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superboyprime ([personal profile] superboyprime) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-08-22 03:51 pm

New Grant Morrison interview

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?

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.
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-08-23 05:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Have you read his Animal Man and Doom Patrol runs? Some weaks spots in both, but the likes of his Cliff Steele and Dorothy Spinner seem very human to me.
bruinsfan: (Default)

[personal profile] bruinsfan 2011-08-24 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
Kid Eternity similarly had a couple of very human main and secondary characters (though the title character himself was largely a cold and distant cypher). But that was a *long* time ago.
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[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-08-24 09:53 am (UTC)(link)
Agreed wholeheartedly, it's frustrating to me because I know he CAN (or COULD) write good human characters, but hasn't in quite some time, and I'm one of those who is not a huge fan of his Batman work precisely because of that. His Dick Grayson seemed to be more or less part of the wallpaper (With a few moments where he did indeed shine), and his Damian had plot immunity to an annoying extent.