The Supermarvelous

Institute History

  • 2002 January Screenwriters Lab


The irrepressible Cornelious Sherman Drew, age 12, has a face folks conjure when Stevie Wonder sings, "Looking back when I/Was a little nappy-headed boy." He's alone in Atlanta in 1979 just as the bodies of two boys have been discovered out by Niskey Lake Road. Tired of people who lie too much, Cornelious recently ran away from a child welfare facility. Now he keeps to himself and sings for money while devising a plan to reunite with his father.

Then he meets Gladys, also 12. She's a wild flash. And too pretty. Cornelious vows to make her his wife . . . just as soon as he knows that she'll say yes. He begins to trust her, and on the day before the big Fourth of July parade, she offers him a chance at friendship and the safety of home. All he has to do is walk with her to meet her parents. Still wary, Cornelious declines. They part ways. On her trek home, Gladys disappears into a park.

The next day, Gladys is nowhere to be found. Cornelious' sense of guilt swells. Fearing the worst, he enlists the help of a young couple, Julia and Milton, and vows to find Gladys. During his search, Cornelious must find the courage to pursue love and resurrect faith.

The Supermarvelous is a fable of first love that unfolds against the backdrop of an American tragedy – the unsolved abductions and murders of at least 29 children over a period of nearly two years, beginning in 1979. It is about living and loving in the face of terror. It explores the space beyond hope, love as a path to faith, ritual to solace, and action as prayer.


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