superboyprime: (Default)
[personal profile] superboyprime posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Rolling Stone Magazine has a new interview with Morrison up. Morrison's normally quite tactful and complimentary to the work of his peers, but this time he gets quite vicious about some of them.

Some excerpts:

Do you think this is the death spiral [for superhero comics]?
Yeah. I kind of do, but again, you can always be wrong. There's a real feeling of things just going off the rails, to be honest. Superhero comics. The concept is quite a ruthless concept, and it's moved on, and it's kind of abandoned, the first-stage rocket.

Abandoning comics?
And moving on to movies, where it can be more powerful, more effective. The definition of a meme is an idea that wants to replicate, and it's found a better medium through which to replicate, games, movies. It would be a shame, because as I said in the book, one of the most amazing things about those universes is that they exist, there's a paper continuum that reflects the history, but people don't die, it's like the Simpsons, people don't age, they just change.


*

There have been histories of comic books, but your book Supergods is all superheroes. It's a counter-narrative to the idea that comics need to outgrow this superhero stuff.
I can appreciate someone like Chris Ware for his artistry, which I think is beautiful, but I think his attitude stinks, it just seems to be the attitude of somebody really privileged, and honestly, try living here, try living on an Indian reservation and shut up, and really seeing all that nihilistic stuff, it really makes me angry, it's unhelpful to all of us, and it's coming from people who have money and success to talk like that and bring those aspects of the way we live in favor of all the others, and it's indefensible.

So I never liked that stuff, I always thought that I had a real Scottish working class thing against the fact that these were done by privileged American college kids, and they were telling me the world was flat. "You're telling me the world is flat, pal?" And it's not helpful, it doesn't get us anywhere. OK, so it is, then what? What are you going to do about it, college kid? My book wasn't academic. I can't take on those Comics Journal guys, they flattened me, as they did, it's just defensive, smartass kids.

This is what I'm into, and here's how, through my eyes, it's exalted. You may look at the same thing and just see trash, toilet paper, I'm looking at this and seeing William Blake angels. This is how it looks through these eyes, this is all I've got, I can't talk about it in half degrees, but I can talk about it in the sense of a practitioner of it, someone who has thought about it intensely for an awful long time, and again, I thought, "What can I make, a book that reads the way Nick Kent talks about music," those guys, it at least gives you a personal connection to someone who takes this very seriously.


*

Do you still hang out with your former protégé Mark Millar at all?
No.

Is that an estranged situation?
It's a can of worms. I met Mark when he was 18, and I really got on with him, because he laughed at all my jokes. He has the same sense of humor as me, he's very dark, and has that sense of humor, so we bonded. I used to phone him every day, and we ended up doing some work together on 2000 AD, which went well. It was funny stuff, we'd meet in the pub and get drunk and do this Big Dave strip, which was a comedy strip, and obviously, he was trying to get into American comics, so I got him on in Swamp Thing, and they asked me to write the book but I said, "Let's get Mark in, let's give him a job," so I consulted with him on the stories, and so on through the Nineties.

When he got the Authority book, his star started to rise, and at that point, he felt he was in my shadow and he had to get out, and the way to get out was to do this fairly uncool split. It was quite hard, I felt, but he had to make his own way, and he was in denial that I'd been there, because I saw a lot of his work had been plotted or devised, even dialogue suggestions were done by me right up until the point of The Ultimates. It was seen by him as a dimunition of his position, even though it wasn't, I was quite proud of him as a mentor. He's done well without me, he has his own style, he does his own stuff. It was kind of that archetype, you get caught up in that story.

You came out and acknowledged this, but that was after the estrangement?
Yeah. Before that, everyone in the business knew that I was working with him, it was obvious, I was 10 years older, I was already successful. His star rose, and that history became sidelined.

He still lives in Glasgow, is there a chance of bumping into him?
There's a very good chance of running into him, and I hope I'm going 100 miles an hour when it happens.

You were very kind to Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis in Supergods.
I was trying to be kind because I like Brad Meltzer. He's a nice guy. I have a lot of interesting conversations with him so I tried to focus on what I thought was good about it and there was actually quite a lot when I read it again. The first time I read it I was kind of outraged. I thought this was just… why? What the fuck is this, really? It wasn't even normal. It was outrageous. It was preposterous because of the Elongated Man with his arms wrapped several times around the corpse of his wife. I thought something is broken here. Something has gone so wrong in this image.


