Evil Ernie is an undead, psychotic killer with his own series, published by Chaos! Comics and Devil's Due Publishing. Originally, Evil Ernie was part of Eternity Comics. He made his first debut in December 1991.
Ernest Fairchild, a telepathic boy was happy with his lot in life but his ability to uncannily predict the future troubled his parents. They were good, religious people and owned a Mill that employed many of their neighbors and were well liked in their community. When they discovered their child's talent they sought advice, thinking him to be possessed, but the local priest saw no evil in him. When the Mill started to fail the stress got to his father who drank and became abusive. When his mother becomes pregnant again the families situation improves for a while. Ernie makes friends with a rat he names Smiley.
They take Ernie to Dr Price who uses his experimental dream-probe machine to help cure young Ernest but what it does is give him a direct connection to the beautiful Lady Death who charms him and offers him love. Ernie leaves happy. When one day his father finds and kills Smiley and leaves to go drink, his mother leaves to fetch him from a bar. The distraught Ernie draws the family car crashing and since the dream-probe it seems his vision now come true and the car crashes and the Fairchild's loose the baby.
Things get worse when the Mill closes and his parents both physically abuse their son. Ernie snaps. He kills and dismembers his parents and then the neighbors so he wont have to listen to their voices in his head about how sorry they are for Ernie but do nothing about it.
Ernie is arrested and sectioned where Dr Young uses her updated version of the failed dream-probe project on Ernie. The machine appears to kill him when in fact he was conversing with Lady Death again who offers him undying love if only he will wipe out all life on earth for her (Her reasoning is explored in her own series). She imbues a small plastic smiley faced button badge with her arcane energies as a conduit and when the deceased Ernie is placed in a room the attending nurse pins the badge to him saying she bought it for him as a present to celebrate his cure. Smiley button activates and reanimates Ernie whose first act is to murder the nurse, an so begins the saga of Evil Ernie.
Evil Ernie is undoubtedly the brainchild of Brian Pulido, the founder of Chaos! Comics and principal writer for the company he founded, was originally published in a five issue series Evil Ernie for Eternity Comics. Those first issues would see re-printing with new covers in 1996.
Visually the manic was designed and crafted by Steven Hughes, Pulido's long time collaborator who designed and drew so many of Chaos Comics now iconic characters (Lady Death, Purgatori, Smiley, Chastity etc.). In fact Lady Death got her first published appearances in the pages of that first series as the protagonist who gives Ernie his who reason for living.. His quest for Megadeath.
Brian Pulido has stated that the look of Ernie was inspired by Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth the lead singer of the heavy metal band Overkill. The two share the heavy metal look of the time: Tight Jeans, black t-shirt, Leather jacket with pin badges ans shoulder length wild hair.
After a brief stint at Devil's Due Publishing Ernie is set to return at Dynamite Comics.
Evil Ernie started out as a tale of revenge for an abused young boy with a twist of mysticism that could almost have passed for the pure delusions of an insane mind but after the 2nd series and the the Lady Death spin off there was no doubt that Lady Death was a real entity in her own right and her story turned out to be far grander in design.Ernie's basic task stayed the same throughout his run, he simply had to end all life on earth. he never stopped to think about how hard that task was but as his campaign grew he got ever increasingly bold and devastating in his quest. While he only conquered less than half the USA in the first 80% of his story (probably due to Pulido not wanting to have his story over with too quickly) towards the end he launched several nuclear war heads around the globe but failed to ignite global war when the other nations refused to return fire. These story-lines did seem to feed into the last 20th centuries fear and blasé attitude to nuclear war and nuclear proliferation.
Chaos! Comics, unlike many other publishers, resisted 'Event' story-lines and had a great deal of interconnection between its characters individual arcs. Two years before January 1st 2000 Chaos! began a story arc with new characters attempting to fend off the end of the world. They succeed but a plot point from 5 years previously triggers an even larger, universal extinction event and all characters current story arcs started to intertwine with this central one. Culminating on Jan 1st 2000 with the destruction of the Chaos universe and the demise of Evil Ernie's Megadeath Quest. This level of planning is almost unprecedented in the comic book wold where writers and creative control is rarely so structured and planned this far in advance.
