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Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis
Ellis at Comic Con in 2010
Born (1968-02-16) February 16, 1968
Essex, England
Nationality English
Area(s) Writer
Notable works
Awards Eagle Award

Warren Girard Ellis (born 16 February 1968) is an English author of comics, novels, and television, who is well known for sociocultural commentary, both through his online presence and through his writing, which covers transhumanist themes (most notably nanotechnology, cryonics, mind transfer, and human enhancement). He is a resident of Southend-on-Sea, England.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • The Authority, Transmetropolitan, and critical acclaim 2.2
    • Return to superhero titles 2.3
    • 2007–present 2.4
  • Online 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • Awards 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Ellis was born in Essex in February 1968. Ellis has stated that the televised broadcast of the moon landing is his earliest coherent memory.[1] He was a student at the South East Essex Sixth Form College, commonly known as SEEVIC. He contributed comic work to the college magazine, Spike, along with Richard Easter, who also later followed a career in writing.

Before starting his career as a writer, he ran a bookstore, ran a pub, worked in bankruptcy, worked in a record shop, lifted compost bags for a living.[2]


Early career

Ellis's writing career started in the British independent magazine Deadline with a six-page short story published in 1990. Other early works include a Judge Dredd short and a Doctor Who one-pager. His first ongoing work, Lazarus Churchyard with D'Israeli, appeared in Blast!, a short-lived British magazine.

By 1994 Ellis had begun working for Marvel Comics, where he took over the series Hellstorm: Prince of Lies with issue number 12, which he wrote until its cancellation after issue number 21. He also did some work on the Marvel 2099 imprint, most notably in a storyline in which a futuristic Doctor Doom took over the United States. His most notable early Marvel work is a run on Excalibur, a superhero series set in Britain. He also wrote a four-issue arc of Thor called "Worldengine", in which he dramatically revamped both the character and book (though the changes lasted only as long as Ellis's run on the book), and tackled Wolverine with then-rising star Leinil Francis Yu.

The Authority, Transmetropolitan, and critical acclaim

Ellis then started working for DC Comics, Caliber Comics, and Image Comics' Wildstorm studio, where he wrote the Gen¹³ spin-off DV8 and took over Stormwatch, a previously action-oriented team book, to which he gave a more idea- and character-driven flavour. He wrote issues 37–50 with artist Tom Raney, and the 11 issues of vol. 2 with artists Oscar Jimenez and Bryan Hitch. He and Hitch followed that with the Stormwatch spin-off The Authority, a cinematic super-action series for which Ellis coined the term "widescreen comics".

In 1997 Ellis started Transmetropolitan, a creator-owned series about an acerbic "gonzo" journalist in a dystopian future America, co-created with artist Darick Robertson and published by DC's Helix imprint. When Helix was discontinued the following year, Transmetropolitan was shifted to the Vertigo imprint, and remained one of the most successful non-superhero comics DC was then publishing.[3] Transmetropolitan ran for 60 issues (plus a few specials), ending in 2002, and the entire run was later collected in a series of trade paperbacks. It remains Ellis's largest work to date.

1999 saw the launch of Planetary, another Wildstorm series by Ellis and John Cassaday, and Ellis's short run on the DC/Vertigo series Hellblazer.[4] He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre.[5][6] Planetary concluded in October 2009 with the release of issue 27.

Return to superhero titles

Ellis also returned to Marvel Comics as part of the company's "Revolution" event, to head the "Counter-X" line of titles. This project was intended to revitalise the X-Men spin-off books Generation X, X-Man, and X-Force, but it was not successful, and Ellis stayed away from mainstream superhero comics for a time.

In 2003 Ellis started Global Frequency, a 12-issue limited series for Wildstorm, and continued to produce work for various publishers, including DC, Avatar Comics, AiT/Planet Lar, Cliffhanger and Homage Comics.

In 2004 Ellis came back to mainstream superhero comics. He took over Ultimate Fantastic Four and Iron Man for Marvel under a temporary exclusive work for hire contract.

Toward the end of 2004 Ellis released the "Apparat Singles Group", which he described as "An imaginary line of comics singles. Four imaginary first issues of imaginary series from an imaginary line of comics, even". The Apparat titles were published by Avatar, but carried only the Apparat logo on their covers.

In 2006 Ellis worked for DC on Jack Cross, which was not well received and was subsequently cancelled. For Marvel he worked on Nextwave, a 12-issue limited series. He also worked on the Ultimate Galactus trilogy. Ellis also took over the Thunderbolts monthly title, which deals with the aftermath of the Marvel Civil War crossover.[7]

In honour of the 20th anniversary of Marvel's New Universe in 2006, Ellis and illustrator Salvador Larroca created a new series that reimagines the New Universe under the title newuniversal. The first issue was released on 6 December 2006.[8]

Ellis continued to work on several projects for different publishers, including Fell (for Image), Desolation Jones (for DC/Wildstorm) and Blackgas and Black Summer (for Avatar Comics).[9] Ellis also wrote an episode of Justice League Unlimited entitled "Dark Heart".


Ellis has managed a series of online forums and media to promote his written works and his creative ideals. They include the Bad Signal mailing list,, and Whitechapel. Ellis is frequently referred to as "The Boss", "Stalin", "The Love Swami" or "Internet Jesus" on these forums.[10]

Ellis's first prose novel, Crooked Little Vein, was published in mid-2007 by William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins). A second novel, Listener, was planned, but was apparently lost and then cancelled.[11] He was also asked to develop a television series for AMC called Dead Channel, but the project is currently on hiatus.[12]

It has recently been announced[13] that Ellis is writing the screenplay for an animated feature film, Castlevania: Dracula's Curse, produced by Frederator Studios of Hollywood and New York. It will be based on the similarly titled video game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.[14][15]

Ellis has described himself as "a notorious pain in the arse for getting involved in book design".[16] According to a comment made in the first issue of Fell, he has more trade paperbacks in print than anyone else in the American comic industry.

