At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Top Cow announced that Randy Queen, creator of the fan-favorite Darkchylde series, will be bringing back his beloved character for a one-shot crossover with The Darkness. Queen will provide the script and line art for the 30-page issue while Darkchylde Entertainment co-founder Sarah Oates provides colors.
According to Queen, the one-shot will serve as a "nice bookend to [the] Darkchylde last issue special and could fit anywhere it works best in Jackie's timeline, post the death of his true love Jennie," and will bring forth a number of essential questions about both Ariel Chylde and Jackie Estacado. "Ariel emits a psychic plea which Jackie intercepts, and enters her Nightmares to free her from a self-imposed seven year exile," says Queen. "She's this hauntingly beautiful princess, frozen and entombed in blood at the very frayed edge of her own psychological terrain. They both emerge different than how they entered, which is how it should be. Ariel Chylde can physically become her Nightmares. Jackie Estacado can summon untold evils. How these characters are similar, and what separates them is a fun question to answer."
But what drove the Darkchylde creator to bring back Ariel Chylde after her long absence from the printed page? "We're deep into production on 'Starfall,' this gargantuan, sci-fi-horror tale announced last year, and the goal is to get that entire first arc in the box before we release issue #1, and it was discussed it might be good to also get another, smaller project, out in the interim," said Queen. "I didn't just want it to be a place holder, I wanted it to matter. So this is smaller than Starfall to be sure, but it's still 30 pages, and that's 30 painstaking pages." Queen went on to explain that although his time is precious with "Starfall," fans of Darkchylde and The Darkness will still be getting nothing short of the full treatment. "As a fan, I expect more, so as a professional I strive to deliver what would excite me enough to make that drive to the comic shop. Top Cow is helping us to deliver the best possible on all fronts."
Although this is Queen's first outing penning "The Darkness," he promises to bring some fresh, new ideas to the table. "The value I bring to the Darkness is my own unique perspective," he says. "What can I offer that's fresh but still complimentary to the other talents who've worked on him? It was decided, that A) art should imitate life and we'd use this crossover opportunity to bring Ariel back, and B) organically out of that story, because it involves nightmares, which is Ariel's province, Jackie's darkness armor gets corrupted. But you still recognize it immediately as the Darkness, which is wonderful. So you're getting fresh takes on both, and it makes the project worthwhile for all parties, especially fans and retailers, because it's not just filler material."
In addition to the full 30-page main story with plenty of new material sure to excite fans, the Darkness/Darkchylde one-shot will contain an 8-page preview of Queen's newest project, Starfall. "Fans are getting new Darkness Armor, a resurrection for Ariel Chylde, and a first look at 'Starfall' interiors," Queen says. "Also, it'll be nice to come up for air, and get something out in the short term while we labor along on 'Starfall.' Otherwise the wait would've been longer."
"It's exciting to draw Ariel Chylde again for a book release, much sooner than anticipated. When we announced 'Starfall,' the fans were vocal on wanting more of her, so thanks to them. They influenced this decision," says Queen. "It's a terrific opportunity Top Cow has granted in offering a new visual cue on the Darkness, one of their core stable of characters. They could have very easily said no, but were willing to shake things up, and in the process made things more exciting."
Darkness/Darkchylde releases this December from Top Cow.