Fifties-style noir sleaze. Not the pretty people and elegant structure of LAURA, not in the Fifties. Fifties noir was dirty. Sexy, trapped loser-women almost paralysed with hate. Men who had been held down and beaten with the ugly shovel until their faces practically folded in half with each grimace. People who are constantly lunging at each other to cover for the fact that they're all falling over. All falling apart.
THE FALL is about people falling apart. It is, I suppose, a graphic novella. But it's a dense work, and feels like something twice its size in the reading of it. The kid watching his life slide out of view until he sees that credit card. The woman whose life has already slid away, who sees him see it. All tangled up together with human monsters and the thing the kid rakes the blood-coloured fall leaves away from...
It's a contemporary piece, but it seethes with the dirty noir fiction of the Fifties; of that absolute basic removal of trust, of every relationship viewed as a transaction of some kind, and of people who have just decided to be complete fucking monsters because, y'know, why not?
Crime fiction in comics tends to be either Mickey Spillane or some brain-damaged version of Thomas Harris - tits-and-guns or guts-up-the-wall. Ed Brubaker and Jason Lutes, meticulous creators both, bring the sharp mean intelligence of Jim Thompson to comics crime, and the dirty stink of it is welcome.
Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.