- Lady Death
character_name = Lady Death
debut = "Evil Ernie" #1 (December 1991)
Brian Pulido(writer) Steven Hughes(artist)
alter_ego = Hope
Lady Death is a
fictional character, a comic bookgoddess created by Brian Pulidoand Steven Hughes. Lady Death first appeared in " Evil Ernie" #1 by Eternity Comicsin December 1991. Lady Death then reappeared in the "Evil Ernie: The Ressurection" mini-series published by Pulido under his now defunct company Chaos! Comicsin 1993. Avatar Presswas the last publisher of the Lady Death series. The character was also the subject of a full-length animated feature film released in July 2004 by ADV Films.
Incarnations of the character have been illustrated by such comic book artists as
Steven Hughes, Mike Deodato, Jr., Romano Molenaarand Ivan Reis. Brian Pulido still owns the Intellectual Property rights to his characters; having optioned publishing licensing through various independent companies, such as Avatar Press.
In addition, Lady Death has been depicted in artworks by a number of well-known fantasy artists such as
Dorian Cleavenger, Gerald Brom, Boris Vallejo, Joe Juskoand Julie Bell.
Fictional character history
The first Lady Death
Lady Death first originated as the sexy and violent villain that was perceived as a hallucination by the boy Ernest Fairchild. She promised to "love Ernie forever", love he never had, in exchange for his loyalty. That loyalty was to kill everyone on earth. In the beginning, she had no real purpose or personal story except to be the eye-candy for
Evil Ernie's comic book, and she was just seen as the evil sadistic woman who would always give Ernie the incentive to kill. As the story progressed, Lady Death detached herself as the girlfriend of Evil Ernie, and began her own story. With the change, her personality changed dramatically from the sexual villain to a full blown hero.
Classic Lady Death
The setting for the original Lady Death comic was medieval
Sweden. The woman who would become Lady Death was born as a mortal named Hope. Her father was a local nobleman named Matthias who was forcibly conscripting peasants into military service as feudal levies. The exact nature of the war that Matthias was prosecuting is not specified, although evidence from the recent revision of the character by Avatar Press suggests that it may have been one of the Northern Crusades(also known as the Baltic Crusades).
Unknown to his innocent daughter, Matthias had a dark secret. Although congratulated by the Church for his work against the pagans, he was despised by the common folk as a cruel tyrant. Matthias was outwardly pious, but secretly dabbled in black magic and
demonology. He was actually a descendant of the fallen angels who had led the rebellion against God. By contrast, Hope's mother was a woman so pure and innocent that her bloodline reached Heaven. Hope's mother died when Hope was still in her late teens, and she was left to live with her father.
Eventually, Matthias' cruelty triggered a peasant uprising. Matthias narrowly escaped death at the hands of the rebels by summoning a demon, but Hope was captured by the rebels and accused of
witchcraft. Faced with the prospect of execution by burning at the stake, Hope uttered an incantation that she had overheard her father use. This incantation summoned a demon who offered her a bargain -- he would rescue her from death if she would renounce her humanity and serve the powers of Hell. Hope accepted the bargain and was transported into the infernal realms.
Once in Hell, Hope became entangled in a civil war that was raging between Lucifer and an army of renegade devils led by a powerful sorcerer. Hope was devastated when she learned that the ambitious sorcerer challenging Lucifer for the control of Hell was her own father.
Gradually corrupted by the nature of her surrounding, Hope was tainted with evil. She allied herself with an exiled craftsman who forged weapons for the infernal armies. While speaking to him, she declared that the innocent woman she had once been was dead and that she would henceforth only be known as Lady Death.
In her new persona, Lady Death led an uprising against the Lords of Hell. During the final battle, Lucifer cursed her never to return to Earth while the living walked. Lady Death swore an oath that she would circumvent Lucifer's curse by exterminating all life on Earth.
Lady Death finally ended Lucifer's control over her by casting him through Heaven's Gate (a place where evil cannot go), and in doing so became the new ruler of Hell. Many of the beings living in hell believe that the ascension of Lady Death signaled the beginning of the age of judgment - the final battle between good and evil for the fate of the Earth.
Animated Lady Death
"Lady Death: The Movie" was released in
2004by ADV Films.
