We have a fun little treat today, first we have Phil Hester, writer of The Shadow Special 2014: Death Factory, talks with Steve Seeley about Evil Ernie #3. Then tonight we will have the flip of this.
Phil Hester: Steve, it's obvious from your enthusiasm for this Chaos stuff that it had a profound impact on you as a fan long ago. Is there something specific to the Chaos books of the time, like the metal aesthetic or the bad girl art or the humor/horror combo, or was it simply a case of the books coming out when you [and brother Tim] were basically living Beavis & Buttheads?
Steve Seeley: Haha, a little bit of all of that. Being a comic fan at the age of normal childhood rebellion meant I rebelled as a comic reader as well. The rebellion happened when I found a comic mail ordering catalog for "rebel" (i.e "adult") comics called Raw Comics. The first three Eternity Evil Ernie comics were in my very first order. I've been a fan ever since. Also, it's amazing how little I had to do to convince Raw Comics that 13-year-old Steve was old enough to read comics such as Cherry. Yikes.
PH: You and Tim are both artists, and I know from being a writer/artist myself that it has advantages and disadvantages. Whenever I write I tend to visualize the scene as if I were going to draw it, even when I turn it over to another artist. Do you find it tough to let go of that vision, that control? Or is it so fun to see someone else's take on your ideas that you just roll with it?
SS: Yeah, it's hard to let go of that vision, especially since I'm a visual writer. However it's always more exciting to see someone else's take. I always feel like apologizing to my artists because I'm pretty sure they can tell the pages/scenes I visualized most since I generally tend to over explain/ describe them. Nothing beats a page-long panel description, right??
PH: Since it's clear that Evil Ernie is an alter ego of his co-creator Brian Pulido, do you ever feel any sense of obligation to Brian when you have Ernie doing outrageous things or spouting terrible puns? Like, do you ever think, WWBPD? Also, when you see Brian are you scared for just a nanosecond because you think it's Ernie in real life?
SS: I think WWBPD all the time! From the get-go Tim and I both wanted to write the most Pulido Evil Ernie we could. And I'm pretty sure we got a bunch of puns in there that I hope Brian would approve of. And yes, sometimes I fear Brian, especially when he wears around that demonic talking button.
PH: I know these Chaos things are "just for fun," but do you have a larger message about the horror genre, sexism, good and evil, or the nature of violence that you're trying to get across? Or are you just hunting for good kills (not that there's anything wrong with that)?
SS: Damn good question! If anything, I like the larger idea of relationships in the Ernie story we are writing. Ernie's relationship with Smiley (besties!), Lucifer, Mistress Hel, and ultimately Mary. I think that's been by far the funniest/most satisfying dynamic.
The good vs. evil angle is an important one as well; however, it's hard to say Ernie is good. It's really more of an evil vs. more evil approach.
PH: Rafael Lanhellas has a gift for drawing vivacious ladies. Do you find yourself writing to his strengths or is he rising to the challenge of your scripts?
SS: Luckily, Rafael has risen to the all the challenges we've thrown at him so far. I think around the third issue we hit our stride and really started to understand each other without question. It's been an honor to work with him.
For more on Evil Ernie #3, click here.