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    CHAD BOWERS, CHRIS SIMS talk ASH VS. ARMY OF DARKNESS #0, on sale in JUNE from Dynamite! For 99 cents!!

    BYRON BREWER: Chad and Chris, how does it feel to be writing a book celebrating such an iconic franchise as Army of Darkness … AND on its 25th anniversary? Pretty cool, eh?

    CHAD BOWERS: It’s incredible! Army of Darkness and Darkman were my go-to sick-day movies growing up, so exploring the Raimi-verse as an adult is something of a dream come true. And yeah, to be involved with AOD’s 25th anniversary is huge, and I know it means a lot to both Chris and I as fans. So much so, that we feel obliged to do this milestone of horror justice by producing the weirdest, goriest Army of Darkness spectacle that fans are likely to ever see!

    Excluding the original film, of course.

    CHRIS SIMS: I saw AOD when I was 10 -- I can still remember seeing that trailer and begging my dad to rent it for me the next time we were at the video store -- and I’m not even close to kidding when I say it was a life-changing experience. It showed me that horror didn’t have to mean jump scares, that you could do those glorious fountains of blood and gross-out Deadites and still base your story around action and adventure, and Ash? Oh man, he was a whole new kind of hero to me, and I think you can see that blowhard and his charming egomania in everything I’ve written since. It was even one of the first DVDs I ever bought a limited Special Edition that was numbered 25,666 for extra spookiness. I’m not even close to kidding when I say that being able to tackle this is a dream job, a comic I’ve wanted to do for 25 years. So yeah, “pretty cool” is putting it mildly.

    BB: You guys are writing the new Atari-centric Swordquest book for Dynamite as well as Ash vs. the AoD. How did this “red-hot writing team” (solicits quote) come together? Tell us about your process for collaboration.

    CHAD: For that origin story, we have to go all the way back to the halcyon days of 1999. I was a college kid working at a local comic shop, and teenage Chris Sims was (surprise) probably our most outspoken regular. We struck up a fast friendship, and a few years later, Chris started working at the store, where we’d have those conversations all fans have – you know, those “Here’s what I’d do if I ever get to write Lobo” conversations -- which led to us eventually making our own comics, and the rest is history. But not, like, ancient history. Just regular history. Guys in their 30s history.

    CHRIS: We both wanted to write comics, and when a friend of ours named Jim Shelley started a webcomics project called Flashback Universe, we ended up batting a couple of ideas around and realized that they’d work really well together. I remember being in the shop when Chad asked me “Hey, you wanna Brubaker-Fraction this with me?” -- we were both reading Immortal Iron Fist at the time and had some pretty high opinions of ourselves -- and we’ve been collaborating ever since!

    BB: Everyone has his/her interpretation of the character, even though the character is based on actor Bruce Campbell’s film portrayal. For this book, to you the writers, who is Ash Williams?

    CHAD: I’d say we’re keeping things pretty close to Bruce Campbell’s depiction of Ash in Army of Darkness. That’s certainly my favorite interpretation of the character and the one I think a lot of fans encountered first. We’re taking a very back-to-basics approach on Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, and it just seemed like the way to go. So our Ash is still a very physical guy -- just an all around $#!%-kicker at the top of his game -- but he’s also smart enough to make a working prosthetic out of an iron gauntlet in the 14th Century. He’s been through a lot already, but not so much that he doesn’t still get freaked the hell out when a Deadite shows up. And boy do they!

    CHRIS: In addition to being my favorite movie, AOD prompted one of the only fan letters I’ve ever written, back when Bruce Campbell had his email address posted on his website. He even wrote back, and I remember him talking about how Ash is such an overbearing jerk. He’s right, but I think that makes sense: This is a dude who’s been through so much terrifying stuff, and instead of running away from it, he always survives by going in the other direction, making himself into someone who’s way more confident than any human being should be. The chainsaw and shotgun might be his weapons, but that ego’s his armor, and figuring out how to attack that is the real fun part of writing him.

    BB: So tell us about the storyline for Ash vs. the AoD.

    CHAD: Like I mentioned before, we’re very much going back to the source material, and using the film as our starting point. The Zero issue [on sale in June] picks up about a week after the events of AOD, and adds a splash of reality to Ash’s life when S-Mart’s HR intervention forces him to look into the Deadite he slays in the final scene of the movie. Who was she before walking into S-Mart that day? How did she come to be possessed by a Deadite in the first place? I love a good mystery, and now we get to answer a bunch of questions I’ve been asking myself for the last 25 years.

    CHRIS: Honestly, the toughest part about writing Army of Darkness is that there’s been so much great stuff from Dynamite over the past decade that our first real problem was figuring out what we could do that hadn’t been done before. I think we came up with a pretty solid approach, and part of that was going back to basics and picking up right after the movie. It starts there, but it goes in a completely different direction than you might expect.

    BB: And here is a fun little game to play with all Ash scribes: How many pages pass by until readers see the first Deadite? (LOL)

    CHRIS: Outside of the flashback that kicks off #0, our first real Deadite shows up about halfway through #1. That might seem like a long time to wait before we get to the blood and guts, but trust me: We’ve got a good reason for it, and we’re making up for the wait by giving you a new kind of Deadite and a fight you’ve never seen before!

    BB: How has it been working with Mauro Vargas? What does this artist bring to this celebratory table?

    CHRIS: Mauro’s stuff is great. He’s got that cartoony exaggeration that’s really going to make the slapstick gross-out stuff work beautifully, but there’s still an edge in there that keeps that horror element right where it needs to be. And his layouts? Just wait’ll you see the opening of #0, it’s so good!

    CHAD: Yeah, everything we’ve seen from Mauro so far has just blown us away! He really gets what we’re going for, and his art sets the perfect tone for the series, and this opening story especially. He’s the perfect fit for our particular brand of horror and humor, and I genuinely think fans are going to absolutely love every gory page!

    BB: Chris and Chad, are there any projects either present or near-future you’d each care to tell us about?

    CHRIS: Our biggest thing coming up, aside from SwordQuest and Ash vs. Army of Darkness, is definitely Deadpool: Bad Blood with Rob Liefeld. Doing the first-ever Deadpool OGN was an honor I don’t think either of us expected, and working with the Rob is another one of those dream-come-true moments that’s 25 years in the making. Right, Chad?

    CHAD: Oh, without a doubt! When I was watching AOD as a kid, you better believe the comics on the couch beside me were The New Mutants and X-Force! Working with Rob has been a tremendous experience, and beyond that, I don’t think we could possibly say enough about the year we’ve had! But even beyond those projects Chris mentioned, he’s got a new issue of his creator-owned series Radical Guardian Skater X out now, and I’ve got Youngblood from Image Comics in May, around the same time SwordQuest #1 hits shelves!