For legality, a panel from Morrison and Quitely's Flex Mentallo:



I hate to admit it, but I think there's certainly a grain of truth in what Morrison says about superheroes moving away from comics. Just looking online, it's pretty obvious that even most comic book fans care more about and buzz more about movies starring their favorite characters than the comics that do. I think most of them genuinely would prefer, say, a good Batman TV show to a good Batman comic book, sad as that is. For me, it'll always be the comics first and foremost, but I imagine I'm in the minority.

Date: 2011-08-22 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
His slam of Moore, Identity Crisis, and Chris Ware were utterly spot-on. :D

And yeah, I can see what you mean of "superheroes moving away from comics," and if you're in the minority, than so am I--I'll watch a good Batman TV show, don't get me wrong, but I'll always read the hell out of a good Batman comic. :)

Date: 2011-08-23 12:45 pm (UTC)
grazzt: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grazzt
Moore and Infinite Crisis, maybe. Although he's not as innocent as he claims on the rape side of things, as someone has already pointed out further down.

But Chris Ware? I have never read any "privilege" into Chris Ware's work. Only a sort of despair that crosses all boundaries. Of course, I've only read "Jimmy, The Smartest Boy On Earth", so maybe I'm missing something. Really, if you're going to talk privilege, why not the relatively wealthy people who are the main characters of "Maus" and "Persepolis". Only a) that doesn't really help them all that much against forces larger than they are; and b) those are some really excellent comics and sort of go against his thesis.

And why even talk about Chris Ware when you're talking about the death of superheroes? He's about as far removed from the superhero genre as Joanna Russ is from steamy bodice rippers. Or Stephanie Meyer is from good fiction.

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Date: 2011-08-22 11:23 pm (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Terra is Scared (TerraTerror)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
is that... mac tonite....? *the return of childhood nightmares!*

Date: 2011-08-22 11:42 pm (UTC)
mullon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mullon
I feel like there is something missing between that third question and the third answer. It's like he didn't hear the question.

Date: 2011-08-23 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
It makes somewhat more sense, I think, if you see that this is how Chris Ware writes Superheroes.

http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/1911953.html?#cutid1

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Date: 2011-08-23 04:43 pm (UTC)
filthysize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filthysize
It makes sense if you know where they're coming from. The very, very common notion that the question was referring to is the idea that for comic books to be "legitimized," they have to show that they are more than superhero stories, like the works of Chris Ware and his kind. Morrison basically answers with a "fuck that and fuck Chris Ware too."

Morrison has talked about this before in interviews, and said the same thing about Dan Clowes and the other Fantagraphics authors. He sees them as whiners.

Basically, he's trying to defend superhero comics. He's annoyed that depressing slice-of-life or semiautobiographical stories in alternative comics are considered elevating the comics medium and more artistic than superhero stories.

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Date: 2011-08-22 11:54 pm (UTC)
kenwyn89: Luke Skywalker (Default)
From: [personal profile] kenwyn89
I think trades will last- and if we continue getting quality shows like Young justice, we'll always be given new interpretations. It may just be new characters and ideas will have to be born on the internet and then given books. instead of the other way round.

Date: 2011-08-25 09:35 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I don't see why superheroes need to be relegated to the one format - One of the most successful superhero-style shows of the past decade, Ben 10, had it's origins in TV, after all.

And some characters work better on TV than in a market where they're not going to get noticed because of the sheer glut of characters - How many people do you wanna guess know Static from the Static Shock cartoon rather than the comics?

Date: 2011-08-22 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
I've always preferred written words to spoken words

Date: 2011-08-23 12:36 am (UTC)
domino_blue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] domino_blue
With Grant Morrison's accent that is understandable.

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Date: 2011-08-23 12:37 am (UTC)
dewinged: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dewinged
He still lives in Glasgow, is there a chance of bumping into him?
There's a very good chance of running into him, and I hope I'm going 100 miles an hour when it happens


I think I'm in love.

Date: 2011-08-23 01:08 am (UTC)
pyynk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pyynk
I will only use a certain Internet abbreviation for an outburst of laughter if I actually laugh vocally. In this instance, I can fairly and accurately report.

