NYCC '08: THE GRANT MORRISON PANEL - NEWSARAMA





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Old 04-19-2008, 11:23 PM   #1
MattBrady
 
NYCC '08: THE GRANT MORRISON PANEL

by Russell Burlingame

The New York Comic Con's Spotlight on Grant Morrison panel was filled to capacity, with lines winding all the way up and down the hallways of the Javits Center, with extra security and fire marshals called in to manage the crowd.

The lights went down for the presentation, and a screen came up saying "Fuck,' which then changed to "time," and the introduction for Morrison, with a slideshow of his work, and a reading of a statement from Morrison about the nature of life and fiction.

Morrison came onstage to raucous applause and screamed "Lend me some sugar! I am your neighbor!" And then right away through open the floor to questions. Morrison seemed eager to start questions, talking over editor Eddie Berganza.

The first question came from a member of the audience who asked that, after The Invisibles (which saw the world ending then), what Morrison thought would happen in the year 2012.

"Beats me, who knows, maybe nothing," Morrison said. "But things are speeding up, information doubles exponentially toward this moment but the world's never ended yet, it may not end then. There's a lot of weird interesting things happening in 2012, planetary alignment. You might wake up one morning thinking you're on an acid trip that never ends. So if something happens I'll be there waiting with open arms!"

Morrison joked, "The Pope's in town, and we saw on the TV in the back of a taxi, and there was this 24-year-old nun who was shaking and saying, 'This is the closest I'll ever get to touch Jesus,' and I said, 'What? Why would you want to touch Jesus?'"


video courtesy of ComicRelated.com

A fan asked Morrison what comics he had planned for after Final Crisis, and he said that he's got creator-owned projects coming up but intends to take a break from superheroes excepting staying on Batman.

The next question was about the status of WildC.A.T.S., and whether it was going to happen. Morrison said, "WildC.A.T.S. is happening! We're just waiting on Jim [Lee]." He pointed out that Lee is popular and busy, and that WildC.A.T.S. doesn't necessarily take first priority. For the other WildStorm title he was working on, Morrison said, "Authority was just a disaster." He said that they were doing it and running late when 52 started, but when he saw the reviews to first issue, "I said fuck it."

One audience member asked about the effect of psychadelic drugs on Morrison's writing. "They were very involved in The Invisibles." Morrison said that for years, he was completely straight edge but around the time he turned 30, he decided to do all the things he'd never done before, including transvestitism and "a lot of psychedelic drugs." He explained that the principle cast of The Invisibles were essentially five characters each based on elements of his own personality.

A fan then asked about how Morrison's experience in Katmandu--which famously informed a great deal of The Invisibles--has impacted the rest of his writing. "The Katmandu thing was really weird because I had taken a little bit of hash, but it was such a small bit and the experience I had was so profound and nothing like that has ever happened again." He explained that part of the idea of taking so many drugs in the '90s was trying to replicate that experience. "I tried all kinds of things to se if it was possible, and nothing took me to that place. It was something quite unusual and different and I was never able to get back there again."

One audience member asked Morrison to tell the "two nuns and a donkey" joke referred to in Arkham Asylum, which Morrison did--but he explained several times that he didn't tell jokes well and in order to illustrate his point, diverged halfway through, started explaining things and then gave up and said, "Which takes us back to the punchline and that's why I can't tell jokes!"

An aspiring writer in the audience, who said he had been inspired by Morrison's work, asked who had inspired Morrison. "There's a ton of them. Lots of playwrights like David Sherwin." He also cited films like Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man, and writers and musicians like Alan Gardner, Tolkien, Roert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Alastair Crowley, the Beatles, the Buzzcocks, the Sex Pistols.