The movie begins in 15th century Sweden, where Hope, the beautiful daughter of Matthias,(sainten) a skilled mercenary who is in actuality a demon, is accused of being the devil's consort. Sentenced by the town priest to be burned at the stake, Matthias, through his proxy, the jester Pagan, offers her life if she surrenders herself to him and join him in Hell. Matthias's plan to corrupt her is met with unanticipated resistance, as Hope rejects his scheme and eventually finds herself transformed into the powerful warrior Lady Death, who challenges Lucifer for control of Hell itself.
Many of the events from the comics are altered in the animated film. Instead of summoning a demon with whom she bargains for her life, Hope's spell summons a pair of flying demons that carry her physically to Hell (restoring her badly burned body in the process), dropping her in the court of her father, who intends for her to join him by his side. When she refuses, he casts her out, only for her to side with Cremator, an escaped slave of his (a master blacksmith) and to lead an army of hellspawn creatures against him. In this continuity, her curse is to be trapped in Hell for as long as one of Lucifer's allies remains alive. Unlike in the comic, Lady Death is presented as more of a heroine whose goal isn't to destroy all life on earth, but to liberate Hell from Lucifer's tyranny.
Classic Lady Death at Avatar Press
Avatar Press now publishes Lady Death. Since they only have the rights to Lady Death alone (without the rest of the Chaos! Comics characters that were so intertwined with her original story), Lady Death has been given a new origin story, with notable differences to the story told at Chaos! Comics.
Hope is the daughter of Mary and Marius. Marius is a crusader who has been waging endless campaigns against the pagans, always returning with only his most loyal soldiers, while the peasant levies were slaughtered. This angered the survivors.
Hope, realising that her father has changed and is no longer the man he once was, follows him into the dungeons, with her mother close behind. The townsfolk meanwhile batter down the gates and invade the castle, intent on revenge. Hope discovers her father summoning dark wraiths, and sacrificing the souls of countless peasants in exchange for a kingdom in The Labyrinth. The wraiths refer to her father as Sagos.
Sagos grabs hold of Mary, revealing that he has possessed Marius' body, and they disappear through the portal, leaving Hope behind. Cheated of their revenge, the villagers decide to burn Hope at the stake as a witch. Not wishing to die, Hope casts the spell she overheard her father cast, and summons the wraiths herself. The wraiths agree to transport her through the portal, if she forsakes her humanity and pledges her soul to The Labyrinth. Hope passes through the portal, her skin and hair turning albino in the process (the mark of all those who willingly chose to pass through the portal), and finds herself in the Blacklands.
There she encounters Wargoth, who observes her uncontrolled and instinctive use of magic, and agrees to help her destroy Sagos and rescue her mother. He recruits the sorceress Satasha to teach Hope spellcraft. Wargoth also teaches her how to fight, but every weapon she wields melts in her hand due to her uncontrolled energy.
Over the next two years, Lady Death and her companions fight through the Blacklands, hunting for Sagos. All the while Sagos' undead army destroys and converts the cities of the Blacklands. Eventually, Lady Death and her companions track Sagos down to a temple in Karrion, where they discover Sagos holding Lady Death's mother in chains. Sagos defeats them easily and brings the temple down around them. Lady Death digs herself out and is attacked by Nameless Wolves, slaying all but two of them. These two wolves become her companions.
In the city of Asuwa, Lady Death recovers the sword Deathbringer, which was specially made for her by Satasha and The Silent One. Deathbringer is able to withstand her energies without being destroyed, and allows her to channel her magic through it.
Lady Death then bathes in the Fanghorn river, which grants knowledge of elemental magic to those who survive the experience. She uses this power to save Satasha's home city from destruction, but learns that Sagos does not plan to just conquer the Blacklands, but to wipe out all life, and that he has the means to do it.
Lady Death was originally published by Chaos Comics and remains one of the best examples of the bad girl titles that took the American comic book industry by storm during the early 1990s. The earliest issues of Lady Death were written by Brian Pulido and illustrated by the late Steven Hughes. Lady Death was originally conceived as a violent
anti-hero, but subsequent iterations have toned down the more controversial aspects of the character.
At first, Lady Death was extremely popular and sold strongly. In a recent interview, Brian Pulido revealed that the high point of Lady Death's popularity was in August 1995, when Chaos comics sold approximately $980,000 worth of Lady Death merchandise in a single month [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/buddy/104305863170834.htm] . However, sales declined rapidly in the later half of the decade due to broader changes in the comic book industry. By the middle of 2001, it was obvious to industry observers that Chaos Comics was in serious financial trouble.
