Warren Ellis is inspired by the music and flags of Billy Joel's career. Tho probably not.

Comics’ Greatest Crossover: Warren Ellis and Billy Joel?!?

Warren Ellis is working on a new StormWatch project.  This week, DC released a promo image for it through ComicBook.com:

WildStorm House Ad for Warren Ellis' run

Of course, that single image is a HUGE tip-off to where Ellis is going with this project.

This is a clear love letter to Billy Joel’s 1989 album, “Storm Front”:

Billy Joel Storm Front album cover


I’m betting Ellis has been listening to nothing but this album for months and has found clever ways to use each song in this project.

Given my degree from The University of Billy Joel, Class of 1994, I’m in a unique position to provide a song by song listing of the album and how it might fit into this project.

This article is rampant speculation, the kind that so often gets picked up by outlets like CNN and turned into trending topics on Twitter.  I’ll be cashing the checks from new sponsors by the weekend… (Columbia?  Call me!  I’m a Big Shot now…)


The Songs

  • “I Go To Extremes”

In the early days of Image Comics, crossovers ruled.  In today’s more serious corporate culture, they need to be better hidden.  Ellis is no doubt hiding one in here to get the attention of Rob Liefeld and Akiva Goldsman. “Extreme”s, indeed. What do you think?  A BloodWulf reference?  Or will the new guy at StormWatch be considered “young blood”?

  • “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

Given Ellis’ love of history and politics and entertainment, this is a clear favorite.  I can’t imagine the lyrics he’s madly scribbling into his moleskine to update the song for the last 27 years!  Come to think of it, likely Alan Moore is the only person who could rewrite the song to tell the entire history of WildStorm.


(To be sung to the tune on the “Buddy Holly” verse:)

J. Scott Campbell, StormWatch, Savant Garde, DV8,
Jezebelle, Team Zero, Tim Sale draws the Deathblow,
Wildcats, Version 3,  Jim Lee sells out to DC.
Brandon Choi, I.O., Where the hell’s Portacio?!?

No, I’m stopping there, thanks. My head’s already spinning.  You’d have to get J.H. Williams to draw all that, too.


  • “That’s Not Her Style”

When we first see Jenny Sparks, she won’t look like the old Jenny Sparks.  This is her theme song for her grand entrance. A slower more minor chord version of the song will play slowly in the background during her dramatic climactic fight scene.

  • “Downeaster Alexa”

When major storms are controlled by a distributed bot net housed in Amazon’s home speaker artificial intelligence system, The Authority will be called in to clean the coastlines of the infernal devices that Jeff Bezos has planted in every home to make shopping easier.

  • “Shameless”

The Hendrix-inspired song written by Joel and them more successfully covered by country’s Garth Ennis will get an EDM version for the movie based on this project.  Wouldn’t be surprised if they get that guy from Nine Inch Nails to produce it.

Expect it to debut on Ellis’ music podcast first.  Once upon a time, record companies wanted to debut their music exclusively on Guitar Hero.  In 2016, they wanted that to happen on SnapChat.  In 2017, it’s all about the podcast!

  • “Storm Front”

This is such a big project, DC will be running cable television spots for it.  “Storm Front” will be the licensed song for those 30 second spots.

Or perhaps it’s Maul’s song:

There’s a storm front coming (mood indigo)
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming (mood indigo)
Small craft warning on the radio

Maul is green and indigo, don’t you think?


  • “Leningrad”

Like Ellis would pass up an opportunity to make commentary on the recent American presidential election and the resulting issues with Russia…  Maybe the town formerly known as Leningrad will be home to the state-run hackers collective which will coordinate that Alexa attack.

“Alexa, order toilet paper.  And attack The Authority’s coffee machine.”


  • “State of Grace”

There are no characters named “Grace” in the WildStorm Universe.  There was one in “Promethea.”  DC does like to grab characters out of Alan Moore comics to insert into other universes.  See the current state of Watchmen characters in the DCU.  Maybe this is a tip that Promethea’s friend will jump universes, too?


  • “When In Rome”

I think this is Ellis’ personal mantra when working on a DC property.  “Just do what they want me to do.”

Or, it’s Spartan’s theme song.  More robot than man, he knows the rules and can survive disruptive revolutions. Or, he can blend right in:

Then I don’t mind masquerading
With all those other fools
I don’t mind the games I’m playing,
Because I’ve learned the rules
And when times are tough, I’ve got just enough


  • “And So It Goes”

Ellis final issue title, putting all the characters to a fitting ending.

Then DC will shop the universe around to any writer foolish enough to want to follow Ellis.

And so it goes, indeed.

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