iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #178 – Warren Ellis in 2000: The Authority, Planetary and Transmetropolitan

Show Notes

The Authority

Spinning out of StormWatch, The Authority was Warren Ellis take on a proactive superhero team set in the Wildstorm Universe. Teaming up with artist Bryan Hitch, The Authority set the tone for the trend of “widescreen comics” which has been popular for most of this decade.


Also at Wildstorm, Planetary is a 27 issue long mystery that took nearly 10 years to complete. This time with artist John Cassaday, Ellis serves up a commentary on comics and genres over the past century. Recently repackaged and released in Absolute Edition, Planetary was a long overdue read for iFanboy.


Meanwhile, over at Vertigo, Ellis worked with artist Darick Robertson on the opus of his career, Transmetropolitan, which tells the tale of gonzo journalist in the future, Spider Jerusalem. This near future science fiction tale pushes the boundaries or journalism and truth and is Josh’s favorite.


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  1. I just finished Planetary, the creativity is inspiring.

  2. i want that jawbreaker shirt

  3. I have that Jawbreaker shirt.

  4. Great episode–sadly, I haven’t read Authority, but I did get the first issue of Planetary during DC’s "After Watchmen" thing they did a while back, but I am up to the seventh trade on Transmet, and it is gloriously good. 

    I can sort of see what you guys mean about this beat one of his "best years." I mean, I’m enjoying his current stuff with Astonishing X-Men, FreakAngels is consistently interesting, and a lot of his Avatar stuff is really engrossing, especially his one-offs like Aesteric Mechanics.

    I’m curious as to what you guys’ thoughts on NextWave were, because I’ll say a little controversial thing–to me, that was probably the best Marvel work published that decade, at least. Just gloriously fun. 




    also, I really like Millar’s authority… 

  6. Yeah I realized that.  Cliff Chiang was assistant editor on the book later. Heidi McDonald was also the editor for a while.  There were a lot of editors on this book.

  7. What a fantastic group of books.  It was because of that Wildstorm show that I checked Planetary and the Authority out.  So thanks for that.  Exellent show.  Always awesome to hear HST getting props as well.

  8. Great show. I’ve been looking forward to it since Ron Facebooked about the Absolute Planetarys a couple weeks back.

  9. Transmet is in my top five favorite comics of all time.

    I need some hardcovers for this series.

    I finally read the last trade of Planetary (in Absolute format). It was awesome.

    Easily one of my favorite writers.

    Can’t wait to watch this.

  10. Who was in the picture with Cassaday?  They looked familiar

  11. @Josh  That shit’s unforgiveable

  12. @gobo Hank the Intern!

  13. I’ve read the first three Planetary trades and am waiting on the fourth. I tried the first trade of Transmetropolitan but it was too out there for me. Haven’t tried The Authority yet.

  14. @Ron AH! Of course!

  15. Everytime you guys do a video show spotlighting on particular writer, I end up spending over 50 dollars. Damn you, iFanboy. Damn you!

  16. You guys have driven me to pick up the first two years of TRANSMETROPOLITAN. Luckily, my library owned them. Just need to find time to read them now.


  17. There was actually compelling reasons Ellis gave as to why finishing off Planetary did take so long.  It’s actually a sad story

  18. tea bagger? nice

  19. How weird. I just started to reread Ellis’ Stormwatch this week. 

  20. Speaking of Stormwatch, should I just start with the first Warren Ellis-written trade or go with another one?

  21. @jackietam: Just start with Warren Ellis.

  22. @conor. Gotcha. Thank you sir.

  23. By the way, in case I didn’t make it clear, Transmetropolitan is so fucking good start to finish. Amazing that it was so well paced as a single story over 5 years.  Super consistent art as well.  One of the best series. Period.

  24. @josh: I picked up Transmetropolitan on your recommendation and I absolutely love it. One of my favorite comic series of all time. The writing is spot on, the art is brilliant, and everything about it just clicks. The more reprinted trades I get, and the more I re-read through all of them again and again, the better the comic is! Just fantastic stuff.

