As a Danger Girl, Abbey Chase has faced her fair share of extreme situations-from Nazis to ninjas to various other ne’er-do-wells. However, this April, she and the rest of the Danger Girl crew face one of the most dangerous things to women everywhere: the unconscionable charm of Ash Williams, star and hero of the “Army of Darkness” series.
A joint venture by Dynamite Entertainment and IDW Publishing, the upcoming “Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness” miniseries teams the gorgeous gals of creators J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell’s famous series with the fast-talking, Deadite-killing Ash Williams from the “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness” series of films. Written by Hartnell, drawn by Chris Bolson and with covers by Campbell, the crossover returns the Danger Girls to the comic scene after four years of absence and the first since their move over to IDW. Hartnell and Campbell created the title back in 1998 as part of the Cliffhanger line at Wildstorm, then a part of Image Comics. “Danger Girl” focused on a group of sexy and scantily-clad secret agents of the same name as they ventured the world on James Bond-style adventures. Abbey Chase leads the field team consisting of the sassy Australian Sydney Savage and the geeky tech expert Silicon Valerie. After a seven-issue run by Hartnell and Campbell, “Danger Girl” continued in the form of one-shots and miniseries, co-plotted by the creators but with various others on art duties.
On the other hand, the adventures of Ash-portrayed in the films by actor Bruce Campbell-continued at Dynamite Entertainment through tons of miniseries and eventually an ongoing “Army of Darkness” title. Since his Deadite days, Ash has faced down Marvel Zombies, the Re-Animator and even Xena the Warrior Princess. Interestingly, the original “Danger Girl” run inadvertently foreshadowed Ash’s current team up by including the infamous Necronomicon as part of Abbey Chase’s library.
J. Scott Campbell spoke with CBR News about bringing together his Danger Girls with the Army of Darkness, the possibly of a blooming romance between the series’ key characters and his own future with “Danger Girl.”
CBR News: How exactly did this crossover come about? This is the first time we’re seeing the Danger Girls in a few years. Think “Body Shots” might have been the last time. Why is now a good time to bring them back and with Ash from “Army of Darkness?”
J. Scott Campbell: Well, I was reminded the other day by Nick Barrucci that, though I thought it was a recent idea he had, Nick mentioned that he first proposed the idea to Andy Hartnell and myself back around 5 years ago. I had forgotten about that, but I guess the idea fell through when DC and Dynamite couldn’t come to agreeable terms back then. I guess now we could.
You said you sort of forgot that Nick pitched this to you and Andy. But thinking back to then or even now when Nick brought it back up, what were your initial thoughts then and there? What was your first reaction to the idea?
Well, I kind of left it up to Andy. If he felt motivated and inspired enough by the idea to want to do something with it, then I was game. Thankfully, he was!
Were you an “Evil Dead”/”Army of Darkness” fan beforehand? What are your thoughts on the films and Bruce Campbell?
Oh, I’ve been a HUGE fan, ever since the movie first came out! And even further back to “Evil Dead 2,” which I came to appreciate soon after. Yeah, we’re both gargantuan fans of both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, as evidenced in our “celebrity forward” by Bruce Campbell himself, back in our first “Danger Girl” hardcover collection. And I’ve just always found the tone, the humor, the crazy camera work and kinetic editing in those films to be very inspiring. That’s my kind of stuff.
When you look at some crossovers, they don’t work because the tone and characters simply don’t match up properly. What about “Danger Girl” and “Army of Darkness” do you think makes them match for each other?
[Laughs] Well, I’m not entirely sure the two do fit together without a bit of work, but, again, the overall “tone,” the feel of two properties, is there. To me, it’s that fast pace, kinetic energy, quick cuts and camera zooms sort of way both the stories are presented. That mixed with not being afraid to inject a bit of goofy humor into an overall non-comedic adventure story. I suppose that’s what I mean. And fans of DG don’t forget, the Danger Girls were fighting Zombies at the end of the original DG series. It’s not like they haven’t kick a bit of Deadite butt before.
Andy is scripting the story, but how involved will you be in the creative process here? Are you going to be involved in the story at all?
