DC Comics will not publish a Warren Ellis story set to appear in a Dark Nights: Death Metal anthology after a number of women made allegations of sexual coercion and misconduct. The story would have focused on one of the most delightful characters from the first issue of the Death Metal event, the robotic tyrannosaurus known as “B-Rex.” The fate of his other DC Project, The Batman’s Grave is currently unchanged, but a future notice of cancellation of that project as well wouldn’t be a surprise.
The allegations first came from Katie Ellis, with successive stories coming from Meredith Yayanos, Zoetica Ebb, and Jhayne Holmes. The latter created a private support group for women with similar stories, reportedly more than 60 members strong.
The specific details and circumstances vary slightly, but all follow the same general idea. Ellis reached out to young women with aspirations in the comics industry. He would befriend them, support their careers, and then leverage those professional relationships into sexual ones. After some time, he’d end things with them, often leaving them as if they’d somehow disappointed him.
Ellis, for his part, issued a statement that was not a denial. He apologizes to the women he hurt, however he also says that he was not “aware” of his fame, stature, and power in this business. Even the most charitable reading of the statement finds this particular bit hard to swallow. Warren Ellis is easily one of the most famous and influential comic writers of the past three decades.
The private group now has nearly 50 members. Please, if you know of anyone who might have been targeted by @warrenellis, send them our way. This is so much bigger than you might guess.
— Jhayne Holmes (@Foxtongue) June 18, 2020
“I have always tried to aid and support women in their lives and careers, but I have hurt many people that I had no intention of hurting. I am culpable. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I will do better and for that, I apologise.
“I apologise to my friends and collaborators for having created this situation, and I hope they will be treated kindly. Mistakes and poor choices in my personal life are not on them, but only on me.
“We have a responsibility to one another, every day. And I have, in my past, let too many people down. I hope to one day become worthy of the trust and kindness that was placed in me by colleagues and friends.
He’s currently writing The Batman’s Grave and serves as the executive producer for Castlevania. He’s written hundreds of stories for every major character at DC and Marvel. Ellis created a universe for DC called “The Wildstorm Universe,” and wrote the acclaimed TransMetropolitan series. He even “guest-starred” in Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers in a story about the comic writer doing a ride-along with the series’ metahuman police. He’s also been involved in multiple film and television projects.
The statement itself has been criticized. Despite saying he takes responsibility, Ellis claiming he was unaware of his status in the industry is impossible to believe. Still, at least Yayanos hopes that he commits to actually becoming a better person and “doing the work” to make amends.
That DC pulled the Warren Ellis story from the Dark Nights: Death Metal anthology suggests that the misconduct allegations are being taken seriously. What their next steps will be, however, is anyone’s guess.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.