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Dr O & Anathema in –


The O Men created by Martin Eden

Story by Gary Simpson

Art by Sean Azzopardi


1. Ext, evening. A large establishing shot, taking up the bulk of the first page. We’ve been transported back in time to the London of the late nineteenth century. We find ourselves on the filthy, cobbled streets of the so-called ‘Wicked Quarter Mile.’ This is what they mean when they talk about a city’s dark underbelly. It’s relentlessly grim – infested with run-down, abandoned buildings, haunted by pickpockets and whores. The air is blighted by a smog so thick we can taste it. Welcome to Jack the Ripper country.

The ‘Wicked Quarter Mile,’ London.1888.

Mary Anne Nichols.

‘Dark Annie’ Chapman.

‘Long Liz’ Stride.

Catherine Eddowes.

2. Emerging from the smog, the figure of a woman. She’s young – in her mid-twenties – and very attractive. She’s attired in the dress of the day. Her name is Mary Jane Kelly – the Ripper’s final victim. She’s also the witch-woman Anathema. Her eyes and mouth are marked by the same running blood tattoos as her modern day counterpart. Terrified, she runs for her life.

Butchered like hogs.

There’s something in the fog.

3. Tight on her face. As she runs she glances back at us – as if we’re pursuing her.

No matter how far and how fast I run, I can’t escape it.


1. Mary has made it home. She lodges in one of the vast, dowdy houses that seem to be everywhere at this time. She steps inside the edifice. It swallows her whole. Still, her relief at making it safely through the fog is immense.

2. Int, evening. Behind her as she negotiates the long, dimly-lit corridor leading to her flat. (In case this should sound in any way glamorous, let me assure you that it’s not. Her ‘flat’ is a single room, a barren hovel. But it’s better than nothing). She passes the doors to similar flats on either side.

3. Int, evening. Inside Mary’s flat. We watch her lock the door, barring it against the night. She slumps against it, her relief apparent.

4. A big panel. This image dominates the page. Mary’s flat is lit by a single gas lamp hanging from the ceiling. Into this pool of wan illumination steps Dr O. He was waiting here all along…
It’s the same Dr O we know and loath from The O Men – and at the same time it isn’t. He looks broadly similar – the angular features, the facial hair – but he’s a much bigger, more imposing figure. He’s swathed in the elaborate garments of a gentleman, covered by a heavy cloak. Even his top hat is somehow imposing. He holds a long, sharp knife in one hand. He’s a terrifying sight. Every inch the murderous, insane Ripper.
This panel also contains our story title: Dr O & Anathema in – WHITECHAPEL FREAKS, and credits.

We meet at last, witch…

5. I see the next three panels lined in a row along the bottom of the page, like a strip of celluloid. They are small panels, tight on Mary/Anathema’s shocked and distraught face.

6. The same panel.

Whatever will become of poor, defenceless Mary?

7. The same panel. Except for one very important discrepancy – Mary’s expression has changed. She grins. It’s sinister, predatory. Her former frailness, it seems, was all an act…



1. It’s Dr O’s turn to undergo an unexpected transformation. All the strength and authority leaves him and he stoops, a broken man. He’s genuinely appalled by the Ripper murders – murders he didn’t commit. It’s clear this haunted man is close to losing his mind…

Defenceless? My God. Those poor women. Slaughtered –

How could you, Anathema? You monster!

2. A small panel. Tight on the doctor. He looks up at us, a desperate plea for sanity.

I’m a doctor. I save lives.

Why are you doing this?

3. Anathema. She wears the expression of a naughty child.

The doctor wouldn’t come out and play.

The doctor needed to be persuaded.

4. The doctor. A fraught and troubled figure. He’s fighting an internal battle. Struggling against destiny, against the endless repetition of their cycle of violence.

Round and round we go. Fighting and dying and fighting again. Our vicious circle…

… not this time. This time it’s different.

I have a family. Just once I want to lead a normal life…

5. An abruptly cold, spiteful Anathema plucks a rusty blade from the table. She’s prepared in advance for this confrontation…

You should have thought of that before you killed me.

6. A small panel, tight on Anathema. She raises the knife, ready to fight. She’s a lioness, a predator who smells blood.

Shall we?

7. Ext, evening. We look up at an off-white moon attended by black, boiling clouds.


1. Int, evening. A small panel. A bloody Dr O. He weeps bitterly. Not because he’s injured – but because of what he’s been forced to do. The atrocity he’s committed. He didn’t want it to end like this…

2. A big panel. Quite ghastly. We gaze upon the mortal remains of Mary Jane Kelly. Dr O (who, despite his best efforts to the contrary, has become the Ripper after all) has carved her to bloody ribbons. She’s almost too appalling to lay eyes on…

3. A small panel. Darkness.

4. A small panel. We pull out and the darkness takes shape as a leering black skull against a bare white backdrop.

5. A small panel. We pull out and the black skull is the pupil of an eye.

6. A small panel. We pull out and the eye belongs to Anathema – the modern day version. She regards us coolly.

7. A small panel. We pull out and see that Anathema holds a lit cigarette. She blows a smoke ring in our direction.

That’s the thing about circles, doc…


1. Int, day. This striking full page panel closes our story. There’s a lot in this one, so I see it as an overhead shot – an overview of the action (but if you can think of a better way to frame it, Sean, then please go ahead. You’re the artistic expert!)
We find ourselves inside a comic book. More precisely, we’re at the end of The O Men issue 23. We’ve traded Mary Jane Kelly’s cramped hovel for a spacious upstairs room in Grace’s house. Grace, bloodied and insane, sits against one wall, cradling the severed head of her android husband in her lap. Dr O lies on his back on the floor, unconscious or worse (his hair turned prematurely white, as in issue 23). Anathema stands over him, enjoying her cigarette.
At time of writing this is as far as the O Men’s story has progressed, so I can’t comment on how it all works out. But for the moment Anathema revels in her victory over the doctor. Revenge may be a long time coming, but that only makes it sweeter.

Grace’s house. The eye of the storm. Present day.

What goes around comes around.

Not The End