Ellis, we’re coming for you
Warren Ellis kicked my brains off!
There are a couple of reasons grown men continue to enjoy comics, speak to anyone and they’ll tell you: sexual frustration, attempts to recapture youth, always having secretly wanted a cape, not having a girlfriend, crying yourself to sleep, loving superman, being a paedophile.
But if you ask anyone that reads comics, they’ll tell you: comics are an art form, the last great American art form.
The last great American art form.
They’re wrong of course. The last great American art form is Tumblr. I can’t believe we were left to wonder what John Goodman’s head would look like on anime girls before Tumblr. Those were dark fucking times.
For myself and my dearest Meerkuts, comics became important to us while trying to escape from University. The escape consisted of nothing more than us and our friends building our own cultural universe and portalling in OMAC style from our bedrooms, but it worked. We bubbled ourselves off, Earth 4778 was ours and with crowbars in hand and filed up cake we decided the shared touchstones that make up The Multiverse.
Studying in the back watered Midlands of the UK, where the only real happiness to be had was abusing yourself in the local Big Bite and the only music scene was the saxophone busker, while lecturers showed us videos of themselves sharing their anus with a pigs heart via a stick, we often lamented the choices that had lead us to Leicester. Those were dark fucking times.
But then, those four colour bursts of glory! The notes of a thousand angels! Magnificent sessions filled with comics, books, hip-hop, decks and discovery!
Stealing kisses with Morrison, fondling Moore and stroking early Bendis! Sharing Shadow, cuddling with Cut Chemist and marrying Mr. Scruff! A heady mix of comics, hip-hop, books, films and sure footed un-adultered joy! We built ourselves a mythology from origin to twilight in various chairs and the softest movement of head nods. We were comfortable in our escape.
Transmet caught us both off guard however. It brought us back to the world. Spider brought us back down from the mountain.
Transmet slapped us about and made us pass the books to and fro in hushed, almost dirty tones.
“You gotta read this, we can’t talk until you have”, “I’ve just read five, don’t come near me. Just read it”.
That fucking face. Those glasses. That adamant arrogant belief that nothing matters more than the truth. The satire, the humans, the heartbreak. These are the things that remain.
Transmet was the perfect storm. It was speaking directly to us in our favourite language, wearing the perfect dress and all kitted out in nylon. It wasn’t just about comics like Watchmen or Dark Knight, it wasn’t as metaphorical as the Invisibles, it was a living, breathing world that was used to comment on our own. It is The Chair leg of Truth beating you in the face over and over again for forever and it is brilliant. Personally, at that point in time, the comic made me realise that what happens outside of Earth 4778 is also very, vitally important and I thank Mr. Ellis for that. It’s hard for Superman to get that across y’know? Spider breezed it. In Transmetropolitan we saw relevance, humour, and people to admire. People that taught us that sometimes an uncomprising, hardlined view that folks really should just be fucking nice to each other really is all it takes.
It’s pretty safe to say we’ve followed Warren Ellis ever since.
As part of the evolution of this site, we’ll be taking some time to look at some our favourite creators in depth. For the next month or so we’ll be posting quite a few pieces on works by Mister Ellis and offering various degrees of commentary on the cannon of our lovely, mad futurist bastard.
We hope you enjoy it, and please let us know your thoughts in the comments.