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Who am I? I'm the thing barely seen in the shadows. The dark one just out of the corner of your eye. I'm the creature lurking under you child's bed and hiding in his closet. Even when they had me boxed up and tucked safely away, my shadow touched every world, every man's soul.
~ Mister Dark, Fables #86 — "Boxing Days"

Mister Dark is one of the Great Powers. He first appears in Fables #77 — "Life in a Headless Empire — Chapter One of The Dark Ages." A fearsome creature, he was captured by Geppetto's forces but is freed by Freddy and Mouse in the wake of the Empire's defeat and wages war on Fabletown. He is ultimately defeated by Frau Totenkinder and the North Wind.



Mister Dark was one of the Great Powers that existed long before the rise of the Empire within the Homelands. Early during the Empire's rise, an elite unit of warlocks specializing in capturing and containing the most dangerous of magical threats, known as the Boxing League, was formed. The Boxing League continuously fought Mister Dark until they successfully contained him within a containment box which drained his power and transmitted it to be used by the Adversary.

Freedom and conquest

Looters mistakenly released the creature who proceeded to drain them of life. Mister Dark reacquired his stolen power, including a portion that powered the Witching Cloak, destroyed the enchantments that held the Fabletown buildings together and set off to Fabletown to seek revenge. Upon arrival, he captured and then killed Kay, as well as a few hundred New York residents for the construction of his new palace.

His presence loomed over New York City and the ruins of old Fabletown, and as his palace neared construction, Mister Dark was confronted by the North Wind, having secretly made a deal with Frau Totenkinder to measure up the dark foe in exchange for knowledge about a zephyr who had escaped his centuries-long purge (incidentally one of his grandchildren). Mister Dark continued his pursuit of the refugee Fables[4] before being confronted by Frau Totenkinder, who battled Mister Dark with the assistance of the 13th Floor witches. Totenkinder managed to trap Mister Dark in a gold statue, but it was not enough to contain him; during the Fables' premature celebration in Mister Dark's palace, Mister Dark escaped his confinement again, killing Hobbes and temporarily killing Totenkinder as well. But with his power recharging, he warned the Fables to run far away before he was back at his full strength.[5]

Mister Dark later encountered Nurse Spratt alone at the Farm, where the Fables had been seeking refuge until Totenkinder's gambit failed. Spratt offered her allegiance to Mister Dark in exchange for three wishes - to be beautiful, to take revenge on the "pretty" Fables, and to have a prince of her own. Mister Dark promised to grant her wishes as the two sealed their alliance. She told him they were fleeing to the Kingdom of Haven, protected by Flycatcher's power.[5]

While Mister Dark continually weakened the barriers protecting Haven, he had Nurse Spratt, who rechristened herself as Leigh Duglas, receive combat training from another of his subordinates, Werian Holt. Duglas begged him for a faster, more permanent transformation so that she could have her revenge on the Fables before her dark master slaughtered them. After warning her that such a process would be extremely painful, Mister Dark accepts her pleas and transforms her into a slim and beautiful (but even more wicked) woman. He does not tell her that he himself was the "dark prince" he promised to her, intending to marry Duglas and have her rule by his side as her dark queen.


Fables 106 Into the box

Mister Dark is killed by the North Wind.

Intending to finish off the Fables once and for all, Mister Dark travels back to Haven[8] only to be confronted by the North Wind.[3] Having faced internal conflict over the idea of having to kill his own grandson simply for being a zephyr,[8] the North Wind concluded his own death would cancel out his obligation to kill the last remaining zephyr. As such, the North Wind easily subdued Mister Dark and took them both off the mortal realm, as their collusion would inevitably cause its destruction, and allowed both of them to be trapped in another box containing them, effectively "killing" both Mister Dark and himself in a valiant self-sacrifice.[3]


Mister Dark was an extremely malevolent entity, and was described as being the living embodiment of corruption and evil in the Homelands. He often makes exaggerated movements, similar to a ballet dancer.

