believe it now. There's no other way to explain that I now have some ability to control shadows. In the last month, I have been testing myself and have come up with a few guesses as to my limits. I can't seem to do anything with my shadow moving power that I couldn't do myself physically. No lifting cars or anything, but maybe that will come with exercise... who knows? When I think about picking an object up or grabbing something, my own shadow will stretch to grasp it from a distance. When I think about moving something, I can move the object's shadow, and with that the object itself. Interestingly enough, I also can see perfectly in the dark... of course I've always had good night vision.. comes with working backstage... but this is really good... like, I can see everything bright as day, even while wearing sunglasses.

I've been thinking about what to do with this power now that I have it and today I decided. I am going to be a superhero and call myself: Mister Dark. Yeah, I know.. it sounds like a bad guy name... but it also sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?

March 23rd, 2000- My two nights of crimefighting have gone betterm despite a rocky start. No sooner had I finished my last entry that I realized I didn't have a costume yet. I settled on some teching black clothes I had... perfect thing for a dark avenger of the night, right?

That problem solved, I ran into another one when I realized that I didn't have a way to get around town easily. I mean, Batman never took the bus cruising for crime scenes... so, I decided to improvise. I tried stretching my shadow arm to see if I could grab a roof ledge on the building next to mine. Then I tried it with the other arm... after a few practice swings around the block, I was using my shadow like Tarzan vines or Spider-Man's webs... I didn't find any crime that night, but still... what with having found a fast way around town, I thought the night well spent. The next night (last night) was good to me. I was practicing shadow-swinging around downtown, when I heard screaming. Lo and behold but I stumbled upon a mugging in progress. It proved to be pretty simple for me to knock the robber's knife from his hands with me new-found power of skiakinesis. Oh, that's the name I came up for my shadow moving... it's like telekinesis, but with shadows... skia is ancient Greek for shadow... took me three hours of digging to find that out. Stupid, i know... but if I'm going to have a weird power like thid, I want it to have a proper sounding name.

April 9th, 2000- Got a new costume today- a $10 white zoot-suit/fedora combo from a thirft store. Why white? Well, I got seen swinging between roofs by some guy in a knight's costume with a sword, last night. Well, rather than take my shouted word that I'm a good guy, he starts chasing me, leaping the rooftops in single bounds.

Black is cool and stealthy but it also just makes people think "bad guy". So I'm going to try the "white hat" approach for a while- see if that helps.

May 3rd, 2000- decided to make this my last entry... anything I need to say about me or my life before, has been said... and all I can say about my powers, what I've done, and what I did has been said here already. So, if you're reading this, hopefully you're either a child or grandchild reading this many years after I've retired and decided to let this secret slip... or you're my parents or a cop or some other person going through my belongings after what was hopefully a suitable heroic death. Whichever it is, right now, I regret nothing and whatever circumstances lead you to read this, I hope they are good and I wish you the hapiness that I feel now. --- James Randal Golden



Superpowers:

Shadow Control: A general blanket term for all of James' powers, he has the ability to manipulate shadows in various ways.

Skiakinesis: James came up with the word "skiakinesis" to describe this power. It comes from two Ancient Greek words; kinesis, meaning "motion" and skia, meaning "shadow". Telekinetics are able to move objects through sheer force of will. James can achieve the same effect, but he does so by moving the shadow of an object. To do this, James must be able to clearly see the shadow of the object in question. He then must be able to make some kind of physical motion relating to how he wants to move the object. For example, if he wants to pull the gun out of a robbers hand, he has to raises his hand and make a pulling motion. Aside from being limited by a line of sight and having to make a physical motion, James can only do this with objects that he could handle if he were to physically move them. For example, he could potentially stop a suspect from fleeing by grabbing the leg of their shadow and tripping them, but James could not stop a getaway car by grabbing the shadow of the car.

Shadow Puppet: James can also control his own shadows like a puppet. When James thinks it, he can control any shadows cast by his body and use them to manipulate solid material. Again, this is limited in that the shadow must remain attached to James' body and can stretch within a certain distance (about 100 yards) of his body. It is only slightly stronger than he himself is in terms of strength. They can support a little over 2 1/2 times his body weight (about 500 pounds). The shadows are flexible and can stretch somewhat, but they cannot change into other forms. For example, James might command his shadow to stretch and wrap itself around someone's eyes to blind them, but he could not make his shadow turn into a bird and then attack someone. Possibly, the most interesting application of this power James has found so far is stretching his shadow and using it like a rope to swing between buildings.
Shadow Specifics: James seems to be able to control the viscosity and texture of his shadow. The shadow can flow like a liquid, stretch like rubber and achieve the strength of Kevlar. James has been able to use his shadow to deflect some small caliber weapons. The shadow also seems to have the properties of an insulator as well as being relatively fire-proof, as it was able to contain the electrical attack of one supervillain and allowed James to survive an upclose assault by a fire-ball throwing baddie.