In August 2002, Chaos! Comics filed for
Chapter 7 bankruptcyand the intellectual property rights to Lady Death were sold to CrossGenEntertainment. Brian Pulido continued to work on Lady Death for Crossgen, creating a new series titled Medieval Lady Death that was released in February 2003. This version of Lady Death made substantial changes to the character in an attempt to capture a larger mainstream audience.
Despite "Medieval Lady Death" enjoying reasonable sales, CrossGen Entertainment ran into financial difficulties of its own and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 18 2004 in
Tampa, Florida. During the bankruptcy proceedings, the rights to Lady Death were sold to Avatar Press. The other properties were sold to Tales of Wonder.
In 2004, a feature-length animated motion picture based upon the original version of Lady Death was released [http://www.ladydeaththemovie.com/] . Produced by ADV films, the Lady Death animated feature premiered at Comic-Con International in
San Diegoon July 23rd, 2004. The film received horrendous reviews and was not a major financial success.
In July 2005, Avatar Press unveiled a new version of Lady Death [http://www.avatarpress.com/ladydeath/] . Both "Medieval Lady Death" as well as the "Classic Lady Death" are being issued, with notably many variant covers. With Brian Pulido's scripts and Avatar Press artists, include Juan Jose Ryp,
Daniel HDR, Richard Ortiz, Ron Adrian, Di Amorin and Gabriel Guzman.
Lady Death comic series
* The Reckoning 1994
* Between Heaven & Hell 1995
* The Odessey 1996
* The Crucible 1996
* Death Becomes Her 1997
* Wicked Ways 1998
* The Harrowing 1998
* The Covenant 1998
* Dragon Wars 1998
* Retribution 1998
* Inferno 1999
* The Rapture 1999
* Judgement War 1999
* Armageddon 1999
* Dark Millennium 2000
* Tribulation 2000
* Love Bites 2001
* River Of Fear 2001
* Alive 2001
* Last Rites 2001
* Heartbreaker 2002
* The Gauntlet 2002
* Goddess Returns 2002
* Dark Alliance 2002 (Final Series from Chaos - Incomplete)
*"A Medieval Tale "(2003)
*"The Wild Hunt " (2004; incomplete)
Avatar Presspublishes two versions of Lady Death: the Classic version (revamped slightly due to her separation from the Chaos! Comicsuniverse), and Medieval Lady Death (the all-ages version from "A Medieval Tale" published at CrossGen)
*Classic Lady Death:
** Abandon All Hope (1st Avatar story) 2005
** Blacklands (2nd Avatar story) 2006-2007
** Cursed (yet to be released)
** The Wicked (*) 2005
** Death Goddess (*) 2005
** Dead Rising (*) 2004
** Infernal Sins (*) 2006
** Lost Souls (*) ("crossover between Lady Death,
War Angel, Pandora, and Unholy") 2005-2006
*** Lady Death vs War Angel (sequel to Lost Souls)
*** Lady Death vs Pandora (conclusion to Lost Souls trilogy)
** Lady Death / Shi (*)
** Pirate Queen (*)
** Sacrilege (*)
*** (*)=To be read in no particular order.
*Medieval Lady Death:
** Medieval Lady Death (first Avatar story) 2005
** Medieval Lady Death/Belladonna 2005
** Medieval Lady Death: War of the Winds 2006-2007
Avatar Press(current publisher)
Purgatori(nemesis in Chaos Comics)
Taarnafrom "Heavy Metal", to whom Lady Death bears a resemblance
* [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/buddy/104305863170834.htm Interview with Brian Pulido] . Accessed 17 September, 2005.
* [http://www.avatarpress.com/ladydeath/about/ Avatar Press Information Page on Lady Death] . Accessed 17 September, 2005.
*imdb title|0354690|Lady Death Accessed 17 September, 2005.
* [http://www.danielhdr.com.br Daniel HDR - Current Lady Death book artist] .
* [http://hqmaniacs.uol.com.br/principal.asp?acao=noticias&cod_noticia=10444 Release note about Lady Death - Lost Souls - in portuguese]
* [http://www.ladydeathuniverse.com Lady Death Universe]
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