[Wrapping up this week’s Dynamite sponsored series of peer-to-peer interviews, Jim Zub interviews writer Mark Rahner on the Army of Darkness Reanimator team-up one shot!]
ZUB: The horror genre seems cover a huge spectrum from psychological terror all through to exaggerated gory stuff. What are some of your favorite horror films and how do they influence your writing?
RAHNER: My horror film library should land me on government watch lists and would send your average soccer mom into therapy. Hammer, Romero, Fulci. From “The Haunting” to “Cannibal Holocaust,” they’re all in my brain-stew. The way they generally affect my writing is that I tend to push things that extra, disturbing step. Some influences are more direct. For instance, there are tastes of “The Descent” and “I Spit on Your Grave” in the first chapter of DEJAH THORIS AND THE GREEN MEN OF MARS, as well as a little homage to Tod Browning’s “Freaks.” ARMY OF DARKNESS/REANIMATOR includes nods to “Bubba Ho-Tep” and even “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
ZUB: Do you use a lot of camera/stage directions in your comic scripts?
RAHNER: I do use a lot of screenplay language in my comic scripts, because I’ve been a film critic for many years. It’s a clear, understandable format, and I like the way it makes stories flow, as a writer and a reader. Comics aren’t movies, though.
ZUB: Beyond the Reanimator, do you have any other favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories?
RAHNER: Oh, yeah. I’ve been a Lovecraft addict since I was a kid, and have written about him plenty as a journalist. “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” may be the closest he came to a white-knuckle, linear action-horror story. I’d like to run Ash through that wringer. (Ahem … editors: ARMY OF DARKNESS: INNSMOUTH?) “At The Mountains of Madness” is a work of uniquely weird brilliance – and I still hope Guillermo del Toro gets around to making a movie out of it. And “The Rats in the Walls” is always a great bedtime story for children. Which is probably why I should get a vasectomy!
ZUB: How do you strike a suitable balance between horror and comedy elements with characters like Ash and Herbert West?
RAHNER: I mostly like horror played straight, and my story is far more faithful to Lovecraft’s grim original story than Stuart Gordon’s wacky, campy films. The humor in this one mainly comes from Ash being a buffoon and West being so serious and obsessed that he can’t see anything ridiculous. They’re both clueless in their own own ways. And since I’m so juvenile, it even tickles me when Ash annoys West by calling him “Herb” all the time. West hates that. I can hear that in Bruce Campbell’s voice: “God damn it, Herb.” The humor of one buddy needling the other always appeals to me.
ZUB: Do you have any other comic projects coming out in 2014?
RAHNER: I hope to keep up my prolific and offbeat output with Dynamite – very likely including a follow-up to DEJAH THORIS AND THE GREEN MEN OF MARS and more. I’m also working on relaunching my creator-owned zombie-western comic, ROTTEN. You can find out more about that at www.rottencomics.com and Rotten Comics on Facebook.
ARMY OF DARKNESS / REANIMATOR ONE-SHOT
Written by Mark Rahner
40 pages • $4.99
[Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past ten years he’s worked for a diverse array of publishing, movie and video game clients including Disney, Warner Bros., Capcom, Hasbro, Bandai-Namco and Mattel.
His current comic projects include Samurai Jack, a new comic series continuing the award-winning cartoon, Skullkickers, a sword & sorcery action-comedy, and Pathfinder, a comic series based on the best selling tabletop RPG.]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.