The Official Grant Morrison Thread

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Wed May 12, 2010 4:36 am

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Mon May 31, 2010 2:36 pm

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby McTalbayne on Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:31 pm




This looks like it has potential to be pretty epic. I dont know much about the mythology, but i trust Morrison to write a good story.
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Grant Morrison's Multiversity: Thunder World

Postby TheButcher on Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:15 pm

Newsarama @ SDCC 2010: DC Focus: Grant Morrison
Concrete date from Multiversity? "I can't give you a concrete date because Frank Quitely is drawing one," Morrison said with a laugh, adding that he thinks next summer.

Morrison informs the crowd that Absolute We3 comes out next year, with 10 pages of new Frank Quitely art that essentially serves as "the definitive, director's cut edition."

Audience member asked if Morrison might go back to the New Gods in the future. Morrison indicated that he probably would, and likes them being on Earth 51 with Kamandi, putting Kirby concepts together and "going from scratch on a new world."

Any chance Morrison might take on the Marvel (Shazam) family? Morrison said that one of the Multiversity titles will be a 38-pager called "Thunder World," and contains "everything I wanted to say about those characters."

Plans for more Justice League? Morrison said that there's going to be a version of the Justice League in Multiversity, with members from across alternate worlds.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:29 pm

CBR TV @ CCI: Dan DiDio on "Batman, Inc."
DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio spoke with CBR TV about the company's just-announced plans for "Batman Inc.," a new series envisioned and written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Yanick Paquette.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:39 am

Seriously, the grant documentary Talking With Gods is going to be fantastic. A bunch of stuff was screened tonight at con and it was compelling as hell.
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Re: BATMAN, INC

Postby TheButcher on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:02 pm

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Re: BATMAN, INC

Postby TheButcher on Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:54 pm

IGN @ SDCC 10: The Corporate Batman
Mix the Dark Knight, Brave and the Bold, Just Cause 2 and Modern Warfare 2 and you have what might be Grant Morrison's final visit to Gotham City.
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Re: The Multiversity---Watchmen 2

Postby TheButcher on Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:08 pm

From Bleeding Cool:
Grant Morrison And Frank Quitely’s Pax Americana From DC Comics
Rich Johnston wrote:Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s book as part of the ten issue Multiversity series next year, will be entitled Pax Americana, as the Charlton/Watchmenesque characters we saw in Final Crisis get their own book. Morrison told UK newstand magazine Comic Heroes that;

We thought it would be appropriate to re-think and update the kind of in-your-face self-relecting narrative techniques used by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and to apply them to a whole new story which asks ‘what if Watchmen had been conceived now, in the contemporary political landscape and with the Charlton characters themselves, rather than analogues?

So the cover hs a close-up on a burning peace flag and a Delmore Schwartz quote – ‘Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn’ – and it all blossoms from there.


You might be able to predict Moore’s reaction to this news, but Morrison also goes to contradict Moore’s allegations of creative bankruptcy at DC, recycling and reinterpreting his ideas, stating that’s the very nature of superhero books.

They’re designed to be told over and over again. If you were an Aboriginal kid or a tribal shaman, that’s what you’d do, you’d participate in the recycling of old stories, the ‘revamping’ of characters and scenarios, the explaining away of plot holes. Some to the job with more skill than others, but if you work with Marvel, DC or other companies’ pulp fiction characters, you’re basically repainting pictures of the ancestors on cave walls.


Of only Marvel or DC would take that on as a slogan. Marvel Comics – basically repainting pictures of the ancestors on cave walls since 1961.

As for Moore’s allegations of no decent mainstream comics for twenty-odd years, he refutes that naming Enigma, Rogan Gosh, Sandman and his own Flex Mentallo and All Star Superman as being non-inspired by Watchmen

There’s plenty more in the interview with Stephen Jewell. The Comic Heroes magazine also has an editorial by me and a piece about digital comics I wrote too. Blimey, they must be desperate! Find it on British newstands right now, where some helpful souls may have stacked it in between SFX and CLiNT.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:29 pm

CBR's THE BAT SIGNAL: Grant Morrison
Kiel Phegley wrote:While the current arc on DC Comics signature "Batman & Robin" series currently carries the ominous title "Batman And Robin Must Die!" the Dark Knight is in better shape than ever as he barrels down on a November-relaunch that will see the entire Bat-line reinvigorated with new talent, new titles and new Batmen.

But before the next phase of caped crusadering hits Gotham City, CBR's ongoing discussion of the entire world of Wayne – THE BAT SIGNAL – swings back into the spotlight with a special two-part discussion with the mind behind the biggest moves in Batman's world: Grant Morrison. From his initial "Batman & Son" story that introduced the world to 11-year-old assassin turned dynamic Robin Damian Wayne through the twisty turns of the psychological sci-fi mystery of "Batman R.I.P." and from the #1 smash hit "Batman & Robin" to the current time-travel epic "The Return of Bruce Wayne" (whose penultimate fifth issue is in stores today), Morrison's work has redefined the Dark Knight for a new era, and he's not done yet.

In part one of our discussion, the Scottish scribe looks back at the biggest hits and darkest mysteries of his first phase of the current "Batman" time period, including the roots of "R.I.P." and its inspiration for the current "Batman & Robin" arc's focus on the Joker, the ongoing question of who or what exactly is uber-villain Doctor Hurt and how a multitude of influences and iconic images have helped shaped the mythic story of "Return of Bruce Wayne" as it heads towards its conclusion and collides with the modern day world of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne.


CBR's THE BAT SIGNAL: Grant Morrison, Part II
Kiel Phegley wrote:In part two of our discussion, Morrison delves into the future of the Dark Knight, from the final fate of Darkseid in "Return of Bruce Wayne" to "Batman, Inc.'s" international manga villains to his remaining connection with Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:39 am

THE BAT SIGNAL: Frazer Irving
Kiel Phegley wrote:With only four issues of any comic with the word "Batman" in the title to his credit, artist Frazer Irving has certainly left a mark on DC Comics' inescapable Dark Knight.

