Hello from out here on the Thames Delta. Nothing grows in my garden except catshits the size of suitcases.
Scheduling hiccups have pushed the recording of THE DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT into April, which means my writing schedule now has a little slack in it. Which is nice for me, as I'm feeling lazy. Winter here lasts five or six months and reaches a point where it gets in your bones. You wake up and your very marrow groans "go back to bed, it's not May yet." I don't get into the second tranche of the current consulting gig for a couple of weeks. I have a bunch of calls scheduled with production companies, and I've had some good news on another thing but that opens up in April, soooo....
And THE AUTHORITY reprint of mine and Bryan's run will be on a shelf near you soon, apparently, as I woke up on Saturday to a photo of the thing on a desk. It will look like this one:
Oh! Talking of THE AUTHORITY:
Did you know that Bryan Hitch was the one who created the unusual cover design for our twelve issues, with the logo stripped in on top and side? At the time, comics could be racked in an overlapped way on shelves and in waterfall racks and spinners, and he wanted the logo to be visible in any eventuality. At Wildstorm, we had almost complete freedom with our covers. I say "almost complete" because I did get a little pushback with one or two of my more sideways PLANETARY cover concepts. Let me see if I can find the one that comes to mind:
Here we go. The title and credits, in the original conception, were supposed to be subtitles inside the image, in the style of a subtitled Hong Kong action film. What you see here is the compromise between me ranting about commitment to the bit and poor dear Scott Dunbier trying to gently tell me that I had gone quite, quite mad.
Anyway. Tales from the days in comics when we used to overthink the covers quite a bit in order to try and create an object that was beautiful and stood apart from everything else on the shelves. Also I still think I was right about that PLANETARY cover. Because of course I do. I remain amazed that Scott still talks to me.
Also, my daughter's partner finally secured a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism on Friday. Which means there's light at the end of the tunnel. Now they get a scan, in two or three weeks' time, to image the tumours. And then, if the tumours can be successfully imaged, it's a 45-minute keyhole surgery to yank the bastards out.
Here's the sad thing: we've had to arrange for all this to be done privately, and that will include the operation. All the tests and support and medication rounds have therefore been done while they still wait for their first National Health Service consult, a list they've been on for several months while the poor kid degenerated from having to walk with a stick to having to use a wheelchair to no longer having the arm strength to wheel the chair themselves. Now, I love the National Health Service, I owe it a great deal, have happily paid into it my entire working life and understand the terrible pressures it's been under. But fuck me did it let them down this time.. My fury is compounded by the fact that they did get an appointment with an NHS pain management practitioner two days before the diagnosis, who explained to them that "pain is an emotion" and they should just take antidepressants for it.
You know, if you stab me, I will probably have emotions about it? But I'm pretty sure those would be separate from the physical responses to being stabbed. That said, I'm obviously not a real doctor.
Anyway. For those who sent messages of support, there's the good news. We can actually move forward from here.
Talking of health services! While I'm deciding which of my organs are in decent enough shape to sell for more than stew meat, look at this:
Dean Haspiel's new project, COVID COP, is now live on Kickstarter.
"A cross between Judge Dredd, Toxic Avenger, Mad Max, and Sin City, COVID COP is my response to a pandemic that never found its cure and has wiped out 98% of mankind,” Haspiel says. The story follows a 21st century antihero in Brooklyn who’s tasked to save what's left of humanity – and rekindle romance with his ex-wife, Fate Majeure."
Sounds to me like it's right in the 2000AD zone: that mad funny energy of the moment that it used to specialise in.
Lots of fun. Details at the link. Videos and shit. Dean Haspiel is an Emmy award-winning artist, writer and designer.
Let me tell you a thing about book tours. They generally go like this: you go to the thing, you do the thing, they kick you out as soon as the thing is done, you go back to your hotel, you eat room service, rinse and repeat. Except that when I left my NORMAL event in New York, Dean Haspiel and a bunch of his friends were waiting outside to ask me to dinner. Which never fucking happens, and was an incredible kindness. So please check out his new book for me. Thanks.
Ash Lockyer is a friend of ours, and he finally got his website properly up and running. Go look at his photography and convince him to get up a page for his wonderfiul photography book that I have a treasured copy of.
My name is Warren Ellis, and I’m a writer from England. These newsletters are about the work I do and the creative life I try to lead. I send them every Sunday to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to orbitaloperations.com , where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe for their own.
I’m represented by Angela Cheng Caplan at the Cheng Caplan Company and David Hale Smith at Inkwell Management. Please add [email protected] to your email system’s address book or contacts.
GOT MORE TIME?
WARRENELLIS.LTD is my personal notebook, in which I make new entries several times a day. Think of it as all the things I can't fit into this newsletter, from links and bookmarks to reviews, random thoughts and life notes. If you use a RSS reader, it generates a feed at https://warrenellis.ltd/feed/ .
And that's me this week. I need to get my arse in gear. I'm marking up the boards and preparing for a full slate by mid-month. But for now? Take a day to be lazy and recharge. It's good for you, and you don't need permission for that from anyone but yourself. Take care of you first. Hold on tight, see you next week.