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"I'm the evil mastermind behind the scenes. I'm the wicked puppeteer who pulls the strings and makes you dance. I'm your writer."—GRANT MORRISON to Animal Man, Animal Man #26
Grant Morrison is a Scottish writer, best known for the complex use of meta-fiction within his stories.
Morrison's first published comic book work was Gideon Stargrave in 1978. After a few attempts at Marvel UK, he started writing Zenith for Britain's 2000 AD magazine. Like pretty much every superhero comic by English/Scottish/Irish writers during the eighties, it was both a superhero deconstruction and an excuse to take shots at Margaret Thatcher. It was because of Zenith that Morrison was hired to do a comic about Animal Man, a character few knew and nobody cared about, and started his long tradition of taking total losers and transforming them into something completely awesome. Next was the Doom Patrol, turning them into the greatest constant Mind Screw ever put into Four Colored pages.
After those critical successes, he wrote Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which became the best selling graphic novel up to that point, and featured selected members of Batman's rogues gallery - as well as the Dark Knight himself - as different aspects of non-comic book, medical insanity, such as Schizophrenia, Mass Hallucinations and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He then wrote several miniseries in Britain and for Vertigo Comics, and rose to stardom with the relaunch of Justice League of America, which featured DC's big superheroes together again for the first time in years. Besides being aptly described elsewhere on this website as "made up of back-to-back Crowning Moments of Awesome", Morrison's JLA also served as inspiration for the DCAU's Justice League, usually made of made up of back-to-back Crowning Moments of Awesome itself. At the time he was writing JLA, he was working in Vertigo's The Invisibles, his most personal world, which he described as information given to him by Aliens during an abduction in Kathmandu.
Since then, he has worked with Marvel, writing the controversial New X-Men run, and the Marvel Boy and Fantastic Four: 1234 miniseries. He returned to DC, and wrote The Filth, Seaguy, Vinamarama and WE 3 for Vertigo before cutting loose in the DC Universe with the seven Seven Soldiers miniseries and the universally beloved All-Star Superman. He proceeded to yet again redefine the mindscrew in his Batman run, attempting to reconcile the character's 70 years' worth of interpretations, and finally realized his life long dream of somehow making the DC Universe a sentient being in Final Crisis. He's now working on the new Batman Incorporated and Action Comics.
He also wrote Joe the Barbarian, which ran 8 issues from March 2010 to March 2011. The story is about a diabetic boy who becomes hypoglycemic, and enters a fantasy world due to hallucinations.
He is the author of the non-fiction 2011 book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero, a mix between a critical history of superhero comics as he had seen it and autobiography.
While other writers are capable of writing stories TV Tropes Made of Win Archive, it is theorized that Morrison himself is made of Win, which has earned the nickname The God of All Comics in certain corners of the Internet.
In other corners, he's thought of as the wacky guy who can't write a story without severe Author On Board and whose constant forays into This Is Your Premise on Drugs end up dominating his books to the detriment of plot and character. He did once state in the letters page of The Invisibles that his protagonist, King Mob, a Tuxedo and Martini Obi Wan Author Avatar only got laid all the time because the comic book was a magic spell Morrison was casting, and so making his main character get laid would get him laid. And if you think he's joking, you haven't read Supergods...
Recognizable in real life by his shaved head and his already difficult to follow topics being uttered in a nearly incomprehensible accent. In an anecdote in the first volume of 52, his conversation with the other writers and editor goes like this:
His latest comic, Dinosaurs vs. Aliens is to be released in the Summer of 2012.
- All There in the Manual - Anarchy for the Masses for one thing offers a mighty effort at deciphering The Invisibles. Most notably insightful are the numerous interviews with Morrison and crew. Otherwise tends to give away tons of more or less required information about his work in interviews, which usually end up unread on obscure corners of the Internet.
- Final Crisis Sketchbook, essentially a collection of notes and "behind the scenes" comments on the creation of Final Crisis, contained tidbits of information that never appeared in the actual comic ... like, say, the identities of some of the characters.
- The later chapters of Supergods also contain a fair amount of Word of God, especially regarding the genesis and intended meaning of The Invisibles and Final Crisis.
- Ancient Conspiracy - The Invisibles revolves around them.
- Author Avatar
- As The Invisibles are collected without the letter columns from the single issues, one deeply odd fact about Morrison has been mostly lost to memory. After his representation in the comic, Kirk Morrison/Gideon Stargrave/King Mob, spent a few issues slowly dying of a gunshot wound to the stomach, Morrison himself nearly died from a collapsed lung. Morrison draws a straight line between what happened to King Mob and what happened to him, which may explain why King Mob spends most of volume 2 balls deep in Robin...
- Author Guest Spot
- Author Stand In
- Author Tract - Morrison pretty much likes to either add himself, or characters who act as him, in a large amount of his stories.
- Bald of Awesome
- Bittersweet Ending - If you don't cry with WE 3 you have no soul.
