DC to Finally Publish Banned Warren Ellis Hellblazer: Shoot

Warren Ellis says DC are finally going to publish his Hellblazer story, "Shoot". The story, about a school shooting, was written before the events of Columbine High School in April 1999, but then publisher Paul Levitz refused to publish it, and Ellis quit the book over the disagreement. 

Now that Levitz has gone, DC have decided to dig into their vault for pieces that were never seen, resulting in this announcement:

Vertigo has a long history of publishing thought provoking stories that resonate whether they’re horror, crime, war, western, fantasy, urban memoir, science fiction or reality based.

So why not dig through the archives and bring some of them back? Welcome to VERTIGO RESURRECTED – a series of one-shots and specials geared to do just that-embrace history and stories that connect with the present day activities of our favorite protagonists, antagonists and creators.

“Shoot,” Warren Ellis’s much-talked about, but never published, HELLBLAZER story involving schoolyard killings leads this mega-sized VERTIGO RESURRECTION special.

Also included are rarely seen tales exploring the disturbing depths of horror, war, romance and science fiction by Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and artists Jim Lee, Phil Jimenez, Bernie Wrightson, and others. Cover by Tim Bradstreet.

VERTIGO RESURRECTED #1 On Sale October 20 / 96 pages / $7.99

I actually read a scanned copy of the comic at some point, and while I don't remember much about it, I do remember that it wasn't nearly as scary or inflammatory as it was made out to be, certainly no more terrible than any of the stuff that happened in Garth Ennis' earlier run, or even in any of the ghost themed stories Ellis had written in Hellblazer prior to "Shoot".  But the thing was written and drawn, and it's a good thing the world will finally get to experience it, because it was quite good.


  1. hot damn that awesome news!!!

  2. Oh this is awesome! I loved Ellis’ take on hellblazer and this is exciting news for me!

  3. I love the idea of ‘ressurecting’ either lost or cancelled titles. Can’t wait to give this story a shot.

  4. Great idea and 96 pages for $7.99 isn’t a bad price.

  5. Its time for the Swamp Thing meets Jesus and that lost Preacher sex detectives stuff.

  6. @rolando—–Swamp thing is def coming. =)

  7. I love it when a banned book finally sees the light of day.  I have only read Hellblazer in trade but I might go out of my way to buy this.

  8. Thank Christ. Now I can delete my torrented scan of a third-generation Xerox of the uncolored galleys. Which, incidentally, I cherrish as the finest work Ellis did on the series. That’s the story that finally brought me into the Constantine fold about five years back.

    Now, if we can get that Wolfman-Rerez TNTT gpahic novel that was done back in, oh ’84. Yes, I know it’s been announced but I refuse to believe until it ships and my hot little hands are grasping its glory. Come to think of it, I’d better undelete that scan. At least until I’m holding Ressurrection.

  9. @tnc already up to 12…you’re doomed;)

  10. @RobAbsten — Amen, brutha. I had the scans for that issue, and I thought it was a very well-told story. Be nice to actually see it in print.

    That said, I wonder if it will get a little backlash because of the hype. It really was just one of that series of one-offs that Ellis was writing. It’s a good story, but it’s not earth-shattering. As Josh notes, it wasn’t really scary or inflamatory — and the relevance to the topic will now be somewhat muted. We’ll see. I’m just glad they’re putting it in print.

  11. Sold

  12. this ia great but….we must remember to scorn the ballless asses that destroyed one of the best runs of HB because it was too incendiary of a for adults to deal with. Srcew you Paul Levitz and all the facists that supported the censorship of Warren Ellis’s story..

  13. I’m glad to see this being printed, but from what I remember of reading the scans online so many years ago, it’s an incredibly weak and poorly thought out story.  That’s not a reason to refuse to publish it, but it barely had any objectionable material in it that I recall.  I think this was about that point where I realized Ellis had pretty much mined his strongest material, and was running out of things to say.  I hope it reads better now.  Any idea what the Azzarello and Morrison stories are yet?

  14. Let’s not forget that Warren Ellis is giant douchebag. He sure didn’t handle the situation well. If he had simply moved on and allow things to cool off, his history with DC wouldn’t be so storied. But assholes are what assholes do, and Ellis’ story was shelved seemingly forever. People like JohhnyNormal above need to realize that it’s not fascism or censorship when you are talking about publishing a commercial product. 

  15. @JohnnyNormal & PCNDIRT: Technically your comment violate our Terms of Service. You want to talk about the actions, fine, but no name calling or personal attacks.

  16. I like Ellis and Alan Moore.

    I like fiesty creators with integrity even when they get a little reckless.

    I like DC.

    I don’t like censorship.

    I especially don’t like "moral" censorship that suddenly goes away and then a company releases what was so morally abhorrant later to make some money.

