If you’re already feeling wistful about Bruce Campbell’s still-fresh absence from the small screen now that Ash vs Evil Dead has ended at Starz, look to the comics for a nostalgic fix. Two Campbell screen icons — Ashley James Williams and Bubba Ho-Tep — are set to cross paths in a new series announced this week from IDW and Dynamite Entertainment.
Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep will pair the two smooth talkers for the first time on the printed page, and it’s heading to stores early next year from artist Vincenzo Federici and writer Scott Duvall.
Dynamite says the new series, which hasn’t yet been given an issue count, sets Ash off “on a soul-searching road trip to Texas on a hunch that Elvis Presley may still be alive and kicking (and supposedly vanquished a mummy)!” It’s a setup that launches “a series of universe-spanning events that involve an Elvis jumpsuit with special time-travel abilities, a trip to '70s Vegas, plus the reveal of an evil new Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon Ho-Tep.”
Absent a deeper description of how Ash and Bubba will actually hit it off, that’s a vividly promising description of a meet cute that only these two characters could pull off. Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep hits stores with its first issue in February of next year.
IDW also is heading back to the world of Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms with an all-new miniseries from writer B. Dave Walters and artist Tess Fowler.
Via The Hollywood Reporter, Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish will land next year as a five-installment collection led by a young wizard named Helene, who travels with her friends on “unimagined adventures as years of peace come to an end at the hands of a threat no one saw coming.”
Classic D&D characters — or, rather, “legendary heroes” — also are being teased as part of A Darkened Wish, which revisits the Forgotten Realms setting that’s been a D&D mainstay since its introduction in the 1980s. For now, all we know is that the first issue will be arriving sometime next year — so stay tuned.
Continuing the “arriving next year” theme, Marvel and artist Juann Cabal have just revealed their first inside-the-pages look at the upcoming launch of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, which Cabal is illustrating alongside All-New Wolverine writer Tom Taylor.
The new images show off pre-inked Spidey outlines that may even strike a nostalgic note for comics fans who grew up with the lean, mean, and stylized look the webslinger sported in the 1980s. In a preview for Marvel, Cabal said his goal is to “avoid realism,” which he eschews in favor of “fake realism, theatrical, surreal” art that’s “completely subordinate to the story we’re telling at the moment.”
Focusing on Peter Parker’s hyperlocal life doing good for his little slice of the Big Apple, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man swings into stores on Jan. 9.
Finally, the comic book return of Billy Batson is inching closer, with DC’s Geoff Johns penning a new Shazam! storyline with art from Dale Eaglesham, as well as a backup story illustrated by Mayo “SEN” Naito.
Johns told IGN recently that the new, monthly Shazam! comic will take a fun and even optimistic approach to the magic that permeates one of comics’ oldest story worlds, balancing mystery and menace with a sense of exploratory wonder as Billy focuses on the Rock of Eternity — the secrecy-enshrouded place at the heart of Shazam’s original powers.
“[W]e’ll learn all about that in the very first few issues of the series,” said Johns. “[W]e’ll start to uncover and unlock the secrets of the Rock of Eternity. And Mr. Mind is key in those secrets. What he’s up to is connected directly to the biggest secret of the Rock of Eternity that has been revealed thus far. And that’ll be revealed in Issue 1.”
Sounds like a great place to start, and it’s coming soon: Shazam! Issue #1 charges into stores on Nov. 28.