"It went like this. Sam Register phoned me up and said, "We'd really like you to write a G.I. Joe animation, at a PG-13 rating, aimed at an older viewer." I said, "I've never seen a GI JOE cartoon in my life. The closest I got to a GI JOE comic was drinking with Larry Hama. I've never even seen a GI JOE. Couldn't tell you what they look like if you paid me. I know nothing about GI JOE. It is meaningless in my world."
"Excellent," Sam said. "Just the guy we need."
It was hard not to notice, at this point, that Sam Register is crazier than a shithouse rat. Therefore I decided to take the job." "G.I. Joe: Resolute is like Warren Ellis made tender, passionate love to our childhoods, and he had an enormous dick." "What? I bring joy to the world. I am filled with mirth and sunlight. Also, I am Batman." "I admit that I have sometimes claimed to be Batman in the past. But only when really, really drunk." A lot of people — including some respected professionals — told me that lowering the price of a comic was suicide. We're probably going to top out at around 25,000. So, basically, up your arses. Does the Emperor wear no clothes? Or are you simply imagining him naked? "It is so fucking cold. Outside, the sky's cut in half. There's this huge black cloudbank covering half the sky, just radiating cold and rain and doom, waiting for me to step outside. And it's not moving. It's waiting. The other half? Blue sky. Every erg of heat in England just flying up through it into space. There's some Russian bastard on the ISS right now looking down and saying, see, my country is saved, the Russian winter is moving east to FREEZE WARREN'S NUTS OFF." "You can't write a graphic novel thinking about a future movie because that way leads to madness or Mark Millar." "Stephen King says that if you forget an idea, then it can't have been any good. He means he, not you. You are not Stephen King. Do not attempt to emulate Stephen King at home."
"What happens when a superheros pursuit of justice leads him to the inexorable conclusion that he must kill his President to save his country?...This is the freedom of doing a piece of superhero fiction outside the auspices of company ownership or the weight of continuity: the big questions can be asked in a very direct and brutal manner. In this world, masked adventurers on the run are not going to be pursued, tricked and trapped by their estranged colleagues. Every last one of them is going to be hunted by the combined forces of the US military structure. It is, to my mind, what would always happen the streets of America would be secured by soldiers and gun emplacements and helicopters against the threat of the flying superhuman.
And for those who think Im being anti-American, consider this: in Britain, wed just have the SAS kill them in their beds. You people are young, and have not yet learned how to do business." "Warren Ellis has killed over forty people in single combat over the last two years. Eight of them died by Ellis' bare hands and teeth. So let's have no more smart comments about the English and their bad teeth. He ripped out their throats and bit their hearts in half. That takes good teeth. Hearts are hard. Dense and chewy. You couldn't do it."
—About the Author
cover blurb for Planetary
I love science fiction. Its where I can let rip. I have the actual scientific education of a mollusc, mind you. I am crap at science. I mean, I was the kid at school who managed to set water on fire, you know? My greatest achievement in science, according to one of my teachers, was climbing up on a table and kicking the shit out of a guy whod been bugging me for a month.(Said teacher came up afterwards and told me this, and also that he wished hed done it.) But I read science news obsessively. I love the way science SOUNDS. I love the ideas for their art. Theres a crazy beauty about a theory of dimensional structure that assembles itself into a snowflake, or the idea that reality is a two-dimensional plane of information and the 3-D universe is a hologrammatic side-effect. And thats how I write science fiction. I use the sound of the ideas and then make it all up.
And then it all comes true anyway. The years since I finished TRANSMETROPOLITAN have been a litany of horror. That book is COMING TRUE. Right down to the stupid details Darick Robertson and I threw in like two-headed cats and cameras in shades. Every time I invent something, lately, it turns up in the news six months later(including but not limited to space shuttles blowing up, and in a script I decided not to finish, snipers terrorizing cities.) And then I have to open up the throttle a little more and let more horrible shit out from the back of my head.
It's possible that I'm actually driving humanity towards total apocalypse.
—Epilogue to Angel Stomp Future
There's only so many times I can say "folklore is the operating system of culture" before people start expecting me to conclude my talks by turning into a flock of crows and flapping out the nearest window, in any case.
—Machine Vision email, May 10, 2015
So, what happens is that every year or two Marvel pulls out one from the vaults and tells me I can take it to the lab and, you know, shoot lightning into it and stitch bits of hobo to it and whatever. Its basically all they keep me around for.
—Entertainment Weekly.com interview, August 25, 2015
Let me just pause to freak out anyone who's known me a long time. My daughter turned twenty the other day. TWENTY. Staggered through the door with flu caught off a fresher, green streaks in her hair and demanding food and vodka. So. Proud.
—Machine Vision email, October 18, 2015
You learn to write from reading books, and living your life, and investigating the inside of your own head. Next, you learn how to write comics by pulling them apart and studying their innards to see how they work. This is how you end up as a 24/7 comics writer and also a terrifying shut-in who will eventually go nuts in a very public way and conclude your career as a figure in a newspaper photo captioned FOREST CREATURE SUBDUED BY POLICE TASERS. But I'm serious. You are going to learn how to do this learn your own way to manage the difference in pacing between eight pages and twenty-two pages and one hundred and twenty pages, learn how to achieve effects in timing and drama and emotional nuance, learn when to talk and when to shut up by studying the best comics you can find, and tearing them apart and seeing how they do things and then stealing the tools you can use and adapting them into your own style. You are going to want to read broadly. Make yourself read things you wouldn't ordinarily look at. If superheroes are your favourite, then make yourself read Carla Speed McNeil or Dan Clowes or Marjane Satrapi. If you only read science fiction comics, then force yourself to look at Hugo Pratt and Eddie Campbell and Svetlana Chmakova.
Growing up, my favourite comics writer was Alan Moore. But I learned just as much, if not more, from studying Eddie Campbell, Philippe Druillet, Bryan Talbot, Glenn Dakin, Carol Swain, Will Eisner and a hundred other people.
Read comics. All comics. And then cut them open to steal their power.
—Orbital Operations newsletter, July 20, 2015.
I dont think I could reasonably be accused of over-intellectualising anything. I once wrote a story where a robot kills a giant mutant lizard by jumping inside the lizard and crawling out through the lizards arsehole. Intellectual is something I failed at long ago.
—The Big Issue interview, April 21, 2016
I left angry, intolerant atheism back in my teens. (This didnt stop me from writing certain angry, intolerant atheism characters, of course. Nothing wrong with letting your id out in your work, even if that id is a juvenile screaming arsehole.) Atheism should be characterised, I believe, by a generally relaxed position of tolerance, and the peace that comes with knowing that its just us here and that this is not a rehearsal. I wont be judged by a god or some mysterious universal machinery for being a shrieking hateful prick who doesnt know how to choose a fight or operate an ethos: Ill be judged by myself and other humans. Thats probably worse. Q.
What made you come back to WildStorm?
I'm in a bunker under a building in Burbank. Please help me.
—DC house advertisement for the 2017 WildStorm
This thing we do is not in the nature of a service industry. As a creator, please yourself first. An audience will show up or they won't. That's their call. It's on you to produce the kind of work you want to see in the world.
—Orbital Operations newsletter, August 26, 2018