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Darkchylde by Randy Queen

Darkchylde by Keu Cha

Darkchylde Swimsuit Gallery

'Darkchylde' became something of a comic craze in the 1990's, partially due to superb artwork and partly due to Randy Queen's (story and pencil) equally superb marketing skills.
It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Ariel Lynn Chylde who, on a horrible traumatic night, discovers that she has the ability to change into creatures from some dark dimension of the mind and commit major mayhem.

The first time I read Darkchylde was right after I discovered Avengelyne and the art just threw me, just like with Avengelyne... At one time there even was a mentionning of a crossover with Avengelyne but alas that did not happen cause Randy Queen left Maximum Press (thus Avengelyne and owned by Rob Liefeld, who left Image altogether) and joined Image.
The one thing that struck me deep was for instance the tormented look of Ariel when she woke up, the first pages that displayed the dream she was having and the sight of that bracelet...Maybe stupid, but that transparent bracelet attracted be enormously and also the tanlines that were visible!! Never before had I seen such artwork in comics...
Back to the comic....

When Ariel's father (or stepfather) triggers her first change (by almost assaulting her on her 18th birthday), she makes toast of both him and her home. Perry Stodghill is the boyfriend (well almost boyfriend), who witnesses some of this and tries to help her. Unfortunately, Ariel generated enough psychic energy to start a manhunt for her by Sentry, a local special ops branch which specializes in wierd. Perry's father is the man assigned to bring her in.

Lurking in the background is Kauldron, an exile from the dark dimension, who wants to use Ariel's powers to bring over a host of demons to, guess what, control the earth. Not all the demons fall under Kauldron's spell, and soon we have demons vs. demons, demons vs. Ariel, demons vs. humans, and every other variation of mayhem you can mention. Once the action builds up to frantic (around page four), there is never any let up, straight through to the end.

This isn't really a complex plot. There is more dialog than is usual for this kind of comic, and the characters have unnexpected depth. But it is the artwork, and in particular, the subject of the artwork, that made this series take off. Ariel Chylde is an anatomical impossibility, the perfect embodiment of almost every man's dreams. And, when her clothes aren't painted on her, they are falling off her.
Don't get me wrong, everything else in the comic is also great, but there is no question but that the real plot is Ariel's body and what happens to it.

No question but that this is exploitative, and if you are sensitive to this, you will find this book offensive. And, of course, this is not a publication for children. But Randy Queen's ability to fill a frame with strong composition and tense action are undeniable. Jason Gorder's ink work and Jimmy Yu's colors are equally professional. All this makes 'Darkchylde' the apex of the 'bad girl' comic genre. If you really love modern comic work, this is really worth looking at/for.

Review by Marc Rubby at Amazon.com and altered/added/revised by Richard Boom

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© Darkchylde Copyright and TM 2003, Randy Queen and Darkchylde Entertainment