Major Story Arcs
Ernest Fairchild was born as extraordinary kid; he inhibited the power of telepathy and precognition. His parents noticed how Ernest was drawing things happening before they actually did. They misunderstood his powers and thought that Ernest makes things happen by drawing them. Being devoted Christians they thought Ernest to be possessed, they saw a priest in these matters, but got no help there. When his father went bankrupt, he started drinking, occasionally hitting Ernest. One time Ernest secret friend, a mouse named smiley dropped down into his mothers coffee cup, his father killed smiley. Ernest being angry with them drew a picture of them hitting a lamp post. Coincidentally his parents drove off the road and hit a tree. His father was in a coma for a while and mother lost a baby. His parents still thinking that Ernest's drawing was the reason they crashed, feared him. Over time Ernest's life descended into hell. His abusive parents and lack of any friends made him a very lonely child. After being relentlessly beaten he told his school about how his parents beat him, his parents denied the charges and said he was uncontrollable. The school requested he be taken to a psychiatrist. Doctor Price believed that Ernie's problems were so ingrained into his subconscious that he would need to use his experimental Dream Probe which would put Ernie into a deep sleep. While Doctor Price worked, Ernie dreamed. He dreamed of a large endless graveyard with a beautiful caretaker who called herself Lady Death. Seeing his potential for destruction, Lady Death told Ernie that in exchange for killing everyone on the planet she would love him forever.
When he awoke, he seemed like an ordinary little boy and the operation was considered a success. It wasn't until night fell on the happy town that Ernie took an axe to his uncaring parents. He then went on a killing spree that claimed the lives of 12, not including his parents. He was imprisoned until Dr. Mary Young claimed that she had perfected the technology once used by Dr. Price. Once Ernie was in the machine his mind brought him to the endless graveyard once more. Lady death was pleased with him and told him as a gift for trying so hard she would give him a kiss, but she couldn't be with him forever until all life was wiped from the planet. He agreed to do it and she kissed him. As their lips met, the machine Ernie was in exploded, killing him. Moments later he reanimated, undead and full of an arcane green energy that gave him the ability to command the dead to rise and serve him. With his transformation complete, he took up the new moniker of Evil Ernie and led a war against the living in a world war that was meant to extinguish all life on the planet.
Quest for Mega Death
After leaving Clearview Mental Institution he moved on randomly killing every person he saw. This stopped when Dr. Price and Mary Young came after him and tried to kill him. Mary shot Ernie to the head, he felt great pain and the pain crossed over to the dead as well. Ernie recovered from that quickly, he pinned Mary to the ground and left for the ghouls, he himself moved toward Youngs house to punish them. At Youngs, Ernie first disposed the guests, but when the time to kill Youngs came, he was again stopped by the doctors, who had somehow survived the ghoul attacks. They blasted Evil Ernie with a rocket launcher, effectively killing him. Smiley survived the explosion, and was picked up by Commissioner William Stone.
Evil Ernie went to hell after he was killed, being reunited with Lady Death who still wanted him to eradicate the earth of humans. When William Stone bled himself with The Badge of Evil, Evil Ernie could influence Stone a little, but he couldn't take over his body. He gathered as many dead in Endless Graveyard as he could and they all started to scream, which Stone could hear, driving him crazy. Dr. Price saw that and decided to kill Stone before he turned, and that was exactly Evil Ernie's plan, as he controlled the dead and now Stone dead he could take over his body. After resurrecting he was attacked immediately by Rick Young, Ernie killed him and fought his way out of court house. Getting second chance of killing people he stuck to the plan, again gathering as many dead as he could, he moved towards Washington. It being Halloween eased his killings, as people opened doors to kids in costumes, Ernie used that to kill as many as he could.
