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jaynova

I love Grant Morrison, but...

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Mark    332

Errm. Firstly, he's not actually saying what you think he's saying. Like, at all. And secondly, the bits that say what you think he's saying have nothing to do with the quality or worth of Morrison's art, but are part of a (largely fair, although less than wholly convincing) critique of how his self-avowed ideology compares with the actual reality of his career, something that really does paint Morrison in a less-than-entirely-flattering light. For someone so self-avowedly interested in the individual worth of humans within a faceless authoritarian system he's oddly eager to leap to the defence of the gigantic corporate entities he himself works for, largely because he's done very well out of them personally. The somewhat cowardly way he sidesteps the frankly appalling way a lot of key creative figures in the comics industry have been treated by Marvel and DC in Supergods is pretty glaring, as a lot of critics noted at the time).

 

None of which makes Morrison any less brilliant as a writer, though, and Sandifer never attempts to suggest otherwise. Because - thirdly - this essay is a tangential part of a much broader project, and you're (understandably enough, assuming you're not a regular reader of the blog) taking it massively out of context. Aside from the Doctor Who thing, he's also currently in the middle of a book-length project ('The Last War in Albion') dedicated pretty much solely to contextualising and deconstructing the parallel careers of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, and while he clearly ultimately sides firmly with Team Moore, he also clearly considers Morrison's work valuable and substantial enough to warrant that sort of in-depth analysis. As he puts it in the comments section:

 

As for whether there are things I like about Morrison, yes, but it requires, to borrow a phrase, treating the text as a hostile witness. There's stuff I like a lot, and I'll still buy anything he puts out guaranteed and site unseen. And, you know, if I didn't like him I wouldn't write about him - I'd just do an Alan Moore project. But it's... fraught.

 

Off the top of my head, I quite like The Filth - I think that's probably his strongest comic, actually. I thought bits of Doom Patrol were magnificent. Other than the bad mistake of moving key bits of plot into the Superman Beyond mini, I thought Final Crisis was great fun. I liked his Batman run up to about the start of Incorporated, but I've largely gotten bored with it. I'm terribly excited for his Wonder Woman project, though I expect that I'll be at loggerheads with the text several times. I thought New X-Men was mostly fantastic, and that it's infuriating how little influence it had on future X-Men comics.

 

And I actually quite like Pop Magic! even though I'm not wild about chaos magic as a pure practice. Jane's comment up-thread gets at a lot of it. I like the "do what works" ethos of chaos magic and the willingness to treat any symbolic system as a place to play, but I think the focus on power-over is terribly misguided.

 

Which, you know...well, I don't entirely agree, but he's certainly got a point. And it's a point that isn't even in the same ballpark as "LET'S RANK ART ACCORDING TO HOW REVOLUTIONARY IT IS". Hell, it isn't even playing the same game. Essentially, he's saying "I love Grant Morrison, but..." And for the purposes of this specific essay, the "but..." is what he's focusing on.

 

All of which said, I think this is a fairly weak bit of writing from a blogger who's capable of far, far better (I've been following his TARDIS Eruditorum project for years, and while he can be deeply frustrating on occasion, he can also be absolutely brilliant). But "worst thing I've ever read" and "Stalinist" might be something of an overreaction.

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Rogan    176

Well put, Mark. [i'm all out of upvotes.]

Haven't had the time yet to read Pax Americana [gonna need to put aside a few hours just for that], but I'm glad to hear it seems Morrison brought his A-game when it mattered the most.

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Christian    744

The blogger doesn't seem to have much of a grasp on the history of magic. This whole "I'm a Wiccan. I care about every one. Let's preach love and peace and care about social justice! I'm empowered as a female by magick!" cant is something wholly new and divergent from the world of magic.

Go back to the Golden Dawn, and the magic system was all about elitism. They considered themselves better than every one else.

Read Crowley. Do you see lots of things about the plight of the poor? No. You see a lot of Nietzscheean style, "the weak get what they deserve" ethos.

