Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Engine

Now that I'm back at school, it also means that I'm back to my job here, lab consultant, which entails sitting in the computer lab and helping people who need help. In practice this means I get paid to do my school work and mess around on the internet. So, this is a great job, however sometimes, during a long shift, I run out of stuff on the internet to do, and so was the case yesterday when I was about two hours in, finished with my school work and just sitting there. Luckily, something emerged and the entire year of computing work has been made much brighter. That something is Warren Ellis' new forum, The Engine.

Ellis is the writer of a bunch of great comics, and some not so great ones. From 1998 until 2002, he ran The Warren Ellis Forum. I got on bored rather late, sometime in 2001, but while I was there, there were some good times. I guess there were some constructive aspects of it, I heard about a bunch of interesting comics, as well as learning better the full potential of However, I found it most interesting viewing as a social experiment. Ellis ran the place with no concern for free speech, or balanced discussion of his work. Anyone who posted something negative about one of his books, even if it was within a review that was positive on the whole, was attacked by either Ellis himself or one of the gang of regulars who fully supported him. More than anything else, I think that was responsible for Ellis' rise to prominence around that time, if you heard him talking about his books constantly, you'd be more likely to check them out. I know I read everything Ellis did during the forum era, but haven't read anything he's done since, the work hasn't changed a whole lot, it's just that I didn't get the advertising.

The entire concept of the forum was mindboggling to me at first. Here was Ellis, one of the biggest writers in comics, reading every single post of this forum and frequently replying within minutes to a post. It seemed like he never left the place except to sleep. It was definitely cool to be able to converse with him, and on the whole, it was one of the best web communities I've been a part of. So, I was sad to see it go.

Anyway, fast forward to the present and Ellis has brought back the forum in a new form, this time as The Engine, a place for creators to talk with fans about original comics work. I think that's actually better than the frequently rambling WEF, and there's a ton of potential here, especially as an area in which to promote my comic. It brought back a lot of memories reading through the messages yesterday, and I'm glad to be getting in on the ground floor of this one. I suppose part of me really wants to be in Warren's inner circle, I was too late to make it there last time.

And if nothing else, this will provide hours of quality reading while I'm working in the lab.

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