FreakAngels promo ad, artist Paul Duffield
|Author(s)||Warren Ellis (writer)|
Paul Duffield (artist)
FreakAngels is a post-apocalyptic webcomic created in 2008 by Eagle Award-winning writer Warren Ellis and artist Paul Duffield, and published in book format by Avatar Press. The plot focuses on twelve 23-year-old psychics living in Whitechapel six years after civilization in Great Britain is destroyed. The webcomic has received various awards and have been collected in a series of six volumes.
Warren Ellis announced the project at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con with the statement: "I've written two hundred pages and I still have no idea what it's about… it's retro-punk, it's near future steampunk" It was launched on February 15, 2008. New installments were released in six full-colour page episodes every week, a schedule that allows the story the chance to grow naturally.
The story grew out of Ellis' question as to what would have happened if the Midwich Cuckoos had survived and grown to "disaffected and confused twenty-one-year-olds." The story builds on the legacy of John Wyndham's style of disaster fiction.
Ellis' synopsis of the plot involves characters "living in a post-flood London that they might possibly have had something to do with." The so-called FreakAngels, who possess telepathy and many other "special" abilities, such as space-time manipulation/distortion, and pyrokinesis, live in Whitechapel.
As the story progresses, eleven of the FreakAngels are introduced and their role in the community is expanded. For the most part cooperatively they have created a small community of roughly three hundred people with fresh water, watch towers, markets, home-grown vegetables and a medical clinic. Their society is threatened, however, externally from refugee attacks and internally from personal conflicts and crime.
Brian Warmoth of MTV News stated that FreakAngels works well because of the combination of the steampunk-styled imaginative prop design and the bleak, post-apocalyptic setting, as well as a well thought-out underlying mystery. However, Warmoth noted the ongoing nature of the comic being detrimental, as the big reveals hadn't happened yet during the review in 2009.
Larry Cruz from Comix Talk praised FreakAngels' "subversive style of grittiness" and described the comic's dialogue as "a cut above prose you’d find in most novels." Characterizing the webcomic as "anti-steampunk", Cruz argued that went against steampunk tropes by setting the story in a post-apocalyptic setting rather than in an "age of science." Cruz stated that Ellis' high reputation as a writer is well deserved, as he "pours his heart and soul into FreakAngels". Critics have also argued that the cavalier treatment of psychological horror and sexual abuse inflicted on some characters is not consistent with the tone or aesthetic of the sometimes "silly and mundane" weekly web comic.
FreakAngels has won various awards:
- Won "Favourite Web-Based Comic" Eagle Award in 2010.
- Nominated for "Best Comic/Graphic Novel" British Fantasy Award in 2010.
- Won "Favourite Web-Based Comic" Eagle Award in 2012.
The series has been collected into trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1 (144 pages, November 2008, hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-057-2, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-056-4)
- Volume 2 (144 pages, May 2009, limited edition hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-072-6, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-071-8)
- Volume 3 (144 pages, November 2009, limited edition hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-078-5, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-079-3)
- Volume 4 (144 pages, June 2010, hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-095-5, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-094-7)
- Volume 5 (144 pages, January 2011, hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-116-1, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-115-3)
- Volume 6 (144 pages, November 2011, hardcover, ISBN 1-59291-134-X, softcover, ISBN 1-59291-133-1)
- Anderson, John (July 29, 2007). "Warren Ellis Addresses His "Children" at Comic-Con". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on February 12, 2008.
- McMillan, Graeme (February 15, 2008). "Get Your Steampunk Freak On With New Webcomic". io9.
- "Warren Ellis' "FreakAngels" webcomic is online" (Press release). Comic Book Resources. February 15, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
- Stuart, Alasdair (February 15, 2008). "Comic Review 'FreakAngels' Week 1". Firefox News. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008.
- Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Interlude 01", 2008-05-09.
- Dueben, Alex (2013-12-11). ""FreakAngels" Paul Duffield Debuts "The Firelight Isle"". Comic Book Resources.
- Warmoth, Brian (2009-10-21). "ADAPT THIS: 'FreakAngels' By Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield". MTV News.
- Cruz, Larry (2008-06-09). "FreakAngels, Reviewed by Larry "El Santo" Cruz". ComixTalk.
- Evans, Woody (2012). "FreakAngels: Vols. 1-6".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
- Armitage, Hugh (June 20, 2010). "British Fantasy Award nominees announced". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 27, 2010.[dead link]