Darkchylde Returns

Reading last weeks team up has made me reconsider Ariel Chylde as a valid character, demonstrating elements of teenage vulnerability combined with a slightly battle-hardened view, she is still obviously in recovery in coming to terms with her role.

As attractive as the character of the Darkness is, he has never been a character that I have followed religiously. Encountering him more in team-ups and crossovers (and of course in the Witchblade title), Jackie Estacado is a character both visually interesting and seductively straddling that line that many anti-heroes rest upon, and one that I am more than happy to leave with a little veil of mystery around.

I did the same with Spawn, until one day I decided to sit and read through as many issues as I possibly could, to learn the ins and outs of the character. That joy of consumption of an entire new world always takes me back to my early comics, my first Marvels, and later my first DCs with the Crisis On Infinite Earths.  I have held off of that pleasure with The Darkness, waiting for that moment to arrive where I can immerse myself in his world.

The Darkchylde is another story entirely.  She first hit the shelves back in 1996, and at the time I didn’t really give her a second glance, being only one in a number of good girl/bad girl titles, from the excellent Vampirella relaunch, through the more mediocre Angela, or Pantha to the dubious Maximage (great idea if unoriginal, horrible execution, yet a thematic precursor to the Authority’s Doctor?). I settled with FemForce and of course Vampi, but there was only so much T&A I wanted to expose myself to.  And I had the opportunity to read nearly everything in those days, managing the local store, but I wouldn’t have called it the greatest age of the comics industry, still reeling from the speculator boom of the early nineties. (And if you do not know what I mean by T&A, then I ain’t telling you.)

To my surprse (and not reflected in my sales figures) the Darkchylde rose to immediate success.. Shooting to the number one hottest comics spot in Wizard, remaining there for a whole nine months collectively in both Wizard and Combo magazines. The book outsold Spider-man, Hulk, Superman and Batman in the States, and quickly garnered an unusually large female following, in stark contrast to the then traditionally male comic book market. Oh how times have changed. Thankfully.

Reading last weeks team up has made me reconsider Ariel Chylde as a valid character, demonstrating elements of teenage vulnerability combined with a slightly battle-hardened view, she is still obviously in recovery in coming to terms with her role. The Darkness was an excellent choice to balance her with, allowing Randy Green to highlight the contrasts in a manner not too pretentious, and following on the back of the Darkchylde/Witchblade crossover, it seems he may be establishing her in the Top Cow-er-verse. I wonder what happened to the promised movie deal?

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Darkchylde merchandise continues to sell for high prices, and I think I finally understand why.  It only took me nearly fifteen years, not too slow!

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Darren Burr
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A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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