Fell – Ellis/Templesmith


Fell – Ellis/Templesmith

Books & Comic Books
Written by Kaustubh Thirumalai
Thursday, 14 June 2007 23:30

I’ll own up to being a total Warren Ellis (I hope he needs no introduction) fanboy, but my word, he keeps delivering, and how! Fell is his latest venture along with Ben Templesmith of 30 Days Of Night fame. Well, this one’s another Image Comic (surprise!!), and the look/feel of the whole series is nothing short of spectacular; so kudos to Image! The cover artwork for Fell has been really unique and since people do, in fact, judge a comic book by the cover most of the time, I’ll have you know that the matter contained in it is equally unique as well. There are eight issues out so far and I’ve checked all of ‘em out. I’ll update this as soon as the series is over (whenever that is).

A cop, by the rather unassuming name of Richard Fell, moves in from a big city, across the barrier of a bridge, to Snowtown. Snowtown is an urban calamity. You think the filthy city you live in is bad? Snowtown is your city without taking a bath for a year, with more needles in it than a junkie porcupine and contains about as many sane people as on Orkut (which isn’t a lot, schmuck). The disastropolis has taken to crime, violence and sleaze like an addict takes on a newly arrived shipment of fresh, Columbian, A-Grade blow. It’s unknown as to why Fell comes to Snowtown, but it is revealed that he was forced to do so. He joins the Snowtown Police, and is now part of the ‘Three and a Half Detectives’ the downtrodden municipality boasts of. Fell is a very efficient detective, with phenomenal powers of observation. As soon as he reaches the city, he stirs up something more than a conversation with Mayko, a cute Vietnamese bartender. She aids him by giving valuable information about Snowtown and how to survive there. Fell takes on the vermin of Snowtown and tries to gradually bring a sense of sanity to the place (not an easy feat at all).

Each issue narrates an escapade which Fell was involved in – a new case, if you will. The stories don’t span more than one issue, so that new readers who pick up a fresh issue will not find themselves stranded. But, at the same time, there are little snippets which Ellis masterfully includes in each issue, which form a long continuous line of things you can’t ignore; hopefully leading to a much bigger tale. For example, in most issues there is a recurring character about whom Ellis doesn’t give any information about – a short, shady Nun who wears a Richard Nixon mask and goes about buying guns and whores (Stuff nightmares are made of). The comic has a very dark, hazy vibe going on thanks to Ellis’ excellent neo-noir-ish narration and Templesmith’s marvellous artwork. Simultaneously, the comic has a remarkable humour-attribute which one can expect in any comic involving Ellis – like the whole bit about Fell’s receptionist’s husband leaving her for their poodle (“That Bitch! That pampered whore, with her fur and her pretty little nails! Aren’t my nails pretty enough? Didn’t I wear the suit for him?” – ehehe). The plots are realistic, down to Earth and downright sick – just the way I like ‘em. Ellis lets things settle down themselves rather than shove ‘em down our throats. Fell made for a WONDERFUL read and I’m left hungry for more issues. This is a must for any person who calls himself a fan of comics.

Another interesting bit about this comic is that it’s priced at a VERY cheap $1.99 when comics are usually priced at a minimum of $2.99. This step has been taken mainly to cater to people who are not economically well off. Ellis and Templesmith accomplished this by reducing the comic to a very tedious 9-Grid page and limited it to 24 pages along with BackMatter (the reader-writer interface area) and some awesome insights about the work gone into the present comic. This just raised my already high image of Ellis.

Interesting Fan Mail I Encountered:

“I loved both the art and the story. Good stuff doesn’t usually come in cheap packages. I’m newly divorced so my gas tank and rejuvenated smoking habit thank you as well. Well, I’m off to bang my ex’s best friend. Ta.” - Lauri Watt

“I am including two pictures of my Jack Russell Terrier with a Snowtown “tattoo” on his neck…” - Jennifer Edgemon
Warren Ellis: “Which is excellent. But, of course, people plainly have plans for the poor dog.”
{Poor dog indeed. :( }

“It’s like… Silent Hill meets Law & Order” - Amelinda Berube
{Quite well put actually}

“I LOVE Fell. Totally worship it. I must admit though that I’ve downloaded it and you probably didn’t get a cent. But then, I’m in India, we hardly get any comics here and the only ones available are huge and overpriced collector’s editions of Vertigo Comics (which are great stuff, but we don’t have that kinda cash!). So I’ve added Fell to my list of must buys as soon as I get the opportunity. I don’t know why I’m writing this, but I guess, you deserve some appreciation even if I’m not able to contribute to the royalties.”  – Aditya Dubey
Warren Ellis: “I run this letter as an example of the dozen or so I’ve gotten in the last couple of months from India, Brazil, Chile, the list goes on…”
{Well said Mr. Dubey.}

Recommended Music:

You can certainly beef up the whole ‘Fell’ experience by kicking in some dark, shady music which you consider to be slightly disturbing or scary if I may say so. I had some awesome Dark Ambient playing (Lustmord’s The Place Where The Black Stars Hang and Coil’s Unreleased Hellraiser Themes) through some of the episodes and some pretty kvlt epic black metal (Summoning and Diabolical Masquerade come to mind) through the others. Believe me, this went really well together. I’m sure some Funeral Doom or oldschool death or just any sort of music which gives off an eerie vibe would do just as well.