Monday, December 23, 2013

Evil Ernie, Volume One: Origin of Evil

 One of my most cherished memories of collecting comics in the early 1990's is the original EVIL ERNIE mini-series. Not that it was especially good, or anything...but I bought pretty much anything that came out back then, and those original issues skyrocketed in value FAST, and I was able to turn around and sell them for about $500.00. (Which I promptly wasted on more comics, no doubt.) Since then, Ernie has faded into obscurity, but seeing as how no intellectual property can long go unexploited, Dynamite Comics has resurrected him in EVIL ERNIE, VOLUME ONE: ORIGIN OF EVIL.

 Well, as expected, this latest incarnation is not really any better than the old one. Written by Jesse Snyder, son of Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder, this first volume is basically a hyper-compressed re-telling/re-imagining of Ernie's origin, sans Lady Death, who I suspect is owned by somebody else at this point.

 The confusing story finds Ernie Fairchild, a pious, Godly young lad, attempting to murder his Foster Father after years of abuse at his hands. The attempt fails, but not before we learn that Ernie has already murdered all 665 people in his small town. (Get it...Daddy was supposed to be 666...da da daaaaaah!) Ernie is promptly locked up and sentenced to ride the lightning, but, thanks to his eveel smiley face button, he survives and becomes EVIL Ernie, religious kid-turned Satanic madman! Except he's not all bad. Because he only kills people who deserve it. Except when he doesn't. The entire six issue mini-series takes place in prison, whereas, in the original, it only took FIVE issues for Ernie, Smiley, and Lady Death to basically destroy the entire Earth. So points go to the 1990's, when stories were decompressed and moved at a much brisker pace.

 There's not much here that I can recommend....Snyder is not a terrible writer, but he's not a particularly good one, either, and the art, by Jason Craig, is sloppy and hard to follow. About the only thing here that I can get behind was the typically huge gallery of variant covers, which features work from some of my favorite Horror artists, Dan Brereton and Kyle Hotz, in addition to Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Stephen Segovia.

 EVIL ERNIE, VOLUME ONE: ORIGIN OF EVIL collects all six issues of the Dynamite Comics mini-series, including all covers and variants, the full Jesse Snyder script for issue #1, and author commentary by Snyder for issue #1, as well as pencil art for that issue by Jason Craig.

 Dynamite provided a review copy.