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Author Topic: Grant Morrison Explains Cosmic Geometry & Superman  (Read 3821 times)
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Michel Weisnor
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« on: October 18, 2006, 01:26:39 AM »

Grant Morrison elucidates All-Star Superman, Superman by era, and three dimensional time planes.

http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/112602239631900.htm

"Some of its basic features have even been echoed in current cosmological ideas emerging from the field of superstring research and M-Theory."   Grin

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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2006, 11:56:40 AM »

Yikes!  He does go on a bit...

Everyone seems to be a genius, doing great work, in Morrison's time-plane.  Even John Byrne.

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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2006, 06:33:22 PM »

Grant is a weird fellow, but as long as he can keep writing great Superman stories, I couldn’t care less.
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2006, 07:59:14 PM »

Everyone seems to be a genius, doing great work, in Morrison's time-plane.  Even John Byrne.

I think that's a healthy attitude:  That everyone has something good to bring to the table.
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
davidelliott
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 07:21:36 AM »

You could warn a guy about all the F-bombs he drops... it kind of takes away from the stuff he says, for me.  I could never see Julie Schwartz do that in an interview!
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 06:02:29 PM »

I just think his science is pretty out there, though it may sound impressive...the cosmology of events in string theory and quantum uncertainty explains things on the subatomic level, but alternate universes that have the same characters with different motivations are probably more rare than alternate universes that diverged close to the big bang and have nothing in common with our universe...and I'm not sure where he's going with the 2-D story creating a holographic reality...does that mean that watching a play (in three dimensions) creates a different kind of hologram than looking at a book with pictures?
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2006, 08:33:28 PM »

Grant Morrison interviews like Morissey, only without Morissey's sense of humor (and the mopiness, but that's what makes Morissey funny in an ironic way, a la "Weeping Gorilla"). Warren Ellis's interviews are inarticulate, venomous, and angry: he reads like an Irish version of Ann Coulter. Kurt Busiek interviews like a Kennedy: he's political enough to make everybody come away feeling like he agrees with them.

I do absolutely love this part:

Quote from: Grant Morrison
Some have seen the book as an ode to the King, Jack Kirby, and in so many heartfelt ways it is, but SEVEN SOLDIERS is also my personal hymn to the poetic imagination of Len Wein, whose 70s work turned me into a teenage fanboy. A great deal of SEVEN SOLDIERS – as with so much of the work I’ve done for DC - relates directly to, and expands upon, continuity established by Len. I owe an immense imaginative debt to Wein, who is humble, bemused and patient every time I collar him to tell how much his work meant to me. The way a hero ought to be.

Very classy praise for a class act like Len Wein, one of the six greatest comics writers of all time right up there with Steve Englehart, Ed Hamilton, Steve Gerber, Alan Moore, and Alan Brennert.

Everyone remembers the Englehart/Rogers DETECTIVE COMICS (and with good reason; not for nothing is it called the "definitive Batman") but one group of stories that was equally interesting was Len Wein's tales, which featured Ra's al-Ghul framing Batman for murder. To say nothing of the extraordinary "A Caper a Day Keeps the Batman Away," which features the return of Calendar Man, in a zany jewel heist crime wave, with an unpredictable ending (not as unpredictable as the ending to "The Malay Penguin," but still).

The one thing that does sincerely bother me about Grant Morrison is this entire attitude and mentality:

Quote from: Grant Morrison
I like finding the clunkiest, ugliest properties and turning them into prom queens, so the restoration/recreation part of my brief at DC is always welcome. I can sit in the garden with a pen, a notebook, some colored pencils and the sun in the sky and do little drawings for hours and hours...far from the eyesight-knackering tyranny of the computer screen.


First...the purple prose is fruity as hell. You're not Hunter S. Thompson, Grant! "eyesight knackering tyranny of the computer screen?" Is he for real?  Shocked

The second thing is the idea that characters that aren't successful need to be "fixed." The truth is, you don't fix a character by totally erasing them and making a new version. You "fix" a character not by making them "cool," but by making the reader realize why they already are. If you're going to make the Guardian a black man with a black girlfriend, why bother telling a story about the Guardian AT ALL?

And I fail to see how "his" Shining Knight is in any way an improvement over the beloved character. The Guardian, divorced from the context of the Jack Kirby kid-gang, has no real reason to exist.

Though I will admit, it was very, very cool to see what Grant did with Ra-Man, bringing him back as a colossal cosmic magical being called "King Ra-Man."

Quote from: Grant Morrison
The All-Star idea is to distill everything we like about the characters into one simple package that’s very much aimed at a more mainstream pop audience who don’t like to have to ask embarrassing questions like ‘Why is Superman married ?’ and ‘Why isn’t Robin Dick Grayson ?’

This is another attitude that I don't agree with. Just because Dick Grayson started out as Robin does not necessarily mean he should remain Robin. Characters should have the right to grow and change even if it contradicts pop culture images of the characters. It's not a "flaw" that, for example, Dick Grayson is now a confident, heroic adult with his own identity, an identity he grew into gradually.

