Shit On Me…

April 26, 2007 at 7:29 pm (Ellis Watch)

Must be a slow day at WarrenEllis.com…look at this front page:

I suppose i did kind of dig my heel into Ellis’ back regarding his Doktor Sleepless coupon campaign, but i’m a full-time student with a part-time job struggling to fill his blog regularly while supporting my drug habits.

 

Calm down, old man: i’m really not that interested in you.

Permalink 1 Comment

Ellis Watch ’07: The New Low for Publishing?

April 22, 2007 at 8:13 pm (Ellis Watch)

So it’s back to the old tracking campaign for Warren Ellis’ website, folks! This time, it’s a tad different, as we’ll focus on how our Internet Jesus (as way too many call him) has been prepping for the release of a few new indie comics this summer, as well as his very first novel.

 

 

Let me start by mentioning that there’s a very interesting indie comic company called Avatar Press. Like most indie comic companies, including Dynamite Entertainment and IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, Avatar is kept afloat by publishing adaptations of movie and TV properties, since they are constant sellers which already have a fan base. Now, these companies do release original comic material themselves, and they are usually they’re creator owned projects instead of work where they pay artists and writers up front for their work.

Creator-owned basically means is that the creators of a given comic book (the writer and penciler, usually) the comic book retain the publication rights to the material, and in exchange don’t see turn around until the cost of publication and distribution has been reimbursed to the publisher in addition to a set amount for them to keep. This formula of creator-owned books is great because it fits into a stipulation for talent with exclusive contracts for one of the 2 big comic publishers (DC and Marvel Comics,) allowing them to publish material outside of their contracted company’s limits and cohesive story continuity. This control over written property came is coming in handy today, as writer Garth Ennis (of Preacher fame) and penciller Darick Robertson (of Transmetropolitan fame) are moving their canceled creator-owned DC series, The Boys, to Dynamite Entertainment this June.

It’s hard to say when a writer is exclusively signed, since they don’t always announce it, but many have them with the exception that they can only do creator owned works outside of the company, and not work for “the other guy”.

BACK TO THE POINT: Avatar is releasing a bunch of projects by Ellis in the coming months, and Ellis is using every way possible to let the people know about them. The above titles: Black Summer, Crecy and Doktor Sleepless are all examples of this. He’s sending out information on his newsletter (titled Bad Signal,) he’s doing interviews left and right and he’s talking about it a lot on his work blog. As it is the most recent project, DOKTOR SLEEPLESS is getting a lot of attention, and is about a doctor from the future or something…

The buildup is that Ellis is doing something i’ve rarely seen. He’s encouraging his avid readers, of which they are many, to take the below form and…

“Please print off, cut out, fill in and hand to your local comics store. DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #1 is released in July — exact shipping date will be given when I get it. ”

Interesting method of spreading the word, but i gotta admit i’d feel a might bit silly walking into my job with one of these forms and expecting to not look daft.

I understand that such works need to sell a ton in order to turn a profit all around, but you gotta admit it’s kinda funny when someone takes such strange steps in effort to ensure sales. If anyone can get away with it, it’s Ellis. At least he isn’t Brian Michael Bendis, who created a character called Ronin in the pages of Marvel’s New Avengers, then copied that same character to their re-imagined Ultimate universe. It’s one thing to remake a classic character  with new ideas, but it’s another to remake your own idea. That’s what we call, lame.

Permalink 9 Comments

WarrenEllis.com: Links 2 3 4 (…like anyone will get a Rammstein reference…)

April 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm (Ellis Watch)

Here’s a handful of links from WarrenEllis.com that i’ve compiled to show why WarrenEllis.com used to be my homepage (It’s currently my RSS reader). Between cans of Redbull, Ellis posts crazy stories from all over the globe, some of which everyone knows about, and others that are far too obscure for any normal person to happen upon.

Like this one, about a drill sergent who made his men dress up like Superman and/or rape them.

Here’s another crazy article, this time about how some Serbs who fancy themselves “vampire hunters” have taken it upon themselves to shove a wooden stake through the heart of deceased former Yugoslavian president/war criminal Slobadon Milosevic., in order to prevent him from coming back from the grave. Ever.

