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Interview: Jesse Blaze Snider on the Return of EVIL ERNIE

Get ready for the return of Evil Ernie. Find out what to expect from the new series.

Evil Ernie is coming back. Jesse Blaze Snider, Jason Craig and Dynamite Entertainment are getting ready to show him to us for the first time. That's right, the first time. I'll admit, I didn't read the character when he first debuted but after reading quite a bit of this first issue, I'm impressed. There is a nice mix of darkness and storytelling involved that wipes out any preconceived notions I had about the character.

Jesse Blaze Snider took the time to answer some of our questions as the series prepares to make its way to comic book shelves this October.

Comic Vine: Evil Ernie is getting a new origin. Where did this decision come from? Is this a completely fresh start?

Jesse Blaze Snider: I just assumed it would have to be a fresh start doing the Chaos Universe without Lady Death, so I pitched it as a fresh start, that takes the best parts of the original, but tries to make some improvements and modernize it a little bit, storytelling wise.

== TEASER ==

CV: Was there complete control in determining how to redefine the character?

JBS: So far so good. I think they saw that I got why people liked Ernie and I think they were excited about my more "real world" approach to the usually grandiose and cheesy Heaven and Hell opuses.

CV: Besides his look (and Smiley), what other similarities will he have to previous series?

JBS: Well his look won't be the same for long. Jason Craig came up with an amazing redesign and I'm using it! It's badass! Can't wait to see it on him. Jason has really gotten to the scripts and has been a health of great ideas since we started the process, it a really cool collaborative process. I'm loving it.

CV: The first issue sounds pretty intense and violent. How will it compare to the rest of the series/future issues?

JBS: It only gets worse! And by worse I mean good for you, worse for Ernie and everyone around him!

Our book is plenty violent, but its also tempered with some great themes. Good people doing bad things. Learning that life is shade of grey. It tries to answer the question of "nature versus nurture" and "Why do the good die young?" And really tries to blur the many lines between right and wrong. I really enjoy writing it, there's so much great emotional stuff to play with.

CV: Will there be any familiar faces from past volumes?

JBS: Not too many in the first arc. Ernie, Smiley and General Ramsey, but he really only has a bit part. Eventually I'm gonna start opening up the world a bit. But I really wanna make an Ernie centric arc to kick things off. Make sure the audience really gives a crap about Ernie before we start introducing you to other people.

CV: How long will the first arc run?

JBS: The first arc is six, 22 page issues, though Dynamite was nice enough to give me an extra 2 pages for issue #1! 24 pages of mayhem for no additional cost! =)

CV: Is Evil Ernie really 'evil'?

JBS: That's a great question! I was going a little nuts with getting the same questions in every interview I do, thank you so much for asking something new and great that I can give a fun answer for! =)

Okay... NO! He's not evil. I mean, its not so black and white. If you think that someone who kills the worst of the worst people in this big world of ours is evil, then yes, he is evil. But if you think the Punisher is doing God's work, you may feel the same way about Ernie. And ultimately, Ernie is a very kind soul. On a mission to sacrifice his soul to Hell in order to make the world a better place for the good people in it. That's what he believes he is doing, saving the world, by getting rid of the bastards. He's doing a public service. But the reality of the situation is that the good die young because Heaven needs soldiers for its eternal war against Hell. If the evil begin to die young, the balance will shift and Lucifer will destroy the kingdom of Heaven once and for all.

So...I guess Ernie is kind of evil, but he doesn't know that yet.

CV: After the first arc, will he wander around or will he find a place to call home?

JBS: No, this book is never gonna stop moving. We're gonna cross the globe and root out the most evilsons of bitches you've ever set your eyes on! We're gonna be a nomadic book and with that said, I hope to get to some cross overs in the future with other Chaos Universe residence and maybe some more of Dynamite's horror comics universe.

CV: Will Evil Ernie have a reoccurring nemesis or deal with different individuals each issue?

