Darkly Dreaming Dexter
was released in 2004, and instantly became a hit. Batman Began
again the following year, making Warner Brothers another mountain of money. Dexter hit cable TV
in 2006, and that's when I knew for sure that something had started swimming around in our collective unconscious. Why else would we suddenly be obsessing about dark, brooding figures that hunt and terrify the evil people who surround us?
We've always had myths about deadly, terrifying things that lived out in the dark, away from the light of hearth and home. But when Jack became the Ripper, the monster became urban. It became one of us - a human gone all bad and crazy, and Jack ascended to the Invisible Clergy as the Dark Stalker.
Of course, the Masterless Man got to the same place by keeping people safe from monsters and bad men. It was beyond appropriate that the two Archetypes would be eternal rivals - it was inevitable. It was right. Avatars of the Masterless Man go up against Dark Stalkers all the time, and vice-versa. They can't really help it - it's part of the persona they adopt. It might not be that way much longer, though.
Remember Dexter and Christian Bale in a black cape? Something must have changed. I think that in 2004 we got a new Godwalker of the Dark Stalker, and I think he's moving into new territory. This guy (or girl - there have been a couple of successful female serial killers, so it's not an exclusive Archetype) is reinventing the Stalker as The Killer of the Evil That Lurks Among Us And We Don't Want To Face, or something like that. He's probably got a very snappy name for what he thinks he is. He's a dark, deadly figure, who nevertheless protects us from worse things.
Neither the current Dark Stalker nor the Masterless Man can be happy about this attempt to unify the two Archetypes. If I'm right (and I'm sure I am), then we're about to see a three-way ascension war kick off, and my Lord, is it going to be a bloody one.
Watch for gruesome murders of killers and rapists. Watch for martial artists and ghetto gunfighters getting kacked in the worst ways you can imagine. Look for the Eye-Biting Man, who used to be Godwalker of the Stalker, and left a trail of bodies around the US-Canada border. And someone needs to make Jeff Lindsay cough up what he knows.
If anyone can say whether I'm right, it'll be him.