An audience member asked what was going on with the We3 movie, and whether it was going to be live-action or animated. Morrison indicated that it would be coming out as a live-action film with CGI animals. "Yeah it's the real!" he said. He said that he wrote the screenplay for it two years ago, and there was a bunch of scenes we had to cut from the comics that found their way back in the film. Morrison said that the film has been with New Line Cinema for a couple of years and that it's being slowed down by New Line's woes, but that We3 is still "a really big deal on their slate" and "they've been through like 16 directors but they're looking for the guy" who can really bring the feel of the comic to the screen.

Asked about his musical tastes, Morrison answered, "I was a punk, I used to play in bands. I was a weird punk because I was a psychedelic punk. We played music that was psychedelic music but it was speeded up and played by five crazy Scots."

A fan asked, "What can you tell us about where you're taking Batman?"

Morrison answered, quickly, "To the grave."

He elaborated, "Pretty much that, just read Batman RIP." After singing the praises of Tony Daniel's art and his Batmobile redesign, Morrison said, "It's breaking down Batman, I kind of wanted to humanize the guy again because he's been such a dick for a while, which is fine because if you were Batman you would be a dick, but underneath all that is poor little Bruce Wayne so I kind of wanted to take it back to that and say that the superman, that powerful character, there were psychological weaknesses that nobody has handled in a long time. It's a total deconstruction of Batman. I wrote the second part of Batman RIP where the bad guys take him down and I kep thinking, 'How does he come back from this?' And I don't know, nobody's ever done this before." He also teased, "When we find out the identity of the villain, it's possibly the most shocking Batman reveal in 70 years."

An audience member asked if, following the events of All-Star Superman #10, Superman was God in the real world that comic book readers inhabit.

Morrison said, "Superman loves you, and he's a lot more proactive than God ever was!"

Another member asked when he was finished with All-Star Superman, and he confirmed that it finishes at issue #12, but that he has some other, tangential stories he'd like to tell with some other artists. "But the whole story of Superman ends at #12."

Someone in the audience asked if Morrison had thought about writing his autobiography. "No, you wouldn't believe it," Morrison said. "Comics are more like real life to me. David Lynch is more real life to me than any soap opera because we all have weird shit in or lives."

He asked the audience, "Have you seen the site American Dwarf? That's the world we live in--it's filed with gaps and strangeness."

Someone asked, "What gave you the idea for Batman: Gothic and was it possible that Batman had cheated the devil?"

"I was actually interested in actual Gothic literature at that time, and out of that the whole time of the romantics and the enlightenment created a lot of these dark ghost stories and gothic stories, and a lot of Batman: Gothic stories refer back to those old gothic stories and it was really my take on that with Batman, and could he have cheated the devil? No. He's doomed from the beginning just like the guy in The Monk."

When asked about whether he might follow up The Invisibles with another title about the forces of good and the forces of evil, Morrison said, "Superman's got a nasty book as well, it's about a modern sun god. Something like Final Crisis which is quite clearly about the battle between good and evil, those themes are always present, maybe not as present or obvious or as they were in The Invisibles."

Asked how he got into comics, Morrison said, "I was 17 years old and I took some drawings I'd done to a comic book show and showed it to some guys and they loved it and they actually paid me. It was like ten pounds a page, but or me I was a poor kid so I was like a millionaire, you know? Ten pounds a page!"


video courtesy of ComicRelated.com


When an audience member asked about Seaguy, Morrison said, "Yeah, he's back next year, don't worry about it, everything's fine.

Asked if Animal Man was still a vegetarian, and if his jacket was leather, Morrison said that he was still a vegetarian, but that his jacket was canvas. "He only wore that leather jacket once when he went a little nuts and he wanted to kill people," Morrison explained, "Because that's what you do when you wear a leather jacket."

Asked whether Frankenstein from Seven Soldiers would show up again, Morrison said that the character is in Final Crisis #3.

An audience member asked him what superhero he wanted to be when growing up. Morrison told him, "The Flash was my favorite. He was constantly being turned into puppets and stuff and it's like he was constantly tripping." He also joked that artist Carmine Infantino had always drawn The Flash's ass as attractive, and said that he still to this day wants a pair of yellow boots with inch-thick treads like the Silver Age Flash used to be depicted.

