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Old 05-07-2004, 02:33 PM   #1
MattBrady
 
GRANT MORRISON TALKS SEAGUY

Later this month, Grant Morrison invites readers to his newest world, that of Seaguy. Illustrated by Cameron Stewart, the three issue miniseries is at the same time, new-school Morrison in terms of its wild ideas, but at the same time, it’s old school as well thanks to its inherent…sweetness and gentleness. And it’s got a talking tuna fish.

The really quick skinny – Seaguy is an un…er, underemployed superhero in a world where the bad guys have been defeated, and there’s no real battle left to fight. The world is peaceful, if not slipping into a state of lethargy and torpor. With no real ‘bad guy’ to keep heroes on their toes, no one’s really noticed how Mickey Eye is everywhere, and there’s this new food product called…Xoo everywhere.

We spoke with Morrison about the miniseries

Newsarama: Starting at the ground level – how do you describe this book? A simple ‘superhero with nothing to do’ tale, or the examination of man’s inhumanity to man told through iconography we’re all familiar with…or something like that?

Grant Morrison: A bit of both, as usual. the story started out as a kind of palate-cleansing exercise - after the heavy, 'realistic' approach of the Marvel stuff, I wanted to do something surreal and whimsical, in the vein of my Doom Patrol stories again - an ocean-going picaresque adventure, you might say.

Then I had the idea to develop Seaguy into a weapon I could use to fight back against the trendy and unconvincing 'bad-ass' cyncism of current comics, most of which are produced by the most un-'bad-ass' men you can possibly imagine. In the current climate, it seemed like an act of rebellion to deliberately create 'the new sentimentality' and produce work that was almost embarrassingly dripping with tender and awkward feelings. There's a strange kind of Edwardian vibe hitting the world right now - a kind of slowing down, a promenading feel as people rebel against manufactured 'cool'. Seaguy can be seen as art at the vanguard of this new attitude.

As the story progressed and took on a life of its own, it soon became clear that it was really about the 'big brothering' of society, omnipresent surveillance and global disinformation. It’s about the dumbing down of culture, the creation of capitalist 'comfort zones' in the midst of social decay, about a world tranquillized and satisfied and quite unaware of the dark glue that holds it all together.

…and talking tuna fish.

NRAMA: With all that said, where did Seaguy come from? Where there any particular seeds that grew into the original version – the ‘new sentimentality’ version?

GM: Kristan came up with the name ‘Seaguy’ as some throwaway remark on bad superhero names and within seconds, this character was clamoring to be heard in my head. He just writes himself.

I've also wanted to do a modern Sinbad or Jason and the Argonauts type story, of a magical sea voyage for some time. My last attempt was the rejected Authority graphic novel pitch, “Hard,” featuring an all-gay Authority ten years in the future and a mad journey into the Bleed reefs to return the Carrier's 'baby universe' engine - now an unruly teenage universe - to the cosmic spawning grounds where it can get laid without destroying the world...

I've been looking back at stuff like Don Quixote and Candide for the atmosphere of Seaguy. The poetry of Wilfrid Owen. Medieval symbolism - Chubby da Choona stands in for the ‘questing beast' of the Grail romances, Seaguy is Sir Perceval.

Otherwise, it's pure comics in a 'silver age gone wrong' kind of way.

There are a lot of ways to look at this stuff once you've gone past the surface but it's more important to me that an eight-year old kid can still enjoy Seaguy as a darkly ridiculous Seventh Voyage-type story, with Ray Harryhausen monsters walking on tiptoe.

NRAMA: Along that line of being many things to many people, the story starts out with Seaguy literally cheating death, has a bearded woman who won’t return Seaguy’s attention, a conspiracy with walking eyeballs, and a protoplasmic Xoo creature.

Given that it’s coming from you, things can be seen in a couple of ways… So – is this just book just a lark for you – your own personal Spongebob/Squarepants, or are you exploring mortality, gender stereotypes, the illuminati with legs, and sperm from space?

GM: It started out as a lark and it still has plenty of larkish elements, like octopus shepherds and moon mummies but, you know...everything you write is a way of expressing your feelings and I was dealing with a lot of death and misery last year, which turned into bittersweet surrealist comedy when filtered through Seaguy. I break down in tears every time I read issue #2 and I hope everyone else will too, in spite of themselves...