JBS: Yes, Ernie has TWO reoccurring nemeses: Heaven and Hell. Though he doesn't know that Hell doesn't have his best interests at Heart and he doesn't understand why Heaven care what he is doing. We introduce a Death Row inmate, simply known as "Veal." It's suggested that he may be some sort of cannibal who only eats children. I might let him get away. Also, he is an undead monster, so dead is never necessarily dead in this book, so anyone who dies in our first arc is technically up for grabs whenever I get a good reason to bring them back.

In the future I hope to see him contend with oodles of dastardly evil people and tango with the entities of Death and Fate. But ultimately Heaven and Hell will be his constant combatant. If Heaven is the WHITE and Hell is the BLACK, then Ernie is the GRAY.

CV: Has there been any insane scenes you wanted to do and have been told to tone it down or have you been unrestrained?

JBS: Nothing yet...and we're doing some pretty crazy things and they don't look particularly fake either. We get some great revenge on a pedophile in the second issue and the dialogue certainly isn't pulling any punches. Fingers cross I don't get censored at the last minute. ;)

Thanks for the interview!

And you guys can thank Jesse by letting your comic shop know you're interested in buying this series in October. You can also follow Jess on Twitter at @TweetJesse.

Check out these penciled interioros by Jason Craig.

33 Comments
Posted by Captain13

Twisted Sister!

Edited by Obsurity

I was a huge fan of Chaos Comics growing up. It was where I initally saw Ed Benes and Ivin Reis artwork. Once the company went under I lost interest due to what seemed to be a constant reboot for Lady Death. Does Dynamite have all properties of Chaos Comics?

Edit: I just saw that Avatar Press has the rights for Lady Death

Posted by G-Man

@Obsurity: Pretty sure Lady Death recently went elsewhere. Which is what Jesse mentioned, rebooting Ernie without her. I like his origin here.

Staff
Posted by rasx

This concept kinda reminds me of Spawn.

Posted by Obsurity

I saw that, that what caused me to do a quick search about it. Lady Death was the main character of all things "Chaos". She played a major part in the original orgins. Although this current incarnation has a interesting orgin. It's kinda like having Robin with out Batman

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I'v no idea who this guy is lol but it looks cool

Edited by Thezz

Spawn O.o

Posted by joshmightbe

Woo Hoo, Ernie needed a reboot, I loved the character but toward the end of Chaos comics he was getting pretty far gone

Edited by onyxwave

Hey hey, it's about time Ernie made an appearance again! I loved his early and mid 90s stuff. Chaos! was one of my fav independent publishers (along with Valiant) around that time. Chaos! did horror right back then. Plus some great artistic talent got their start with Evil Ernie in his prime like current awesome Aquaman artist Ivan Reis and great artist Justiniano.

Posted by The Stegman
I saw him in Hack/Slash but besides that, I have no clue who he is.
Posted by ARMIV2

Good for Ernie. Kinda want to draw him, but if I drew him before I drew the Mob, my dad would be pissed...

I'll leave it for now.

Online
Posted by zombietag

is this the awkward brother of spawn??

Posted by joshmightbe

@zombietag: Ernie Came before Spawn by about a year so technically that would make Spawn the little brother, also Spawn was over rated where as Ernie never got the respect he deserved

Posted by Red_Robin212

I read a few Evil Ernie comics a few years back and found them entertaining (Along with Lady Death)

Nice to see him make a comeback nd with Dynamite no less (Who I also enjoy)

Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope

Frikkin' love how the more indie companies are revamping old classics. I might just end up getting this, seeing as I'm a huge fan of Return of the Living Dead-esque monsters and mayhem.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

Really looking forward to this and I am so looking forward to the rest of the Chaos cast ,minus the Mistress of Death :(, back in print. Although I want to see how they ultimately address the origin of Evil Ernie.. because they have a few Lady Death dependent characters, but the one that I am interested in most is Lady Demon.

