There have been quite a few discussions of this mutated "urban fantasy" lately, but this one sums up much of my own unease with it. I don't care too much for tame representations of the dangerous. MJH doesn't quite come out and say it, but "sell out" has been used to represent this muting, emasculating, taming of the wild, unsettled, dangerous elements, all in the name of making it palatable and thus marketable for those, like Michael Palin's timid accountant character in a Monty Python sketch who wanted to be a lion tamer, just so they could have a "little bit of danger" (but never too much!) in their lives.
Urban fantasy: the domestication of a few images & behavioural tics which were barely unacceptable in the first place. It was a frisson obtained not so much by glamourising or romanticising the disordered (though it did both) as by denying or correcting the trait paradigms of some common dysfunctional behaviours. It cleaned up what it claimed to be representing & always drew its conclusions from a safe space outside dysfunctionality. A normative manouevre, defining a “good” dysfunctionality (he’s an anorexic self-harming killer elf but he’s our anorexic self-harming killer elf), urban fantasy was often described as having an edge. As a result, by the late 80s, “edgy” had become the publishing synonym for “young adult”. Later, even in publishing, it came to have the same meaning as “bland”.
Dangerous/unacceptable>toned-down "edgy">ubiquitous>bland>ripe for mockery
I think we're fast approaching the "ripe for mockery" stage, at least in regards to the cover art. Thoughts?