    Wish you guys would’ve talked about Nextwave though, since I remember conor showing it to us in his pile for an article. Even with all of my love for Transmet, I really think NextWave is Ellis’s best work. Nothing will beat Mindless Ones tap dancing on the street.

    Oh what about Red and Ocean!? Well you’re probably saving Red for the film…..But Ocean was so, sooooo good. It’s a sci-fi, action comic about a species of aliens about to rise up from hybernation. That is unless Samuel L. Jackson (well Chris Sprouse made him look like Jackson) can stop them! Just a really fun read with some great artwork by Sprouse.

    Then you have all of his Avatar work; like Gravel, Freakangels, No Hero, Captain Swing…..and his Apparat work like Crecy, Aetheric Mechanics, and Frankenstein’s Womb…..Man I really love Warren Ellis.

  25. @TNC: As the title said, the show was about a specific year in Warren Ellis’ career: 2000

    NEXTWAVE published in 2006
    OCEAN published in 2004
    RED published in 2003

  26. @conor Oh I though you ment as in ‘2000s’. My bad.

  27. @unclebob  That sounds interesting.  Where could I read about that?

  28. Ditto @unclebob – any links to this?

    Transmet was something I expected to hate and I was really surprised by how much I dug it. The episode about the re-animated woman that was mentioned in the show is a particular highlight.

  29. You did not mention the two specials "Planetary/Batman" and "Planetary/JLA"

  30. Correct.

  31. lol

  32. @vadamowens, @davidtobin100 – sorry, I am unawares.  I believe I read it a couple of years ago in Wizard magazine.

  33. Where did you get that Jawbreaker shirt? I have been trying to get one since 2000.

  34. Just started Transmet yesterday, really enjoyed it. 

  35. I read "The Authority" and loved it. Going to start Trasmet and Planetry now.

  36. Great show, guys.

    Conor said "deconstruction" in connection with The Authority, but I think he meant "decompression"?

    I like all three works a decent amount, but I think the insight that Ron had has a lot to do with what’s prevented me from loving these series. Ellis thinks that his protagonists can change the world for the better, and I just don’t buy it. Sure, they do fight some obvious injustices, but the stories seem to always have a slight self-righteous tone to them that I just can’t get with. Ellis is obviously a smart guy, but I just think he’s naive about the way the world works. His political beliefs don’t help in this respect, not because he leans left (so do I) but because he’s so blindly partisan, self-righteous, and proceeds as if he could never be wrong about anything in his life. They’re great stories, with great art, but at the end of the day it’s a tad too overbearing to me.

    I wasn’t there at the time, so whenever I hear about these Warren Ellis Forums of ten years ago, I keep wanting to find an archive of that stuff to see if I can easedrop on Josh and Matt Fraction arguing (or whatever actually happened; that’s the impression I get).

  37. @froggulper: You’re right, I did mean decompression.

  38. I picked up Transmet on recommendation of a friend you described it to me as Hunter S. Thompson in the future and loved it ever since. I’ve been buying the re-released TPBs. Actually I think one comes out this week! I’ll have to upgrade to the hardcovers when ever they come out. I normally don’t do that for comic but this is one of my favorites.  I’ve also recently been reading the Preacher and Y for the first time and am able to get them in hard cover as released. 

    I haven’t  read much of Planetary or Stormwatch. I picked up the "What’s Next" $1.00 issue of Planetary and liked it and may buy some hardcovers or the absolutes.I haven’t really been exposed to Stormwatch so I’ll research more but Planetary seems more my taste.

  39. I think i’m going to grab the 2 absolutes of planetary some time, the story and concept sounds rather interesting to me.

     Also, i had a question, guys.
     What is the song called at the end of each episode? I really love it.

  40. I’ve been re-watching some of these video shows. Really loved the discussions you guys had on different books and creators and genres!
    I’m curious, Josh, if you ever got around to revisiting Planetary and if your thoughts changed at all.

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