Goodbye, Engine

391590211 829b864eeb Goodbye, Engine
The Engine, Warren Ellis’s two year old forum for comics creators and aspiring comics creators, closes up shop today. So far, the replacement message board of choice seems to be Rantz Hoseley’s Panel and Pixel. Frankly we haven’t had time to spend on any message board of late, but P&P seems to be bustling along so far, with 500 members. Once we get back in the swing of things, we hope to settle in a bit more.

From where we sit, The Engine was a mixed success. While there was much useful information and intelligent discussion, it was constantly competing with threads full of Ellis-ites posting silly pictures of themselves, such as the above, and the number of exhibitionistic young women who professed themselves surprised at the level of interest in naked pictures of themselves quickly became cloying, then annoying.

Frankly, while we admire Warren for his imagination and writing skills, his twin obsessions — TV shows and BME Goth girls posing topless — were often twin distractions from the real business at hands — COMICS! (Plus, those girls who were talking theoretical physics in one post and posing in their underwear in the next, clearly haven’t learned the fundamental law of human nature that when a woman is in her underwear, a man isn’t going to actually hear a word she has to say.)

Anyway, message boards themselves are not what they used to be. #1, everyone is terrified to say anything interesting for fear that someone like the Beat will post it for all the internets to see. #2, everyone has their own message board and blog and MySpace and Facebook and Twitter to see to, now and no one has time to participate in someone else’s game. We really miss the “village square” message boards of old, but Panel and Pixel seems a bit friendlier than the heavily enforced* Engine, so who knows if it will go anywhere.

But there were good times. The art threads were always awesome. Tom vs Dirk was entertaining. Some noobs learned a lot and will go on to the next stage for sure. If nothing else, Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen learned how to be genuine “interwub personalities.” And there were pictures of cats, lots and lots of cats. And that is good.

* Despite this, our motto remains, the more moderation the better the board.

** Photo ©2007 Vanessa Yaremchuk

Comments

  1. Rob Spencer says:

    I remember when the WEF shut down, somebody plaintively asked “Where are we supposed to go now?” and Matt Fraction replied “Outside?”.

    Words to live by.

  2. guy bristow says:

    Warren’s wife?

  3. OMG WTF she is t0ta11y hawt d00d LOL

    Yeah, um. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

  4. I wasn’t all that amused by the cheesecake factor either, but there were threads for that so it was okay.

    It DID seem rather clique-ish after a while though. But maybe it’s just social dynamics.

  5. You’re a mean, mean person. I’ll see you at the V. ;)

  6. Brian Machon says:

    Oh, thanks for posting another pic of the most appalling-looking woman on The Engine.

    I’m going to have to avoid THE BEAT until that picture rolls off the past posts now.

  7. I think that is such a cool picture. I wonder if my wife would do that for me. If not, I’ll just hold her down and do it myself. KIDDING!!! I’M KIDDING!!! It does give me an idea for something funny, though.

  8. Erica says:

    I like Ellis’ work, mostly the non-superhero stuff which feels quite a bit more sincere and well-written, but I’ve never gotten his cult.

    I peaked in the Engine from time to time, some great creators on there, but found it really tedious. Reminded me of the high school drama kids who just knew their clique was so much cooler because they listened to Joy Division while the jocks liked metal.

    The girls on there were the worst of it. Ellis moderators struck me as more than a little imperious and unnecessarily crass. A well-moderated forum is a good thing, a forum run by rule of clique isn’t.

  9. “A well-moderated forum is a good thing, a forum run by rule of clique isn’t.”

    Good point.

  10. The pic would be sexy if she didn’t have the hairstyle of someone’s mom.

    I read The Engine’s guidelines for being part of the site once, and I decided I couldn’t hang. I think that things should have enough rules to keep the morons out, but when following rules verges on being a chore, then I’d rather live my life.

    Heh, I should spend more time away from the computer anyway.

  11. The Cult of Ellis is funny and a positive thing I think, except when too many members get together in one place for too long; then it becomes cloying, pretentious and kinda icky. Too much attention whoring, of both pictures of ropey goth-chicks and Ellis-approved opinons/stances regurgitated by some of his more notable cult leaders.
    So I like that it only lasted for a set time. It had some real gold in it sometimes, but other times it was yech.

    I used to like Gillen until I read the Engine. :(

  12. Julio Dvulture says:

    The good thing of Warren Ellis forums closing soon is that it prevents him becaming a John Byrne: a legend on his own mind (still in apex of his career), surround by people that feed this illusion. Is true that it would take a considerable time for this to happen, because unlike Byrne, Ellis is still you know… talented, even if the tough guy who has no time for love is basically all his main characters (I always thought it is interesting how some writers like Ellis and Garth Ennies write basically the same character on every story but can get away with it because they are really good even if they are repetitive).

  13. “The pic would be sexy if she didn’t have the hairstyle of someone’s mom.”

    That’s what makes it great. It’s so psychotic. I love it. She’s like something out of an old Clive Barker movie. Not sexy at all, but 20 time more interesting, and frightening.

  14. Erica says:

    The moderation on the Engine was just ridiculous. On more than one occasion I’d be following a thread and then some moderator would come in and write “Ok, we’re done” and close it. That’s a very good thing when discussions get rude or just pointless, but more than a few times it would come simply because a mod didn’t like the discussion, or those discussing it seemed.

