Fans of acclaimed comics writer Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s comicbook Fell have been waiting for the conclusion of the critically praised, but still unfinished crime series. However, with Ellis now facing many sexual misconduct claims stemming from allegations last summer, news of the series’ comeback has sparked much outrage online. Image Comics quickly announced today that until Warren Ellis apologizes in such a way to make every angry ex-girlfriend or woman that feels he wronged them over the last twenty years, they will not be publishing additional issues of Fell, or any of his work, until he does so. Image is perhaps the biggest independent comics publisher in America, so this is a serious backlash for the writer.
Image Comics today on their social media:
Ellis stands accused by multiple women (and “non-binary persons”) of predatory behavior and sexual misconduct during his career. The accusations first gained prominence last summer. Ever since the claims arose, Ellis had mostly vanished from the public spotlight, deactivating his Twitter account and terminating his long-running email weekly Orbital Operations. “I’ve never considered myself famous or powerful, to the point where I’ve made a lot of bad jokes about it for twenty-odd years,” Ellis said in a now-deleted remark. “It had never occurred to me that other people didn’t view it the same way I did — that when I was given attention, I wasn’t acting as an equal, but rather operating from a position of power and advantage. I failed to consider it in a lot of my personal contacts, which was a mistake that I accept responsibility for.”
The SoManyOfUs website updated its statement on June 24, revealing that Ellis has now reached out to the group in the hope of creating “a mediated dialogue.” Ellis has also published his first new newsletter in nearly a year, writing, “I have, of course, been silent and isolated for too long, and should have addressed things sooner and proceeded with more speed. I apologize.” Will the apology be enough for his contemporaries?
Fellow comics were quick to publicly denounce Ellis and express fealty to So Many of Us.
Clearly that wasn’t the case, and for that reason I can’t support Ellis’ projects old or new. Instead, I’d point you toward the people striving to make the industry better. https://t.co/kanbk9Dwzs
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) June 24, 2021
When the news started coming out about WE last summer, I was so sure that he was going to be the sort of person who was going to pull a Dan Harmon, own up to his shitty behavior in a public way and carve his own path forward. But he didn’t.
— James Tynion IV (@JamesTheFourth) June 24, 2021
So it would seem that guys like Mr. Snyder and James Tynion can’t separate the creator from the creation, but Snyder is already in the firing line of the Whisper Network, so he doesn’t dare remain silent. But Tynion is dating a WN player himself, so he willingly ignores that Ellis already DID apologize last year. The point is that NO apology will suffice. And out of fear of never being forgiven, some people will pretend to be better than they actually are.
Let me opine that I think any creator cowering to appease cancel culture is committing artistic suicide. They should look to the comic masters for inspiration and courage. As Western culture devolves to become little more than a diabolically sensitive human resources department devoted to cancel culture, art has become a decidedly tricky proposition. Where does it end? What or when is the stopping point? This is nothing more than a 21st century tarring and feathering.
IMAGE COMICS demands that Warren Ellis satisfy each and every woman who he’s dumped in the last two decades before they’ll publish his comics.
— UNEQUALED VIRTUOSO (@EthanVanSciver) June 25, 2021
How much restitution does Warren Ellis need to produce so he can get back to work? How much does he need to apologize to eliminate the stain? What does he need to do to earn the forgiveness of those whose fee-fees he unintentionally hurt? Who can measure those requirements and what is the net gain of Image Comics to prevent him from working until some arbitrary forgiveness is granted?
Wes Daugherty from Thinking Critical and Richard C. Meyer both had excellent points on this situation:
It should be noted that none of the allegations are said to be criminal, nor have any of the allegations ever been proven in a court of law. Ellis has admitted some wrongdoing and apologized for being insensitive, but that definitely wasn’t enough. So now Mr. Ellis must beg even more for the forgiveness required in order to put food on the table. Meanwhile, all the smart men still working in comics will henceforth be extra leery of any women in their industry or of female fans that ever bother to try and befriend or work with them.
Ellis should immediately put the remainder of Fell on Indiegogo and tell Image Comics to kiss his ass. NEVER apologize to the unforgiving cancel culture mob. It will only make them stronger and more tyrannical because you’re just another scalp to them, and nothing will prevent them from canceling you, even if you’re a certified member of the liberal establishment.