Dynamite is bringing back together two iconic figures in Army of Darkness / Xena: Warrior Princess and this time out the story is in the hands of veteran comic writer Scott Lobdell. I got a chance to talk with Scott about bringing the two popular franchises together.
SCOTT LOBDELL: Always! I was fascinated by the fact that the Army of Darkness franchise started as a pretty straight forward horror movie, went a little farther over the top in the sequel, and then really invented a whole knew genre with the horror/comedy that was Army of Darkness. (I often thought if I got the change to write a sequel to LETHAL WEAPON it would be a musical! Or what if JAWS had a teenaged party weekend vibe? A movie is a movie is a movie — why can't franchise characters bounce between genres?!)
Similarly, XENA started out more of an action show and eventually became one of the greatest love stories ever portrayed on television — it was epic!
DW: Did you need to catch up on one or the other before you could start writing?
SL: Did I have to polish up on both — sure — but it was more about watching ARMY OF DARKNESS and XENA episodes with an eye on who to best mesh their sensibilities.
DW: The themes of these two worlds are very different. Ash Williams can be slapstick / silly mixed with horror while Xena has her lighter moments but overall is fantasy / adventure. How do you merge the feel of the two properties into one?
SL: I think I kind of disagree with you. I think the strength of both of them is that you just do NOT know what you're going to get when you sit down to watch them. Has there ever been a horror/comedy like ARMY OF DARKNESS? (I can't think of one with that tone — before or since.) And to me the fun with Xena was you just never knew if you were going to get a singing episode or a reincarnation episode set in the 1940s — they were not afraid to go anywhere in search of a great story.
I think of it like this — if you were watching ARMY OF DARKNESS and Xena popped out of the ground and led an army of Deadites, you wouldn't be particularly shocked. She would fit right in.
And while Ash's boom stick and chainsaw might take Xena unaware for a moment if she found him in a tomb in a pyramid… it isn't anything she couldn't adjust to in a few moments. Xena is a character who was born ready for anything.. including Ash Williams!
(It is kind of like when I wrote the first STAR TREK/X-MEN crossover. Both series dealt with the idea of a foundation of understanding the Other, of embracing the differences that make us stronger. So while some people thought "No way!" I thought "Of course! It makes perfect sense!")
SL: This was easy when you consider they have already met in the Dynoverse (Nick! I so want royalties when you copyright this term!). The idea here is when last they teamed up Ash handed Xena and Gabrielle a single page of the Necronomicon and said "If things ever get too bad and you need a hand – just tear this page in two and I'll be there." At the time Xena was sure the likelihood of ever needing Ash for anything at all was pretty much half of zero — something happens on the beginning of the first page of this crossover that makes her realize Ash is in a unique position to help.
DW: How much are you collaborating with Elliot Fernandez on this? Are you two talking things over early on or more once the script is in his hands? What do you think about his art made him the right choice for the project?
SL: I don't really talk to Elliot — but what is there to say? He turns in great pages — so if I were talking to him I'd only be drooling or fanboying and who wants to listen to that when you're drawing pages?
DW: This isn't the first time the two characters have met. John Layman brought the two together about eight years ago. Are there any ties to the previous meeting?
SL: Only in the fact these two already have a history so we're going to use it! (Did you really think I'd try to follow in the footsteps of creator of CHEW?) So any fans that loved the first two can take solace in knowing those stories happened — and new readers will feel like they're getting a whole story without missing anything!
DW: In a sentence or two, what can fans expect when picking up the first issue in October?
SL: Expect nothing — then you'll be thrilled when you get to see newborn Xena, Pirate Xena and Melinda Pappas (Xena of 1940, more or less) in one story! Oh, and for all the Ash fans in the world, Daddy finally scores some sugar!