In the heady days of the 1990s there were countless new series that sprung forth from all corners of the industry – but only few have stood the test of time. One of those is Randy Queen’s Darkchylde.
Created in 1996, Queen’s character Ariel Chylde had several miniseries, one-shots and even some crossovers with Spawn, Painkiller Jane, Witchblade and most recently, the Darkness. But as interest in the character continues to perk up with news that John Carpenter is directing a feature film adaptation, Queen has partnered with Image Comics to collect the long out-of-print story-arcs “Legacy” and “Redemption” back on shelves. Released earlier this month, Darkchylde Vol. 1: Legacy and Redemption collects the second and third arcs in the Darkchylde saga along with new features such as sketches, art, and even poetry from Ariel’s own perspective. This sweet-tempered teenager with a monstrous dark side is back and Queen hopes comic fans are ready for her return.
Newsarama: 2011 will be the 15th anniversary of Darkchylde. What’s it like to be the creator being able to celebrate this anniversary?
Randy Queen: My first thought is simply gratitude because none of these things come easy if they ever come at all. You cultivate your soil and hope things grow, and you just do the best you can. We're looking forward to a new PVC statue of Ariel Chylde coming from the Diamond Select Femme Fatales Line which should be out this summer. We're creating a high end 1/4 scale, museum quality piece, and there will also be a new mini-mates toy, in addition to the new Collections from Image. The oversized crossover event with the Darkness at Top Cow sort of kicked off her return a bit early, and we're glad to have been a part of what became a very personal project. My second thought is how fast time just zooms. There's a lot planned, so it will be nice Anniversary year for Ariel Chylde.
Nrama: Darkchylde is coming back onto the scene at a time when there are loads of new comics fans. How would you describe the character for someone picking it up for the first time?
Queen: This is a tale about a good hearted southern teen cursed to become the creatures from her many recurring nightmares. Every time Ariel Chylde transforms, she sheds her skin and a new nightmare emerges from her Id to act out her deepest, darkest impulses. No two transformations are alike.
Nrama: How has the response been for you over the years at cons and such?
Queen: The book was very successful with females, and I think part of that was in response to some of the introspective and poetic sensibilities of the writing, and also in that it offered a contrast to superheroes. No other storytelling medium, not films, not novels, nor video games are as singularly defined, and thereby confined, by a sole genre. This is action and horror, with no capes in sight. It's a great place to start, and ideally, readers will wish to explore other works.
Nrama: In addition to collecting the “Legacy and “Redemption” storyarcs for the first time, you’ve added new material as well.
Queen: New pieces accompany the poetic writings of Ariel Chylde. She's had poetry in her books since Issue # 1, and we've had requests over the years to just do an entire book of her writings paired with imagery, and we still may. But in the meantime, we thought this would be a nice add as bonus material right at the top, and Image was kind of enough to go the extra mile to make it that much nicer a package. Like the many creatures Ariel Chylde can turn into, this is something of an eclectic collection, with something for everyone.
Nrama: This book collects the second and third Darkchylde story-arcs, “Legacy” and “Redemption”. Do people need to have read the original five issues to get this?
Queen: I think you can still enjoy The Empire Strikes Back without having seen Star Wars, but if you want to start at the beginning, you'd need the collection just entitled Darkchylde available in hard copy or digitally at Wowio.
Nrama: That first story-arc has been out-of-print since 1999, so it’s pretty hard to come by unless you want to read it online at Wowio. Any plans to re-print that or the next story-arc, “Dreams of the Darkchylde”?
Queen: There are plans that "Dreams of Darkchylde" will be the next collection. We're trying to see what we'll have time for in regard to adding content. I'd like to include a new story, but we may do that as a stand alone 15th Anniversary Book instead. The second print of the first Collection is available either through our website or via Amazon. Of course we ask all comic book fans to check with and support their local Comic Shops.
Nrama: This new collection comes at a time when fan interest is high with Darkchylde after the news that John Carpenter has signed on to direct the film. Where is the film at in terms of production?
Queen: Sarah and I are moving the ball forward with John Carpenter and Sandy King at Storm King Productions, and we're just so thrilled to be working with them. Carpenter came on following the release of the test footage created by Richard Taylor's WETA Workshop, and it's sort of a dream scenario, no pun intended. A gothic transformation film concerning nightmares with a Master of Horror at the helm, and WETA providing FX is a pretty good reason for genre fans to be happy. It's a dynamic, interesting combination, and I hope everyone will wish us luck.
Nrama: As you mentioned earlier, Darkchylde burst back on the comics scene months ago with the crossover one-shot The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain. With this new collection going on and a movie on the way, the next obvious questions from fans would be – are there going to be new Darkchylde comics anytime soon?
Queen: I feel good about more Ariel Chylde stories. It will be interesting to see where and in what format she surfaces. We'll see where the river takes us, and thanks for having me.