Physical appearance

Modern Masters Volume 22 Mark Buckingham PG 69 Mister Dark Sketches

Mr. Dark is a mysterious and extremely powerful entity with chalk white skin, yellow eyes, and straight black hair. He is very thin looking and wears black clothing. His clothing flows likes its underwater and are a part of him — he can change its style at a whim.

Powers and abilities

The Dark Man has displayed a variety of abilities of a magical nature. Aside from the typical abilities to spell cast, which presumably enabled him to rapidly speed up Nurse Spratt's weight loss, the Dark Man had powers that sprang from the fear of others. Since he was the embodiment of that force, he was able to use an enemy's fear to strengthen himself and bypass any defenses that he or she might have erected.

  • Immortality: As a Great Power, Mr. Dark could potentially have lived forever and was so powerful that not much could ever harm him.[7]
  • Necromancy: Mr. Dark could turn living beings into "witherlings" — decayed minions that do his bidding until they've been exhausted. He does so by consuming the teeth of humans and, by spitting them up one at a time, summoning the spirit of the owner of said tooth to serve him. He can do this once per tooth, so he can generally do this a maximum of thirty two times (less if the person in question had poor oral hygiene). He could also induce rapid decay in those near him.[9]
  • Shapeshifting: Mr. Dark could change his shape.
  • Phasing: Mr. Dark was able to walk through solid walls.
  • Fear empowerment: Ozma stated that one of Mr. Dark's major abilities was his power to easily slip past or undue the most powerful defensive charms, enchantments and spells of even the most powerful magic users by using his opponents fear to remove or slip past them and empower his own abilities. Thus if his opponent felt a large amount of fear towards him, the easier it was for him to remove their defenses, whereas if his opponent felt little fear against him it harder was for him to remove their defenses.
  • Darkness in others: Mr. Dark's presence causes people's own inner darkness to grow stronger. When comes to the mundane world, Santa Claus' naughty and nice list grows out of control: Suddenly, an enormous amount of children are waking up to the usually dormant kernels of evil that sleep in every person. Santa writes for hours, until his fingers bleed, and still the names keep coming to him.[10] Mr. Dark's influence caused a notable increase in murders and violent crimes in New York City.[4]


  • Fear: Mister Dark's primary source of power is the fear of those who surround him. The more that fear him, the greater his power becomes; if he is surrounded by those who possess little fear, he becomes weaker.
  • Gold: The Dark Man seemed to have some sort of allergy, or at least aversion, to gold. This is why the Boxing League surrounded his container with a room full of gold.[11]
  • Magic: The Dark Man seemed susceptible to the effects of magic, seeing as how he was imprisoned by the Boxing League's enchantments. Even when he was contained, however, his darkness seeped out — only his physical manifestation was imprisoned.[7] He was also somewhat wounded by Bellflower's magic to a remarkable degree.
  • Personal artifacts of the other Great Powers: As he was killed by being entombed inside the North Wind's Cask of Ancient Winds, it's likely that the other personal artifacts of his fellow Great Powers could also permanently kill him.
  • Vault of Primal Darkness: Like the other Great Powers, Mister Dark also possessed a personal magic box artifact that he could use to commit a sort of suicide in case he got tired of this life.[7]

Killed victims

Original source

I am the Dullahan, the Bogglemen, the Khokan, and the Buse. I am Mörkö, the Dunganga, the Abo Ragl Ma Slokha Burned Man, and the Lake Man. I am Buback and the Torbalan. I am ever and always all of these things and so many more. I am nothing less than every dark thing in the dread of night.
~ Mister Dark, Fables #86 — "Boxing Days"

Mister Dark is a composite character created by Bill Willingham. He functions as the personification of a character type rather than as the incarnation of one specific character from fables and folklore.[12] However, while Mister Dark's name does not come from any specific story, it is clear that his presence carries out in various panels of literature, folklore and mythology, having collected names such as the Abo Ragl Ma Shokla Burned Man,[1] the Bogeyman,[1] the Bogglemen,[1] Buback,[1] the Buse,[1] the Dullahan,[1][4] the Dunganga,[1] the Khokhan,[1] Mörkö,[1] and Torbalan:[1]