NRAMA: But is that ever a concern for you, that you’re seen most often as Grant (The Invisibles) Morrison, the guy with mad crazy ideas dripping off of every page so much that you can’t be Grant Morrison, the guy writing about a goofy guy with a scuba mask and talking pet fish?

GM: I can no longer care how people ‘see’ me or I'd go mad - the public image comics readers have twisted into place around me is so bizarre and so severely distorted that it no longer matters what I actually say or do to affect it - so now I just do the stories I want and hope that my dedicated readers are willing to follow me on the next jaunt into the unknown.

NRAMA: Well then, metaphysical and self-analysis aside, explain the world that Seaguy lives in. There were superheroes at one time, but they won, and now the world is at peace, with no major villains or battles. What is a costumed hero to do?

GM: The idea is that ten years before the events in Seaguy, there was a final 'Crisis' type battle against the massed forces of evil. Evil was vanquished and the world was made 'perfect'. There are no wars, no fights, no want, no poverty...and nothing much to do. The super-heroes now sit around aimlessly, or ride on fairground attractions as a substitute for the thrill of flying...

NRAMA: That battle was against the…as you named him, the ‘Anti-dad?’

GM: Right. It was the final battle against evil. Anti-dad was the prime focus and embodiment of all 'evil' energy in the universe. Then he was defeated and killed by the super-heroes.

…or was he?

NRAMA: Okay, so tease things out a little – international corporations are symbolized by ‘Mickey Eye’ who’s also behind the Xoo conspiracy; the moon is made out of bricks, and the world’s only hope is Seaguy? Where should we send flowers?

GM: To an organization known as the new International Center for Economics, which will ensure that your flowers are properly disposed of.

It's not so much that there are conspiracies in Seaguy's world; it's more like our own world in the sense that the 'conspiracies' are out in the open but everyone's so content no-one cares enough about anything to make a difference.

NRAMA: So with what you’ve said about wanting Seaguy to be enjoyable both by adults and eight year olds; and DC calling We3 a “heartbreaking tale,” is this the return of the sweet and gentle Grant Morrison?

GM: My work’s always been sweet and gentle – it’s about animals and losers and hapless dreamers. I dedicated twenty years of my life to the welfare of six abandoned cats and I give my money to numerous charities and causes. I’m from Glasgow; land of the sentimental hardman. I can nurture to Olympic standard.

NRAMA: Fair enough. Wrapping up then, with this mini, a little moreso than your other more recent works, Seaguy seems easily, if not instantly adaptable to other media. Was that something you had in mind for it, or if other media comes knocking, it comes knocking, but you’re not waiting?

GM: It wasn't intentional - I just wanted to do a good, mad comic story to counter the prevailing trend of 'realistic' street-level books. I'm already working as a Hollywood screenwriter so I’m really not into making my comic books any more like movies or tv cop shows.

Seaguy would make a great cartoon series or cgi movie but, to be honest, it makes a much better comic because you get Cameron Stewart’s incredible artwork to look at and you can roll it up in your pocket and read it anywhere.
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:46 PM   #2
Riliss
 
Must read now!
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:48 PM   #3
Tinnitus Tim
 
I gotta say that the art is pretty nice.
Very dynamic and vibrant.
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:49 PM   #4
GuitarSmashley
 
I still don't know if picking this up is what I really want to do. sure its only 3 issues and I really enjoyed new x-men but I also couldn't open up the filth #2 from just how bad #1 was. I'll just have to wait and see
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:52 PM   #5
jdonelson_nyc
 
Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart together sounds awesome. I can't wait for this series.

It still boggles my mind that Marvel isn't interested in having Morrison write the X-Men. The guy is brimming with fantastic sci-fi and superhero ideas. I guess he just didn't have that certain crappiness that only a "talent" like Chuck Austen can deliver.
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:55 PM   #6
MattBrady
 
Quote:
Originally posted by jdonelson_nyc
It still boggles my mind that Marvel isn't interested in having Morrison write the X-Men.
Morrison left the X-Men for DC. And this thread is about Seaguy. If you want to bash Austen, go somewhere else.

MattB
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:57 PM   #7
MatthewSmith
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Riliss
Must read now!


Indeed!

I love Grant Morrison's work. I didn't read anything by him until his JLA run and I have yet to go back and try his older Vertigo stuff. So I'm excited that this influx of new original material is coming out from him.

