Smiley was actually a rat that Ernest Fairchild kept hidden in his room, feeding him with crumbs and any food he could sneak in. For a rat, he was very well behaved, often times staying on Ernie's shoulder or scurrying around and eating dropped foodstuffs. Since he was one of the few things that Ernie was able to enjoy and love, Ernie considered him his best friend.
Unfortunately, Smiley dropped through a weak spot in the kitchen ceiling and fell directly into Mr. Fairchild's bowl of soup. In his anger, he killed Smiley and scorned Ernie for keeping a rodent in the house. It was this relationship he transfered onto the smiley button the nurse pins onto him at the start of Evil Ernie's rampage.
A new take on the psycho button's origin had come to light in Dynamite publishing. Before becoming a button and the demonic guide of Ernest Fairchild, Smiley used to be a regular human and father figure who became a fast food tycoon by the name of Richard Smiley. A parent of two; both a son and daughter born to his loving wife Julia once upon a time. His business was never very popular causing his food chain and family life to hit some pretty hard times, when his wife had contracted cancer business started booming as his family tragedy brought his restaurant more notoriety, much to his guilty joy. To his ultimate dread however his wife's condition wasn't improving no matter how much he and his family preyed at the house of the lord or whichever doctors and hospitals he went too for help. Richard cursed gods name aloud out of anger and despair as he tossed his trademark Smiley buttons across the floor. In that instant the King of Hell appeared before him with a proposition in mind.
In exchange for his wife's good health, Richard dabbled in satanic ritual killings culminating in the slaughter of other sinners whose remains he'd feed to his unsuspecting customers as his homemade burger patties. They're collective sins indirectly condemning the souls of patron consumers to hell All while his occupation would become a quickly rising franchise, enjoying both the rewards of successful industry on top of boons from the devil for his sinful ways; whom would send like minded devil worshipers his way every so often. It wasn't till after Richard failed to bring his son Robert Smiley into the fold, murdering him in a raging depraved act against god. Seeing as he was a devout follower of that which Richard deeply hated him for, did the devil realize his horrendous mistake. This act of blackheartedness not only clued him into the kind of monster his latest acolyte had become, but worse still, the collective of followers Lucifer sent to him turned Mr. Smiley into a competitor for absolute ultimate evil on earth. Seeing a threat to his dominion, Lucifer chose to preemptively strike at his rival, having his demons slaughter The Smiley Family Eating work staff while The Devil himself dealt with CEO. But by then Richard had grown too powerful to take on directly thanks to his depraved business empowering him so, the king of hell Lucifer took the form of his deceased son taking advantage of his hesitance, incinerating him after playing on his guilt. For his crimes however Richards soul wasn't sent to hell for eternal torment but instead was trapped forever within his totem of power. The company mascot button pin which became the new home of his condemned spirit.
Created by Brian Pulido as a side character that had actually very little to do in the original series outside of being the conduit for Lady Death's energy that gives Ernie his Arcane power source. Originally drawn by Steven Hughes.
Smiley had very little to do in the original series of Evil Ernie. He was pretty much static and a conduit for Lady Death's arcane energy that gives Ernie his power source. By the second series Smiley starts it growl and make occasional sounds before finally speaking directly on the page and becoming a voice of conscious for Ernie. Sometimes however he switches between guiding Ernie towards safer options or diverting him towards more fun things. In matters of love he becomes very lecherous with the breasts of female characters, such as Chastity and Lady Death, often in his face while they kiss Ernie.
Initially when separated from Ernie they both fade in power rapidly until Ernie starts to rot and Smiley reverts back to a static pin badge. But after Lady death gives him a power boost he is able to go much longer and can even walk on his crossed bones as legs where before he could only roll. He is also able to launch himself at characters, usually as a distraction in Ernie's defense.
