Grant Morrison at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International.
31 January 1960 |
|Notable works||All-Star Superman
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Batman and Robin
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
Grant Morrison, MBE (born 31 January 1960) is a Scottish comic book writer, playwright and occultist. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics' Animal Man, Batman, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Doom Patrol, and Marvel Comics' New X-Men and Fantastic Four.
Grant Morrison was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960. His first published works were Gideon Stargrave strips for Near Myths in 1978 (when he was about 17), one of the first British alternative comics. His work appeared in four of the five issues of Near Myths and he was suitably encouraged to find more comic work. This included a weekly comic strip Captain Clyde, an unemployed superhero based in Glasgow, for The Govan Press, a local newspaper, plus various issues of DC Thomson's Starblazer, a science fiction version of that company's Commando title.
Morrison spent much of the early 1980s touring and recording with his band The Mixers, writing the occasional Starblazer for D. C. Thomson and contributing to various UK indie titles. In 1982 he submitted a proposal involving the Justice League of America and Jack Kirby's New Gods entitled Second Coming to DC Comics, but it was not commissioned. After writing The Liberators for Dez Skinn's Warrior in 1985, he started work for Marvel UK the following year. There he wrote a number of comic strips for Doctor Who Magazine, his final one a collaboration with a then-teenage Bryan Hitch, as well as a run on the Zoids strip in Spider-Man and Zoids. 1986 also saw publication of Morrison's first of several two- or three-page Future Shocks for 2000AD.
Morrison's work on Zenith brought him to the attention of DC Comics, who asked him to pitch for them. They accepted his proposals for Animal Man, a little-known character from DC's past whose most notable recent appearance was a cameo in the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, and for a 48-page Batman one-shot that would eventually become Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
Animal Man put Morrison in line with the so-called "British Invasion" of American comics, along with such writers as Neil Gaiman, Peter Milligan, Jamie Delano and Alan Moore, who had launched the "invasion" with his work on Swamp Thing.
After impressing with Animal Man, Morrison was asked to take over Doom Patrol, starting his surreal take on the superhero genre with issue No. 19 in 1989. Morrison's Doom Patrol introduced concepts such as dadaism and the writings of Jorge Luis Borges into his first several issues.
DC published Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth in 1989 as a 128 page graphic novel painted by Dave McKean. The book went on to become one of the best selling graphic novels of all time.
While working for DC in America, Morrison kept contributing to British indie titles, writing St. Swithin's Day for Trident Comics. St. Swithin's Day's anti-Margaret Thatcher themes proved controversial, provoking a small tabloid press reaction and a complaint from Conservative MP Teddy Taylor.
The controversy continued with the publication of The New Adventures of Hitler in Scottish music and lifestyle magazine Cut in 1989, due to its use of Adolf Hitler as its lead character. The strip was unfinished when Cut folded, and was later reprinted and completed in Fleetway's 2000AD spin-off title Crisis.
Morrison returned to Batman with the "Gothic" story arc in issues 6–10 of the Batman title Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. The early 1990s saw Morrison revamping Kid Eternity for DC with artist Duncan Fegredo, and Dan Dare, with artist Rian Hughes. Morrison coloured Dare's bright future with Thatcherism in Fleetway's Revolver.
In 1991 Morrison wrote Bible John-A Forensic Meditation for Fleetway's Crisis, drawn by fellow member of 'The Mixers' Daniel Vallely, and based on an analysis of possible motivations for the crimes of the serial killer Bible John. Covering similar themes to Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell, the work utilised cut-up techniques, a Ouija board and collage rather than conventional panels to tell the story.
In 1993 Morrison, fellow Glaswegian comic writer Mark Millar and John Smith were asked to reinvigorate 2000 AD for an eight-week run called "The Summer Offensive". Morrison wrote Judge Dredd and Really and Truly, and co-wrote the controversial Big Dave with Millar.
DC Comics launched its Vertigo imprint in 1993, publishing several of Morrison's creator-owned projects, such as the steampunk mini-series Sebastian O and the graphic novel The Mystery Play. 1995 saw the release of Kill Your Boyfriend, with artist Philip Bond, originally published as a Vertigo Voices one-shot. In 1996 Morrison wrote Flex Mentallo, a Doom Patrol spin-off with art by Frank Quitely, and returned briefly to DC Universe superheroics with the short-lived Aztek, co-written with Mark Millar.