Ellis wrote a column for the Suicide Girls website, entitled "The Sunday Hangover", which appeared every Sunday from July to December 2007.[17] He also wrote a Second Life column for Reuters, entitled Second Life Sketches.[18] In Second Life he was known under the name Integral Danton.

On 29 July 2007 Ellis announced two new projects for Avatar Press: FreakAngels, a free long-form webcomic illustrated by Paul Duffield; and Ignition City, a five-issue miniseries.[19] He also has five other current series with Avatar: Anna Mercury,[20][21] No Hero,[22] along with two long series Doktor Sleepless and Gravel.

On 12 June 2008, the front page of The Hollywood Reporter announced that [27]

Gun Machine, the second prose novel by Ellis, was released on 3 January 2013.[28] The novel follows the story of detective John Tallow. Even before its scheduled release date, the novel began receiving critical acclaim, including two favourable reviews in the New York Times and a signature review in Publisher's Weekly. On 9 January, only five days after its official release, Ellis announced on that Gun Machine had attained New York Times best-seller status. On 6 June however, just before the publication of his third novel "Dead Pig Collector", Ellis announced on that "Due to continuing issues, I have terminated my relationship with Mulholland Books."[29] The novel was subsequently published electronically by FSG Originals.[30]

In 2012, Ellis announced via his website and Twitter that, after leaving his deal with Mulholland Books, he would publish a non-fiction book, tentatively entitled Spirit Tracks, with Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The book is "about the future of the city, the ghosts that haunt it and the science-fiction condition we live in." It is based on a talk Ellis gave in Berlin at a conference entitled "Cognitive Cities;" the talk was itself based on a series of posts on his website.[31]

In 2013, Ellis spoke at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay. In his first talk, titled Our Hopeless Future & Other Comedy, he discussed the power of Twitter and how it can 'break' other people's websites. In the second, Thinking Differently, he debated how the internet revolution is changing people's lives and asks whether it is changing how people think.


Ellis has an online presence. He started an email list called From the Desk of in 1998; when technical issues forced that list to shut down in 2001 he started a new email list called "Bad Signal". He started and maintained a number of message boards, and has maintained a personal web site since the late 1990s.




  1. ^ May/orbiter.htm Orbiter
  2. ^ – 10 Questions w/Warren Ellis
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Holmes, Thomas Alan (2005) "Warren Ellis’ 'Shoot' and Media Passivity." International Journal of Comic Art. 7 (2). 370–374
  6. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Avatar #01
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Frederator Studios
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Introduction to 'Strange Kiss Cover Notes', Strange Kiss Scriptbook (Avatar Press, May 2000)
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Warren Ellis Addresses His "Children" at Comic-Con, 29 July 2007
  20. ^ Who is "Anna Mercury?" Warren Ellis Gives Hints, Comic Book Resources, 14 February 2008
  21. ^ Anna MercuryWarren Ellis on , Newsarama,he also wrote thematic trilogy about the dark side of superheros Black Summer 18 February 2008
  22. ^ Supergod Leveling the Playing Field: Ellis talks "No Hero", Comic Book Resources, 23 May 2008
  23. ^ "RED Aims For Green Light, Hollywood Reporter, 12 June 2008
  24. ^ 'Red' To Begin Shooting In January, MTV
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ The Eagle Awards – Results

Further reading

  • Warren Ellis at the Grand Comics Database
  • Warren Ellis at the Comic Book DB
  • Warren Ellis at the Internet Book List
  • Works by or about Warren Ellis in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • The Complete Warren Ellis bibliography
  • Warren Ellis on
  • Warren Ellis at 2000 AD online
  • Writers on Comic Scriptwriting, (Salisbury, 2002, Titan Books)

External links

Preceded by
Chris Cooper
Excalibur writer
Succeeded by
Ben Raab
Preceded by
Roy Thomas
Thor writer
Succeeded by
William Messner-Loebs
Preceded by
Larry Hama
Wolverine writer
Succeeded by
Chris Claremont
Preceded by
Jay Faerber
Generation X writer
(with Brian Wood)
Succeeded by
Brian Wood
Preceded by
Garth Ennis
Hellblazer writer
Succeeded by
Darko Macan
Preceded by
Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar
Ultimate Fantastic Four writer
Succeeded by
Mike Carey
Preceded by
Mark Ricketts
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
Daniel & Charles Knauf
Preceded by
Fabian Nicieza
Thunderbolts writer
Succeeded by
Christos Gage
Preceded by
Joss Whedon
Astonishing X-Men writer
Succeeded by
Daniel Way
Preceded by
Nick Spencer
Secret Avengers writer
Succeeded by
Rick Remender
Preceded by
Brian Michael Bendis
Moon Knight writer
Succeeded by
Brian Wood
In 2010, a documentary film on Ellis,

He worked with D'Israeli again in 2010–2011 for a one-off comic, SVK, to be published by BERG, a London consultancy firm. It uses a UV torch to reveal the thoughts of the characters in the story.[25][26]

The first quarter of 2009 saw the release of G.I. Joe: Resolute, a series of webisodes written by Warren Ellis and later released on DVD in December.


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