Someone asked what drove the creation of his 7 Soldiers series for DC, and Morrison said, "I was leaving Marvel and I wanted to write something other than the X-Men because they're kind of hard to write and they're so angsty." He said that he had been working on 7 Soldiers for a year before leaving Marvel, and that he had it about half finished by the time Dan DiDio called him to offer All-Star Superman, and that on that same phone call Morrison told him about 7 Soldiers.

Asked his favorite book of his own, and his favorite to read, Morrison said that he felt The Filth was the most consistent and his favorite of his own work. For other books, he said, "I read superhero books I like Geoff Johns's Green Lantern and Bendis' Avengers. I'm just like anyone else, I like the stuff that's cool and popular."

Asked about the various iterations of Batman across media, Morrison answered, "Something like Batman can be interpreted in so many ways. I love the Adam West Batman, I love the Christian Bale Batman, more than anything--I think he's the best Batman ever. There's a lot of good superhero movies and a lot of bad ones, but that's just the way of things."

An audience member shouted, "Batman and Robin!" and the rest of the crowd laughed, but Morrison said, "But the colors are brilliant! If you just switch off your brain and think, "well I'm watching the gay Batman."

"Where'd you get the inspiration for Anders Climax?" A fan asked. "I saw a doc on Max Hardcore and it was this documentary it was this poor girl from England and she was with this really horrible man who was kind of her whatever--I'm sure there's a word for it but I'm not going to use it here. He took her to LA and she got involved with Max Hardcore and it was the most horrible documentary I've ever seen."

Morrison laughed, "Every girl that walks in he was just 'hey baby!' and he was just at it all the time and I thought his man was monstrous, so the Tex Porno character came out of watching Max Hardcore and just saying, "this is humanity? The name came into my head and I thought it was such a great name that I had to. He was kind of the opposite of all that. The guy who was so laid back." Morrison said he'd written that story while in Amsterdam. "They call me Andres Climax, you know?" Morrison said, affecting a Jewish accent. "I came over to LA to enjoy myself a little bit maybe?"

Asked about his idle thoughts, Morrison responded that his brain was a nonstop buzz, but that none of them were idle.

"I just expect it, that's what they're paid to do is to dismantle anything that makes sense," Morrison told a fan who asked what he thought of Marvel retconning big pieces of his New X-Men run.

A fan asked what happened to a scene that had been discussed at a previous panel, where Morrison's "Crisis" idea would start with Captain Marvel's funeral and the "death of Marvel." "There was a time that I was pitching Hypercrisis, it's an idea that I was pitching," Morrison said. He said it was a big idea that involved the Chronovore from that had eaten the first ten years of the 21st Century so Superman and the characters had to make a bridge made of events. "It was the ultimate take on comic continuity and how it works and it was an interesting story...but I'm glad they went with Identity Crisis instead."

Asked about upcoming project, he said that next year he will be doing this things called War Cop, which he described as "a very psychedelic thing and it'll be a little bit more back to being me again." When a fan asked if War Cop will be a sigil, as he has described The Invisibles in the past, Morrison said, "Superman's my big Sigil right now, trying to change things. The next two comics have magic involved and other things, but not as intentional as The Invisibles." Asked about an Invisibles follow-up, he answered, "I thought about going back to it but it's just not working so far. Once you hear a big movie coming out called 2012 it's time to step back."

A fan asked if Final Crisis was the battle Aztek had spent his life training for, but Morrison said that it had been the JLA: World War III event that had been Morrison's last arc on the title, and the story where Aztek died.

Asked if there had been any major creative disputes between the writers of 52, Morrison said, "No it was really amazing we got on very well. I knew Geoff from before, but I hadn't met Greg Rucka before and I knew he was an angry guy, but we bonded quite well. We didn't have any disagreements, there was no fights or animosity at all, we just talked everything through."

