British comics' odd little secret, this: Eddie Campbell's autobiographical comics from the Eighties have profoundly influenced two generations of writers. These are simple, rambling stories of his life in the Southend area of Essex, told with the organic structure of anecdote and memory.
This is one of the great instinctual masters of the medium taking everyday life and showing it being lived, showing people achieving and losing and changing and loving and hating, making the living of life glorious and riveting - life as we remember it when we look back on it.
You need this book because it's one of the rare things that shows you what comics are really capable of. And it's very funny, it tells compelling stories, people get beaten up and mutilated, there's plenty of sex scenes, there's vicious abuse of beer, there's cops and people pissing in handbags. It's life, for God's sake.
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.