Teaming with superstar writer Grant Morrison first for the second issue of the time travel epic "The Return of Bruce Wayne" and then for the recently completed "Batman And Robin Must Die!" story in "Batman And Robin," Irving's images have swung from mind-melting science fiction trappings to the cold, dark woods outside Gotham City and finally to the topsy turvy world of modern Batman adventures as the Joker led a campaign against secret series villain Doctor Hurt. But of course, the collaboration that brought some of the most acclaimed superhero comics of the year didn't start with the Dark Knight's world.

This week, CBR's THE BAT SIGNAL digs deep into the Morrison/Irving partnership, looking back at the pair's introductions through their first work as Irving tells CBR News how despite his best efforts, he hasn't been able to escape drawing Puritans, the way in which Morrison's loose scripting style has afforded him control over some of "Batman And Robin's" most memorable images and how the partnership will carry on to "Multiversity" and perhaps a few points beyond.


What's next for you? Do you foresee more Batman work in the near future or more work with Grant?

Grant has reserved a small part of my soul already to do something called "Multiversity," which sounds all rather excellent and right up my alley. I'm on the roster for some other Grant Batman stuff later apparently, but 'til that comes around I'm still doing the will-draw-for-food thing. I have one gig lined up for next year which is a *censored* series which is really cool cos I was a huge fan of the original, and possibly doing a *name omitted* series which could be exciting because I have no idea who the character is, but before any of that happens I'll be returning to and completing the fondly missed "Gutsville" as of 21st October 2010. I expect that will take me about 3 months, so I am stocking up on lentils and cheap soya protein for the winter months.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:52 pm

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Re: Batman and Robin #16 SPOILERS

Postby TheButcher on Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:57 pm

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:22 am

From CBR When Words Collide 11/22/2010:
REVISITING MORRISON'S BATMAN: A DEBATE
As Grant Morrison kicks off a new phase in the Batman franchise, Tim looks back at the writer's years on the character, reflects on what worked and what didn't, and debates the run with guest comics expert Matt Seneca!
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:28 pm

I have read every single Bat book by Morrison. His run has been so crazy and satisfying. I never really counted myself as a big Batman fan, but Morrison really brought it out of me. The way he views the character really appeals to me. And the way that his confrontation with Darkseid has played out over the last year or two has been epic.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:02 am

Morrison Goes Corporate in "Batman, Inc."
Jeffrey Renaud wrote:Since 2007, superstar writer Grant Morrison has crafted a monster epic for DC Comics with Bruce Wayne in the role of Odysseus, taking Batman quite literally from the dawn of time through to its final days in the pages of "Batman," "Final Crisis," "Batman and Robin" and "The Return of Bruce Wayne."

With time-traveling and Boom Tube battles apparently behind him, Wayne has now returned to the DCU proper, but the man once known as Gotham's Dark Knight has transformed into an international man of mystery.

In the final pages of Morrison's run on the best-selling "Batman and Robin," Wayne announced to the world that he was, in fact, Batman's benefactor. Moving forward, the billionaire industrialist will expand the reach of Batman in the new ongoing series, "Batman Incorporated."

With Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne staying to protect Gotham City as the new Batman and Robin, Wayne has set out to the far reaches of the planet to recruit franchisees to fight crime and do-good with the now yellow Batman logo emblazoned on his chest.

The first issue of "Batman Incorporated," released last week, featured Mr. Unknown, the Batman of Tokyo and introduced Lord Death Man – a supervillain from a Batman manga adaptation created by Jiro Kuwata – to DCU proper.

Morrison told CBR News that by the end of the first year of the series, readers will find out why these specific agents in these specific locations are so important and why Wayne deems it necessary to build a global team of Batmen. He also shared his thoughts on the genesis of "Batman Incorporated" and teased some other plot threads that will be developed in the coming months.
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Re: Absolute We3

Postby TheButcher on Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:42 am

Absolute We3
From Bleeding Cool:
Last Night At Plan B
Rich Johnston wrote:Word from attendees from the Mark Millar/Frank Quitely soiree at Glasgow’s Plan B Books graphic novel store are filtering in


Rich Johnston wrote:Frank has has health issues, which is why he’s reduced his output mostly down to covers of late and couldn’t return to Grant Morrison’s Batman And Robin. But, as well as his upcoming Multiversity book Pax Americana, he’s been drawing new pages for the Absolute We3 edition. The original intention of the comic back in the day was to be three thirty-three page books, We3x33 if you will, but that fell by the wayside on publication. However that’s the model for this Absolute version, increasing each issue’s content by a full third. And Morrison has written the first eleven pages to be inserted into the first issue.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:33 am

From Comics Alliance:

Annotations: 'Batman' #701 [Spoilers]

Annotations: Breaking Down 'Batman' #702 [Spoilers]

Annotations: 'Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne' #4 [Spoilers]

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 [Annotations]

The All-Over: 'Return of Bruce Wayne' #6 [Annotations]
From Comics Alliance: The All-Over: 'Return of Bruce Wayne' #6
David Uzumeri wrote:Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 finally drops this week. As the issue title "The All-Over " suggests, Morrison's grand Batman epic so far seems to have come to a fairly final conclusion. Or so I'd think if I didn't know Incorporated was coming up. I'm surprised with just how much this final issue resolves, wrapping up plot threads from Final Crisis and "Batman R.I.P." all the way back to 52 -- this really feels like a conclusion.

Annotations: 'Batman and Robin' #14 [Spoilers]

Batman and Robin #15 Annotations: Knight, Death and the Devil

'Batman, Inc.' #1: Mr. Unknown is Dead [Annotations]


Exclusive Interview: Grant Morrison on Batman Times Three
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:14 am

From CBR:
Morrison Goes Corporate in "Batman, Inc."
Jeffrey Renaud wrote: I was going to ask you this question later but as you mentioned that the idea for "Batman Incorporated" came to you while you were on an international flight, it got me thinking about Batman as a brand and the globalization of the franchise. Warner Bros. releases blockbuster movies and animated series featuring the Dark Knight, as well as toys, pajamas and lunch boxes to all corners of the world and all tapped and untapped markets - is this series a perfect example of art imitating life as you take the Batman logo global in the pages of a comic book series?

