Update: It seems artist Ben Templesmith was "speaking out of place" after all when he announced on June 21 the return of his and writer Warren Ellis's Fell through Image Comics.
Following backlash over Ellis's return to mainstream comic books after allegations of sexual misconduct led to the cancellation of several previously solicited works in 2020, Image Comics has issued a statement Friday (opens in new tab) walking back plans to publish new work from Ellis.
Back on Wednesday, Image reportedly issued a statement that it would be publishing Fell once again with Ellis and Templesmith.
"Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Image Comics series Fell will indeed return for its long-awaited final story arc in graphic novel format," Image reportedly told iO9 (opens in new tab) on Wednesday, following Templesmith's Monday announcement. "We will have more details to share about this very soon."
Image's new statement from Friday walks this back, stating that the announcement did not reflect their actual plans - though the publisher states they are "looking forward" to returning to Fell under more appropriate circumstances.
"This week's Fell announcement was neither planned, nor vetted, and was in fact, premature," reads Image's statement. "While finishing Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Fell is something we've been looking forward to for years, Image Comics will not be working with Warren on anything further until he has made amends to the satisfaction of all involved."
Image also points readers to So Many of Us (opens in new tab), a website in which Ellis's accusers lay out the steps they're asking Ellis to take toward restitution and restorative justice for all involved.
"It is our sincere hope that the conversations that are beginning now will result in positive changes for everyone. Please visit SoManyOfUs.com," Image's statement concludes.
Original story follows
Artist Ben Templesmith has revealed on his Instagram (opens in new tab) and Patreon (opens in new tab) that he and writer Warren Ellis will re-team to continue their creator-owned title Fell at Image Comics. Originally published for nine issues starting in 2005, Fell has been on hiatus since 2008.
Templesmith states that the new chapter of Fell will be a "single-volume work", though he does not elaborate on the format. The news includes a new promo image, seen here.(opens in new tab)
The return of Fell marks Warren Ellis's first apparent new comic book work since allegations of sexual misconduct were levied against the writer by several young women, after which he issued a statement via his Orbital Operations email newsletter that did not address any specific allegations directly but acknowledged some culpability in what he referred to at the time as "these mistakes…"
Following the allegations, Ellis retreated from mainstream comic books, with several planned projects falling by the wayside including a story tied to DC's Dark Nights: Death Metal event. Warren did complete several other stories following these events, including DC's The Batman's Grave limited series, though he's since been absent from comic books.
Templesmith's statement only seems to refer indirectly to the circumstances, vaguely acknowledging Ellis's now concluded hiatus from comic book work.
"Fell is finally going to be finished. Ok, it's finally happening. For better or worse, this is unfinished business to me. We really left it hanging. Obviously, so much has changed since those days. Yes, I know, so much," reads the statement Templesmith posted on his Patreon.
"Not for me to speak for Warren, but I agreed to do the book and I'm glad he's going to be doing some comics again," the statement continues. "I don't think anyone thought he'd bugger off and work in a shoe factory or anything. He is, after all, one of the most important comics writers of the past few decades."
Fell tells the story of homicide detective Richard Fell as he investigates the violent and bizarre crimes that take place in the so-called "feral city" of Snowtown, an urban center rife with hostility, mystery, and perhaps even magic.
Originally planned as an ongoing title, Fell featured shorter page counts with an intent to keep the price of each issue to $1.99, which was a significantly lower price than standard comic monthly comic books even back in 2006.
"It means a lot to me to finish this thing, finally, so I couldn't say no. I guess we'll let the market speak as to how things go," Templesmith states. "We're pretty much past the old concept of $1.99 comics, sadly, these days, so from what I know this will be a single volume work."
"And I hope I'm not speaking out of place by saying yes, it'll still be through Image. Warren got me some script, so I'm starting on pages now," Templesmith's statement concludes. "So in addition to the other projects I'm working on, Squidspit, Hair of the Dog, Urnakk Black Blood and the He-Bros of the Universe thing, the Squid Army Patreon is going to be privy to a bunch of my process work on all the pages. As always, Hail Squid and all that."
Templesmith's statement did not include any projected release date for the new volume of Fell. Neither Ellis nor Image Comics have released any statements about the returning Fell.