Here we go; what is annually our most debated list both internally and in the comments, here is our ten favorite writers of 2015. Some new faces, some old face’s and some surprising rankings. Continue reading This Year’s Finest 2015: The Ten Best Writers
The use of metafiction in the superhero genre has become an old hat for the comic book medium. Alan Moore & Grant Morrison made it a central tenant of their storytelling style in the 1980s and it’s become a tool for almost every creator that’s been influenced by them since. As per Google dictionary, Metafiction is
“fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions (especially naturalism) and traditional narrative techniques.”
It’s when the story comments on the story. Think Alan Moore’s work on Marvel Man, Grant Morrison meeting Animal Man, all the way up to Deadpool talking to the reader; it’s a constant in comics and, as is with most tools, it’s how you use it that makes the difference. Just because Grant Morrison inserts himself into Animal Man doesn’t make it the same thing as when John Ostrander inserted Grant Morrison into Suicide Squad and that’s all a million miles away from the many hackneyed attempts to have Deadpool break the fourth wall because IT’S DEADPOOL LOLZ!!!!!! But ideas never die they only evolve and the use of metafiction is no different, like in Warren Ellis & Tula Lotay’s deep dive into the practice in their excellent Supreme Blue Rose miniseries, an exploration of comics metafiction unlike anything before it.
The cover image of the lady sitting at a bar holding a drink haunts me as I type this review while the great hidden machines that annihilate everything hunt me towards death. It’s a race to type something beautiful into existence in this cruel world.
THIS COMIC IS WRITTEN BY WARREN ELLIS.
The comic is surreal and nonlinear but poetic. Did I read this comic, or did I dream that I read this comic?
THIS COMIC IS ILLUSTRATED BY TULA LOTAY.
The concepts are fascinating. I don’t yet fully understand what I’m reading. I’m not sure my understanding is important.
THIS COMIC IS PUBLISHED BY IMAGE COMICS.
BUY THIS COMIC.
I am entertained for a treasured moment in infinity.
YOU ARE DREAMING.
What’s been perhaps most interesting about seeing Warren Ellis come back into writing monthly ongoing comics is how he’s managed to take different tones and styles for each new project along the way. Where as today most creators are known for one writing style that is applied against many different comics Ellis has used different approaches and narrative styles while still using many of the same themes for each book. Moon Knight is fast paced and kinetic while Trees is slow and deliberate and his new comic Supreme Blue Rose lies somewhere in between the two as it is an intriguing and engaging introduction that does wonders in both character development and world building while also setting up multiple points of intrigue to be revealed later on. The Supreme title is a relic of Image Comics early days when they were essentially creating “modern” superhero analogues with Supreme being Rob Liefeld’s attempt at Superman. The title has hosted various iterations of that concept over time, most notably with Alan Moore who played with the parameters of reality in his run mixing in silver age style comics being read literally within the story of the modern Supreme on a meta level that was interesting without ever really paying off. In this version Ellis is also playing with the idea of a shifting reality albeit in a very different way then Moore had done as the fist issue doesn’t even feature an allusion to Supreme himself let alone an appearance. Instead we get a down on her luck journalist given an offer she can’t refuse that’s set up by a strange dream sequence where we only learn that reality is fluid and who we shouldn’t trust although our protagonist doesn’t appear to be listening. The narrative is translated beautifully by artist Tula Lotay’s fluid and washed out pencils that bend the line between dream and reality as we watch everything transpire. A lesser artist couldn’t make this work but Lotay is able to keep the narrative going in a sort of subtle movement. Even as the majority of the issue is essentially just people talking, the scenery and people that do the talking look so gorgeous that you can’t help but engage. This is another strong new comic from Ellis that opens up a world of mystery while lightly touching on geo politics, modern economics and metaphysics without landing on anything. It’s smart and intriguing in it’s set up but wholly worth it as a single issue in spite of what little actually takes place. Warren Ellis is doing the best writing in comics right now and Supreme Blue Rose is another fantastic addition to his already impressive body of work this year as the first chapter feels wholly worth investing in for the time being. A great debut from great creators that takes a lot of what worked for the title in the past and flips it around to be something more. Supreme Blue Rose is worth your attention.