In 1996, Morrison was given the Justice League of America to revamp as JLA, a comic book that gathered the 'Big Seven' superheroes of the DC universe into one team. This run was hugely popular and returned the title back to best-selling status. Morrison wrote several issues of The Flash with Mark Millar, as well as DC's crossover event of 1998, the four-issue mini-series DC One Million, in addition to plotting many of the multiple crossovers.
With the three volumes of the creator-owned The Invisibles, Morrison would start his largest and possibly most important work. The Invisibles combined political, pop- and sub-cultural references. Tapping into pre-millennial tension, the work was influenced by the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley and William Burroughs, and Morrison's practice of chaos magic. In 1998 Morrison published the prose piece, "I'm A Policeman" in Sarah Champion's millennial short story collection Disco 2000; though no explicit connection to The Invisibles is made, there are strong thematic links between the two works. At DisinfoCon in 1999, Morrison said that much of the content in The Invisibles was information given to him by aliens that abducted him in Kathmandu, who told him to spread this information to the world via a comic book. He later clarified that the experience he labelled as the "Alien Abduction Experience in Kathmandu" had nothing to do with aliens or abduction, but that there was an experience that he had in Kathmandu that The Invisibles is an attempt to explain. The title was not a huge commercial hit to start with. (Morrison actually asked his readers to participate in a "wankathon" while concentrating on a magical symbol, or sigil, in an effort to boost sales). When the title was relaunched with volume two, the characters relocated to America and the style became intentionally more "American", featuring more action while still maintaining Morrison's ideas and themes.[clarification needed] Volume three appeared with issue numbers counting down, signalling an intention to conclude the series with the turn of the new millennium in 2000. However, due to the title shipping late, its final issue did not ship until April 2000. The entire series has been collected by Vertigo as a series of seven trade paperbacks.
In 2000, Morrison's graphic novel JLA: Earth 2 was released with art by Frank Quitely. It was Morrison's last mainstream work for DC for a while, as he moved to Marvel Comics to take over the writing of the main X-Men title, renamed New X-Men for his run, with Quitely providing much of the art. Again, Morrison's revamping of a major superhero team proved to be a critical and commercial success, with the title jumping to the No. 1 sales and established Morrison as the kind of creator whose name on a title would guarantee sales. His penultimate arc "Planet X" depicted the villain Magneto infiltrating and defeating the X-Men in the guise of new character Xorn and developing an addiction to the power-enhancing drug "Kick".
In 2005 Morrison wrote Seven Soldiers, which featured The Manhattan Guardian, Mister Miracle, Klarion the Witch Boy, Bulleteer, Frankenstein, Zatanna and Shining Knight. The series consists of seven interlinked four-issue mini-series with two "bookend" volumes – 30 issues in all.
Dan DiDio, th editorial vice president of DC Comics, was impressed with Morrison's ideas for revitalising many of DC's redundant characters. Giving him the unofficial title of "revamp guy", DiDio asked him to assist in sorting out the DC Universe in the wake of the Infinite Crisis. Morrison was one of the writers on 52, a year-long weekly comic book series that started in May 2006 and concluded in May 2007.
Starting in November 2005, DC published All-Star Superman, a twelve-issue story arc by Morrison and Frank Quitely. Not so much a revamp or reboot of Superman, the series presents an out-of-continuity "iconic" Superman for new readers. All-Star Superman won the Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2006, the Best Continuing Series Eisner Award in 2007 and several Eagle Awards in the UK. It won three Harvey Awards in 2008 and the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series in 2009.
That same year, Morrison began writing Batman for DC with issue #655, reintroducing the character of Damian Wayne and signalling the beginning of a seven-year long run on the character (across multiple titles).
He wrote the relaunch of The Authority and Wildcats, with the art of Gene Ha and Jim Lee respectively, for DC's Wildstorm imprint. WildC.A.T.S. went on hiatus after one issue, The Authority was discontinued after two. The scheduling of The Authority conflicted with 52 and Morrison was unhappy with the reviews: "And then I saw the reviews on issue one and I just thought 'fuck this'.". It eventually concluded without Morrison's involvement in Keith Giffen's The Authority: The Lost Year.
At the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, DC Comics announced that Morrison would write Final Crisis, a seven issue mini-series slated to appear in 2008 with J. G. Jones handling the art. Morrison announced that 2008 would see publication of the follow-up to 2004's Seaguy called Seaguy 2: The Slaves of Mickey Eye, the second part of a planned three part series.
