'Death is a woman,' Comic creator Brian Pulido at Tucson Comic-Con

Comic book creator, writer and producer Brian Pulido’s fascination with horror has been his catalyst for his career in the comic industry.

“My mom used to wake me up in the middle of the night to watch horror films,” Pulido said. “I distinctly remember – I must have been about five or six. Imagine, I was sound asleep and I get a knock on the door, ‘Brian. Brian, wake up. Vincent Price is throwing dead bodies into a pit of fire.'”

Pulido’s numerous works include “Evil Ernie,” “Lady Death,” “Bad Kitty,” “Bedlam” and more. He has been published by Dark Horse Comics and Marvel Comics, which led to his miniseries “The Supernaturals.” 

He was the president of Chaos! Comics, a publisher in Scottsdale that mainly focused on horror comics. Chaos! ran from 1993 until 2002. He also wrote and directed “The Graves,” a film released in 2009.

‘Horror is really the human condition dealing with death’

Pulido’s “Lady Death,” one of his most popular works, follows the story of a goddess — an anti-hero who seeks to spread death across humanity. And although she is a “terrifying” character, there is a stream of relatability that runs through the stories.

“I was a monster kid growing up. I always felt empathy for the monsters in stories,” Pulido said. “Lady Death actually started as a girl named Hope who made a deal to save her mother from the Devil in hell. Therefore, she becomes Lady Death and that’s the cost. But when I think of death and when I started creating her, I thought that death as a woman is far more inviting than the Grim Reaper. She is almost a mother-like figure. And through her quests, the main theme is persistance.”

Pulido said the difference between an anti-hero and a villain is that villains have “evil intentions” whereas the character of Lady Death has a different moral compass that makes her likable.

“Lady Death wouldn’t go to the extent of harming innocents but she will do things that Batman or Superman wouldn’t do,” Pulido said. “An anti-hero may use evil to do good.”

Pulido said there is a point in the creative process where his conscious mind “goes away” and his subconscious mind takes over. He said there are instances where Lady Death takes some charge of her story aside from what he “tells her to do.”

“Lady Death is also an emanation of Ernie’s mind. She is his idea of death and is also a very exaggerated of his ideal woman,” Pulido said. “And she’s had comic book adventures for over 30 years. So, there’s a creative impulse to create her character and then her character begins to speak through me and then she defines herself through actions.”

For Pulido, what materialized before him was a story of persistence.

“Although it’s called ‘Lady Death’, I assert that it’s really a story about life and she’s always overcoming insurmountable challenges,” Pulido said. “And that’s what I realized over time. I was like, ‘Oh wow, it’s really about persistence. It’s about life. It’s about holding on to it. And in a sort of ironic sense, she is one of the more lively characters. But she could care less. She doesn’t even obey the laws of man.”

“Horror is really the human condition dealing with death — avoiding death, running from death,” Pulido said. “It’s also a reflection of the anxiety of the time. It is ultimately exploration. You boil down any horror story — zombie or slasher — it’s always about ruminating on death.  For me, I had a great childhood but lost family members young, so, there’s always been death knocking at the door. It’s always coming. It’s always nearby.”

In the 30 years he has followed Lady Death in her adventures, Pulido has witnessed the evolution in the horror industry. He said that over time, characters such as Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger are seen as “heroes.”

“There is a culture of people who are really, really into them, and I didn’t see that 20 years ago. This is kinda new,” Pulido said. “And I’ve been attending horror conventions as a fan since the early ’80s.”

The saga will continue with the spotlight on Lady Death’s daughter, Chaotica, in the story “Chaotica: Spellbound.” Pulido said more will be published by September 2025. He now owns Coffin Comics, where Lady Death resides within the “Coffinverse,” alongside “La Muerta,” “Hellwitch,” and “Zack, the Zombie Exterminator.”

Pulido and his wife, Francisca Pulido, are the main owners of Tucson Comic-Con. He will be at the convention representing Coffin Comics for the weekend.