This is gonna be good
From Comics Bulletin:
Uniquely Original: Grant Morrison
Rik Offenberger wrote:Offenberger: Before you left DC for Marvel, you put together a proposal for Superman. Were these plans similar to what we are going to see in All-Star Superman?
Morrison: No. That was something quite different. I saved one or two elements from the earlier proposal that were worth keeping but otherwise All-Star is all new Superman stuff.
Offenberger: Is the All-Star line itself a separate part of Hyper-time?
Morrison: It could be regarded as that if you like. All-Star is a Hypertime Line which went underground for 20 years and is now coming back into the light.
'Hypertime' was the name Mark Waid gave to a concept of cosmic geometry I'd come up with, one bleary night in San Diego - given that the DCU has a Time LINE, the idea started as a consideration of what might exist beyond the Time Line, on the Time PLANE, or even in the mysterious Time CUBE . The theory allowed every comic story you ever read to be part of a larger-scale mega-continuity, which also includes other comic book 'universes' as well as the 'real world' we live in and dimensions beyond our own. It was also about how the world of fiction relates literally and geometrically to the world of 'reality'. Some of its basic features have even been echoed in current cosmological ideas emerging from the field of superstring research and M-Theory. Skip the rest of this answer if you can't be bothered with crazy talk.
We all live in Hypertime - in our 3-Dimensional level of Hypertime, which can be seen as CUBE TIME in relation to the DCU's LINE TIME, we can pick up comics and leaf through them, flipping in any direction - 'time traveling' back and forward through the 'continuity' like some new Doctor Who! I have a suspicion, based upon experience, that in HYPERCUBE TIME, there exist intelligences who stand in relation to our 3-D universe as we stand in relation to the 2-D universe of our comic book, film or TV heroes and who can leaf through our lives and times with the same ease we can leaf through Superman’s history but that's just me.
And think about the emotional experience of reading comics. Nothing but ink on paper , right ? Yet people fall in love with Jean Grey and threaten to commit murder in her name! People cry when Ted Kord gets shot dead! As we all know, inert drawings and words on a page can produce an absorbing, often addictive, unfolding illusion of life, movement and even personality but surely the reader's 'experience' of the 'story' in a comic is actually a hologram - a virtual reality generated by the overlapping of multiple human consciousnesses - 'creator' consciousness interfacing with 'audience' consciousness through the medium of print.
Hypertime tried to bring that kind of late-night speculation into 'continuity', as well as figuring out all the cool stuff, like where the Marvel Universe Timeline lies on the TIME PLANE map in relation to say the DCU or the Awesome Universe or the Warren, Quality or Atlas Universes...
Offenberger: Alan Moore did a retro version of Superman with Supreme. Is All-Star in this same vein, or is it different?
Morrison: All-Star Superman’s certainly not intended to be retro or ‘meta’ in any way.
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 ?’
The stories are intended to be…universal, I suppose is the word. There's actually no big agenda behind All-Star other than to get the big names on the most well-known characters, in an attempt to achieve the highest profile for those characters. 'All-Star' is just one of those daft names they use to distinguish the book from the regular titles. It's a showcase for talent rather than a coherent 'line' or a new, ongoing universe and nothing so far links the books that are being done.
Offenberger: How is All-Star different from what Marvel is doing with their Ultimate line?
Morrison: As far as Superman is concerned, we’re not re-doing origin stories or unpacking classic narratives. 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.
From that platform, it's a total update, rehaul and refit. Having said that, we expect everyone in the world to know Superman’s origins and have a basic grasp of the relationships of the Planet staff so, as I say, there’s no time wasted on a retelling of the backstory. We deal with the origin of Superman on page 1 and then we’re off into space for a big, new adventure, the way life’s meant to be.
Mark Waid and Leinil Yu’s brilliant ‘Birthright’ is about as close to an ‘Ultimate’ take on Superman as anyone’s likely to need for the foreseeable future. I can’t see any pressing requirement for yet another iteration of the same material for at least 25 years.
Offenberger: With everything you have done featuring classic heroes from, Doom Patrol to X-Men, you have put you own unique spin on the characters, how are you applying this approach to Superman?
Morrison: I started by reading every Superman story on my shelves – from those amazing Siegel and Shuster first issues through the technicolor Mort Weisinger Renaissance of the 50s, the Schwartz/O’Neil depowered 70s, the confident and radical Byrne revamp, the Carlin/Jurgens era of the 90s, when all the Imaginary Stories became REAL stories, and right up to Azzarello and Lee’s troubled, brooding Superman, and Greg Rucka and Chuck Austen’s strong, Reformationist take in the recent books. I read Mark Waid, Jeph Loeb, Joe Kelly, Elliot Maggin, Cary Bates, Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Stephen Seagle, Joe Casey, Paul Dini and Alex Ross and everybody else.
