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Out in stores now, DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE VOL. 1 (Image
Comics) tells the story of Ariel Chylde, a lonely teenage girl who has just
suffered a major loss in her life. On her fist day of high school, not only is
she picked on by the popular girls and a male teacher, Ariel discovers the
building is a portal to hell. She must find a way to escape from high school
alive, as demons are chasing after her across the hallways. FANGORIA spoke with
creator and author Randy Queen about how he conceived the DARKCHYLDE series,
his appearance at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con and working with horror
master director, John Carpenter on the comic-to-film adaptation.
FANGORIA: How did your career in the comic book industry
RANDY QUEEN: Conventions were key. My first published work
was a pin-up in Todd McFarlane’s SPAWN, and then nothing for two years until I
got with Top Cow Productions at the San Diego Comic-con. Eventually,
someone can see beyond what’s right in front of them and has an ability to
connect the dots in a way others don’t and gives you a chance to run
the ball and see what happens.
FANG: How did you come up with the concept of DARKCHYLDE?
QUEEN: It was primarily wanting to read something that
wasn’t available and wanting to put my heart
into an earnest statement that wasn’t just product. This
was before the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER show was on, so the girls and monsters
equation wasn’t really serviced in comics at the time. Image Comics was in full
swing, and it was mostly the superhero brands. So if you’re going to spend
10 to 16 hrs a day drawing something, girls and monsters sounded fun to me. The
film ANGEL HEART was in influence in the curse aspect, [SPOLER ALERT] but I
spun in that Ariel was cursed while she was still in the womb. Ariel is
essentially tragic, a Wolfman-type figure, who was not an active
participant in how she became a monster; that was interesting to
me. I also enjoyed the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET films, but wanted to make
the nightmare aspect more evocative and beautiful, lyrical and poetic
vs. blood and guts, but that’s there too. Ariel’s character evolved
out of knowing girls who were very beautiful, but observing how their
beauty also made them isolated and distanced. How can people make all
these preconceptions without knowing them? How could someone so
beautiful be so sad?
FANG: DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE has an interesting cast of
characters—from Ariel Chylde, Kiley and the freakish-looking Big Jake. Tell us
more about the relationships between these three protagonists.
QUEEN: It’s hard without spoiling, but one is revealed
to be a revenge-driven poltergeist, and one is an innocent, misguided, and
easily fooled protector—just a gentle, unassuming spirit. And Ariel is the girl
who can become the creatures from her nightmares—but not while she’s in the
nightmare. So, she develops other nocturnal abilities as she asserts
control and becomes more lucid and aware of how the dreamscape responds to her.
FANG: In DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE, Ariel has a self-reflective
and lyrical prose to her narration. Big Jake, though freakish looking, is 17
years old and reacts like a typical teenager. With their dialogue being so
different, is it difficult to switch back and forth between characterizations?
QUEEN: Once you understand where each is coming from, it
FANG: In this coming-of-age tale, Ariel has trouble finding
her place in her new high school, which is a living embodiment of hell. She
wants to fit in, but is ostracized by the popular girls and even by a male
teacher, which is such a memorable scene. Discuss the story’s themes of teen
angst and self-discovery.
QUEEN: There are no new themes, so the
onus is, how unique is your delivery? Angst and self-discovery
continue as you leave your teenage years, and everyone feels the
outcast at times. I think kindness for kindness, and courtesy for courtesy,
should be a fair karmic equation in life, but it doesn’t always go that
way, does it? So, you take these truths we’re all familiar with
and make them mythic in a setting like this. It’s about pushing on
despite pain and struggle. I won’t be around forever, so I try
to be very cognizant in what type of message I leave with the reader. Some
people got hung up on Ariel’s father attacking her in the first issue of the
comic, and I sort of got lynched for it. But frankly, they weren’t paying
attention; because if they were paying attention, they’d know that a) in a
horror story, horrible things happen, and b) it’s revealed later in the story
he wasn’t actually her father and c) the underlying morality and
consequence of action are clearly on display on the very next
page, where this person pays the ultimate price for the transgression. The tale
of Ariel Chylde is a dark myth for people who enjoy dark myths, it’s not
MARY POPPINS. Your first goal is to entertain, yet there has to be something
woven in a bit deeper that has appealed for so long, there has to be
something that still resonates over time. Those simple truths
we recognize and relate to are key, and I think it’s why people have
remembered Ariel and continue to care about her—she is them. She is us.
And we are her. It would be a disservice not to show that life can
sometimes be quite ugly; that’s the reality of fantasy.
TO BE CONTINUED
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