Much like Chuck wrote back in November, I also buy and read a LOT of comics. Plus, I’m a children’s librarian, so I’m reading everything from board and picture books to YA novels. Occasionally, I dare slip in a grown-up book, too – shhh… don’t let word get out. Anyway, as was bound to happen, I fell a little bit behind. But the thing is, some of these titles really need to be written about, because they’re a) still on the stands and/or b) that good and must be read. So here I am, diving into my “To-Read” pile this week, and talking about Li’l Ernie, from Dynamite’s 5-week “Li’l Dynamite” event that has so far included Li’l Vampi, Li’l Battlestar Galactica; Li’l Bionic Kids and Li’l Sonja are coming over the next couple of weeks.
Back in the ’90s, and the glory days of Chaos! Comics, I was a casual Evil Ernie reader. I wasn’t in love with the newer Evil Ernie stories that have come out as of late, but I thought I’d give Li’l Ernie a shot, and I’m so glad I did. The book is adorable and hilarious.
Written and drawn by Eisner Award winner Roger Langridge, Li’l Ernie takes the reader back to a time where Ernie was merely Awful, not yet Evil. We even get to meet Smiley the Psychotic Button when he was still Mister Smiley, Professional Conscience. Ernie isn’t really evil – he’s more of a brat. He returns library books late, he has his undead father give him the answers to his homework, he sneaks into zombie’s homes, eats their brains, and sleeps in their beds – awful stuff, but not really evil. Smiley tags along, wringing his hands and begging Ernie to straighten up and fly right, but Ernie is determined to be bad.
With two short stories, a poem, and 2 activity pages, the book is light, fun, and you can even share it with your kids, provided they’re at least 10 or 11 years old and enjoy that sort of humor. The art is cartoony, completely accessible for boys and girls alike, and the writing is kiddie in style, capturing the voice of a bratty tween and his skeletal Jiminy Cricket.
The Li’l Dynamite line has been great so far; it’s a shame they’re only one-shots. At least Dark Horse gave us five issues of Itty Bitty Hellboy, guys, c’mon! Let’s see a limited run of these books!
Li’l Ernie hit shelves on New Year’s Day, but many large comic retailers may still have them on the shelves. If your home base is a smaller neighborhood comic store, see if they still have any in stock or can order it for you. It’s a lot of fun.
Take a look at some of the Li’l Ernie artwork:
Writer: Roger Langridge
Artist: Roger Langridge
Cover Artist: Art Baltazar
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: Jan. 1, 2014
Diamond ID: NOV130965