The Alabaster Sock

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Posts Tagged ‘Grant Morrison’

The Legendary Hero is No More

Posted by Matt on August 23, 2011

Dear Mr. Morrison (or Grant, if you prefer),

I was a late bloomer, if you will, when it came to comics. I didn’t grow up with the modern mythos, the adventures of Marvel and DC’s line-up with costumed crime-fighters, like you and so many other people did. What I knew about them was gleaned from the licensed products: the television shows, the toys, and everything else. I didn’t know about all the things, great things, those comics contained.

I was given a huge load of comics in high school. Quite the variety, really. Classic Lee/Romita Spider-Man, Watchmen, Claremont/Byrne X-Men, Gaiman’s Sandman, at least one example of Kyle Baker…works both classic and modern. But none, none, affected me quite as much as your with Richard Case (and numerous other great artists!) on Doom Patrol.

When I first picked up Doom Patrol, I was taken in by the weirdness of the characters, the Scissormen, the Brotherhood of Dada, Danny the Street, et al. What delightful fun, I thought. My appreciation of your work only grew the more I read; it opened my imagination to all the possibilities comics had, the limitless number of images, the infusion of Burroughs, the rebellion against a world determined homogenize everything, and the way it can make you connect with its characters. Your characters were people I cared about, people whose adventures I wanted to read about. All of these things culminated in your last issue in that series, which is one the most sad, beautiful things I have ever read.

Doom Patrol, more than any other, has come to be my personal high-water mark for comics. It is the thing that inspires me the most. Part of my motivation for attempting a career as a writer is to give other people the kind of joy you gave me in those comics, and all the subsequent series of yours that I’ve read. I just want to thank you for that.

With that, I come to my main reason for writing this: I think we’re finished as artist and audience.

I haven’t read any of your recent Batman work (although I have read Arkham Asylum and Batman: Gothic, both of which I enjoyed), or Final Crisis for that matter; I’m simply not interested. I could gather in your early work that you really do love DC Comics and it’s characters; they seem to be as near and dear to you as your comics have been to me. You’ve probably dreamed for years of becoming the architect of some of the world’s best known fictional characters. I do not begrudge you for this; I simply skip that part of your output that does not interest me, and wait for the next Seaguy.

No, that’s not my problem. What my problem happens to be is the side of you that these last few years have brought out in you. This is has been especially troubling in the last few months, as you have been interviewed about your autobiography (which I have not yet read, and with all that has gone on, may never read now). To be honest, in a lot of these interviews, you’re come off as full of shit.

Let’s take your recent Rolling Stone interview, for example. Specifically, your controversial statement about Chris Ware. Now, I’m not a Ware reader (not out of indifference or antipathy, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet), and to be fair, I think you sort of have a point. I think the critical corners in the comics world have spent far too much time setting up the world as the superhero crowd-pleasers at Marvel/DC with versus the lonely white boy stories told by Ware and others, as if those are our only two choices. They’re not, and the sooner we exit that dichotomy, the better off we’ll be.

No, where I have a problem is your calling them out on being “privileged American college kids”, and that this comes from your “Scottish working class” background. Maybe that would actually have been true when you were writing Zenith, or Doom Patrol, or The Invisibles, or maybe even New X-Men. But not now. Not when you own a house in Hollywood, get preferential treatment from a large corporation to keep their multimillion dollar trademarks in circulation, and get paid god knows how much to write movies about aliens fighting dinosaurs. You have no fucking right to criticize anyone else for being “privileged”.

Then there’s your statements about Siegel & Shuster in your book. You know, the guys who created the character you seem to think is so important, and are going to be writing about starting next month. You apparently don’t think their side of the story is very important, and that the half-century struggle for proper recognition and compensation for creating one of the best known fictional characters of the 20th and 21st centuries is trivial. Despite your attempts to convince everyone that superheroes are the modern mythology, you can’t make us overlook that Superman, Batman, and the rest were created by very specific people, and are now the property of another group of people who see them simply as a brand for them to sell. You can’t make them go away. The creator rights battle is a major part of the history of the so-called supergods, and I think people are beginning to realize that they may be the most important part.

You know, I don’t like to armchair analyze other people’s motivations, I really don’t, but all these things: the dismissal of people like Ware who aren’t big fans of superheroes, the dismissal of critical circles like The Comics Journal, the dismissal of the creators of the characters you write for, the dismissal of Alan Moore because he realized what a raw deal the superhero industry is and makes sure everyone knows it…it really sounds like your are trying to protect yourself from all the people that make you feel guilty for wanting so bad to be where you are today, the guy who gets to direct a superhero universe (under the auspices of the money men at Warner Bros). You probably need to make sure Alan Moore and all those other voices never get to you, because if they ever do, you’ll realize that, not long ago, you were one of them. Fighting corporate tyranny and it’s sadistic enslavement of imagination. You were once the solution to the problem. Now, you’re the problem’s willing servant.

But again, good for you for getting to live out your dream. I hope you enjoy it. I know I will continue to read and enjoy Doom Patrol, Animal Man, We3, The Filth, and all the rest. But I just don’t think I can take anything you write from now on seriously. Not like I used to. You’ve been compromised by the allure of the corporate superhero.

