Desolation Jones Biohazard

Orbital Operations for 21 April 2024

Hello from out here on the Thames Delta. How have you been? I’m taking a break from smashing my brains out on a pitch document / hanging hat racks / shredding what seems like a hundred years of mail to bring you the good news.






Letters about the creative life by Warren Ellis, a writer from England. Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe.


🎙️ Going back into my Eliane Radigue collection this week: some of her work is on YouTube, and JETSUN MILA is a favourite.

🎞️ There’s a copy of ON THE SILVER GLOBE on YouTube, a nearly-post Polish sf film shot (and shut down) during the Communist period and completed during Glasnost. It is gloriously strange. I think I saw a recent blu-ray release.

📖 OCEAN OF SOUND, David Toop (UK) (US), a classic meditation on ambient and experimental musics that I am somehow only now just getting around to reading.

💭 Thinking about: what an anonymous source said to a French journalist about Coppola’s MEGALOPOLIS: “The film is like Einstein and relativity in 1905, Picasso and Guernica in 1937. Coppola has marked a historic new moment for cinema.”



Out in November, collecting the six issues of DESOLATION JONES by myself and JH Williams III with Jose Villarrubia and Todd Klein in a new presentation: THE BIOHAZARD EDITION.

Desolation Jones follows one Michael Jones, a former agent for British intelligence before a procedure to make him a better operative left him mentally and physically shattered. Now he survives in Los Angeles as a private investigator, eking out a living within the city's ghost community of damaged spooks. If he had any better future to look forward to, he probably wouldn't be embarking on his newest job: locating the lost pornographic home movies of... Adolf Hitler.

Like film noir on a dark acid trip—and by turns riotous, tragic, and brutal—this Biohazard Edition is the perfect read for fans of Williams III’s eye-popping artwork, the mind-bending science-fiction worlds of Philip K. Dick, and the gritty characters of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels.

THE BIOHAZARD EDITION is a beautiful hardback release including an extensive gallery showcasing select, raw artwork never before seen.

Jim Williams and I created DESOLATION JONES back in 2006, and completed a six-part story over the course of a year. It did receive a standard trade paperback collection from DC, which I usually have a copy of close by, just to remind me that I got to work with JH Williams III (and Jose Villarrubia, whom I met once, and was the nicest guy).

This new collection is really JH Williams III’s baby. He wanted a nice art edition of this book, to sit with the fine editions of his SANDMAN work and the gorgeous ECHOLANDS. Our friends and partners at DC released the work back to us (for which we thank them), our friends and partners at Image Comics agreed to team with us on a new edition (thank you), and Jim went through the book, making adjustments, retouches and small fixes. Creating the permanent edition he always wanted to see. I was just along for the ride on this one, and never happier to be so.

"Desolation Jones visuals are a unique beast. The goal was to create a visceral seedy world of an ex-spy who has suffered from horrible experiments, but now lives as a detective trapped in L.A.," said Williams III. "His interpretation of reality is sometimes skewed. I played with the idea of old newspaper strip style layouts in key scenes. There are scenes that push an acidic surreal perspective, while others manipulate a sense of time, and a pumped up color aspect that is unusual for a noir. Jones toys with quite a few visual influences and tropes put through a sharp blender, mixing into something potent and hopefully memorable."

I always had a fondness for this book, and am just delighted that it will be back in the world in fancy new clothes.

My single visual contribution to this book:

Many many years ago, I read an interview with the artist John Bolton about his work adapting Hammer horror films for comics. In fact, this looks like it here. Bolton did the majority of that work in rich ink wash, but, for scenes of sudden violence, he dropped back to bare black and white:

This stuck in my head. For years. When I sat down to script, I knew how lush the book was going to look, between Jim and Jose, and this half-remembered bit from an old magazine suddenly came back to me — so I called out the scenes of action violence as black and white, all the colour dropped out.

They did, of course, make it look better than I could have imagined. But I was still pleased that I finally got to try that little trick.

Anyway. Release date is apparently Nov 27 in most places.. Tell your bookshop or comic shop if you want a copy, please.



I’m about to pick up MOBY DICK again, and discovered there’s a nice free ebook edition at Standard Ebooks. Where you can also find Polidori’s THE VAMPIRE and Maturin’s MELMOTH THE WANDERER, both of which set the ground for Stoker’s DRACULA.

Once again, comparing TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER (UK) (US) with HERO (UK) (US) for their uses of highly artificial colour:

They’re both pretty cheap in the UK right now, TEARS might be more of a struggle to find in the US but it’s worth it.



Nee work by old acquaintance Rosanna Dean.



I don’t know why this little piece of music makes everything better, but it does. For me, it’s up there with Feelgood By Numbers as a mood changer.

Sometimes I just play this loud too:

I mean, there’s no judgement on the things that just lift us up a bit in the middle of the day, right?



WARRENELLIS.LTD is my personal notebook, updated daily. If you use a RSS reader, it generates a feed at .

This letter has been zapped to you via Beehiiv.

Well, that was a long week. Feels like it’s been a long month. By the time you open this, I will probably be deeply involved in trying to construct a new raised vegetable bed in the garden. Probably destroying my ancient body in the process. But I’ve been in front of screens all week, working in the same document, and I very much need a couple of days of working with dirt and old tools. Get out of my head and catch up on some podcasts and maybe even grow something.

When I started reclaiming the garden, my daughter laughed and said, “Ah! You’ve reached the age where it’s either God or gardening.” Little shit.

Try something that works for you (because we’re all different), this week? Look after yourself. Own oxygen mask on first, please. See you next week.


I’m represented by Angela Cheng Caplan at the Cheng Caplan Company, Joel VanderKloot at VanderKloot Law and David Hale Smith at Inkwell Management. Please add [email protected] to your email system’s address book or contacts and move this to your primary folder when you get a minute, thanks.