Yeah, I wanted to specifically talk about that. The idea for this came when I was thinking about the Batman symbol from the Tim Burton movie in 1989 and thinking how powerful a merchandising tool that was and how after that movie was released, people wore Batman t-shirts everywhere. I was kind of thinking about that and beginning to see Batman as a franchise in the real world. Then I started thinking how that would translate into the fictional world with Batman and Bruce Wayne in the DC Universe. How would Bruce Wayne actually be a part of something like that how would he use it for a quite a different reason?



From Newsarama:
BAT-Breakdown 2: MORRISON on BATMAN INC. & Bruce's Return

From Newsarama:
Morrison on BATMAN, INC., Yellow Symbol Returns

From Newsarama:
BAT-Breakdown 3: PAQUETTE's Stylistic World of BATMAN INC.

Newsarama's Blog:
Morrison on Batman Inc.: “Big agenda” on the way
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:03 pm

The first issue of Baman Inc. was awesome. Honestly, Morrison has gotten me really into Batman when I never was before.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:59 pm

Have you seen Morrison in the new My Chemical Romance video?

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:50 pm

Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:Have you seen Morrison in the new My Chemical Romance video?



Indeed, I have. I actually am a fan of MCR so I geeked out when ge showed up in the Na Na Na teaser. And his appearance in the Sing video is great.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:01 am

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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:55 pm

From Comic Vine:
Breaking Down the Secrets of Grant Morrison's Batman, Part 1
Erik Norris wrote:This has been a long time coming. For the past four years we’ve watched Grant Morrison deconstruct Bruce Wayne, only to build him back up again--stronger and more determined than ever. And now that the entire saga of Batman versus the ultimate evil mastermind has wrapped--spanning over 50+ issues in Batman, Final Crisis, Batman & Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne--it’s now time to revisit the entire epic run and see how all the pieces came together.

This is Part 1 of our comprehensive analysis of Grant Morrison’s Batman run, covering Batman #655-658, 663-681 and DC Universe #0. For the trade readers out there: Batman & Son, Batman: The Black Glove, and Batman RIP. Spoilers ahead!


From Comic Vine:
The Secrets of Grant Morrison’s Batman, Part 2
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Re: Alan Moore vs Grant Morrison

Postby TheButcher on Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:21 am

Grant Morrison Discusses 'Batman Inc,' Lord Death Man, and the Alan Moore Interview
Laura Hudson wrote:It's been a big year for Grant Morrison. Between starring in a My Chemical Romance music video, contributing to the documentary "Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods," scripting the Vertigo series "Joe the Barbarian," working on a psychedelic indie film called "Sinatoro," and continuing his Batman mega-arc through "Batman and Robin," and "Return of Bruce Wayne," the superstar Scottish writer has kept up a frenetic pace with a host of projects as omnivorous and ambitious as his comic books.

After scripting a new dynamic duo composed of Dick Grayson as Batman and Bruce Wayne's son Damian as Robin, and taking Bruce himself through a time-traveling cosmic murder mystery to discover who assassinated the character of his father, Morrison is about to bring it all back home in his new book "Batman Inc," with art by Yanick Paquette. Currently slated to debut in November, the new Bat-title will see a newly-returned Bruce Wayne transforming Batman into an international brand through a series of hand-picked heroes who take up the Bat-mantle across the globe.

ComicsAlliance spoke to Morrison about the new book, the corporate philosophy of the Batman franchise, his modern take on the ideas of "Watchmen" in the upcoming "Pax Americana," and his thoughts on the controversial Alan Moore interview.



Laura Hudson wrote:CA: Another book that's sort of further out on the horizon is "Multiversity." I noticed the scene with the Archivist in "Return of Bruce Wayne" #2 that I thought might be hinting at the series. Is that *the next step in the meta-analysis of the nature of the DC Universe that has run throughout your work?

GM: Well, there is that, and I did want to introduce my concept of time and how it works at DC, in the comic book universe and the relationship to our universe, so it was kind of written as time-as-geometry. And yeah, it played a little bit into "Multiversity," but I think all I wanted to do was to do was create a map, so you understood were my head was coming from in all this kind of stuff.

CA: One of the "Multiversity" projects is going to be "Pax Americana," which deals with some of the Charlton Heroes who were originally going to be in Alan Moore's "Watchmen." I don't know if you read the Alan Moore interview that came out a little while ago, but I feel like you've had a much more positive approach to the idea of sort of re-formatting ideas, whereas he has a certain amount of pessimism about the comic book industry and the ideas in it. Why do you think you guys have such different takes on the way that ideas are being generated or re-purposed?

GM:
I mean, I couldn't speak for Alan, only what I believe, which is that [ideas] are just passing through you... As an example, in one of the stories Alan talked about, that he was kind of angry with, was where Geoff Johns had used a Green Lantern story that Alan had done as part of the "Blackest Night" story, but no one mentioned the [Alan Moore story] itself was based on the previous story by Gardner Fox... So I don't understand why a story that he wrote to plug a continuity hole in a Gardner Fox story should be any different from the Gardner Fox story. And why shouldn't Geoff be able to use standard continuity to build the culture of the DC Universe? I don't want to get into a fight with Alan; I just don't think any of us have ownership of these things, that they belong to the DC Universe, and if you add to it you should expect it to be part of that, and for it to be used again after you have left it.

CA: Right --

GM:
What do you think?

CA: Well, I think it's partly the nature of comics, and even beyond that I think it's part of the nature of stories, that elements from one story are going to bleed their way into the next. There are some core archetypes and themes at the heart of most stories, and I don't think there's any way to get away from that. And I don't think there's any reason to try to get away from that. Obviously it's great to bring in fresh ideas and do things in new ways, but comics is something that has a rich, interwoven history, and it seems silly to ignore that. I think you using Lord Death Man the way you did was a fantastic example of that.

