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A. Heathen

Hellblazer beyond #300

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I read an interview with Alan Grant stating that he only participated in Knightfall and the following "events" because the editorial staff left him no choice. Alan went on to say some rough words about the editorial focus on making big, ridiculous crossovers and forcing them on the writers, rather than allowing the writers to decide on the stories. Grant was later fired from his Batman:Shadow of the Bat gig, without a real explanation. All of his pitches to DC were rejected since.

 

Here is the interview My link. Both Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle talk about their time on Batman and and some interesting stuff. A really fun read.

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My memories of Knightfall revolve around the names Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon...and, those are some dark memories, indeed.

Grant was on Shadow of the Bat when Knightfall hit, wasn't he? That Scarecrow trilogy in SOTB, I seem to remember having the "Knightfall" tag-line on on the book, even though I don't remember it having anything to do with that horrible idea.

As far as I know, Editorial forced him to do some tie-in stories, but they were even forcing LOTDK to run some in-continuity stories at that point. There's only so much you could do with that mess when it's forced on you.

 

Grant left SOTB when DC wanted to incorporate all the Bat-titles into monthly cross-overs again, I think. The timing was right anyway. He was, for the most part, left alone to do his own thing with Shadow. Sadly, his own thing ended up being only a handful of quality stories.

He'd probably over-stayed his welcome on Bat-books by that point though, as there's a steady decline in the quality of his runs on the different books. His Detective Comics run, especially the first half, stands up as probably the best run on Batman ever, IMO. Then, his run on Batman was luke-warm. It was ok, but nothing stood out. Then, Shadow ended up having a lot of sub-par stories. Seems like burn-out.

 

I'm pretty sure his last Shadow of the Bat comic was the last comic I've read from Grant.

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+1 on the burnout.

 

+1 on Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon, too; with the proviso that I recently re-read some of Doug's Batman issues that were (beautifully) illustrated by Kelley Jones, and my opinion of them has risen. What I first read as awful storytelling (with awful dialogue) could instead be interpreted as efficient, stylised storytelling. It's oldschool stuff that could be easily followed by young readers. It's not especially rewarding, and it's not what I care for in Batman, but it does hit a certain target.

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It is strange how Moench has always done a lot better with blatant Batman rip offs* than Batman, really...

 

*(Moon Knight)

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Thanks for your link as well JasonT, i dig it big time. Very glad someone did such a thorough interview covering Grant's career, with insights into his life and way of thinking. What Alan Grant accomplished for the comics is simply unmeasurable, and opening the door to 2000 AD for Alan Moore and Grant Morrison is just a fraction of it.

 

I didn't follow Shadow Of The Bat closely enough to comment on the burnout, but out of the handful of issues i was able to get my hands on, there were some real haunting great little stories there. "The Tally Man" and "The Human Flea" were the crushing highlights for me, but also "The Nobody", "The Black Spider" - when he hit, it was a home run.. which after 13 years is quite astonishing. Most writers seem to be burnt-out after less than half that time on a single title. How many Batman issues did he write in total, does anyone know?

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It is strange how Moench has always done a lot better with blatant Batman rip offs* than Batman, really...

 

*(Moon Knight)

 

I know! My thoughts exactly! His Moon Knight run was a classic.

 

Hey, I was looking up info about Knightfall after this discussion, and I noticed that Azrael's real name is Jean-Paul Valley. Was he named after the UFOlogist (not just any UFOlogist, but my favourite one, no less) Jacques Vallee? I think he was, and never knew! If not, it's quite a coincidence.

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Thanks for your link as well JasonT, i dig it big time. Very glad someone did such a thorough interview covering Grant's career, with insights into his life and way of thinking. What Alan Grant accomplished for the comics is simply unmeasurable, and opening the door to 2000 AD for Alan Moore and Grant Morrison is just a fraction of it.

 

I didn't follow Shadow Of The Bat closely enough to comment on the burnout, but out of the handful of issues i was able to get my hands on, there were some real haunting great little stories there. "The Tally Man" and "The Human Flea" were the crushing highlights for me, but also "The Nobody", "The Black Spider" - when he hit, it was a home run.. which after 13 years is quite astonishing. Most writers seem to be burnt-out after less than half that time on a single title. How many Batman issues did he write in total, does anyone know?

 

Roughly, 141 issues (I might be off a few numbers there).

But, he wrote a lot of mini-series and one-shots and spin-offs. I'm only adding up the main Bat-titles he had lengthy runs on.

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I'm sorry. I can't resist doing this...poor Alan Grant.

The talk about UFOs and then Alan Grant reminded me of random Batman one-shot from the late-1990s written by Grant, who thought it'd be a good idea to have Wayne be adbucted by aliens.

This "review", with pages taken out-of-context from the comic, is too funny to resist posting.

Yeah...Grant was well burnt out on Batman by this point.

