As of November 28, 2007, the rumored new Warren Ellis community makes its debut at www.freakangels.com/whitechapel. Initially conceived as a place to discuss the upcoming webcomic FreakAngels by Ellis and artist Paul Duffield, Whitechapel has since grown into Ellis’ new home on the net. Conceptualized by Ellis, Whitechapel is funded and hosted by Avatar Press, and its construction and continued maintenance are the workings of Ariana Osborne, with assistance from Avatar Creative Director Mark Seifert.
“My website, warrenellis.com, is where I work and speak,” says Ellis. “But Whitechapel is now where I live. If the place looks a bit weird, especially in comparison to my previous online communities, it’s because I wanted this one to reflect my interests, rather than just force you to buy stuff or attempt to take over your mind. Frankly, mind control is easy. It’s having to look at all that weird crap in your head that’s hard.”
Whitechapel is a precursor to the much-anticipated FreakAngels webcomic by Ellis and Duffield, coming to FreakAngels.com beginning in February, 2008. It is also the newest community Ellis has developed, following such boards as the immensely popular site The Engine which closed its doors early this year. Speaking about Whitechapel’s branching functionality Ellis says, “I’m not especially interested in a comics-centric board like the Engine. Which tends to beg the question of what a message board/online community should do. The Engine was originally raised for serious purpose. The new place, not so much. For me, it’s more of an overlook: a place to live and watch the world go by.”
WHITECHAPEL is now open for viewing and registration at www.freakangels.com/whitechapel. It uses a new system (Vanilla) that supports such options as a Member Map and linking Flickr photo feeds to profiles. Open to people of all interests, the message board will alsowork in part as a 10 week lead into the launch of the long form webcomic FreakAngels by Ellis and Duffield, which debuts in February, 2008.
Avatar Press is a comic book publisher that continues to push the boundaries between mainstream and independent with current and upcoming work from creators such as Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Brian Pulido, George A. Romero, George R.R. Martin, Joe R. Lansdale, John Russo, Mike Wolfer, Juan Jose Ryp, Jacen Burrows, and numerous others. The company has published a wide range of comic books including creator-owned titles like Garth Ennis’ 303 and Brian Pulido’s Lady Death, company-owned comics such as Pandora and The Ravening, licensed hits like Frank Miller’s Robocop and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and numerous other titles. A publisher that has established itself as one of the cornerstones of the American indy comic book scene over the past decade, Avatar has published some 500 comic books since 1997.