So Many Of Us Responds To Warren Ellis Returning To Image Comics

Two days ago, Bleeding Cool reported that Ben Templesmith has announced the return of Fell, his comic book with Warren Ellis, as a graphic novel to be published by Image Comics. The day after, we ran a collection of very negative responses on social media from comic book creators and commentators, as well as Templesmith himself. They concerned the series of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and grooming made against Warren Ellis and exposed en masse less than a year ago. But there was also the observation that the So Many Of Us website which had collated sixty-two experiences from over a hundred women, had in their initial statement stated that they didn't want to punish Ellis. Last night, the website So Many Of Us added a new statement to their front page clarifying this.

Update June 23, 2021: When we published on July 13, 2020, we expressly did not want to "cancel" author Warren Ellis. Rather, we shared constructive ways to address the all-too-common issue of powerful men's abusive behavior. We challenged people to rethink past actions and to consider how—and why—they may have facilitated harmful behaviors and environments. We called for openness, accountability, and growth, extending an offer of working with Ellis on some form of transformative justice. Since his public statement a year ago, to the knowledge of these authors, Ellis has still not taken direct responsibility for his destructive behavior nor attempted to tackle the circumstances that allow such behavior to go on unchecked both on and offline. During the past year, we were comforted by an outpouring of encouragement while also heartbroken to be contacted by more targets of Ellis and of other men using similar patterns to abuse power. Today, as Ellis returns to comics without making amends to anyone involved in or accepting the ramifications of his actions, the renewal of ardent public support alongside calls for accountability is reassuring.  We reaffirm our call for Warren Ellis to earn the opportunity to become the man so many people believed him to be.

This follows another update from the end of last year after it was announced that Warren Ellis' online newsletter Orbital Operations was returning. It did not.

Update December 2020: With Ellis's announcement of an imminent return to the public sphere, we have fielded questions about whether he has approached the people who contributed to this website. To the best of our knowledge, he has not contacted any of us since the site's publication in July 2020.

So Many Of Us Responds To Warren Ellis Returning To Image Comics

Representatives of Image Comics did not offer any response to Bleeding Cool when approached, but they did tell Gizmodo, "Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Image Comics series Fell will indeed return for its long-awaited final story arc in graphic novel format. We will have more details to share about this very soon."

Freelance comics marketing consultant Tara Ferguson, who was one of many who contributed to the SoManyOfUs website, also wrote at length in her own capacity for Heidi MacDonald's The Comics Beat, saying "Beyond the disgusting language used in the announcement, the most alarming information in it for me personally was the fact that Image Comics have agreed to publish it. I have worked in comics for years, I know the top brass at Image personally, this hit hard", concluding "If Warren Ellis is allowed to walk back into this industry as though nothing has happened, welcomed by one of the biggest and most respected publishers, then the state of this industry is far far worse than we all ever imagined." The ball is still in the industry's court.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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