In the new iterations Smiley retains his neurotic persona he developed but to a much more obnoxious degree in that regard. Using a lot of profanity in his lingo as well as making snide, sexual remarks about almost every woman he and Ernest come across. He's also several times more violent, uncouth and bloodthirsty than he was in the old Eternity/Chaos! comics imprint seeing as he takes a more active role in the violence and mutilation the duo wind up getting into. More often then not acting both as Ernie's inspiration for getting down and dirty with his savagely gory kills when not helping to enact them himself while working through Lucifer's hit list of sinners.
Besides having been a truly murderous individual in his human life who'ed achieved god level demonic power for a short time, Smiley is also incredibly knowledgeable about a great many things within the Dynamite Universe. Having an inexplicably detailed understanding about a great many things and people whom he's yet to have met, serving as more than just a sidekick/partner but a wellspring of useful information about a great many things that his handler doesn't know about. In his new iteration Smiley can possess the living by pinning himself to them or hot wire dead corpses by latching on like a parasite, as in hold stories he also serves as Ernie's source of power which supplies the arcane energy animating his corpse. When separated or the button gets damaged smiley is rendered inert and Ernie losses his abilities at a rapid pace.
Major Story Arcs
A ridiculously good natured nurse bought a smiley face badge that was meant to be a gift for Ernie after his rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Ernie's rehabilitation resulted in his apparently accidental death. Of course Ernie's death was really orchestrated by Lady Death to reincarnate Ernie as her Herald of Mega-Death. To do so she needed a conduit to join Ernie's minor psychic abilities with the arcane energy that she hoped to give him. Luckily, the good natured nurse pinned the smiley face badge to Ernie, thinking it was a harmless trinket. Soon after connecting with Ernie, Smiley is born through the arcane energy of hell! He then energizes Ernie and starts feeding him words of encouragement to kill everyone.
In the Youth Gone Wild series, that Evil and Smiley first appear in, Ernie does eventually die. A rocket from Dr.Mary Young hits him and blast him into oblivion. Smiley though, managed to detach before this happens. He rolls around and stops in front of a financial backer for the rehabilitation program that created Ernie. Seeming like a harmless smiley button, the backer (Mr.Stone) picks it up and pricks his finger. He goes home complaining of a headache, and the last panel of the mini-series shows him breaking out in Smiley Face Hives.
At the start of the resurrection series, Mr. Stone, who pricked his finger with smiley, is shown in court as being tired and slightly delusional. He is taken off to the side by Dr.Price, who tells Stone that if he shows any signs of madness then he will take him out. Stone lumps back over to his seat and is called to the stand (the trial is for determining the cause of and those responsible for the Psycho Plague and Evil Ernie). While rising to go to the stand, he begins to hallucinate multiple Smileys in front of his head and hears the voices of the dead. The voices of the dead come from within his own head as Evil Ernie uses his psychic abilities to broadcast the moans from the Endless Graveyard (Lady Death's version of Hell), and the hallucinations are from the Smiley button that somehow ended up in his suit jacket.
After witnessing Stone rave around for a few moments, Price rushes in and blows his stomach out with a shotgun. Mary realizes what has been happening and starts to criticize Stone. The Smiley button was dropped by Stone when he was blown back and now resides on the floor, laughing maniacally. Stone's body on the other hand, stands up and surges with a familiar green energy. In a flash, Evil Ernie is reborn once more. He begins individually killing different members of the courthouse and thengrabs two uzis from downed security guards and uses them to spray the fleeing crowd with. As is expected of Evil's victims, all rise to serve as Dead Onez.
Having seen all the sweet action, Smiley begins crying out to be picked up. Ernie complies, giving him back his old spot on Ernie's leather jacket that he pilfered from Rick Young. Now it's back to business as usual....until Ernie begins to ignore smiley about 3 hours before the finale of War of the Dead. To show Evil that he is important too, Smiley takes off and assist some of Evil's greatest enemies in locating him for a last ditch effort to stop the launch of the nuclear warheads Ernie has control of. At the last minute, Ernie and Smiley put aside their differences and reunite to stave off the assault long enough to launch the missiles.