What struck me wasn’t the differences in all these approaches, and they WERE all very different, but the SIMILARITIES. He barely has the same personality from one issue to the next sometimes and yet… no matter who is writing the stories, some essential, archetypal Superman always remains intact and it’s that primal core, that soul of Superman that we’re putting onto the pages of All-Star.
Offenberger: Is it possible to make Superman fresh and relevant to new readers after almost 70 years?
Morrison: I don’t like to think in terms of ‘relevance where this project is concerned. Our wish is to do a collection of ‘timeless’ Superman issues. A big, beautiful book of Superman that you can give to a kid or yer gran or anyone else and they'll dig it and treasure it until it's a dog-eared antique. We’re not trying to make it seem ‘real’ in any sense other than emotionally real. It's the Superman of your dreams - like when you find that weird comic store with all the amazing cool stuff on the racks...
Offenberger: How far ahead do you have to work to make sure Frank can have 12 issues published monthly?
Morrison: Published monthly ? Oh hahahaha...
I’ve written three and a half issues and I’m in the middle of the Jimmy Olsen vs. Superman story for issue 4. I submitted the first script in August 2003. Frank started We3 in November 03 and poured so much heart and soul into it, Superman didn’t even get started until March 2005.
He’s finished one issue and started on a second and so far I have to say it’s a Superman fan’s dream come true – imagine Michelangelo drawing the Man of Steel instead of wasting his time with all that Sistine Chapel nonsense. Even if it doesn't get published monthly, who cares ? It's genius.
It's not like he ever wanted to draw American superhero comics anyway. It was me who talked him into it! He's a boho Glasgow Art School boy who gets big, prestigious commercial art gigs outside comics and he finds it impossible to work to comic book deadlines because they just don't suit his meticulous pace and never will. He has three kids and, quite rightly, he spends a lot of time with them and with his wife and family and friends when he's not behind his desk, so the way I see it, we Quitely fans should be thankful we get any goddamn comic books out of him at all. I'm the one who keeps goading him into doing this stuff when we all know he'll never do a monthly book. I reckon he'll manage bimonthly once he gets up to speed. What I can promise is that there will be no fill-ins or other artists working on All-Star Superman. It's me and Frank, to the glorious end.
And Jamie Grant, who colored We3, is also back with us on for this project so I couldn't be happier. I've been looking at the first issue over and over and over and over again on my computer, mesmerized...and you will too, when it comes out. The second one' - which is all set in Superman's Fortress of Solitude - is even better.
Have I truly answered this question ?
Offenberger: Oh yah, that’s a great answer.
Offenberger: Who is going to be the artist after Frank finishes his run on All-Star?
Morrison: I don’t know. I’m telling a 12 part story with him and that’s it for me, unless some fresh miracle occurs. I’ve got loads of Superman stories I could tell in this style but Frank and I are doing 12 together and that’s it for this particular drive-by.
Offenberger: In an industry that loves its history, you have come up with a surprising amount of original concepts, do you find editors excited and supportive of this originality or is there a lot of resistance to new ideas?
Morrison: My editors have always been very supportive. The work’s been consistently successful for over a thousand years now so they know I’m a safe bet and tend to let me do my thing unobstructed.
Offenberger: Is there a difference between work for Marvel and working for DC? In addition, is there any difference between the different divisions at DC?
Morrison: There are some specific minor differences but it's something for a keen student of anthropology to deal with, not me. Based on my own experiences, I prefer the DC set-up and way of working.
Offenberger: What is next after All-Star Superman and Seven Soldiers?
Morrison: I'm taking a breather after Seven Soldiers to write the We3 screenplay in October, then in 06, I’m getting started on several new superhero projects at DC/Wildstorm including the day-glo revamp of WildCATS with Jim Lee. I’ve also been talking to both J.H. Williams and Paul Pope about collaborating on a couple of new series for Vertigo, and I'm still itching to finish the Seaguy 2 - 'Slaves of Mickey Eye' scripts when Cameron's ready for them. I've also just completed - with Frank Quitely - a set of Fortune Telling Cards for the new Robbie Williams album 'Intensive Care' which comes out next month. Writing is easier for me than breathing these days.
