Scott Lobdell talks to Byron Brewer about Army of Darkness/Xena: Forever…And a Day #3, on sale in December from Dynamite. Cover by Nick Bradshaw.
BYRON BREWER: Shiver me timbers! We are gonna see the return of Pirate Xena, in issue #3 on sale in December! Scott, what prompted you to touch on one of my favorite incarnations of the warrior princess?
SCOTT LOBDELL: The theme behind "Forever… And a Day" is essentially Ash trying to discover the exact moment he can be most helpful in aiding Xena's defeat of a Deadite army. We saw in issue #2 that he overshot the time period by a good thirty years – and in this issue he winds up encountering Xena during one of her darker days. (That is, to me, one of the most fascinating parts of Xena as a character – yeah, by the time she got to her own series she was pretty darn noble, or trying to be, but there are a lot of things she's done in her life of which she's not particularly proud. No offense to, say, Peter Parker or Steve Rogers, but neither of those two heroes had a history of being villainous before we met them!
BB: Can you tell us around what period of time this chapter of "Forever…And a Day" is taking place, and did you and artist Elliot Fernandez do any research into piracy of the day? Y'know, more than just your average "Arrrrr," puffy-sleeved pirates with singles eyes, single legs and single parrots?
SL: I'm not sure really how to answer that question. I always got the sense that Xena existed in a "mythical time" – you know, when Gods and Monsters roamed the Earth. Is there an exact time when that happened?
I don't recall any of those clichés in the story or the art. That said, pirating and kidnapping and life on the seven seas was, from everything I've ever read, pretty damned horrific… an actual representation of which would be quite unpleasant in most comics and certainly in a comic that is an action/comedy/genre piece. (It would be like reading an Indiana Jones comic and saying "I see you have Nazis. I hope we can expect to see some scenes set in a concentration camp!")
BB: Er uh … we're not going to see any Deadites with eye patches and cutlasses shouting "Shiver me timbers!" … are we? (I kinda like it!)
SL: Not a big fan of clichés. That said, I haven't seen the artwork yet, so for all I know everyone who isn't Xena and Ash are wearing eye patches. Maybe two!
BB: Why would a competent warrior in any situation like Xena ever make Ash her first mate?
SL: Ash has fought more than one army of Deadites. I don't think he is as incompetent as one might think. (And considering she has to kill her current first mate when we meet her, well, she has to hire someone!)
BB: There seems a great chemistry between Ash and Xena. I know they have "met" before, but this shared chemistry – was that something you planned, or just something that came naturally to the characters as you wrote the series?
SL: As they are both POA (People Of Action) who have to keep a healthy sense of humor amidst the madness of invading hoards, it only makes sense they would have a shared chemistry. (That said, Gabrielle is the Ash fan, because she thinks that even if he's not the sharpest pencil in any given box, the truth is his heart is in the right place. I kind of think Xena tolerates Ash because her beloved believes in him – and that is good enough for her.)
BB: Scott, can you hint at where (in time?) we are headed in this book going forward?
For more information on Army of Darkness / Xena: Forever… and a Day #3, click here.