I’m not kidding.
I didn’t think they were real. I thought they’d be a myth you know. Just imagine, that some woman have had condoms inside them with a long haired hippy talking about a second coming. It reminds me just how strange the world really is.
Warren Ellis taught me that they exist. They exist in the bible belt in the middle of the United States. (They also apparently exist in Germany according to my sister, along with these, which oddly make more sense in my world that they exist.)
See? That to me makes a lot more sense in my brain.
Maybe there is something wrong with my brain.
Warren Ellis has been shocking my worldview since the end of my college days. The novel thing is still a relative new thing for him to be known for. The first thing of Warren Ellis that I read is a book called Man of the Atom. It was a one shot for Valiant Comics. I knew something was off when I heard the Seleskis talk about their dating life. I never heard of anyone exposing themselves while wearing a rubber chicken suit, but this was the introduction.
My next great work of his? Transmetropolitan
This book is filthy. The opening line of book one is “Up a goddamn mountain…” and I’ve loved it ever since. Everything from gecko cats to bowel disruptors to filthy assistants and “Where’s my fucking column?” . Just classic stuff. It shows the world around me in ways I never considered. It talks about the strange, and wonderful. It goes into detail about the world and magic that people take for granted.
Patrick Stewart wrote once about this book “That I’ve lived in the city and that I’ve read this paper.” And reading it more and more, you do. There are broken personalities, colorful characters and just a wonder of people and possibilities literally on the street. Just like real life.
Warren Ellis is at his best when he juxtaposes absurd (yet very believable) situations with a combination of big ideas and people that try to live up to them. If you love journalism, particularly in the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vein, you should read volume 1 at the very least.
I have two Warren Ellis stories and they both involve this book. Let’s talk about the book first for a second. So, Mike is a detective who has bizarre cases and this one is no different. The secret constitution of the United States, designed to reset people’s moral compass. What makes this even stranger is that the secret constitution has been circulated for porn for the last hundred years, and Mike has to find it. This strange odyssey into the underbelly of america is delightfully indecent. (Re: Jesus condoms)
So yeah, Warren Ellis story number one: Back in the Myspace days on American independence day Warren took a shot at President Bush. Now to be fair, he was right. That all said, England has no right to say anything when they are forever shackled to Prince Charles and the rest of the Royal Family. We had a pretty fun back and forth about that.
But my other story ties to Warren Ellis the human being. After I read Crooked Little Vein I emailed him and he replied. Reading that email I realized something really important about Warren Ellis the person.
He’s a sweet man.
I know. You expect him to be carmudgeonly and angry and pissed off at the world. In truth, he may be the shyest, sweetest writer I’ve ever talked to. And it made me look at his work differently. This is a human being, who cares about the world, and other human beings. Writers can be pretentious folk, but it’s always great to realize that people do care, even in a world as crazy as this.
Warren cares. And it shows in his work. Check it out sometime.