Asked whether Seaguy was more of a superhero or a detective, Morrison said, "I don't know if he's either, he's just more of a guy. If you put on a wetsuit and said 'I'm a superhero' and expected people to treat you like one."

A Montevideo native asked if there was a personal reason that Morrison had chosen his city to be destroyed in the Crisis, and Morrison pointed at him and shouted, "You personally! i was trying to get you, and now that you've revealed yourself you'll never escape!" He calmed down, and said, "Actually, I just took a pen and said, "OK, Montevideo, goodbye!"

After a fan asked to be brought up to speed on Seaguy, Morrison explained that the series is three books--The first book is Child Seaguy and it's when you're a kid and there's things you want to play with and the world starts to smack you and you realize that there are things you're not supposed to do. By the second one, he's adolescent so he's starting to think and getting a little angry and he's a bit more emo in the second one and he realize that there's something wrong in the world but nobody seems to care. The people that rue the world have to take his identity away from him and turn him into a matador. So El Macho is this matador but he suddenly wakes up and he's got a matador suit on and he's in love with the beautiful Carmen and she's carrying his child and he's the most famous guy in this town. In this future, cattle have become totally sacred because BSE has gone through the whole village and you can't kill them but all you can do is dress them up to show them how tough you are. Morrison explained process of dressing it in high heel and stockings and a funny hat) and there you've proved yourself and it kneels down before you and everyone throws flowers and there's one scene where everyone loves him and throwing flowers and cheering and Seaguy realizes, "Is this all there is?" He keeps seeing Chubby the Tuna's ghost. The third one is Seaguy as a grown-up.. Seaguy Eternal, it's the tales of Seaguy in the land of the dead, which is Australia. in search of his lost companion. Kind of my take on being alive."

A fan compared Morrison's prolific library of original characters to those created by Jack Kirby, and asked Morrison what he thought about them. Morrison responded that "Some of them are really stupid, like the Dry Bachelors." He said they had just gone through a list of all the characters he created for DC and there's hundreds of them. "There's a group of Japanese superheroes in Final Crisis who are totally new," he revealed.

Asked, "Whatever happened to Crazy Jane?", Morrison said, "She's fine, she went with Cliff Steel. She lives out in the world quietly writing novels. She's kind of the Neil Gaiman of the group."

Asked how Final Crisis is "the day evil wins," Morrison said, "Darkseid in the story is the embodiment of evil. It's based mostly on the New Gods. They were designed by Kirby to be the gods of the technological age, and we wanted to put them in that position again."

A female fan pleaded, "Is this really the final Crisis? Can this PLEASE BE the final Crisis?"

Morrison joked, "It's definitely the final Crisis for me, but you cannot predict what these people do in the future. If the name Crisis sells, there will be another one, there's no stopping it." He then joked about trying to stop it by making the ending of his story stink.

Asked about all the characters in many of his stories interacting with the real world, Morrison said, "There's nothing with that in Crisis. Superman does escape from the limits of the DCU into something else but the fascination of that came from me. When I was a kid I was always trying to draw the fourth dimension but I couldn't do it. I could draw a point and I could draw a line but I just couldn't draw the fourth dimension, and so I got really into that idea of dimensions. As I've said many times with someone like Superman, Batman, any of those characters, they're much more real than we are. Superman was created way before most of us here were born. Hes still there, he's still young, he's still vital, he's still communicating to people. When we're all gone and turned to dust, they'll still be there. Morrison said that he was intrigued by the idea that the world that they inhabit is a 2D world inside of a 3D world and you can go back and read his origin from 1938 and then from 1986 by John Byrne and then from 2000. He added, "I began to imagine what would it be like if there were things above us on the hypercube level who could look down and see us in the same way?"

Leaping off the examples of Lindsay Anderson and David Lynch from earlier, a fan asked if there were any other meta-perspectives Morrison had seen in film

"The best depiction of a drug experience is in Renegade. If you haven't seen Renegade go get Renegade."

