Back to Comics: Dave Simons on Army of Darkness

Back to Comics: Talking to Dave Simons

Time was, you couldn’t throw a stone around Marvel Comics without hitting page that Dave Simons had worked on. Best known for inking the likes of Gene Colan and John Buscema, Simons’ inks could be seen on a variety of Marvel titles throughout the ‘70s, from Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula to Ghost Rider and over to DC for Forgotten Realms. But inking wasn’t all he did – Simons traded pencil for brush for runs on Red Sonja, Conan and Amazing Spider-Man.

As artistic tastes changed, Simons looked for and found greener pastures in the form of animation where he’s worked for years. This December, though, he’s back in comics, providing the art for Dynamite’s Army of Darkness: Ash’s Christmas Horror One Shot. We spoke with him about his return, and offer up a first look inside the issue.

Newsarama: Dave - before we get into what brought you back in at Dynamite...where have you been? You'd been very active in comics for decades, and then you stepped out. What has been keeping you busy?

Dave Simons: Animation, mostly. I started working in animation in 1985 and at various times have done both animation and comics. The last animated series I worked on was Kappa Mikey.

NRAMA: Had you been actively looking to get back into comics?

DS: Yes. I always loved comics.

NRAMA: What brought you back? How did Nick Barrucci approach you? And why not try a go at Marvel which had seen the bulk of your work?

DS: Nick didn't approach me. I was recommended by my good friend Joe Rubinstein. As far as Marvel's concerned, I don't think I do the sort of thing they're interested in today.

I could be wrong, because I hardly ever buy American comics or even look at them. Last year I did look at what they were doing and it seemed to just involve copying photos with far less creativity than a Gene Colan or Alberto Gioletti. Also they seem to have no sense of humor, except for the stuff Dan Slott writes. Of course I enjoy exploring different styles (I do a manga style too) and I always try to accommodate my clients, but as an artist I can't do something without soul.

NRAMA: The project that Nick asked you to draw, the Army of Darkness: Ash’s Christmas Horror One Shot...that's pretty much a perfect fit for your sensibility and style, correct?

DS: Oh, absolutely. There's the horror aspect with my past on Tomb of Dracula and Ghost Rider and the humor angle from animated shows like The Real Ghostbusters and Courage the Cowardly Dog.

NRAMA: What was it like getting back into the swing of creating sequential pages again? Did it require any time to re-acquaint yourself with the approach and pace?

DS: No. One can always improve, though, especially in the area of storytelling and composition, which remains my focus.

NRAMA: What was working with Jim Kuhoric like?

DS: He's very professional. I don't really know him. The script was very well-written.

NRAMA: Is this special a "first of many" comic projects for you?

DS: I hope so. Ask Nicky!

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