Abo Ragl Ma Shokla Burned Man

The Abo Ragl Ma Shokla Burned Man is a reference to Abu Rigl Mashlukha ("Man With the Burnt Leg"), the bogeyman from Egyptian mythology. He is a monstrous figure who suffered severe burns as a child due to disobeying his parents. According to legend, he snatches misbehaving children, cooks them, and consumes them.[13]

The Bogeyman

The Bogeyman refers to a variety of monsters from fictional and folkloric stories designed to frighten children.[14] In English folklore, the bogeyman (also called the "bogyman" and "booger man") is a monster in human shape who haunts lonely places and chases lone travelers, but bogeyman-like creatures are common in the folklore of many countries, Eastern and Western, as well as appearing in nursery rhymes and stories as a monster used to frighten children into good behavior.[12]

The Bogglemen

The Bogglemen: In English folklore, "bogle" is a variant of the terms "boggart" and "bogy," used for particularly terrifying and malevolent specimens of both.[15] In English folklore, a boggart refers to any type of supernatural entity that causes fear, regardless of whether it is found indoors or outdoors. It could be a ghost, a malevolent fairy, or even a minor demon. Even today, the word is still used for a mischievous ghost.[16] A bogy is a "hobgoblin, a person or object of terror, a bugbear."[17]

Note that the Fables Encyclopedia erroneously states that "bogglemen" is a German boogieman.[18]


Buback is a reference to the Bubak, the boogeyman from Czech mythology, and the Czech version of the Sack Man.[19] The Bubak (Czech for "boogeyman"),[20] also known as the Sack Man, roams the land at night in search of his next victim, riding a cart drawn by cats. He only abandons his cart to roam the riverbanks and forests, or to track unsuspecting travelers and lead them to their inevitable demise. He possesses the unique ability to mimic the sound of a newborn infant, making it an effective tool for luring unsuspecting victims to their death. In an esoteric display of sensation, the Sack Man weaves the souls of its victims into decaying attire that it dons. Rather than subjecting the children it captures to immediate and horrific death, the creature places them within its sack, where they exist in an alternate realm, conscious yet paralyzed, and spared from mortal demise. These unfortunate souls are consumed by sorrow as they must endure the daily existence alongside the Bubak. Only when the full moon graces the sky does the child emerge for a meticulously orchestrated ritual of murder, during which the Bubak takes painstaking care in weaving the innocent child's soul into a state of agonizingly slow torment. The Bubak is known to primarily hunt during the night. However, it is not restricted to this time and only favors darkness. Therefore, this creature can be discovered in crypts, abandoned houses, dense forests, or any location where darkness prevails.[19]

Mister Dark had his own sack for holding children, known as his Bag of Endless Nightmares and Infinite Screams.[1]

The Buse

The Buse: The buse (literally "bogey"),[18][21] or busemann (literally "bogeyman"),[22] is the bogeyman from Norwegian folklore.[21]

The Dullahan

The Dullahan is a creature from Irish folklore. He is a headless phantom, who can be seen riding on a headless horse or being pulled in a coach by headless horses. He has the ability to put on or remove his ghastly head whenever he pleases, or even use it for ghoulish ball-games. Those who dare to open their doors and witness the passage of the dullahan will have blood hurled at them as a warning of impending doom. It is believed that the houses where he lingers are cursed with death.[23]

The Dunganga

The Dunganga is a creature from Turkish mythology who kidnaps children.[24]

The Khokhan

The Khokhan is the bogeyman from Azerbaijani folklore.[25]

The Lake Man

The Lake Man is a reference to Nøkken,[18] an evil water spirit from Norwegian folklore[26] and Norwegian boogeyman.[18] He is a shape-shifter who lives in lakes and rivers, and takes on the appearance of a white horse or a handsome young man, luring unsuspecting victims to their death in the water. Children who have not yet been baptized and women who are pregnant are especially vulnerable.[26] His natural appearance is truly frightful: Seagrass covers his body, and his eyes emit an eerie yellow glow. His mouth is unnaturally large with sharp teeth, and his skin resembles that of a drowned corpse submerged for a long time.[27]