The precurors to the Golden Dawn? Nope. You had people ranting about how Communists wanted to turn humans in to ants and keep the strong from gaining their rightful power.

The history of magic is one of elitism and individualism reacting against a world that they saw as giving more and more power to the masses.

Regardless of if a few Left-Wingers got interested in Crowley's concept of "do what thou wilt" in the context of social freedoms (which is also not contradictory to libertarianism as a whole, by the way), Chaos Magic was really just taking the world of magic back towards what it's always been, just doing so within the context of post-modernism*.

*Which, to be fair, Crowley had already begun to play with before the term "post-modern" existed.

And, it's not like the elitism ever left the world of magic. Hell, there's worse than Chaos Magic, it could've been LaVey's Church of Satan, where Ayn Rand is held up as an idol of worship.

I side with Alan Moore's brand of magic as well, because Moore respects traditionalism. Nothing to do with the politics. But, Moore's brand of politics is outside the realm of his magic. It's basically that he's a Left-Wing anarchist and a ritual magician, not "he's some sort of Left-Winger due to his brand of magical theory".

Which isn't to deny that Grant Morrison is on the Left politically. I question some of his views on 9/11 and the "war on terror" personally though, which once again, seems to go against the individualism of Morrison's beliefs, as well as Mark pointed out.

Anyway, my point is that based on the history of magicl, it's not as if Chaos Magic is a surprising divergence.

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Christian    744

Did people realize that Grant Morrison is actually writing a series for a new comic company called Legendary?

It's called Annihilator. The artwork is great. There's sort of a feel of a 1980s indy comic about the title. It's not great though. It has some decent ideas...the usual tropes of Morrison about meta-fiction. It's not the most original comic. There's also a sci-fi element to the plot that's a bit different for Morrison in just how sci-fi it is, but it's not that interesting either.

I was just surprised that Morrison has a new comic series that's floating under the radar.

 

Morrison has a mini-series scheduled for Black Mask Comics coming soon also. It's called Sinatoro, and it sounds really good.

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Rogan    176

Sinatoro was his [unmade] road movie about America, right?

 

And yeah, I'm very much intrigued and following Annihilator [Legendary, BTW, is the comics division of Legendary pictures, so it's all most likely just developing pitches for future properties down the line, I guess? Why pay Image, Dark Horse, Vertigo and such, when you can farm your own cult properties with well-known creators?], but the first issue was its best so far. Hope it picks up, I liked the idea of a public domain pulp character that is constantly reinvented for the here and now [especially the bits where they showed with Max Nomax as a 60s Italian fumetti character]. Still, the artwork's crazy good, so it's still a good read.

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Christian    744

I have a feeling it's just gonna be a collection of short stories with no real overarcing plot and I'm so fine with that

 

The over-arcing plot seems to be based on The Gentry from the first issue. That the corruption of the worlds Morrison is presenting is based on the influence of these Lovecraftian beings. I'm sure it'll make a meta point about the direction of the comic industry eventually. We seem to be seeing that quite a bit in the Pax Americana issue.

 

I love what Morrison did with Captain Atom, by the way! His version of Dr. Manhattan certainly outdid Moore.

I can't say the same for the Question though. I didn't totally get a feel for Morrison's version, other than the obvious influences.

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Lou K    1,057

Did people realize that Grant Morrison is actually writing a series for a new comic company called Legendary?

 

 

Yeah I just started it with issue #3. :angry2:

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Lou K    1,057

LCS copped issue 1 for me. Huzzah!

 

Oh my, is this a gorgeous book. Frazer Irving is playing so far above the rim, wow.

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Rogan    176

Oh my, is this a gorgeous book. Frazer Irving is playing so far above the rim, wow.

Yeah, he went a few levels up from his [really great] Batman Inc. stuff. He's really tapping into all that neat Corbenesque 80's Heavy Metal stuff with his coloring and grimaces.

