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."
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."
Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie draft 1.5 by Tim Seeley
Panel 1-Nighttime...We open on a seedy looking strip club in New Jersey
called Tails of Wonder. It's got a big neon sign and is clearly on a back
Caption- Tails of Wonder Gentlemen's Club. Somewhere in New Jersey.
Voice (from Club)- ..and please make sure to tip your bartenders and
waitresses. Now, fellas...
Panel 2- Inside the club we see a bunch of guys, all grinning excitedly at
the front stage,
DJ- It's the moment you've all been waiting for. She's the Winner of this
year's "Ms. Nude Jersey", and Voted "Most Likely to need a Chiropractor
Panel 3- We get a shot fro the back of Ophelia just as she's about to walk
on stage, the lights shining on her. she can be in silhouette.
DJ-Fellas, let's give it up for the one, the only...
Panel 4- A nice big panel as Ophelia walks out. She looks just like the
Lady Death character..big , New Jersey style blonde hair, huge breasts, and
wearing black lingerie.
Panel 1- It's much later, and we see Ophelia, now wearing a jacket over her
lingerie, collecting her money from the DJ.
DJ- Great work out there tonight, baby...ya wanna head back to my place for
some champagne and couch?
Ophelia- In your dreams, creep.
Panel 2- We see her walking to her car, from the view of someone hiding in
Voice (smiley)- Whadda ya think, boss?
Voice (ernie)- Yeah...she's perfect.
Panel 3- We see Ophelia opening her door....not looking in the direction of
Voice (off panel , Smiley)- hey baby, let's go back to my place.
Panel 4- small panel, just a shot of Ophelia's surprised face as She turns,
and then is shocked to see who's talking.
Ophelia- Look, I said no you...Oh..god.
Panel 5- Nice Big shot of Ernie and Smiley looking threatening, Ernie with
his clawed hand out just about to slash her throat. Smiley smiles.
Ernie- Give Ernie some love....
Panel 1- A shot of Cassie and Vlad's van as it cruises down a back road.
It's still nighttime. It's foggy outside.
Police radio- We have a possible murder at the Tails of Wonder strip
Panel 2- Shot of cassie as she smacks the radio.
Cass- Piece a shit...we need a new police radio.
Vlad (off panel)- What is a strip club?
Panel 3- Shot of Cassie and Vlad in the van..Vlad is driving, and Cassie is
looking at a newspaper. The headline, if we see it is "5 women now missing."
Cass- Jesus, Vlad you'd think you'd been living in a basement for 20 years.
Vlad- I was.
Cass- I know..that was a joke.
Panel 4- Shot of Cassie-
Cass- A strip club is where men pay money to see women prance around naked.
Panel 5- Shot of Vlad, kinda confused.
Vlad- Hrrm...and this is how people find love. I see.
Shot of both of them as Cassie chuckles...
Cass- Uhm..not exactly. I don't know much about finding love, but I don't
think going to the titty bar is the ideal way to find true romance.
Panel 2- Pullback shot as we see the strip club, with four police cars in
the parking lot, their lights flashing. The van is up the road a little.
Vlad (from van)- Hurr..I believe this is the place.
Shot of Cassie and Vlad-
Cass- Okay big guy---stealth mode. park the van up the road and turn out the
lights...I'm gonna make like a squirrel and sneak through the woods...find
out what our cop buddies know.
Panel 4- Vlad looks concerned as Cassie pulls a black ski mask over her
Vlad- Hurr..and what if you encounter the slasher?
Cass- I don't think he's still in the area...this guy either kidnaps the
ladies, or kills them and takes them somewhere else...this is number 6...we
need to ace him before he gets to 7.
Panel 5- Shot of Cassie .
Cass- Time to look for something I do know about...
Panel 1- We cut to a shot of two New Jersey Police men standing in front of
Ophelia's car, which now has a big splash of blood across it, near the front
door where she stood.
The first cop is an older guy with white hair, and the second is a black
guy. They both have big mustaches.( Most cops in the States have these
mustaches for some reason).
White hair cop-Whatcha think Jim?
Panel 2-A shot of the cops as they talk. walking through the light fog.
Black cop- definitely fits our guys MO...alway goes after big breasted
White hair cop- So he's got good taste.
White hair cop- Nothin'.
Panel 3-They walk, towards the woods.
White hair cop- I dunno..being this close to Clearview, you gotta wonder if
maybe one of their crazies got out.
Black cop- We checked that angle when we lost the third one..all their nut
jobs are accounted for.
White hair- Close off the area, question everyone in the club, and check
through that woods...
Panel 4- Shot of Cassie crouching in the woods, not far from the cops in her
Cop (off panel)- We can't afford to lose anymore big breasted blondes.
Cassie (caption)- That's my cue to leave....
Panel 5- She turns to sneak away, and notices a faint green mist in the fog,
at her eye level Cass (caption)- what the....?
Panel 6- Cassie stands and looks to see that the trail of faint green mist
continues off into the woods away from her.
Panel 1- A shot of an old, abandoned Saw Mill...
Caption- The Fairchild Saw Mill...abandoned since 1992.
Voice (Smiley, off panel)- Oh yeah! Do it , baby!
