Warren Girard Ellis (born 16 February 1968) is an English author of comics, novels, and television, who is well-known for sociocultural commentary, both through his online presence and through his writing, which covers transhumanist themes (most notably nanotechnology, cryonics, mind transfer, and human enhancement). He is a resident of Southend-on-Sea, England.
Ellis was born in Essex in February 1968, about seventeen months before Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon on 20 July 1969. Ellis has reported that the televised broadcast of the event is his earliest coherent memory.
He was a student at the South East Essex Sixth Form College, commonly known as SEEVIC. He contributed comic work to the college magazine, Spike, along with Richard Easter, who also later followed a career in writing.
Before starting his career as a writer, Ellis did "most of the shitty jobs you can imagine; ran a bookstore, ran a pub, worked in bankruptcy, worked in a record shop, lifted compost bags for a living".
Ellis's writing career started in the British independent magazine Deadline with a six-page short story published in 1990. Other early works include a Judge Dredd short and a Doctor Who one-pager. His first ongoing work, Lazarus Churchyard, appeared in Blast!, a short-lived British magazine.
By 1994 Ellis had begun working for Marvel Comics, where he took over the series Hellstorm: Prince of Lies with issue number 12, which he wrote until its cancellation after issue number 21. He also did some work on the Marvel 2099 imprint, most notably in a storyline in which a futuristic Doctor Doom took over the United States. His most notable early Marvel work is a run on Excalibur, a superhero series set in Britain. He also wrote a four-issue arc of Thor called "Worldengine", in which he dramatically revamped both the character and book (though the changes lasted only as long as Ellis's run on the book), and tackled Wolverine with then-rising star Leinel Francis Yu.
Ellis then started working for DC Comics, Caliber Comics, and Image Comics' Wildstorm studio, where he wrote the Gen¹³ spin-off DV8 and took over Stormwatch, a previously action-oriented team book, to which he gave a more idea- and character-driven flavour. He wrote issues 37-50 with artist Tom Raney, and the 11 issues of Volume 2 with artist Bryan Hitch. He and Hitch followed that with the Stormwatch spin-off The Authority, a cinematic super-action series for which Ellis coined the term "widescreen comics".
In 1997 Ellis started Transmetropolitan, a creator-owned series about an acerbic "gonzo" journalist in a dystopian future America, co-created with artist Darick Robertson and published by DC's Helix imprint. When Helix was discontinued the following year, Transmetropolitan was shifted to the Vertigo imprint, and remained one of the most successful non-superhero comics DC was then publishing. Transmetropolitan ran for 60 issues (plus a few specials), ending in 2002, and the entire run was later collected in a series of trade paperbacks. It remains Ellis's largest work to date.
1999 saw the launch of Planetary, another Wildstorm series by Ellis and John Cassaday, and Ellis's short run on the DC/Vertigo series Hellblazer. He left that series when DC announced, following the Columbine High School massacre, that it would not publish "Shoot", a Hellblazer story about school shootings, although the story had been written and illustrated prior to the Columbine massacre. Planetary had been notoriously plagued with delays over the course of its run, finally concluding in October 2009 with the release of issue 27.
Ellis also returned to Marvel Comics as part of the company's "Revolution" event, to head the "Counter-X" line of titles. This project was intended to revitalize the X-Men spin-off books Generation X, X-Man, and X-Force, but it was not successful, and Ellis stayed away from mainstream superhero comics for a time.
In 2003 Ellis started Global Frequency, a 12-issue limited series for Wildstorm, and continued to produce work for various publishers, including DC, Avatar Comics, AiT/Planet Lar, Cliffhanger and Homage Comics.
In 2004 Ellis came back to mainstream superhero comics. He took over Ultimate Fantastic Four and Iron Man for Marvel under a temporary exclusive work for hire contract.
Toward the end of 2004 Ellis released the "Apparat Singles Group", which he described as "An imaginary line of comics singles. Four imaginary first issues of imaginary series from an imaginary line of comics, even". The Apparat titles were published by Avatar, but carried only the Apparat logo on their covers.
In 2006 Ellis worked for DC on Jack Cross, which was not well-received and was subsequently cancelled. For Marvel he worked on Nextwave, a 12-issue limited series. He also worked on the Ultimate Galactus trilogy. Ellis also took over the Thunderbolts monthly title, which deals with the aftermath of the Marvel Civil War crossover.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of Marvel's New Universe in 2006, Ellis and illustrator Salvador Larroca created a new series that reimagines the New Universe under the title newuniversal. The first issue was released on 6 December 2006.
Ellis continued to work on several projects for different publishers, including Fell (for Image), Desolation Jones (for DC/Wildstorm) and Blackgas and Black Summer (for Avatar Comics). Ellis also wrote an episode of Justice League Unlimited entitled "Dark Heart".
Ellis has managed a series of online forums and media to promote his written works and his creative ideals. These forums are sharply moderated by Ellis and his assistants to suit the particular purpose each one was created for. They include the Bad Signal mailing list, warrenellis.com, and Whitechapel. Ellis is frequently referred to as "Stalin", "The Love Swami" or "Internet Jesus" on these forums.
Ellis's first prose novel, Crooked Little Vein, was published in the summer of 2007 by William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins), with a second novel, Listener, to follow. He was also asked to develop a television series for AMC called Dead Channel, but the project is currently on hiatus. It has recently been announced that Ellis is writing the screenplay for an animated direct-to-DVD feature film, Castlevania: Dracula's Curse, which will be based on the similarly titled video game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
Ellis has described himself as "a notorious pain in the arse for getting involved in book design". According to a comment made in the first issue of Fell, he has more trade paperbacks in print than anyone else in the American comic industry.
Ellis wrote a column for the Suicide Girls website, entitled "The Sunday Hangover", which appeared every Sunday from July to December 2007. He also wrote a Second Life column for Reuters, entitled Second Life Sketches. In Second Life he was known under the name Integral Danton.
On 29 July 2007 Ellis announced two new projects for Avatar Press: FreakAngels, a free long-form webcomic illustrated by Paul Duffield; and Ignition City, a five-issue miniseries. He also has five other current series with Avatar: Anna Mercury, No Hero, Doktor Sleepless, Supergod, and Gravel.
On June 12, 2008, the front page of The Hollywood Reporter announced that Summit Entertainment had optioned Red (2003), Ellis's thriller with artist Cully Hamner, as a feature film. Whiteout screenwriters Eric and Jon Hoeber wrote the adaptation, directed by Robert Schwentke of The Time Traveler's Wife and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian of Transformers.
The first quarter of 2009 saw the release of G.I. Joe: Resolute, a series of webisodes written by Warren Ellis and later released on DVD in December.
In 2010, a documentary film on Ellis, Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, was announced for 2011 completion. Its co-producer Sequart also plans on publishing, in 2011, three books studying Ellis's work: on Planetary, on Transmetropolitan, and on Ellis's overall career. Sequart has dubbed this push "The Year of Ellis."