LOL.

Date: 2011-08-23 01:14 am (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
I have to disagree with Morrison on the idea that superheroes are moving away from comics. Superhero TV shows are very different creatures than superhero comics which in turn are different from superhero movies.

Date: 2011-08-23 01:38 am (UTC)
thatnickguy: Oreo-lovin' Martian (Default)
From: [personal profile] thatnickguy
I don't know, I think I partly agree. A lot of new comics launched these days are more firmly planted in reality in the hopes (or maybe expectation) that it'll be bought up by a movie studio.

Superhero comics? They're trending more and more towards what Hollywood puts out. Just look at all the promotional material and, most especially, new books or mini-series for that particular character/movie shortly before it comes out.

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Date: 2011-08-23 01:27 am (UTC)
bruinsfan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bruinsfan
In Morrison's shoes, I don't think I'd lay claim to any collaborative influence on Millar's stint writing The Authority. Or admit to it under torture, for that matter.

Date: 2011-08-23 06:30 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
This. I hate Millar's run on the Authority because I think that's primarily where the concept starts to turn sour, because no-one can do a weird vein of brutal cynicism mixed with hope like Ellis can, and Millar just likes his characters to be pricks, seemingly.

That said, you can almost see the fingerprints from Morrison on the book, in parts. Jenny Quantum in particular seems more like an idea he'd devise than Millar.

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Date: 2011-08-23 01:53 am (UTC)
euthanatos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] euthanatos
I WANT MOAR

Date: 2011-08-23 11:54 pm (UTC)
thatnickguy: Oreo-lovin' Martian (Default)
From: [personal profile] thatnickguy
Then I suggest his recently release non-fiction/semi-autobiography, Supergods. Seriously, I just finished reading it. 'Tis good stuff.

Date: 2011-08-23 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
Is... Grant Morrison saying that he grew up on an Indian reservation? Or am I missing something there?

Date: 2011-08-23 04:33 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
I think he's complaining about a tendency of writers who haven't grown up in abject poverty to try to write stories about the depths of crushing desperation. Perhaps he feels it rings false? I dunno.

If so, I disagree. I agree with Neil Gaiman: the only qualification for writing stories about people is to be a person.

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Date: 2011-08-23 03:19 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Meh, people have been predicting the death of superhero comics for a long time.

Date: 2011-08-23 03:34 am (UTC)
thehefner: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehefner
You didn't mention one of the best parts, where Morrison called out Alan Moore's fascination with rape:

I was reading some Alan Moore Marvelman for some reason today. I found one in the back there and I couldn't believe. I pick it up and there are fucking two rapes in it and I suddenly think how many times has somebody been raped in an Alan Moore story? And I couldn't find a single one where someone wasn't raped except for Tom Strong, which I believe was a pastiche. We know Alan Moore isn't a misogynist but fuck, he's obsessed with rape. I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!

Yeah! Um, except for the fact that he had Talia rape Batman so she could get pregnant with Damian. Y'know, because Grant Morrison couldn't be bothered to read "Son of the Demon" where they had consensual sex, and so he instead decided to make up his own rapey version.

Glad to see someone calling Moore out on that, but still, this just touches upon the fact that Morrison's own lack of self-awareness dampens any righteous enjoyment of hearing him call others on their bullshit.

Date: 2011-08-23 03:44 am (UTC)
pyrotwilight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pyrotwilight
It's funny too because didn't a Nazi rape Tom Strong to have a child from him? I'm almost positive it's been a story point even in the recent Tom Strong and the...Robots of Doom I think it was called?

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Date: 2011-08-23 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] silicondream
Damn, I think that's the grumpiest Morrison interview I've ever read. He just sounds like it's not a great week for him.



Triggery stuff below:



I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!

Oh, Grant, honey, no. You had on-panel rape in Doom Patrol, the Invisibles, and the Filth. You updated Kid Eternity to be a childhood rape survivor. You had Britney Spears raped by a robot in that epilogue to Zenith. Rape is, like, Crazy Jane's origin. Christ, you lampshaded your own overuse of the "dad abuses his daughter" trope with Ragged Robin.