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Lou K    1,057

So I am out #2 but they can be had on eBay. I am going a bit of the dick route and low balling some OBOs. If they stonewall me I'll fucking cave because I must have this. I must.

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Christian    744

Multiversity: Thunderworld-That was so incredibly fun! It was the ultimate Captain Marvel adventure. It didn't require the thought of the last issue, but it was Silver Age goofiness in the Alan Moore style. Funny that two books in a row by Morrison indulge references to Moore...I realize that Supreme wasn't actually based on Shazam, but I thought it was similar enough...

Plus, one part seemed to be a reference to Superman anyway.

I'm not the biggest Captain Marvel fan. I can't remember a lot of actual Shazam comics I enjoyed, although the early comics were good for doing what they were doing, no doubt. The homages to Shazam seemed to usually be better than the DC owned Shazam comics that showed up.

I knew Morrison could have fun with these concepts, as he did some mind-blowing work with elements from this universe during 52. This wasn't as filled with big ideas as that, but it wasn't meant to be either. It was meant to harken back to the Silver Age, only with a wink and a smile.

Another winner from Multiversity, only this ranks second to last, only beating the SOS book, for mine. That just shows the high quality of this series though. A book that would rank as the best issue of the year for regular books is beaten by most of the other issues in this particular series.

I can't wait for the next issue, as I'm a fan of these handbook type of comics...plus Kamandi and Atomic Knights too.

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Rogan    176

So I am out #2 but they can be had on eBay. I am going a bit of the dick route and low balling some OBOs. If they stonewall me I'll fucking cave because I must have this. I must.

 

If you don't get it, you might want to look it up digitally, then get the trade?

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A. Heathen    1,129

Yep. Cracking stuff.

Also liked the Sivana who just wanted to share ideas and found that all his others were evil.

 

The way Morrison has the ideas crossing between universes BECAUSE of awareness of the multiverse gives me hope for a future DC where people can just write stories that make internal sense without The Albatross of Continuity.

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Shawn    297

I would never have believed there would TWO Captain Marvel books on the same day and the DC version would be better. (Love the Capt. Marvel/Carol Danvers issue this month BTW). Not since Power of Shazam by Ordway has The Big Red Cheese been this good (although there were touches in JSA). Thunderworld was like a pure concentrated distillation of all that is great about Captain Marvel/Shazam; from the good natured fun to Cap's optimism to the strong bonds of family and wacky crazy adventures. They even made the Lt. Marvels not seem like a bad idea. Bravo, Morrison and Stewart, et al. Bravo!!!

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Dave    265

Once again, Multiversity was fun as hell. You guys have already pointed out the best of the different Sivana's. I haven't read a whole bunch of Captain Marvel (or Power of Shazam! or whatever) but i also liked dark lightninged Captain Sivana and his Juniors. I don't know if they were new to this book or what, but i liked them.

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Lou K    1,057

GAH! Not having issue 2 in my grubby little hands is killing me dead.

 

Rogan, do you want to see Sweet Lou die?

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Rogan    176

No sirree, Lou! I do apologize for tantalizing you more than you need to be.

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Lou K    1,057

HAHAHA

 

No, my good friend, It's my fault for sleeping on this. Usually I am on top of my game. Not sure how it slipped through.

 

But I am not sure there is any greater comic collector's lament than having issues 1, 3, and 4 of a series he/she wants to read.

 

It's like torture HAHA

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Shawn    297

Back in my younger, more disposable income days, I had so many instances of not finding that ONE issue missing from a certain run or a mini-series or some special issue. I would search heaven and earth (all three are comic comic shops at the time.) for it and sometimes the interwebs.

Good luck, Lou! May the Comic Gods smile upon you.

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Lou K    1,057

 

Good luck, Lou! May the Comic Gods smile upon you.

 

May they indeed, good friend Shawn. May they smile upon us all.

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Dave    265

I dont know if you guys have seen the newest Miltiversity ad, but it looks like we might be getting the superhero Hellblazer in this next one.

 

 

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