    The cult of Ellis would tell us that there are a million places on the internet to find people arguing endlessly, that the Engine was “different”. And that’s just the kind of snobbish nonsense that put me off.

  15. “it was constantly competing with threads full of Ellis-ites posting silly pictures of themselves, such as the above, and the number of exhibitionistic young women who professed themselves surprised at the level of interest in naked pictures of themselves quickly became cloying, then annoying.”

    haha!

    I know you’re gonna be missing those Engine photos SO much…

  16. matterconsumer says:

    I like cats.

    I’m glad that the Beat didn’t get sucked into the topless thing :)

  17. Now it all comes out. Impressive!

  18. Allan says:

    It is fortunate for that girl that Warren is named Warren and not Archibald. Could you imagine that?

  19. Larry Simmons says:

    I’m a fan of his work, and have followed some of the threads on Engine with interest. But..

    I did manage to avoid the pic threads, so I don’t know if the above is par for the course, but, yikes. That’s a little crazy for my tastes.

    I’m going back outside. Thanks, Warren, for closing it at the right time.

  20. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I don’t believe in mourning or really even making much of the dissolution of an on-line forum, but I wanted to say that I found The Engine professionally useful as a place to interact with comics readers with whom I’m not generally accustomed to interacting. I was encouraged or at least easily able to make use of it even though I’m hardly a member of any Warren Ellis-related clique, and have in fact written harshly about the work and punditry of those for whom this might be said. I thought that was nice, and unexpected, and I appreciated that general, ongoing act of courtesy and generosity.

    I mean, even that argument with Dirk, Dirk’s a favorite of many people that posted there, and I think a favorite of Warren’s, too, but when we argued they changed my membership status to ensure me a fairer chance to respond. That’s not always the way it happens.

    I didn’t notice the boobies and whatnot, but I assume that stuff was on parts of the site that weren’t really my cup of tea to begin with. All sites tend to have their baffling and sometimes even aggravating peccadilloes.

  21. I hooked up with two collaborators on projects that are or will be coming out soon enough, so it was valuable for me.

    I never had problem with the mods, although I found Ellis to be unneccesarily rude on occasion. But hosting the site, and the amount of effort he put into a stimulating conversational topics required real effort on his part. Whatever the faults, it was an overall plus for two years.

  22. Gah. I stopped going to the Engine last year some time. Even then, I had been mostly just lurking; looking to see if there was a conversation interesting enough to participate in. Sadly, it became WEF-the-end-days all too soon to be of much use or interest. Besides, the mods all too soon became their own brand of maenads; rending and shredding anyone who was foolhardy enough not to precisely “fit in”.

    Lea getting banned from Warren’s playground was, I suppose, inevitable. There is, after all, much history there and neither of them gladly dances to anyone else’s tune. But Andre Richard getting banned? He’s the sweetest, most benign human being on earth. That was the real end for me.

  23. Ziga Sparovec says:

    The Engine didn’t end up being as much about comics as it should have been, but the parts that were about comics were VERY good. Anything else you could just choose to ignore. If you didn’t learn at least one thing about making comics when reading The Engine, you weren’t paying enough attention (or were probably in the dirty pictures threads).

    As for all the rules; I think having to put your full, real name behind every statement one makes is the only way to get anything worthwhile out of internet conversation.

  24. Aw geez, why did you have to go and slam Vanessa in this ENGINE obit?

    So many times I’ve heard women lament that they have to “dumb down” their conversations and image in order to be interesting to men. Vanessa showed us that sexy and smart work just fine in combination, thank you very much, especially when you add a healthy dallop of humor.

    Maybe the humor was lost on some people.

    But she showed her boobies! The horror! And they look good! How dare that brazen hussy! To the stocks with her!

  25. matterconsumer says:

    Alas the worldwide shortage of pornography.

    Women shouldn’t have to show their breasts or be “sexy”.

  26. Chris Foster says:

    It feels as if a thousand cranky argumentative wanna-be comic book writer jackasses cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced…

  27. Rockin' Rich says:

    “when a woman is in her underwear, a man isn’t going to actually hear a word she has to say.”

    I don’t think that’s true at all.

    I pay VERY close attention.

  28. Just gotta put in my bit…I found the Engine a useful resource and actually liked the heavy moderation. Sure, there was a cult of personality vibe developing tthere, but it was relatively easy to avoid the parts I had no interest in. I also heavily supported Ellis’s segregating the spandex corner. I’m gonna miss it. It was the only forum I could stand to read on a regular basis.

  29. “I think having to put your full, real name behind every statement one makes is the only way to get anything worthwhile out of internet conversation.”

    That, too.

  30. I did love the full name rule. And the sig file size rule. I missed it every time I went to any forum other than the Thengine and the VHive.

    Giant sparkly sig files, pregnancy counters, local weather, clubs–aaaaaah. ‘Course, some of the sigs, like, say, B. Clay’s Hawaiian Dick, or the nerdbait, would’ve been a hoot with color-cycling sparkles.

  31. The cult of Ellis would tell us that there are a million places on the internet to find people arguing endlessly, that the Engine was “different”.

    The problem is, as much as endless arguments can get annoying and counterproductive, I can’t think of any time in human history when anyone learned anything by agreeing with each other.

  32. I usually don’t post comments to blogs like this, but Goodbye, Engine caught my attention while searching for Pregnancy stage image.

  33. Hey Heidi, don’t you usually credit the images you post here? The photo at the top is copyright Vanessa Yaremchuk.

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