At the 2008 New York Comic Con, Morrison announced he would be working with Virgin Comics to produce "webisodes" (short animated stories) based on the Mahābhārata; it would not be a direct translation but, "Like the Beatles took Indian music and tried to make psychedelic sounds... I'm trying to convert Indian storytelling to a western style for people raised on movies, comics, and video games."
At San Diego Comic Con 2010 it was announced that Grant Morrison would be leaving Batman and Robin with No. 16 and launching a new series entitled Batman Incorporated with revolving artists starting with Yanick Paquette. A more team-oriented Batman book inspired by the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series, Batman Incorporated builds on Morrison's work dating back to "Batman & Son" and Final Crisis, with Bruce Wayne creating an international Batman franchise all over the world. The series suffered from slow scheduling and was ended after eight issues while the DC Universe was rebooted in 2011; to bridge the gap a prestige book was released that featured two issues together along with a synopsis that recapped the story so far. In mid-2012, a second volume of the comic was launched with Chris Burnham on artwork, scheduled for 12 issues.
Morrison returned to creator-owned work in 2010 with the eight issue Vertigo series Joe the Barbarian, launched in January with artist Sean Murphy. Originally a six issue series, Morrison felt that the story would benefit from an extra two issues. The titular Joe is a diabetic young boy who begins to hallucinate a fantasy world populated with his toys and other fantasy characters when he stops taking his medication.
Following the closure of Virgin Comics, Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics announced a partnership to publish a hardcover of illustrated scripts of Grant Morrison's Mahābhārata-based, animated project 18 Days with illustrations by artist Mukesh Singh, that was released in August 2010.
He is the subject of a feature-length documentary titled Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. The documentary features extensive interviews with Morrison as well as a number of comic artists, editors and professionals he has worked closely with. Talking with Gods was co-produced by Respect Films and Sequart Research & Literacy Organization, and was released in 2010 at the San Diego Comic Con.
Morrison was featured in My Chemical Romance's music videos "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" and "SING" from their 2010 album Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys as the concept's villain Korse.
In June 2011, as part of DC Comics' massive revamp of their entire superhero line, Morrison was announced as the writer on the new Action Comics No. 1, teaming with artist Rags Morales, marking Morrison's return to the Superman character after the end of All Star Superman.
Morrison is currently preparing a project for DC titled Multiversity. A metaseries of Nine one-shots set in some of the 52 worlds in the DC Multiverse, it will include the main Multiversity title (which involves the return of President Calvin Ellis, the black Superman from Earth 23 as originally seen in Action Comics vol. 2 #9), which is the framing for the whole series, Pax Americana, drawn by Frank Quitely, Society of Superheroes (or S.O.S for short) a pulp version of the DC characters, The Just – set on a world of celebrity youngsters, Thunder World – a Captain Marvel book, and finally Mastermen – which includes a fascist version of the Justice League.
In September 2012, MorrisonCon was held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas). This small-scale convention, curated by Morrison, featured a number of comics industry guests, including Robert Kirkman, Darick Robertson, Jason Aaron, Jim Lee, Gerard Way, Jonathan Hickman, Frank Quitely, J. H. Williams III, and Chris Burnham.
Screenwriting and playwriting
Morrison wrote the screenplays Sleepless Knights for DreamWorks and WE3 for New Line Cinema. He wrote the adaptation of the video game Area 51 home console game for Paramount (in development with CFP Productions producing). Morrison has written a screenplay for a film, Sinatoro. In 2011 he worked on the screenplay Dinosaurs vs Aliens for Sam Worthington's production company, Full Clip Production, and said he planned to work with them again on a screenplay based on the 2000 AD story Rogue Trooper.
He has written two plays staged by Oxygen House at the Edinburgh Fringe. Red King Rising (1989) was about the (partly fictional) relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. Depravity (1990) was about famed occultist Aleister Crowley. The plays won between them a Fringe First Award, the Independent Theatre Award for 1989 and the Evening Standard Award for New Drama. Both plays were included in his collection of prose, Lovely Biscuits released in 1999.
Appearances as a comics character
Grant Morrison first appeared as a comics character in cameos in Animal Man Nos. 11 and 14. He made a full appearance at the end of issue No. 25 in 1990, and spent most of issue No. 26 in a lengthy conversation with the comic's title character. The character appeared the next year in Suicide Squad No. 58, written by John Ostrander, as one of several minor characters killed in one of the series' trademark suicide missions.
In Morrison's 2005–2006 Seven Soldiers miniseries and its tie-ins, a group of seven "reality engineers" look like him. An eighth goes rogue, transforming into the silver-age character Zor, looking like Morrison in a magician's costume but with dark hair and a beard. This character is defeated and Morrison himself, wearing a DC Comics-logo tie clip, then becomes the narrator for the final chapter.