If he wants to claim that there's a lot less sexual violence per page in his stuff than in Alan Moore's, well yeah, won't argue with that. But acting like he's never gone in that direction? Uh-uh.

Date: 2011-08-23 08:11 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
I don't know as he's necessarily grumpy, just honest, or at least trying to be. When it comes to the current state of superhero comics, DC in particular seem to be trying to launch a rocket, so to speak, that will fly clean and smoothly and keep them afloat, or it could crash and burn horribly and ruin a lot of characters and careers, and I think Morrison is distinctly aware of that - the guy seems to be more in touch with a lot of the stuff going on in the comics world than a good deal of his contemporaries, to me.

His career would likely survive well enough if DC fuck up with this reboot, but he seems distinctly aware that it is, as Grand Moff Tarkin says, an awful risk.

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Date: 2011-08-23 05:05 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
Jesus...did Millar shoot Morrison's cat when he decided to make a split from him, or something?

Date: 2011-08-23 07:11 am (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
IIRC, according to what was aired in public, he did one or more of two things. He either took full credit for things he and Morrison worked on (with the implication being that Morrison supplied most of the material), and/or he compared his solo stuff to Morrison's, claiming his was better.

But that's only a) what's been made public, and b) Morrison's side of the story.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; from what I remember, Millar's reaction to it has been to sort of smugly pretend there's no feud.

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Date: 2011-08-23 06:39 am (UTC)
pilot_star: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pilot_star
I mostly disagree with him. I think he seems to dismiss the entirety of comics as a medium because he doesn't like Chris Ware, which is fine (I'm not a big fan of Ware either) but doesn't represent every comic that isn't a superhero comic. He comes off as vain and egotistical in this interview, imo.

Date: 2011-08-23 07:09 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
"He comes off as vain and egotistical in this interview, imo."

Honestly, when does he not?

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Date: 2011-08-23 02:00 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
"Do you think this is the death spiral [for superhero comics]?
Yeah. I kind of do, but again, you can always be wrong. There's a real feeling of things just going off the rails, to be honest. Superhero comics. The concept is quite a ruthless concept, and it's moved on, and it's kind of abandoned, the first-stage rocket."

Well, you know. He's pretty much right, here.

Superhero COMICS are selling less than they ever have. Superheroes are every bit as popular as ever...perhaps even at their apex of popularity since the 40s. But NOT from comic books. Comics have been on a long, steady decline of readership since the early 1940s, when titles like Captain Marvel could LOST 2.5 million readers and keep on going. That's more readers on one title than the whole of comics readership for one month (possibly for several). The TV show Young Justice has scored ratings for boys 9-14 in the 500,000-1 million viewer range and more when you factor in girls. Which means that instead of buying comics, many fans will learn of the characters from the TV show, web site and other sources.

How many people have read the Iron Man comic? His comic usually sells around 40,000 issues a month, and has held at that level for 8 years (with the usual relaunch spikes and such). Now how many people have watched the Iron Man movies in the theater, on cable, on pay-per-view, Netflix and on DVD/Bluray? How many people ONLY know Iron Man from those sources? I'd wager more people than know him from the comics entirely.

Comic books have become a niche product, sadly. Do I like that fact? Not really. But the truth is that most people don't read comics. Many people THINK they know what comics are like...but they then proceed to reference comic styles from the 1970s or earlier. That's not because they're being disparaging...they honestly don't know. They assume they know what comics are like in the same way that they assume lots of things that aren't true (often because they've seen them in the movies or on TV).

Morrison's just calling it as he sees it. The truth hurts, but it IS the truth.

Date: 2011-08-25 07:59 am (UTC)
jlroberson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jlroberson
That's fine. In some ways, can't happen too soon at this point, or at least I think the genre could use a rest.

But he conflates the medium with that genre. And judges all work within it by those standards. And that's the idiot part.

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Date: 2011-08-23 03:10 pm (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Even now, I feel like he's holding back. :0

Date: 2011-08-23 04:40 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (steve--diana (golden age))
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
The general public only knows comics from pre-Crisis days. If you ask them who Robin is, it's Dick Grayson. If you ask them who Batgirl is, it's Barbara Gordon, and so on. DC's characters have become so iconic that people know the core of their stories (Krypton explodes and Kal-El is sent to Earth, Bruce watches his parents gunned down in Crime Alley) but they don't know about all the reboots and retcons and don't care. Movies and TV shows will always reach more people than the source material, comics.

