You think you know the whole story, right? The “Evil Dead” in question are just a bunch of pesky Candarian Demons with a thing for the Three Stooges, Ash is our bumbling savior, and catch phrases are in abundance…
Think again. In the new Army of Darkness comic from Dynamite Entertainment, we are re-introduced to this world. Ashley K. Williams (no, that’s not a mis-typed initial) doesn’t have the legendary boomstick (in more ways than one). The demons are less from the woods than…elsewhere. And this version’s hero is more calculating than slapstick. But rest easy: the Deadites are still profoundly annoying, the tongue-in-cheek humor is omnipresent, and the action is nonstop. To sweeten the pot even more, ZZN favorite Ken Haeser (Living Corpse) is supplying some of the pin-ups and exclusive covers.
So, why did the new creative team (Elliott Serrano – writer, Marat Mychaels/Chris Ivy – Art) take the story in such a new direction? And why does Ash have boobs? Let’s hope you gain some insight into this new AOD world as we ask Mr. Serrano a few questions:
Surfin’ Dead/Zombie Zone News: Normally, I’d start with the obligatory “Why zombies?” question – but as many ZZN readers have discussed, the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness stories are actually about demonic possession and Deadites. So…what was your first introduction to the AOD universe? And what’s your favorite story series thus far?
Elliott Serrano: My first introduction to the Evil Dead franchise was through the movie Army of Darkness. After seeing the movie at my local theater, I proceeded to watch the rest of the Evil Dead movies, in reverse order. I watched Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn on video, and then finally the original Evil Dead movie by the fledgling cinematic tag-team of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.
As for my favorite, of course you never forget your first, so the AoD movie ranks as my fave.
SD: What’s your take on the Evil Dead remake…without an Ash character? (I know they’re trying to say that you simply can’t reproduce Bruce Campbell’s performances in those films, which is why they left Ash out. But for fans, his performance is the reason that Ash IS the Evil Dead franchise…)
(Takes a breath.)
Then, once I calm down, I consider that the movie is being produced by Sam Raimi and has Bruce Campbell’s blessing, so I trust the guys know what they’re doing. Yes, it’s not going to be the same, but I think that’s the whole point. They want to ‘re-imagine’ the franchise for a new generation of film-goer. While part of me wishes they’d continue with the original series, it’s become obvious that neither Raimi or Campbell have it in them to do so.
SD: I see that this isn’t your first AOD rodeo, having done both the second volume of the AOD/Xena crossover mini-series, and the Ash Saves Obama mini. First off – do you have any other previous credits that I missed from those books? Second, what can we expect from the new book?
ES: With the exception of a one-shot I did within the previous Army of Darkness monthly series – Issue #18 titled “Montezuma’s Revenge” – you’ve seen just about everything I’ve done so far. The AoD/Xena series was my first pro comic-book credit, co-written with my buddy Brandon Jerwa (GI Joe, Battlestar Galactica), and Ash Saves Obama was my first solo mini.
Now that I’ve been given the reigns of the Army of Darkness ongoing monthly, I’m hoping to take fans on a roller coaster ride featuring balls-to-the wall action, humor and horror. To me, AoD is really an action/adventure story with horror undertones, so I want to tell stories that bring that vibe.
SD: Are there any plans for how long the series will run?
ES: The series is intended to be a new, ongoing monthly, but knowing the comic market as it is, I’m plotting it like a series of minis and one or two-parters. This way people can jump in at almost any time, or we have an end point if we – shudder – get canceled.
The first story arc runs over 4 issues and sets the status quo for the series. It also teases as what’s to come in the first year. I have the first 12 issues plotted out in my head, so as long as AoD fans support the book, we’ll keep putting them out.
SD: Have you ever worked with (artist) Marat Mychaels in the past?
ES: Working on AoD is my first experience with Marat. I have to say that he’s an awesome collaborator! He’s always open to suggestion, but isn’t afraid to make some of his own. He’s also good at bringing energy to each page. That’s really important for a book like AoD.
ES: Right now all my energies are directed at the AoD monthly and doing all I can to make it succeed. I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself as far as the quality of story that I’d like to tell, along with getting the word out about the book.
I am pretty excited for the “Kick Ash Comic Shop Tour” that I’ll be having in Chicago! I’ll be signing books at a number of comic shops in my home town, but I want them to be more than just signings, I want them to be mini-Evil Dead conventions! So I’m encouraging folks to come out in costume, meet other AoD fans and have fun!
SD: Which comic creators’ works do you follow? And more specifically, anyone you’d like to team up with in the future?
ES: There are too many to list! But I will say that I’ll jump at the chance to re-team with Brandon again if he ever wanted to. Working on a script with him feels more like play than work. I’ve also been talking to Steve Niles about crossing AoD over with one of his properties, and the way he proposed doing it sounds like a real challenge. I just hope he finds the time to do it!
SD: What’s your favorite apocalyptic scenario that does NOT include zombies or Deadites? (Mine envisions hyper-intelligent Land Sharks sent from the future to eradicate humanity.)
ES: Alien Amazon women come to Earth to enslave men by plying them with liquor. I dream about that every day.
ES: Take the Necronomicon and any recordings made of the incantations it contains, lock them in a steel chest, then DROP THEM IN THE OCEAN! After that…stock up on ammo.
SD: And finally: Chainsaw, Boomstick or other?
ES: Wait till you see the stuff Ash has in his arsenal in the new series. He still has the chainsaw and boomstick, but I think you’re gonna like the ‘other.’
SD: Anything else you’d like to share?
Also check out the Dynamite Entertainment website for future announcements and some ‘behind-the-scenes’ articles I’ll be writing about the series.
SD: Thanks for answering our questions!
Be sure to check out Army of Darkness #1, out this Wednesday (April 15th) – and you can bet it will be featured in this week’s Zombie Pull Box!