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Tuesday, September 18, 2012 

Morrison blathers while telling why he's moving away from superheroes

The New Statesman interviewed Grant Morrison about why he's leaving the superhero genre for now, and he seems to be trying to claim that he didn't actually tell Playboy that he thought Batman was "gay", or is he?
“There always is, isn't there?” Morrison laughs. “There's been such a reaction over the last year to everything I've said or done!”

He's not joking. One particular interview, published in Playboy, not only made the newspapers around the world, but resulted in Morrison being denounced on Brazilian television. It was that now infamous soundbite, in which he said Batman -

“Is gay!” he finishes. “But the thing is, it was the opposite of what I said. But Playboy had it in as the most sensationalised version, they didn't take off the bit at the end... Because it was all from the book, it was from an interview I did last year for Supergods. And basically I said what I said in the book, that you can easily dial up the black-leather-fetishistic-night-dwelling aspects of Batman, and the masculinity of Batman, and get a pretty good gay Batman. But as I said, ultimately he's not gay because he has no sex life, really. All he is is an adventurer.. sometimes they show him with girls, sometimes he never seems to be going out with girls.

“But they just took off the cool sound-bite which is 'Batman is utterly, utterly gay, says Morrison'! That was it, I had to deal with that – people were really fucking mad at me for that one.”
We're not really mad at him at this point, we're just bored, frustrated, and ultimately feeling sorry for him for how he's rambling and bragging and can't seem to decide what he thinks. And isn't he the one who's sensationalizing everything by telling the MSM things they're surely love to hear? If he has a problem with that, it's really his fault, not theirs, for craving 15 minutes of fame.

Furthermore, his comments about Batman having no sex life doesn't make sense either. I recall that back in the late 70s, there was an issue where it was implied he'd done it with Catwoman (at which time they sure knew how to handle these things far better), and it sure happened recently when either Judd Winick or another writer came up with a fetish scenario for the sake of controversy. Furthermore, if he's had romantic relationships with women, with Silver St.Cloud making for one of the more unusual affairs, does that not prove he's heterosexual? Good grief. Morrison's comments are also unfair to Bob Kane and Bill Finger, who'd surely find his statements embarrassing.

Oh well, let's leave that for now and see what he/they say about his departure, along with several other writers, from DC's contributing staff:
His move away from superheroes is not entirely unexpected, then, but it has surprised many that the biggest champion of superhero comics is stepping back. Has Morrison simply done what he set out to do when he first hit the Batman big time with Arkham Asylum back in 1989?

“Yeah, it just felt like I’d said a lot, you know,” he says. “I knew I was coming to the end of Action comics in [issue] 16, I knew I was coming to the end of Batman in issue 12, of Batman Incorporated, and it just seemed like I had all this other stuff building up that was completely different from that, and it seemed like a really good time to stop doing the monthly superhero books. And also having to work with so many artists on Action Comics, it's not that the artists are bad but I’m sometimes working for three or four guys at a time, which means you’re writing issue 14 before you've written issue 12 and then you're sending in six pages of issue 13 to someone else. So it was just too hectic. I just didn't want to do it any more. And since things were reaching that natural end... It wasn't like an announcement but it was treated like an announcement, because I think I’d already said I was leaving these comics at that time.

“But yeah, it fits into this general kind of script that's going now where we're all leaving and moving on to do creator-owned work, like we've never done it before. [laughs] So I’m just going along with that.”

There has been a recent exodus of writers and artists from the DC stable, some slipping out quietly, others angrily, and a couple leaving in protest at various ethical concerns. Morrison is keen to point out that he is leaving on good terms with DC, and still has work in the pipeline with them for the next year.

“We have disagreements,” he acknowledges, “but to me disagreements are things that you deal with, problems are things you solve, and everyone stays friends, and negotiations are done. So I kinda felt that.. it just began to feel too unpleasant to work within a comic book fan culture where everyone was mad at you all the time and giving you responsibility for legal cases and things that I have got honestly nothing to do with in my life and will shortly have zero connection with.

“But I felt that. There was a sense of, a definite sense of the temple was being burned down and it was time to run away.”
Well at least we won't have to worry about people like him littering the mainstream titles anymore. They still have more than enough awful writers around who can write as badly as he can, if not more so. But if he's got a problem with people being furious at him, then why would he ever make all those sensationalized comments and write all those alienating plot elements in his books like the allusions to drugs? If he'd avoided that, he could've saved himself a lot of frustration and at least maintained a better reputation that what he's got.

He's certainly quite pleased with the Image book he's planning called "Happy":
Morrison's other upcoming projects are mostly shrouded in mystery and will be published through Vertigo, DC's adult imprint, and Image Comics, the favourite of many an independent creator. The long-awaited third instalment of Seaguy is the only announced title thus far, along of course with the series that starts this month, Happy. The latter looks like dark fare, borne from Morrison's observation that those who create things, the actors and singers of the world, are constantly put down no matter how hard they try.

“It was the notion of all these people dancing for us and everyone just going 'neh,'” he explains. “You know, everyone being judged on their stupid little dances and their croaky little voices. And I thought, well let's just kinda concretise that in this story, where it's like the worst possible world that I can imagine, this super crime noir, everybody's a bastard, everything's shit, where everything that can go wrong will go wrong, everyone will be hurt.”

And then Happy the horse wanders into this existence, a super sweet little cartoon character of eternal optimism. His appearance is a closely guarded secret, with Morrison describing his design as “like a special effect”. I get the sense that the writer has put a lot of anger into this book, a purging of sorts. Even with a Christmas theme, the amount of swearing makes Bad Santa look like a Disney film.

“It's the most offensively sweary book I think I’ve ever written,” Morrison grins. “It gets to like, you're just thinking, I cannot read the word fuck again. Please do not put the fucking word fuck back in this comic, and you're only on page 3 and there's twenty four pages. It's actually exhausting!”
And he clearly thinks bragging about it is going to make a best-seller of all time that goes through the roof, I guess. But all he's done is show why he's a writer with a very limited appeal, and that's why he shouldn't have been working in American mainstream comics in the first place. Well, at least he's moving to someplace where he won't be too much of a concern, the creator-owned market.

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