Granted Morrison has been writing comic books for more than 30 years. His work includes original works like The Invisibles, We3, and The Filth, as well as new takes on familiar characters like Batman and the X-Men that aren’t the same way they used to be. Here are some of the best parts of his career, except for his Flex Mentallo series with artist Frank Quitely, which hasn’t been put together in paperback yet because of complicated legal issues. This is a guide to his best work.
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1. Special Mention: Pax Americana
Artist: Frank Quitely
Publisher: DC Comics
Pax Americana is a great mix of Watchmen. It uses the versions of the Charlton Heroes that Moore and Gibbons used that were closer to the bone. A single comic called Pax Americana tells the whole story. It’s so well-structured, aware of itself, and complex that it’s almost impossible for me to tell the whole story in a short blurb. A president who has prophetic powers plays a long game with superheroes in an alternate universe, and the goal is to save all of the world in the process. When Quitely/Morrison says that the format of Watchmen and other comics like it is killing the genre, they use the story as an excuse. It’s not clear why we need to explain it. A Wagner opera is over because he isn’t alive any more. Shouldn’t he also die here? It’s a great work, a sharp-edged dissection of comics from the 1980s that were too complicated, and a good place to start the long list.
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics
When Chubby Da Choona and Seaguy meet up, they have a lot of fun together. Seaguy is a superhero with a lot of scuba gear. Since 2004, the series has been published a few times a year. Think of it as a mission statement in the form of panels. Morrison and a lot of other people who write about comics have said that there should be a long-term shift away from the “torment superheroes” of today. Seaguy is one of Morrison’s “back to basics” books, but even his most laid-back work has the author aiming high. People say that the man doesn’t like to be casual. Bigger stories and goals are even in the small books. The goal. In one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, there is a line about how a great mind could take a drop of water and argue that there is an ocean somewhere. In the same way, it’s true of Morrison, as well.
3. Kill Your Boyfriend
Artists: Philip Bond & D’Israeli
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Kill Your Boyfriend is based on the story of the god Dionysus and his Maenads, which is based on the story of the gods (or so the schoolteacher in the first 10 pages tells us). He tells his class that the Maenads were “wild women of the hills who killed their husbands in an ecstatic rage and vowed to the mad young god.” After that, our heroine, The Girl, says, “When do we live?” through the Fourth Wall. I want to know that. “What’s the point of this? At a later point, The Girl tells us, “People said we were evil again. They didn’t get it this time.” It was just a lot of fun.”
kyb is about a British student who thinks a lot and is middle class. She goes on a sex and murder spree with an edgy young man who happens to be in her neighborhood. Every Dangerous Young Man with Ideas looks like this boy. When the couple falls in love, they kill the Girl’s boring, test-taking boyfriend (the name of the movie). Then the murder-couple goes on a rampage across the UK.
Adolescents are often shown talking to the camera in movies and TV shows. I think it’s shorthand for the self-awareness that comes with being a young adult and how it hits you like a ton of bricks. In our teens, we finally figure out what story we’re in. KYB is about being young and in a cage, and what might be outside.
Heartland is also a retelling, Morrison says in his afterword. “It’s based on the life of Charlie Starkweather, one of the most infamous cool kid killers of all time,” Morrison says. Kill Your Boyfriend is based on a story about a serial killer named James Dean. Dean was a big inspiration for the Boy in the movie.
This is Grant Morrison at his best, by the way. After a burst of raw emotions, a pop culture confession comes.
Every comic book writer has 12 different ways you can look at them, and some of them make them look pretty bad. You can think of Garth Ennis as a person who wants to make fun of the laziest things boys do when they write stories. I mean, there’s a version of Morrison that makes him look like the comics-writer version of the goddamn Vampire Lestat: he drinks champagne and Red Bull, has feuds, and jumps on the hottest new thing that’s going on now.
That’s not him. if you read KYB in depth, you’ll see that the story is about anomie, growing up, and the ache of uncertainty that accompanies both of these things.
Another thing about KYB is that it’s about youth lost and youth found. I wonder if every person who makes popular art is trying to explain adulthood to themselves. During his parents’ divorce, Spielberg made E.T. to talk about it. Sofia Coppola makes movies about girls who are privileged but can’t get out of it, and so on. They are young people with heads full of colorful dreams and bodies stuck in modern Britain. Morrison tells us about these young people and how they live their lives.