Morrison: So, I’m just going to keep doing more and more, more until I achieve mega-karoshi - the state of transcendental employment-as-suicide. You know me.
Offenberger: Now that you get to do Superman, is there other comic that you have always wanted to do but not had the opportunity?
Morrison: No, I’ve had them all. All the superheroes. I'm at the high noon meridian of a wonderful life. Everything from here on in is a slow glide towards evening and the yawning mouth of the grave...but before I surrender to the reaper's gentle razor, I’ve already completed a lot of restoration work on more second and third-tier DC characters as part of Dan’s amazing plans for 2006, post-'Infinite Crisis', so I’m very excited about that too.
I'm armpit-deep in the "52" project which I'm plotting and writing along with Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka and Keith Giffen with JG Jones on covers, I see this project as the first 'album' from DCs first creative 'super group' and it's been the most fun I've had in this business to date. I just got back from a series of incredible creative summits in New York and couldn't believe the energy, imagination and refreshing lack of prima donna ego bullshit on show. "52" is being planned meticulously and written like a TV drama. Based on the material we've got so far, I think this project will break new ground for mainstream comics and I can't imagine any other company being capable of anything like it right now, so it's going to be very unique and absorbing read, squeezing down four years of continuity into one. It's the first real, full-length 'graphic novel' about superheroes and is likely to change the way we think of what can be done with them.
Excitement and energy are the order of the day here in the solar house. Beyond "52", a whole bunch of titles I’ve redeveloped for other writers to run wild with will be appearing from DC next year...and the next too...until the sun itself is red and swollen and dies... I'm having a good time right now.
From Comic Book Resources: ALL STAR MORRISON III: Superman Thu, April 17th, 2008 at 2:27PM PST
From Newsarama: GRANT MORRISON: ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, AND MUCH, MUCH MORE 03-05-2008, 11:00 AM
Zack Smith wrote:Click here for part one and here for part two.
Our extended talk with Grant Morrison finally concludes with a look at some of his other DC projects. Morrison’s Eisner-winning work on All-Star Superman with his frequent collaborator Frank Quitely has been hailed as some of the most imaginative and touching Superman stories of the last few years. With the series finally winding down, we sat down with Morrison to get his thoughts on the storyline and on the character…and on the possibility of more All-Star stories in the future. We also got some scoop on some of his film work, on some of his upcoming comic projects (including the long-awaited return of one of his Vertigo series) and his thoughts on the passing of one of his major influences.
Newsarama: Grant, let’s start by talking about All-Star Superman. You’ve got three issues of that left, building to issue #12.
Grant Morrison: Yeah, I finished that last year, actually. We’re just waiting for Frank Quitely to wrap up. Issue #10 is done, and I think it’s one of the best-looking Superman books ever. He and Jamie Grant really surpassed themselves this time.
NRAMA: What’s coming up in the last few issues? You’ve got the whole overarching plot about Superman’s impending death and Luthor’s impending execution…
GM: It all starts folding together in the final three. Issue #10 is Superman’s last will and testament. It’s basically what he does on one of the last days of his life. Issues #11 and 12 are what everyone’s been waiting for, I hope, the ultimate confrontation between Superman and Luthor. And in this one, it’s Luthor who has the powers and Superman who doesn’t. Brains vs. brawn, but the other way around.
Issue #12 completes the story – it also kind of functions as the last Superman adventure ever, so we want to give him a good send-off – I think the wrap page is one of the best endings I’ve ever thought of (laughs). So yeah, I’m very pleased with how that whole book has worked out.
After that, there’s been some talk about doing three two-part All Star Superman specials with some unusual artists who’ve never drawn the character before. While I was writing All-Star, I came up with a couple of ideas that didn’t really fit into the main book but they still had strong ties to the All-Star Superman universe, so we’ll see if we can work it out with the guys I have in mind.
There’s a story called “Son of Superman” with an All-Star re-imagining of the Super-Sons concept. [There’s also] “Men of Tomorrow,” which is a huge, generational Superman Squad cosmic epic, and an idea for a flashback story to the All-Star Superman’s first year in Metropolis called “Superman vs. Satan!”
NRAMA: There was a very interesting article in The Comics Journal recently about Mort Weisinger and the perspective he brought to the Superman books, something you’ve talked about in the past. The point of the piece was that the Silver Age Superman comics are very psychologically interesting in the way they reflect personal neuroses – how, in many ways, they’re about this man struggling to control the world around him and everyone he knows, and often being subjected to very nightmarish situations of failure, being transformed into something grotesque, or being shown up.