Similarly, Mister Dark is a shape-shifter who has an eerie form with yellow eyes, chalk white skin[1] and sharp teeth,[4] his clothing flows like it's underwater,[28] and he has been known to kidnap children.[1]


Mörkö is the bogeyman from Finnish mythology.[29]


Torbalan is a creature from Bulgarian folklore. No one knows what it looks like, only that it has a bag (torba means "bag" in Bulgarian). The creature targets misbehaving children who disrespect their parents and elders, snatching them away in its bag and abandoning them in a desolate location. Sometimes, a Torbalan will also grab unattended or wandering children.[30]

This, too, ties in with Mister Dark's own sack for holding naughty children, which he used to battle the Empire's Boxing League of sorcerers, effortlessly scooping them up by the dozens and tossing them into his mystic sack that seemed to have no bottom.[1]


He bears a striking resemblance to The Sandman's Morpheus, and also speaks through black word balloons that are jagged with a white font, just like the comic character.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 Fables #86 — "Boxing Days"
  2. Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Fables #106 — "Downfall: Chapter Five of Super—Team"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Fables #99 — "Dark City"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fables #100 — "Single Combat"
  6. Fables #78 — "Boxes: Chapter Two of The Dark Ages"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Fables #98 — "Red Dawn, Chapter Five of Rose Red"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Fables #105 — "The Wind That Shakes the Worlds: Chapter Four of Super—Team"
  9. Fables #81 — "The Blue Horizon: Chapter Five of the Dark Ages"
  10. Fables #80 — "The Darkest Hour: Chapter Four Of The Dark Ages"
  11. Fables #94 — "The Barbara Allen Incident, Chapter One of Rose Red"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fables Encyclopedia pg. 72
  13. Vrchoticky, Nick. The creepiest myth from every state, August 6, 2021, Grunge. "Abu Rigl Maslukha is a chilling and crispy boogeyman. Egyptian parents who are having a difficult time getting their young ones to listen might turn to the tales of Abu Rigl Maslukha to get their attention. Just going by the name — which translates to "man with the burnt leg, according to the "Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend and Folklore" — you know this isn't going to be a cuddly sort of story. The details are scarce and just waiting to be filled in by an adult who's feeling equal parts gruesome and creative. But the basic story structure is usually the same: Abu Rigl Maslukha was once a child who did not listen to his parents. Because he failed to heed them, he was terribly burned on one leg (though some stories have it that he suffered more extensive injuries all over his body). Somehow, this disobedient and now dramatically injured child transformed into a monster. And this once-human creature isn't content to lurk in the dark corners of rooms and menace children. Instead, he seems to have developed a taste for them, as Abu Rigl Maslukha is said to snatch up poorly behaved kids, carry them away to his home, and cook them.
  14. Bogeyman, Encyclopædia Britannica. "bogeyman, also spelled boogieman or boogie man, any of a variety of fictional and oftentimes folkloric monsters described in stories designed to frighten children.
  15. Bogle, Oxford Reference. "A variant on the terms 'boggart' and 'bogy', used for particularly frightening and evil specimens. (...) From: bogle in A Dictionary of English Folklore"
  16. Boggart, Oxford Reference. "In the dialects of northern counties, 'boggart' was a general term for any supernatural being which frightened people, whether indoors or out, without specifying whether it is ghost, malicious fairy, or minor demon. (...) From: boggart in A Dictionary of English Folklore"
  17. Bogy, Oxford Reference. "A hobgoblin, a person or object of terror, a bugbear."
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Fables Encyclopedia pg. 250-251
  19. 19.0 19.1 Monster Legend: The Bubak/Sack Man, May 20, 2020, Cryptic Chronicles.
  20. Hoff, Thomas and Hoskins, Stuart (February 17. 2009). what is a "bubok"?, ProZ.com. "Czech term or phrase: what is a "bubok"?" (...) the word you're probably looking for is bubák, which means bogeyman."