I am also surprised we haven't already had a Vampirella/Purgatori crossover.

Posted by RoboShark

Nice, I've been wondering about this characters return.

Posted by zombietag

@joshmightbe said:

@zombietag: Ernie Came before Spawn by about a year so technically that would make Spawn the little brother, also Spawn was over rated where as Ernie never got the respect he deserved

if he came out before i can respect that. early 90s spawn is only a little bit over rated, that stuff rulezz

Posted by joshmightbe

@zombietag: Spawn was good until issue 50 Ernie was good for almost a decade

Posted by B_Heart

This news literally made my day! I loved Chaos Comics back in the day and it's great to hear that Ernie is coming back. The last time I read him was in Hack/Slash vs Evil Ernie.

Interested to see see the new origin were he isn't killing for the love of Lady Death. Hope his motive is still to cause Mega Death on Earth!

Posted by joshmightbe

@Nova`Prime`: The problem with removing Lady Death from Chaos is the fact that the entire Universe tended to revolve around her so they'll have to rework a ton of origins to make them fit without her

Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude

Dude!!! This is so totally 90's dude!!!!!!

Posted by SavageDragon

I hope Cassie Hack cuts this guys head off.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

@joshmightbe: True, but for many of the characters she wasn't essential to their origins.. unlike Evil Ernie and Lady Demon who one was created by her the other was created to replace her by Lucifer.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Absolutely awesome in my opinion!

Posted by TheGodofThunder

Does anyone know if evil ernie has any relation to evil eddie of iron maiden fame? official or unofficial? I have always figured Pullido got some inspiration from evil eddie.

Posted by Lorialet

I have to say I'm curious about this, but I am not sure that it is possible to separate Ernie from Lady Death without changing the very nature of the character. After all his motto was: "All for love".

Without this and his omnicidl quest for "Megadeath", will it still be Evil Ernie?

Posted by Rumble Man

kickass powers kickass goal, megadeath baby

Posted by kagato

This has made me so happy! Evil Ernie was the first comic i really enjoyed and collected back when it was part of Chaos comics, used to collect everything they did back in the day (except the wresting stuff). Cant wait to see his new origin is like and if we will see Homacide and the others return. Will be really weird without Lady Death since she was his sole reason for committing Megadeath in the first place..

Posted by Jesse_B_Snider

Hey guys!

This is new Evil Ernie writer, Jesse Blaze Snider. Thank you all for commenting and for the most part being so positive. I've always noticed that the darker books seem to get the more optimistic its fan following seems to be. Anyway, I thought I'd post a piece of my original pitch to clear up some of your concerns...

EVIL ERNIE: THE BIG PICTURE

In the world of Evil Ernie there is an eternal conflict that has existed for all time, a war between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil. Moral souls rise to Heaven and join the ranks of God’s armies. Amoral souls sink below and join the fight from the other side. As everyone knows, the good die young, often as victims of evil men. This unfortunate unbalance on Earth, keeps Heaven strong and Hell weak, but Hell has just made its first move towards tipping the scales back the other way.

Ernest Fairchild was destined to be Heaven’s greatest General in its eternal war against Hell. But when the dark forces found out about him, they set young Ernie on a rapid road to damnation. Through demonic possession and manipulation of his family, friends and neighbors Ernie was deprived of the nurture, which should have led him down a path of righteousness and eventually took him to Heaven. Instead, Evil Ernie was sent to Hell for his sins and remade. With Heaven’s greatest weapon under their control, Hell finally has the power to free Lucifer from the 9 Circle of Hell and destroy the Kingdom of Heaven. But in order to do that, they need a million of the most EVIL sinners the world has to offer. They need mega death.

Aided by his psychic ability to see into the minds of all people and judge them good or evil, Ernie is going to kill his way across the globe until he reaches megadeath and sets Lucifer free. Guided by his longtime imaginary friend Smiley, who is actually >SPOILER<, Ernie is lead towards the greatest possible recruits for Hell’s Army and will judge everyone else along the way. The righteous live, the wicked die.

