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      CommentAuthorwarrenellis
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
     (1606.1)
    The tenor -- and, frankly, the informedness -- of online comics conversation over the last five years has changed to the point where I probably need to explain once again why I don't stay long on company-owned works.

    It's as simple as this -- if I don't own it, I'm not going to spend my life on it. Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley know that, they're fine with that, and they hire me on that understanding. EDITED TO ADD: I am work-for-hire exclusive to Marvel, and I move between projects at Marvel with their agreement. I think a few people forgot that.

    Or, if you like: you can only paint someone else's house for so long before you start thinking that it might be nice to own your own house one day.

    I'm okay with painting other people's houses for short periods, because I'm good at it and it pays well and on nice days it's fun. But I never ever confuse painting a house for owning that house. And if I spent every waking hour painting other people's houses, I wouldn't be able to build houses of my own.

    The more creators who only took on housepainting as a part-time gig, the healthier this medium would be.

    For those of you who harbour a wish to write comics, consider this today: you're either on this side of the line, with me and Brian K Vaughan and Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction... or you're not.
  1.  (1606.2)
    I'll confess, I generally don't go in for the non-creator owned stuff. My first comics experience came from reading Cerebus, so Dave Sim's wonderful crazy got in me pretty young. I really like the idea that if you said "That's it, no more 'Fell'" that would be that. In 60 years the estate of Warren Ellis (or your robot head) wouldn't be suing the hell out of Image to get some pittance. Some people buy "cruelty-free" products, I like comics that the creators own.

    Honestly, I'd really like to see more short runs by great creators. I'm not going to buy Green Lantern year in and out if it's terrible. If I knew that Garth Ennis was writing for a year, then a year of Brian K. Vaughn or someone new and talented, then I'd be interested. Especially if those creators weren't at the whim of "continuity" or crossovers or other such. Give me 12 issues of great stories. For every screaming jibbering fanboy who loses his lunchables because Spider-Man is wearing the wrong color socks you'd draw in people who haven't devoted themselves just to the character, but rather are drawn in by great writing.
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      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
     (1606.3)
    This is fine and a great way for you to strike a balance, as well as work on a fantastic variety of projects.

    It doesn't change the fact that it's likely reading Thunderbolts after you leave may very well likely be like watching West Wing after Sorkin left. Lamenting that is part of the grieving process, so please don't begrudge us that.
    • CommentAuthormrph
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.4)
    No complaints here. Although I'll be interested to see what Marvel do with your first arc antagonists afterwards - Thunderbolts has given a number of D-list heroes some credibility, a touch of cool and hard-earned anti-registration credentials, so I'll be a bit disappointed if they don't turn up again somewhere.
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      CommentAuthormojojoseph
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.5)
    I have t admit, for a long time I was very much on the other side of the line. My own ideas were going to be all novels and films, and all my comic work would be on established characters.

    Now however...there are still books I would love to write for because they meant a lot to me in my formative years, like X-Men and any teen superheroes books. But now I also have a lot of my own stuff I want to do in comics. The first project is getting a five page introduction comic in an anthology series I'm publishing out later this year (you heard it here first, etc etc).

    I think for me it's because you just can't do the important stories that you would like or hope may define your career as a writer within the books of the big companies. It has to be your own stuff. For example, to take your work Mr.Ellis, I always consider comics like Scars, Transmetroploitan and Desolation Jones to be the ones that really define your own desired work, whereas the work you do for mainstream comics like Iron Man are fantastic and often the best the character has been done (Ihad absolutely no interest in Iron Man until Extremis) but it's as you say, it's a bit of fun and a job, the real creative fun comes out when your doing the work which all you and all your characters.

    I'm glad I came to that decision as I matured as a person and a writer, otherwise I would have been a chronic Mary Sue writer, writing absolute rubbish like Chuck Austen.
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      CommentAuthorGreg SBB!
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.6)
    Like you say, there's room for both and, I imagine, they fulfil different remits (unbridled creativity and longterm gain vs paying the mortgage now).

    While I'd happily trade your whole run on various WFH titles for new Desolation Jones, Doctor Sleepless or Lazarus Churchyard, without company-owned stuff I'd never have enjoyed the madcap ride of Nextwave or your excellent run on Excalibur or the bitter genius of Ruins.
    • CommentAuthordeadhuman
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.7)
    @Mr. Warren Ellis
    Thanx.
  2.  (1606.8)
    ...Do you want someone to paint your house?
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      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.9)
    Yeah, thanks for your great work on the book should not go unsaid. Always looking forward to your next projects.
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      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.10)
    I admittedly never actually picked up an issue of Thunderbolts. Thought about it, since it had Warrens name on it, but I didn't feel like I was familiar enough with the characters and it'd be like starting a book in the middle. Why I only read books that have a starting point that isn't 50 years ago, not that Thunderbolts is, but the characters in the story all have their own histories that I have no idea about. I need to know those things for some reason before I can enjoy a story.

    I only buy creator owned stuff though, because people running around in capes and the sort doesn't appeal very much to me.
  3.  (1606.11)
    I'm glad I came to that decision as I matured as a person and a writer, otherwise I would have been a chronic Mary Sue writer, writing absolute rubbish like Chuck Austen.

    1) "Mary Sue" is a shortcut to thinking. On the whole, people I see using the term "Mary Sue" never ever get to be working writers.