I’ll be honest, my current commitments away from “Danger Girl” keep me very preoccupied, but I feel very confident in Andy Hartnell’s abilities to continue developing the characters in a way that remains very true to our original vision. He’s the only person that I would allow and feel comfortable enough writing Danger Girl stories without my handholding.
Abbey Chase and Ash Williams. What are the chances of some romance happening there? Ash is quite the ladies’ man after all. For that matter, do you think Abbey is even Ash’s type? Maybe he might go for Sydney?
[Laughs] Anything’s possible, right? Many fans of the original series always noticed our not-so-subtle ladies’ man/jerk similarities between Johnny Barracuda and Ash, so I think there’s potential for some fun back n’ forths between those personalities for sure. Perhaps I’m even giving some of that away already with my “Hail to the King” dip homage on my cover to “Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness” #1.”
Both “Danger Girl” and “Army of Darkness” have a very loyal following, and as always with that comes a rabid fanbase. How do you find a balance between doing these types of crossovers without having some fans get upset over “corruption” of the material? Do you worry about those type of things at all?
Ha! I guess I don’t really worry about those sorts of things all that much. My main concern was that I never felt all that comfortable with “Danger Girl” crossing over with other actual “super-hero” comic books, you know with actual “powers.” I just think if the Danger Girls ever existed in a world where we would acknowledge that “super powered beings” actually exist, the DGs would cease to be extraordinary themselves by comparison. We’ve had them cross-over with Batman before, but again, Batman isn’t super powered, he’s a man with extraordinary abilities, but he’s still a normal human being-like the Danger Girls.
Looking at Danger Girl specifically, you created that series and those characters over a decade ago, but they still live on in a major way. What about “Danger Girl” as a concept and the girls themselves do you think makes them so popular and appealing even today?
Wow. That long ago, huh? Boy, do I feel old all of sudden! That’s a great question, one perhaps more suited for the longtime “fans” of “Danger Girl” maybe than me. I think it’s due to the fact that we weren’t going after the “trends” of the time, that we initially created the concept to feel a bit “timeless,” as though their adventures could have been going on ten years ago, or ten years in the future. Also, it really wasn’t like a lot of comics out at the time, and still isn’t. I think that allowed the concept to remain unique and still desirable. Fans just couldn’t find another “Danger Girl” substitute just anywhere, they still wanted and craved the original. [Laughs] Boy, was that answer “self-serving”, or what?
How did you even originally come up with the concept of “Danger Girl?” Were you just a huge fan of the James Bond/spy genre and wanted to kind of play off that? Did you ever think they’d last so long and be so popular? And team up with the “Army of Darkness” for that matter?
Well, I’ll be honest, I never thought that far ahead. And certainly wouldn’t have predicted a crossover with “Army of Darkness” at the time! I initially felt that “Danger Girl” almost created itself in my head because of my two loves: Drawing sexy girls and my love of adventure stories. Namely: “Indiana Jones,” “G.I. Joe” (’80s), “Johnny Quest,” James Bond, etc. They’re all in there, and yep, even “Army of Darkness” is in there, too.
I’m definitely going to pull out this card: who is your favorite of the girls and why?
[Laugsh] Well, I’m going to give you a lame but completely truthful answer in that they ALL are. Meaning, on any given day it changes. That’s why I’ve always enjoyed drawing team books. Whenever I start to get bored drawing one of the girls, I usually get to draw the other on the next page and that gets me excited again. So, which one is my favorite? Whichever one I haven’t been with lately… just like in real life! [Laughs]
To close things out, what’s in the cards for the future of “Danger Girl?” Will fans be seeing more of them? And the question I think every fan wants to know, what are the chances of you and Andy doing another miniseries together with you on art?
I have no doubt that Andy and I WILL be doing another maxi-series of Danger Girl, the two of us co-writing and me drawing at some point in the, hopefully, not-too-distant future. In fact, I kind of can’t believe we already haven’t, but you know, life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes. The months and years have been flying by so much quicker.Â The story has already been in my head for years, and I don’t mind saying, it’s AWESOME!Â And I promise, when it does come out, it WON’T have Abbey’s 18-year-old, knife-wielding daughter swinging through the jungle vines with the monkeys… if you know what I’m meaning.