Though driven insane by his torturous upbringing, Ernie still has a natural inclination towards punishing the evil and helping the good. He couldn’t be happier that his homicidal activities are seemingly helping make the world a better place. In his mind, he is a hero and Smiley >SPOILER<. Ernie won’t know what he is really doing until its too late.

>SPOILER< will ensure the delivery of the 999,999 sinners (111,111 for each of the 9 Circles of Hell), including “the NINE” Generals that will lead Hell’s armies (Pagan, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery) to victory! But Hell needs one more very special, very >SPOILER< soul to reach a million and that soul belongs to >SPOILER<! Hell will pull out all the stops, doing everything they can to >SPOILER< and free Lucifer so they can kill God and destroy Heaven once and for all!

So, just to be clear, Ernie WILL be working towards MEGADEATH! BUT megadeath is a bit different than it was in the original series. In the real world, MEGADEATH is a military term, meaning ONE MILLION DEATHS, created to measure the loss of life in millions in a nuclear attack. Ernie is working on ONE very important megadeath. He is going to kill a million of the worst sinners this world has to offer, Hell needs this million to offset the balance of power between Heaven and Hell so they can destroy Heaven. Ernie does not know this. He thinks it will take a megadeath to make the world a better place and he's willing to sacrifice his afterlife to give a better life to everyone else.

I know that this is a fair amount different from the original series, but without Lady Death things needed to be rethought. I figured it was the wrong move to create a Lady Death analogue and do it all again. So, I've taken a new approach. I think our book contains the romanticism that won so much of us over in the original series. Except instead of the love of Lady Death, Ernie has a broader love for good people who are being pushed around by evil sinners and he's gonna take them out so they don't have to deal with torment anymore.

Anyway, I hope you'll all give the book a chance! There is loads of funs stuff and interesting stuff and at the end of the day its Evil Ernie, so you know its violent and crazy as all Hell! Hope you guys will give this new iteration a chance! =)

Sincerely,

JBS

Jesse Blaze Snider

P.S. I sent the script for the first 2 issues to TWO long time hardcore Ernie fans/comic book artists, Tim Seeley and JK Woodward. Both of them gave me two thumbs up. In fact, Seeley drew our only cover, which features characters from the book and JK tried to get the gig drawing the book after he liked the scripts so much! JK and I will work together on something soon I'm sure. =)

Posted by kagato

@Jesse_B_Snider said:

Hey guys!

This is new Evil Ernie writer, Jesse Blaze Snider. Thank you all for commenting and for the most part being so positive. I've always noticed that the darker books seem to get the more optimistic its fan following seems to be. Anyway, I thought I'd post a piece of my original pitch to clear up some of your concerns...

EVIL ERNIE:THE BIG PICTURE

In the world of Evil Ernie there is an eternal conflict that has existed for all time, a war between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil. Moral souls rise to Heaven and join the ranks of God’s armies. Amoral souls sink below and join the fight from the other side. As everyone knows, the good die young, often as victims of evil men. This unfortunate unbalance on Earth, keeps Heaven strong and Hell weak, but Hell has just made its first move towards tipping the scales back the other way.

Ernest Fairchild was destined to be Heaven’s greatest General in its eternal war against Hell. But when the dark forces found out about him, they set young Ernie on a rapid road to damnation. Through demonic possession and manipulation of his family, friends and neighbors Ernie was deprived of the nurture, which should have led him down a path of righteousness and eventually took him to Heaven. Instead, Evil Ernie was sent to Hell for his sins and remade. With Heaven’s greatest weapon under their control, Hell finally has the power to free Lucifer from the 9 Circle of Hell and destroy the Kingdom of Heaven. But in order to do that, they need a million of the most EVIL sinners the world has to offer. They need mega death.