Adhesive Shadow/Wall Crawling: James can stick to large flat surfaces (walls, ceilings, the side of a truck, etc) thanks to the special bond between James and any shadows cast by his body. The way this works is that James' body forms a small pocket of darkness when his hand or foot approaches the wall. James can then will that darkness to stick to the wall and provide him with a handhold. In more simple terms, this gives James a Spider-Man like ability to adhere and crawl along most surfaces.

Enhanced Agility: There's an old joke among physicists that darkness is faster than light. After all, no matter how fast light moves, darkness is always waiting for it. James' physiology MAY just prove that joke true. Then again, it may not. But some unknown factor in James' shadow powers has granted him the agility and dexterity of an olympic level athlete. It's nowhere near the speed of light or even the speed of sound, but there are few without superspeed who can match Mr. Dark for dodging ability.

Perfect Night Vision: Much like a cat, James has the ability to see in near total darkness.



Personality:

James is a very friendly and upbeat kind of person. His mind is very quick and very sharp. He's never at a loss for a witty remark or a joke. Even if it is a bad joke. He always tries to face life with a smile, even when things are looking their bleakest. He's very passionate in his beliefs. He's also intuitive, a dreamer and a fanatasizer.%R%TJames is very outgoing and outspoken most of the time, but he does hold back alot of himself for fear of looking foolish.

This changes when he puts on his Mr. Dark suit. Without anyone knowing "Oh, that's JAMES making a fool of himself", James has no reason to hold back with any of the snappy banter or dry wit that he usually leaves bouncing around his head. James is even more cheerful, wisecracking and dare I say it.. perky?

James is not all fun and games though. He takes his work, in costume and out, very seriously. Despite his joking in costume, he is always focused upon doing the right thing and getting the job done.

Still, there is a very strong conflict within James. Behind the jokes, he seriously wonders wether or not he can really do any good as a hero. And is any good he's doing really all that effective? Or is what he does like putting bandages over a tumor? Despite his doubts, he still wants to use his new abilities to do something that will help humanity... no matter what it may cost him in the long run and even if he goes unappreciated for what he does.%



Skills:

Combat: While not by any means a master, James can hold his own in an unarmed fight. (You're a smart ass in school, you learn very quickly how to either fight back or run fast...) He's also taken a semester of Stage Combat, where he picked up a little bit of skill with staff weapons.

First Aid: James has had basic first aid training and knows CPR.

Acting/Makeup: James is well-familar with the art of acting. Before switching his focus to technical theater, James became familar with the use of make-up and costumes to change his apperance and pretend to be someone else.

Mimicry: From whole other voices, to simple accents, James is a master at changing the sound of his voice in such a way as to sound like someone else.

Acrobatics: James has been taking acrobatics classes since his youth. He's not quite Olympic material, but as far as anything involving flipping, jumping and soaring through the air is concerned.... well, James can probably handle it.

Lighting Design: The main focus of his studies, James has a B.A. in theatrical lighting design. This means that he is an expert in taking lamps, bending light in certain ways and knowing how electrical lamps and light work.



Flaws:

Needs Light for Powers to Work: James' shadow-control powers are limited to the shadows cast by his own body. As such, he need some ambient light in order for his body to cast a shadow. Ironically, Mister Dark could be rendered powerless in a totally dark room with no windows...

Negative Public Image: Despite his happy attitude and his obvious heroic nature, Mr. Dark has a little bit of a problem with the media. After all, most of the people connected to darkness in literature and movies are either evil or tortured souls trying to avoid the temptations of becoming evil. As such, it is very hard for some people to believe in a man who can control shadows who is wholy good... even if he does dress like a white knight.

Insecurity: Despite putting on a great show as Mister Dark, James does wonder a bit to himself about the path of a hero. He worried about trying to help people and failing and wonders if he can live with that if it happens someday...

With Great Power...: Despite that insecurity , James still feels compelled to be a hero and to use his powers to help people... even as the people he helps run in horror as the shadows start moving around them. As a result he is seriously conflicted... he knows he has to help people, but he wonders how good a job he is doing, wether he's actually making a difference and if it is really worth all the trouble.



Jason Lee

Jason Lee (pictured left) was the physical and spiritual inspiration for Dark's apperance once I had the basic concept down. In this modified picture (original picture coming from the classic movie Dogma), we can see Lee laughing gleefully in the middle of the action. Aside from having the right "look" for the part (ignoring the fact that the Dark Suit was based on Lee's costume as Azrael), he excels in playing the well-meaning smart alec who typically stands in the background making funny observations about the insanity around him, but who can become a man of action if needed. In other words, he's the perfect actor to bring James Golden and Mister Dark to the big screen.




Role-Playing Logs

October 16, 2000: The Cat Burglar - In his first big public appearance, Dark deals a female cat burglar- literally.





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