Your arc seems to follow the Silver Age sensibility of, “Let’s throw a lot of ideas out there,” but you’re taking a more life-affirming approach, showing Superman being aware that he can’t solve every problem, but trying to do the best he can with the time he has left. Do you agree with TCJ’s assessment, and if so, are you consciously trying to take a different route than Weisinger’s?
GM: It’s clear from the material that Mort was attending analysis sessions every week. The 1950s was the great time of psychoanalysis in America, and he was coming back from the couch and giving his writers ideas – at least, that’s what I understand from what I’ve read, and from talking to people in the business.
The Weisinger comics, although they were designed to be read by children, were conceived and written by adults, so they actually do speak to the human experience, our fears and hopes and dreams and paranoias.
Like you say, the Superman stories from that era were all about the fears and fantasies of the post-war suburban American male – with his den, his pets, his technology, and his views on women. And we kind of watch the whole thing going into meltdown.
So many of those stories are about loss of self-esteem through physical transformations where he’s old, or studly, or sick and they sort of remind me most of the fairy tales and folk tales we all grew up reading. These are fairy tales and nightmares of the schizoid post-atomic age that created them, but it was also the most popular, iconic “pop art” period of Superman’s publishing history. Back then, as far as I know, those comics were selling millions every month.
So I was interested in modernizing that mass appeal approach. These beautiful little science-fiction fairy tales inspired the take on All-Star Superman, although we’ve been trying to do a more rounded, mature 21st century Superman rather than ape the unreconstructed 50s bachelor/dad guy.
I wasn’t a Silver Age fan – either I wasn’t born or I was too young to read those books when they first came out. I started reading Superman during his ‘creepy’ period in the 1970s but when I was preparing for All-Star and reading my way through the history, the books from the Weisinger era seemed to be most in tune with the human experience as expressed through a kind of pure superhero poetry. They’re not much like what you’d call “superhero” books these days, but they’re really inventive and surreal with an odd kind of suburban twist.
I wanted to make All-Star about being a guy, what it’s like to be a man, and fall in love, or lose parents, or be misunderstood…role models, rivals, all that sort of stuff but viewing it all through the lens of alien worlds, mighty feats and super powers.
It was never meant as a pastiche of Silver Age comics or to service nostalgia…which is why we took care to add new situations and characters to the mythos, like Leo Quintum, Zibarro, new types of Kryptonite and new villains like Krull, the Chronovore, Mechano-Man, or whatever. We wanted the stories to seem timeless, mythic, rather than tied to any particular period or interpretation of Superman.
All-Star is an Age unto itself.
NRAMA: Well, it certainly reflects the idea of Superman being a guy who’s just trying to do the best he can with what he’s been given – and he’s been given a lot.
GM: Yeah, yeah! Obviously, what he’s been given is this whole mythology, with friends from space and time-traveling relatives and all that sci-fi stuff. He lives on a much higher scale or frequency than a normal man does, but the problems he has are the same ones we all share, and I think he’s at his best when he acts out human dramas on a cosmic stage.
We all have places we retreat to, Superman’s just happens to be the Fortress of Solitude. Many of us have had pets we love – Superman’s dog can fly in space.
No matter how powerful he gets, he can still feel grief and joy and love like the rest of us. The stories that deal with these common themes, I think, are the most “relevant” ones we can tell with Superman, the stories that can speak to our human experience, particularly the male experience in the case of this particular character.
NRAMA: One moment that resonated with me while reading this was the issue with Clark and Lex in the prison. At the end, Clark is furiously angry with Lex, not because Lex has tried to kill him so many times, or that he’s responsible for his fatal condition. He’s more upset that Lex is going to be executed, and he’s so obsessed with killing Superman that he isn’t even trying to save his own life.
GM: Yeah, see, Superman sees the best in us, including Luthor. And that’s why he’s sad or confused sometimes, because he also sees us messing up, being angry and jealous and self-destructive. He sees the best, he thinks human beings are amazing, and he wants us all to rise up to his level, become superhuman and go off into space or whatever, but his ideals are constantly running up against basic human problems and inadequacies, including his own.
And I think that’s what makes him great. He just keeps tirelessly trying to make things better, to be a role model for everyone. People take him for granted – he’s always dealing with characters who think he’s an idiot, or irrelevant or who just don’t like his plain morality and can’t see that he’s just a genuinely good guy slightly hampered by a fear of forcing his ideas on people.
