For the past week Warren Ellis has been hinting on his Delphi Forums that he'd be making a major announcement today. Guesses and rumors ran rampant, but today Ellis put that all to rest: Warren Ellis has signed an exclusivity deal with DC Comics.
Ellis has had an on again, off again relationship with the publisher in the past, but it seems that now things are back on.
"For a significant five-figure sum, too," Ellis said on his forums. "Substantially more, for a substantially better deal, than exclusivities that friends and acquaintances of mine have signed over the last several years.
"And this is the deal. I'm committed to creating new material under creator-ownership and creator-participation deals.
"DC are committed to my creating new material under creator-ownership and creator-participation deals.
"For a pleasant amount of money, I take all my new projects to DC -- and that's ALL DC imprints, inclusive of Wildstorm and Homage -- in an expanded version of the relationship I have with them now. Which means that I can now bug VP Managing Editor Terri Cunningham directly if I feel like it, and can share my extensive collection of Latvian tractor pornography with Paul Levitz. Or at least email it to him via an anonymising service."
This deal does not prevent Ellis from completing other outstanding and previously announced projects already set-up at other publishers. Projects like "Morning Dragons" with artist Steve Lieber for Image and the recently announced "Night Radio" through Avatar will continue as scheduled.
"Oh, and as a courtesy, I'm finally going to do that DCU project I promised Joey Cavalieri I'd give him when he returned to DC six years back. Can't hold out any longer."
As for why he's signed this deal with DC, the answer is a simple one.
"They asked me," Ellis said. "And they took the trouble to listen to what I've been saying to them over the last few years and designed the offer specifically to my needs, so that the document I signed Tuesday does not differ in any way from what I was verbally offered a couple of weeks back. This was evidence of giving a shit.
"DC do everything right. We've had arguments about content before, and the edge of the envelope is always an uncomfortable place to be. But in terms of business, they do everything right. Foreign sales, foreign sales *payments*, the excellent trade paperback program, the growing commitment to original graphic novels, the continued commitment to creator-ownership... all the things I care about, they get right.
"I mean, think about it here. 'Warren, here's all the things you're going to do anyway. Have some extra money for it, as part of an expanded relationship that'll make it easier to do all these things, and make it even easier to do more of them afterwards.' What would you do?"
Warren noted that 2001 wasn't his year and looked forward to what this deal meant for him in 2002.
"After a shitty personal and professional 2001, this also offers me some stability and focus. 2002 is the Year of the Shithammer, make no mistake, and I intend to be undercover."
DC Comics has issued their own press release announcing the writers exclusivity deal. You can read it here in CBR News' Comic Brief.