With it being the Halloween season, who better to sit down and chat with than Horror Master Steve Niles? Aaron Gillespie sat down with Steve to talk about Army of Darkness from Dynamite Entertainment.
AARON GILLESPIE: Steve, with Halloween coming up, can you give me a great obscure horror movie recommendation?
STEVE NILES: This time a year I usually return to al the classics. I’ve already watched a bunch of Hammer Horror and now I’m watching the Universal Monster movies. Two films that I love that are more obscure are Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, a really creepy 70’s horror film and the original Woman in Black.
AG: For the most part you’re considered a horror comic guy but I think your work has always had a sense of humor to it. I’m sure Ash will be no different. How do you balance those two elements? How do you keep the tone scary and funny at the same time?
SN: I’ve always toyed with horror/comedy especially in titles like Criminal Macabre. I think they go hand-in-hand, both fear and laughter are unconscious reactions to something so you’re going after the same effect. For Army of Darkness it’s a bit different because most of the comedy comes from one character, Ash. The situations are horrible, just like in the film, but it is how Ash reacts to it that makes it funny. He’s a great character that way. Comedy is all about catching people off guard and when you have Ash mouthing off to a monster deadite, it’s funny. It’s natural to want to laugh as releif when we are scared so it’s fairly easy to slide between the two. It’s fun at the very least.
AG: I’ve read interviews where you discuss your 12 issue commitment to the book. Should we expect a 12 issue story arc, or are you breaking it up?
SN: There will be one big 12 issue arc broken down into several mini-arcs. I don’t have the chance to work like this too often. Usually I do 3-4 issues and then I’m out, but with this we have a bigger plan. I know where this arc ends and I’m going to have a lot of fun getting there.
AG: I’m sure you have plans for many of the supporting characters but is there any chance we’ll see the deadites from Evil Dead 2 or Rotten Apple Head?
SN: I am trying to hit on all the Army of Darkness characters at one point or another and create a few new ones along the way. I think fans of the film will be very excited when they see what we’re doing. I am trying to be as faithful to the spirit of the film as I can.
AG: I always love hearing other writers discuss their process. Describe how you plot a comic. Do you prefer to have a tight outline or would you rather just see where the characters take you?
SN: Most of the time I write notes and then fly by the seat of my pants. For something like this I am working from a complete outline. But even with an outline I find the characters taking me new places so I do wander a bit.
AG: When scripting, how much description do you give your artist?
SN: Starting out I describe a lot. I write full scripts and part of the fun, especially with horror, is getting in there and writing detailed descriptions. I’m having an absolute blast with Army of Darkness.
For more on Steve Niles – Ash and the Army of Darkness #1. www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513020928300111
Aaron Gillespie is an Iowa based cartoonist whose first published work was way back in 1997 in an issue of Kilroy Is Here for Caliber comics. Since then he has worked on Hell Yeah, Golly, and Screamland from Image comics, Brian Buccellatto’s Foster Anthology, Negative Burn and 13 Steps from Desperado, and many other companies. Somewhere in there he took a few years off to move to LA to become a hotshot storyboard artist.
He currently has a blast writing Bionic Man for Dynamite Entertainment. www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513018400902511
He lives in Iowa City, Iowa with his wife and three children.
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