NRAMA: Now, it’s one of the worst-kept secrets in comics that some years back, you, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer put together a proposal for the Superman books. Has anything from All-Star Superman been taken from that original proposal?
GM: Very little, actually. I think there are a couple of little things that I re-used from there, but I can’t remember what they were. Maybe one of the climactic Luthor beats survived.
I kind of wanted to rethink the whole thing for All-Star, because the Superman Now! pitch from ‘99 was a very specific story, and we had a very specific plan for it, coming off the continuity that was in the Superman comics of the mid-1990s, All-Star, I think, is a purer vision of Superman.
I’ve read a few speculations over the years about how we were going to use that proposal to end the Supeman/Lois Lane marriage. In fact that was actually something we decided we didn’t want to do. I remember Mark Waid and the guys and all of us sitting around thinking of ways to end the Superman marriage – and we talked about it for a long time, and we got to where we were talking about things like “memory molecules,” and we finally said, “This is ridiculous! The only way to do this is to keep the marriage and make it work!”
It was the only thing we could do with what I still think was a bad idea. The marriage damaged the dynamic of Superman comics quite severely, but if we broke up the relationship of these two great fictional lovers, Superman would immediately seem ineffectual and ultimately beaten by his foes, walking around for the rest of his life not knowing Lois was ever his wife or whatever.
So we opted to keep Lois Lane and the marriage intact. It’s kind of an interesting reflection of what recently happened in Spider-Man, where they did choose to magically unmarry the hero to predictable howls of protest. Then again, I actually think they’ll be able to make that one work if they just grit their teeth for a couple of years until the new status quo becomes accepted, so who knows?
NRAMA: Why do you feel that, in a comic book, it’s sometimes harder to write a happy, stable relationship than it is to write about, say, the end of the world?
GM: Happy people don’t make good drama, basically, and the end of the world never loses its appeal. It’s why I don’t want too many people to get their hands on Animal Man, because he’s one of the last guys in comics who has a good family relationship, (laughs) and that’s really, really important to that character. So every time I see some new writer get a hold of him, I always worry that they’ll mess with Animal Man’s marriage. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.
Sadly, it can be easier to write the girlfriend in the refrigerator or whatever than it is to write an actual loving relationship. (laughs)
NRAMA: To wind down, I’d like to talk about some other comics and projects. What are some books and who are some creators whose work you’re currently enjoying?
GM: The usual suspects – Geoff’s Green Lantern is always good, Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts…Greg Rucka’s Checkmate. The Twelve by JMS and Chris. Joe Casey’s Gødland.
A lot of my favorite books are by the guys I know – Mark Waid’s The Brave and the Bold has some of Waid’s best ever work. Fandom hasn’t quite latched onto that one the way I thought it should, which is a shame because it’s such a good book, a superhero comic with a big emotional, imaginative storytelling style that reminds me of Doctor Who.
There’s a lot of books I’m forgetting…Mighty Avengers by Bendis, Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way’s been great. I really enjoyed Kick-Ass, which has so much amazing potential and reminds me most of the short, real-world teenage stories Mark was writing for British comics when I first met him. I’m forgetting loads but 2008 is shaping up to be an amazing year for comics readers, don’t you think?
NRAMA: Do you see yourself staying in comics in the long term, or do you see yourself fully moving on to other media eventually?
GM: I’ve been doing work in other media since the beginning of my career, but I don’t think I’ll ever “move on” entirely. I love comic books, and I love doing them – I think it’s a very, very unique art form, very self-expressive. You know, there’s not a lot of editorial control, you can go off in really, really crazy directions.
Still, I’ve worked on a couple of screenplays in the last few years, and it was really great to do something that’s complete in 120 pages – you know, doing monthly comics is like a never-ending Jack Kerouac typewriter roll. You just keep working, throwing ideas out, month after month, and you don’t really get any time to go back and change things or do second drafts.
That’s what I like about movies – the opportunity to really craft a piece, going back and tweaking it to perfection over a few drafts and several months. It’s a very involving and satisfying process…at least until the studio notes come in! But I’d never give up comics. They’re too much fun.
NRAMA: How’s the We3 movie coming along? Advance reviews of the script have been very enthusiastic. I know a lot of productions got stalled because of the writers’ strike…
GM: Yeah, it’s not even so much the strike, because I finished the script well over a year ago. It’s moving slowly because New Line can’t nail down the right director for various reasons. We’ve been through so many guys, the list is a ridiculous who’s who of talent. But they were either unavailable or unsuitable in some way. We’ll see what happens next when New Line’s current troubles get resolved.