When Ernie made it to the capital, he started act two in his plan, several ghouls wore his masks, and attacked multiple targets throughout the city, dividing the attackers and making them easier targets. Ernie himself moved directly to White House, with several decoys near by. Security was dealt with kamikaze ghouls, blowing themselves up with grenades. Doctors again tried to interfere, but they weren't able to stop Ernie from killing the president on national TV. Country in disarray made his job again easier, he selected his next target, New York. In New York, Ernie met General Ramsey, who had organized the military to track Ernie and kill him. Ernie fought him tirelessly, being forced to fight hand-to-hand, Ramsey over smarted him. Hitting Ernie with miniature Dream Probe, Ramsey trapped Evil Ernie in a dream loop reliving his past as a kid. Ernie managed to fight his way through the illusion with the help of Lady Death, and escaped. He also brought the government satellite down, which crashed directly into New York causing major damage and death. Then he ordered his ghouls to surround the New York City, and killed personally every living person in there.
On his last days in New York, Ernie is attacked by Crush, who wanted to punish him for killing his mother. Carrying a whole arsenal with him and puffed up with drugs and adrenalin shots he lasted longer than regular human but was eventually killed. Little later Price coaxed Ernie to come into their base. Ernie was attacked by several armored soldiers, and finally by Price himself, who didn't care about casualties. Evil Ernie was momentarily defeated, being separated from Smiley he was weakened and but under cement. Smiley being a good friend blasted him free and they joined again. Ernie then killed every one in the building, except Mary Young who was in a coma; and Leonard Price, who he left behind; both arms torn off and legs broken. Ernie was still hunted by General Ramsey, but one time Ernie killed his entire battalion and left Ramsey standing in the middle of corpses surrounded by ghouls, just to scare him.
But fun times were over, Ernie couldn't get in contact with Lady Death anymore, this bummed him out. Rick Young, who had gone through a bit of a makeover and was going by the name Homicide, was now his general and watched over Ernie while he was using his dreams to make contact with hell. He walked around the hell seeking clues of Lady Death, but nothing, finally Pagan sent him to Cremator with false information, hoping they would kill each other. The battle rages on for a long time, neither of them willing to give up. Only after final punches the veil of truth is lifted and Ernie learns that Cremator serves Lady Death and looks for her himself. Feeling like hero after a fight of misunderstandings, Evil returns to the real world. He wakes just as Billy Young is about to shoot him. Taking Billy as a hostage, Evil thinks of a plan: To build a machine that brings Lady Death to earth. Using secret tunnels, he travels to other side of the wall, and kidnaps Mary Young. Threatening with Billy's life he makes Mary to build him a machine. On their way to dead base Evil's car is attacked by Chastity, who was hired by vampires, who want him to stop killing their food. The battle between the two is ended by the stake through the heart, Evil leaves, but Chastity survives wanting more. Months pass while Mary is working on the machine. The time came and Lady Death is returned to earth, but only briefly, because bringing her to earth released the wave of arcane energy later names as Pandora Effect. Not wanting to destroy earth she is sent back. Having learned that Pagan was the one who banished Lady Death, evil returns to hell and fights through scores of guards to confront him. In the meantime, Rick Young leaves Ernie's side thinking that he has lost his way and he himself has to spread the gift of death. Having chopped Pagan to pieces Evil Ernie return to earth and thinks of something to raise the kill rates, specifically nukes.
