August 13th, 2012 | daybook

I was going to complete a SPEKTRMODULE podcast tonight, but, after having watched the Olympic closing ceremony with Lili, I’m no longer in the mood.  It’s a silly, pointless thing to get angry about.  But, by the time it finally finished, I found myself weirdly furious.  I was somehow under the impression that it was to be an event about British musical culture.  And what it turned out to be was a flabby, lazy variety show notable for 1) preponderance of old white people 2) famous people who apparently didn’t want to turn up 3) no sense at all of British musical culture.

Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to see Ray Davies and all that.  But anyone who watches that show looking for an understanding of how we do and did music here is going to come away with some very bad ideas.  I get that these things are difficult to put on, but it was my presumption that one hires the people who know how to do it.

The opening ceremony pointed to the future.  The closing ceremony – with a stated mandate of “A Symphony Of British Music” – ended with The Who.  It was like drawing a line under Britain.  All over.  “A Symphony Of British Music” is something that’s naturally going to catch my attention.  Sadly, it was no such thing.  You can’t just scrape off ten numbers from the top of the Guinness Book Of Records – and whatever the fuck that was that George Michael sang after “Freedom” – and call it Job Done.  Karaoke bars put more effort into the job than that.

It was as conservative, hidebound and bland as the Opening Ceremony was ambitious, demented and eccentric.  It played almost as an attempt to zero out what Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce achieved and said in the Opening.

And I remain, for no good reason, sad and angry over this stupid and petty thing, because it sought to tell the world that my odd, bittersweet, green and grey little country is not beautiful and mad in all the ways I have always known it to be.

Dear Comics Industry: This Is How Social Media Work

August 11th, 2012 | comics talk

Basically, it’s like this: people can see your public activity on Twitter.  Yes, even when you use your publisher’s official account.  And while you yourself might believe that book publishers go around publicly supporting tweets that denigrate authors from other publishing houses, I have to tell you that that’s not really the way it is.



August 9th, 2012 | guest informant

Cartoonist and escaped science experiment Chip Zdarsky has an open invitation here.

God knows why.


GUEST INFORMANT is where I ask friends and acquaintances to write about whatever they feel like discussing today.  And now you know what Chip wants to say.  He has a Wikipedia entry and everything.


August 9th, 2012 | Work

The news popped yesterday evening, while I was at dinner. This is one of the things I’ve been working on for the last few months, and it eventually all happened last week (and then I took a long weekend to rest). has the press release: Fox Buys Thriller From Chernin’s Company Based On Upcoming Warren Ellis Novel.

Basically, this happened: Chernin Entertainment (in the form of a relentless and charming lady called Lauren Stein) bought GUN MACHINE pre-emptively, sight unseen, half a year before its publication.

Then we went looking for a showrunner, which we found in the body of Dario Scardapane. I went with Dario because he got the themes of the book immediately. Dario, with me mostly just sort of getting in his way, came up with a take on the book as a series. We got in a room with Fox Broadcasting (who partly arrived in the form of Jon Wax, an acquaintance and supporter) and told them what we wanted to do. And the next day I got a phone call telling me that we had successfully fooled Fox into buying it for development.

It’s important to note at this point that I take the credit for none of this. This is down to Dario, and Lauren Stein and Katherine Pope, and my agent Angela Cheng Caplan and my patient lawyer George Davis of Nelson Davis Wetzstein. And I have to take this opportunity to thank all of them. Particularly Angela and George, who save me from myself on a regular basis. Also, Lydia Wills, without whom none of this would have happened at all, and John Schoenfelder and Michael Pietsch for believing in the book at the start.

There have, of course, been a lot of jokes about Fox cancelling their series. I loved PROFIT, and I, too, would have liked to have seen that second season of HOUSE. Anyway. It’s all the luck of the draw, and I’d rather be in this position than not.

As I learned on GLOBAL FREQUENCY way back when, tv is a series of hurdles, and nothing’s a locked deal even when you’re actually out in the world shooting the thing. There are no guarantees in television, just like any other commercial creative art. But we’re in good shape at this point. Dario and I are talking a lot and agreeing on stuff. Next up, Dario writes the script, with me sitting on his shoulder screeching. Actually, trying not to screech, because if you don’t want your book adapted, you shouldn’t sell anyone the right to adapt it. At this point, though, I’m pretty involved in the adaptation, and having fun.

All of which is pretty good for a book that hasn’t been published yet.

You can pre-order GUN MACHINE at and

(At a later date I’ll assemble links for other bookstore services.)

THREE PANELS OPEN: Francesco Francavilla

August 8th, 2012 | three panels

This week, one of my recent favourites, award-winning and incredibly busy artist Francesco Francavilla.  You should click on the art or here for the embiggening.


THREE PANELS OPEN is an open invitation.  Perhaps you’d like to do one.  A comic that is three panels in duration and 640px wide.  I’m only going to run the ones I like best, I’m afraid. However, there’s no time limit on submissions.  You can email the image to, and please include your name and the website and/or twitter account you’d like it to be associated with.