Salad Days: Warren Ellis

[What follows is an excerpt from a lost interview conducted for a 1997 Holiday Special issue of Wizard Magazine. When pressed about the miniseries discussed in this piece, Warren Ellis declined comment, mustering only to shrug his shoulders shamefully while dramatically exhaling cigarette smoke. He appeared particularly morose.]

Warren Ellis, the brilliant Brit scribe behind the twisted companion piece to Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ MARVELS called RUINS, has a new miniseries shedding light on another dark corner of the Marvel universe he wants you to read.

“I honestly don’t care if you read it or not. The check already cleared.” Warren Ellis sits in an Irish pub down the street from his New York City hotel, jotting the occasional note into the frayed pages of his well worn moleskine. Beginning in February, Ellis and artist Mark Buckingham will be releasing a six issue miniseries starring New Warriors founder Night Thrasher, giving the notoriously controversial writer a new canvas to brutally paint his harsh interpretations of the superhero genre.

Wizard: Well, what drew you to Night Thrasher as a character?
Ellis: Tom DeFalco had read RUINS and some of my Vertigo stuff and was quite the fan and asked if I’d fancy taking a stab. I’ve never read an issue of NEW WARRIORS in my life, nor did I know anything about the character.
Wizard: So, how did you end up getting the gig?
Ellis: DeFalco sent me copies of some pertinent storylines and they were just awful. He’s basically a black version of Batman, if instead of a bat, a methed up Rocket Racer had crashed through the window. I about pissed myself from crude laughter.
Wizard: …but, you agreed to do the series?
Ellis: Of course, I did! It’s a check. I told them I’d write THREE THE HARD WAY, but with Night Thrasher, Blade and Cloak from Cloak and Dagger and they agreed to pay my rent anyway! Do you think DC would ever let me do this with Cyborg? Fuck no!
Wizard: Will any of Night Thrasher’s comrades from New Warriors be making any cameo appearances?
Ellis: Well, Speedball shows up as kind of a Jimmy Olsen type assistant, but he’s coked to the gills and ends up being kind of a damsel in distress. He’s basically the well meaning friend who wants to join in on the cool black guy party, but fucks it all up because he’s off his tits.
Wizard: Was there anything editorial wouldn’t let you get away with?
Ellis: I did have a scene where Luke Cage calls Thrasher an Uncle Tom and they settle their dispute with a malt liquor drinking contest, and that was denied. It was really for a bet with Ian Edington, though, so no real loss.
Wizard: So, is the miniseries largely parody?
Ellis: Well, I’m pitching it more as a satirical urban jungle espionage thriller, but that may be the gin talking.

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