Returning to home in New Jersey for a while, he meets Chastity again there, who was at his house. Not liking the feelings Ernie leaves and asks Chastity to accompany him. Ramsey's soldiers come after Ernie again, having killed them he finds first piece of information about the nukes; In Atlanta there is man who knows launch codes. Next stop Atlanta. On their way there Ernie makes pit stops in carnival and amusement park, of course killing everyone there. Chastity is still making attempts to like to Evil Ernie, as she has a crush on him. Lost contact with the dead one who knew the codes, Evil fastens the pace to kill off Atlanta. Finally at the medical center, Evil encounters dead ones who don't follow his commands; this brings him to conflict with Autopsy who was releasing dead ones from Evil's control. Evil Ernie and Autopsy have the battle of minds, Evil in the end succumbs. Chastity comes to the rescue and distracts Autopsy, just enough for Evil Ernie to get free. Having disposed of the doctor, Evil got what he came for: the head of Garris, the guy with the nuke codes. Having made it to the Forcecom military base Ernie used the knowledge in the head to send nuclear missiles all over the world. Detroit is hit, but most of foreign missiles are intercepted. Evil Ernie moves to Detroit to raise some dead. His trip is cut short by ARA (American Restoration Army), 300 men against one, Evil cuts through them without trouble. Then Cyber-dead arrive and shoot him with arcane energy guns, suck energy is in those guns that it kills Evil Ernie. After that three of the nukes hit their target: Sydney, Johannesburg and Baghdad are obliterated. But the arcane energy that gives Evil Ernie life has a mind of it's own, Janelle Armstrong, who now generates that energy in steady rate is guided to place of Ernie's death and she re-powers Smiley. From that energy Ernie's body is reformed and given life. Moving on with his plan he tries to command the dead who died in nuclear blast, but fails, there is something different in them. Disappointed he tries to convert the Cyber-dead created by the government, and succeeds in overriding their commands.
When celebrating his victory of creating World War III, Purgatori arrives and kidnaps Chastity. Evil Ernie goes on a guest to get her back as he has grown to like her. On his quest to find Chastity, Ernie meets The Savior in Los Angeles. He says that he knows where Purgatori is hiding and they need to get some part for a magic ritual to weaken her. Cruising around and helping Savior for a while, Ernie is lead into the trap and savior revealed to be working for Purgatori. Temporarily subdued Purgatori uses telepathy to dig in Evil Ernie's memories, bringing some long forgotten ones to the surface. Ernie having gathered some strength orders Cyber-dead to attack, breaking Purgatori's mind-link. Defeating Purgatori, Ernie has rescued Chastity who has had a change of heart and breaks up with Ernie. Ernie understands that, as he has promised himself to Lady Death anyway. After Purgatori's mind attack, Ernie has some questions of his past, he returns to home and rises his parents asking them to talk of his past. While they talk something unexpected happens, Ernest Fairchild separates from Evil Ernie. Evil is struggling to stay alive after the separation; some living ones who are worshiping Evil come and help Evil to regain power by showing death, destruction and evil on television. At the same time Ernest is moving through his home town meeting with ghost of his past. After regaining his strength, Evil questioned the livings who wanted to join as his elites. Some he killed and resurrected, but some of them he saw too weak or weird to receive the gift of death. Still thinking of his past Ernie looks up a girl who wanted to be his friend in the past. Ernie sneaks over the wall and flies to Montana. Wanting the Christmas to be special Ernie reveals himself to that girl, who now is a grown woman. She however doesn't want anything to do with him, and Ernie goes on a killing spree. Coincidentally Lady Death tries to make contact at the same time and succeeds. Reminding Ernie that she loves him and he loves her, Ernie continues his quest for megadeath.
Again found his place in the world Ernie travels spreading death. He discovers a plan to eradicate the dead, plotted by Dr. Price. Ernie Infiltrates the Black Box, a research facility to create a virus that kills the dead. The scene plays out as something from a scary movie, Evil Ernie picks off the survivors one by one. One doctor manages to board a helicopter with the sample of the virus, and fly away. Making it to the destination point, a dead one reveals himself to be on board and plows up the chopper, right in front of Dr. Price. Again set his mind on nukes, Evil Ernie moves toward Norad. Only thing stopping him is the great wall raised to separate the dead and the living. With massive force Ernie brings down the wall. The dead mind has started to act more on its own. Some of the dead think for themselves wanting peace. Evil holds as many ghouls under his influence as he can. Ernie's first target is President Ramsey, taking over him, he now has the codes necessary to enter any government facility. In the meantime the living Ernest is trying to do some good by helping people and even killing dead ones, one time he even discovers that bullets won't hurt him. Evil Ernie is distracted from megadeath for a moment, when he senses Billy Young in dead mind, but Billy is alive yet. Evil drives to his location and uses the dead mind to influence Billy to kill himself. Another distraction is his undead parents, who now have captured the living Ernest Fairchild. Evil Ernie releases living him and kills his parents all over again.
