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  1.  (1606.21)
    In hindsight, there is one thing that needs to be recapitulated here, as I guess memories are short:

    I actually had no intention of going back into WFH (work for hire). The creator owned stuff was selling to expected numbers and things were ticking along fine.

    What happened was that Mark Millar and Brian Bendis got in touch -- they'd hit a scheduling wall and weren't able to service twelve issues of ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, and asked me to help them out. And when your friends ask you for a favour, you do it, you know? So I said yes, and got to work.

    That's how I ended up doing more superhero comics.

    The first odd thing happened after the first issue came out. Now, remember, I'd been doing mostly original material for the previous few years, and doing fine. But I was suddenly flooded with email from kids -- teenagers -- who had never heard of me before. What was happening, it turned out, was that I was reaching seven or eight hundred stores at maximum, and there was anything up to a couple of thousand stores who just weren't ordering my stuff. I remember talking this over with people at Marvel and particularly DC, and it turned out that this was in fact the case -- that two thirds of comics stores really don't order much other than superhero comics and a few licensed books. And in those years of doing my own thing, the audience had turned over to the point where there were people who'd never read a thing by me. It hadn't been all that long ago that I'd been selling 200,000 copies of DV8 and 150,000 copies of WOLVERINE, I thought...

    The second really odd thing came in some months later. Sales of TRANSMET TPBs spiked massively. And the only thing that had changed was that I was writing UFF. What had happened was that these new readers had liked UFF, gone looking for other stuff by me, found nothing in their local store, gone to Amazon or bookstores, and picked up TRANSMET books. A few months later, I saw numbers on all my other creator-owned TPBs pick up too.

    And now we can sell more than 12,000 copies of CRECY in a matter of months.

    And what's REALLY strange is that I discovered Marvel under Joe Quesada and Dan Buckley is in fact a really nice place to work.
    •  
      CommentAuthorLynn
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.22)
    Well put, that's why I started with an indy comic. And now if all goes well I'm getting a paid gig. I suppose that would be like people paying to see round my house.

    And that's fine with me. It's a labour of love really.
    •  
      CommentAuthorwarrenellis
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
     (1606.23)
    Do you think its a difference in your approach, or is it just that you're a hardliner in the movement?

    Oh, it's just a difference in approach. You didn't see Garth, for instance, doing much other WFH. Three miniseries in five years, in addition to PUNISHER? When Grant was doing NEW X-MEN at Marvel, he was only doing NEW X-MEN.

    I get wary of becoming instititionalised...!
  2.  (1606.24)
    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.

    Absolutely. As I say above, if Mark hadn't emailed me, I'd probably be continuing in the pattern I had in 2001-2004...
  3.  (1606.25)
    Well put, that's why I started with an indy comic. And now if all goes well I'm getting a paid gig. I suppose that would be like people paying to see round my house.

    Garth and I used to call it "the Clint Eastwood model," back in the 90s. Clint would do a film for the studio, because it meant he could do one for himself after. So he did THE ROOKIE or whatever, and then did WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART...
  4.  (1606.26)
    Garth and I used to call it "the Clint Eastwood model," back in the 90s. Clint would do a film for the studio, because it meant he could do one for himself after. So he did THE ROOKIE or whatever, and then did WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART...

    So, do you look at most of your mainstream work as short-term money and your creator-owned as long-term?
  5.  (1606.27)
    DV8 sold 200,000 copies?

    I was right; you have signed a pact with Beelzebub.
  6.  (1606.28)
    So, do you look at most of your mainstream work as short-term money and your creator-owned as long-term?

    That is actually what it amounts to, in fact.

    I mean, I find other benefits to working with Marvel. But the fact of the matter is that the creator-owned work pays me far more, for far longer, than the work for hire. The WFH continually introduces me to a new audience. I consider myself to be writing for two different markets, at this time.
    • CommentAuthorMuldrate
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.29)
    Well, I don't know if "congratulations" is the right word here, but Iike I lot of others, I'm personally excited about this. There's a handful or writers that I'll follow onto any book for at least the first issue (and WE is one or I wouldn't be here), but as much I as I enjoyed Nextwave and Thunderbolts, Transmet and a few issues of Global Frequency are some of my favorite books of all time.

