Brian Pulido has been instrumental to the world of horror comics, producing some of the biggest and best horror books to ever grace the shelves of comic shops. Pulido’s twisted creative gave birth to horror icons like Lady Death & Evil Ernie.
In the early 90s Pulido launched Chaos Comics as a publishing house for his creations and was a trail blazer for independent comic book publishers. Chaos Comics quickly emerged as one of the leading independent comic publishers of the decade, achieving over thirty million dollars in sales in eight languages. Pulido & Chaos also helped pioneer the “bad girl” trend that saw strong female characters take the spotlight as lead protagonist in their own books. The trend quickly took the industry by storm, with Lady Death leading the charge.
While the ’90s brought Chaos Comics unimaginable success on every level, no company was hit harder when the comics industry bottomed out in early 2000. Sales began to free fall for the company and in August 2002, Pulido announced he was filing for bankruptcy and closing Chaos Comics forever. The assets of the company were liquidated and the company’s characters were auctioned off to the highest bidders.
Now Pulido is back and ready to re-launch Lady Death with an all new ongoing series through Avatar Press subsidiary, Boundless Comics. The series will be co-written by Pulido and Mike Wolfer, and is set to launch the character in a whole new direction. We caught up with Pulido to discuss the re-launch of his flagship character Lady Death, the rise and fall of Chaos Comics, the sale of characters like Evil Ernie to Dynamite Publishing, and his upcoming feature film “The Graves” starring Bill Moseley (THe Devil’s Rejects), Tony Todd (Candyman) and Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe.
Lady Death is finally being re-launched as an ongoing title in December. Why re-launch the character now and what can you tell us about the re-launch?
BP: I just came off a hiatus from comics, as I was writing/directing/producing the feature film “The Graves”. We simply thought the time was right. The new series is generally more violent and epic. Lady Death is up against a new foe named Death Queen, who she is important to the story. In the first twelve pages of the first issue, Death Queen robs Lady Death of all she holds dear. Lady Death’s power is stolen from her, and she’s exiled to earth and lives as a knife-wielding assassin named Illandra. At first, she doesn’t even know she’s Lady Death. The monthly is the story of her climb back to power.
The first issue that will re-launch the character is LADY DEATH PREMIERE, which is 16-page comic that is being given away for free. Why in such tough financial times did you guys choose to give the issue away for free?
BP: To wake people up about Lady Death all over again. As you said, it is a tough market out there. There are countless choices. We wanted to give away the first issue so the readers could get hooked again. As of now, we gave away seventy thousand copies of Lady Death Preview.
During the ’90s Lady Death spearhead the “Bad Girl” trend. What was your take on the term and do you feel Lady Death deserves more recognition as a Bad Girl pioneer?
BP: It is a marketing term coined by the press and I’m fine with it. Lady Death, Shi & Vampirella came out around the same time in the early 90’s and we all benefited from reader’s interest in the titles. As for more recognition, I think most people recognize Lady Death as the icon she is and if they don’t, to hell with them.
How hard was it to watch so many publishers jump on the band wagon and flood the market with “Bad Girl” books that had zero substance just to try and cash in on trends?
BP: We were very competitive then and would not rest or allow anyone to take our position.
You operated CHAOS COMICS and proudly waived the flag for independent publishers from 1994-2002. What happened that you feel caused the demise of CHAOS COMICS and how is the business different now from what it was back then?
BP: The demise of Chaos Comics came from bad business strategies on my part. As far as how is the business different now? It is ten times tougher. The big two woke up in the early 2000’s and co-opted the best independent creators who now run their companies extraordinarily well. Retailers want a sure thing to sell and who can blame them.
What do you think of Dynamite Entertainment acquiring the rights to the CHAOS COMICS back catalog of characters? Will you be involved in their re-launch?
BP: I’m as curious as anyone. I have not been asked to be involved.
Tell us a bit about your shift from comics into directing horror films.
BP: I went to film school and made a horror short, “There’s Something Out There”, which played 40 festivals and won a bunch of awards. I parlayed that into writing/producing/directing The Graves.
Tell us a little bit about the upcoming DVD release of THE GRAVES and what horror fans can expect…
BP: See below. The Graves is on DVD from Lionsgate and it has played Syfy 3 times so far and with more to come. The Origins of The Graves started back in the sixties. “I dreamed about making horror films for years,” says writer / director Brian Pulido. When I was four or five, my Mom and I watched horror films together. I have pleasurable recollections of movies like “The hideous Sun Demon” or “Attack of the Crab Monsters. They were scary, but they were fun. When I was seven, Mom took me to the drive-in and we saw Night of the Living Dead. It scared the heck out of me and irrevocably altered the course of my life. Some would say I was too young to be watching this movie, but nothing could stop me. I became a horror devotee. After writing and publishing horror themed comic books for over a decade, I decided I had to make a horror movie.
What was it like working with such legendary horror actors like Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses, Devils Rejects) and Tony Todd (Candyman)?
BP: I got to confer with both of them before the shoot. Tony bounced ideas about Reverend Stockton off me and he was spot on. It was Bill’s idea to become “pig man” when he was on the hunt. Though I was on the fence at first, the second he put on that pig nose, I was sold. These guys are pros and they brought a lot of passion to the movie. I offered them a ton of freedom because I knew to trust them.
For THE GRAVES you cast Lamb of God singer as Deacon Luke. Why did you choose to cast a relative unknown in your film, and what was it about his performance that made him right for the part?
BP: When Randy is on stage, he’s monster. But in real life, he’s a cool dude. I put Randy through the ringer. He had to audition three times. Actually, I put him through an actor’s boot camp and he was open and willing to do the work. He’s the spirit of rage in the movie.
What comics and music are you currently reading/listening to?
BP: In comics I read Captain America, The Walking Dead and Chew. I’m going through a heavy early Rolling Stones / psychedelic rock thing and lots of chick singers like Duffy, Lilly Allen and Billy Miles. Also constantly digging the metal like Lamb of God, Metal Church, Slayer and Black Sabbath.
What’s next for Brian Pulido?
BP: Lots more new comics and a new feature film, a ghost story. Plus a few surprises too.
For more information on Lady Death please visit www.boundlesscomics.com and for more info on Pulido’s feature film “The Graves” starring Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses, Devils Rejects) and Tony Todd (Candyman) please visit www.thegravesmovie.com