The screenplay follows the comic faithfully, with a few extra scenes we’d cut out because of the page-count restrictions, so the movie version of We3 is, I think, even better than the comic book script.
I’m used to doing comic books, where you’ve got your story written and it’s on the stands within three months, while you’re on to the next thing. But in Hollywood, the process can be long and involved and go on for years at a time. It took Neil Gaiman 17 years or something to get Beowulf onto the screen, so it’s best to just keep moving forward with other projects in the meantime.
NRAMA: You’ve also got Area 51, and are there any other projects you can talk about at this time?
GM: Well, I’m working in Los Angeles right now and since the strike’s been over, I’m doing all the usual pitch meetings and business. We’ve had some pretty exciting developments on various projects over the last week or two but, as usual, nothing I can really talk about till the trade press makes it real!
I’m about to start the second draft of the Area 51 screenplay this week… Everything you’ve ever heard about writers and the Hollywood experience is true, but I’ve still got more friends here than anywhere else, and nothing beats escaping from Scotland during the cruel winter months.
NRAMA: Do you see yourself doing a long-form creator-owned series like The Invisibles again?
GM: Well, maybe not so much a long-form series, but I’ve certainly got a bunch of new books coming out from Vertigo later this year – they’ve taken a while to write, because I’ve been busy with the movies and the DCU books, but you’ll be seeing some mad creator stuff pretty soon.
The first of the books, I’m happy to say, is the long-awaited ultra-violet, necrodelic…Seaguy 2: Slaves of Mickey Eye – Cameron Stewart has the first script, and maybe now that we’re getting to finish our story, people will finally understand what it was all about!
There’s a couple of other things…so yeah, maybe a series, but nothing as long as The Invisibles. That was a big part of my life, and I got so tangled up in it I couldn’t tell where I began and it ended. I don’t know that I’d ever do something on that scale again, but then again, never say never.
NRAMA: Any updates on the quest to get Flex Mentallo reprinted?
GM: Not at all! They’re just very resistant to it. And it drives me nuts, because it’s one of my favorite pieces, and no one gets to see it unless they steal from BitTorrent. So I’d love it to be reprinted, but there are no plans at all right now. Everyone’s too afraid of Charles Atlas and his mighty fists. (laughs)
NRAMA: And now, a personal question. I know you were a fan of Steve Gerber…I was wondering if you had any thoughts on his recent passing.
GM: I grew up with his stuff, and he was one of my basic templates for how a good comic should be, and how the mainstream and the experimental could be combined.
It’s always seems a shame…Gerber and his contemporaries established all the rules of the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of comics in the mid-70s. They planted the seeds that grew to fruition in Dark Knight and Watchmen…but they rarely get accorded their place in the history books. Gerber, along with Steve Engelhart, Doug Moench, Jim Starlin, Don McGregor and others, worked with some amazing artists to bring elements of cynical humor, real world violence, psychedelic storytelling, poetry, philosophy, cinematic panel transitions and experimental layouts to mainstream comics, but they rarely get credit for it.
There was an incredible period of innovation and progress at Marvel during the post-Vietnam years, when writers were allowed to edit their own books and break the rules a bit. It really is time to start re-evaluating these guys as pioneers and give them the respect they deserve while they’re still around to enjoy it. Don McGregor retrospective now please!
Howard the Duck was always my favorite of Steve’s stuff. I remember buying three copies of the first issue thinking they’d be worth a fortune – which they were for about three years until the Duck bubble burst and they were worth less than I’d paid for them. I’ve still got every copy in a box at home - my first and last venture into the speculator’s market. I loved that book - the Chair-Thing! Turnip Man! That amazing autobiographical “deadline doom” issue where, instead of handing in a Howard script, Gerber does an experimental illustrated essay about how he couldn’t make his deadline!
And The Defenders stuff with the Headmen and the Bland guys. Amazing, insane villains. That incredible panel where Doc Magnus becomes sane, after murdering his Metal Men, with the tear running down his face and the tiny word balloon going “Tina ?” That stuff really sticks with me.
And I’ll always remember how I first heard about the destruction of the ozone layer by aerosols in his first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy. And that beautiful phrase he wrote…”lightning gerrymandered the sky,” which has been flashing up in my head for the last thirty years every time there’s a storm…
Inspiration gets passed on like a baton in a relay race.
From The Pulse at ComiCon.com: QUITELY'S ALL-STAR SUPERMAN posted 12-27-2007 10:54 AM
All Star Superman #11 review from The Stack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFGtCFi9kkI