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April 13th, 2009


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08:58 am - Grant Morrison Is a Writer of Comic Books
I think my first exposure to Grant Morrison was 2004's Seaguy, which was...weird. I don't remember much about it now except that it was...weird. There didn't seem to be a coherent plot or a coherent...anything. I was very confused. Maybe I should give it another try now that I am more well versed in comic books.

Last year, I read All Star Superman. Now, I'm not too familiar with the Superman mythos beyond what I've gleaned from TV and movies, so some of the appeal was lost on me. All-Star Superman is a twelve-issue series designed to be a deliberate throwback to the Silver Age adventures, which means there's a lot of Superman fighting crazy monsters in Metropolis and Jimmy Olson doing stuff and Lex Luthor trying to kill Superman. Or maybe that's how all his adventures are,I don't know. It seemed to be an attempt to get at the heart of what it's really like to be Superman, to have to deal with this shit on a regular basis. I enjoyed the issues as stand-alone stories, but, to my surprise and delight, Morrison arcs the series like a season of Doctor Who: all the stand-alone stories have actually been dropping hints and clues and pieces of a major storyline that emerges at the end. Even though I didn't fully understand everything, I would definitely recommend it if you're at all interested in a Superman story that doesn't require you to have to read gobs of back issues. The art by Frank Quitely is very pretty. And issue #10 is one of the best single issues I have ever read.

Saturday, I read Vimanarama, which had intrigued me ever since I saw it in my comic book store. It was about an Indian dude! Or maybe a Pakistani dude, I'm not sure. His name is Ali. But anyway, he's in London, and he's about to meet the girl he's been arranged to marry, and he hopes she's not ugly. And then a 6,000-year-old evil is unleashed along with Prince Ben Rama, who totally macks on his girl while trying to vanquish evil. Now that I think about it, Grant Morrison may very well be a Doctor Who fan because this book (a three-issue miniseries) is sort of like a ridiculous Who episode. Anyway, this was more in the Seaguy vein of just being weird and whimsical for the hell of it, which allows for great lines like "My knee...is grazed beyond redemption!" I did actually like the characters—and appreciated them for being brown—but the book is so short, you don't really get to know them very well.

Yesterday, I read We3, which I had heard very good things about. It's about three cybernetic animal soldiers—a dog (1), a cat (2), and a rabbit (3)—who escape a military facility and try to deal with being free. They can talk, somewhat; they're mildly self-aware but only have animal-level communication skills, which means they talk in short, ungrammatical bursts. And yet, you end up feeling for them as characters. The fact that they're cute widdle animals does not hurt. Even if they're also ruthless killing machines. I thought this was much more successful at being a strong three-issue miniseries than the two others I'd read. Morrison needs to work with Frank Quitely all the time because they make a great team: this is some of the prettiest carnage you'll ever see. One thing I loved was that you rarely see how the animal weapons do their dirty work; rather than show us a blow-by-blow of a fight, they show us a dozen small extreme close-ups and ask you to imagine the bigger picture. It's a very effective and cool technique. I also give this one a thumbs up.

I'm still not sure what makes Grant Morrison so awesome, though. I know I'm supposed to LOVE him, but maybe he's too weird for me. Like with Neil Gaiman, I really like some things and am lukewarm on others. What's his Sandman or American Gods, the work that will change my mind about him? I hear good things about Seven Soldiers, and I really want to read the meta-tastic Animal Man. And his run on New X-Men so I can understand more about what the hell was going on in Astonishing X-Men.

Dude's written a lot of comics, though.
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Comments:


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From:ocvictor
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
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Well, I loved his runs on Animal Man, X-Men and Seven Soldiers, and his run on JLA is good old-fashioned comic book fun, but his "Sandman" would probably be either "Arkham Asylum" (which is brilliant, if short, and of course playing with other people's toys) or "Invisibles," which is all him, and remains among my all-time favorite comics. But it's SERIOUSLY weird.

Edited at 2009-04-13 04:08 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
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I don't know about The Invisibles! And The Filth. I'm not sure how weird I can take.
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From:ocvictor
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
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"The Invisibles" is brilliant, if mind-tripping. There was a story and a point. "The Filth" I'm not so fond of.

Edited at 2009-04-13 04:34 pm (UTC)
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From:mrbroom
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
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Have you been reading The Boys? I don't have the constitution to read back through all of your entries to find out. If you haven't, you really should. It's one hell of a series.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
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My friend Seanan (from whom I borrowed the last two Grant Morrison series) recommends it, but I haven't checked it out yet.
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From:mrbroom
Date:April 13th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Get on it. Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, and a character who was clearly drawn to exactly resemble Simon Pegg. I'd gush a lot more, but you'll just outdo me in a few months when you read it and write one of your most excellent write-ups.
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From:hecubot
Date:April 13th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm with Victor; I really love Grant's work on The Invisibles. One of my all-time favorite comics.
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From:queenrikki_hp
Date:April 13th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Grant Morrison is a writer who runs the gamut from decent to amazing to "that shit is way too weird for me" and that's fine. I'd say only about half his X-Men run is worth reading (he let's his weirdness run a little free in the back half). He has a lot of ideas and sometimes it seems like he tries to cram them into too small a space.
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From:radiotelescope
Date:April 13th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
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I have not read most of the comics you comics people talk about, but my introduction to Grant Morrison was _Doom Patrol_. It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen (at least in comics) (not that I'd read any comics at that point in my life, at all).

