FEATURING AN

INTERVIEW WITH
WARREN ELLIS
PLUS COMICS FROM
THE BEST INDIE
TALENT AROUND
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NICE PEOPLE, NEW TALENT AND SEXUALLY
GRATIFIED DOGS
It’s funny that the accepted stereotype for comics people is of
socially awkward nerds; locked away in poster-lined bedrooms with
only obscure web forums and Star Wars air-fix for company.
It’s funny because having already migrated through the worlds
of publishing, film and creative agencies – this comics industry is
probably the most friendly, sociable place we’ve ever discovered.
Take ELCAF a few months back. A room full of the most
talented artists you’ll find anywhere in Europe, all chatting,
drinking beers and setting up collaborations with newcomers.
We met one artist, said we liked their work and before long were
three sheets to the wind with a submission in tow. Could you
imagine the equivalent at a UK film event? We tried it once, only
for the producer in question to nose our name badge and explain:
“I’ve not the fucking time for no-ones.” Charming.
Nope, unlike other creative media, comics seem to have grown
up without the egomaniacs who’d rather nosh a dog than
champion new talent. People are friendly, newcomers flourish and
everyone’s content. Except perhaps the dogs.
Anyway, enough eulogising. This month we were lucky enough
to grab a short interview with Warren Ellis and, believe us, he
doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Nor poorly constructed questions.
We’ve also an excellent selection of comics from both familiar faces
and newcomers – who we very much do have time for.
Enjoy!
DANIEL HUMPHRY
Editor, OFF LIFE
COMICS
Pages 2 — 27
WARREN ELLIS
Page 14
YOU HAVE BEEN READING
Page 28

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Since the late 90s you’ve maintained near constant
online interaction with your fans. Why has this been
important to you?
It meant that I didn’t have to engage in a great deal of
prohibitively expensive and time-consuming travel in
order to be able to speak with my readers. It’s probably
the main reason I still have a career.
Given that so much of your work is linked
with technology and its use, do you think that comics
are adequately utilising modern technology and
the internet?
That’s a tough one, actually. In one sense, the comics
medium has absolutely exploded thanks to the net –
webcomics. Webcomics have changed the face of the
field and proven the form has a potential audience far
in excess of previous estimates.
On the other hand, print publishers and the
commercial medium have been ridiculously slow to
adapt for the internet, and are still way behind where
they should be. Interesting times continue.
Transmetropolitan seemed both a love letter to and
an indictment of mass media journalism. What’s your
opinion of journalistic and media standards now, 16
years on from Transmetropolitan first hitting shelves?
The interesting thing is less about journalistic and
media standards – anyone who didn’t think News Corp
was corrupt was simply not paying attention – and
more about the ways the state views journalism now.
SINCE THE MID-90s, WARREN ELLIS' UNIQUE BRAND OF
VISCERAL, AGGRESSIVE YET SOCIALLY INCISIVE STORIES
HAVE BEEN A SHOT IN THE ARM TO MAINSTREAM COMICS.
HERE WAS A WRITER UNAFRAID TO TACKLE THE MOST
TABOO OF THEMES – RELIGION, MASS MEDIA AND
MIGRATION – WITH SCATHING, FUTURE-SHOCK SATIRE
IN TRANSMETROPOLITAN; WHILE ALSO HOPPING BETWEEN
MARVEL STALWARTS SUCH AS X-MEN AND DAREDEVIL.
IF ANYONE HAS ‘GOT’ THE INDUSTRY AND KNOWN WHEN
TO BOB AND WHEN TO WEAVE – IT'S BEEN WARREN.
OFF LIFE WAS FORTUNATE TO GRAB A SHORT INTERVIEW
WITH THE MAN WHO IS NOTORIOUS FOR PULLING NO
PUNCHES. HERE’S HOW IT WENT...
WARREN
15
I mean, yes, journalism has been disrupted and
defunded, but in America there is an outright attack on
journalism by the state.
I think perhaps I wasn’t as cold-eyed about that sort
of thing as I could have been. Transmet is very much a
fantasy of journalism, yes, but the last year has been
one of those experiences of seeing real life overtake
science fiction in fairly grim ways.
Comics sometimes come under fire for being too safe
or auto-biographically introverted. Would you like to
see the comic medium step outside its safety zone
more often?
People were doing that long before me, and long after
me. Anyone who thinks comics exist inside a “safety
zone” just isn’t reading widely enough.
Why do you think that even respectable media
outlets sometimes mock comics as a medium, despite
perhaps not having a great knowledge of it?
You’d need to define your terms. Chris Ware won
serious book prizes, run by respectable media outlets,
for his comics. I don’t see anyone mocking Alan Moore
in the newspapers.
Recently, New York Times writer Joe Queenan
dubbed comics a “plebian, populist artform”. Is this
is a fair evaluation?
I don’t think it’s unfair. It’s an incomplete analysis, but
I doubt he was going for an analysis. It’s a primitive,
low-tech medium, and its accessibility and simple
means of production had it lauded by Marshall
McLuhan and Umberto Eco decades ago.
There has always been tremendous talent in British
comics, but what was it about the 80s/90s that saw a
wave of creators – such as yourself, Ennis and
Morrison – bring a sociopolitical edge to the medium?
Probably just the experience of having grown up in the
70s and 80s, and seeing from the work being published
in those decades that comics were a place where we
could talk sociopolitically.
Even in the most “mainstream” comics of the time,
people like John Wagner, Pat Mills and Alan Grant had
given us permission to do that.
What, for you, is the ideal relationship between
comic writer and artist?
It’s always nice to be on the same page with an artist,
when we understand how each other works and
are aiming for the same effects. I enjoy finding an
artist’s strengths and working to make them look as
good as possible.
Finally, how has the comics industry changed since
those days and are you content with the way it
is evolving?
I don’t really have anything to do with the comics
industry these days – I certainly don’t keep much of an
eye on it – so I doubt I could comment intelligently.
ELLIS
YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT
WARREN AT WARRENELLIS.COM
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INTERVIEW
WARREN ELLIS
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PAGE 14
CHRISSY WILLIAMS
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TOM HUMBERSTONE
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THE HEART HORSE
PAGE 16
ISSUE#6
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