"Run-of-the-mill" seems like a modestly accurate way to describe myself in terms of horror fandom. In certain respects I find that valuable, since ideally I can make an appeal to those like myself, to those who may be testing the waters, and hopefully to the hardcore horror fans as well. (And I sincerely encourage feedback, especially from the latter.) It wasn't until several years ago, the present time of this writing being December of '09 to give perspective, that the genre genuinely appealed to me and I owe all that to the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT'. After that, it was a slow and steady progression that grew into watching more Stephen King film adaptations, then into watching general horror films. In more recent years it's branched from solely films into different mediums, namely: comics (comic books, manga, graphic novels, webcomics, etc.), purely written literature, and different games.

But let's get to the point, shall we? The Darkley Niche is something I've constructed after the comic-in-progress that a friend and myself plan on self-publishing, an anthology of short horror stories much in the same vein as 'Tales from the Crypt' and similar titles. The series centers around a faceless persona we've affectionately dubbed Alan Darkley, the Niche's namesake, and a cast of storytellers whose tales fall within particular subgenres and sister genres of horror. This site is the drawing board, if you will, where everything posted is either a form of research or a roughing out of ideas. It's all relevant in some fashion. By exploring these different horror stories and their mediums a better understanding and influence of the genre, as well as inspiration, can be put into the comic. Even if you have no personal interest in the project, perhaps you can glean something from the reviews and the like. And if nothing else, the Niche will work to serve my own purposes.

Be sure to browse over the column of banners below if you're looking for posts on a particular topic. (And at the very bottom of the blog, if you would like to consult the complete listing of post labels.) Otherwise, scroll down past them to get to the most recent articles. Likewise, refer to the right side for our latest tweets.

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

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Well, here's yours truly. The name's Drew, in case you were wondering. The Niche is my personal site, while the comic-in-progress is a partnered effort with Don, a lifelong friend of mine. We collaborate on the stories, but my partner's the writer in the outfit while I am the illustrator. This is currently little more than a side project, but we hope to make something of it.

artwork by yours truly

artwork and artist features

movies, short films, TV, webisodes, etc.

frightful films for your year-round festivities

book reviews: consult the niche's necronomicon

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

DC's Blackest Night: getting a foothold

Horror seems to have picked up again in more recent years with comics. My guess is that this was in response to the escalation of zombie and vampire films over the past decade. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but that's my personal interpretation. Crossing over into superhero territory, the dominant genre in comic books, we've seen the release of Marvel Zombies and now DC is following suit with "Blackest Night".

To give you some perspective, I fell out of the mainstream superhero books around the time of Marvel's "Civil War" story arc, which forced heroes to either register with the government or continue their vigilantism illegally and go underground. The politics seemed to get too convoluted and the only alternative superhero titles were basically dumbed-down, Saturday morning cartoon reruns that recycled their stories over and over again. Granted, this might be a little harsh, but it was enough of a turn off for me to lose interest. As far as DC goes, if you haven't been reading along regularly, then you're hopelessly lost. Try picking up a typical superhero title and you won't know where to begin. Which is why it's especially frustrating, if you're like me, when you saw this (below). Two words: undead Batman.

Heck, I wasn't even aware that Batman had died until Adam Withers and his wife Comfort Love, friends and fellow artists, informed me during one of my visits to their homestead. Adam pointedly remarked that there was nary a word about it online, not so much as a Tweet, because comic readers have become numbed to deaths in superhero comics. Rarely does anyone significant remain deceased for long, the grave more or less reduced to a revolving door. At least with the introduction of "Blackest Night", however, it gives some "higher purpose" to the DC stories as to why this is. We still know that it's really about sales, but clarifying this continuity of character resurrections would be nice. Ironically, explaining it with "Blackest Night" is in of itself a sales scheme as well.

Picking up an issue of Green Lantern with the "Blackest Night" story arc I found myself, surprise surprise, completely lost. Apparently chaos has been let loose in the DC universe with the addition of six new Lantern Corps, ranging in the chromatic spectrum from primaries to secondaries (red, orange, yellow, and so on, plus indigo), with the Black Lanterns making seven. Though technically speaking, black is the absolute absence from the spectrum. "Blackest Night" also branches out into many of DC's other main titles, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the like. So if it wasn't enough to contend with just the Green Lantern series, you have all those to juggle.

Intimidated? The feeling is mutual. While I can't personally guide you through "Blackest Night", I can, however, help give you a foothold. Written by Sean "TheOrange" Corse, his posts "Powet Alphabet: Y is for Yellow Lanterns" and "Powet Alphabet: B is for Blackest Night" provide some essential cliff notes to new and returning readers alike. Also, as silly as it may sound, consult some of the articles on Green Lantern Wiki to expand on particulars mentioned in Corse's posts (ex: William Hand, Nekron, etc.). When "Blackest Night" has settled down I'll ask Adam to elaborate on the story arc, since he's an avid comic book reader and, in particular, a hardcore Green Lantern fan. (The guy wore a Green Lantern shirt under his wedding tux, so that speaks volumes.) Until then, I hope that this proves helpful to those who find themselves in a similar predicament like myself.

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