Warren Ellis is a longtime comics writer, famous for his dark worldview and fascination with futuristic technology and Colleen Doran is an artist known for her detailed art style on both her own series A Distant Soil and other works like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (where she also served as inspiration for the character Thessaly).
Ellis and Doran have worked together in the past on series like Orbiter and now they’re reteaming for a new kind of webcomic, called Finality, due out next year from LINE Webtoon. The story follows middle-aged detective Felicity Rockall, the “world’s greatest criminal investigator,” working her epic last case alongside young agent Amy Ash.
Ellis tells EW that he intended Felicity “to be the sort of brilliant, unsettling lunatic that we’re always happy to see men portray,” and describes her dynamic with the younger Amy as “somewhere between mother and daughter, Holmes and Watson, Gen X and millennial, violent mental patient and extremely resentful carer.” Like many Sherlock Holmes stories, Finality is told mostly in flashback from Amy’s perspective after events, as she tries to put the pieces together on Felicity’s last case.
“Warren writes very good, very solid characters,” Doran tells EW. “He writes the kind of people that would engage you, not because they’re glamorous or because you’re waiting to see them on a movie screen, they engage you because they’re smart and interesting and quirky. They look very believable, and that’s quite fun to draw. They have normal human bodies, Amy is younger and more robust, but it’s nice to have a middle-aged woman protagonist who looks like a middle-aged woman protagonist.”
“I don’t have any special insight beyond having spent 48 years surrounded by women who can think rings around me and are just as capable of eccentricity as men — also, let’s face it, working with one, hi Colleen – and I hope to get some of that joy and madness down on the page,” Ellis tells EW.
Finality is intended as a 26-issue weekly series, set to debut on LIVE Webtoon sometime in 2017. Ellis and Doran both have experience in webcomics (they’ve even worked on one together, Super Idol), and with this one, they’re trying something new: Making it readable on mobile devices.
“My favorite thing is still that it’s essentially free to the audience that owns a smartphone, and I like the serialization – it’s like giving the reader a little gift once a week,” Ellis says.
“It’s tricky for me as the artist because I work in a very detailed style, and I’m having to strip it down to its essentials and moderate my very detailed work a bit so it can be read,” Doran says. “I’m trying to go for a look people don’t expect from me. I’m thinking Alex Thoth, I’m thinking that strong block of black to convey information instead of lots of details. Lots of film noir areas of black and white, and extreme angles. I think that’s the best way to keep the work readable on devices while still conveying a great deal of information with very little visual information.”
Look for Finality in 2017.