What I'm trying to say is, characters should exist independently of a frozen status quo where Dick Grayson is "always" Robin and Supergirl is "always" a bubbly, blonde teenager. This does not mean that any kind of change is automatically a good idea, but that it is noble if talented writers make an attempt to allow there to be something like progression, to let stories not be self-contained. I for one, thought it was wonderful when Steve Englehart in his GREEN LANTERN CORPS was given the choice to bring Hal Jordan back but instead he made the choice to tell stories with John Stewart.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: SCREW newbies. The comics are their own entity, with characteristics independent of versions of the characters in other media. 

It is for this reason that I am reluctant to embrace the ALL-STAR lines, and why their spirit is so misplaced: they seek to "boil a character down to their essence," but the thing is, characters don't have an essence to boil down TO: characters are the sum of their history, not a concept that fits on an index card, and if you divorce them from their history, they are no longer the same character.

Quote from: davidelliot
You could warn a guy about all the F-bombs he drops... it kind of takes away from the stuff he says, for me.  I could never see Julie Schwartz do that in an interview!

Ha ha, wuss.  Grin

Quote from: SuperMonkey
Grant is a weird fellow, but as long as he can keep writing great Superman stories, I couldn’t care less.

Despite EVERYTHING I just said about being totally against the ALL-STAR line in theory...you know, as much as I absolutely want to hate it...I do like Morrison's ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. I love the Future Supermen, Atlas and Sampson in the time go-kart, Dino-Czar and the dinosaurs at the center of the earth, Lois getting temporary powers as a birthday present, Superman rescuing a ship from the sun...it's so wonderfully whimsical that it smiles at me and I can't help but smile back.

Still, I much prefer Johns and Busiek's Superman, which is almost a compliment to Morrison, because the extraordinary talents of those two men means that even someone shorter than they is still a giant. Johns and Busiek told tales of a tough, loveable Superman and they took time to build their world.
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2006, 10:22:05 PM »

Quote from: Grant Morrison
The All-Star idea is to distill everything we like about the characters into one simple package that’s very much aimed at a more mainstream pop audience who don’t like to have to ask embarrassing questions like ‘Why is Superman married ?’ and ‘Why isn’t Robin Dick Grayson ?’

This is another attitude that I don't agree with. Just because Dick Grayson started out as Robin does not necessarily mean he should remain Robin. Characters should have the right to grow and change even if it contradicts pop culture images of the characters. It's not a "flaw" that, for example, Dick Grayson is now a confident, heroic adult with his own identity, an identity he grew into gradually.

What I'm trying to say is, characters should exist independently of a frozen status quo where Dick Grayson is "always" Robin and Supergirl is "always" a bubbly, blonde teenager. This does not mean that any kind of change is automatically a good idea, but that it is noble if talented writers make an attempt to allow there to be something like progression, to let stories not be self-contained. I for one, thought it was wonderful when Steve Englehart in his GREEN LANTERN CORPS was given the choice to bring Hal Jordan back but instead he made the choice to tell stories with John Stewart.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: SCREW newbies. The comics are their own entity, with characteristics independent of versions of the characters in other media. 

It is for this reason that I am reluctant to embrace the ALL-STAR lines, and why their spirit is so misplaced: they seek to "boil a character down to their essence," but the thing is, characters don't have an essence to boil down TO: characters are the sum of their history, not a concept that fits on an index card, and if you divorce them from their history, they are no longer the same character.

Julian, I think you're complaining against something that isn't happening.  You state that the All-Star line seeks to "boil a character down to their essence," but that's not what Grant Morrison said.  He said that the goal is to distill "everything we like" into one package; a very different idea.

He's certainly attempting to acknowledge and incorpoate Superman's already-existing extensive history in his work:

Quote from: Grant Morrison
All-Star is a Hypertime Line which went underground for 20 years and is now coming back into the light.
<...>
We don't go back to the beginning again, we start from where our Superman is RIGHT NOW and get straight into the action - almost as if he's had 20 years of alternative continuity going on behind the scenes of John Byrne's revision in 1985 - on a different Hypertime line, if you like. I'm trying to think of it as the re-emergence of the original, pre-Crisis Superman but with 20 years of history we haven't seen.

In other words, it's intended as a continuation of the Bronze-Age Superman, but told in a new style.  Just as Superman's continuity was always tweaked and adjusted in the 50s, 60s, and 70s; Grant is continuing the character as if there had been more unseen tweaks in the 80s and 90s - totally ignoring the Iron Age/Byrne reboot.  Sure there's a Cat Grant, but this is the previously unseen "pre-Crisis" version of the character, who was introduced in unseen events of the 80s or 90s.

The reason I find All Star Superman such an incredible read is because of this continuity with the old continuities.  Lois' disbelief that Clark is Superman; the incredible cleverness of a small, super heavy key for the Fortress - these ideas work because of Superman's history.  They would not work in an index-card universe.
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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