FOR TOMMY: WARREN ELLIS REMIXED
Hi Warren, back when Joe Quesada first got the EIC job at
Marvel you suggested that he wouldn't change the company,
rather that it would change him. Now that you're back doing
WFH at Marvel, and apparently enjoying the experience (as
per one of your recent Bad Signals), do you think you were
wrong way back when and that Joe has succeeded in having a
noticeable, positive effect on the company?
WARREN: Y'know, that's a fair question. I think it
did. And I think that at the end of last year, with corporate
shenanigans and the Unjemasing and particularly a personal
loss he suffered, Joe kind of caught himself. Joe wrote me
a long email at the start of the year to straighten some stuff
out, and there was very much the sense of taking stock, changing
how things are done and not just existing in the environment
of hate and paranoia that's always been endemic at Marvel.
you know, Marvel could be almost David Lynchian at times,
down to the malfunctioning flourescent tubes that flickered
in the corridors.)
discount the effect Jemas is said to have had in the office.
I mean, I know writers who had phone conferences with them
both, who would suddenly find Jemas swearing at them like
he had Tourettes. I think the chaos he created was an integral
part of their early success -- Millar loved and loves him
for his fearlessness -- but by all accounts the guy has some
kind of chemical imbalance that made him a loose cannon by
the end of his tenure as Publisher. With the removal of Jemas
and other company mouthpieces, Marvel may be a lot quieter
than the early part of Joe's tenure, but it certainly seems
to me to be entering a Kinder And Gentler phase.
Are FASTER and BLACK HORSES still projects you are planning
to produce? You've previously mentioned being unable to do
MORNING DRAGONS for free. I was wondering, due to the success
of ORBITER, if Vertigo might be an option, or failing that,
Paradox Press, which has produced the various ROAD TO PERDITION
books in a similar format to that you had planned for MORNING
DRAGONS, and even used Steve Lieber for one of those books.
I'm not sure what the ownership issues would be, of course,
but I, for one, would still love to see this book, if you
ever have a chance to get it published. I can't believe one
of DC's imprints hasn't stepped up...
WARREN: 1) BLACK HORSES, yes. FASTER, I really don't
know any more.
is not an option for MORNING DRAGONS, no.
I am aware that DC are using formats they previously told
me were unavailable to me. You'll notice that I'm no longer
exclusive to DC.
What's your take on the shift back to costumes (mainly in
the X-books)? I was at the shop the other day, and I heard
people talking about how they were glad to see their hereos
back in spandex. Funny thing though, they were all saying
how they loved the black leather 3 years ago. Any idea what's
caused this shift? And perhaps what caused the shift from
spandex to leather the first time?
WARREN: Seems to me you're talking solely about the X-Books.
suits in comics look dumb. You can get John Cassaday and Laura
Martin at the top of their game to illustrate them and they
still look kinda dumb. Some people like the dumb. For those
people, comics are all about the dumb. So, you know, okay.
There are plenty of other comics to read.
As a related question, since you wrote Hellblazer for a while
(and a great run it was!), are you interested at all in the
upcoming Constantine film? I know most fans are expecting
a train wreck, but will you give it a chance?
WARREN: I've read the script. I apologise to the writers
involved, who I'm sure worked very hard, but it's bloody awful.
It's possible things got fixed on the set, I know there seemed
to be an intent to do that -- but in the script John Constantine
is now a man with the (super)power to go to Hell. So long
as his feet are immersed in a bucket of water. Seriously.
think it would have killed them to put "adapted from the works
of Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis" on the script jacket, either,
since it's a Frankensteinian stitch-together of their runs
on the book.
Wich comic do you think had a greatest impact in the field:
Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns? And wich one do you like
more? I see in a previous answer that you didnt like any of
the latest works by Frank Miller? Didnt you like 300?
WARREN: I think they probably had equal influence,
but in the most superficial ways. Very few people attempted
the structural complexity of WATCHMEN, but there were lots
of psychopathic "realistic" superheroes. Very few people went
after the informational density of DKR, but... there were
lots of monomaniacal "realistic" superheroes. I think I liked
didn't enjoy 300. I kept waiting for Kevin Sorbo to turn up.
MURPHY: I'll try to be brief, but I've noticed that your
reinterpretations of different companies' characters tend
to fall into patterns. Marvel-like heros seem to be portrayed
as out of control monsters, starting with the Hulk-like character
in the Gen-13 preview through the treatment of the Four. DC
characters tend to be largely ineffective (the JLA gets beat
by mere mortals early on and Superman, Wonder Woman, and the
Green Lantern are wiped out).
WARREN: The classic Marvel characters were broadly
perceived as "out of control" in the contexts of their own
stories. It was one of the things Stan Lee brought to the
genre. People feared Marvel superheroes. In a cultural context,
Marvel superhero comics of the 60s were unsettling in a genre
previously dominated by the DC characters.
DC heroes, on the other hand, brought the massive world-changing
forces of universal justice and the pinnacles of human achievement
to bear on... bank robbers and people dressed like playing
cards and clocks.
VOULIERIS: 1) Why did the 3 work for hire projects turn
into 1 at DC? Can you tell us what they would have been? Is
JHWilliams the artist of this one DC work for hire book or
is he drawing another book for you altogether? 2) How's the
script for Planetary #22 coming along? (The torture of William
Leather) - in a recent Bad signal you seemed to imply you
were having trouble finishing this issue...
WARREN: 1) Because I dropped out of two.
#22 -- I need to get back to that at the weekend. No wild
rush, because, as I say, I'm still at least a script and a
bit ahead of John. #22 is just a very complex piece of work,
and I'm trying to cram everything that needs to be said into
22 pages, and the story's told across four different time
ROB: Reality TV shows: 1. do you watch them ever? 2. what
does this say about society? 3. is this the proof we're moving
towards the "perfect" future that Dick, Orwell and Vonnegut
WARREN: 1) I looked at I'M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE
once when I heard John Lydon was on it.
things aren't real to a large chunk of Western society until
it -- or they -- are on television? Or that network TV as
we know it is nothing but a delivery system for advertisements,
and reality TV, being staggeringly cheap to make, is the most
efficient eyeball-magnet for ads in TV's Darwinian jungle?
What does it mean, when a thing's cancelled for low ratings?
It means it didn't get enough people to watch the ads in between
Whatever happens is going to be both far nastier, and more
banal (ref. Ballard) than anything those three came up with.
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