    Reminds me of Puff Daddy talking about being Notorious B.I.G.’s moral compass and telling Biggie that some of his lyrics shouldn’t be used because they are too hardcore.

    Biggie dies. No more Biggie verses. Suddenly the moral compass releases those verses. See Biggie’s Dead Wrong (great track but some of the most hardcore lyrics in music).

  17. If you’re hired to create something for a company, and that company decides it doesn’t want to publish it, is it really censorship, or is it a business decision? It was a corporately owned character, and a work for hire job.  The people in charge of that company have every right to make that call.You might not like it, but that’s entirely their call, since it’s their investment on the line. Ellis was still paid.

    The government deciding he’s not allowed to write that story? That’s censorship.

    The company management changed, and so did the idea of what’s acceptable for them to print. That’s not exactly the height of opportunism.

  18. Makes sense. Companies should be able to control their product and image.

    I’d ask Warren Ellis if he felt he was being censored, gagged and disrespected.

    If he felt that way, I’d have problem with how DC treats their creators.

    I’d also like to know what kind of stuff they were publishing before. Was any of the Preacher stuff that early?

    Another example: Clear Channel controls a hellava lot of radio stations. What they censor on the radio is quite uneven. At a few years ago (not listening to much radio anymore) sexual references and gun references were censored. The word nigga was censored. Words like bitch and fag were not censored.

    I got problems with that type of company controlled image and product.


  19. So don’t support those companies. It’s all you can do.

    And Preacher and a good portion of Transmetropolitan were both prior to Shoot, yes.

  20. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a company deciding to not publish something that would anger and offend a huge percentage of the population due to current events. With freedom of press comes a bit of responsibility for decency. If it has the potential to non intentionally offend and anger more people than it does to entertain what is the value of putting it out into the world at that time? 

    John Woo was making a revenge movie about a mafia guy who’s kid was killed by terrorists who hijacked an airplane around the time of 911. It was mutually agreed by all parties it was in bad taste to keep making that movie. Thats not censorship….its called decency.  

  21. I read a black & white version of this years ago. Pretty good, i think the best thing he wrote on the title. I think hos was the weakest run on the book at that point and i was happy to see him go. Ellis works best on things he owns/creates/reinvents. Doesnt really do as well when his voice doesnt match what has come before. Not a sign of a bad writer, just a sign he works best with he’s really writing on his own terms.  

  22. morality,decency, censorship all are hot topics and not mutually exclusive…i guess i should blame Mr. Ellis for this frakas to begin with-if we did not know we would not anger…but i think my point of contention is that the work had been done,and a million editors and such had green lighted the whole thing. And then the morality or decency or most likely the politically correct alarm goes off and it was terminated.Perhaps what i failed to clearly articulate, is that this Vertigo and we had always been sold on the freedom found in this mature imprint, but it got censored because the topic was too contentous- that really got my goat.

    @Josh -lets call this the supression of artistic freedom rather than censorship. Either way they both suck in a free society. 

  23. It’s like discovering the full print of Metropolis, as Lang intended it to be.  This is exciting. 

  24. @UncleBob — They did find that, you can buy it on Amazon

  25. was the original proposed publish date close to the Columbine murder spree? if so, i can understand why a mainstream comic book company decided not to proceed (i can also understand why the creator would be angry with this decision).

    a contrived controversy feeding on people’s anger over the senseless murders would not be good for business. 


  26. I’m buying.

  27. Any news regarding "Vertigo Resurrected" itself? I’m curious if they’ll finally publish the rest of Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing run, in particular the issue where Swampy meets Jesus. Also, did DC ever publish that story by Kyle Baker of Superman as a baby? Is that a candidate or is it a no-go because it’s not a Vertigo title?

  28. i’ll buy it 🙂

    Any chance of Vertigo Resurrected #2 the month after that?

  29. @josh:
    Its called self-censorship. The company decided that they rather not print this because it may cause controversy. Unless they had some magic statistics that proved that this issue would sell less than the previous issue, it can’t be called a business decision.

    The rest of the points are valid though, and yes I agree. In the end, DC owns the character and publishes it, and it is well within their rights to censor it, Ray Bradbury be damned,!

  30. I think that some of you guys just don’t remember how omni-present coverage and analysis of Columbine was.  I can certainly understand why Ellis was angry over his publisher’s refusal to print a story that wasn’t written in response to Columbine, but may have nonetheless been an interesting commentary on the incident.  But I can definitely see DC’s desire not to enter into what would have been an absolute sh!t storm of public outcry about claims of profiteering off of a tragedy.

    And from a more pedantic point of view, I think DC is a singular entity, and would more properly be associated with "is" and "has" rather than "are" and "have".