Warren Ellis's first novel, "Crooked Little Vein" is about what you'd expect from the Internet's most gonzo celebrant of the kinky, deviant, gross, hard-boiled and manic. Like Hunter S Thompson with an Internet connection, Ellis's hard-boiled detective story veers into hilarious gross-out turf from the first page, when a heroin-addicted presidential chief of staff charges the narrator of the book to retrieve a holy relic. The relic is a record of the "true" constitution of the United States, containing the mystical spell that Benjamin Franklin composed after killing an alien who had been sodomizing him in a hotel room in Paris. The book — bound in the alien's skin — has the power to restore America to colonial morality, banishing its Internet-era perversions. But first it must be retrieved from its current owner — whomever has inherited title from the hooker to whom Nixon gifted it as a hush-up bribe.
This storyline – a hardboiled dick and his h4wt, tattooed, polyamorous sidekick — is the perfect vehicle for a blazing, hilarious tour across America and its myriad daytime talk-show perversions (the narrator has his balls injected with saline in the first fifty pages). Ellis is a connoisseur of the weird and squicky, and he's saved his best material for us in this volume. This is a book that would make Goatse blush in places, and laugh in others, and do some discreet mail-order shopping in others.
But there's more to this book than just chuckles. Slyly hidden in this book's depths is an absolutely brilliant little message about the how and why of Internet perversity, the reason that America and the world have found themselves getting magnificently weirder in the last decade, and why that's a Good Thing. This is a celebration of following one's weird, one that is open-eyed to the pain and problems of that path, and one that embraces it anyway.
Ellis is a great storyteller, and this little sucker just rips along. I just finished it in 90 minutes on an airplane and it left me hungry for more. Go on and read this one, it's NSFW-ariffic.
Warren Ellis's NEXTWAVE: subverting the underwear perverts
Warren Ellis' graphic novel FELL #1 online for free
Warren Ellis's Desolation Jones – Savage noir spy comic
Warren Ellis's Mek and Reload omnibus edition
Complete Warren Ellis comic online
Transmetropolitan #1 as a free download
I come to praise Transmetropolitan