But of course, the fan boy inside me is more excited about whatever he's got upcoming for the regular DCU.
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:12 PM   #8
Fazhoul
 
I'll definitely be checking this out. It's looks delightfully odd.
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:14 PM   #9
Dave_Garcia
 
Re: GRANT MORRISON TALKS SEAGUY

"My last attempt was the rejected Authority graphic novel pitch, “Hard,” featuring an all-gay Authority ten years in the future and a mad journey into the Bleed reefs to return the Carrier's 'baby universe' engine - now an unruly teenage universe - to the cosmic spawning grounds where it can get laid without destroying the world... "

Here's the book I wanna read
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:19 PM   #10
jdonelson_nyc
 
Quote:
Morrison left the X-Men for DC. And this thread is about Seaguy. If you want to bash Austen, go somewhere else.

My mistake, sorry Matt. I got carried away. My point was that Seaguy looks like the kind of interesting and original superhero story that is unfortunately once again unwelcome at Marvel these days.
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:31 PM   #11
Jigsaw
 
Okey dokey,

I am very much looking forward to this, already on the pull list. But what the hell is DC thinking?

They steal Grant Morrison, sign him up and them a three issue series on Vertigo? C'mon guys, put him back on JLA, put him on Superman, on Batman, on ANYTHING that needs a spin or a boost. Green Lantern, A bat book.

I love Vertigo, but that stuff just doesn't sell. I love Morrison too, in a guy way, and I just think he should be on a higher profile book.
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Old 05-07-2004, 04:03 PM   #12
kingofcities
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Jigsaw
They steal Grant Morrison, sign him up and them a three issue series on Vertigo? C'mon guys, put him back on JLA, put him on Superman, on Batman, on ANYTHING that needs a spin or a boost. Green Lantern, A bat book.


There was the rumor a few months ago that Morrison was going to take over Green Lantern. And you never know, Geoff Johns is rebooting Hal Jordan in a mini-series, but I don't believe that he is writing any kind of ongoing after that. With Morrison being a DC exclusive, it's within the realm of possibility that something like this could happen.

I'm happy though regardless. SEAGUY looks like a great read!

Kent
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Old 05-07-2004, 04:30 PM   #13
Chris1
 
Re: GRANT MORRISON TALKS SEAGUY

Quote:
Originally posted by MattBrady
Authority graphic novel pitch, “Hard,” featuring an all-gay Authority ten years in the future and a mad journey into the Bleed reefs to return the Carrier's 'baby universe' engine - now an unruly teenage universe - to the cosmic spawning grounds where it can get laid without destroying the world...


So, let me get this straight... Grant wants to write a graphic novel on The Authority and gets rejected??? Wow.

If the writer's position for the monthly ever opens up I certainly hope someone at Wildstorm will consider giving him a call. (Although I would like to see if Ellis or Mark Millar have any great stories left in them.)

Last edited by Chris1 : 05-07-2004 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 05-07-2004, 05:13 PM   #14
Primate
 
The fact that Morrison can be rejected for an Authority series effectively neuters all my fanboy dreams of one day making a living by writing comics.

That said...

I was already going to pick this up, but now that I have read Morrison's comments about a modernist optimism or "the new sentimentality", I'm DEFINITELY picking it up. This is a trend in comics (and in culture at large?) that deserves some analysis, just as much as the Authority/Planetary/Marvel Max/X-Files "badass" zeitgeist of the mid-to-late nineties, or the Lobo/Dark Knight/Watchmen doom-n-gloom of the eighties/early nineties. I find it amusing and interestiing that Morrison sees himself as leading the lighthearted charge of "this new attitude," when his former writing partner Millar is essentially the voice of the badass movement (Authority, Wanted, etc). I'm sure Morrison doesn't see his ideas as oppositional to what Millar represents, merely an interesting juxtaposition. Very cool.

I think this trend is also visible in the work of Geoff Johns...reinterpretation of "classic" concepts and character interactions, i.e. Return of Hal Jordan, Titans, JSA. Maybe we can also see this in the upcoming DC homage to Julie Schwartz, which I understand was planned before his death.

Whatever we are moving into in comics culture, i welcome voices like Morrison's (AND voices like Millar's) that challenge what we assume about the medium. It's a good time to be a comics dork, my friends.