In the events of War of the Dead, Ernie is destroyed, but somehow Smiley escaped and makes his way into the possession of Oblivia in her battle with Entropy that brings about the un-creation of Armageddon.
Smiley does get his own mini-series which are aptly named for the theme of each "one-shot" in his short series.
A few years after Richard Smiley's fall, he would eventually change hands at the bidding of his master in prepping a potentially powerful vassal to serve him. The Devil would send Smiley to earth in order to prep the unborn Ernest Fairchild by possessing his father into killing his family in a car accident. Eventually coming into the hands of the abused foster child as he preyed to Lucifer for a chance to do what God would not. While inactive Smiley would show Ernie how to enact a ritual sacrifice which involved the murdering of 666 wicked souls in exchange for power, teaching Ernie how to harness his latent psychic abilities to see and tell the wickedness which lies at the soul in order to select his victims. Lacing the Town of Lucretia's water supply with toxins poisoning all of its citizens while accidentally running over his negligent foster mother Eunice with her own truck, afterwards he would walk the next 20 miles to Widmark State Prison in order to kill his abusive father as the last sacrifice. Failing in that Ernie was incarcerated in said prison for 5 years and Smiley was left in a criminal evidence locker while still maintaining a psychic link with him.
At the time of his Execution his final request was that he be given back his jacket and smiley face button. After his death the effects of Ernie's deal with Satan took place, reanimating his mutilated carcass as a demonic undead entity while Smiley was finally brought to life as a twisted Glasgow grinning emblem to complement Evil Ernie's Resurrection.
Powers & Abilities
Though merely an inanimate object by himself once properly powered by the Arcane energies supplied to him by powerful benefactors. Smiley not only takes on a life of his own but gains his own lethality, even while inert he can afflict anyone for the resurrecting of Ernie by pricking them on his pin. He also acts as a conduit which fuels Fairchild with his power source, feeding him Lady Death's arcane energies to both refill and supercharge all of his powers. By himself he can act as a sort of a ballistic to stick and stab people with his needle point. Being the source of Ernest's sustained life and animus while Ernie acted as his host form to cling to for sapience.
If the two are ever separated for prolonged amount of time both he and Smiley begin to weaken considerably, Ernie steadily degenerating back to a lifeless corpse while Smiley reverting to a regular bauble. Thanks to his boost by Lady death Smiley could now act more independently then on. In the re-imagined story, the Psycho Button is much more dangerous, before being cursed into current form Richard was a powerful satanist who drew great boons from feeding the remains of sinners to his victimized customers and selling his patented Smiley Face Pins to them.
Drawing great power from the some million people whom he sold them too, He had access to a host of demonic powers. Ones that put him on near equal footing to that of the demonic chaos lord Lucifer, such as casting and breathing hellfire for offensive purposes. As a button Smiley still retains all of his previous continuity attributes in powering and augmenting Evil Ernie by supplying him with Arcane Energy when he needs it. His source of power was finite however as either his prolonged separation from Ernie or his over expenditure of Arcane power, left him too weak to shield both he and Ernest from an AoE blast the latter unleashed obliterating himself and Purgatori. Like previous Smiley too had more autonomy in his actions being able to operate for a prolonged expanse without needing to reconnect with his charging outlet. Being a demon he could also suck in the souls of those whom Ernie had vanquished for sustenance and power.
He could also outright attack and eviscerate people by latching onto them and chewing'em apart with his teeth. The new Smiley could also pirate the automatic functions of ones body and mind by being pinned onto as a form of possession or reanimation. Thus allowing him to take a more hands on approach when dealing with opponents beside his wearer in combat. He could only move the motions of a single person at a time however but seemed to move his power and essence from smiley button to smiley button, first having used this to magically appear on Ernest's biological father to the pin Ernie owned as a kid.