    2) Chuck Austen started out in creator-owned work.
  4.  (1606.12)
    Warren, thanks for the two awesome arcs. So far it's been a roller coaster ride full of pervert suits and breakneck twists.
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      CommentAuthorgdwessel
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.13)
    For those of you who harbour a wish to write comics, consider this today: you're either on this side of the line, with me and Brian K Vaughan and Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction... or you're not.

    Nope, no issues here. I would love to work for Marvel and DC in my life, but I harbor no illusions of ownership of their stuff, nor do I feel they're the only options. I have plenty of ideas of My Own to cultivate outside of that in addition to ideas of Their Own too. I know (as much as I can without being In The Biz) what I'm setting myself up for and I welcome it all.
  5.  (1606.14)
    I'm used to just lurking at Whitechapel, but seeing as you are admitting questions, here's this one: when has the language changed from "i don't do superhero comics" to "i don't stay long in superhero comics"? I'm not judging, but I remember when Orbiter and a bunch of Wildstorm deals were flowing, and you said you had one or two superhero projects (maybe the 'Joey Cavalieri one'?), and then you'd be totally done with it? Why bother underlining these differences at all? As a reader I do consider your lengthy creator-owned work your 'tricks bible', and still, whenever I need to explain your style, I go back to the cape job. You do not stay long on a said property, but if I had to measure what I've read in pages, I'd guess you've written more superheroes than creator-owned. Is this true?
    • CommentAuthorSullyEliot
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.15)
    For those of you who harbour a wish to write comics, consider this today: you're either on this side of the line, with me and Brian K Vaughan and Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction... or you're not.

    While I do harbor a desire to write comics and screenplays, I've got absolutely no idea how to go about getting on one side of the line or the other. Oh, sad, sad day.

    Would I be wrong in assuming that you do enjoy painting people's houses, just not for extended periods of time? If I recall, you've expressed a desire to write more Nextwave, should Stuart Immonen become available, and when I read it, I got the feeling that you had a lot of fun writing it. On that same line of thought, do you consider it a good thing to write both creator-owned and not-creator-owned titles at some point in one's career, or is it better to do just the one or the other? It seems to me that the best creator-owned titles are by people like yourself and Brubaker, people who write on both sides of the industry.
  6.  (1606.16)
    when has the language changed from "i don't do superhero comics" to "i don't stay long in superhero comics"?

    Years ago. Keep up, son!

    When the market changed, to the point where non-superhero books weren't getting ordered in two-thirds of stores -- when that actually became a submarket of its own, in fact. I've talked about this before. I say what I think needs to be said at the time -- dogma is stupid, the environment around you changes all the time and you need to adapt with it. Original work is still and always will be the only coin of value that a writer has -- my point always was and is that you need to be bringing something new to the table, and you can't do that if all you ever intended to do was write Spider-Man.

    but if I had to measure what I've read in pages, I'd guess you've written more superheroes than creator-owned. Is this true?

    I don't think so. Possibly, possibly not. Might be a close-run thing! Having 1300 pages of TRANSMET in there makes it difficult to guess -- that's as many pages as my ULTIMATE FF, EXCALIBUR, THUNDERBOLTS, IRON MAN and ULTIMATE GALACTUS runs, right there... Not particularly interested in the calculation, but I think it'd about balance out...
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      CommentAuthorbrianwood
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.17)
    "On that same line of thought, do you consider it a good thing to write both creator-owned and not-creator-owned titles at some point in one's career, or is it better to do just the one or the other? It seems to me that the best creator-owned titles are by people like yourself and Brubaker, people who write on both sides of the industry."



    Jumping in here, just to put my name in the "only one side of the industry" column. I've done company books here and there (Gen X in '00, Vampirella one-shot in '03) but what's gotten me where I am is pure creator-owned work, and it's what pays the bills and clothes my kid and feeds the Roth IRA accounts. Not to say my choices are better or worse than any of my peers, just that it can be done the way I've done it.

    And I don't think that writing on both sides of the industry automatically makes someone a better writer. But certainly Warren and Ed can write circles around me! :)

    bri
    • CommentAuthorNickMB
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.18)
    Of the writers you listed, most of them have done at least one four or five year run on a company-owned series at some stage. Most extremely, I think Ennis will have done nearly a hundred issues of Punisher by the time he finally jacks it in later this year. Whereas I'm having trouble thinking of a work for hire job of yours, certainly lately, when you've done more than 12 or so issues. (15 or 16 for Ultimate Galactus, maybe.)
    Do you think its a difference in your approach, or is it just that you're a hardliner in the movement?
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      CommentAuthorTony Lee
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.19)
    Agreed.

    If I could afford to, I'd spend more time on creator owned, things like Hope Falls and Dodge & Twist are far more gratifying to me than the work for hire, but I have to say that unless you're a 'known' writer like pretty much everyone you state there (including Fraction these days), you have to take what you can get, and if that's a long term gig? Then you take the long term gig. Because creator owned makes me nothing until I gain the readership. And long term? That gets me the readership.

    Down the line? Sure. I'd love to be able to throw my own stuff out more. But currently? I'm not known enough to look for anything more than whatever I can get. And my short term with Marvel's spandex (approximately one ten pager every two years) is substantially shorter than yours...

    Still, agreed.
  7.  (1606.20)
    thanks for the arcs, warren! i generally follow writers not titles, so i'll be on board for whatever you do next.