Although Comics Bulletin's Thom Young speculated that the bald near-future Batman depicted in Batman #666 was Morrison, the writer denies it, crediting the similar appearance to artist Andy Kubert.
- Melrose, Kevin (15 June 2012). "Grant Morrison honored by Queen Elizabeth II". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Irvine, Alex (2008). "The Invisibles". In Dougall, Alastair. The Vertigo Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 92–97. ISBN 0-7566-4122-5. OCLC 213309015.
- Hasted, Nick (April 1995). "Interview: Grant Morrison". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (176): 56. ISSN 0194-7869.
- Millar, Mark. "The Third Degree: Mark Millar". Jupiter's Legacy #1 (April 2013). p. 27 Image Comics.
- “”. "DC Comics Grant Morrison interview". YouTube. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Grant Morrison at the Grand Comics Database
- Salkowitz, Rob. Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture (p66), 2012 McGraw Hill (ISBN 9780071797023).
- Irvine "Animal Man" in Dougal, p. 27
- Wolk, Douglas (17 December 2003). "Please, Sir, I Want Some Moore - The lazy British genius who transformed American comics". Slate. Archived from the original on 1 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. "[Alan Moore's] commercial breakthrough came in 1983, when he took over Saga of the Swamp Thing...His success led directly to American comics' 'British invasion' of writers, notably Neil Gaiman (The Sandman), Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, and Warren Ellis, all of whom have made much of his castoffs."
- Maddox, Mike (February 1990). Amazing Heroes (Fantagraphics Books) (176).
- Darnall, Steve (March 1994). "What's Buried in Grant's Tomb?". Hero Illustrated (Warrior Publications) (9).
- Singer, Marc (2012). Grant Morrison: Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics. University Press of Mississippi. p. 40. ISBN 978-1617031366.
- Singer, p. 36
- Rosa, Miguel. "Grant Morrison and Daniel Vellely's "Bible John"". Rations. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Singer, p. 96–97
- Singer, p. 51
- Smith, Zack (6 November 2008). "Before All Star - Grant Morrison on Kill Your Boyfriend". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "JLA No. 1 hit the stands, enthralling readers with its compelling, fast-paced story by writer Grant Morrison, and showcasing the art of talented relative newcomer Howard Porter."
- Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 278: "Renewed as one of DC's most popular titles, JLA ran for 125 issues before its next relaunch. Earning countless spin-off miniseries and specials, the Justice League reclaimed its place atop DC's hit titles list."
- CBR's No. 2 & No. 1 All Time Favorite Writer, Comics Bulletin
- http://www.barbelith.com/bomb/we.htm Accessed 29 December 2011
- "Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison". Barbelith.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- "Barbelith Interviews: An Interview with Grant Morrison". Barbelith.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 295: "Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely brought the Crime Syndicate of America back to DC continuity in JLA: Earth 2."
- Callahan, Timothy (16 November 2009). "21st Century Mutant Chic: Grant Morrison's X-Men". When Words Collide. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "May 2001 Comic Book Sales Figures". The Comics Chronicle. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- Deppey, Dirk. "X-Men... Retreat!". The Comics Journal (262). Retrieved 31 May 2010. "While longtime readers of this magazine have heard Morrison's name on any number of occasions, it's worth noting that the renowned writer was anything but a surefire guarantor of increased sales prior to his run on New X-Men."
- Ellis, Jonathan (2004). "Grant Morrison: Master & Commander". popimage.com. Retrieved 16 September 2006.
- Ness, Alex (5 September 2005). "A Chat About Craft With Grant Morrison". Pop Thought. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
- Irvine "Filth" in Dougal, p. 83
- Ellis, Warren (9 June 2000). "Come in Alone No. 28". Comic Book Resources.
- "Grant Morrison on Being the DCU Revamp Guy". Newsarama. 20 June 2005
- Cowsill "2000s" in Dolan, p. 325: "The title was masterminded by writers Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid, with Keith Giffen providing art breakdowns."
- The 52 Exit Iinterviews". Newsarama. 12 May 2007
- Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series. Comic-Con International. Retrieved 16th August 2013.
- Morrison, Grant. Supergods - Our World in the Age of the Superhero (p395), 2011, Jonathan Cape (ISBN 9780224089968).
- "CBR's No. 2 & No. 1 All Time Favorite Writer". Comic Book Resources.