Panel 2- We show the inside of the mill..it's creepy with huge saws and
Voice (smiley, of panel)- That's right! Taste it! You dirty girl!
Panel 3- We cut to a tv screen, showing the tv show Fear Factor. A woman is
eating a a weird, gross hunk of meat..
Voice (Smiley, of panel)- Yeah, you eat that pickled horse penis!
Panel 4- Pull back shot..show Smiley, buttoned to Ernie's coat as he watches
TV. Ophelia, now a zombie (have her have a slash wound across her throat),
is massaging Ernie's shoulders. She's dressed in her stripper outfit.
Ernie- Smiley! Shut it, man!
Smiley- Sorry boss...just kinda bored, with the y'know, lack of megadeath
Panel 5- Shot of Ophelia
Ophelia- C'mon, lover, you killed me and brought me back as your zombie love
slave. I'm a Dead One...I'll do whatever you want me too...
Panel 6- Ophelia seductively whispers in Ernie's ear
Ophleia- You brought me out ot this saw mill, handsome...
Ophelia- Now why doncha give me some wood?
Smiley- Hubba hubba!
Panel 1- Ophelia waves her hand in front of Ernie's face...he's completely
zoned out..staring into the distance....
Panel 2- A shot of Smiley looks up at Ophelia.
Smiley-I wouldn't take it too personal toots...the boss does this all the
time...Maybe you can't tell from the hair and the outfit...but the boss
likes to live in the past...
Panel 3- Let's do the next few pages as a montage. We're gonna sum up Evil
Ernie's story for all the fans who don't know it.
The First of these panels (panel 3) will be a shot of Ernie's house as a
Smiley caption- The boss grew up not too far from here in one o' them
pleasant lil' suburban towns that always hide a dark secret.
Panel 4- Shot of young Ernie crouching in fear. We see the silhouette of
his fathers fist raised to strike him.
Smiley (caption)- In this particular hellhole, it wasn't no secret.
The Fairchilds, owners of the local saw mill that kept the town employed
liked to beat their son like a bongo drum. And everybody knew it.
Panel 5- Shot of Ernie, trying to cover his ears, laying in bed.
Smiley caption- And the boss, who had these psychic powers knew they knew
it. He could hear 'em talking, but they never lifted a finger to help, the
Panel 6-Shot of Ernie, holding a bloody metal candelabra, standing over his
Smiley cap- So the chief did what had to be done...he smashed ma and pa's
skulls in. He had to kill the people who was supposed to love 'im.
Panel 1- Shot of Ernie looking up, tears in his eyes. The hand of a woman
is outstretched to him..this is Lady Death...we can't use her, but we can
Smiley cap- But the boss did find someone to love him...Death herself.
She told him she'd love him forever...all he had to do was kill everyone on
Earth. Mega-frickin- death bay-be!
Panel 2-Shot of Ernie strapped into the Neurotech device (I'll send ref).
Doc Price and mary Young are there.
Smiley cap- Some smarty-pants scientists at the Clearview Mental Institution
decided to try to cure the boss's "mental disorder" with a lil' something
called Neurotech. But, what they didn't know, is that Death had another
plan for my boy.
Panel 3-A shot of Ernie, now in his Evil Ernie form..standing amidst the
flaming ruins of the lab, holding some dead orderlies and smiling
maniacally. Smiley is on him.
Smiley- The neuotech went haywire, and brought the boss back as a rockin',
asskickin' dead controllin' psychopath, with one mission: Kill some stuff
Panel 4- A shot of Ernie leading an amy of zombies...maybe Ernie is tearing
off somebody's head or whatever.
Smiley cap- And kill stuff he did...pretty soon the boss had taken over half
the damn country with his army o' loyal Dead Onez. We wuz on top o' the
frickin' world, and it wuz all fer love.
Panel 5- A montage/collage of a bunch of various characters Ernie fought
along the way...Purgatori, Scarred Doctor Price, Cremator, Chastity, Crush
in his SuperArmor (I'll send ref!) Smiley Cap- Sure, there wuz a few who
tried to stop us, but we always laid the smack down on their butts.
Panel 1- A shot of Ernie and Smiley burning up/exploding Smiley cap- But
it's like they say, all good things come to an end...and me and the boss
Panel 2- Shot of Ernie and Smiley standing on a hill overlooking a prison.
Smiley cap-And we came back..but this time it was different...we wuz
somewhere else...it wasn't the world we'd made our bitch. It was the same
place but they'd never heard of us, man.
Panel 3- Ernie, looking depressed, his face mostly in shadow as the wind
blows through his hair.
Smiley cap- And the boss..well, he'd lost the love of his life...she didn't
exist in this place....the girl he'd done everything for..she might as well
have been a wank fantasy...
Panel 4- back to "reality"..smiley looks sad as he explains to Ophelia.
Smiley-And here we is a couple o' years later...the boss spends a lot less
time on killin', and a lot more on trying to replace his lost love...which
is why you're here, toots. Boss's been through 5 other ones...
Ophelia touches Ernie's face.
Ophelia- Oh you poor darling...
Ophelia- C'mon, Ernie...how about a lap dance...
Ophelia- I'll make you forget all about that other woman.
Panel 6- Shot of Ernie's face, looking scary, as he quietly says one word.