FOR TOMMY: WARREN ELLIS REMIXED
In past interviews I believe you've expressed a desire to
eventually move completely to the OGN format such as Orbiter
rather than miniseries. Joe Quesada has questioned why a creator
or even DC would support this model over the "standard" miniseries,
hardcover collection, softcover collection as that model provides
more revenue streams and also keeps the creators' work visible
for a greater amount of time. Are you interested in the OGN
format strictly for the artistic presentation of the work?
If not, what about Mr. Quesada's view is off?
WARREN: Partly for the artistic presentation of the
work -- not everything works when cut into 22pp chunks. Partly
because, if it's the intended final form, people know it's
the intended final form, and therefore they wait for the final
form -- "waiting for the trade," as it's called today, which
depresses the first of those revenue streams Joe talks about.
Partly because I think OGN is the optimal form and I don't
see the point of arsing around with the compromises when it's
the OGN you're looking for. And, in any case, OGNs go straight
into comics stores, bookstores, record stores, online stores,
and any other market you can shove an OGN into -- multiple
revenue streams for a single "product".
Could you tell us a little about the novel you're working
on right now (the first one)? Maybe a brief description or
something, like the simplified back-cover version (unless
you feel like elaborating)?
WARREN: It's about the Secret Constitution Of The United
States, detectives, and the mental Reset button for the human
race. But it's really all about sex.
LATSON: There was a discussion on why black heroes (outside
of Spawn) don't do well, as far as sells. Priest gave his
reason's why he think's these books don't sell. Would you
care to give your opinion as well?
WARREN: Hm. I'll be honest, it's nothing I've ever
given a great deal of thought to. I don't know that I could
give an informed opinion on that. I'd only be speculating.
it's quite possible it's a recursive thing: Very White Comics
lead to People Who Are Not White concluding that comics say
nothing to them about their lives, and leave the playing field.
With no People Who Are Not White in the comics stores, there's
a demographic unavailable to buy Comics About People Who Are
Not White, they don't do so well, and everyone decides it's
best to just do Very White Comics instead.
also the unarguable fact that Western comics creation is still
a very white field. Not everyone lives in a multicultural
region, either. I remember Morrison joking on stage at the
'99 Melbourne con that there's only one black man in Glasgow.
To an extent, we'll all reflexively write from what we know,
and if there are only a bunch of caucasoids in our lives...
always tried to support gifted female creators trying to enter
the field, because God knows they haven't always been welcome
and the form needs their voices -- but comics are still awful
white, too. And white boy writers are going to end up writing
white boy comics because that's where they come from and that's
ARCHIBALD: Since you're writing UFF now, can you answer
this dubious query: does the Thing have a penis?
WARREN: Yes. It is very large and retracts up into
is wrong with you?
VOULIERIS: 1) Will you give us any info on your work for
hire DC series? team book? solo? Characters you worked with
before or not? 2) Why did you opt out of the other 2 work
for hire DC projects at DC? 3) is this one project that famous
last superhero job you promised an editor (Cavalieri I believe)
WARREN: 1) No.
though I tried.
was in Bad Signal. See, I thought I'd revive BLACKHAWK for
them. So I said to Joey, I'll revive BLACKHAWK for you. Cool,
says Joey. So I write a BLACKHAWK pitch. Not really very superheroey
at all, but fuck it. I write the pitch. Everyone is happy.
It goes up to Paul Levitz. Paul Levitz says, we can't do this,
there's a film option on BLACKHAWK and this goes too far from
the iteration of BLACKHAWK that's intended in the option.
So I said, laughing, okay, I'll change all the names and you
can give it back to me and I'll do it as a creator-owned series
MEHTA: Been playing catch up with this thread but I completely
missed the last one and I wanted to get this in, so apologies
if this has been covered already. Warren, any thoughts on
the recent "rebirth" of the Image guys? Jim Lee doing back
to back solid runs, Liefeld with a new Marvel series, Silvestri
drawing something, and all of them looking to be large sellers?
Did the fan basses simply never go away, or is it that these
artists had enough time to cool off and evolve that they can
seem new or different? Or do the sales have anything to do
with the fact that they appear to have learned from their
mistakes and teamed up with top writers who know their stuff?
On a completely different note, a while back you sent out
an email in regards to webcomics, asking for people to link
you to their work. Was there any reason for this, or just
idle curiosity? Thanks for doing another one of these, and
thanks for writing some of the best stuff in the medium.
WARREN: The webcomics thing? I was just curious. I figured
there had to be better stuff out there than what I was finding,
and I was well aware of being woefully underinformed about
the webcomics movement.
"Image guys" thing: I think it's probably a whole mixture
of those things. I mean, the fan base is provably no longer
there for them. Retailers ordered 200,000 copies of Jim's
SUPERMAN, I think someone said? Jim used to move books in
the millions. Even with speculators in the room, there were
four or five times as many comics stores then as there are
now. Some of these guys, like Silvestri, became distant from
the form -- I imagine more current readers remember him from
THE DARKNESS than from X-MEN or CYBERFORCE, and certainly
with THE DARKNESS he was teamed with an excellent writer.
it's that these guys come with a story. These were the rock
stars of commercial comics in their youth, who went and formed
their own label and became very rich. And now they're reforming
and coming out on tour to play their early catalogue...
BARTUCCIO: Do you get pissed off that a majority of the
people who will read your upcoming UFF and Ultimate Nightmare
work will have no idea you've worked in comics before?
WARREN: God, no. That's part of the appeal of these
gigs. These books will be turning up in comics stores where,
seriously, nothing else I do has been ordered by the management
since maybe THE AUTHORITY. Maybe EXCALIBUR or DV8. There are
at least a thousand stores where my creator-owned non-superhero
just isn't carried. Therefore, one hopes, these books will
end up in the hands of people who've never heard of me --
and if they like the stuff, and research my name a little,
they'll find forty graphic novels of mine...
at Amazon or someone else's store. But whatever.)
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