 

http://wrightopinion.com/2011/05/22/all-you-need-to-know-batman-the-abduction/

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141 doesn't sound as much as I expected.. but considering how many 5 or 6 part stories Grant wrote during that run, which is close to NONE, we could assume that today 141 would be doubled to get the same amount of stories by a random writer on a high profile book. Thanks for the calculation Christian.

 

That Batman Abduction is some conspiracy theory spoof? That would explain the Bruce Lee encounter :) "You are not dead? It was the aliens? Kennedy too? Good god!"

 

Is Robo Hunter any good? I've been meaning to buy it, but can't find any reviews

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Do you mean Sam Slade:Robo Hunter from 2000 A.D.?

It's not my favourite. I wasn't impressed by it, and found it the weakest of Grant's 2000 A.D. work that I've read.

 

141 is pretty impressive too. Not just the amount of different stories, but compared to other sequential runs on comics. Grant jumped from Detective to Batman to Shadow without any time lapse, so it ranks up there near some of the longest runs on one character. I can only think of a handful of writers who lasted on a book longer.

Dave Sim holds the record with Cerebus, but otherwise, Claremont's run on Uncanny X-Men has the record with (I think) 187 straight issues. Grant isn't too far behind on that list.

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... 13 years is quite astonishing. Most writers seem to be burnt-out after less than half that time on a single title. ...

Good point.

 

As for Batman: The Abduction, I haven't read it, but Alan Grant's scripts frequently take the piss, and IMHO he wouldn't be above exploiting the X-Files-related interest in aliens that was fashionable at the time.

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Is Robo Hunter any good? I've been meaning to buy it, but can't find any reviews

Ignore Christian: Robo Hunter is absolutely wonderful. Beautiful art and some wonderful humour, as well as (at its best) very inventive stories. Everything, in short, Grant does well when he's firing on all cylinders, wrapped up in a lovely package by Ian Gibson. (A criminally underrated artist in the 'States: he's probably best known for his run on the JM DeMatteis Mister Miracle comic during the '80s there.)

 

It isn't quite as consistent as some of Grant's work, but the real rot only set in when the strip was relaunched in the '90s. Mark Millar's attempts at writing a humour strip then were even more feeble and half arsed back then than they are now. Peter Hogan did a slightly better take, but his stuff was a bit too lightweight and fluffy for a character who's basically Sam Spade dealing with cases involving robots. Grant was losing steam towards the end of the original run, and there were blips before then, but at its best it was one of the finest strips ever to appear in 2000AD.

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+1

Ian Gibson on art, also +1

 

I also feel Ace Trucking Company is worth a mention for the same reasons. Grants humour, and the art of Mr Belardinelli, and again, the earlier stuff is much of the best of it.

 

I may be alone in this.

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Today I learned that on Reddit, there is a large number of Hellblazer fans who love Milligan's run. We did some poking and it seems this faction includes fans of the film. So, my formula is Constanteen fans = Milligan Hellblazer fans/Constanteen haters = Milligan Hellblazer haters. I know it's very complicated, but there it is.

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I think it's more simple.

 

People who hate Hellblazer = {people who like Milligan's Hellblazer, people who like Constanteen, Karen Berger}

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Fair enough. That makes me want to go and fuck with them, wherever they live!

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So, guys, #300 is thisclose, have there been any rumblings/rumours about the future of the series? Will it get cancelled/rebooted? Will we get someone other than Pete Milligan to write it or are we stuck with him? Is a serious reworking in the... erm... works?

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So, guys, #300 is thisclose, have there been any rumblings/rumours about the future of the series? Will it get cancelled/rebooted? Will we get someone other than Pete Milligan to write it or are we stuck with him? Is a serious reworking in the... erm... works?

 

There's been no announcement as to whether Milligan's leaving or not. His trainwreck of a run might be the longest to date: five years (feels like a millenia at this point); a length I once hoped for Andy Diggle's.

 

Today I learned that on Reddit, there is a large number of Hellblazer fans who love Milligan's run. We did some poking and it seems this faction includes fans of the film. So, my formula is Constanteen fans = Milligan Hellblazer fans/Constanteen haters = Milligan Hellblazer haters. I know it's very complicated, but there it is.

 

By large number of fans, you mean Dan DiDio's multiple personalities. He has more of those than Sybil (and Russell T Davies)!

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There appears to be a rumour about Gail Simone and Hellblazer on Bleeding Cool but I cannot access the relevant page.

There is also Karen Berger's "BIG CHANGES" statement from that comic con you americans all had recently.

 

Not much else.

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There appears to be a rumour about Gail Simone and Hellblazer on Bleeding Cool but I cannot access the relevant page.

There is also Karen Berger's "BIG CHANGES" statement from that comic con you americans all had recently.

 

Not much else.

 

Not all to happy with Gail since de-cripplegate

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Haven't read much of her stuff - Villain's United and some of the Secret Six follow-ups about cover it I think, some kind of change is due though so be interesting to see if there's any truth to the rumours.

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It might well be more appropriate for her to take on JLD.

But I got the impression she was talking about one of them self-directed Vertigo books.

 

#300 double sized, that was the other thing.

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