Free of distractions Ernie returns to creating megadeath. Ramsey unable to launch the nukes from distance creates a plan to attack Cheyenne Mountain. Evil Ernie and Smiley have a disagreement, and Smiley bails to travel alone. Mary Young is back to hunting Evil Ernie and teams up with the living Ernest Fairchild. Smiley meets Ernie's old right arm Rick Young and joins him for a while. Soon Rick and the independent dead make a pact with Dr. Price and his chip controlled dead ones; every one of them gunning for Evil Ernie. Ernie manages to fight his way to Cheyenne Mountain and takes it over. Without Smiley, Ernie constantly grows weaker. Rick uses the dead mind to get control over Ramsey, Ernie fight back. At the same time Mary and Dr. Price are fighting their way towards Evil Ernie. With all the force the oppressors are unable to stop Ernie from launching every nuke America had. After the launch, Dr. Price still bent on destroying Evil Ernie shoots the living Ernest killing him, his dead in turn weakened Evil Ernie, and the two fight. While the two fight they fail to notice Mary Young planting a nuclear warhead into the base and setting it on timer. Ramsey notices it, but fails to disarm it. Cheyenne Mountain and every one inside are destroyed in the explosion. Soon after the nuclear war, earth is washed over by un-creation wave.
A dimensional rift opens up inside of Widmark Prison in Oklahoma, from it falls a seemingly harmless smiley face pin. An inmate picks it up, accidentally sticking himself. After a few moments the prisoner falls very ill, but it doesn't matter as he is taken to the electric chair for execution. When the switch for the electric current is flipped, the prisoner's stomach explodes open and his body becomes deformed to the shape of Evil Ernie. Evil can sense Smiley somewhere in the vicinity, so he begins a brutal hunt for his psychotic friend, leaving most of the prisoners dead in his wake. In classic Evil style, the dead arise and start a bloody rampage that the prison guards see as a riot. The riot is quelled by Ernie himself after finding Smiley and realizing that he is in a new world. Wanting answers, Ernie commands his dead to die again and leaves Widmark.
Next, Ernie is discovered in Sata Fe, New Mexico. There he continues to kill people under the guidance of a numbered top that he presumably fashioned himself for a more amusing method of mass murder. While stalking a selected victim, Ernie finds that the man is part of a satanic cult that kills children. He agrees to let the man live in exchange for information on the other members of the cult. The man agrees and divulges the information. Ernie exits the man's home then spins the top and returns to kill him.
While hunting down members of the cult, Ernie ponders his free will, asking himself and Smiley "Am I controlled by God? Or by the Devil?" As he travels, the viewpoint switches to a young woman named Layna on Evil's tail. She is seeking revenge on Evil for the death of her father, who in this world is Dr.Price. Switching back to Evil, he attempts to and successfully enters the Endless Graveyard. There is just one problem though, all that is left of Lady Death is a fain apparition that only teases Ernie. After the disappointing return to Hell, he seeks out and kills a few of the satanic cult members. En route, he also meets Layna. He sees her and makes her the object of his love, sparing her life. When Ernie finds the last cult members, they have just summoned a demon to which they will sacrifice a young girl. The demon spots Evil and starts to mock him, infuriating Ernie. As he slaughters the cult members and ignores the child, a fire starts inside the sacrificial chamber and Ernie makes for the exit. Layna blocks him, only allowing him through if he rescues the little girl. Of course he complies, and then flees the scene. At the end of the story, Layna pledges to track him down and kill him at all cost. Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie
Some time later, Ernie has returned to his hometown and takes residence at the saw mill his father owned. He routinely kills blonde women and takes them back to the mill and explains to their ghoulish incarnation why he kills them - an attempt to replace Lady Death. Around the same time, Cassie Hack and Vlad move into the area and are attacked by some of the Dead Onez that Ernie has outside. As they kill the Dead Onez, Ernie comes out to investigate the disturbance. First he attacks Cassie, then disables Vlad. Before he delivers the killing blow to Vlad, Ernie feels a psychic cry from Cassie and turns around puzzled. He grips her head and uses the link to read her mind and discovers her past and her goal in life: to rid the world of serial killers. He announces his love to her, but Vlad interrupts and the two escape Ernie. In an effort to gain Cassie's love, Ernie breaks into Clearview Mental Institution maximum security ward and begins killing the murderers there. Cassie and Vlad make their way into the institution and confront Evil again. He begins an attempt to persuade Cassie to join him and live together killing murderers. As he explains the plan, a guard shoots at Ernie and the bullet travels through him harmlessly. Angry at the interruption, Ernie slaughters the guard and returns to Cassie, but sees the bullet has lodged itself in her. Saddened by this, Ernie doesn't want her to become a Dead One and gives the ultimate sacrifice of his arcane energy to bring her back.