Aided by his psychic ability to see into the minds of all people and judge them good or evil, Ernie is going to kill his way across the globe until he reaches megadeath and sets Lucifer free. Guided by his longtime imaginary friend Smiley, who is actually >SPOILER<, Ernie is lead towards the greatest possible recruits for Hell’s Army and will judge everyone else along the way. The righteous live, the wicked die.

Though driven insane by his torturous upbringing, Ernie still has a natural inclination towards punishing the evil and helping the good. He couldn’t be happier that his homicidal activities are seemingly helping make the world a better place. In his mind, he is a hero and Smiley >SPOILER<. Ernie won’t know what he is really doing until its too late.

>SPOILER< will ensure the delivery of the 999,999 sinners (111,111 for each of the 9 Circles of Hell), including “the NINE” Generals that will lead Hell’s armies (Pagan, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery) to victory! But Hell needs one more very special, very >SPOILER< soul to reach a million and that soul belongs to >SPOILER<! Hell will pull out all the stops, doing everything they can to >SPOILER< and free Lucifer so they can kill God and destroy Heaven once and for all!

So, just to be clear, Ernie WILL be working towards MEGADEATH! BUT megadeath is a bit different than it was in the original series. In the real world, MEGADEATH is a military term, meaning ONE MILLION DEATHS, created to measure the loss of life in millions in a nuclear attack. Ernie is working on ONE very important megadeath. He is going to kill a million of the worst sinners this world has to offer, Hell needs this million to offset the balance of power between Heaven and Hell so they can destroy Heaven. Ernie does not know this. He thinks it will take a megadeath to make the world a better place and he's willing to sacrifice his afterlife to give a better life to everyone else.

I know that this is a fair amount different from the original series, but without Lady Death things needed to be rethought. I figured it was the wrong move to create a Lady Death analogue and do it all again. So, I've taken a new approach. I think our book contains the romanticism that won so much of us over in the original series. Except instead of the love of Lady Death, Ernie has a broader love for good people who are being pushed around by evil sinners and he's gonna take them out so they don't have to deal with torment anymore.

Anyway, I hope you'll all give the book a chance! There is loads of funs stuff and interesting stuff and at the end of the day its Evil Ernie, so you know its violent and crazy as all Hell! Hope you guys will give this new iteration a chance! =)

Sincerely,

JBS

Jesse Blaze Snider

P.S. I sent the script for the first 2 issues to TWO long time hardcore Ernie fans/comic book artists, Tim Seeley and JK Woodward. Both of them gave me two thumbs up. In fact, Seeley drew our only cover, which features characters from the book and JK tried to get the gig drawing the book after he liked the scripts so much! JK and I will work together on something soon I'm sure. =)

I love the sound of this, im glad to see a new take on Ernie, we already had him with Lady Death so to see a new take on him is pretty exciting. I for one will be picking this up, i was so into the series at highschool i had a Smiley button on my leather jacket and grew my hair out as much like his as i was able. Cant wait to see what you have planned for the other characters in the universe and if we will see any old faces in the new series.

Edited by Ninja87

steven hughes art work was really up there and from what i see im excited to see what happens in the reboot. wonder how smiley is gona be and what role if any will lady death and all the old charcters have?

Posted by Asteroth_the_destroyer

I am a massive fan of EE since i was a kid.

It was my first approach to the comic world and it was just amazing.

Chaos comics raised me and i love the original storylines.

About the reboot, i do not think it is the best idea.. I like the way things ended, and with them the whole company did.

Along with Armageddon, it was a good closure to so many parallel stories that lead to that amazing finale.

Although the sketches do look good, i dont think i can really follow the evil psycho that we all loved when:

" He thinks it will take a megadeath to make the world a better place and he's willing to sacrifice his afterlife to give a better life to everyone else."

So what has happened, is that Lady Death is replaced by Lucifer, and that instead of killing everyone alive in order to bring her back he needs to kill 1mil to bring Lucifer back ?

Ernest Fairchild soldier of Heaven ? No thanks.. for now at least.