Brotherhood of Dada! Danny the transvestite street! That villain whose superpower is every superpower you haven't thought of yet! Yay.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 13th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
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That villain whose superpower is every superpower you haven't thought of yet!
Ha! I've heard of Doom Patrol. It sounds crazy. But everything Grant Morrison does sounds crazy.
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From:beeker121
Date:April 13th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
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We3 is made of total awesome, and still one of my favorite short run comics ever.

And I am adding to the people voting for you to read 'The Boys', everyone should be reading it. It is darkly adult but seriously fabulous.
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From:peri_peteia
Date:April 13th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
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I still, in my heart, feel like his X-Men run turned me off of regularly reading comics after having done so for literally my entire life (since I could read anyway).

It is probably not true, there were many other problems with me and comics, BUT I STILL SOMETIMES FEEL THAT WAY.

Which is to say, man, did I ever hate New X-Men.
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From:the_narration
Date:April 14th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
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Animal Man is one of those books that I want to get around to reading someday. I don't know that much about it, but apparently in it Wiley Coyote died for our sins.

The Wiki seems to think that The Invisibles was Morrison's most important original work, although completely bizarre.

He's done a lot of updating or revitalizing of superhero titles for DC, apparently. A lot of the stuff he wrote on New X-Men has since been retconned, I think... people didn't go for whack-a-mole Magneto.

Honestly, in the eight years I've been reading comics, I've heard his name a lot, but I can't name many things he's written that I've actually read.
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From:kremlindusk
Date:April 14th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
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The only thing I've read of Grant Morrison's was "Seven Soldiers" and it was... weird. Parts of it made me pissy because it was nonsensical and straight up dumb, and yet... I love Grant Morrison.

Before I read anything of his, I had the pleasure of going to a panel at last year's Comic Con in San Diego, where he and Gerard Way spoke about random things. They're friends, see, which is awesome because I really like Gerard Way. I suppose I like a lot of people even when I don't necessarily like their work (I like but don't LOVE My Chemical Romance, but I do really love Umbrella Academy; I think Way is a better comic writer than singer).

As I understand it, Gerard worked at DC as an intern before he was famous, and Grant Morrison worked there and walked the halls as a character he was writing (seriously!), and I think Gerard had looked up to him a lot, because he dresses like his Umbrella Academy characters while he's writing them. Now they're friends. Grant and Gerard both like the Smashing Pumpkins, which is super awesome because I was hugely obsessed with them when I was in high school. So I can't help it, I like Grant Morrison, even if he maybe isn't the best writer. (So far, I don't think he is. But I think it's worth taking the time to read his stuff and decide for yourself.)

Anyway, none of that is important. What's important is he said some of the most inspirational stuff I had ever heard, and it actually brought tears to my eyes while I was sitting in a room full of sweaty geeks (myself included):

"You gotta remember in the entire history of the universe ... you're the only 'you' that has ever existed and ever will exist," Morrison said. "... there's nobody in existence who is you, and no one can ever see the world the way you see it and can tell the rest of us how it looks. And it might be so different and so beautiful that it changes everything."

It was like hearing a sermon for a religion that actually was helpful to me (not a feeling I'm familiar with).

So, sorry to have gushed, but because of how awesome he is, I'll keep giving Grant Morrison a chance to wow me until he just goes out of his way to write something that pisses me off.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 14th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
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I really like Gerard Way. I suppose I like a lot of people even when I don't necessarily like their work
Heh. It's like how I think Amber Benson is totally sweet and nice even though I didn't think her book was that great.

(I like but don't LOVE My Chemical Romance, but I do really love Umbrella Academy; I think Way is a better comic writer than singer).
You'll be happy to know that The Umbrella Academy is the next thing I'm reading! Watch for the post next week.

Grant and Gerard both like the Smashing Pumpkins, which is super awesome because I was hugely obsessed with them when I was in high school. So I can't help it, I like Grant Morrison, even if he maybe isn't the best writer.
Aw, that's adorable.

"You gotta remember in the entire history of the universe ... you're the only 'you' that has ever existed and ever will exist," Morrison said. "... there's nobody in existence who is you, and no one can ever see the world the way you see it and can tell the rest of us how it looks. And it might be so different and so beautiful that it changes everything."
Aw. That's a good thing to remember when I complain about how everything has already been done and there's nothing left for me to say because there's no point because someone else has or will do it better anyway.

So, sorry to have gushed
Do not apologize!! Thank you for commenting, seriously.

but because of how awesome he is, I'll keep giving Grant Morrison a chance to wow me until he just goes out of his way to write something that pisses me off.
Ha, nice. Well, I recommend you check out All Star Superman and We3.
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From:kremlindusk
Date:April 14th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
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Yeah I really need to check out All Star Superman and We3. I know I have a copy of We3 collected here in the house somewhere (boyfriend loves comics or else I probably never would have gotten into them, which would be a shame). I think I've read some of Superman but I started reading Doom Patrol before We3 and I regret it, because it did absolutely nothing for me. I thought it was boring and SO 80s, in a bad way.

I've heard The Invisibles is fantastic and that The Matrix totally ripped it off. Don't know how true that is, but I've heard it in more than one place, so it probably is.

Your LJ is one of the few I actually almost always read. I skim past most of my friends list. I'm a bad person. ;)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:April 14th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
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I've heard The Invisibles is fantastic and that The Matrix totally ripped it off. Don't know how true that is, but I've heard it in more than one place, so it probably is.
My pusher, Angelo, has told me NOT to read The Invisibles! He is the lone dissenting voice, but he is the reason I got into comics in the first place, so. I may or may not check it out one day.

He told me to read Doom Patrol instead.

Your LJ is one of the few I actually almost always read.
Aw. I really appreciate it.

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