Warren Ellis plays Doktor | Doktor Sleepless

dokheaderThe writer behind Transmetropolitan, Planetary, and Marvel’s hot new Thunderbolts put his uniquely deranged imagination to work on a brand-new series from Avatar this July. Here, Ellis chats up some of the preliminary details.



Warren Ellis at Heroes Con 2006 in Charlotte, NC. Photo by Justin Crouse.Warren Ellis, the British comics scribe best known for twisting the superhero genre in works like Planetary and The Authority, has been extremely busy. Splitting his time between mainstream superhero works (Thunderbolts and newuniversal for Marvel) and more mature works (Fell from Image Comics), Ellis has also penned his first novel (Crooked Little Vein, due out this summer from William Morrow). This summer will see the release of Ellis’ latest new comic, a monthly, full-color series called Doktor Sleepless with artist Ivan Rodriguez. The book will hit store shelves this July from Avatar Press, who also published Ellis’ Black Gas and a series of Ellis-penned one-shots under the Apparat label. Ellis describes Doktor Sleepless as a "new longform science fiction comics novel for grown-ups;" We caught up with the author via e-mail to get a few more details. | Jason Green


You call Doktor Sleepless a "long form science fiction comics novel," but the science fiction tag is something that scares off a lot of readers. What sort of a "science fiction" story is Doktor Sleepless?


SF in comics really isn’t that frightening to readers. The most popular genre, superhero fiction, is in fact built upon science fiction. In the alternative realm, many of the most successful works of the last several years have been SF. Elsewhere, the most popular TV show in Britain is SF, and I don’t see people running away from Battlestar Galactica or Heroes in America.  


A preview image from Doktor Sleepless by Ivan Rodriguez.You’ve said the book will contain "massive backmatter," and that there will be a Doktor Sleepless-based wiki page for readers to submit to once the book is released. What role do these ancillary materials play for the book as a whole?


It’s creating an entire, rich backdrop, and mythology for the book — things that would unreasonably distort and hamper the reading experience were they turned into comics pages, but which add additional levels of information to the work.


As one of the biggest writers in comics, you have ties to all of the biggest publishers in the industry. So why take this book to a small publisher like Avatar? What specifically do they bring to the table?


Complete freedom and a great willingness on their part to try new things. Also, paying money.

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