  21. 21.0 21.1 buse, dict.com. "Norwegian-English Dictionary: 1. bogeyman 2. booger, (BrE) bogey (dry mucus)"
  22. "Busemann," Cambridge Dictionary. " Translation of busemann – Norwegian–English dictionary bogeyman [noun] an imaginary evil creature that is used to frighten children, especially in stories"
  23. Dullahan, Oxford Reference. "Headless phantom, on horseback or in horse-drawn coach, in Irish folklore. The dullahan rides a headless horse or may ride in a coach drawn by headless horses. His face is the colour and texture of mouldy cheese; his eyes make a bridge from ear to ear; his huge eyes dart like flies. But the dullahan can put on or take off this hideous head at will, or play ghoulish ball-games with it. His black horse has a head with flaming eyes and short-cropped ears that outdistances its body by six yards or more. His whip will flick out the eyes of those who watch him. Those opening their doors to hear the dullahan rumbling by will have basins of blood thrown in their faces. It is an omen of death to the houses where he pauses. Classed as a solitary fairy."
  24. Dunganga , Names.org. "A submission from Turkey says the name Dunganga means "It's a Turkic mythological character who kidnaps children. Also a lullaby" and is of Turkish origin."
  25. Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. defence of Slender Man, Overland. "The 'boogeyman' has variations that span time and space: there's the khokhan from Azerbaijan"
  26. 26.0 26.1 Scott, Jess (October 17, 2020). 10 Must-Know Creatures from Norwegian Folktales, Life in Norway. "The nøkk (or nykk) is a water spirit that lives in lakes and rivers. It is a shapeshifter that often takes the form of a white horse or beautiful young man in order to draw unsuspecting victims to a watery grave. Sometimes it also uses music to lure people to it, which often leads to it being confused with another water spirit, the fossegrim. Young unbaptised children and pregnant women are particularly at risk, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to go for an evening stroll around the lake if you don't fit into these two groups, as the nøkk is particularly dangerous after sundown."
  27. Spirits from Norway, Martine Kraft. "NØKKEN - the evil water spirit. If you want to pick water lilies floating on a pond on a lovely summer night, beware the Nøkken. He could be lurking in the water, ready to drag you into the pond and then drown you. The Nøkken is a fresh water creature that is able to transform himself into almost anything. He could appear as a handsome young man, a magnificent white horse or even an old wooden rowboat. His real appearance is hideous, with glowing yellow eyes, a large mouth with sharp teeth and wet grass clinging to a body with skin like that of a drowned man who's been in the water for some time. If you've been caught by the Nøkken there is still hope. You can escape by calling him by his name. By doing this you will kill the Nøkken. Special abilities: - shapeshifter - seductive - cunning."
  28. Fables #102 — "The Next Big Plan: Chapter One of Super Team"
  29. mörkö, WordSense. "A bogeyman or bugbear (imaginary creature meant to inspire fear in children)."
  30. Savic, Teodora (May 14, 2022). Bulgarian Mythology & Folklore Creatures, Meet the Slavs. "Torbalan. A creature similar to Baba Yaga, but much more sinister and unforgiving. No one knows what a Torbalan looks like, only that it has a bag (torba means 'bag' in Bulgarian, hence the name). The Torbalan would snatch children who misbehaved and were disrespectful to their parents and elders, taking them far away in their torba and leaving them in the middle of nowhere. In some cases, a Torbalan would also snatch unattended or wandering kids."

See also

Series FablesJack of FablesFairestFables: The Wolf Among UsEverafter: From the Pages of Fables
Specials Fables: 1001 Nights of SnowfallPeter & Max: A Fables NovelCinderella: From Fabletown with LoveCinderella: Fables Are ForeverThe LiteralsFables: Werewolves of the HeartlandFairest: In All the LandThe Unwritten FablesBatman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham
Characters Bigby WolfSnow WhiteRose RedPrince CharmingBeautyBeastBoy BlueFlycatcherKing ColeFrau TotenkinderGeppettoThe Snow QueenNorth WindJack HornerBufkin
Video games The Wolf Among UsThe Wolf Among Us: Season 2 (unreleased)