Come In Alone: Issue #19 - The Old Bastard's Shopping List

Fri, April 7th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Warren Ellis, Columnist

Just general housekeeping, this week…

NEW VANGUARD

[Astronauts in Trouble]Larry Young, creator/writer/publisher of ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE, has developed The New Rage. What follows is his call to arms and statement of intent. You can find ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE at http://www.astronautsintrouble.com, and you can find Larry at http://www.delphi.com/larryyoung.

Diatribe of The New Vanguard

It's war.

The major powers have given each other mortal wounds. Direct hits from all sides have crippled their effectiveness, and rendered the once mighty impotent. It won't be long now.

It hasn't yet trickled down to the grunts, though, but they can smell the change in the air. Their commanders have had the fight knocked out of them, or worse, abandoned their posts. Through bravery or pluck or sheer brass balls, we've received battlefield promotions.

We are The New Vanguard.

There's no time for tears, or recriminations, or doubt. We don't care whose fault this mess is; the first thing we learn in the trenches is that it doesn't matter. All that matters is the fight.

"We don't care whose fault this mess is; the first thing we learn in the trenches is that it doesn't matter."

Nobody quits; everybody fights.

Or you get left behind.

Point to the bleacher seats and hit it out of the park, because there's no right or wrong when there's no leaders left. There's only The Struggle. Yes. Or no. On, or off. Live, or die. Color, or black-and-white. Do. Or do not.

There is no "try."

We of The New Vanguard are not listening to you. Those of you not on the front lines are merely Monday-morning quarterbacks. Your rules do not apply to us. We have a singularity of purpose, a laser-like sense of focus. We will fight the good fight until the tide turns. Perhaps then, we will rest. But, now...

...leave us.

We have Work to do.

ACCELERATE

One of my favourite novels of the 1980's was METROPHAGE by Richard Kadrey. It was an early "cyberpunk"/Mirrorshades Movement. If Gibson's effortlessly entertaining NEUROMANCER was strong coffee, wiring the WIRED generation, then METROPHAGE was a double espresso - rich, powerful, complex, and a good hard kick in the nervous system. Its boundless inventiveness, uncompromising social and psychological darkness, emotional storms and occasional sheer bloody madness made it the evil twin brother of its peers in the Movement; it was never going to be the easy-option entry-level work that Gibson was writing. It was a brilliant, coruscating piece of work. No-one I know who's read it has forgotten in.

Richard Kadrey wrote some more fiction, but got sidetracked into journalism; reviews and commentary for WIRED, authoring the COVERT CULTURE SOURCEBOOKs. And now he's writing fiction again. For comics.

Last week, the first issue of ACCELERATE was solicited for orders from specialty comics stores. If you've got a copy of PREVIEWS to hand, it's featured on pages 62 and 63. It's illustrated by the excellent Pander Brothers, previously collaborators with Matt Wagner, and to be published by DC Vertigo. Now, the last time DC Vertigo attempted to publish an sf miniseries by a noted sf author, it was a piece by Jack Womack. And the orders were so low that DC opted, at the last moment, not to publish it.

I'd rather not see that happen to ACCELERATE. Richard Kadrey is a gifted writer, and we need more gifted writers in comics.

You should still be able to lay your hands on a copy of PREVIEWS. Check out the solicitation. Don't let this one disappear.

The Hit Plan

Steven Grant, in this week's MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS column on this very site (http://moto.comicbookresources.com), conjures a fine plan. What follows is the edited-down guts of that plan, and I urge you to click over to MOTO once you're done and read the whole thing.

Independently financed talent pursuing visions not corporately rubberstamped remain our best hope for resuscitating the business…. All that's left is that somehow talent has to underwrite and publish their own work… and use the opportunity not to pursue the "commercial" (a notion that's always at least a step behind the times and ultimately calcifies into nostalgia) but to develop a coherent creative vision. And, hopefully, a more functional business vision.

Believe it or not, you have an easy way to make this happen. Warren and I both get paid by the hit for our CBR columns. (It appeals to our crime comics natures.) So all you have to do is tell everyone you know with a computer to hit MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS on Wednesdays and COME IN ALONE on Fridays, and tell them to tell everyone they know, and on and on. Doesn't matter if they like comics or not; it doesn't cost them anything either. It's a victimless pyramid scheme. If we each get half a million hits per week, we'll have plenty of money to put where our mouths are. Because we would… You're welcome to take this as self-serving. It is. But it's my experiment, and I know what I want to do in comics that I haven't done. I know what Warren wants to do. And I know he's on the side of the angels. So.

So that's what it comes down to: you could change the face of comics. Today. Just like that. It's within your means. Seriously.

Wish I'd thought of it first.

He's right. This is a possibility put right in your hands. You can fund Pop Comics, Old Bastard's Manifesto advances, new and saner approaches to comics publishing. Just do as he says. Easy.

I'm Nostradamus, Me

Last week, I noted that the notion of Trina Robbins producing comics for girls that are then exclusively sold through the direct sales network for comics specialty stores is perhaps a little mentally deficient - because girls won't know it's there.

I learned this week that Trina Robbins' GO-GIRL has been spiked due to low orders, and will not see publication at this time.

I can be contacted by email about this column at warren@comicbookresources.com. My genuine award-winning website, updated on April 1, is http://www.warrenellis.com. There is a COME IN ALONE discussion area here on CBR.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read THE MARS PROJECT by Wernher von Braun (Illini, 1991), listen to THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone (EMI-Manhattan, 1985), and hit WORDPLAY, a site about screenwriting by screenwriters, at http://www.wordplayer.com.

Today's recommended graphic novel is WATCHMEN by Alan Moore amd Dave Gibbons. Now begone.

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