|"The Darkness" #9/73 on sale this week|
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Top Cow’s “The Darkness.” Last year, Phil Hester and Michael Broussard took Darkness wielder Jackie Estacado in a bold new direction when they launched the book’s third volume. If you add up all of the issues from all three “The Darkness” series, issue 11 of the current volume is “The Darkness” #75, and Top Cow is celebrating that milestone with an over-sized anniversary issue in February.
On sale this week is “The Darkness” #11, featuring artwork by Jorge Lucas, who will alternate story arcs with Michael Broussard as the series goes forward. CBR News sat down with Lucas to shed some light on The Darkness.
At the end of the first arc, Jackie Estacado found himself de-powered, unable to take full advantage of the Darkness power within him. “It’s a good turnaround for the character,” Lucas told CBR. “In these stories, Jackie is a weakened man, with weak powers, and a lot of the situations he gets into are very trying, especially for someone who’s sick.”
Lucas likened the current “Darkness” run to old detective stories: “Very gloomy, showing the dark side of a society that seems too perfect.” Along those lines, Phil Hester’s scripts portray desolate, out of the way places where secrets abound, and villains both mortal and supernatural roam. “I tried to translate this into my art, making it really dark, full of shadows, something really heavy, to convey to the reader the feeling of being overwhelmed, like in an old film of German Expressionism.”
“The Darkness” was not Lucas’ first foray into the Top Cow universe. Editor Rob Levin had brought Lucas in to pencil “Pilot Season: Ripclaw” for Top Cow’s first annual Pilot Season competition. And when Levin later approached the Lucas about “The Darkness” gig, the artist was already familiar with the character, as a local publisher had printed “The Darkness” in Lucas’ native Argentina. “Jackie Estacado is a great character and ‘The Darkness’ featured some of the greatest designs by guys like Marc Silvestri and Dale Keown,” Lucas recalled.
|Pages from "The Darkness" #9/73|
It was the vulnerable, recently de-powered Jackie Estacado that drew Lucas to the project. “I liked this turn of events a lot, it was very interesting to me,” Lucas explained. “This was an opportunity to show a new face of Jackie, maybe more human.” Lucas also described the current arc as a “horror tale,” and said he had a special place in his heart for the horror genre.
“The Darkness” writer Phil Hester is of course an artist himself, and his scripts come equipped with sketches that Lucas said definitely speeds the creative process along “It’s a big advantage when working with Phil because he’s a great designer, so his scripts are full of images that are highly entertaining to draw,” Lucas said.
Hester’s history as an artist also helps him tailor his scripts to Broussard and Lucas’ respective strengths. Lucas called Broussard’s art “amazing,” an example of what he refers to as the Top Cow house style. “My style is best for horror stories when I use heavy shadows, or for sci-fi when I work with clear lines,” he said. “To me, the shadows are perfect for ‘The Darkness’ because the stories are usually set in an oppressive and terrible world.”
Written by Hester, “The Darkness” #11 (or #75 by legacy numbering) features a star-studded cast of current and former Darkness artists including Matt Timson, Joe Benitez, Michael Broussard, Lee Carter, Frazer Irving, Dale Keown, Ryan Sook, Marc Silvestri, Steve Firchow and Jorge Lucas himself. “I’m drawing three pages in the issue, which is great because a lot of other artists are going to be in there,” Lucas said. “I’m very excited to appear in #75.”
“The Darkness” #9 hits stands December 24.