In this corner, Top Cow's tortured mobster-turned-hero Jackie Estacado, wielder of The Darkness; and in that corner, the challenger, from the pages of "Army of Darkness" and her own Dynamite Entertainment one-shot, Eva, Daughter of Dracula! Refereeing this Edgar Salazar-illustrated match-up are writers Leah Moore & John Reppion, who spoke with CBR News about March's Dynamite miniseries "Darkness vs. Eva" and the dangerous subject of what's up next.
"Back in the 'Army of Darkness' series, Eva was sucked through a rift in time and space that brought her from medieval, monster infested Transylvania into modern day America. The same rift also brought many of the creatures through too," John Reppion told CBR News. "Since then, the vampires and werewolves have been doing their best to make themselves at home while Eva does her damnedest to exterminate every last one of them. All of this supernatural mayhem is not going unnoticed; it's impacting on other people's lives and Jackie Estacado is one of those people. His men have suffered attacks by the undead and he's taking it personally. Never a man to do things by halves, he decides he needs to take action but things don't quite go the way he intended."
Leah Moore sees a lot of potential in the perhaps unusual crossover, Dynamite's third with Top Cow. "Well, there is such a great back-story for 'The Darkness,' and such a great atmosphere to the character that it makes our life much easier," she said. "Working with established characters is always touch and go as to whether you get it right, whether they are recognizable and real to their established fans. With 'The Darkness,' we had such fun writing it that hopefully the fans will get into the story before they think to check whether we've done the character right or not. 'The Darkness' brings a great element of fun to the whole thing, simply with how the Darklings interact with their world. It's kind of like having a box of evil monkeys to let loose in the story -- chaotic but lots of fun!
"Eva is a great character to write because she is from a different era to the world we meet her in. Her views are not just old fashioned, they're literally medieval, so we get to use that sometimes, play her off against the modern world and all its badness. She's a force for good, and is entirely bent on destroying evil, so that makes her a total absolute to pitch against the morally grey Jackie Estacado. The Darkness treads a fine line of how much of the evil is in Jackie, how much brought by the Darkness, how much he wants it to carry on, how much it helps him in life, so when you have a character like Eva scrutinize that, she cuts through all the modern soul searching and stuff, and just sees him as another source of evil. This leads to some amazing opportunities for conflict between them, but luckily the plot doesn't end there. They both bring a ton of really specific qualities to the book which makes it more lively than either of the two on their own. It's very exciting to work on that kind of project."
Eva, created in Dynamite's "Army of Darkness" series, is a relatively new character, whereas The Darkness has existed in various incarnations since 1996. Throwing them together poses some risks from both sides, but Moore and Reppion seem to be enjoying the ride. "Eva has already starred in her own jumbo one-shot which was written by Brandon Jerwa and drawn by Edgar Salazar (who we're lucky enough to have working with us on this mini)," Reppion said, "so her character has had a bit more room to develop since her 'AOD' appearances. That said, she's still 'new' enough that we've been able to play with the character a little and Dynamite have allowed us to take her in our own direction somewhat.
"There really haven't been any problems with Eva so far, it's always much harder with the more established characters like Jackie because Top Cow obviously have a lot invested in The Darkness and they know how they want things to be in terms of character, tone, chronology, etc. I'm pretty sure that 'AOD' fans and people who enjoyed the 'Eva' one shot will get a kick out of this mini; as with 'Witchblade: Shades of Gray," it's the Top Cow fans that we're more nervous about just because of the weight of responsibility in handling such a 'big name' character. That said, feedback from Witchblade fans was very positive following the last mini so we're not quite as worried as we were then."
Since signing exclusive contracts with Dynamite, the wife-and-husband team of Moore and Reppion has kept busy with a variety of projects across distinct genres, including "Savage Tales," "Raise the Dead," and "Gene Simmons' House of Horrors." "Yes we've been really busy," Moore said, "which is great, as the only thing sadder than a stressed overworked freelancer, is a stressed, flat broke not working freelancer sitting about at home twiddling their thumbs.
"The last time anyone asked us what genre we'd like to work in next, we both gleefully said 'horror!' and lo and behold we have done almost nothing but horror and zombies and tales of terror and the macabre ever since. I have to be careful what I wish for now, so as it's not really fair to say 'An immensely popular series that gets a cult following and rave reviews,' I'll say we'd love to do more adventure stuff; stories with long story arcs, lots of sub plots, lots of characters to deal with, and little stories that sit in one issue by themselves but within the whole series. That's something we haven't had to do yet, we have been working within four or six issues all the time, or less than that, so something that meant we could look ahead and really stretch ourselves creatively. That would be great. Now if you could ask me how that's going in about a year, when I'm bogged down in overly complex endless series with thousands of characters in, I'll think up something else to wish for!"
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