GM
: But it's easy; all you have to do is refresh things. I can see why it might be wrong to go back and completely copy a story or re-use a style without any energy or without any love, but we should take the elements of a story and re-tool them... That's what Alan's doing with "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and that idea of this fictional landscape that you can find in other people's ideas and characters, and you can do that in the DC or Marvel universes too.

CA: In approaching "Pax Americana," are you heading going out in a profoundly different direction than "Watchmen"?

GM:
Oh, completely. The idea was to take the Charlton characters and put them in a completely different and kind of take the ideas of "Watchmen," these sort of architectural constructions, these formal ideas and apply them to a completely new story. It's not a murder mystery; it's a completely different kind of mystery that takes place today, in a world not of the Cold War, but of international terror and conspiracy, and involving a bunch of superheroes. What took were those really complex and crystalline story techniques and tried to create new versions of all those Alan Moore transitions, the little visual cues and thematic cues... and the thematic idea of a comic within a comic. So yeah, it's a new story told using updated versions of "Watchmen" techniques, which we thought it would be fun to do with the Charlton characters.
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Re: We3

Postby TheButcher on Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:14 am

From Bleeding Cool:
We3 Hardcover To Be Deluxe But Not Absolute
Rich Johnston wrote:Awww…

Despite Grant Morrison’s assurances that We3 would be produced in an oversize slipcased Absolute format nest year, it seems that it’s been scaled back to the standard Deluxe Hardcover size. The page count, 144 on a previously 66 page story does indicate that the increase of 33 pages is a shoo in.

But, after Absolute All Star Superman, I really want my Quitely all bigged up, not just hardcoverd.


AMAZON LINK: We3 Deluxe Edition
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:28 pm

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Re: The Invisibles

Postby TheButcher on Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:56 am

From The Guardian:
Grant Morrison, The Invisibles and the comics that put novels in the shade
The Glasgow lad has cracked America with his exhilaratingly strange, puckish tales, despite having been abducted by aliens


Sam Leith wrote:
The first thing the comics writer Grant Morrison did when he arrived at the podium to address the Disinfocon convention in 2000 was to unleash a bloodcurdling 10-second scream. "Okay, I'm pissed," he admitted to the audience at the bash for the anti-establishment publisher. "And in half an hour, I'm going to come up on drugs."

Footage of his speech was greeted with chuckles when it cropped up in Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, screened last week at the ICA in London. It's sort of how Morrison's fans want him to behave – and, with its copious hallucinogenic drugs, magic symbols and alien encounters, the Talking With Gods documentary didn't disappoint.

Morrison, who is in the DC comics stable, certainly plays up to his own myth with his shaved head, shades and trenchcoat. But he's thoughtful and well read, too. This was a properly interesting – albeit rather worshipful – portrait of one of the most interesting writers in the comics medium.

Morrison's friend Warren Ellis, another excellent comics writer, points out that Morrison's occultism is actually very pragmatic. The only reason he was abducted by aliens in Kathmandu in 1994, says Morrison, is "because I went to Kathmandu in 1994 to be abducted by aliens. And it works! These fuckers, they will turn up!" Morrison practises magic, and encourages his readers to do the same. He's matter-of-fact about it: "Anyone can contact the scorpion gods."

At their best, Morrison's comics are crammed with ideas. They are exhilaratingly strange, and kind of puckish. His Doom Patrol featured a gang of supervillains called The Brotherhood of Dada, a sentient piece of roadway called Danny the Street and a painting that ate Paris. But Morrison's masterwork remains The Invisibles, a series about a cell of existential resistance fighters – including a transsexual shaman, a grumpy Scouser, a telepath from the future and their bald-headed leader King Mob, who is the dead spit of Morrison himself. No summary can do justice to how mind-bending and bizarre – and yet compellingly in earnest – this comic is.

Its themes are: order v chaos (the Invisibles are fighting the Archons of the Outer Church, a race of inter-dimensional beetles with obsessive-compulsive disorder), time and timelessness, occult magic, and psychedelic or hallucinatory experience. But, rather than being sombre or preachy, it's rollicking good fun.

Ever since mainstream comics "grew up", with Alan "Watchmen" Moore as instigator, the way they tended to show their maturity was by ditching ass-kicking in favour of ideas. Morrison, although he shares Moore's occult interests, is much more into the biff-pow-bang. As one interviewee in Talking With Gods points out, Moore was interested in placing superheroes in the real world – giving them sexual neuroses, bad breath and anxiety disorders. Morrison approaches it from the other end: "He wanted to bring us into super-world."

I don't see this as a bad thing. The Iliad is a superhero story, as are Beo-wulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. As the best writers in the genre recognise, these myths have real force. Why not inhabit their worlds rather than flee from them in embarrassment?

As well as that link to primal storytelling, superhero comics have a heritage of their own. In terms of longevity and complex continuity (all those monthly stories have to dovetail), there's nothing I can think of in the whole history of narrative comparable to the universes of Marvel and DC. In the 19th century, a penny-dreadful series called The Mysteries of London ran to 4.5m words over 12 years. The Fantastic Four alone probably has that licked by now.

There are drawbacks: practically no one ever properly dies, which does lessen the sense of risk. But it also presents amazing narrative challenges. As Morrison, who took them on when he wrote the giant story strand mashup series Final Crisis, puts it: "These long-running universes have a weight, and a reality, that is greater than mine."

With Morrison let loose on DC's biggest characters and Mark Millar the prime writer at Marvel, this is also one industry in which the Brits – or, to be precise, two Glasgow lads – have actually cracked America. Meanwhile making Superman interesting, as Morrison does, is a cosmological project. He is, says the author, "a bit like God, a bit like Dad, a bit like a celebrity".

