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April 13th, 2009 - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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April 13th, 2009


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.
Current Music: The Submarines - You Me and the Bourgeoisie

(17 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")


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