The one-shot special featuring the comedic sidekick to Evil Ernie breaks down into two separate stories that look backwards and forwards. The first, “What Ever Happened to Richard Smiley” supplies an origin for the demonic lapel rider. The Job-like Richard Smiley begins as a devout man trying to make a wholesome life for himself and his family by opening up a family restaurant. When his wife gets cancer and the place goes bust, Smiley makes a pact with Lucifer and shifts into full Sweeney Todd mode. The rest is history—with a little fire and brimstone. “The Holy Pizazzinantor” focuses on Debbie Divine, and innocent bent on fighting back against the hell spawned throngs plaguing her world. Her answer comes from an infomercial selling a one of those jewel guns that imbed rhinestones on denim jackets. Since the ending comes to a neat and tidy little cliffhanger, one presumes that this will lead into a possible ongoing series (if the one-shot sells).
First off, the artwork does well for both stories. Juanan Ramirez delivers a booming devil complete with all the swirls of fire one could want. One gripe I had about his work was that the faces looked a bit too alike. At times Richard Smiley appeared to have a ten-year old face, so I could not at first discern if it were he or his son. Rod Rodolofo illustrated the back-up story with clever penciling and good delivery.
While the story moved fast and provided insight into the character, the familiar nature of the man who makes a pact with the devil plot seemed too common for such an interesting character. Like Anakin Skywalker’s origin, knowing Smiley’s past does less to make the character cool and interesting.
The back up story gave some humor with its tongue-in-cheek nature but ultimately failed to make a scathing piece of humor that I would come to expect from a demonic button.
Writer: Mike Raicht Artists: Juanan Ramirez and Rod Rodolfo Publisher: Chaos/Dynamite Entertainment Price: $4.99 Release Date: 1/7/15 Format: One Shot: Digital, Print