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Manga Darkchylde
Posted 28/06/2004
Source Newsarama

Screw Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again. That is, if you’re name’s Randy Queen, and you’re talking about Darkchylde. The creator of the character that made an impact in the late ‘90s has come home again, reinventing Darkchylde into a different version for the new millennium with a contemporary and ideally, very marketable spin. But first, Darkchylde 101.

[Image: p02.jpg]“Darkchylde is Ariel Chylde, a cursed girl who can become any of the creatures from her nightmares,” Queen said. “What's interesting, beyond the multiple transformation angle, and that every time she changes it's different, is that once these creatures ‘borrow’ her blood and bones to get here, they split off from her physically, divide like a human cell would, and become completely independent when she turns back into Ariel again. Then she has another problem to deal with, this thing she's set loose, because she's this perpetual Pandora’s box.”

Darkchylde was a hit in the late ‘90s, starting at Maximum Press, and then moving to Image, and then later to Queen’s self-publishing venture, Darkchylde Entertainment. At the time, the series received attention both because of Queen’s art, but also because of the larger metaphors Queen was playing with – Chylde’s first manifestation of her powers come at 18 when her father attempted to molest her one last time. Over time, Ariel learned to control her abilities, and prevent further creatures from budding” off by only pulling part of the nightmare creatures’ abilities to her at a time – resulting in hybrid of a very attractive girl with some very unattractive appendages.

After a few storylines, specials, and different versions, Queen ceased publishing new comic material about Ariel Chylde. But that’s not to say that she was dead and gone. “It's been more of hibernation, like what Vampirella has done over the years,” Queen said. “With creating your own character, getting it published, and then fighting to sustain that in a volatile industry, it's taxing. And with Sarah [Oates] and me at Darkchylde Entertainment, we're just two people to take the meetings, deal with lawyers, foreign publishing, packaging and shipping orders, etc. We're very much the ‘mom and pop’ shop, and even if you're not on the stands monthly, the amount of mental energy spent on it and all the behind the scenes stuff can be difficult. I was burned out, and decided to regroup, re-focus, and create new properties which I hope to unveil soon. With Darkchylde, fortunately, and while I concede to having made mistakes, and having stumbled, I still own it, people are still interested, and it's still viable. In the process of creating new children, you should never neglect your first born, and with Manga D. it's as new and vital as ever. Darkchylde is simultaneously the hero and the threat, and this new spin is so full of heart and pathos, something that has always separated this character from perceived like-minded ilk,” Queen continued. “In a sense, Ariel will always be her own threat with these things she can become, which are in direct contrast to who she is as a person. But what Manga D. does, is takes this story of a girl who can become any of the creatures from her nightmares, makes it all ages, represents, and re-creates it from the beginning. Old favorites will be there, but like Ariel, they'll have a fresh spin, and in some cases be radically different, but always compelling. As far as the villains, they'll be loads of fun too -- in issue #1, we have a bio-mechanical spider chick that fires blood bullets. I can promise it will never be by the numbers, or homogenized in any way. Just fresh and fun, with some amazing colors by Sarah, and this is her first color work ever, so you can only imagine where she goes from here.”

Even Queen admitted to being surprised at the strong positive response to the January announcement that he was bringing the character back in a “manga” form as Manga Darkchylde. The response affirmed to Queen that his feeling about bringing his character back was dead on. “To use an analogy, someone has to design and build the new houses on the block, and those mansions at the end of the street, meaning the industry juggernauts like Spider-Man and X-Men, didn't maintain themselves over the years, someone had to show up and do the work,” Queen said. “I hope to always see new houses from new architects, because no industry should be wholly perceived or defined by vehicles created at its inception. Someone said to me one, ‘Yeah, I used to read comics, but how many times can you see Superman save Lois Lane?’ That's not a slam on Superman, the guy was using an icon to illustrate a point, but I do agree. Darkchylde is a cool character, and if I have to be the one to shoulder her forward and maintain the house, and I'm able to, it's a privilege I don't take for granted. I'm so grateful for the people and fans in my life who have allowed that.”

So – that covers the character’s return, but what about Ariel’s new look? "We're jumping on the manga bandwagon, but it honestly wasn't that calculated, just fortunate timing,” Queen said. “It originated from an interest in Japanese resin models, and the super-deform craze there. I did a drawing of Ariel in that style, that Sarah liked and used in an editorial in 2002. Super-deformed became cartoon/manga, and here we are. Everyone from Shi, to Spider-Man, to McFarlane toys has done a manga take, and if you're going to do one, why wait till the craze is over? Also, I wanted to return with something that wasn't just a continuation of what I'd been doing.”

[Image: md0page01_t.jpg]That said, Queen stressed that his take on “Manga Darkchylde” is almost a misnomer in that it’s not entirely “manga,” but incorporates super-deformed characteristics, as well as a more animation look. “I think generally, Western styles are edgy, more angular, and Eastern more rounded,” Queen explained. “Why not a cool fusion ? I've never been a fan of just outright copying a style or sensibility. It's much more difficult and interesting to bring a personality to the mix, and then get something, hopefully, that's unique and has an identity that feels authentic to the readers. We're just having fun. Fun is key for this project. It's done out of sheer love for this medium, and my nephews are going crazy over this. We wanted to do a ‘kid friendly’ version of a very unique story. The PG-13 horror take, which is more Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, isn't going anywhere.”

