WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the ashcan preview of Dark Horse Comics' Stranger Things #1 by Jody Houser, Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne, Lauren Affe, Nate Piekos, available now.
Before Stranger Things was a global phenomenon and one of the most popular television series currently on the air, we only had a trailer and a release date. We knew what some of the story entailed, and that there was a supernatural horror element to the series, but nothing much beyond that. Then, when we finally sat down to watch the first episode, it all started with the mysterious disappearance of young Will Byers. After a fun game of Dungeons & Dragons, Will went home, only to find himself the prey of a dark presence that chased him to the shed in his backyard. Will found a gun, loaded it, and stood his ground, demonstrating great courage despite overwhelming fear.
Something crept closer to him, the light in the shed shorted out... and that was it. From there, we were along for the ride as Will's group of friends tried desperately to find him. Next, we would see Will much later, after having spent some time in the parallel dimension known as the Upside Down. But what happened to Will that fateful night? Now, we finally know thanks to the upcoming Stranger Things comic from Dark Horse.
In the ashcan preview, we witness Will's arrival in the Upside Down, and his first confrontation with the creature known as the Demogorgon. After the light in his shed shorts out, Will finds himself in the Upside Down version of the same cabin, face-to-face with the monster. Thankfully, Will was transported with his weapon, so he fires a shot directly at the native creature. The gunshot is enough to make it disappear for the time being, which gives Will some time to study his surroundings. While Mike, Lucas and Dustin all had the benefit of their science teacher explaining the theory of an alternate dimension on the show, Will doesn't have that luxury. Instead, he has to figure out where he is on his own.
Will returns inside his home, searching for his family. However, the constant darkness of the world he is now in, the foul persistent smell and the creeping vines on the walls are enough to signal to him that he isn't in his own world anymore. Will's a smart kid, and he figures out that even though he's inside his home, this isn't exactly his home either.
The scene is one that is actually crucial to the show. While much of Season 1 focused on Mike, Lucas and Dustin as they searched for their friend, the fourth member of their party was an important part of the story, driving everything forward. Then, the character only got a bigger role in Season 2, when we learned that he had a connection with the evil overlord of the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer. Now, thanks to this comic, we finally learn exactly how Will's story in the Upside Down began, and how he was just as brave as the rest of his friends.
The mystery at play in Season 1 meant that we couldn't see what had happened to Will, but now that we know everything about the Upside Down and the Demogorgon, this really reads like a crucial scene that should have been on television.