Linkara: Hello and welcome to Atop The Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well folks, it's finally time to talk about a period of bleakness. A period of twisted humanoid abberations, and the decay of human morality! This is also known as... the Dark Age of Comics.

There are a number of factors that contributed to the Dark Age, though most people attribute it to Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Suddenly, comic books were in the public eye, and seeing quote-unquote "realism" in its stories, with ambiguous morality and having real-world issues present in stories, was suddenly the hot topic. In reality, a lot of real-world issues have been creeping into comics since the 60s, it's just no-one really paid much attention to it until those two stories. They were so radically different from what had been on the market before that it changed the industry. The problem is that people didn't quite understand why they changed the industry. The assumption was that because the stories were dark, that must have been why they were so successful. The truth was that they were just complex stories, and in Watchmen's case, everything was so well developed, foreshadowed and had such complex characterization and moral themes, that it was a work of genius.

But then again, like Hollywood whenever something is successful, the comic industry oversimplified things, and decided that the reason was because of the dark storylines. Suddenly characters had to be grim n' gritty, with melodramatic narration and looser ethics when it came to crime-fighting. And of course, the artwork reflected this gritty style, assisted by our old pal, Rob Liefeld. There are several characteristics of the Dark Age of Comics, but for today's subject, we're going to talk about the artwork.

People were beginning to pick up comics not because of interesting storylines or characters, but because of the art. Liefeld and other artists had an art style that was so different from traditional sequential artwork that it was considered "new" and "edgy". And in the early 1990s, the artists were pissed. Dissatisfaction with Marvel's payment policies and ownership rights of characters caused a group of artists (including Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and others) to ban together, leave the company and start their own: Image Comics.

To be completed