Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some Reflections on Grant Morrison's online commentary

So, over the last couple years, comic writer person Grant Morrison has said some things that I find...perplexing. So, let's talk about them.

From his afterword to the first issue of Mark Waid's Irredeemable, where he suggested that fans had pigeon holed Mr. Waid as "Mr. Silver Age" and himself as "Incomprehensible Mad Ideas Man". Well, I'm ust going to look up Mark Waid's wiki entry for a second here.

-Co-created the "Elseworlds" concept of stories. Which is really just a longform version of the Silver Age "Imaginary Stories."
-Revived the Silver Age Archie heroes.
-Effectively created the "Flash Dynasty", an in so doing, popularized the Dynastic superhero configuration. Of course, one can see the "Superman family" in this, but I'll let that slide.
-The Definitive Wally West stories, which also served to lionize Silver Age character Barry Allen. This one's a maybe.
-Kingdom Come, which in large part can be viewed as tale displaying the superiority of Silver Age values over 80s and 90s Anti-heroism.
-His Captain America run, which, among other things, brought back Steve Rogers' love interest from the Silver Age, as well as long absent Silver Age materials such as the Cosmic Cube.
-Presided over two reboots of the Legion of Superheroes that effectively tried to bring them back to their Silver Age roots, though the first was clearly more Silver Age influenced than the second.
-JLA: Year One and Flash/Green Lantern: the Brave and the Bold, which dwelt on Silver Age stories.
-Restoration of "The Brave and the Bold" series.
-The "Silver Age" crossover event from 2000
-And the restoration of the Lex/Clark Silver Age dynamic from "Superman: Birthright."

So, perhaps it isn't safe to make a blanket generalization of Mr. Waid, but it's also not fair to say that he doesn't incorporate a LOT of Silver Age material into his work.

As for Morrison's we have a few question marks, I suppose:
-The end of "For Tomorrow" from your X-Men run
-Final Crisis
-The end of "The Return of Bruce Wayne".
-Seven Soldiers
-and of course, the Invisibles and the Filth.

So while yes, broad generalizations are bad, it's not unfair to say there are patterns to call attention to.

And when it comes to broad generalizations, Mr. Morrison doesn't seem to have the same problem, oddly. Both in that statement, and a recent excerpt from his book, he makes quite a few assumptions about his fanbase. These are quite negative, and it strikes me as a bad idea to possibly annoy your customers in such economic times as these. Also, as far as "Superhumanly Angry" goes, well, given he's made several such statements as these over the last three years at least, it would be fair to question whether or not he was projecting.

Finally, and I apologize that I don't have the link, and that I'm not sure if this should be attributed to Mr. Morrison or someone else at DC, but during the most recent San Diego Comicon, someone (and I do believe it was Mr. Morrison, but someone could correct me here), stated that the idea of Martha Kent sewing the Superman costume was "a bit ridiculous".

Now, just as a lark, I polled a few of my non-comics-reading friends - these would be people who could buy a comic, or at the very least, would buy tickets to movies, buy DVDs, and such. I aske them.

"Which of the Following is the most ridiculous:

A) A superhero having his costume made by his mother?

B) An alien with superhuman powers that looks identical to Caucasians?

C) An alien who claims to be solar powered, despite that the energy required to exert his powers in most instances is greater than the sum of all the solar light energy that could be harnessed over an area of several square miles?

D) That the world's greatest investigative reporter could be fooled by a pair of glasses and some method acting for years on end?"

I'll save everyone the trouble: D was the only answer I got from anyone. Actually, most of the responses I got went something like, well, this (Click to enjoy).

Now, this isn't to take away from Morrison's good work - there is a bit of it I quite like. However, one should consider strengths and weaknesses in a writer's approach and his opinions.

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