With the previously mentioned announcement of Darkchylde’s return in a new form, Queen launched the Manga D website, offering a new, free story with the “new” Ariel. Compared to where both he and the character were in the late ‘90s, the smaller, quieter approach to comics is a change of pace for the creator. “We're taking baby steps, and are still very much the boutique, but it's great to be rebuilding the Darkchylde community, and exploring the avenues available now,” Queen said. “Plus it's cool to get in on the ground floor of something, and this feels like a fresh start. I'm from the era of having to subscribe to comic newsletters to get info in the mail, and the fact that almost instant coverage, full color previews, and free comics are available online is staggering. I will never, ever, understand some of the negativity out there. Comics are for fun, and there has never been a greater, more accessible outlet to the art form, and creators, than the internet is now. I grew up with the alternative dynamic, when such an outlet was much harder to come by and usually involved sending a check.”

That said, Manga Darkchylde isn’t just going to exclusively call the Web her home. Come next months San Diego Comic Con, Queen’s character will return to print. “At San Diego, we’ll be offering a one time promotional run of Manga D. #0, limited to only 3,000 copies ever,” Queen said. “There will never be more copies produced of this singular zero issue, nor will it ever be offered wide, so fans will essentially have an instant collectible, available at the Darkchylde Entertainment booth in San Diego. This is a special 13 page prelude story, with a seven page preview of issue # 1, which will hit later in the year. The story ends with a cliffhanger that leads into issue # 1, now in progress at our site.

“And while we do plan to include Manga D. #0 when it's collected as a trade, the original issue, Manga D.'s print debut to the world, will purposely be the rarest Darkchylde book ever printed. This is designed as a convention promotion, but we will make a small allocation available on <!-- w --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- w --> a week before the show, so our patrons and any retailers who are interested but can't attend will still have a shot. Additionally, time permitting, the first 100 or so will have sketches inside. Any retailers interested in wholesale should contact Sarah at <!-- e --><a href=""></a><!-- e --> with the understanding that there will be very few of these made available.”

The limited run of the zero issue comes partly from Queen’s background and earlier time in the industry, as well as being out on his own, without a larger publisher’s resources backing him up. “Again, we're just a small boutique,” Queen said. “We don't have millions to spend on booths and advertising. It was taking everything into consideration, and trying to do something new that will hopefully get fans interested and excited. Everyone knows they can go to a con and get an exclusive cover, but for my dollar, I think an exclusive comic is much more interesting and special, especially if the production values are high. It also adds value to the show, because you're paying thirty to sixty bucks to get in, and you want a quality exclusive that validates those prices.”

Manga D. #0 isn’t the only book Queen will have to offer at San Diego. To pepper the market with a refresher course on who both he and Darkchylde are, the creator is planning on giving away 6,000 copies of the First Darkchylde trade. “6,000 copies,” Queen said. “100 thousand dollars worth, and all with a nifty Manga D. sticker on the front. It's a heavy, twenty dollar book of Darkchylde classic, so there's real value. Darkchylde is still a new or unknown title to some, and with being away from the scene for two years in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ industry, this is a nice way to let them in on a very cool secret. Visit the Darkchylde Entertainment booth in San Diego and you'll get a smile and some free reading material!”

Queen feels that his new version of the character will hit squarely in the middle, offering enough to bring readers who knew the character in its original incarnation back, as well as be interesting enough to attract new readers. “This is just a flat out fun ride with wild visuals, and interesting characters,” Queen said. “We're very hard on ourselves to present people with what we feel is a lush, striking, comic book experience that's closer to what they would expect in a big budget anime like Vampire Hunter D. Bloodlust, and I hope that's evident from the preview pages. There's also a cool kind of Astro Boy and Mighty Mouse vibe with the feel of this particular take on the character, and as a kid I loved that. I feel the best ‘all-ages’ properties can still have a darkness and sophistication, which is why I think the Lion King is one of the greatest successes Disney ever had, because it never pandered. If you're reading comics at any age, you're probably still a kid at heart anyway, so we're betting there's something you'll respond to here.”

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A webcomic version is available for you to check out at:
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Released 19/07/2004

Darkchylde's SDCC 100k trade paperback giveaway. Darkchylde Ent. to give away 100 thousand dollars worth of Darkchylde trade paperbacks at San Diego Comic-Con, this July 22-25th!

Attendees of July's San Diego Comic-con are going to receive some free reading material, courtesy of Darkchylde Ent. and!

The promotion is open to anyone and everyone who can make it to the Darkchylde Ent. booth in San Diego! We're bringing in 6,000 copies of this heavy, twenty dollar book, to be given away absolutely free to attendees of the show.

"In addition to our exclusive Darkchylde San Diego comics with front and back cover art, we're going the extra mile with our giveaways also," says Darkchylde creator Randy Queen. "Instead of posters, we'll be giving away a twenty dollar book, collecting five issues of a classic, fan favorite storyline. Our desire is to add value to your summer, convention going experience. And if you're unfamiliar with Darkchylde, here's a perfect chance to get on board."

What better way to familiarize and re-introduce fans and retailers to classic Darkchylde mythology, on the cusp of our launching an all new one at the San Diego Comic-Con with Manga Darkchylde ZERO!

Swing by our booth at the show and you'll receive a smile, and a free trade paperback!

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