Morrison, a charismatic writer with a wild imagination, works on a wider canvas with bigger ideas and characters than most novelists. And anyway, what's wrong with men in tights?
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:47 am

From Comics Alliance:
Batman, Inc. #2 Annotations: RESURRECTOR!
David Uzumeri wrote:Welcome back for the second installment of ComicsAlliance's annotations of Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette's criminally fun Batman, Inc. This issue we'll see hints at the origin of Lord Death Man, the fate of Mr. Unknown, heartbreak in an ambulance and a gigantic gorilla wearing a Ninja Turtle mask.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:32 am

Bat annotations from the Mindless Ones:
Return of Bruce Wayne PLUS: Barbatos!
Batman and Robin #14


From Funnybook Babylon: Final Crisis Annotations Epilogue: The Hardcover
David Uzumeri wrote:Yeah, this is incredibly anal, but after the ridiculous amount of time I spent studying this book, I’d be remiss not to cap this off with a look at the collected edition.

But first, since I don’t think I’ve ever linked them at once like this: here are all of the original annotations/articles I wrote upon the book’s initial release.
Final Crisis #1
Final Crisis #2
Final Crisis #3
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1
Final Crisis #4
Final Crisis #5
Final Crisis #6
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond – On Mandrakk
Final Crisis #7

So: a catalogue of, as far as I can tell, every single change made to Final Crisis from single issue to collected edition. A lot of them are pretty interesting, and clear up stuff that I remember myself or other annotators pointing out. I’ve bolded the ones that are major, or of special interest (the one about the Anthro painting being in Gotham rather than NYC has rather interesting potential repercussions for the Return of Bruce Wayne storyline).
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:48 pm

Oh happy day!

DC Is set to publish Flex Mentallo!

Finally! And a deluxe HC later in the year? Yes, please!
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Re: FLEX MENTALLO

Postby TheButcher on Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:55 pm

Leckomaniac wrote:Oh happy day!

DC Is set to publish Flex Mentallo!

Finally! And a deluxe HC later in the year? Yes, please!

SWEET!
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Re: FLEX MENTALLO

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:53 am

From CBR:
VIDEO: Morrison Talks "Mentallo"
Yesterday, DC Comics announced that the publisher will be collecting the long out of print "Flex Mentallo" miniseries in a Deluxe Edition Hardcover. Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely, the "Doom Patrol" spinoff was initially released in 1996 as a four-issue Vertigo series but was never collected due to a long-running lawsuit against DC by the Charles Atlas company who claimed the character infringed upon their famous "The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac" ads. While the courts eventually sided with DC, the company remained committed to not collecting the series despite the increasing popularity of its creative team, leaving those seeking it out to pay increasingly exorbitant prices for the original issues in stores and online.

Now, learn more about what the series meant to Morrison and Quitely in this clip from "Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods," the Morrison documentary released last summer by Respect Films. Featuring an intro by Tim Callahan, the clip explains the origins of Flex Mentallo and how the character is rooted in the writer's real life childhood experiences.


When Words Collide: DID YOU EVER HEAR THAT ONE ABOUT FLEX MENTALLO?
Timothy Callahan wrote:Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's long-out-of-print "Flex Mentallo" series is finally getting a hardcover collection later this year from DC. You may have heard about it.

But so what?

Why should anyone care about a series featuring a lead character nobody would recognize outside the Morrison clubhouse, involving other weird characters made up for this one story, and with an oddball plot that involves suicide hotlines and multiple layers of reality?

Typing it out like that, well, it seems like a silly question. Who wouldn't want to read a series like that? Especially one created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, two guys who have spun nothing but magical gold out of their, um, magical comic book spinning wheel creative wheelie things.

Plus, "Flex Mentallo" has been forbidden fruit for a decade and a half. Unless you were lucky enough to get it off the stands when it first came out (and I know I only ever saw issue #3 on the shelves of my local shop), or pick up a cheap ebay lot back in the very early days (which is what I ended up doing, not to brag or anything), or download it illegally and read it on your computer screen, you were pretty much out of luck when it came to enjoying one of the finest works in the history of comic books.

Is that hyperbole? Maybe. But I don't have much doubt that Grant Morrison is one of the best comic book writers in history. CSBG's reader's poll placed Morrison as the second best writer ever, after only Alan Moore. Or that Frank Quitely is one of the best comic book artists in history. CSBG's similar poll, but for artists, placed Quitely also at, get this, number two, after only Jack Kirby. So unless Alan Moore and Jack Kirby collaborate on a comic, which is unlikely, but kind of brilliant to imagine, then Morrison and Quitely are the single best creative team to work in comics, ever. At least by the logic of democracy. And I wouldn't put up much of a fight to oppose such a position.

So, to recap, Morrison/Quitely, good. And "Flex Mentallo" is considered, by some, to be their "Watchmen." The ultimate example of what comics can do, and the epitome of a Morrison comic, the epitome of a Quitely comic. I wouldn't put up much of a fight to oppose that position, either. It is the quintessential work by each creator, and the exemplar of their collaboration.

It may not be as smooth of a read as "We3" or as emotionally engaging as "All-Star Superman" or as action-packed as "JLA: Earth 2" or as, uh, mutanty as "New X-Men," but "Flex Mentallo" is the purest distillation of Morrison and Quitely's comic book energy. It's a comic about creating comics that's also a tour through the history of comics, told via a fictional character talking into a novelty phone to another fictional character from a different plane of existence. Starring a ridiculously muscle-bound, hirsute man in leopard-print trunks.

I warn you, casual readers, "Flex Mentallo" can be off-putting, but not because it isn't packed with ideas or startling visuals. It can be off-putting if you're not paying attention to the details, because it isn't a story that rewards a surface reading. It's not like Morrison's "JLA" (which he transitioned into soon after completing "Flex Mentallo"), in which Morrison's Gnostic ideas are filtered through superhero mega-plots in such a way that it can be enjoyed as a pure action comic even if you ignore the subtext. In "Flex," the text is the subtext is the text is the Möbius strip that folds the comic back upon itself, but not quite, because the ending shows a way out -- an escape into a new state of being. One that indicates the direction Morrison's career would take, and where he would want to take us, as readers, as humans.

