It all started 10 years ago when in the April of 1999 a bi-monthly series from Warren Ellis and John Cassaday launched. It was originally intended to be 24 issues but it stretched to 27 to fit the whole of the stories of Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, and the young man known only as The Drummer ... or at least what Ellis has decided to tell us all. The book has grown a cult status and is one of the finest examples of what can be done with comics that might be more challenging, if even at all possible, in any other format.
Planetary is the kind of comic story that makes you love comics and that will stay with you long, long after you finish reading it. And after a three year hiatus (due to commitments by the artist Cassaday) the final issue is now on the shelf and has likely been devoured by the fans of the series with rapacious voracity. The series finale has been garnering a whole lot of buzz from fans and critics as well. Newsarama tried to sum it up with just one word "Perfect". They also had a retrospective of the series in two parts and it serves as a nice refresher for those who haven't read the single issues since they released and are hungry to read the final issue, though I will warn that it is rife with spoilers so if you've not read the series you may want to avoid Brandon Thomas' coverage.
Joined with that was the announcement this morning that his series from Avatar Press "Gravel" will be made into a movie by Legendary Pictures. The reason that this is interesting is that it is the only of Ellis' projects that is currently under development by anyone but Warner Bros. and that it also holds the distinct honor of being one of Ellis' most disturbing works to date and is also one of his longer running characters.
William Gravel is the kind of character that most Hollywood types might stray away from and certainly the stories that have been told with the character have been blatantly strange. But seeing as he is a "Combat Magician" and is sort of a darker take on the kind of character that Vertigo has made famous in John Constantine it is probably not terribly surprising that the character has been on the radar of some of the more risky movie studios.
Interestingly enough the first appearance of William Gravel was also in 1999 and so it seems like it's been a pretty good decade for Mr. Ellis.