In the 90's fans of Chaos! Comics were enthralled by the adventures of a boy and his button. That boy was Evil Ernie, an undead teenager capable of raising an army of zombies. The button was Smiley, a psychotic sentient smiley face button that Ernie wore on his leather jacket. Ernie traveled across America causing death and destruction in the name of the woman he loved, Chaos!' other premier character Lady Death. This July, Ernie and Smiley are back, but they are about to cross paths with "Slasher" hunters Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad in the pages of "Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" from Devil's Due Publishing by writer Tim Seeley and artist Aadi Salman. CBR News spoke via e-mail with Seeley about "Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" and the comic he draw's every month for Devil's Due, "G.I. Joe"
"The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" came about because of Seeley's desire to put the two stars of his comic up against some established horror characters. "When I was like 13, my brother and I would order all these underground comics through the mail that our local comic store wouldn't order," Seeley told CBR News. "In one of those batches was the original, black and white 'Evil Ernie.' I was a horror fan as a kid, so I followed the Chaos! stuff for a few years when they went on their own. When I started 'Hack/Slash,' one of the goals was that sooner or later I wanted Cass and Vlad to meet up with some established horror characters. I basically had a short list for who I wanted to start out with: The Crow, Evil Ernie...a couple of others. I met up with Joe from Tales of Wonder [the people that bought the Chaos! Characters, sans Lady Death, after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2002], and in the space of a sunny afternoon, we realized we had the same ideas for bringing Ernie back to comics."
When Cassie and Vlad cross paths with Ernie violence erupts, but something unexpected also happens. "Basically, this story begins several years after the last appearance of Ernie," Seeley explained. "He's been wandering the world, lonely, trying to replace Lady Death who doesn't exist anymore. Cassie and Vlad roll into town to stop his murder spree, and after a nice bloody tussle, Ernie falls in love with Lil' Miss Hack. Love and blood ensues."
Smiley will also be featured heavily in the comic. "Smiley has a big part in the story, and is my all time favorite character to write dialogue for," Seeley said. "In the middle of any serious scene, you can always add Smiley saying like 'I'm a hootchie kootchie man!' or something. Okay, well, not that dumb, but you get the idea. Ya can't do Evil Ernie without Smiley."
Vlad has a very strong reaction to Ernie, "Let's just say Ernie and Vlad end up falling in love and forgetting about Cassie. I kid. Vlad and Ernie brawl for like 6 pages. Seriously."
"The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" has a slightly different tone than previous "Hack/Slash" specials. "It's still got laughs, but it's less of a 'piss take' I guess, than usual," Seeley explained. "The script became more character driven so, in that sense, it's more serious. Not 'Terms of Endearment' serious."
"Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" might be a "Hack/Slash" fans first "Evil Ernie" comic and vice versa. Seeley has prepared for this. "I went out of my way to get everyone up to speed," he said. "Ernie's 'origin' actually plays a big part in the story, so, if you've never ever even heard of Ernie, you'll still have all you need to enjoy him getting large pieces chopped off. And with Cassie and Vlad, I've set them up so you don't need to know much about them to enjoy the story, but there'll be enough stuff to keep you interested if they are characters you already know and like. This story actually adds a lot to the Cassie/Vlad dynamic."
Seeley is interested in writing more "Hack/Slash" crossover comics and would love to have Cassie and Vlad team up with another character that Devil's Due has the rights to, a certain chainsaw handed archenemy of the "Army of Darkness." "I would give my left nut and Nick Barrucci's to do an Ash/Cassie story," Seeley joked. "I'm gettin' all giggly just thinking about it. I dunno. There's a bunch more characters (from comic and movies), I'd love to have in a 'Hack/Slash' issue -- The aforementioned Crow, Freddy and/or Jason, Cal MacDonald from Steve Niles' stuff. I'll do a crossover with any character I like. If I could figure out a good plot, I'd have Cassie and Vlad meet Invincible."
There are huge developments coming up on the other Devil's Due title Seeley works on, "G.I. Joe." In a recent blog posting at Myspace.com, Devil's Due president, Josh Blaylock wrote the following about "G.I. Joe," "THE WAR WILL END... ONE WILL DIE... AND THE RED SHADOWS WILL RISE."
CBR News brushed up on the latest Cobra interrogation techniques and tried to see what "G.I. Joe" artist, Seeley could tell us about Blaylock's cryptic comments. However, Seeley wasn't able to reveal much.
Seeley did talk a little about the upcoming death in "G.I. Joe." "It's definitely a significant character, otherwise no one would really care," he said. "But, yeah, it kinda broke my lil' heart to do it, but overall, it makes for a really strong story line that Joe fans will remember."
The Red Shadows will be making their presence known very shortly in "G.I. Joe." "Yup, the Shadows are definitely coming up soon. We spent a lot of time developing these guys. I think it'll show."
CBR News also learned that Seeley will soon be drawing his final Joe vs. Cobra battle. "I can tell ya I am not going to be the artist on 'G.I. Joe' in the near future. Which is good, cuz I think I've drawn about as many helicopters as any one man should have to draw. I have a new project I'm penciling which I'm psyched about. And the guy who's taking over 'Joe' is a really good friend of mine."
Fans looking for more of Seeley's work as a writer can pick up "Hack/Slash: Comic Book Carnage" in March and "Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie" will hit stores in July. CBR News tried to get Seeley to reveal if there would be a definite victor in the Cassie Hack vs. Ernie brawl. He refused. "That would be tellin'," he said. "Suffice to say, I think fans of both will be pleased, and damn glad they dropped the 5 bucks for a really fun, 40 page comic. I think 'Hack/Slash' is unique in that it really works well as one-shot stories. They're really like a movie that way."