Thank you so much for all you’ve given me.

Now take your Batman comics and go to hell, old man.

Additional reading:

Dan Nadel at The Comics Journal
David Brothers at 4thletter!
Abhay on the Siegel & Shuster Thing
Comics Commentary

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Posted by Matt on February 24, 2010

Want.

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Posted by Matt on December 17, 2009

I have one more exam tomorrow, and I barely studied for it. It’s an English exam, so I assume that I can figure things out as long as I’ve read the books. But I’ve been wrong before! Many times before.

Grant Morrison has a new Vertigo series starting next month. I’m still waiting for the second Seaguy series to be collected, so it’s going to be a long, long time before I’ll read this one. I just don’t think I can get into single issues.

He also has two other projects that are nowhere to be seen. I want them, Morrison. GIVE THEM TO ME.

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Mr. Moonlight

Posted by Matt on September 17, 2009

I have a weird history of unexplainable illnesses. I sometimes get awful tooth/headaches (I can barely tell which), although they have seemingly stopped recently. The dentist said I have no signs of sensitive teeth.

Tonight, I have a rather upset stomach. I was close to blowing chunks for the first time in years, but it subsisted (so far). It’s probably what I eat, which is a ton of garbage. Why is this a mystery?

And now that I’m done boring you…

I’m not going to post about Scribblenauts, because I want to write a review of it for the paper. I’ll repost that instead. I’m just going to let you know that it’s as you expected, with very deviant puzzles even early on (What beats lava? NOTHING BEATS LAVA).

I also got the incredible, tight-fitting rooster cap. I am a champion.

This is now a regular feature, just so you know:

A FEW QUOTES I LIKE, Links Edition:

NRAMA: Finally Grant, could you ever see yourself doing something like this again?

GM: No. It’s a bit like having sex with a jellyfish: once might an interesting experiment, twice would be perversion!”
Newsarama interview with Grant Morrison on 52

“How did you find me?” blithers Julia
As if there were some mystery in this.
You’re in your house, you stupid fucking girl!
How do you sodding think he found you there?”
Paul O’ Brien reviews Uncanny X-Men #439

“Sentence: Victim of the next 9/11, which consists of two radio-controlled hobby planes smashing into his face.”
The BEAST’s 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2007 entry for Rudy Giuliani

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True Murder Stories

Posted by Matt on September 9, 2009

Now that DC is finally reprinting Shade The Changing Man, and I couldn’t be happier. So now, I will drown my happiness in sorrow because the following series that I have read or have interest in reading are either not collected or are still out of print. And some of them may never see the light of the trade paperback day for one reason or another. And it’s a damn shame.

The New Adventures of Hitler by Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell
Numero uno on my list of series that may never see print again is this early-90s Morrison story from 2000AD-spinoff Crisis!. I honestly think this is one of Morrison’s best, and that’s no small feat considering his considerable high-quality output. It’s definitely his most angry work, something that combines the surreal, absurdly comedic quality (especially in Yeowell’s art) of Doom Patrol with the satire and vitriol of stuff like We3. Unfortunately, that controversial message (this is a book that basically says Britain’s long history of brutal conquest is a direct antecedent to the Third Reich, but even that is sometimes overlooked for the fact that the book is a humorous take on Hitler at all) and the relative obscurity of it means that it won’t be collected for a while, or ever, even with Morrison’s prominence. It’s almost as frustrating as the legal limbo that has trapped Zenith and Flex Mentallo. I am just glad I was able to read this on Scans_Daily before that site went under.

Automatic Kafka by Joe Casey & Ashley Wood
Here’s a series that I have not read, but is really up my alley. I’ve read Casey’s Godland, which was pretty good (although I think if I were a bigger fan of Jack Kirby I’d maybe like more), and the idea of a robot superhero tripping out and meeting his makers. Just read the Wiki entry. I want this. Yet DC/Wildstorm have yet to collect it. It’s possible that this oversight will be corrected sometime. But nearly 8 years after it was published is too damn long, and it makes me wonder if this is even too strange for the publisher. And if that is true, I want to read it even more now. To the torrents, I guess.

(Read Paul O’Brien’s review while you’re at it)

X-Statix by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred
Here’s a series that’s been collected in its entirety, but I assume has not been in print for a while, considering that I cannot find any of the books aside from some of the earlier ones at a decent price. Maybe that’s just Amazon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Marvel just hasn’t felt the need to keep its best series in years in print. I can only hope that they don’t pull the same bullshit with Nextwave, or at least not until I get my copies of the two trades.

Chances that are more that are even more outrageously not in book form, but you’d have to go to a real comics blog to find out about those. Like this one.

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I am going to say this once: Dante’s Inferno, as in the upcoming game version, may be the most aggressively stupid thing I’ve ever seen. When you think EA is done hyping it’s God of War clone with the dumbest damn marketing schemes and interviews with the creative ‘minds’ behind it, they throw another curveball of stupid at you. The game could be alright in the end, if hopelessly derivative, but goddamn, since Day 1 they’ve been trying their hardest to show themselves as having the mental maturity of 14-year-olds.

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