Someone asked if Morrison had planned on creating a good British character for DC in Final Crisis. "There must be a couple," Morrison answered. "My take on the idea of the British superhero is that he's the pop star superhero and the fashion superhero."

A fan asked if Alan Moore was the villain of Seven Soldiers, and Morrison said, "Only if you want to se it that way."

A fan who said he loved the series asked, "What happened in the last issue of The Invisibles? I've read it twenty times but I have no idea."

Morrison said, "Yes you have! Of course you have. What happened is that thing you read in all those months, that's what happened."

At that point, with the panel running way long and with a line for the next panel, Javits Center employees finally ushered Morrison and the crowd out of the room.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 01:06 AM   #2
AgentSaint
 
Sounds like a really fun panel!
 
Old 04-20-2008, 01:24 AM   #3
GhostOfTomJoad
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentSaint
Sounds like a really fun panel!

Morrison is a madman, and a genius. Whenever he's on a panel it's a blast.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 02:13 AM   #4
ahaman85
 
Sounded like a great panel. Even if it got a little Tabloid in parts ("Is Alan Moore the villian?").

It's a shame about "the Authority." I wish he would finish it. I was anxious to see how it was going to develop. I didn't think the reviews were that bad. And I enjoyed it.

Off to add Renegade to my netflix queue. Thanks, Commander Grant: I salute you.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 04:27 AM   #5
Zenstrive
 
The guy is the new god of the fifth world,
one of them will be called Grant More-Reasons, the Ever Philosphing God :P
 
Old 04-20-2008, 08:50 AM   #6
fish1000
 
Quote:
Morrison said he'd written that story while in Amsterdam. "They call me Andres Climax, you know?" Morrison said, affecting a Jewish accent. "I came over to LA to enjoy myself a little bit maybe?"

I wasn't there, but I'm thinking from the context, that it may have been a Dutch accent Morrison was attempting?
 
Old 04-20-2008, 10:04 AM   #7
Themanofbat
 
He's a great writer (Morrison), but I hated he way he talks about taking all kinds of crazy ____ drugs and ____ yer brains up and you can be cool like me...

Maybe I just read the article wrong...

 
Old 04-20-2008, 10:37 AM   #8
DaVeO
 
He was asked a question about his drug use and he responded. At no time did he insinuate that you can be "cool like me." I think you took that the wrong way. Watch the video if you can, it's more clear in context.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 10:55 AM   #9
ThatNickGuy
 
A fan asked if Alan Moore was the villain of Seven Soldiers, and Morrison said, "Only if you want to se it that way."

WTF? Sersiouly, dubbya-tee-eff to the Nth degree for that question.

Great panel, by the looks of it. I have to say that Morrison just dropping out of the Authority feels very unprofessional. At least finish off the first arc or something.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 10:55 AM   #10
Timberoo
 
If he's not happy with what Marvel did with his vision of X-Men, wait until DC revises everything he's doing on Batman.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 11:21 AM   #11
jccalhoun
 
So does his comments about the Authority mean that he isn't going to finish the story?
 
Old 04-20-2008, 12:04 PM   #12
JPBoyle
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timberoo
If he's not happy with what Marvel did with his vision of X-Men, wait until DC revises everything he's doing on Batman.

VERY TRUE

This kinda smacks like what Brubaker did with the whole "Death of" storyline

Sad to see All Star S go, just gotten to really loving it, at 1st I hated it! Silly me.

Bring on the Crisis, "Final" or otherwise.

