In the early 90s, Chaos Comics was at the forefront of the comics business and a trailblazer for independent publishers. Chaos Comics founder and creator Brian Pulido gave birth to one of the most iconic horror characters of the 90s with “Evil Ernie”. The original series tells the story of an abused boy who is offered the love and affection he so deeply desires by Lady Death, if if he murders everything on Earth. In a horrible accident he is possessed by arcane energy and becomes Evil Ernie, a demonic killing machine that sets out to annihilate everyone on the planet. Now he’s back, a little more modern this time around, from the team of Jesse Snider and Jason Craig.
WRITTEN BY: Jesse Blaze Snider
ART BY: Jason Craig
PUBLISHER: Dynamite Entertainment
RELEASE: October 10th, 2012
When the comics industry bottomed out in early 2000 and sales began to plummet, Pulido and Chaos Comics fell into bankruptcy. Sadly the cast of Chaos Comics characters, including Evil Ernie and Lady Death, were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Dynamite Entertainment emerged with the rights to Evil Ernie, but the rights to Lady Death went to Avatar Press. Now year later, Dynamite is faced with uphill battle of re-launching Evil Ernie without Lady Death.
In this new incarnation, we open to Ernest Fairchild visiting his father in prison. Ernest goes berserk and tries stabbing his father. We quickly learn that Fairchild went off the deep end after years of mental and physical abuse, and as a result decides to kill everyone in town by poisoning the town’s water system with arsenic. Fairchild is sentenced to death for his crimes, but it all goes horribly wrong and instead of killing him with electricity, he is jolted with arcane energy. The issue ends on a cliffhanger as Evil Ernie emerges alongside Smiley.
Writer Jesse Blaze Snider obviously has a deep love for Evil Ernie and his passion for the character bleeds out onto the pages of “Evil Ernie” #1. Snider offers up some sharp dialogue to introduce readers to key players, and keeps the story from becoming stagnant with some fast paced storytelling. Taking into consideration that Lady Death is off the table, Snider has turned in a solid first offering for this book and stays true to the original nature of the character. It will be interesting to see where Snider takes this book and what he has planned to hook readers beyond the initial novelty that comes with resurrecting such an iconic character.
The real star of this issue is artist Jason Craig, who turns out some phenomenal pages. Craig has some big artistic shoes to fill as Evil Ernie has had a long line of fantastic artists render him over the years including the late great Steven Hughes who had a landmark run on the series. Craig’s hyper detailed style delivers the goods and his execution scene in this issue is simply awesome. I don’t know where Jason Craig has been hiding, but Dynamite needs to do everything in their power to keep him on this book.
Evil Ernie #1 is a solid first effort that has the creative team heading in the right direction. There is a lot to be excited about here if you are a fan of the character or the old Chaos Comics universe in general. If Dynamite can keep Jesse Snider and Jason Craig as the main steady creative team then it looks like “Evil Ernie” is in good hands.
Reviewed by – BigJ