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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

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Grant Morrison: Master & Commander
Introduction By Christopher Butcher
Interview conducted by Jonathan Ellis.


Introduction
Interview - Part 1
Interview - Part 2
Interview - Part 3
Interview - Part 4
Interview - Part 5
Interview - Part 6
Interview - Part 7
Interview - Part 8



When I was a boy, I liked comics. Well, that’s not entirely true, I actually just liked stories. I came to the medium through THE TRANSFORMERS, as having been 8 years old in 1985, I was at just the right age to be fascinated by giant robots and epic, sweeping battles against ill-defined evil. I came to comics because one day, in a convenience store, I noticed that there was a book of Transformers with pictures in it (and they were fighting Spider-Man for some reason, and his costume was different), but more importantly, new Transformers stories! I watched the show whenever I could and was constantly creating new adventures for my robot toys, and on the newsstand I found new stories. On a family holiday “up north” that summer, when the small-town general store could not provide me with new Transformers stories I was able to amuse myself with different storybooks. They were garish and, at times, terrifying. Something called THE NEW TEEN TITANS, which had women turning into insects and strangely-dressed people doing things I could not understand. And CRISIS. Three, four Supermans, Batmans, Wonder Womans, the characters I recognized from cartoons, and they were trying to stop earths from collapsing. It was all very big, and it started me thinking about what other kind of stories were out there, but mostly about how much better THE TRANSFORMERS were than Superman.

Artwork by Kalman Andrasofszky. Click For Larger Image.By the time I was 17, I liked comics. Loved comics. Ate, slept, breathed comics. And the best comics of all? MARVEL! IMAGE! Improbable, super-cool action heroes tearing through an endless web of deceits! Guns! Misogyny! An endless parade of posing! By God it was Awesome, Extreme, and possibly even MAXIMUM too! Every weekly trip to the comic book store was an absolute thrill-ride, because every issue was designed to be so bloody cool! DO NOT MISS THIS ISSUE! As if I could. Anyone want a complete run of BRIGADE?

Somehow, shortly after my 17th Birthday, I managed to get a job at a comic book store. I was personable enough I guess, and had devoured the Wizard-Age of comics with a voracity that made me an actual asset to my boss, who didn’t really like comic books but did appreciate the lifestyle that, then, being a comic book retailer could provide him. This was the age of variant covers and intense speculation remember, move in a case of something, move out a case of something, make $1000 for 10 minutes work. Not too shabby. I don’t remember how, but I became aware of a then-forthcoming series called THE INVISIBLES and managed to convince my boss to bring in a few copies. It did, after all, have a grenade on the cover and therefore implied enjoyable violence.

“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKKK!”
Dane McGowan, Page 3 Issue 1 of The Invisibles.


Ah, to be 16 again.

Dane McGowan is about my age in issue one, and is about my temperament. Or at least, I imagine he would have been were he growing up in the Suburbs in Canada, rather than in dirty Liverpool. Dane is a very special boy with a lot of anger who realizes that the world is a lot bigger, and better and worse, than what he ever could have imagined. Finally, a superhero I could really relate to.

After those first few issues of The Invisibles, the lustre and shine of the Marvel and Image comics waned quite a bit. It didn’t seem thrilling or exotic to speak in one-liners and pose, to find out that the conspiracy was really manufactured by some Nerdy ex-accountant with a Robot body when THE-KING-OF-ALL-TEARS would have just torn him to pieces with a half an intention. The Invisibles showed me that the revolution was about more than two identical people sending armies after one another, that it was about bettering yourself. Picking yourself up, going on a date with a girl (or boy), trying to live life. It was a comic book that told me that comic books did not need to be an exclusionary, lonely hobby, with nights spent furtively masturbating over Donna Troy or Aqualad instead of going out and meeting the nice real people who looked just like them. And yeah, for the parts I didn’t quite get at the time I went and read Grant doing JLA, which was (in the end) essentially the Coles-notes version of The Invisibles and it explained things much more clearly (and using the language of Superheroes, which by-God I understood). It was a mess sometimes and it didn’t always work, but it was also great and exactly what I needed.

The Invisibles taught me, through swearing and violence and ugliness and beauty, that I could grow up and it would be okay. The bogeyman is real, but he’s not so bad once you get to know him.

I’m sitting here on my 27th Birthday, Monday July 5th 2004, and I’ve just finished reading Jonathan Ellis’ excellent interview with Grant Morrison. I find that Grant’s work is still teaching me things, still helping me get over my preconceptions of the world (and even his work). That THE FILTH was actually quite necessary and I did end up loving it in the end, that things are right in front of you if look for them, that you’ve got to temper the mad-brilliance with showing-a-bit-of-leg and genuine-sentimentality to keep the audience hooked. Sometimes it’s a bit of a mess and yeah, it still doesn’t always work, but the stories that Grant is writing and the things that he is saying really are great, and they continue to be exactly what I need from comic books and for life. I’m happier, healthier, and wiser than I was when I was 17, and I owe it all to comic books. How many people can say that?

I hope you enjoy the interview that follows, and with all of its richness and new-project-announcements and insanity that you’re able to take something away from it. As I said in my last introduction to a great-big Grant Morrison interview, approach Grant Morrison with an open mind. Much like Grant’s work, it’s all right there in front of you and you’ve really just got to decide how invested you want to be. Then you can decide for yourself whether he's the bright blue new messiah, or the "Global Village Idiot".

Or something in between.

Thanks,
- Christopher Butcher, Former PopImage Editor and Birthday-Boy


Grant Morrison Illustration by Kalman Andrasofszky.

Introduction
Interview - Part 1
Interview - Part 2
Interview - Part 3
Interview - Part 4
Interview - Part 5
Interview - Part 6
Interview - Part 7
Interview - Part 8


 


Christopher Butcher is a former Co-Editor in Chief of PopImage. A comics professional published by such companies as Image, Oni Press and Cyberosia. He is also the man behind such sites as Previews Review.com and Comics.212.net and yes, it really is his birthday and yes, we encourage you to send him both wishes and kisses because we love him, and so should you.

Speaking of lovable, the above 'So nice it should be framed' illustration of Grant Morrison comes courtesy of Kalman Andrasofszky, artist of DC Comics I-CANDY mini-series and more. To see said more, be sure to visit his website at Horhaus.com

To comment on this article, contact Co-Editor in Chief Jonathan Ellis at ellis@popimage.com

All Images copyright their respective owners.


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