Please let it be #1 in sales! I love Bendis' writing but DC need to get back to being #1 and just to wipe the smirk off Joe Qs face, he really has taken the rivalry with DC waaaaayy too far
 
Old 04-20-2008, 12:30 PM   #13
heffison
 
So the shocking reveal of a villian for R.I.P. will be Alfred, right? Just trying to save Bruce from Batman.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 12:38 PM   #14
HieuLeBui
 
This article proves that Grant Morrison is one of the best and will forever be a favorite of mine. His Batman stuff is always good in my eyes.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 12:52 PM   #15
protonik
 
It is spelled ALEISTER Crowley, not Alastair Crowley.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 01:28 PM   #16
Red Turnado
 
It may just be me. (And it usually is...) In my mind Morrison is everything Alan Moore, is but without the beard, and the Anti-DC stance. Moore deconstructed and rebuilt super heroes in the 70-80's, and Morrison is doing much of the same today while working in the system.
Sometimes I feel like my mother did about Elvis. I will buy any and everything Morrison puts his pen to in the comics world.

I just dream of a weekly series written by Morrison, Moore, Gaiman, and Busiek. (It used to be Steve Gerber in Busiek's place. Why is there not a cry emoticon?)

But to make it happen I just could not agree to Mephisto's deal where Sandman was never published, and Superman would than be able to do a handstand and stop the earth in it's tracks.



Bobb
 
Old 04-20-2008, 01:35 PM   #17
SlamBurger
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
And then right away through open the floor to questions..

You should fix this line.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 01:36 PM   #18
Doc_doom79
 
I want someone to apologize to Grant so that he could go do some Marvel work as well.

I'd piss myself if I got to read Grant and Frank Quitely on Fantastic Four.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #19
purecorkboy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fish1000
I wasn't there, but I'm thinking from the context, that it may have been a Dutch accent Morrison was attempting?

wonder what else "dutch" morrison was on in amsterdam??? Is it me or should he be subtitled
 
Old 04-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #20
StefanDam
 
Quote:
He asked the audience, "Have you seen the site American Dwarf? That's the world we live in--it's filed with gaps and strangeness."

Should that be American Elf, the fantastic James Kochalka site with his daily autobiographical comics? Because that makes more sense than a site that doesn't exist.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 04:33 PM   #21
Rockin' Rich
 
Zenith

I can't believe no one asked about Zenith.

Punks!
 
Old 04-20-2008, 05:10 PM   #22
gr8alberto
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
For the other WildStorm title he was working on, Morrison said, "Authority was just a disaster." He said that they were doing it and running late when 52 started, but when he saw the reviews to first issue, "I said fuck it."

Good to see this guy's level of commitment. When I start a project at work and the numbers don't look right, I'd love to say "screw it -- I'm outtie" and just start working on something that's easier.

Let's just hope the first two issues of "Final Crisis" are critical gold, or else Morrison might throw a hissy fit and leave the DCU in disarray for a couple of years.

Just give "The Authority" to Gage, or really anyone else who is willing to put out the damn book...
 
Old 04-20-2008, 05:38 PM   #23
Doc_doom79
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8alberto
Good to see this guy's level of commitment. When I start a project at work and the numbers don't look right, I'd love to say "screw it -- I'm outtie" and just start working on something that's easier.

Let's just hope the first two issues of "Final Crisis" are critical gold, or else Morrison might throw a hissy fit and leave the DCU in disarray for a couple of years.

Just give "The Authority" to Gage, or really anyone else who is willing to put out the damn book...

I agree. Morrison is one of my all time favs but that really peeved me a little. If he only intended to take on WildCATS, then he shouldnt have agreed to this too, no matter how much he feels he was coerced.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 06:55 PM   #24
The Stampede
 
Quote:
One audience member asked about the effect of psychadelic drugs on Morrison's writing. "They were very involved in The Invisibles." Morrison said that for years, he was completely straight edge but around the time he turned 30, he decided to do all the things he'd never done before, including transvestitism and "a lot of psychedelic drugs." He explained that the principle cast of The Invisibles were essentially five characters each based on elements of his own personality.
WHAT. THE. HELL?!
 
Old 04-20-2008, 10:31 PM   #25
GhostOfTomJoad
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fish1000
I wasn't there, but I'm thinking from the context, that it may have been a Dutch accent Morrison was attempting?

You're probably right, but it sounded very Yiddish.
 
 


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