That's all well and good, and it may sound like nonsense until you've read the comic, so you might be wondering what the comic is really about. Well, it's really about the layers of reality, the relationship between life and fiction, the nature of the comic book medium itself and the idea of transcendence. In other words, it's about what almost all the best Grant Morrison comics are about. But that won't come as any surprise to anyone who has read his comics, and it's without context to anyone who hasn't read his comics. So the question remains: what makes this one different? What makes this one special?

"Flex Mentallo" spins out of Morrison's "Doom Patrol" run, though it was written years later. From Morrison's own accounts, it was an almost ritualistic declaration of a new phase in his life. He'd abandoned comic books for a couple of years after "Animal Man" and "Doom Patrol," using his "Arkham Asylum" money to travel the world. "Flex" is Morrison writing the comic book equivalent of his aesthetic manifesto. His childhood collides with his early comic book writing experiences in the comic itself, and he moves the reader through the history of the comic book medium as a process of purgation. The hero, and the reader, go through a bizarre heroic journey, descending into Hell and back out, cleansed and ready for a new era. "Flex Mentallo" not only marks Morrison's return to superhero comics, it shows that he's moved beyond the cynical view of the traditional hero. Contrast the incompetence of the Justice League during "The Painting that Ate Paris" arc in "Doom Patrol," pre-"Flex Mentallo," to the super-competence of the Justice League during Morrison's stint on "JLA," post-"Flex Mentallo." The series marks his statement about what superhero comics were, and what they should be from now on (as of 1996). And he followed up on that promise throughout the end of the 1990s on to more recent work like "All-Star Superman."

For the record, "Flex Mentallo," though maybe the most purely Morrisonian of all the Morrison comics, is just one of the significant markers along his path as a creator. I'd say that all of his work up until "Animal Man" #5 in 1988 (the "Coyote Gospel" story), and this may sound harsh, would count as his "juvenilia," as interesting as it may be (and "Arkham Asylum," written before "Coyote Gospel," might fall into that category, honestly). Morrison's first significant creative phase would be from "Animal Man" #5 through the end of "Doom Patrol," and then the new phase blasts off with the one-two punch of "The Invisibles" #1 in 1994 and "Flex Mentallo" #1 in 1996. They came out two years apart, but my understanding is "Flex" was written significantly earlier than its release, giving Frank Quitely time to pencil and ink the entire four issue series. "Flex Mentallo," pound-for-pound, is a much better series than "The Invisibles." A crisper declaration of aesthetic principles, arriving shortly before the most recent phase of Morrison's career began with "Marvel Boy" in 2000 and possibly came to an end with the finale of the Dr. Hurt storyline in "Batman and Robin." We'll see if "Batman Inc." is the start of something as different as it feels after the first two issues.

Nevertheless, it's "Animal Man" #5, "Flex Mentallo" #1 and "Marvel Boy" #1 that stand as the towering mile-markers in Morrison's career, and "Flex Mentallo" is by far the best of those three, in overall quality, in significance to Morrison's core concerns, in biographical substance and in artistic beauty.

Because, as is probably obvious, I've been writing a whole lot about what "Flex Mentallo" means in Morrison's larger career, but I've been ignoring poor Mr. Frank Quitely who only manages to provide page after page of amazing looking imagery.

Quitely had done nothing in the American superhero market before "Flex Mentallo" -- he'd done little anywhere else either, with just a handful of Judge Dredd stories, a couple of "Big Book of…" pages and a tale in "Dark Horse Presents" to his credit. But Frank Quitely was ready for "Flex Mentallo," and his work on that series is as strong as anything he has ever produced. His figure work is as detailed as ever, and his sense of physical weight (even in the typical Quitely bean-pole characters) perfectly complements the gaudy-but-spectacular superhero costumes of the dozens of brightly-clad characters who appear, sometimes only in passing.

No, this is a Quitely showcase as much as it is a Morrison one, whether it's the sky full of superheroes or the grim struggle of Wallace Sage, the stand-in for both the reader and the writer, a man who once created entire worlds, but now has seemingly lost the ability to dream of a better future.

"Flex Mentallo" begins with a bomb hurled at the reader, but it's a drawing of a bomb that's power rests in the word "BOMB" written on it's side. Its concussive force rests in the combination of art and language, of pictures and words. That's "Flex Mentallo" for you, in a single panel. But once you finally get a chance to read the whole thing, there's oh so much more waiting inside.
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Re: FLEX MENTALLO

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:43 am

From NPR:
New Year, New Changes; Also, FLEX MENTALLO! HERO OF THE BEACH!
Glen Weldon wrote:On Flex Mentallo, Master of Muscle Mystery and HERO OF THE BEACH!

Also this week, the DC imprint Vertigo announced that, at long last, it would reprint the 1996 four-issue miniseries Flex Mentallo, written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely.

Reasons why this has a certain segment of the comics community (the segment in which I belong) excited:

1. Flex Mentallo was the first collaboration between Morrison and Quitely, a team which has gone on to produce some of the best comics of the last 15 years, including We3, Batman and Robin, All-Star Superman and Morrison's stellar run on New X-Men.

2. The mini is a spin-off from Grant Morrison and Richard Case's 45-issue stint on the comic Doom Patrol from 1989 to 1993. Those 45 comics are - for reasons too varied and numerous to get into here - my favorite run of comics, of any kind, ever. (Someday, given world enough and time, I'll attempt to detail why I think it's so freaking amazing.)

3. The mini has been the subject of legal wrangling that has kept it out of print for years. This is because the Flex Mentallo character that Morrison introduced in Doom Patrol is at heart a parody of the Charles Atlas ad "The Insult that Made a Man out of Mac!"

(You know the one: A series of comic panels in which a beanpole named Mac gets sand kicked in his face, and his gal stolen, by a muscled brute; after a few sessions of Dynamic Tension, Mac — now himself a bulbous meatsack — returns to the beach to give that joker the ol' what-for.)

