Jason Voorhees has done some pretty weird things in his movie career. He’s fought a girl with telekinesis, he’s fallen down on the Manhattan subway, gone to space and gotten a robotic upgrade, and even blew up, possessed people and turned into a demonic slug. But what many fans don’t know is that because he’s the star of a successful film franchise, Jason has also had a long career outside the movies—in both novels and comic books.
Some of them are really great. Some of them get into really bizarre territory. Some of them are great and get into really bizarre territory. If you thought space was weird, well, the comics and books might not go much weirder than that (spoiler alert: they do) but they at least go to space a lot more often.
In his time, Jason has spawned novelizations, a young adult book series, two simultaneous series of novels—one Friday the 13th series and one series devoted entirely to Jason X—and several comics and comic book crossovers.
In honor of the first Friday the 13th of the year, we’re counting down some of the weirdest things Jason’s gotten up to outside the movies themselves.
Living with Leatherface
In the 1993 comic book miniseries Jason vs. Leatherface, the fight doesn’t actually occur between the characters until the final issue. In the meantime, Jason is actually adopted into the Sawyer clan and made an honorary family member. They teach him their ways, and Jason and Leatherface legitimately bond, feeling a connection with one another. This is meant to make their eventual fight somewhat tragic, with an apparently unforeseen side effect of being terribly goofy.
Man, the people in charge of expanding the universe of Jason X sure loved clones. In the book series, there are many plot lines that involve people trying to harness Jason’s evil by growing their own Jason in a lab from a sample of his blood. UberJason has to put up a fight with several strong, but lesser versions of himself. LyftJasons, if you will. But the one that takes the cake is the comic miniseries Jason vs. Jason X, which is based on this whole concept. Instead of just using time travel, Jason is re-grown to look exactly as he does in his first act of Jason X appearance and then has a huge fight with UberJason, who obviously kicks his ass. Anyone could have called that.
Appearing on reality TV and creating a zombie outbreak
Yeah, these two are linked together because they’re from the same damn book, The Jason Strain. Here, we kick off with a plot that’s basically a ripoff of Battle Royale—convicts are sent to an island in the middle of the Pacific where they are forced to kill each other off for the prize of their freedom, and for the entertainment of viewers worldwide. But there’s also a creepy lab on the island trying to do wacky things with Jason’s blood, which leads to an outbreak. So there’s a Most Dangerous Game and an island full of zombies, plus Jason in the middle, being more confused than ever. And deservedly so.
Taking on a pre-teen sidekick
I think How I Spent My Summer Vacation is actually a great comic, but the central concept is that a deformed boy who gets picked on a lot is spared when Jason hacks up the boy’s whole camp group, and then the kid follows Jason into the woods, where he essentially gets taken under his wing. It’s such a silly premise, but it’s kind of neat. The whole thing is like a very messed up version of The BFG.
Spawning a religious cult
In Church of the Divine Psychopath which is actually a pretty decent novel, Crystal Lake is home to a church camp, which I actually think is a great idea. It’s one of the things I was always surprised the movies never did, especially with all the religious outcry against the franchise, as well as the perceived puritanical undertones. The book taps into all of it, as the pastor at this church actually worships Jason as the vessel of God and allows Jason to be resurrected for purposes of a Great Cleansing.
It’s amazing because his whole plan is for Jason to weed out the sinners among them and leave the truly faithful, but when Jason starts hacking through all of his friends and colleagues, he immediately just assumes every one of them must have been full of sin and unworthy to live, no matter how long he’s known them. He just shrugs it off. Really, this book gives us two great villains.
Leading a Deadite invasion on Washington D.C.
The first Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash miniseries is a pretty decent look at what the movie would actually have been had it ever gotten made. The sequel Nightmare Warriors, on the other hand, is completely batshit insane. Ash teams up with every single survivor of both the Friday and Nightmare franchises, which would be great until you realize that leaves them with nothing to do individually. Freddy uses the Necronomicon to unleash an army of Deadites on the capitol, with Jason appointed as general. It’s at least in the top three most insane things that happen in this comic.
Being pitted against his own niece
On top of everything going on in Nightmare Warriors, the comic makes damn sure not to leave out sexy female versions of its two big villains. Because, you know, how can we cater Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash to that young male audience? For Freddy, he provides his daughter Maggie—who was secretly evil the whole time—with a dominatrix outfit and a glove of her own. When Jason becomes too powerful, the Necronomicon instills Stephanie Freeman with all of his powers, as only a Voorhees can kill him. Yes, little baby Stephanie from Jason Goes to Hell, now a teen girl donning sexy camp wear and a hockey mask. Also, remember yet-to-be-born Jacob from Nightmare 5? Everyone wanted to see him and Stephanie hook up, right? No? Well, you’re gonna. You’re really, really gonna.
Being granted the reward of a full head of hair
One more from Nightmare Warriors. I just couldn’t leave it off because it’s so, so absurd. So, when Jason agrees to lead the Deadite invasion, his body is healed and he is granted more strength. But what the whole scene really comes down to, the way it’s completely portrayed, is that Jason is being granted the gift of hair. Jason rises into the air, glowing, as he develops this luxurious mane of beautiful, L’Oreal commercial hair. Somehow, even on a comic page, you can see it happen in slow motion and hear Ariel from The Little Mermaid singing in the background as Jason is granted his greatest wish.
Trading in the hockey mask and machete for a welding mask and assault rifle
After Church of the Divine Psychopath, I could not wait to see what this new novel series had in store. Then came the second book, Hell Lake. It starts off pretty interestingly, with a killer condemned to Hell who navigates the landscape until he comes into contact with Jason. He and Jason form an alliance to get out of Hell and back to Earth, and it works. But in the first third of the book, about as soon as they hit the surface, Jason throws away his hockey mask and machete. And he replaces them with a welding mask and assault rifle and never picks them up again.
These are the weapons he uses for the remainder of this 400 page book. This one tops the list because other people tried to do creative, if not misguided, things with Jason. But this one is such a clear case of just not wanting to write about the character and bitterly doing it anyway that it has to take the cake.