Just finished Fell: Feral City, the first collected volume of Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's new hard-boiled, surreal, ultra-violent comic. I've loved Ellis's writing since Transmetropolitan
(the comic that got me reading comics again), but I've only just started to notice Templesmith's unique brand of abstract, kinetic, moody painting (see, for example, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse
and 30 Days of Night
). Together, they just can't be beat.
Fell is about a fallen cop who has banished to "Snowtown," an abandoned DMZ "on the other side of the bridge," where he is one of three-and-a-half detectives charged with investigating the hundreds of murders that sweep through it like the plague. Detective Fell is like Dante, exploring hell, getting stabbed and having guns thrust in his face, bearing up under heaps of abuse and navigating a police squad where the Lieutenant is a pill-freak who hallucinates and reads Crowley on "magick" as a way of solving the squad's problems.
The characters are somewhat stock -- batty Lt; beautiful, smart, fucked-up barmaid girlfriend; disgusting coroner, criminal scum -- but that just leaves more room for Ellis and Templesmith to really explore the outer reaches of the hard-boiled genre, combining comedy with sickening violence in a way that is half Transmetropolitan, half Serpico.
Each of the eight collected stories is a stand-alone, and the format will be familiar to lovers of Transmet -- Detective Fell shows us a new aspect of the hell of Snowtown in each: the old lady who runs a thrift shop and has a dark secret; the sniper who hates women; the way that the murder victim got so much booze into him without having a drink.
The art and the writing here are perfect complements to each other, and you get a sense of Ellis and Templesmith egging each other on to see who can top whom. I don't know who won, except that the readers all come out ahead.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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