Grant Morrison To Write Batman Marvel-Style, And Other Animals

Grant Morrison To Write Batman Marvel-Style, And Other AnimalsLaura Sneddon write this interview with Grant Morrison for the Independent newspaper. But it was short and mainstream, and missed out all inside industry stuff as a result. Thankfully, she posted the full experience online . Here a few snippets.

On Action Comics artists and schedules:

I can talk a little bit about it. Well Rags Morales is still drawing it but he needed to get help on the second one from I think it was Brent Anderson and he'll probably need help on the third one and honestly it's because DC decided that they want the comics to come out monthly because people were complaining that the comics were taking too long. And it's a really hard one to negotiate because the reason comics take too long is because they cost more, so the artists put more time into making the work worthwhile and also because they're collected, the artists want to make sure that the work is good enough to withstand the test of time, which takes longer.

So it was a weird problem because things were getting late, like my Batman Incorporated has been super late because, partly because of me but also because the artist just couldn't keep up and do their best work and suddenly came this dictat that now everything had to be monthly and they want to keep to that so it's just the case that if your artist can't meet that then somebody else will finish up the pages. So it's kinda, for me it hits the long term collections of it to have things done like that but at the same time it brings back a lot of the freshness and improvisation of doing comics again and just responding to that and also sometimes you know they'll be like we need a two part filler here – okay I'll just come up with something, and it might not necessarily fit it in to the middle of this but okay, you need a filler.

On having a free reign:

Pretty much yeah, which was the reason I did it. And you know when Dan DiDio came over and said do you want to do this and I said well no' really but here's what I'd do and I thought there's no way he'll accept this and he kind of did! So that was it, it was really getting the chance to just recreate Superman from scratch and I do keep running up into things that are happening now because you know Superman's now… the story I'm telling is supposed to be set 5 years in the past of the current continuity so all this stuff's going on in the current continuity that I'm kinda trying to mix and match with while they're expecting me to come up with certain aspects of the lore that they haven't figured out yet. So it's been a weird kind of shuffle and once the first six issues are done I'm sort of moving forward through the present day of it and catching up with that.

On writing Batman Marvel style:

Comics in the last ten years have tried to imitate movies but movies have now got so good at doing comics that we just look like a poor cousin. So what I've been doing, I was talking to like Chris Burnham on Batman for the final season, these last 12 parts of the Batman Leviathan story is that he's gonna do the lead work you know, I'm just going to do it almost like Marvel style with a really detailed plot and just say break this down. So we were looking at all these, like Paul Gulacy's Master of Kung Fu, and Walt Simonson and things and thinking lets get back to multi-panel pages and slicing time and doing all the things that comics can do. Because we got so into just that wide screen, four panels a page look that it began to take over everything and all it was was an imitation of how it feels to sit in a movie theatre without the audiences heads in front of you.

So I kind of thought now's the time, particularly as the sales are diving and DC are making this great, this mad final flourish to see what happens, it's time to just let the artist take over again. The writers have been running the show for too long, it's ossified into a certain approach. I think it would be really nice to start seeing you know, like I said, things that only comics can do that movies can't do, like that double page spread that Chris Burnham did in Batman Incorporated where it's like across the entire world in slices but everything joins up and all the perspective lines match so it's like one giant image of multiple batmen doing the same thing. More of that stuff, and more of the stuff they were doing in Watchmen and you know, kind of just letting the artists go a bit wilder.

On the impact of the Batgirl Of San Diego;

Certainly Dan [DiDio] was… I think it definitely left an impact. They felt they had to do something because whatever the girls name, Batgirl I believe (laughs), was so forceful and made them confront some things and I think that's pretty good. I didn't think that could be done any more, I didn't think one voice could really make much of a difference but in actual fact she did so there's kind of proof that you can stand up and shout loudly and maybe change things.

On the suitability of superhero comics for kids:

You know, I get these big boxes in from DC every month and they're just filling up the rooms and we want to take them to a hospital or something, but you think, there's a lot of these you can't hand in, there's no way! Imagine some poor child suffering in bed and then they're forced to read this thing where Arsenal is injecting himself with a cat! It's not the sort of thing kids would be really drawn to I think, you know, so a lot of them just aren't appropriate.

On digital comics:

It'll revive the format again, there's things you can do on that three dimensional depth of the page that you can't do on a two dimensional surface and nobody's really done it yet, nobody's thought about it. I'm sure we'll see it soon because I've been talking about it and I know Jim Lee's been talking about stuff, but I think it'll be really interesting to see what can be done. Once they stopped just trying to translate one medium into the next and doing the flippy pages and start doing other things: pull it, twist it, do all kinds of stuff.

On fiction and comic universes:

To me nobody talks about the really interesting stuff, which is about the fact these are virtual realities, they don't quite pick up on that. Somehow there's this thing, this DC Universe that exists inside our universe created by generations of people. And when all the current ones are dead there'll still be people doing Superman stories, and there's something really bizarre about that notion of creating a little continuum. But it's not just one person's, it's not like Buffy say which was just Joss Whedon's really, this is a gigantic project that, it's like building a medieval cathedral or something. It's really strange what's going on and what's powering those characters is memes you know, and that to me is the fascinating thing. There's two dimensional time now and continuity and living characters that can be carried on in to the future.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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