Let’s just call this Warren Ellis Day and be done with it…

Wednesday afternoon, I’m in the air, and on my way to the concentrated madness that is San Diego Comic-Con International. Ex-Marvel editor Andy Schmidt is sitting in the seat directly in front of me, and I just got through asking him to recline his seat upwards a bit so I’d have enough room to type this. Right next to me is the mother of Eisner-nominated creator David Peterson, whose Mouse Guard title has become THE spotlight book at Archaia Studios Press. Yes, this is the same Archaia Studios Press that will be publishing Miranda Mercury in February of next year. Extremely nice lady that I spent nearly an hour chatting with about comics and how her son was an odds-on favorite to pick up the Eisner he’s up for.

 

Pumping through the headphones is the folder in iTunes labeled “Lab Music” that contains a pretty deep collection of soundtracks, classical music, and hip-hop instrumentals playing at random, which is just about the greatest thing anyone ever came up with. You truly haven’t lived without hearing a John Williams piece sandwiched between a couple 9th Wonder tracks. This can be proven.

But anyway, about Ellis and why this is his day and deservedly so. The self-described “old bastard” is making a rare appearance at this year’s con, and I’m going to don my fanboy hat and have him sign a couple things for me. Besides picking up a few of this week’s books, this is really my main goal for today’s proceedings, since I figure the line for his signings won’t become any shorter after today. Got a copy of Crooked Little Vein, my Come In Alone collection (which as most of you know is the column that made me want a column) and will pick up the first issues of Black Summer and Doktor Sleepless for him to autograph. Which usually isn’t important to me, but given the circumstances…well, why the hell not? Also intent on having Fraction sign my copy of the Casanova hardcover, which naturally uses the same format as Ellis’ Fell.

Just finished Crecy and it’s a pretty solid read with some amazing artwork. Feels like a Warren Ellis special on the History Channel, if that makes any sense. The narrative and presentation is somewhat like Ellis sitting in front of a roomful of kids, explaining in great detail this really cool moment in history, peppered with the words “fuck” and “cunt.” It was highly entertaining and I felt like I’d learned something afterwards, which is a strange sensation from something released by Avatar. But again, Ellis uses his Apparat imprint as a viable home for things that don’t really fit into the mold of regular or mini-series. He presents these worlds, partly formed and populated by interesting leads and then suddenly yanks them away before you can get sick of them. Crecy is the type of book I assume Apparat was created for and gives Ellis another viable avenue for storytelling. Never a bad thing.

Back later with more thoughts after I finish Sleepless and Black Summer…

End Transmission 4:05 pm

 


Okay, this is being done hours after I thought it’d be, so forgive my brevity and the lack of Ellis-related reviews. Preview Night got off to a roaring start with me having to double all the way back to the hotel after reaching the pro check-in and realizing I’d left the badge confirmations in my other bag. When stupid little things like this happen, I tend to take them as general signs that I’m headed for some kind of backwards, fucked-up situation, which is so not the sensation I needed going into this show. Arriving back at the center almost forty minutes later and seeing that they hadn’t even opened the doors yet made me feel a little better, but meeting Ellis a half-hour after that was worth the additional aggravation I’d caused myself.

Avatar had this clever stipulation on the signing that insured folks wouldn’t just bring all their Stormwatch back issues in to be signed. For every two Avatar books you bought off their table, Ellis would sign only one additional item of your choice. So out the window was my master plan of having two copies of Vein signed, along with my Come In Alone book, so I grumbled a bit, picked up Summer and Sleepless (which I was getting anyway) and figured that CIA was the extra book that needed immortalizing. Cool thing was that when I stepped in front of him and he spied the tag, dude actually recognized my name and demanded that he be told why. Then I got all “big time” and was like, “Yeah, I write Ambidextrous for SBC, blah blah blah” and he replied, “Aren’t you doing some comics stuff now?” At this point, I’m flipping out a little and so we start talking about Robin, he wishes me luck and then tells me exactly what is to be done with every comp copy DC happens to send me. The word “fuck” is used while he’s relaying this advice, and it all made for a very cool and incredibly flattering couple of minutes. Shook his hand, walked off feeling pretty good, and there might have even been a smile somewhere in there. Thinking of sneaking into another of his signings to get the other stuff taken care of, but even if it doesn’t happen, he pretty much made the night for me.

Other cool things happened too. I got to thank the Robin editor personally for assigning me an issue of the book, talk a little about what’s next for me at DC, picked up the SD exclusive Paul Pope comic and found the willpower to walk away from his beautiful art book, which likely won’t last the entire weekend. But just like I speculated this morning…today was all about Warren Ellis. Tomorrow I’ll try to find some time to review his newest releases.

Only seems fair…cause he recognized my name and everything…

End Transmission 12:37 am

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