In 1997, after making his name with whip-smart storylines for the superhero titles X-Men and Stormwatch, Warren Ellis joined forces with artist Darick Robertson and created the award-winning Transmetropolitan series. As deliciously perverse as Harlan Ellison, as panoramic as Philip K. Dick, Vertigo's Transmetropolitan details the exploits of a wiseass, cyberpunk journalist named Spider Jerusalem as he makes his way through the seething cityscape of an all-too-plausible future.
Four years and a series of trade paperback collections later, Ellis's fan-base has grown to rival (and overlap) those of fellow bestselling British graphic-novel golden boys Neil Gaiman (Sandman) and Garth Ennis (Preacher), and the Authority project Ellis co-created has turned into a thriving trade paperback franchise from Wildstorm. To sate a clamoring readership, Ellis works simultaneously on several projects with several different publishers.
The four Transmetropolitan softcovers (the most recent is The New Scum) continue to attract new fans. Also look for forthcoming trade paper collection of his columns and prose essays called From the Desk Of (Avatar), the long-awaited reprint of his early gem Lazarus Churchyard: The Final Cut (Image) and a recent collection of his Planetary series, All Over the World (Wildstorm).
Ellis couldn't be happier about that. "I've been one of the loudest proponents of trade paperback collections and original graphic novels for some years," he told PW. And like many comics writers and artists, he's critical of comics publishers who refuse to collect periodical series into book form.
"Unless they're intended for later collection," Ellis said, "monthly comics are nonsense." His point is that most periodical comics are shipped to stores, sit on display for seven days and end up in out of sight, in a back-issues bin. "It won't be reprinted, and if anyone wants it, they'll have to dig through those big back-issue bins to find it," said Ellis.
"Insane, right? Tom Clancy or Stephen King would set light to your head if you tried to do that with their new books," said Ellis. Thanks to his steadily expanding trade paper backlist, Ellis won't have to light up his Vertigo editors. Ellis's Web site is www.warrenellis.com.