Everyone knows Evil Dead and Army of Darkness’ main protagonist, Ash Williams? The boomstick toting, chainsaw revving, chosen one who fights Deadites? Sure, any self respecting horror fan knows the movies. But some people just don’t respect the comic book medium. They might not know about the long running Army of Darkness comic series. Or that fact that Ash has crossed over with more folks in it than the old Scooby gang (remember that time they met Batman? Ah, nostalgic).
That’s right, when it comes to horror comics, Ash is known as the Crossover King. Why? Well, let me show you!
It all started not long out of the gate with Army of Darkness vs Re-Animator.
Yes, in the aftermath of the last story arc, Shop Til You Drop Dead, Ash has been committed to the Arkham mental institute which is run by, you guessed it, Dr. Herbert West. Of course, the good doctor is not quite himself for most of the book, having been replaced by a Deadite mirror doppelganger and manipulated by the a 3rd party in an effort to awaken the Old Ones. But this starts the trend of Ash meeting other folks from other franchises. It’s not the only time Ash and Herbert cross paths either. They meet for a second time in a more recent one-shot.
Next came Darkman vs Army of Darkness.
Remember Darkman? Sam Raimi’s original gritty anti-hero? Yeah, Raimi, the guy behind Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, wanted to make a superhero movie in the 90’s. He tried to get the rights to Batman and Spider-Man but failed. S0, he made his own. Darkman. A scientist developing a synthetic skin who is burned to a crisp by gangsters. He now has superior strength and feels no pain due to his nerve being severed and uses his special skin to go undercover.
Well, in this, one of the Darkman characters reads from the Necronomicon and shit hits the fan. Reading a second passage sends them a hero who will help them. That hero being, of course, Ash. The comic sees Ash and Darkman team up to take on an entire city of Deadites led by the Dead Queen and the reanimated Durant, the primary villain from the Darkman movies who had died at the end of the second film.
Probably the most mainstream crossover came next when Ash met the Marvel Zombies!
At the end of the first volume of Army of Darkness, Ash is actually killed. He is “following the light” with others who have died when, guess what, zombie Sentry from Marvel starts snacking on people in the afterlife! Ash gets whacked so hard he comes back to life in the Marvel Zombies universe before the outbreak and tries to prevent it from happening. But it starts, inevitably, and Ash must try to escape this dimension. He meets Punisher, Spider-man, Howard the Duck, Dr. Doom and more and actually enlists the Necronomicon to his aid by resurrecting all of the people the Marvel Zombies kill as Deadites, a vast army numbering in the millions out for revenge, unable to match the superpowers of the zombies but nevertheless buying time for an escape.
Then the slasher wet dream happens. Freddy vs Jason vs Ash!
Remember Freddy vs Jason? Well, they wanted to make a sequel with Ash in it. Never went anywhere, but they turned the script into a comic book! And then that comic book had a sequel too! In FvJvA Freddy uses Jason to get his hands on the Necronomicon to use a spell and give him all of his dream powers in the waking world, Jason is revealed to actually be a type of Deadite, and it’s up to Ash, visiting the Camp Forest Green S-Mart, to stop them.
And then there is a second one called Freddy vs Jason Vs Ash: The Nightmare Warriors which is the wet dream of any slasher fan! Freddy and Jason come back one last time and Ash is recruited into a team that includes ALL of the survivors from the past Nightmare and Friday films, including a badass, Tommy Jarvis! Together they want to stop Jason and Freddy once and for all. But Freddy, with all of his new power still, raises a Deadite army, headed by a revitalized, more intelligent Jason as their general, and lays siege to Washington DC! Liked seeing Deadites fight knights? Try the US military! This book references ALL of the mythos from the franchises and is simply amazing, putting the perfect cap on the old Friday and Nightmare films.
Next, Ash crossed over with Xena, Warrior Princess.
This happened, presumably, because Bruce Campbell played a character on that show. Ash’s similar appearance to him is played up as a running joke. Again, this is another instance where Ash met the character twice. The first time in Army of Darkness/Xena: Why not? and then in Army of Darkness/Xena: What, again?
Next up, Ash went a bit more action-y with Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness.
Danger girl is a comic series that could best be described as Charlie’s Angels meets GI Joe. Ash teams up with the team to stop a villain who has control of the Necronomicon.
Next up, and my personal favorite on the list, Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash
If Ash is the Crossover King, Cassie Hack from the comic Hack/Slash is the Queen. She herself has crossed paths with Re-Animator, Chucky, Victor Crowley (Hatchet), Evil Ernie (Chaos Comics), Edgar Dill (Fangoria Comics “BUMP”), Suicide Girls, and very nearly crossed over with The Crow (the remnants of this scrapped idea turned into the filler issue “Coldest Dish”). Fans clamored for these two slayers of evil to cross paths for years and it finally happened, serving as a cap to the Hack/Slash ongoing series which had just wrapped up.
And, yes, Ash gets some sugar.
The latest and still ongoing crossover for Ash is Vampirella.
Don’t know too much about this one yet. It’s ongoing and I haven’t started reading it yet. But, in case you somehow are unaware of one of the most classic horror comic icons, Vampirella is a vampire superheroine created way back in 1969, making her the oldest character by far that Ash has met.
How many have you read and which is your favorite? What characters do you want to see Ash meet next?