superboyprime: (Default)
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.
halloweenjack: (Default)

[personal profile] halloweenjack 2011-08-24 12:14 am (UTC)(link)
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.
meatwhichdreams: (hopey car)

[personal profile] meatwhichdreams 2011-08-24 01:40 am (UTC)(link)
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.
meatwhichdreams: (calvin i'm significant)

[personal profile] meatwhichdreams 2011-08-24 01:43 am (UTC)(link)
(also, Ware frequently writes about "lower class issues" whatever those even ARE, and many of his characters are struggling right above the poverty line, and a good chunk of Jimmy Corrigan is about how the rich use the poor for their own profit and how that exploitation is established right into the very architecture of our cities, god, aaaaaargh)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-24 11:19 am (UTC)(link)
"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?!"

Well if Ware and Morrison agree then I don't really see what the issue is.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 02:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Because the idea that if one is rich and privileged then it's a moral weakness to be mentally ill is a false belief, and a damaging one for people with depression.

It really doesn't need external validation. Particularly not from Grant Morrison, who's apparently trying to pass himself off as some sort of Dickensian urchin by contrast.
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-24 03:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Does Chris Ware actually suffer from clinical depression? I tried googling a bit but couldn't find anything about it. I assumed it was used in a colloquial sense, as in he has a depressing outlook on the world.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I have no idea, but if meatwhichdreams is right and he often says stuff along the lines of "I am so lucky and privileged, what right do I have to be depressed? what's wrong with me? I'm a terrible person" then that sounds like he's sometimes very unhappy, and is also aware that he's privileged, and so suffers needless guilt and anxiety on top of being unhappy.
jlroberson: (Default)

[personal profile] jlroberson 2011-08-25 02:15 am (UTC)(link)
Chris Ware does not suffer from mental illness. He's just honest about his feelings.

Morrison's just annoyed(must reiterate, I am a Morrison fan. But) that Moore and Ware actually innovated the medium itself, while all he innovated--though it's a considerable thing--was DC.

Well, dude, you've got it in you if THE FILTH or FLEX MENTALLO or INVOSIBLES are anything to go by. But you were then happy to retreat back to the corporate teat. Which is fine, but I think it makes him look petty to trash other talented people who probably have more in common with him in principle than not. Or maybe that's what galls him.

But seriously, what the hell has Grant got to complain about? Seriously? Rich, has 4 houses, a beautiful wife, and anything he writes will get published by DC. I don't see Grant living on the reservation. That was a good Batman Inc story, but it doesn't make him Marlon Brando all of a sudden. It's a pose, and he's using real people's poverty and pain for his pose, and it's frankly ugly.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Although "I'm a terrible person" is a very common thought among clinically depressed people, however privileged they are.
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-24 03:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Well I've certainly had feelings like that before, self-loathing and the generalized frustration that I'm wasting the privileged life I was born into, etc, and it's never been to the extent of mental illness, or even particularly necessitating sympathy. I think it's a pretty established, almost cliche sort of existential angst where you're trying to find your place in the world, & so on.

I mean okay he could legitimately have depression, but you'd think it would pop right up in a google search.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 03:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Ok, great. You've never had that thought to the extent of mental illness - but some people do, and genuine unhappiness doesn't only become legitimate when a doctor diagnoses it.

I mean okay he could legitimately have depression, but you'd think it would pop right up in a google search.

I personally wouldn't think that, actually. I think that's a rather odd thing to assume.

sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-24 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Why not? He's a famous person who writes depressing works, he's fairly open about his mental state, you'd think at some point people writing an article about him would think to mention he actually has depression.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know if he "actually" has depression or not, but I don't agree with anyone who thinks that being unhappy is a sign of being a bad person - that's the idea which I said doesn't need validation. Whether Chris Ware has or had a clinical diagnosis is immaterial.

I also know that lots of people choose not to tell other people about their diagnosis, due to the fact that it's none of their business.
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-24 04:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Chris Ware (apparently) thinks that being unhappy is a sign of being a bad person. Grant Morrison thinks that publishing "nihilistic stuff" is a sign of being a bad person. I'm saying what's the big deal about Morrison criticizing the basis of Ware's work when Ware apparently thinks it's coming from a bad place to begin with.

And the entire reason you think Chris Ware might be depressed to begin with is because of publicly published journals and comics in which he says he's depressed.