Arcane Power Animation: As long as Evil Ernie is in contact with Smiley he is connected to Lady Death's arcane power which is depicted by the green glow in his midsection. When disconnected from Smiley for extended periods of time Ernie begins to decay at a slowly increasing rate and smiley slowly starts to revert to inanimate form. Smiley can operate without Ernie for longer periods of time after a power boost Lady Death imbues him with after a narrow escape when Smiley only just made it back to Ernie in time. They have used this separation both tactically and to be away from each other after a disagreement.
- Supernatural Condition: Ernie's muscle capacity and strength seem to also be greatly enhanced as he is shown tearing through steel doors and concrete walls as easily as human flesh. Being undead also means Evil Ernie never truly tires or wears down due his his status as a Dead-One.
- Regenerative Invulnerability: When the duo are reunited they are nearly invulnerable as Ernie has powerful regenerative powers and Smiley has never been physically damaged while animated, despite being shot clean off at least once. Ernie has completely regenerated from scratch after being disintegrated (by a modified arcane energy weapon) but this took many hours to complete, where as when he fell in acid he was able to climb out continue his attack immediately while still regenerating, being blown apart he has been able to reform within minutes.
- Murderous Possession: When ultimately destroyed the first time he was able to exist in spirit inside the mind of a susceptible victim whose actions he can control leading them to his/her eventual murder so he could be reborn through they're corpse.
- Arcane Blasts: In rare occasion Ernie could accumulate the eldritch forces with witch he is reanimated by and discharge them as highly destructive blasts of force. But he seldom uses these powers as he prefers the up close and effect of rending people, places and things limb from limb.
Telepathy: Even before his rebirth Ernie long since had potent telepathic abilities as a child able to read minds and project his own thoughts into the minds of others. His rebirth as a dead one altered his telepathy so now he can hear the dead instead of the living and anyone he kills (or is killed by one of his victims) is under his control. These are known as he Dead-Onez and while zombie like they are referred to mainly as ghouls.
- Prophetic Artistry: As a child Earnest had the ability to predict the future by drawing up doodles of whats to come and somehow change the outcome of it via precognitive artistry. he could alternate future events by drawing up something else that would happen in its place.
- Dead Mind: The name of the system who those killed and assimilated by him and his are later integrated into. Through this hive collective He uses, Ernie can tactically maneuver his army and to locate specific individuals that have useful knowledge.
- Dream Materialization: Ernie could; without his knowledge, bring his thought processes to life. Once having done so subconsciously when Purgatori invaded his mind and was swarmed by a horde of zombies in his psyche. yet she noted the zombies rancid smell and decaying flesh surmising that he could bring whatever he dreams into reality.
Necromancy: Some Dead-onez are created via an act of mass destruction without the direct hand of Ernie. At times of powerful connection with his arcane energy a circle with spikes, at the compass points, appears on his forehead. During his campaign for various reasons he loses control of some sectors of the dead; either by human intervention, regaining they're sense of self or some other mystical means.