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WAITING FOR TOMMY: WARREN ELLIS REMIXED
By Richard Johnston

MAliChoudhury-cactusmaac: This may have been asked before but what do you want as your tombstone epitaph?
WARREN: You know what Spike Milligan has on his tombstone now? "I told you I was ill." And John Carpenter wanted "I'll be right back."

I want "Woke up in my clothes again this morning."

AARON MEHTA: You, Rich Johnston, Rob Liefeld, Mark Millar and Bob Wayne are all locked in a room. Only one of you is let out alive. Who makes it?
WARREN: Me. Rich is a polite young man from Putney, Millar's a weed, Liefeld is a nice God-fearing young man by all accounts, and Bob Wayne's let himself go since his days of knife-fighting over the last Minnie Mouse Special Oral Edition RealDoll at the pervert conventions in Texas.

RICH: Putney? Putney? Part of the Kingston Vale Posse now Warren. We hunt and kill deer in Richmond with our bare hands! Bring it on!

J.R. LeMar: how about that list of your 8 favorite comic-book writers?
WARREN: Gah.

Hm. In no order, just pulling names out of my arse. Alan Moore. Bryan Talbot. Eddie Campbell. Laurenn McCubbin. Grant Morrison. Mark Millar. Brian Michael Bendis. Garth Ennis.

(Glenn Dakin.)

(Jamie Delano.)

(Enki Bilal. Hugo Pratt. Pierre Christin. Junji Ito. Seth. Buronson.)

(See how pointless it is, making me answer this question?)

 

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THOMAS DENTON: Warren, how do you feel about commemorative plates?
WARREN
: I hope your girlfriend has your nuts off with a pair of bolt cutters

THOMAS DENTON: So that'd be anti-plate then, huh? Liefeld ducked the question altogether, you know.
WARREN: He probably didn't want to offend you.

Or he already owns one.

Or is planning to have you taken care of so he can steal yours.

SIMON KIRBY JR: A "vertigo-ized" Captain Marvel? Interesting idea, but I'm not sure how that would be done in a way that wasn't similar to Miracleman. Care to take a stab at that, Mr. Ellis?
WARREN
: It's a useful thought-experiment for superhero fiction. And you're right, it butts up pretty hard against MARVELMAN.

Captain Marvel is a pig of a job to modernise. For one thing, there's a shrieking cult of greybeards who'll tell you that Captain Marvel doesn't need modernising and comics attained perfection in 1948 or something. They almost have a point, insofar as Captain Marvel is a children's character and as such should probably be approached with that same mix of ever-so-slight spookiness and action-comedy. It is a product of its times, when that kind of cloying innocence and whimsy didn't make people nod out or retch. I mean, look at the opening -- it teaches kids both a little bit of traditional school history with the classical names that make up the word SHAZAM, and it drills in the good old Christian seven deadly sins.

I don't know. Do you make Captain Marvel not a children's character? Why not let some children's characters stay children's characters? If you're going to modernise it, then you probably give it a bit of Harry Potter. The transformation scene in Captain Marvel is primal children's fiction -- say your magic word and suddenly you're not a kid any more, you're imbued with all the superpower of adulthood, you can rescue people or smack them in the face and everybody loves and admires you. It's a similar effect to Harry Potter going to Hogwarts -- you might be small and ugly and different, but somewhere's there's a place where you are loved and admired and heroic. It trips off similar buttons in kids.

So stick 'em together. You're a small kid, and you're lonely in the middle of a big town, walking around on your own, and it's getting late... and you fall down a hole. And you've no friends to yell for. You have to walk down this long abandoned tunnel with weird shit carved into the walls... and at the end of it, things are no less creepy, because there's this old guy who looks like Albus Dumbledore if he'd turned to crack... but this old, wise, kindly guy living in some blocked-up sewer pipe underground is going to be your best and only friend, the clever and loving parent-figure-by-default, who's going to give you the kind of gift you dream of at night -- a magic word, that transforms you.

And in becoming Captain Marvel, you discover there's magic in the everyday world, if you know where to look. And maybe, you know, it's learning how to find and revel in the strangeness in the cracks of the real world that helps Billy Batson grow up right. Helps him grow up to be Captain Marvel, even.

I'm rambling, but you get the gist, I'm sure. Reconfigure it as a piece of modern children's fiction. Let it be what it is, just cut out all the mid-20th Century stuff that dates it so horribly.

RICH: And with that DC are inundated with people pleading for Warren Ellis to be allowed to write Captain Marvel. And Warren only agreeing to it if the comic is in postage stamp-sized format.    

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 Continued Here...

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