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The Power of Warren Ellis

I admire the comics of Warren Ellis. His story sense and work ethic is finely tuned, and he writes stories that, for the most part, I actively want to read. I’ve mentioned my appreciation for his work in previous posts, even though I don’t enjoy everything he writes (Tokyo Storm Warning springs to mind). He isn’t blinded by a love for superheroes yet, ironically, he writes them very well. He has a desire to write different things, to own them and promote them himself. He makes sure he gets the best artists for the job and considers his career as a whole. He understands the business but, more importantly, the craft of comics, as well as wanting to understand it further. I have a long box full of his work, I subscribe to his Bad Signal and check out his website regularly for my dose of weird shit. What I didn’t expect to happen was that I would have a dream about the bastard.

Now, it wasn’t a sexual or disturbing dream, let’s get that out of the way for a start. Also, like most dreams I recall, it was odd and jumbled, and I generally feel that talking about dreams is completely worthless. However, it is vaguely connected to the world of comics, so I thought I would allow myself the indulgence of writing about it.

The dream seemed to be set among the bars and restaurants of Soho. The reason behind this, perhaps, was knowing of his trip to see Patton Oswalt at the Soho Theatre, and this photo in a restaurant afterwards (which I think could be Spiga, a restaurant I have eaten at, which is just down the road from the Soho Theatre).

(In looking for the picture on, I typed Oswald instead of Oswalt – the reply for this was ‘Sorry, no posts matched your stupid question and we have called the police.’)

The dream is unfocussed, as most of mine are, but seem to involve an evening of drinking in various seedy bars in Soho. Sometimes it would be just Warren and myself; others would involve a group of people. Warren would be vivacious and gregarious in the social setting but more thoughtful and relaxed when just the two of us. This seems to correlate with his public persona and private persona, as one would expect from someone who has to portray the part of cranky old bastard to entertain the masses when he has a new book out, but is also a family man who has strong feelings about issues, as can be seen in his writing.

The conversations weren’t about comics; it was mostly about life in general: happiness, love, death, war, politics, religion, stupid jokes – basically, the type of shit that people usually talk about down the pub. This seemed particularly odd to me, as I have many questions about the ninth art with which I would annoy Warren if I was allowed within spitting distance, but made complete sense at the time.

I should point out that I don’t want to be friends with Warren, even if the dream can be interpreted as such. I get a kick out of his comics work, I appreciate his sense of humour in the Bad Signal and his website, and he seems like a decent bloke, but I don’t want to be his mate. I’m fairly anti-social as it is anyway, but it’s more to do with me not wanting to be a sad fucker who would go round annoying people saying, ‘Warren Ellis? Yeah, I know him, he’s a good mate of mine.’ That’s kind of pathetic.

I suppose that the dream possibly extends from the idea that the web-savvy audience of his work know so much about him, as he shares a lot with us in his various websites and his journal emails. Combine that with images of him, taken down the pub with his phone, and you have the basis for the possibility of inventing a dream in which you spend an evening with him drinking whisky (which is particularly odd, as I don’t drink alcohol.) I fucking hope so, anyway …

Warren Ellis. He will invade your mind and fuck with your head.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Seamus Gentz

    It’s Tokyo Storm Warning, actually — a name taken from an Elvis Costello song.

    I agree, though, it wasn’t exactly his best work. Tokyo Storm Warning was an issue of Planetary stretched to three issues, and without John Cassaday’s gorgeous art. Still, he gets points for the title. Elvis Costello is just plain cool.

  2. David

    Thanks for the correction, Seamus. As the post was about a dream, I didn’t go out of my way to fact check it and base it in reality. Also, I’ve probably deliberately forgotten the exact title because it’s one of Warren’s lesser works, which will probably see itself relegated from my collection at some point.

    I’ll have to take your word on Costello and his coolness – his music has never done anything for me, I’m afraid.

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