Now, you'd think that the obvious parody nature of the character would exempt him from lawsuits over trademark infringement.

You'd think that. But you? Are not Charles Atlas.

Because of this legal fight, the mini-series was never collected in a trade paperback, which means....

4. I, and many fans of Morrison, Doom Patrol, and Quitely, have never read it. Those who have, like Greg Burgas, over at Comic Book Resources, sing its praises with gusto. Others, like Jason Craft, have gone so far as to annotate its many in-jokes and meta-references.

So yes, we're excited that the series will finally get collected in a hardcover this year. Still no word on an exact pub date, or price, but we've waited this long. We can wait a little longer.
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Grant Morrison's Multiversity: Thunder World

Postby TheButcher on Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:55 am

From Newsarama:
An Oral History of CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Modern Years
Zack Smith wrote:Jerry Ordway: “The Marvel Family’s been busy in the DC Universe, but it’s been all over the place. Geoff Johns set up an intriguing story for Black Adam in JSA, and that was followed up on in 52 and other books, and Mary Marvel had these plots in these different titles, but it’s almost like strip-mining in a way, jumping around and taking bits and pieces rather than preserving the whole of the continuity.”

Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind remain thorns in the side of many DC heroes, and Freddy Freeman’s still hanging around. There’s long been talk that Grant Morrison will tackle the character in his miniseries Multiversity.

But it’s been about five years, and many are wondering if Billy Batson will ever be the one to wield the lightning again. Of course, people once wondered that about Hal Jordan as Green Lantern...

Alex Ross: “This may prove to be a curious time we look back upon, like when Superman had long hair.”
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:31 am

From ComiXology:
Yesterday's Tomorrows Vol. 1 TP
AN ECLECTIC AND STYLISH COLLECTION OF COMICS FROM RIAN HUGHES, RENOWNED ILLUSTRATOR AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER. Features infamous and hard-to-find collaborations with Eisner Award winner GRANT MORRISON: Dan Dare, a post-modern classic that sets the aging and retired iconic British character Dare against a modern British landscape he no longer understands; and Really and Truly, a high-octane psychedelic road-trip torn from the pages of cult comic 2000AD. Hughes' clean graphic style comes to the fore in duotone for The Science Service, written by JOHN FREEMAN, while Hughes explores an evocative noir palette replete with dramatic angular lighting for RAYMOND CHANDLER's Goldfish, adapted by It's Superman author TOM DeHAVEN. In addition to sketchbook pages, merchandise and rare strips-many never seen before or out of print for over a decade-the book features an introduction by comics guru PAUL GRAVETT, who published Hughes' very first strips in his seminal independent comics magazine Escape. Features: GRANT MORRISON DAN DARE GRANT MORRISON REALLY AND TRULY TOM DeHAVEN RAYMOND CHANDLER'S GOLDFISH JOHN FREEMAN THE SCIENCE SERVICE CHRIS REYNOLDS THE LIGHTED CITIES 'Dare is a work of simple and elegant beauty' Time Out 'One of the most successful and prolific British illustrator-designers of the past twenty years' -Roger Sabin, Eye Magazine 'It's definitely not the Dan Dare of old. Morrison completely deconstructs the character, using him as an iconic figure of a better past... Dan Dare the brand still says patriotism, individual strength and the dream of a glittering modernist future...' -Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International 'Hughes has been credited with doing more than anyone else to elevate the sophistication level of comic book design.' -Michael Dooley, AIGA 'Rian Hughes is a luminescent pop culture demon.' -David Quantick (from the foreword)
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Re: Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol

Postby TheButcher on Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:47 am

From Rain Taxi Summer 2008:
Doom Patrol Volumes 1-6
Ken Chen wrote:What is a “novel of ideas”? The phrase is most frequently slapped on alpha male novels, swaggering to diagnose contemporary politics and mores, stacked up with bricks of data, historical trivia, and straggling cast members, and striding eagerly towards a shaggy ambition: to encompass everything. Yet what could be further from the world of ideas than a gluttonous story, eager to swallow the world? And, to tip-toe this argument a step further, what could be more antithetical to an idea than an actual story, less fresh and novel than the novel, that aggregator of empirical life and proper nouns, with every prop nailed firmly into this time and that place? Speaking as one who has long preferred books that levitate, buoyed up by ideas, what I would like is a genre of books about nothing, one that possesses zero time and zero place.

Many books fall within this hopped-up, helium category, but the work of comic book writer Grant Morrison nicely illuminates what it means to look at fiction not as a medium of stories, but of ideas. Morrison is perhaps the most creative writer of comics in English, and his idea-crammed virtues and vices can be seen in Doom Patrol, a superhero comic he wrote from 1989 through 1992, but whose characters existed for nearly thirty years prior. Writers Bob Haney and Arnold Drake created the original Doom Patrol, with artist Bruno Premiani and editor Murray Boltinoff, as a misfit inversion of the typical superhero group; the characters gained their powers through traumatic accidents (e.g. a totaled car, a plane crash) and had less kinship with photogenic supermen than with counter-cultural outsiders—much like the X-Men, another rebel superhero team that, apocrypha suggests, was a Doom Patrol plagiarism.

Morrison transformed Doom Patrol by interpreting its central trope— the superhero as freak—as an engine for freewheeling stories about psychedelic bicycles and magic dentures. One of his characters, Kay Challis, serves as a synecdoche for the whole project: abused as a child by her father, Kay’s trauma manifested itself as a strain of multiple personality disorder in which each of her sixty-four personality possessed a different superpower. While Morrison does use Kay to explore how an adult deals with child abuse, he seems more interested in writing a character that can always shed its skin and in writing a comic that is never finished, eternally new, and always spitting out possibilities.