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-24 06:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Well there's a difference between writing depression or unhappiness in your art, and going on Oprah to talk about your diagnosis of depression - or sharing your medical history with a journalist.

And I don't think that Ware has seriously decided that being unhappy makes you a bad person. I think that's an irrational, self-defeating thought which exacerbates his unhappiness and which he has explored through his art.

But apparently Morrison *has* come to the serious conclusion that being unhappy/writing about unhappiness is bad. And I think that's a really dickish opinion to have, and a dickish, damaging idea to communicate to the rest of the world.

That's the big deal.
meatwhichdreams: (Default)

[personal profile] meatwhichdreams 2011-08-24 08:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Well said. I very much agree.

Being unhappy does not make you a terrible person. Writing about your unhappiness does not make you a bad person.

Many artists - probably most artists! - have to fight this battle inside themselves again and again every time they think about picking up a pencil. And each time they decide to make something is a success, to me. Morrison has every right to be displeased with the state of comics criticism and the direction of comics in general, but he has no right to tell other artists that their feelings and experiences are wrong or less worth of story-telling then his.

Morrison has also apparently come to the conclusion that writing about unhappiness disheartens your readers and makes them too depressed to change the world for the better or something??? Now that is very dickish and damaging indeed!
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-25 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
Why is it okay to proceed under the assumption that Chris Ware is mentally unsound? Why can't Chris Ware rationally make the distinction between unhappiness and nihilism and conclude that his work is the latter. Why isn't it possible for him to rationally be examining his privilege and concluding that his forays into nihilism are artistically self-indulgent and so on so forth. Barring an acknowledgment of mental illness on his part, I see no reason to assume he's incapable of rationally evaluating himself.

Conversely, why assume that Grant Morrison is mentally sound? This is the fellow who, among many many other things, has claimed that he was abducted by aliens and that magic is a real thing that really works. Why assume that he is capable of coming to a serious conclusion about anything. For all we know he is against negativity because he believes it empowers the Nihilators Beyond Dimension Z, so who are you to call him a dick for speaking out against it?

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-25 06:31 am (UTC)(link)
I think you misunderstand my point - I'm not proceeding under any assumption that Chris Ware is mentally *unsound* and can't form opinions of his own.

I just don't think that Chris Ware *is* labelling his own work nihlistic and disowning it - I think he was exploring unhappiness and faithfully recording everything that goes along with it, including the persistent thought that everything you do sucks and you're a terrible person. I don't think those things are his honest, actual opinions, because if they were he'd presumably have stopped creating a long time ago.

Also, to people who are depressed (which a. is a mental illness, but doesn't make you mentally unsound/incapable of rational thought, and b. Ware may or may not be, I really don't think it matters for the sake of my argument) comments like Morrison's, which imply that you are an indulged pansy who just needs to shake themselves out of it, are the icing on the unpleasantly tasteless cake.
sadoeuphemist: (Default)

[personal profile] sadoeuphemist 2011-08-25 07:37 am (UTC)(link)
Well then why do you keep bringing up the possibly that Ware might have a mental illness, but just hasn't said anything publicly about it? Why did you say that Ware has "irrational, self-defeating thought[s] that [exacerbate] his unhappiness" when in reality you don't think these are his honest, actual opinions at all?

Why do you think this is even necessarily about depression? Morrison's comments are referring to published artistic material, to a social, cultural, artistic trend of what he sees as upper-class nihilism. Do you think, that when criticizing broader societal trends you are necessarily criticizing individuals with mental issues that drive them to conform to those trends?

[personal profile] whitesycamore 2011-08-25 03:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Why did you say that Ware has "irrational, self-defeating thought[s] that [exacerbate] his unhappiness" when in reality you don't think these are his honest, actual opinions at all?

There is nothing contradictory there. If you think there is, then I give up.
meatwhichdreams: (the village arouuund)

[personal profile] meatwhichdreams 2011-08-24 04:21 pm (UTC)(link)
~snort~ :D
mrstatham: (Default)

[personal profile] mrstatham 2011-08-25 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
Well, does Morrison really need to shit on Ware or Moore or anyone to justify his own work? It's one thing to agree with what a creator's putting across in their work, but Morrison is using Ware to justify his work and the escapism of superhero stories.

Personally, I always thought there was room for both. Clearly not.