Bookmarks for 2012-01-28

January 28th, 2012 | brainjuice

  • Yemen’s State Within a Failed State – Photos By Tom Finn | Foreign Policy
    "The Arab uprisings, however, have shifted the dynamics of the struggle. With the regime's firepower focused on dissenters in the major cities, Saada quietly slid out of its control. A mini-state has sprung up, run almost entirely by the Houthis, who have taken on the responsibilities of government. They have appointed their own governor (a notorious arms dealer), police the streets, and rebuilt schools and houses destroyed in the war. Despite their efforts, Saada remains a destitute city, filled with sprawling graveyards, bullet-pocked mud-brick houses and lean-looking children on crutches hobbling frantically alongside lines of moving traffic, begging for food and money."
    (tags:pol photography war )
  • BBC News – Bournemouth resident mystified by ‘blue sphere shower’
    "Mr Hornsby, a former aircraft engineer, said: "The sky went a really dark yellow colour. "As I walked outside to go to the garage there was an instant hail storm for a few seconds and I thought, 'what's that in the grass'?""
    (tags:fortean weird )

Deathmatch On Mars: Interviewed By VICE

January 27th, 2012 | Work

At VICE’s Motherboard blog, I’m interviewed by Abraham Riesman about space travel and the somewhat confused recent claims of Speaker Gingrich.

Well, let’s start with the “51st State” bit that’s being bandied about. Speaker Gingrich knows as well as the next political mammal that the Outer Space Treaty forbids any one nation from claiming sovereignty over the moon. So, not so much with the 51st State crap…

Who I Am And Where I Am (Jan 2012)

January 27th, 2012 | about warren ellis/contact

I write books and comics and articles and other things.  I live in south-east England.  My next novel, GUN MACHINE, is due autumn 2012 from Mulholland Books.  The film RED 2, sequel to RED, based on the graphic novel I wrote, is due autumn 2013.  I have author pages at Amazon and Amazon UK.  My most recent original work was SVK, produced in partnership with the design & invention unit BERG.

Public email address: (gets checked once a day or so)

@warrenellis on Twitter.  Facebook Page.  Username warrenellis on Instagram and This Is My Jam.

If you need to contact me about writing for print or web, please contact my agent Lydia Wills using the link in the righthand menu bar.

If you need to contact me about anything involving film, tv, games or other things that move and make noises, please contact my agent Angela Cheng Caplan using the link in the righthand menu bar.

Sometimes I speak at conferences, or do other kinds of talks and appearances.  I’ve previously been a columnist for WIRED UK and Reuters.

I occasionally podcast.

In Which Ariana Takes Horny Werewolf Day A Step Too Far

January 26th, 2012 | brainjuice


SAGA #1 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

January 26th, 2012 | comics talk

Earlier today, Eric Stephenson at Image Comics kindly flowed me along an Advance Reading Copy of the first issue of Brian K Vaughan (Y THE LAST MAN, LOST) and Fiona Staples’ new comics series, SAGA.  Below, a section of the first issue’s cover, which got some idiot cheesecake painter all aerated because it’s apparently disgusting and  “shock value” and The Reason Why Kids Don’t Like Comics No More:

Yes.  Drawn Lady is drawn nursing Drawn Baby.  Presumably the real thing reduces persons of delicate sensibilities to projectile vomiting.  (He’s since removed his post because so many people shouted at him.)

And, of course, it’s not a comic for kids.  Defining “kids” as, I dunno, under twelve.  Because there’s childbirth and swearing and alien sex in it.  None of which was new to me when I was twelve, and I didn’t even have the fucking internet, but whatever.  That’s not what we’re here for.  I’m just making the point that this is clearly a sf/f book for non-infants.  It is, I think, a very good comic, and one that will prove something of a barometer for the maturity of the current commercial comics market.

First things first: this opening issue of SAGA is the first chapter of what will clearly be a very longform sf serial about war and politics, magic and science and love and sex.  The clue is kind of in the title.  Brian, an extremely gifted author, has written a clever and charming script, and Fiona Staples, whom I’ve previously seen very little by, is demonstrably a very intelligent artist who creates warm and characterful performances for her actors while spinning out perfectly weighted storytelling that puts me in mind of experts like Steve Dillon.  It’s a little like listening to an orchestra tuning up and running through the early phrases of a big symphony, sounding the main themes and hinting at the complex beauty to come.

Romeo and Juliet up there are Marko and Alana, from either side of a war that has no good side.  And what they did – having her umbilical gnawed off there – was something that apparently never should have happened.  And it’s her story (or will be):

Because, you see, the book is shot through with panels like this, and lettering like this, as if from a children’s book.  And that’s the baby’s narrative.

You can almost guarantee that someone or other will complain about one juxtaposition of elements or other.  That the perfectly lovely children’s-book bits and the cherished violent bits should not be seen in the same place as baby-feeding and robot fucking.  Or that the robot fucking is excellent and the character writing just gets in the way.  Or that the whole thing is too slow and “decompressed,” or that the swearing distracts from the magical bits, or, I don’t know, babies disturb their wanking or something.  Either people will recognise this as the opening notes of a rich and extended piece that contains much, as a novel should, or they are going to find a panoply of bad reasons to complain about it.

None of which feels right to talk about, in a way.  I’ve talked about all these poisonous suppositions I have, instead of focussing on the work itself, which is bad form.  But I want to be true to the feeling I had on closing the issue, which was, simply: god, what if the commercial comics market in 2012 might not support a novelistic longform serial written by Brian fucking Vaughan?  As with much to do with comics lately, I would like to be wrong.  Because I would like to read a lot more of SAGA.

It’s a terrific book, and another sign of the new resurgence at Image Comics.  It is a wonderful thing to welcome Brian back to the medium, and a wonderful thing to discover the art of Fiona Staples.

SAGA #1 is released on 14 March 2012 from Image Comics.  It will cost USD $2.99.  You can contact your local comics shop and give them the order code JAN120485, if you want to arrange your copy in advance.  Which I would recommend.