- "NYCC '08: The Grant Morrison Panel". Newsarama. 19 April 2008
- "All Star Grant Morrison III: Superman", Comic Book Resources. 17 April 2008
- "Morrison on the Return of Seaguy!". Comic Book Resources. 20 March 2009
- "NYCC: Virgin Comics Announces Grant Morrison Webisodes", Comic Book Resources. 18 April 2008
- "CCI: Batman The Return". Comic Book Resources. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Richard George (23 July 2010). "SDCC 10: The Corporate Batman – Comics Feature at IGN". Comics.ign.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Cronin, Brian. "Batman Inc. to Return in 2012!". Comic Book Resources. 6 June 2011
- O'Shea, Tim (18 January 2010). "Talking Comics with Tim: Sean Murphy". Robot6. Comic Book Resources.
- Melrose, Kevin (June 2009). "An early glimpse of Morrison and Murphy's Joe the Barbarian". Robot6. Comic Book Resources.
- "Morrison Spends "18 Days" with Dynamite" (Press release). Comic Book Resources. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- Brownfield, Troy (31 May 2010). "Grant Morrison Wages War Using Indian Mythology for 18 DAYS". Newsarama. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "''Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods'' official website". Grantmorrisonmovie.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Thil, Scott (30 November 2009). "Counterculture Comics Hero Grant Morrison Gets a Biopic". Wired. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Grant Morrison - The Official Website, Biography. Retrieved 16th August 2013.
- Hyde, David. "History Happens Now", The Source, 10 June 2011
- Grant Morrison at Glasgow Comic Con 2012 – Comics Anonymous Coverage
- "Grant Morrison's Multiversity". Comic Book Resources. 6 May 2009
- Warren, Kirk (30 April 2009). "The Multiversity – Grant Morrison, Watchmen 2, All-Star Captain Marvel & More!". Weekly Crisis. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- Page, Benedicte. "Cape swoops for superhero", The Bookseller, 18 June 2009
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 2012.
- "MorrisonCon Wrap-Up: Fans Experience Magic, Religion, Comics and Grant Morrison". Comic Book Resources. 5 October 2012
- "Grant Morrison Goes Hollywood". Chud.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Fitzpatrick, Kevin (23 July 2010). "Comic-Con 2010: Young Justice". Ugo. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Marshall, Rick (10 November 2010). "Grant Morrison on the American Myth And Psychedelic Adventure Of 'Sinatoro'". Splashpage. MTV.com. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Lyons, Beverley (3 October 3, 2011). "Monster Success: Top comic writer Grant Morrison set to turn his novel Dinosaurs vs Aliens into a movie". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 October 3, 2011. "Indeed, after he's put the finishing touches to the Dinosaurs vs Aliens script, a prolific Grant is creating a movie adaptation for Sam Worthington's company. Called Rogue Trooper, the project is based on a character from the popular British comic book series 2000AD."
- Tucker, Ken (26 May 2010). "'Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne': An interview with writer Grant Morrison | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Morrison, Grant. Lovely Biscuits. Oneiros Books 1998 (ISBN 1902197011).
- Cronin, Brian (19 August 2011). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #328". Comics Should be Good. Comic Book Resources.
- "Seven Unknown Men". Barbelith. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
- Murman, Chris. "Sunday Slugfest – Batman #666". Comics Bulletin.
- "Talking Batman with Grant Morrison". Newsarama. 22 February 2008.
- Callahan, Timothy (2007) Grant Morrison: The Early Years. Masters of the Medium. Sequart Research & Literacy Organization. ISBN 978-0-615-21215-9
- Meaney, Patrick (2010) Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. Documentary film.
- Morrison, Grant (2003) "Pop magic!" in Book of Lies, pp. 16–25 ISBN 0-9713942-7-X
- Disinformation: The Complete Series Disc 2: DisinfoCon. (1999) Speech by Grant Morrison. Distr. Ryko Distribution.
- Meaney, Patrick (2009) Our Sentence is Up: Seeing the Invisibles. Sequart.com. ISBN 978-0-578-03233-7
- Grant Morrison at the Grand Comics Database
- Grant Morrison at Barney
- Blazing Through the Secrecy, about uncredited authors on Starblazer
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- Official website
- Grant Morrison at the Comic Book DB
- Grant Morrison on the Open Directory Project
- Grant Morrison at the Internet Movie Database
|Animal Man writer
|Doom Patrol writer
|X-Men vol. 2/New X-Men writer
|Batman and Robin writer
|Action Comics writer