Comic Book writer from Holywood, Northern Ireland, known for his love of graphic violence and Black Comedy and his intense dislike of superheroes and organized religion. As you can imagine, he has developed quite the devoted Hatedom among some people in the comics community. Some being not very fond of his writing quirks and pet themes, others find that in his strongest works like Hitman, Preacher and Hellblazer Ennis writes with an engaging intensity and even humanity.While he is rather fond of author tracts, his excellent plotting and grasp of character voice makes them work (Assuming you can stomach the subject matter). Many of his characters function as Badass Long Coats, but he is also very good at writing down to earth, mortal characters as well (Agent Clive in Unknown Soldier, Tommy in Hitman, Kev in The Authority). The exception to his loathing of superheroes is none other than Superman himself, surprisingly enough; Ennis writes the character with complete and total respect. Also known for reminding us of the many Crowning Moments Of Awesome in World War II.His most famous works are his four-year run on Marvel's adults-only MAX imprint version of The Punisher (aka Punisher MAX) and Preacher, which he co-created with artist Steve Dillon.He has written for:
The Pro - A foul-mouthed hooker gets superpowers, then gets inducted into an Expy Justice League.
Just a Pilgrim - A group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic wasteland encounter a tough gunslinger who leads them. He turns out to be a psychopathic cannibal and his leadership gets them enmeshed in a conflict that leaves them all dead.
Hitman - An underrated series about Tommy Monaghan, a hitman with superpowers who operates in the mainstream DCU.
Crossed - 28 Days Later meets "The Screwfly Solution"; a mysterious plague turns numerous people into psychotic rapists with crosslike scars on their face.
War StoriesExactly What It Says on the Tin, with each issue focusing on different characters and their involvement in a campaign or battle of various 20th century wars.
303 - A Russian soldier discovers a well-kept secret about the American President and sets out to exact revenge, using an old Lee-Enfeld .303 rifle with one bullet left. Readable, but very much an anti-Bush II revenge fantasy.
The Chronicles Of Wormwood - Danny Wormwood, cable TV producer, is the Antichrist, and his best buddy Jay is the second coming of Christ. Many people want them to bring about the Apocalypse, but they aren't willing to play ball.
Jennifer Blood - A woman is a loving housewife by day, and a crusading vigilante by night. Ennis appears to have intended the book as a comedy, but instead it reads like a distaff version of his run on Punisher. It's one of his less popular works.
Battlefields - A collection of stories set in World War II and during its aftermath, following some of the surviving protagonists well into the postwar period.
Stitched - An American helicopter crew crash-lands in the mountains of Afghanistan. They and the SAS crew they're there to pick up must then contend with a particularly sadistic breed of zombie. A short film of the same name, written and directed by Ennis himself, was shown at a couple of comic conventions in 2011.
Crapsack World: Due to the subject matter that his stories often deal with, many of Ennis's characters inhabit a world that has little or any hope for salvation or justice. Preacher is a story about God Himself having narcissistic personality disorder and it's one of the happiest things he's ever written.
This is the kind of world where, were this a Doctor Who Story, you would root for the Daleks.
Crossover: Ennis doesn't do it a lot, but characters from his major works tend to wander back and forth between stories. Cassidy from Preacher shows up in The Boys as the owner of a bar in New York; Kathryn O'Brien from Punisher is the same CIA agent from the last arc of Hitman; the vampires that Tommy Monaghan kills in the "Dead Man's Land" arc in Hitman are led by the new King of the Vampires, after the previous king was killed by John Constantine; the members of the British SAS unit in Stitched have gone drinking with Kevin Hawkins; Billy Butcher of The Boys has a fondness for 'spacker porn' that originated with Spacker Dave from Ennis' Punisher run; and Nick Fury meets a man named Fuckface who is described as even uglier than Assface.
Depraved Bisexual: A lot of Ennis's villains will bang anything that doesn't run away fast enough. He frequently uses a particular brand of anything-goes, hedonistic bisexuality as a character trait for his villains, as further evidence of their utter amorality. Almost as if to balance this out, though, he's gone well out of his way in many stories, including "The Punisher" and "The Boys," to depict gay people in dedicated, healthy relationships.
Eagle Land: An odd, yet intriguing form of it. He believes the United States is way too self-righteous and full of itself, but he also believes that when Americans choose to get over themselves they showcase what is best and brightest about humanity. The clearest expression of this is from Gunther Hahn in Preacher:
The Myth of America: that simple, honest men, born of her great plains and woods and skies have made a nation of her, and will prove worthy of her when the time is right. Under harsh light, it is false. But a good myth to live up to, all the same.
Appropriately enough, Gunther is a Nazi war criminal.
While Ennis has come up with a great deal of thinly-veiled parodies of various superheroes, most notoriously in The Boys and Hitman, he's more even-handed when he actually writes those characters than many fans give him credit for being. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all depicted in his work as thoroughly competent.Similarly, Ennis' depiction of Spider-Man in TANGLED WEB #1-3 was extremely sympathetic and touching, showcasing Spidey's compassion and genuine heroism. Kyle Rayner was portrayed as naive, well-meaning but ultimately ineffectual, and Wally West was, well, really kind of a dick. The only mainstream superhero that Ennis has consistently refused to write well is Wolverine, who is an idiotic collection of his own cliches every time he appears in Ennis's work.
God Is Evil: Ennis is an atheist, and is very forthcoming about that fact. In his work that deals explicitly with the Judeo-Christian religion, God Himself is either a drooling imbecile (Hellblazer, Chronicles of Wormwood) or a complete asshole (Preacher). Summarized briefly, the world in Ennis's fiction is so deeply flawed that any God responsible for creating it is either insane or unthinkably cruel. God's servants, on the other hand, run the gamut from good to bad to indifferent.
Groin Attack: Ennis is very fond of writing these - both Preacher and The Boys are littered with them, but his Hellblazer run is particularly notorious for them. It was a horror comic where the ultimate horror was always literal castration.
Played with on his run on Dan Dare; in an essay to the collected edition, he openly acknowledges that while he respects the character he has no particular sentimental attachment to him; he does, however, appreciate the values that Dare's creator imbued him with, which attracted him to the project.
Rated M for Manly: Ennis tends to give high praise to traditional masculine values, at the expense of more feminine values. As a result, many of his works have a conservative and sexist feel to them.
This is a common criticism of his work, but at the same time, he manages to avert it in several of his higher-profile stories. The most recent example is in the Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker miniseries from The Boys, where Rebecca successfully manages to talk Billy into breaking the cycle of violence that started with his father. One of the morals of Preacher, in the end, is that Jesse's entire sense of self is mostly bullshit.
Bruce Byfield: On the one hand, he is obsessed with machismo, and of how manly men interact with each other. On the other hand, he also views machismo as ultimately childish, and needing to give way to a less violent maturity that can only be won through the love of wife and family. The places where machismo operates may be the places where he finds stories, but he also considers those who remain there too long as immature.
Slobs Versus Snobs: Of a sort; class conflicts form a central theme in a lot of Ennis' work, and while he's often willing to skewer the negative sides of both on the whole he comes across as being a lot more sympathetic to the working-class stiffs (as represented by ordinary soldiers, police officers, street criminals etc) than people who put themselves up as some kind of 'elite' (the wealthy, elite corporate types, politicians, superheroes, etc).
The Troubles: As one might expect from the best known comic book writer from the disputed area, he has addressed this in several stories.