FOR TOMMY: WARREN ELLIS REMIXED
K: Have any advice for aspiring writers trying to get
into the industry?
WARREN: Find yourself a real job that pays money and
doesn't eat out your guts.
that, kill yourself.
that, concentrate not on writing pitches to major companies,
but on getting published. Doesn't matter where. Hell, publish
yourself. See, the biggest hurdle is in getting published
once. Get published once, and suddenly people will start taking
you seriously. Why? Because it shows someone gambled some
money on you, and that's what it's all about. Publishers are
people who gamble their money on your gift. They're not charities.
They want to make more money that they spent, and that's what
they're gambling you can do for them.
published book with your name on. Hell, do it through Cafe
Press the way Travis Johnson and the Variance crowd have.
And that's your calling card.
you're going to have to find an artist who's as hungry as
you are, or find a way of achieving the images yourself, and
that's going to be a bitch. But it's the nature of the beast.
when Paul Pope first self-published himself, he invented an
imaginary publisher, so that on first glance it looked like
someone else was risking their money on him...
GONZALEZ: Which comics have you enjoyed writing and which
ones did you end up hate writing?
WARREN: I think the single comic I hated writing the
most was STORM, a four-issue mini for Marvel. Most of what
ended up in there isn't even me. It was the absolute nadir
of the Harras-managed X-Men Office, compromised and rewritten
and re-plotted and just fucked around with literally panel
by panel by page. An absolute nightmare of a job.
I enjoyed writing? Too many to list. Most of them.
KIM: What I'm wondering is if you agree that anger and
self hatred are common occupational hazards in the industry;
and if so, whether the industry attracts such people or makes'em
that way; and whether or not working in comics is worth these
and the other hassles that must certainly come with the turf.
If time allows, pls. elaborate.
WARREN: It's interesting. I don't spend a lot of time
among "my fellow professionals" -- I mean, I've only done
one San Diego con, and that was back in '97. I don't do the
British cons in Bristol, though I did appear at the London
comics festival last summer as a favour to my friend Paul
Gravett. I think I only saw one pro at that, and that was
Brendan McCarthy, who came over to complain that my talk was
sold out...! (And I hadn't clapped eyes on Brendan in ten
years, god knows how he recognised me.)
certainly known some very angry people in comics, who could
conceivably be seen as self-hating. But then, a lot of people
seem to think I'm very angry, and then get very confused when
they meet me.
how can I put this? In my small experience, this is a business
that perhaps has a large sector of people who for various
reasons didn't develop a large set of social skills. I've
met some weird comics people, and, as I say, I'm not a big
said, anger and self-hatred are commonplace in any creative
field. It's always going to be endemic to a sector of the
populace. Read EASY RIDERS RAGING BULLS by Peter Biskind.
Robert DeNiro certainly spent his young life, at the very
least, paralysed with self-loathing. You want anger outbursts
and wrecked marriages, read that book (if you haven't already,
kind of question the notion that creators are "overbearingly
righteous and unbending" when it comes from a former editor
-- I've had that sort of thing said to me when I've seen a
book published with my name on but containing very few of
my words. All writers, to some extent, have to believe they're
right about what they're putting down on paper, otherwise
it's not worth the effort of hitting the keys. The job demands
a healthy ego. There are certainly damaged egos in the business,
but they're pretty easy to track by the jobs they take. And
it's pretty obvious that some writers -- mostly American,
I have to say -- are drawn into comics by the attraction of
writing the characters that comforted them as children and
even getting close to the point here? I don't know. What do
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