- Blue and Orange Morality - Kill Your Boyfriend!
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists - Deconstructed in a lot of his work, especially The Invisibles. Unsurprising since Morrison himself is also an anarchist.
- Card-Carrying Villain - Morrison seems to have a liking for villains who are openly and exultantly evil: Darkseid in JLA and Final Crisis, Black Glove in Batman RIP, Luthor in All-Star Superman, etc.
- Cloudcuckoolander - To say the least.
- Continuity Porn - Morrison is known for bringing back obscure (and even unpopular) ideas. Some dislike this and believe these ideas are best forgotten, while others think he makes these concepts work much better than before.
- This is a reflection of his personal belief that EVERYTHING that has ever been published is somehow still in continuity.
- Considering the fact the original Multiverse is now once again canon, this can actually be very easily done. Morrison does have his limits though: Batman traveling to the planet Zur-En-Arrh and the Rainbow and Batman Creatures are too damn bizarre to have actually happened. Morrison gets around this by making some of the more outrageous stuff All Just a Dream.
- His Sixth Doctor comic "The World Shapers" from Doctor Who Magazine features the return of the Voord who evolve into the Cybermen and Jamie McCrimmon as a mad old man who gets killed. This is all based on a throwaway line from The Invasion about the Doctor and Jamie having encountered the Cyberman on "Planet 14".
- Corrupt Corporate Executive - Seaguy is pursued by an evil corporation.
- Cosmic Deadline - The Filth, The Invisibles, Seven Soldiers, Final Crisis. It's practically his style.
- Deconstructor Fleet - Most of Morrison's work revolves around deconstructing, subverting, and mashing together as many tropes and genres as possible. Sometimes this covers a staggering variety of things (see The Invisibles), and sometimes his focus is narrowed to merely the entirety of the DC Comics universe (see Final Crisis) or the history and mythos surrounding a particular character (see All-Star Superman, his run on Batman), but he's pretty much always doing it in one form or another.
- Deus Ex Machina - He basically handwaves
his entire runmost of his run in Animal Man himself.
- Genre Savvy - Both Grant himself and his characters know how death works in comics. He made no attempt to convince people Batman wouldn't return from the dead. When Metamorpho died, the implication was that he was most likely going to come back. Even Jean Grey's tombstone states "She will rise again."
- Gentleman Thief - Fantomex from his New X-Men run is based on Italian comic book thief Diabolik and the French crime fiction character that inspired him, Fantômas.
- Gentleman Wizard: Grant himself. He may have accepted female fans taking him dancing once in a while, to make them a little happier, but unlike lots of other celebrities, never takes advantage of them.
- A God Is You - The Invisibles, The Filth and his DC superhero writing all contain examples of unique, bizarre or transcendent self-empowerment.
- Government Conspiracy - Again, from The Invisibles.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover - the death of his pet cat impacted his writing of Animal Man, and he discusses it in his appearance during the final issue.
- Lost Technology - Maggedon from his JLA run is an ancient, universe-ending weapon.
- Mind Screw - At least one per issue.
- No Fourth Wall - Some creators like to break the Fourth Wall. Morrison likes to use a grenade launcher on it.
- Old Shame - Never, ever mention his time on the UK Zoids comic. It tends to be "conveniently forgotten" by his biographers and fandom, and he seems to prefer that it remains obscure.
- Order Versus Chaos - A common theme in his work.
- Recursive Reality
- The Unintelligible - According to the notes included by other members of the 52 writing staff in one of the TPBs, Morrison himself.
- 'e's got a crackin' wee scot accent, I tell ya.
- An anecdote in Bryan Talbot's book The Naked Artist has Morrison appearing on-stage at an Italian comics convention, and needing a volunteer Scottish interpreter to translate him into standard English for the official Italian interpreter.
- Viewers Are Geniuses - Morrison writes believing this wholeheartedly. Of course, your opinion, as stated below, may vary.
- We suspect if you've read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger trilogy then you'll get most of Grant's references.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist - The Invisibles as a group are that.
- What Could Have Been: Supposedly, My Chemical Romance wanted him to make an appearance in the music video for "Mama" that never got made, where he would have played Satan opposite Liza Minnelli (who would have played the Virgin Mary). Though the "Mama" video never came to be, fans later got a consolation prize when he played the Corrupt Corporate Executive Korse in the videos from Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic - Some of his stories could be considered as that. Sometimes a flying, cigar-smoking fish is just a flying, cigar-smoking fish.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made On Drugs? - Subverted with The Invisibles. It absolutely was made on drugs - specifically hallucinogens. Played straight with most of his other works, though.
- Writing for the Trade - Morrison has stated that his run on Batman is to be divided up into "separate books" that all go together. This makes some of the more unusual issues make more sense. Final Crisis also becomes much more comprehensible when reading it as a trade rather than individual issues being released each month (which has contributed much of the Fan Dumb against Final Crisis itself).