The best comic book writer I can think of right now is Morrison. He’s better than any other comic book writer I can think of, like Eisner or Pekar or Craig Thompson or Clowes. Emotions are important to everyone who writes, but Morrison has an uncanny ability to describe how everything makes you feel. Stephen King is very good at giving you the raw truth about what it’s like to be scared. His characters don’t just run into vampires or werewolves. They go through the whole terrifying journey with him, and he writes about it. When we read King’s work, we can feel the real-life, almost physical sensations of being haunted, scared, hurt, or in love almost right away. They are equal to King’s comics. Morrison is a poet-prince when it comes to understanding the immediate, uncool, and no-kidding feelings of the heart, and he is very good at it.
It’s important to remember that Morrison’s stories are never about what they are about. They’re all hidden messages about how to deal with the emotional challenges of adulthood and the various traumas of childhood.
An anticlimax and a dodge are what KYB does at the end of the movie. Rat poison and suburbia aren’t the best way to end the movie. So what? We already knew how the story was going to end. Every child’s story has the same bad guy at the end: adulthood. Kids always get what they want in the end.
4. Marvel Boy
Artist: J.G. Jones
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Life in the Kree Star Fleet is good. ensign: Young Noh-Varr is a member of the Marvel, a spaceship that travels through different dimensions and is powered by the beliefs of its crew. This is a Gestalt craft. Or, at least, until Doc Midas shot the plane down from the sky with a powerful weapon.
During the crash, all of Noh-friends Varr’s and family are killed. Only him is left. When he vows revenge, he takes up arms against the rest of us and fights back. That’s how the book starts. Is that what you’re here to do? Noh-human Varr’s love interest says. He says: “There is no system here. There’s nothing to follow.” You can’t find anything else but fear, greed, and stupidity in this world. Law is the only thing that separates one gang’s methods from another. “Here I am,” the young people say.
It is one of the author’s books that were written before September 11, 2001. It was written in the late 1990s, even though it was published in 2000. Then how? When we say “insect in amber,” we should not use it so often. For me, stepping inside Marvel Boy is a way to remember how it felt to be in 2000. We don’t know what was going on in the world. His adventures have the same frantic, uneasy, and over-caffeinated feeling that all of Morrison’s best work has, which is why they are so good. There’s too much and never enough at the same time. He has 20 ideas at once and throws them over his shoulder as he tries to get to the next page.
It’s unfair to Grant, but there’s always a way to think about Moore. I don’t mean to compare Marvel Boy to V. Morrison, on the other hand, spends a lot of time telling us how to do Moore better. Probably not what he wants to hear. How would you like to spend your whole career being compared to someone else? But it’s impossible to avoid. Because Moore is the leader of my heart and always comes in second, Morrison is always close behind him. Because it’s a real relationship between Leonardo and Michelangelo, there isn’t anything you can do about it The two best modern comics writers were born in the same country, seven years apart, but they didn’t know it at the time. Ask fate what she had in store for you.
5. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Artist: Dave McKean
Publisher: DC Comics
There’s been a fight in Arkham, the prison for Gotham’s mentally ill criminals. They call Bruce and ask him, oh, can’t he help with the protest? Bats enters the labyrinth and goes backwards through the criminal mind and into the history of the asylum itself in a metaphor. Everything that has been written about Arkham since then, as well as the games, comes from this well.
Arkham Asylum is a book that has a lot of new things for the first time. One of the first Morrison books with a lot of pages. A vision of the Batman and what he’d become before he was even born or had grown up. And a real proof of what the United Kingdom planned for the Colonies’ comics. People in the British Isles taught us how to use superheroes. Morrison and his co-conspirators taught us how to use them. The capes became a customs house for radical, fringe, and esoteric ideas to come in. A lot of people in Britain used Amazon.com to buy things that were beautiful and weird.
Batman’s stories are made up of sentences. There is a predicate and a subject: Bruce Wayne. He sends them back to the Big House. This book says.
6. Animal Man (1988 – 1990)
A run on Animal Man, a DC Comics superhero who has the power to temporarily copy the skills of animals, was Grant Morrison’s first comic book run in the United States, and it was a success. With artist Chas Truog, Morrison told the story of a vegetarian hero who loses his family and is pushed to the brink of insanity before meeting his author at the end of the run. “I’m the evil person who’s running the show. My job is to pull the strings and make you dance. I’m the wicked puppeteer “He tells his hero. “I write for you.”