Evil Ernie #1
Written by Jesse Blaze Snider
Art by Jason Craig
Colors by Marcio Menyz & Adriano Augusto
Letters by Troy Peteri
Covers by Tim Seeley, Adrian Syaf, Nick Bradshaw, Dan Brereton
Release Date: October 10, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
In 2010, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to Evil Ernie from Chaos! Comics. That acquisition finally bears fruit as writer Jesse Blaze Snider, a long-time fan of Evil Ernie, takes the helm on this character reboot. Dynamite could not, however, nab the rights to Lady Death, who held a significant role in Evil Ernie’s original storyline. Her absence from Evil Ernie #1‘s story alters Evil Ernie’s origin and motivations, but the look, personality, and Smiley button of the undead psychopath remain.
Evil Ernie #1 briefly covers Ernest Fairchild’s traumatic childhood which directly leads into his demonic transformation. Ernest was born in 1993 during a bizarre car accident where his entire family was killed. His father, possessed by something, taunts his daughter and pregnant wife right before slamming the car into a light pole.
Cut to 2006: something causes 13-year-old Ernest to snap and murder 665 people in the town of Lucretia. He needs one more kill to complete his ritual, so he pays his incarcerated foster father a little visit. The cops nab Ernest before he can complete the murder and, six years later, Ernest holds the distinct honor of being the youngest person to be executed in the United States in 60 years. Only the execution doesn’t quite go off as planned.
Jesse Blaze Snider shows supreme confidence in his storytelling abilities. He teams well with artist Jason Craig to deliver a comic that tells the story organically. Readers are never beat over the head with unnecessary narration or wordy dialogue. Snider allows the art, the words, the action, and the gestures to collaborate. He trusts the reader to actively piece together the story; the result is a comic that instantly pulls you into the story and fills your mind with intrigue.
My favorite scene was where young Ernest Fairchild visits with his imprisoned foster father. Something peculiar lurks just underneath the veneer and you are forced to ask questions throughout the entire scene. Some questions are answered in this issue; some are tantalizingly left for later issues. The perfectly paced scene culminates with a seemingly well-adjusted Ernest going bat shit crazy and slicing a Joker-smile into his foster father’s face. Awe-some.
Jason Craig simply does some phenomenal artwork in this issue. The absurd violence inherent in this title just screams for minute, squiggly scratches detailing all of the splatter. In other Dynamite comics I have noted that the color gradients were overdone. Thankfully, this is not an issue here. Evil Ernie is dark, bloody, and gruesome; the coloring brings out all the gnarly details of Craig’s line work.
This comic was actually my introduction to the Evil Ernie storyline. I never knew the demonically violent relationship he shared with Lady Death, so her omission didn’t at all affect my opinion on this comic. I can’t say if this reboot of Evil Ernie is better than the old Chaos! Comics version, but I can say that I absolutely enjoyed this particular comic.
I was a DC fanboy growing up in the early ’90s and spent a lot of time reading Lobo. So, as an old school Lobo guy, this comic feels comfortably familiar. It’s graphic, horrific, and over-the-top with its violence. This issue, however, has a little more of a serious tone than Lobo. Jesse Blaze Snider’s infectious love for the Evil Ernie character is apparent in this brilliant introduction. If a new fan like me can enjoy Evil Ernie #1 without any blinding nostalgia, then I’m confident that long-time fans will be thrilled with Dynamite’s new take on the character.