Date: 2011-08-23 09:17 pm (UTC)
selke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] selke
I about shit a brick when I saw this in my mailbox the other day. Out of things I expect to see in a semi-music related magazine, an interview with a comic creator that I actually like is not one of them.

Date: 2011-08-24 12:14 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
I really kind of feel sorry for Morrison here. He's had a long and lucrative career in comics, and he's dumping on Chris Ware, of all people. I can understand if people don't like Ware's stuff--I'm a fan, and sometimes I find that I can only take his work in small doses--but to dismiss him as a "privileged American college kid" not only doesn't jibe with what little I know about Ware (Jimmy Corrigan is largely autobiographical, although by Ware's account, accidentally so), but is a handy way for Mr. Esoteric Sex Magician to transfer his own privilege onto someone else.

Date: 2011-08-24 01:40 am (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (hopey car)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
Seriously motto here!

I mean, it's true that Ware went to art school, but Morrison acts like that's a crime against artistry. Ware is an excruciatingly honest writer who has addressed his privilege again and again in an attempt to better himself. The anguish of solitude, depression, and anxiety that he puts on the page is real. If he as a middle class writer creates a story about a middle class character and expresses their feelings and experiences honestly, it may not directly address lower class issues - but how does it actively belittle the problems of people in poverty (??! Morrison, what?!)?

It saddens me to read this, especially after reading so many of Ware's journals and comics where he says, "I am so lucky and privileged, what right do I have to be depressed? what's wrong with me? I'm a terrible person." Morrison is basically saying, "yup, you suck, dude!!!" Just, just whyyyyyy Morrison?! It sounds like he needs to take a hard look at his own privilege.

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Date: 2011-08-24 05:11 am (UTC)
baihu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] baihu
Well, my first exposure to comicbook mythos in general was a combination of comics (my dad has a smorgasbord of random comics bought over the years) and what I still consider the best generation of superhero animated series. Batman the Animated Series had a way bigger impact on me than any of the comics, which is understandable considering my age at the time. Plus the fact it was an AWESOME show!

Nowadays it's movies for this generation, considering the subpar animated series (IMO) for comicbook heroes. I wonder if it's because of the 'realism' angle? I loved BtAS because it wasn't saccharine sweet, especially when you compare to the material in animated shows now. For that kind of 'realism', you can only really go to Nolan's Batman movies now.

Date: 2011-08-24 08:49 pm (UTC)
frostedone: (Default)
From: [personal profile] frostedone
BTAS and the entire DCAU really was the pinnacle of the Superhero wasn't it? It was truly an all ages thing that had something for everyone. The stories were smart, the voices were terrific, the music was great, and it had the ability to reach almost anyone. Plus they still hold up so well today.

Look at comics from the 90s. Most don't hold up too well today. It suffers from odd art/coloring, and from the "extreme" fad. Look at the 89 Batman film. Is it still good? Yes, but it does not hold up that well today. BTAS and STAS does.
jlroberson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jlroberson
Hmm, I approve of his running-over-Mark-Millar policy, but I don't approve of his ignorantly-trashing-any-comics-that-aren't-mainstream-superhero policy. What to think?

And it's really funny for someone who owns 4 houses and has been rich since 1990 and has, by his own admission, never HAD a real job(no cleaning toilets like Alan Moore for THIS one)to play the working class hero. Morrison has never lived on the reservation either. And most indie comics creators over HERE, like me for one, don't make a living off our work. We have to have day jobs. And we spend endless uncompensated hours we'll never get back, in which others might be having fun, pursuing our futile muse in hopes at least one or two people might read the shit.

And then he calls our perspective "privileged." The man who's been rich for 21 years off comics has the nerve to say this.

Grant: I love you, I love your work, but sometimes you DO talk a great big steaming load of ignorant crap.
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
He also uses college education as evidence that creators like Ware are over-privileged, despite the fact that he came of age in a time when university education was free in the UK. :/

I think Morrison just has insecurities about being/being perceived as intellectually inferior, to be honest. That's probably also why he regurgitates so many pop-science books in his work.

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