Darkchylde was first published in 1996 around the same time as Buffy, and earned a large following. Developed by Randy Queen, Darkchylde has gone on to become one of the best comics ever sold by Panini Publishing.
Ariel Chylde lost her mother at the age of four, and she grew up by having nightmares every night. Recently she switched schools again and this time it was Salem High, it was by her father's orders. She can't wait till she turns 18 next year and gets away from him. Back from her first day in new school she sits in her room thinking. She hears how her father comes home; he walks into her room, and tries to rape her. Ariel fights him and then something happens, she transforms into a thing of her nightmares and burns her father alive. The house goes up in flames and she escapes. Perry, a boy she met at school and made a move on her, finds her at an old dam. He takes her to his house to so that she can clean herself up and rest; he then calls to his father who works in special cases. Just as the father arrives, so does the monster Ariel first changed into, but now they are separated. Ariel changes again to save the boy and the father. After chasing the monster away, she again reverts back to human and looses consciousness. She awakens in an ambulance on its way to Sentry Compound; it's a facility that researches supernatural occurrences. Sentry people probe her and make her turn into a next monster, saying that it will help. In the facility she is visited by Sage and her companions who then break her out. The boy Perry and his father join them. They manage to escape Sentry soldiers, but then they meet Kauldron. Kauldron attacks Ariel to goad her into changing again. She grants his wish, by transforming into Fang, a dragon who promised to help her, but only wanted to get out of Nightmare realm. She seemingly kills Kauldron and then goes on a rampage, she kills Perry's father before she manages to transform back to herself. Perry tells her to leave town, and he will say that she died when Sentry people arrive.
Ariel leaves on the graduation night. She doesn't get far from the town when she sees a traveling carnival. She feels happy for a day, but her nightmares still follow her. A nightmareling tears off one of her arms; she's loosing a lot of blood and has no option but turn into a beast. In a fight with the nightmare being she trashed some of the carnival attractions. War and Piece find her also, and give her a helping hand. Piece reassures her that if she turns back to human, she will have a new hand. She then is surrounded by the carnival people, who seem to know that weird things happen in the world; some of them even are supernatural themselves. They ask her to join their group to pay for the damages and she agrees, seeing it as a ticket to disappear. War and Piece also join her. Traveling with the carnival she learns more about herself, she now is able to turn partially, thus not giving the nightmare being permission enter earth realm. The weird thing with the carnival is that small children always go missing in the towns they stop. One night Ariel decides to stay guard at one of the child's house that visited the carnival. And by chance it's the same house that is attacked by a monster. Ariel uses her new half-transformation skills to kill it, and it turns out to be young owner of the carnival. Before he dies, he reveals that Kauldron and her mother are to blame for her powers. Ariel puts the pieces together and realizes that the Sage used to be her mother; she confronts her on her grave back in Salem and wants her to tell everything. Sage does as asked, and tells her story, and flies away when Ariel partially transforms. After that Ariel meets with Parry again, again she feels happy for a change.
Ariel Chylde lost her last parent in a car crash, it drove into a river. It was there she first transformed, and flew away in confusion. Now she lives with her grandmother in Salem. She controls her transformations, but sometimes only full form is most helpful in saving people. But when she turns back to human, the monster separates from her and also stays on earth. Ariel then transforms partially and usually kills the monster.