Last edited by Primate : 05-07-2004 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 05-07-2004, 05:24 PM   #15
FIG
 
Ughh, whats with all the happy, cracked out stuff in this book?-Has someone brainwashed Grant Morrison?-I'm well aware that this is part of the book and I'll give this book a try but it sure as hell came out of left field. The art looks good too.
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Old 05-07-2004, 06:13 PM   #16
MatthewSmith
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Jigsaw
Okey dokey,

I am very much looking forward to this, already on the pull list. But what the hell is DC thinking?

They steal Grant Morrison, sign him up and them a three issue series on Vertigo? C'mon guys, put him back on JLA, put him on Superman, on Batman, on ANYTHING that needs a spin or a boost. Green Lantern, A bat book.

I love Vertigo, but that stuff just doesn't sell. I love Morrison too, in a guy way, and I just think he should be on a higher profile book.


Actually, the reason that Morrison left Marvel for DC was because he wanted to do some stuff like this. DC/Veritgo gave him the outlet to do whatever he wants, and in return, he's going to do big stuff with DC's superheroes later on. Nothing offical has been announced, but everyone's hinting around that it's going to be very big.
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Old 05-07-2004, 06:23 PM   #17
shakey
 
Quote:
I had the idea to develop Seaguy into a weapon I could use to fight back against the trendy and unconvincing 'bad-ass' cyncism of current comics, most of which are produced by the most un-'bad-ass' men you can possibly imagine. In the current climate, it seemed like an act of rebellion to deliberately create 'the new sentimentality' and produce work that was almost embarrassingly dripping with tender and awkward feelings. There's a strange kind of Edwardian vibe hitting the world right now - a kind of slowing down, a promenading feel as people rebel against manufactured 'cool'. Seaguy can be seen as art at the vanguard of this new attitude.


I love Morrisons stories, but he sounds like the Goth kid in the dance team "you got served" episode of South Park:

"I'm such a non conformist, that I'm gonna conform"
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Old 05-07-2004, 06:52 PM   #18
BillReed
 
God, I can't wait to get this.
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:25 PM   #19
Michael C Lorah
 
This looks realy cool. I'm looking forward to it.

Quote:
I am very much looking forward to this, already on the pull list. But what the hell is DC thinking?

They steal Grant Morrison, sign him up and them a three issue series on Vertigo?

as somebody else has pointed out, Morrison went to DC specifically because he WANTS TO DO things like Seaguy and he can't do that at Marvel.

God forbid that original ideas get any respect in the comic industry, from fans or publishers.
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:31 PM   #20
Primate
 
Re. Grant's superhero work...looking forward to his sentient DCU notion, if it ever gets published...
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:55 PM   #21
blue13
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Michael C Lorah
This looks realy cool. I'm looking forward to it.



as somebody else has pointed out, Morrison went to DC specifically because he WANTS TO DO things like Seaguy and he can't do that at Marvel.

God forbid that original ideas get any respect in the comic industry, from fans or publishers.


how about you take your smugness some place else?

jigsaw has a very good point...DC is behind marvel in terms of sales, so why not put one of the best writers in all of comics on a more high-profile title (at the same time)?

couldn't hurt.

Last edited by blue13 : 05-07-2004 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 05-07-2004, 08:11 PM   #22
MatthewSmith
 
Quote:
Originally posted by blue13
how about you take your smugness some place else?

michael lorah has a very good point...DC is behind marvel in terms of sales, so why not put one of the best writers in all of comics on a more high-profile title (at the same time)?

couldn't hurt.


But they are.

The high-profile DCU stuff is on its way, it just hasn't been announced yet because I'm sure that DC is waiting until the projects are closer to completion before they are hyped up. Stuff like Seaguy and We3 is coming out first because Morrison already had the ideas for them and had probably already done some work on them before he ever signed the DC exclusive contract.
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Old 05-07-2004, 08:36 PM   #23
woodstock
 
Yeah, what Smith said!
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Old 05-07-2004, 08:38 PM   #24
COREMARK
 
Both Seaguy and We3 look like very interesting reads, can't wait for them.
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:30 PM   #25
Riliss
 
Personally, I wouldn't mind if Morrison never wrote another issue of a pre-existing character ever. New ideas kick ass.
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