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Lady Death is a fictional goddess appearing in American comic books published by Eternity Comics. Created by Brian Pulido and Steven Hughes, Lady Death first appeared in Evil Ernie #1 in December 1991. Lady Death then reappeared in the Evil Ernie: The Resurrection mini-series published by Pulido under his now defunct company Chaos! Comics in 1994. After a 3-year hiatus, Avatar Press announced that it would create a separate company called Boundless to publish the character beginning in late 2010. 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 Molenaar and 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 Jusko and Julie Bell.
Once a mortal woman, Hope became a powerful queen of Hell after making a desperate deal with a demon to escape being burned at the stake. Despite her infernal nature, she retained the heroism she had in her former life and strives to use her arcane powers for good. Lady Death is one of the most popular and recognizable of the modern comic book “bad girls.”
Before becoming Hell’s queen, Lady Death was an ordinary young woman named Hope in medieval Europe. Her father, Matthias, was a demon-worshipping warlord and practitioner of witchcraft, whose crimes against his people caused them to turn against his daughter. She was falsely accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake, but before the flames consumed her, she recited an incantation she overheard her father use, calling forth a demon. She brokered a deal with it to enter hell in exchange for her willing renouncement of her humanity.
Once Hope is banished to hell, she sets about gaining the means to kill her demonic father. Lucifer grants her powers, crafts a sword for her and clothes her in her the demonic raiment that becomes her most iconic costume. During her time in hell, Hope’s humanity slowly drains away, leaving her taller, stronger, more buxom with pearl white eyes, deathly pale skin and hair.
Comfortable in her inhumanity, Lady Death turns on Lucifer, intent on overthrowing his kingdom. She defeats him in single combat and takes his throne. However, her victory comes at a price: Lucifer lays a curse on her. Lady Death may never return to the mortal plane so long as the living walk the earth. Thus, her reason for employing Evil Ernie as her agent of destruction becomes clear: without him to do her dirty work, she can never return home.
With Lucifer cast out, Lady Death re-models Hell in the image of the Endless Graveyard, a place for all the souls she will reap in her bloodthirsty question to return to earth.
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