Ellis also tends to showcase things that disturb him that he’s found on the internet. Today he posted this link to a website titled “Abstinence Feels Good” which is attempting to promote abstinence using ipod-like design. It gives me a furrowed-brow and a chill, but taps into the huge amount of crazy religious stuff Ellis posts.

Permalink 3 Comments

The Engine: Egotistical Center for Discussion, or More?

March 8, 2007 at 4:10 pm (Ellis Watch)

So this blog is starting to look like a Warren Ellis Fan Site, but i assure you it just looks that way. One thing that Ellis loves to do is set up a ton of internet sites pertaining to himself. One such item is The Engine, a discussion board designed to facilitate talk about Ellis’ work, AND the work of his friends and hopeful upstarts. Now i’ve always steered clear of web forums, because it’s hard being a comic book fan in American and not being labeled a huge dork, so i fill my time with other things when i can. But i figured, what the hey, lets see what the fuss is about and give it a go if for no other reason than that it’s a class assignment done.

So I created an account for myself, and started to look at the message board for points of interest. Ellis has turned me on to a lot of good creators and sites in the past, so for the most part, i trust his judgement. There’s a lot of interesting threads up, with a lot of discussion about the 2008 election, which is titled “FUCKUP 2008” appropriately, a large amount of news on why the world is coming to an end (Like the no NASA funding for stopping asteroid collisions) and whatever else someone else wants to talk about.

But not surprisingly, the most interesting thing on the message boards involves the new releases every week. The thread begins with a listing of the comics coming out this week and then is followed by comments from some of the creative work behind said titles. This is cool, because it makes these talents real people who have a passion and want to share it with the public. Peachy keen.

Once it gets to actually posting, the process can be a bit daunting when you haven’t established yourself yet. I found myself looking at a thread, saying “Okay, i’ll post here.” then staring at the screen jaw-open while trying to think of something clever to say. Sorta like the feeling you get when you’re the new kid in school and you don’t know what to say when you meet people.

In general, posts don’t necessarily get comments on The Engine. The site functions largely as a place for people to vent ideas, fears, news, opinions and the like. You could go on there and write a post about a lot of things, and never get a single comment like i did. At the same time, you could create a thread on there that gets so many comments you’re no longer in control of the discussion. It’s kind of hit or miss like that.

Now i’ve wanted to be a comic book reviewer all my life, so when i saw on The Engine that they had a comic review thread, i said “That’s for me!” and got right to it. There’s a lot of good material out there today, and if i can help further the production of thought-provoking and intelligent material, then i’m down. So i wrote a review for last week’s issue of 100 Bullet and waited for the comments to flow. At this time, i still haven’t gotten a single comment about my review. It kinda bites, but like i said, it’s hit or miss.

So i tried another thread, this time about something Ellis wrote, in hope of kicking up some interest across the board. The book is titled Newuniversal, and is a reenvisioning of this tired old non-marvel universe superhero book called New Universe. Ellis makes it much more interesting, and it’s very well penciled by a guy named Salvador Larroca, who’s done a lot of stuff for Marvel over the years. The subject of my thread was that every main character in the book is blatantly photo referenced from a Hollywood actor. James Cromwell, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis and the guy who plays “Sawyer” in lost are notable examples of this. Here’s a preview of issue two, and you can see for yourself.

So I waited to see if anyone responded and sure enough, at about 5 AM a guy named Keiron Gillen responded and told me that Ellis stated the referencing was all Larroca’s input. Gillen also happens to be a comic book writer, who’s latest project Phonogram is an indie success that i’ve had my eye on buying for some time now. That was kinda cool for what it was. Then i got the mother-load: Ellis himself posted a response to my thread. Here’s the gist of the entries:

Me:”I’ve been a fan of Internet Jesus’ work since i first picked up Authority over half a decade ago, and i still give every single project he creates a good hunk of my weekly paycheck. That said, i am rather confused about the photo referencing in his new book Newuniversal. I love the script, but why exactly does every character in the book look exactly like a specific famous movie star?

Before i go any further, i love the book and think it’s an extreamly well presented take on what could be a superhero book, but clearly is not. The writing is sharp as hell and the pencils are the best i’ve seen from Larroca ever. But i know a few people have been turned off of future issues because they don’t want to see James Cromwell, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis and Sawyer from “Lost” in a comic every month.

