Earlier today Warren Ellis sent out a note on his Bad Signal mailing list updating fans on the status of a number of ongoing and upcoming projects as well as those announced some time ago with no recent news. Warren said:
* Confusion has arisen from incomplete information and typos re: PLANETARY writing progress. What initially threw people is that I didn't mention that #19 and #20 constitute the series' first two-parter. #21 is the 90s Weird Science And Drugs issue. (Incidentally, some people seem to think that Meredith Yayanos, whose autumn Forest Rivethead look I used as visual ref for that issue's main character, is Merry, one of the moderators from the old WEF. She isn't. Meredith Yayanos is the violinist/thereminist with New York band The Vanity Set.) All these are written. The one I'm working on right now is #22, which I typoed as #21 when I made the call for research. #22 should be finished in a couple of weeks.
* THE OPERATION, the long-gestating miniseries for Oni, will now not be published, as the artists got overcommitted and had to drop out. The rights have all reverted to me.
* MORNING DRAGONS will now not see print from Image, a victim of certain business events out of both my control and Image's. The contract's been nullified and all rights have returned to me. This should not be seen as Image's fault -- there seems to be a lot of bad smoke around Image Central lately, but Jim Valentino and Eric Stephenson have never been anything less than brilliant in their dealings with me. I still want to write MORNING DRAGONS -- the whole thing exists in a detailed 14-page synopsis -- but it's going to have to wait until I can afford to write a 100-page graphic novel for nothing.
* BLACK HORSES, the third point of the original Image publishing plan, is going to be published by DC Wildstorm, still to be illustrated by John Paul Leon. No schedule.
* STEALTH TRIBES fell off of the schedule due to an eight-month search to find a suitable and available artist. We've got an artist now, though I haven't yet been cleared to release their name. But now that artist is in place, I can resume writing -- I'm forty-five pages in, but I like to know who's drawing a book so I can work the visuals to their strengths.
* I'm eight scripts into JACK CROSS, but we're also running into artist trouble there. Looks like the book may not launch until the end of the year. I'll have the first 12 written by mid-Feb, and that'll see me done -- contracts for ongoing titles work per year of publication, and I have to wait to see if we get "renewed" before I can write the next twelve.
* I'm three scripts into DESOLATION JONES. Same thing applies, but I think we're only a couple of months away from getting our first artist. JONES is a denser, slower write than JACK CROSS, which is an action series. JONES, though contemporary, right now feels more like a natural successor to TRANSMETROPOLITAN.
* I'm about 14,000 words into the novel, which still doesn't have a bloody title. I am stupid.
Later in the day Warren issued another update with some clarifications.
A few additions/clarifications/whatnot following another small tsunami of email:
* The whole MORNING DRAGONS mess, I should note, has got nothing to do with Steve Lieber. Steve's one of the good guys.
* With nullification of the contract, all rights in MORNING DRAGONS return to me. Again, no slight to Steve, who's a terrific artist. Go and buy a copy of WHITEOUT.
* FASTER is still with DC Wildstorm, yeah, but, heh, it's not going very fast. It got put on the slow track for various reasons.
* AMERICAN SPACE FORCE is also still on the go -- I should be back on that by the end of February, in fact, with an eye to finishing it by the end of March.
* GLOBAL FREQUENCY #11 is out on the 28th, I think.
* DOWN, at Top Cow, is apparently back on the rails, though I haven't seen any pages. It's been cut down to four issues, and I'm now rewriting to accomodate.
* I've seen all the art for MINISTRY OF SPACE #3. All of it. It's done.
* And, yes... PLANETARY.
I have seen no official word that John Cassaday is off to do NEW X-MEN, and I will not comment until I see official confirmation that John Cassaday is off to do NEW X-MEN. I may not even comment after that, but I'm certainly not saying a damn thing about a rumour.
No, I still haven't decided when PLANETARY will conclude, for the simple reason that I don't want to leave myself with too few pages to tell the ending properly. If it goes to 25, 26 or 27 issues, then that's what it'll do and I won't know until I get there.
So give it a rest.