The three covers of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors #1 by Arthur SuydamIt’s time to go back to Crystal Lake.
As DC Comics’ June solicits made clear, 2007’s Jason vs. Freddy vs. Ash is getting a sequel, courtesy of Jeff Katz, James Kuhoric and Jason Craig. Once again the main characters of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Evil Dead franchises are set to tussle courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment and DC's Wildstorm Comics imprint.
As the solicit lists, the creative team was responsible for the first miniseries - which saw print in 2007 - is returning to pick up the threads that were left after the character’s first meeting. We spoke with co-writer Jeff Katz about bringing the titans of horror together again.
Newsarama: Jeff, when we first spoke about the first Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash miniseries, you explained how the initial miniseries came about as a treatment that you had written for a possible film. So where does this story come from? Did you have a collection of ideas that didn't make it into the treatment, or is this moving forward wholly from the first miniseries?
Jeff Katz: Once we knew that Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash was going to move into the comic realm, it seemed natural to start tinkering around with where you'd go after that story should it work. The genesis of the first FvJvA comes from when I first started interning at New Line and my main ambitions were to get Freddy vs. Jason made and try to bring back Evil Dead or elevate Bruce Campbell, who I was a huge fan of. So when the first movie worked and the sequel conversation happened, I was able to immediately tee-up the Ash idea which got that ball rolling. So in a similar sense, once the comic version of FvJvA started moving ahead, I basically knew most of the larger strokes of what I'd want to do to cap the Vs. "trilogy," so to speak. In many ways, it's very simply been about - "What would I most want to see as a fan?" And as a fan of these franchises, what I appreciate more than anything else is a sense of continuity. The best of these franchises has been when favorite characters carry over from film to film. So we've tried to service that idea in the largest possible sense here, as I think you'll see. This is about tying everything together.
NRAMA: That said, was it difficult to get back into the mindset to handle these guys again?
JK: Not at all. I've spent a lot of time in that mindset over the years. And I'm ultimately very loyal to those maniacs. I'm not remotely naive that I owe my Hollywood career firmly to Mr. Krueger and Mr. Voorhees. There's no Wolverine, no snakes on planes - I'd argue no Booster Gold - no nothing for me without those guys. So to be able to finish off the larger story of this rivalry, so to speak, is an honor to me. I’m approaching this as if it's my final rodeo with these guys and everyone involved are looking to go out in style. We're going to leave it all out on the field.
NRAMA: Just to make sure people are up to speed, can you remind us where things ended last time? The battle for the Necronomicon was..."over," and Ash managed to survive. Where did things stand for Freddy and Jason again?
JK: Jason is left buried under a frozen over Crystal Lake. Freddy has seemingly been sucked into the Necronomicon and deposited who knows where. Ash and his main squeeze Carrie have driven off into the sunset to start a life of domestic bliss. And the Necronomicon itself is buried into the ice on Crystal Lake - it's pages showing us images hinting at a larger war to come. Foreshadowing anyone?
NRAMA: Always with the foreshadowing. How long after that first story does this new miniseries pick up?
JK: Six months or so, though there's a sense some of this has been going on in the background for some time prior.
NRAMA: As you said about the end of the first miniseries, and also, as the solicitation points out, Ash has given up his monster-hunting days and has settled down. Can Ash really be happy without the craziness though?
JK: When we first meet Ash in Nightmare Warriors he's enjoying the good
life in suburban Michigan. I'd describe him as similar to Frank Drebin in Naked Gun 33 1/3, in that he's trying to embrace domestic life but often can't get out of his own way. The trusty old chainsaw is mounted on the mantle over the fireplace at this point. He's very much retired. But he'll learn very quickly that the Chosen One will never be able to retire. It's an eternal quest, really. Oh - and two words - spatula hand.
NRAMA: The title here - an obvious play on The Dream Warriors of Nightmare fame. You liberally infused the first miniseries with loads of references and nods to all three characters' previous stories. Should we take the title to mean that you're doing the same this time out?
JK: It's safe to say that The Nightmare Warriors is not an accidental sub-title. The play on Dream Warriors - my favorite of the series - is totally intentional. Ash - our main man and the one and only "chosen one" - is not alone in this battle. There are others like him out there. Survivors. People with special skills or purposes that have guided them successfully through encounters with Freddy or Jason. The survivors are all very important to the story and will play major roles. This is about tying up their stories too. It's a celebration of all the characters we've loved as fans over the years.
If I was in a teasing mood - and I am - I'd say that if Ash is Superman, the Nightmare Warriors are his Justice League. The Nightmare War itself is a Crisis level event. And, really, who doesn't want to see Ash and Tommy Jarvis fight for the alpha male slot? That's too rich an opportunity to pass up.
NRAMA: You’re again teaming with James Kuhoric on this project as you were with the first miniseries. What’s that relationship like, and how is it different this time around than the first time?
JK: James has been phenomenal. We all became quick friends on the last project so this has been very easy. He had his work cut out for him, as I'd originally designed this as a 12-issue maxi-series a la Crisis and it came down to James to make it all work in the six-issue format. But he totally nailed it. All the major beats are there and everyone gets their time to shine. He's terrific at retaining the tone of these characters, which isn't easy to do when you're juggling so many voices. Everyone involved loves these characters and these movies so much that it's all a labor of love. It doesn't really feel like work per se.
NRAMA: This is happening after the first story, so they all have experience with one another now - how have their attitudes changed as a result? After all that went down, are they immediately gunning for each other, or is it more complicated than that?
JK: There are some major twists and turns in this one. Freddy and Jason are extremely familiar with each other at this point. Maybe the only person they dislike more than each other is Ash. Jason, certainly, wants his revenge on Mr. Williams. Freddy's aims are a bit larger or ambitious in scope. He's looking to clear the board of any threat or nuisance before he launches his final gambit. I can promise relationships will evolve in some very interesting ways in this one.
NRAMA: You said you were in a teasing mood, so we can’t let you go without one more - what gets the ball rolling in issue #1?
JK: First, the government. Then a Jaws homage courtesy of Jason Craig. Then, sadly, the end of Ash's domestic bliss. And that's before we even see Freddy at all!