Busy times for me.
I'm in the middle of nailing down times for a lightning 10-day signing minitour of the States. Just blitzing my way from east coast (Important Meetings with a business associate and other entertainment types) to west coast (Important Meetings with business associates and other entertainment types). A friend of mine in NYC and I have been developing stuff for the web for a while now, and I've recently sold the 13-part animated webisodic serial LYDIA WINTER to Icebox.com (http://www.icebox.com) via the sainted Aaron Michiel at Industry Entertainment (http://www.industryentertainment.com).
The tour's breaking down something like this.
Friday 29 September: I arrive in New York and am instantly embroiled in meetings and media stuff, which is my main reason for being in town. All my New York friends resolve never to talk to me again. Paul Levitz has me pulped.
Saturday 30 September: I sign at Jim Hanley's Universe in New York. Will also be doing a Q&A session with an audience sometime that day. The rest of the meetings and summits to plan my eventual takeover of the world fit in around these two commitments. I also drink between the signing and the talk and rupture a brain hemisphere when a NYC bartender avoids putting ice in my Scotch without being stridently ordered to hold the ice first.
Sunday 1 October: I am dragged screaming from my nice hotel and stuck on a plane to Columbus, Ohio, where I sign at The Laughing Ogre. Discussions about torching the comcis medium with Sean McKeever will doubtless figure into today.
Monday 2 October: Do a talk/Q&A somewhere in Columbus, and then decant myself onto a plane in the evening for San Antonio, Texas.
Tuesday 3 October: Spend time with Lea Hernandez, sign at Excalibur Comics & Video in San Antonio, do a talk somewhere around here, do some press, find the Alamo and urinate on it, fall into a light coma.
Wednesday 4 October: After a night being lovingly worked over by the crash team at the local ER, I am reanimated and placed, neckbolts sparking, on a plane for Las Vegas. Here, I will be met by Laura DePuy and a riot team from Wildstorm and conveyed, strapped to a stretcher and screaming for whiskey, to Alternate Reality Comics.
Thursday 5 October: Now accompanied by a crack surgical squad and weighed down by back-up organs hanging from plugs in my chest in plastic bags, I sign comics at Alternate Reality and then am wheeled to the airport for my flight to Los Angeles.
Friday 6 October: At this point, I will have a staff of twenty people whose every second is devoted to keeping me alive. Slipping in and out of lucidity, I will be immersed in business meetings and press all day. God only knows what the interviews will turn out like. I'll make Morrison sound normal.
Saturday 7 October: I sign and talk at Golden Apple Comics on Melrose, do some more press and more meet-and-greet and then, late in the evening, turn into a bat and flap to San Francisco.
Sunday 8 October: I manifest in haze, lights and cigar smoke, sign and talk and doubtless drink a lot at Comix Experience in San Francisco. Last rites will be administered around 5pm.
Monday 9 October: before dawn I leave America and die. And, frankly, I'll be glad of the rest.
It's actually slightly more crazed than it looks: I'll need to leave San Francisco around midnight to get into London Heathrow early on the morning of the 10th - remember, I'm going eight hours forward in time as I go east to England - and then race into central London to speak at Streaming Media Europe 2000 (http://www.streamingmedia.com/europe/index.asp). And then die.
Strange time to be talking at a streaming media gig, too. Webisodics just took a hit, with Pop.com shutting before it launches and Shockwave.com cutting webisodics in favour of online games. Both of which most people could see coming - both sites were starfucking horribly, and Shockwave's webisodic output to date has been vile.
I use the word "webisodics" carefully. These are Flash animations. There has been a temptation to apply the term "webcomics" to things that are visually composed in the frame like comics, but which move and talk. If it moves and talks, it's not a webcomic. It's animation.
What's interesting to me about webisodics is that it's a bastard medium in its infancy. It hasn't yet been completely soaked in money and Hollywoodisms and US television-think that says you can't write and run your own series without being 55 years old with a decade on GORMLESS AGED THING SOLVES STUPID CRIMES EVERY WEEK FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE under your belt. It is still possible to get in there and create something smart and entertaining and see it emerge as you intended it to. The simple fact that most people aren't doing that will make the good stuff stand out as it comes. The Net isn't good at maintaining bad stuff. Shit on the web tends to suffer and die quite quickly, or at least drop below the cultural radar with some speed.
Comics are a bastard medium too, a weird hybrid of other ways of telling stories. Shit is not below the cultural radar here - the medium is, by and large. Joe Sacco and Chris Ware are in TIME, I'm in ROLLING STONE, Bendis is in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, but the vast majority of what's in stores is not paid attention to by the rest of the world.
The web relies on natural selection to purge itself of rotten content. Comics will require unnatural selection.
It's time to get your orders for November comics into your local comics store. Practise unnatural selection. Pre-release order your books, and if your retailer doesn't recognise what you're ordering, tell her about it. If you're ordering RUMBLE GIRLS, print off the the POPPY flyer at http://www.warrenellis.com/poppyflyer.htm and attach it to your order sheet. If you're ordering FINDER, print off the little FINDER webcomic at http://www.lightspeedpress.com and attach it to your order. Do the same for what other books you can. Mutate your local comics store.
My other column, BAD WORLD, has been moved to OPI8, and can be found at http://www.opi8.com/badworld.shtml
Your instructions for this week are to work out your proximity to these stores and then come and see me. Contact them for times as of next week, or just go to my website for news. If you're in the press and want to talk while I'm in your area, set it up with the store or contact me at the dedicated email address Ellis2000Tour@aol.com.
Jim Hanley's Universe
4 West 33rd St (opposite the Empire State Building)
New York, NY 10001
Contact: Jim Hanley or Nick Purpura
The Laughing Ogre
4258 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Contact: Gib Bickel
Excalibur Comics & Videos
7959 Fredericksburg Rd. Ste. 129
San Antonio, TX 78229
ExcalibrSA@aol.com (the store)
Contact: Bob Schaefer or Joe Dunn
Alternate Reality Comics
4800 S. Maryland Pkwy. # D
Las Vegas, NV. 98119
Contact: Ralph Mathieu
7711 Melrose Ave
Loa Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 852-9621 (fax)
Contact: Bill Liebowitz
305 Divisadero St
San Fransisco, CA 94117
Contact: Brian Hibbs