Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield’s free webcomic, FreakAngels, is six pages of full-colour sequential art on a weekly basis that has been going on for the last few months. Completely free. That’s impressive. It will be collected into hard-copy form eventually, but it will still remain free online. God bless Warren Ellis and his continual desire to plough his own furrow and do things differently from the norm.
It has a great start from the opening intro: ‘23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. 6 years ago, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next.’ The story is about these disaffected youths, who have the ability to talk to each other telepathically over distance, and their history and the effect of one of their number who did his own thing.
Because it is Ellis, it is about the characters and their interactions with each other and ‘normal’ people, with the occasional piece of telekinesis to remind you that it’s a piece of British sci-fi. And because it is Ellis, it has fun dialogue: ‘I refuse to share a mind with people who were raised by the fucking television!’ It’s very enjoyable, and it’s enjoying taking it’s time – Ellis has said that it will be ‘many hundred pages’.
He is working with Duffield, an artist who describes himself accurately as an artist with a style that is a ‘Japanese/European hybrid’. It’s detailed but loose and expressive, and importantly all the characters look different and the setting feels real.
The only problem I have is the loading/scrolling of an online webcomic – I guess I’m an old man – but I like the feel of paper, being able to flip back and forth with ease, not having to wait for the file to download. This means I will pick up the publication when it comes out, but I will enjoy the story on its weekly schedule until then. Respect to Ellis for doing it, and respect to Duffield for producing quality art on a weekly basis.