Letting Go of Superman: Remembering the Darkness

The Darkness was a misogynistic, hypersexual violent comic starring supernaturally powered and cursed mafia hit-man, Jackie Estacado.

Among many of his crimes: he killed members of the holy line of David, extorted sex from a desperate woman, and plagued an underdeveloped country with enhanced drugs.

And when I was about 12 it was my favorite comic.

Now that the Top Cow series will end telling Estacado’s stories after over a decade of being on the shelf, I’ve been thinking about why I liked it so much back then. After all the main character is not a superhero and is damn hell no Hamlet.

But at that age when I’d been exposed to primarily superheroes and before I became aware of anything like Sandman, Jackie Estacado was a different beast from anything I was introduced to at the time.

He was a character who sometimes tried to be good but overall wasn’t. Not driven by high ideals of good or evil, more from baser desires and basic human emotions, he was an anti-hero that was only a “hero” because the others around him were worse alternatives.

In reflection though, the comics was an assorted mixture of things I liked in the past and would find interesting in the future.

Estacado’s power was one of my personal favorites, the power of creation like Green Lantern & Morpheus; the comic had motifs referencing legends, myths, and religion though they were not always well executed; and it played with the ideas of uncaring, greater and ancient powers that had echoes of Lovecraft before I knew who and what Lovecraft was.

Most of the issues were like an exploitation films, with half-naked girls and open guts. As a prepubescent, I ate it all up for all the wrong reasons but also apparently some of the right ones.

About Cesar R. Bustamante Jr. 29 Articles
Multimedia journalist with a special interest in data-viz & visual storytelling. Kind of a geek. crbustamantejr at gmail.com LinkedIn page http://lnkd.in/XHEKv6

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