    As someone with no ties to the comics industry, I don't have an extensive interest in who owns what, but I have found that creators in general seem to do their best work when the continuity/corporate restrictions are gone and they can work in an environment of pure freedom. Indeed, who wouldn't work best under those conditions?
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      CommentAuthorbrianwood
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.30)
    I think the seven variant covers might have had something to do with it! Still, that was a hot book.

    bri
    • CommentAuthorGregCarter
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.31)
    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.

    For a long time I only wanted to write my own stuff (and draw it). But that was while I was learning how it all works together. Now that I'm working with artists on my original titles, I started thinking I wouldn't mind writing other people's characters too. So I've done a little script doctoring for a few artists that don't work with a full-time writer but need a little help. I wanted to make comics but not be part of the comics business. This has confirmed that I'd like to be on the other side of the line. I wouldn't want to stay on any one title for very long, and not necessarily for the Big Two.

    My fanboy dream title? I would kill to write an arc of Buffy. Dear Joss, I know a guy...
    •  
      CommentAuthorwarrenellis
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
     (1606.32)
    I think the seven variant covers might have had something to do with it!

    Noooo, surely not...!


    If anyone was curious:

    Cover by Humberto Ramos & Sal Regla
    Gluttony Cover by Glenn Fabry
    Greed Cover by J. Scott Campbell & Alex Garner
    Lust Cover by Kevin Nowlan
    Pride cover by Adam Hughes
    Wrath Cover by Liberatore
    Envy Cover by Michael Lopez & Edwin Rosell
    Sloth Cover by Jim Lee & J.D.
  7.  (1606.33)
    That is actually what it amounts to, in fact.

    Yeah, that's what I thought - thanks!
    •  
      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.34)
    It makes perfect sense. If you can make money and keep friends by doing stories that don't really belong to you, why not? Especially if you're good at it.

    I enjoyed UFF, I LOVED Nextwave, but things like Transmet have so much more heart and intelligence to them, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

    Ennis' Punisher is fantastic, but it doesn't hold a candle to Preacher, to add an example of someone else's work.
    • CommentAuthorSullyEliot
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.35)
    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.


    Er... the MAX title will finish in at just under 60 issues, if I recall correctly.

    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! :)


    I'll rephrase. The writers I like the most seem to write on both sides of the industry. Their stories seem more fresh, largely because they are able to do whatever they want in their creator-owned works, whereas in 616 Marvel of the DCU they're limited by continuity. When someone tells me "Oh you can't write that, it's too __________," I think my writing as a whole takes a nosedive. Dunno, maybe I'm just looking at it funny.

    ---

    My interest in you, Warren, stems from reading Desolation Jones, when a friend of mine accused me of mimicking your style and handed me a copy of "Made in England." It was one of the first comics I ever read, and will always be, in my opinion, one of the finest. All this talk about creator-owned titles has me wondering if Desolation Jones is one of them. I was always curious.
  8.  (1606.36)
    All this talk about creator-owned titles has me wondering if Desolation Jones is one of them.


    Yes.
  9.  (1606.37)
    Er... the MAX title will finish in at just under 60 issues, if I recall correctly


    He did Welcome Back Frank, the ongoing MK title and Born before that. Plus some specials. All together its safely over a 100 issues. Tom Peyer did do some fill in the MK run but I can't recall where.
    • CommentAuthorPablo
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
     (1606.38)
    Have you ever considered doing the other approach, the taking one company-owned book and only one book for a few years as a constant, stable source of income that keeps your name fresh among superhero comics readers while cranking out the creator-owned stuff?
    • CommentAuthorphilnelson
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
     (1606.39)
    Jumping back out of trolldom for the moment to say I'm really enjoying this conversation.

    Back to the shadows.
  10.  (1606.40)
    Have you ever considered doing the other approach, the taking one company-owned book and only one book for a few years

    That's less interesting to me.