photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i found the documentary WARREN ELLIS: CAPTURED GHOSTS (SEQUART, 2012) about the NOTORIOUS BRITISH graphic novel writer to be quite a bore. my interest for watching this film came from reading his work in TRANSMETROPOLITAN (VERTIGO, 1997-2002), RED (WILDSTORM, 2003-2004), and THE AUTHORITY (WILDSTORM, 1999), all three are INTENSE, THOUGHTFUL comic book series that utilize TRANSGRESSIVE scenarios as a means of prodding the reader's sense of HUMAN DECENCY. in essence, WARREN ELLIS is producing MODERN ALLEGORIES and MORALITY PLAYS, utilizing familiar narrative forms while pushing them to their ethical limits. in contrast with his creative work, which i found to be quite CONTEMPLATIVE and entirely THOUGHT-PROVOKING, this documentary which follows him basking in his own TIRESOME attempts at SELF-MYTHOLOGY just came off TRITE and BANAL. to be perfectly honest, i had a difficult time staying awake throughout.
it is important to state that this film came out years before reports of SEXUAL COERCION allegations were brought on by multiple women in the summer of 2020. since then he has been something of a PARIAH within the industry and has effectively been BLACKLISTED in the wake of said claims.
i think this documentary is interesting in how it presents a REVERED cultural figure and the lengths to which peers and acolytes rationalize and contextualize aggressively DEVIANT and unapologetically DEBASED behavior. i found the BRAZENNESS of these justifications by lackeys to be pretty SHOCKING, even in the wake of DONALD TRUMP. its a situation entirely reminiscent of MARILYN MANSON and how his public and private persona fed into one another and led to his DOWNFALL, which likewise included SEXUAL COERCION as well as false-imprisonment and grooming allegations. none of it felt like a surprise in that an army of misguided apologists attempted to justify such as part of his art in some VILE and absolutely WARPED perspective. its truly BIZARRE in that you even have JOSS WHEDON (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, TOY STORY, THE AVENGERS) expressing opinions on said behavior, himself someone in just a few short years after the recording of this film will be publicly alleged to have utilized his authority on set to coerce sexual favors from subordinates. just proves the power of celebrity and the gender power imbalance that is still very much a feature of western society, despite our attempts to point fingers at other parts of the globe.
it should be noted that ELLIS has since come out and apologized from what reports i could gather, but the documentary i am interested in would be the 2022 version of his personal narrative, not this 2012 version. especially given the nature of his work and the SAD legacy of his personal choices, he may be an ideal candidate to eloquently shed light and poignant insight into the CORROSIVE mindset of TOXIC MASCULINITY and the societal structures that encourage such to metastasize and flourish.