Grant Morrison

Weirdness Is Still Addictive

by Aldyth Beltane

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What can I say about Grant Morrison that doesn’t sound like overly enthusiastic, almost worshipful gushing? Nothing, actually. Morrison is one of a handful of writers that I admire greatly, both as creators and as people. But beyond that, Morrison speaks very specifically to the spiritual, metaphysical side of my being, as well as the eternal, revisionist hipster, and the animal lover in me.

I first met Morrison back in the early Vertigo days, when he first reworked Animal Man and Doom Patrol into the likes of which the comics industry were just beginning to see. Yes, it seems weird and wacky now, but at the time characters like Rebus and Crazy Jane were groundbreaking and unique. In many ways they still are. And there was Morrison, misplaced mod with granny shades, pegged pants and Beatle boots, certainly by far one of the most dapper creators to write comics, as well as the most innovative. Conversations with him were non-stop mind-expanders and explorations of the best of pop culture.

I encountered Morrison again a few years later, when The Invisibles was in full swing, towards the end of Volume One. When I say The Invisibles is the closest thing I have to a bible, I do not exaggerate. Independently, I was just beginning to explore and understand Chaos Magick, and along with the writings of Phil Hine, The Invisibles laid it all out. But where Hine’s writing was a logical and readily accessible presentation of magickal theory, Morrison’s was a mind-expanding psychedelic odyssey of visual and emotional intensity that reached on a very instinctive, emotional level. Even that which could not be verbally interpreted translated to comprehension. Plus, the main characters included a supercool magus/assassin, a dramatic tranny shaman, and a red-haired witch from the future, just for starters. To me, this was all things glorious. I excitedly relayed to Grant what a revelation discovering Chaos Magick had been for me, especially Hine’s Condensed Chaos. Morrison responded by telling me Hine was a "mate" of his (see, it’s all interconnected,) and how The Invisibles was actually crafted to be a giant sigil. Later he would visit us in San Francisco, and encounter other elements that would become a part of the Invisibles mythos. So I feel a true connection to this book.

Morrison recently appeared again in San Francisco at WonderCon this past February 10-12, 2006, approximately ten years after the sigilizing of The Invisibles.

And in that decade Morrison has for all intents and purposes fulfilled the working that he put forth with The Invisibles (though only he knows for certain how much of it) and has reworked, rewritten or redefined the major pantheons of comics’ most high profile publishers. Upcoming works that have caused shockwaves of excitement through the industry and fandom include DC’s long term epic 52, which once again promises to redefine the DC Universe. Which as we all know, now needs to be redefined every decade at the very least, possibly more often. Morrison will also be leading his talent to the All-Star Batman, which will doubtless be as groundbreaking as his All-Star Superman. News of Morrison becoming the writer of The Authority has given renewed hope to fans of that originally amazing title, following years of ham-fisted editorial handling coupled with uncomfortable writing, or perhaps writers. And while it is fascinating and exciting to learn in advance about his multifarious and prolific upcoming comics work, what is even more profound is finding out some of the sources for the material he writes about.

Grant Morrison mentioned two possible movie projects under consideration. One is an adaptation of his infinitely heart-wrenching mini-series WE3, about the struggle for freedom of three bioengineered lab animals, which feels like a cross between Richard Adams and Terminator. The other is a more supernatural horror story. Titled Sleepless Nights, it supposes that on a Halloween night time stops, and thus the doorways between the worlds are left open, and demons are able to come through. To stop them, two homeless guys take drugs to help them remain awake to fight the demonic onslaught.

For serious fans of Morrison, his presentation at the 2000 Disinfo convention (available on DVD via Amazon, of all places) is essential insight into the thought process behind his creative process, and a wildly provocative introduction to chaotic and magickal thought. These ideas and more are expanded upon in Morrison’s own ongoing project, Pop Magic!, which he promises will be completed and published at some point. In the meantime, excerpts and the main concepts of the subject can be found at Morrison’s own site

And perhaps most exciting for those who follow Grant Morrison’s forays into the realms of magick and reality shaping via fiction are two announcements — first, that he is indeed working on another giant sigil piece, this to be illustrated by J.H. Williams, who also worked on Alan Moore’s Promethea. But best, he is already contemplating a new Invisibles collection, which will catch up with where the characters are “now”. He speculates that the book will be slated for 2008 release “once the political climate has shifted.” That’s just two more years. I think we can make it through. And now, we have something worthwhile to look forward to for it!

A selected Grant Morrison resource and bibliography:

Aldyth Beltane is many things — writer, magician, DJ, Glittery Diva, and despite protestation to the contrary, crusader. Aldyth’s body of work includes interviews (the number of which she has lost count), contributions to comics and gaming books (including White Wolf’s Orphan’s Survival Guide — of which she is rather proud), and many articles and reviews for many websites (including this one and Wellred Press). She has expanded her body of work to include non-fiction, examples of which can be found in Morbid Curiosity numbers 8 and 10. Aldyth DJs at a variety of venues and parties, spinning Glam, ’60s garage, ’70s original punk, and any other loud rebellious rock’n’roll that moves her fancy.

When not pontificating or forcing her musical tastes on others, Aldyth pays homage to Bast in the form of feline care and rescue, shops for her personal take on the coolest styles, absorbs media like a glittery sponge, and waffles on whether the pain of romance is worth the creative fodder.