Scott Duvall has his Writer's Commentary on Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #3, on sale now from Dynamite.
Welcome back to another thrilling edition of Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep! So glad you could join us and hope you enjoyed the previous issues. Last we checked in with Ash and Elvis, they were escaping Las Vegas in a hurry with the Necronomicon Ho-Tep in tow, an ancient Egyptian tablet that gives whoever possesses it control over the dead. A deadite Bubba Ho-Tep is desperate to get his bony hands on it, and though they were successful in retrieving it from him back at the casino, now they've discovered the mummy has stowed away on board Elvis' private jet!
Page One –
So in previous issues, we start off with some Ash voiceover, as is typical of other Army of Darkness comics in keeping with the movie's opening monologue. With this issue, instead of picking up exactly where we left off from the previous issue's cliffhanger ending, I thought it would be fitting to go back a scene and give Elvis the opportunity to open up the issue for the reader and get a little insight into his thoughts on their current predicament. If you saw the Bubba Ho-Tep movie or read the story by Joe R. Lansdale, you know that Elvis has a really distinct inner monologue and so I wanted to pay tribute to that.
Page Two –
Here we've got Elvis flashing back to another earlier adventure that predates the original Bubba Ho-Tep story. It was recently adapted into a comic and published by IDW titled Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers so we are recapping those events here, as well as one key element that was introduced in that story – the Rococo Blue pill. The effects of this pill open up cosmic portals, so this trip is about to get trippy!
Page Three –
One of my favorite scenes from the movie was when the elderly Elvis has to face off against a big, ugly scarab so I knew I would have to include a scarab or two at some point. I joked with my team that the working title for this issue was "Scarabs on a Plane" which really sums it up.
Page Four –
Knowing how incredible Vincenzo is at illustrating cool action, I made sure to give him plenty of room to breathe on this issue and let loose his skills. I wanted to give Elvis a weapon to take on the scarabs with and, with the TMNT never too far from my thoughts, selected the nunchucks which I knew would look amazing in Vincenzo's hands. The colors of the bug juice flying coupled with the WHRRRR SFX really sell it so hats off to Michele and Taylor as well.
Page Five –
Bubba has Ash in his clutches, not being able to withstand the power of the mummy teamed with the Evil Force. He needs help! It's Elvis to the rescue, ending us on this mini-cliffhanger for the preview pages. Always trying to keep that in mind with every page, as you should always be wanting to find out what happens next, but with the fifth page in particular.
Page Six –
This page was inspired a bit by a scene in the Bubba Ho-Tep movie when Bubba looks into Elvis' eyes, and we see quick flashes back in time. Here we flash back to some key moments in Ash's life, as seen in the Army of Darkness movie. I wanted it to look like one piece of art, with each scene feeling like a part of a collage as opposed to being broken up into panels, and I think Vincenzo's layout captured that perfectly. We get really psychedelic here with the colors giving it a cool pop art feel that I love. Would love to see this one printed off as a black light poster and pinned up somewhere. Hats off to colorist Michele Monte for making this psychedelic page pop.
Page Seven –
It only seemed natural to have Elvis turn the scarabs into projectile weapons. I remember saying to Vincenzo that he should be throwing them like Batman throws his batarangs and I think he absolutely nails it here.
Page Eight –
This page here was absolutely inspired by a conversation Vincenzo and I had where he told me to go crazy and throw some Mignola-inspired demons in there and to not hold back my imagination. I figured we could have some fun here with Ash's skewed vision and make him see things a little more amped up than reality. So that's what the page called for and Vincenzo did not disappoint. Talk to your art team, it will make the comic better is the major takeaway here!
Side note: The dialogue spoken here by Ash was taken from Bruce Campbell himself in reaction to the crossover news. True story!
Page Nine –
Some Ash quips followed by more amazing drug-fueled visions of how Ash sees the scarabs. And I love how the chainsaw looks stretchy like Mr. Fantastic's arm.
Page Ten –
It occurred to me once we were about to get to the final lettering script that Bubba hadn't really said anything all issue. I wanted to include at least one line to keep that going issue to issue as Vincenzo is so good at drawing the East Texas Egyptian Hieroglyphics as they're known.
Page Eleven –
The last two panels here are so much fun, they really do a good job of summing up this series – Elvis fighting a mummy and Ash right there to offer a smart remark. This is what this comic is all about and I'm happy as hell it exists!
Page Twelve –
Where there's a corpse lying around… well, it won't be lying for long because we need more deadites to challenge our duo with! Here Bubba, now equally matched, attempts to shift the odds in his favor by releasing the Evil Force and getting some backup in the form of the dead pilot. It's like a tag team wrestling match!
Page Thirteen –
A fun mix of action and banter between our heroes on display. I wanted to drop this exchange somewhere in there since this would have been around the time Elvis would be looking for a replacement to take his spot and he could retire, and so Ash seems like a good candidate based on his similar appearance. One of my favorite things ever is how the adorable little chibi version of Ash as Elvis is depicted.
Page Fourteen –
Nothing like talk of reconstructive surgery to give Ash the berserker-like rage to finish the job and chop a deadite in half.
Page Fifteen –
Bubba is reunited with the Evil Force after departing the pilot and now Elvis is in real trouble!
Page Sixteen –
Ash gets the "bright" idea to eject Bubba mid-air and Elvis provides a song-inspired one-liner to send him packing. I never saw anyone use a belt as a whip the way Ash did until Army of Darkness, and this situation definitely calls for a belt-whip!
Page Seventeen –
The art team doing the heavy lifting here. It's splash pages like this that make me want to read comics and witness these types of stories that can only be told in this way. I hope crazy action sequences like this does for fans reading it as it does for me because I get so much joy from seeing a kooky concept like this fully realized.
Page Eighteen –
A little gross-out moment which helps raise the stakes. It could have just been a free-floating scarab that gets sucked into the engine causing it to explode, but why would we do that when we can have the upper half of the dead pilot spew one up? Know your audience, I say!
Page Nineteen –
I wrote down that TBC "To Be Continued" line early on in the development process and I was so happy I found a place to drop it in because it's just perfect.
Page Twenty –
We've reached our final destination – Graceland! Next issue takes place inside the burning home of Elvis and if you thought the fight on the plane was intense, just wait until next month when another deadite from Elvis' past joins the fray!