My question is: Whose decision was it to make every character obvously based on a movie star? Was it Mr. Ellis or Sal Larroca? Maybe editor Axel Alonso?

Anybody know why?

Caleb Lyons”

Keiron Gillen: “Mr Ellis has said that it was Mr Larroca’s interpretation. KG”

Me: “Thanks, it was bothering the crap out of me.”

Warren Ellis: “Yeah, it was all Salva’s decision. Changes are coming.




…seldom have opportunites arisen where i can bring forth the full bearing of my man-chi”

 

End of post. Pretty fuckin’ cool when you can ask an author a question and get a response in under 5 hours. Plus, i got that foreboding hint from Ellis about “Changes are coming,” and how awesome is that? Sorry, had a fan-boy moment, but the bottom line is i finally got a post with a response from exactly who i wanted it from. That makes The Engine cool.

A creepy thing about The Engine is that its viewed as much more professional than your average comic book forum, because it’s fairly well designed and conceived/moderated by one of the industry’s top talents. I’ve been following Ellis since i happened upon The Authority and Transmetropolitian, which all journalists should read, and from reading his newsletters, you can tell that he has personal relationships with lots of the industry’s top talents. With all that said, it’s a safe bet that if you say something about a particular writer or his works on The Engine, they’ll catch wind of it and maybe even get back to you. You’re not just talking to fan-boys, you’re talking to the people who spent their month making the material, which is cool on a lot of levels to me.

Overall, I’d say the site is really worthwhile for those who enjoy non-superhero comics, want to create their own comic, or just want to find someplace to chat about craziness happening in the world. I’ll definitely be frequenting it from now on, so maybe i’ll see somebody i know on there sometime.

Permalink 3 Comments

Warren’s Photo Heaven & Crazy Religious Zealot Depot

February 27, 2007 at 6:50 pm (Ellis Watch)

Ellis loves to use his blog to showcase the art of his friend, specifically female photographers. Whether other members of the comicbook community or just someone who lives in Iceland who has a nikkon, the site has plenty of strange weekly filler to make your day strange.

The most prominetly displayed example of this is Katie West, who does almost nothing but take naked/half-naked pictures of herself. For whatever reason, Ellis has been showcasing West’s work for years now, and as i understand, she makes a living selling prints of her work. Here’s a few examples:
Katie West

West Having An Apparent Good Idea...

Lovely, yes?

Ellis (much like myself) has a fascination with strange religious shit. Cults, psycho-christians, gay evangelic priests who buy meth from male prostitutes….the usual stuff. It serves as an almost alternative news site for people who don’t want to deal with CNN’s increasing effort at making their news clips humorous.

Permalink 1 Comment

Warren Ellis: You are mine

February 22, 2007 at 10:20 pm (Ellis Watch)

So the blog i’ll be tracking this semester is WarrenEllis.com which is sorta kinda the reasearch site of graphic novel/comicbook writer/author, you guessed it, Warren Ellis. The site, which runs through WordPress(Fuck Yeah!) stems from his old research blog he used to maintain, titled DiePunyHumans.com, which if you check the window, is now a site dedicated to the watch for future technologies.

As of now, WarrenEllis.com has a lot of crazy ass shit on it. He uses the site to showcase everything from his own works, the photographic work of his friends, his friend’s work, and what i enjoy most, nutty shit that he uses in his reasearch. A good example of how the author uses his reasearch blog in his comics was from an article he linked months ago about a drug called BZ.

Basically, the drug was being used by Iraqi insurgents right before a suicide attack. It induces a days long violent hallucination, which allowed any crazy bastard brave enough to take it to think they were something between Jesus and Iron Man. Now, while the story itself is fucking fascinating, just 2 weeks ago the use of this reasearch material surfaced in the pages of a detective comic Ellis writes titled Fell.

In this issue of Fell (cover to the left,) the main character, coupled with a DA, try to charge a suspect with murder one. It turns out he’d stolen a box full of the BZ from a warehouse, which was shot, exposing him to the drug. He then killed a local woman who rejected his advances and got off the murder charge because he was under the influence.

The bottom line here is that by following his blog you can understand the process behind the writing. And that, I happen to think it pretty cool.

Permalink 5 Comments