Friday, October 12, 2007



Maybe "fear" is the wrong word?

When it comes to British Comicbook writer Warren Ellis I've only read his work on Planetary, Authority, Desolation Jones, and Stormwatch really. I did read a few of his Global Frequency singles found in the discount bin, those were ok, and one of these days I want to pick up his Transmetropolitan trade paperbacks. So, I'm not an expert in Ellis, by any stretch.

Oh, and I did read his first novel, "Crooked Little Vein" when it first came out a few months ago. It was sick, but well-written. Good ending, which I was nervous about really, but he pulled it off.

I currently subscribe to Ellis's own BAD SIGNAL e-newsletter. I have for probably five years or so now. The reason is not because I love his comic writing (it's honestly a little hit and miss for me, really), but because I love to skim his brain for ideas. The guy is seriously a non-stop idea factory.

Want to know a secret? My own little [Subversive Underground] e-newsletters are inspired by his BAD SIGNAL. I always loved the idea that he could jot down a thought, write a bit of prose, or share a link with hundreds of people just by hitting the "send" button. So, this is largely why I felt compelled to create my [SU] e-newsletter. That and the fact that having a weekly article to write for 160 people was great exercise for me as a writer and insured that I would always be writing something of substance.

So, I have Warren Ellis to thank for that, I suppose.

But, why do I fear Warren Ellis? Because he's probably reading this right now. He recently discovered a way to rig up an RSS feed off Technorati that constantly searches for mention of his name in the blogosphere. I wish I knew how to do that. But, this means that he will soon drop by here and look this place over, probably leave a snarky hate-filled comment below this and scamper off to write one of the hundreds of comicbooks he's currently assigned to.

Warren Ellis is watching me. What has the world come to?

Does this mean that I can randomly drop his name on this blog for no good reason and guarantee he'll at least drop by to see what the heck I'm saying about him? That sort of turns the tables on the power struggle now, doesn't it? I think I like this.

Let me tell you why I love Warren Ellis. He is a student of the future. This is why ideas ooze out of his skull twenty four hours a day. He ingests the future and regurgitates it daily like a psychic bowel movement. Let's meditate on that image for a moment, shall we?

Ok. That was fun. But, I love Warren Ellis most of all because he has so vocally championed the notion that comics can be succesful and well-done without capes. I mean, he is evidence that the future of comicbooks is not necessarily super-heroes. That is why I love him.

As a kid, of course, I was addicted to the X-Men. I still have the Dave Cockrum issue I bought from the H.E.B. Grocery in Eagle Pass, Texas with my 35 cents allowance money. It was glorious. I soon was on to the the Claremont-Bryne-Austin run and by then I was hooked on comicbooks. Have been ever since. (Although I wouldn't buy an X-Men comic these days. Unless it was free...and it was illustrated by Paul Pope...and written by me).

But as I've grown older (and the rest of the comic book fan-base has too) I've discovered great books like KABUKI, JINX, THB, HEAVY LIQUID, and a lot of really intelligent, beautiful work that doesn't involve super-heroics or mutants or secret identities or capes.

What I love about Warren Ellis is that he has great ideas. They don't all always live up to their potential, but he is at a great place in his career when he can formulate the idea, make a pitch and have it in production within months.

I envy him.

I wish I had the ability to snap my fingers, spit out a script and a synopsis and have a world-class artist assigned to labor over my ideas.

He and I are a lot alike in some ways. Like Ellis, I have crazy ideas and I move quickly to create them or put things in motion. It's why I created the Parabolic Journal and Plastic Animal Studios and my blog and the [SU] newsletter, etc. It's why this blog is here too. I have ideas. They torture me. I give them life and move on to the next thing.

Still, Ellis and I are also miles apart. He hates Jesus. I love Jesus. I'm not sure what Jesus ever did to Ellis, but I suspect it's more about what those followers of Jesus do and say that pisses him off most of all. And those things piss me off even more. So, we're alike in that respect, I guess. But Ellis is enamored with the detritus of cyberspace, fetish photography, and loads of other stuff I won't type here lest you become tempted to Google them and discover grotesqueries that are best left to blissful ignorance. Suffice it to say, Ellis loves the darkness and I love the light.

And that's…ok. Yin and Yang. Fame and Obscurity. Genius and Wannabe. That's Ellis and Giles.

Still, it must be good to be Warren Ellis. But be careful. He is watching us.


1 comment:

Lito said...

heh... it seems that even if the great white shark swam through these waters, he didn't bite.

Personally, I think Ellis relies too heavily on a shoe box of clever ideas threaded together by some convenient contrivance. Perhaps if he wasn't writing a ton of books at once, he could put as much creativity into the entire package as he does his clever hooks.

It doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading his stuff. On the contrary, I do. I just know to look for one or two knock-my-socks-off moments wrapped in layers of "yawn."