DC’s Vertigo imprint recently collected Doom Patrol in six volumes whose titles—such as The Painting That Ate Paris, Down Paradise Way, and Planet Love—serve as surprisingly apt keywords for Morrison’s aestheticism: he’s an absurdist, counter-cultural science fiction writer appropriating the civilized arbitrariness of the Dadaist flaneur, the joyful pastiche of ‘80s camp, and the mystical utopianism of hippie lovefests, English Romanticism and the Western tradition of magic. This is baroque brain-pop in which the protagonists—conceptual “superheroes” like Robotman, Danny the sentient (and transvestite) street, and Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery—fight a man who hunts beards, a woman possessing every superpower you haven’t thought of, and the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.

As you may have guessed by now, Morrison is a prolific inventor and, unlike most fiction writers, he does not see his job as the layering of details. In fact, reading Doom Patrol reminds one how much conventional novels are really about logistics. And while Doom Patrol would have been disastrous as a novel, the comic form gives a visual specificity to a story that essentially avoids a setting and a focus on things. Most of Doom Patrol is drawn by Richard Case, whose dilapidated style possesses enough earth to ground Morrison’s vamping and enough wonkiness to animate Morrison’s cheerful lack of empiricism.

Morrison deploys two seemingly opposite traditions to help him generate, rather than develop, ideas: mystic allegory and action movies. While Morrison is obviously influenced by Western magical traditions—in one issue, Doom Patrol fights the sky-deleting eye of the Gnostic Decreator—this obscure canon may have had the more subtle effect of liberating his idea of character. Just as the Talmudic angels wore four faces so they would always gaze towards God, and just as the characters from Tarot cards are not persons but symbolic diagrams, the supporting characters in Doom Patrol are not psychologies possessing a past and future, but rather images nailed together into a compound meaning—such as the Candlemaker, a winged demon whose forehead fuses a vertical eye and a candelabra, or schizophrenic secret agent John Dandy, a naked man wrapped in twine, eyes covered by Scrabble letters and mouth by comb, head haloed by seven bald heads. Like Dadaist poetry, we cannot easily adjudicate whether such creations possess literary “quality,” but Morrison is an artist less interested in whether an idea is good, as long as it is interesting.

Once these characters are cobbled together, Morrison drives them like bumper cars through an action movie plot. The thrill of an action movie is not entirely different than the thrill of a lyric poem; both present ways of organizing intense effects. While Doom Patrol has obvious action-movie motifs—unashamed cliffhangers, images of devastated cities, and faux-tough guy patter—on a deeper level, it possesses the intellectualism of an action movie. Action movies are abstract surfaces, machines of plot that do not rely on our understanding of the world (as a realist movie might), but on an artificial framework the movie itself has created. This is why the action movie is so amenable to fantasy and science fiction (and Morrison’s strangeness)—it is already a closed context. Morrison deploys these action movie logics not just because of the kiss, kiss, bang, bang and the plot twists, but because they render his weirdness familiar. Several Doom Patrol stories culminate in a showdown with an unspeakable horror that we previously glimpse only via the supporting cast’s stunned reaction shots. While such climaxes may seem clichéd, they suggest that Morrison is really interested in the concept of the Sublime, the beauty that terrifies us. It is a problem he explores more deeply in later projects, such as The Invisibles and JLA, both about staving off an inevitable apocalypse, and his New X-Men, which actually features a villain called Sublime.

Morrison may explore a theme like the sublime, but you never sense that he’s searching to understand a given topic; his themes, rather, are conceits through which he can course his thoughts like electricity. Doom Patrol, for example, is an anti-dualistic comic: Morrison seems bored by the value-trapped bipolar world of heroes and villains, particularly when the Doom Patrol faces the Brotherhood of Dada, whose absurdist antagonists seek nothing more than to liberate the world from tedium. And the members of Doom Patrol even expostulate on their anti-dualistic postures, like Rebus, who is both man and woman, black and white, and Robotman, who argues with his metal body. One suspects Morrison sees his throw-in-the-kitchen-sink pastiche as a way of enlarging his work, which pinballs from high to low culture, and from future to past. But because Morrison’s goal is to explore a diversity of styles rather than things, and because he does not develop a single style, a style so natural that it no longer seems a style, Morrison is an ironic aesthete, not a fecund storyteller like Tolstoy or Dickens (or, more appropriately, Kirby/Lee on Fantastic Four or Claremont/Byrne on Uncanny X-Men). For some readers, then, Doom Patrol will seem too inorganic, arcane, and apathetic about character. (Morrison, incidentally, writes characters not as selves, but as quotations from different literary styles.) Yet I think Doom Patrol is a personal comic, but personal the way a poem, rather than a novel, is personal—in its aesthetic. As with the New York School poets, you are always aware of how much fun Morrison is having jolting the page with ideas. His mind lights up in vigorous sparks, illuminating Doom Patrol with an idiosyncratic human smallness, much like the novels of Flann O’Brien (whose At Swim Two Birds is, like Doom Patrol, fascinated with the color green), the fictions of Donald Barthelme, or even—work with me here—the short stories of V.S. Pritchett.

Doom Patrol came out within years of several comics that validated the medium for an adult reading audience: Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus. But Morrison’s jumpy eclecticism reads like a preemptive rebuttal to these dour modernist masterpieces. While these comics sought to be respectable, realist, somber literary works, Morrison’s Doom Patrol is gleeful whimsy, full of aesthetic “mistakes,” and narratologically less similar to the psychological novel than it is to Burroughs and Borges, The Prisoner and Dennis Potter. Don't be scared off by Morrison's obscurantism or his obvious love of superhero comics (which are almost always appropriated with loving irony)—just revel in a comic that will tell you nothing about what it is like to be alive, but is instead giddy on what Apollinaire called "a liberty of unimaginable opulence."
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Seaguy - Slaves Of Mickey Eye

Postby TheButcher on Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:49 am

From The Mindless Ones:
13 questions with Cameron Stewart


From The Mindless Ones:
Seaguy - slaves of mickey eye #1: the annocommentations! (part 1)
Zom & Amy wrote:Words that you might have seen used rather a lot elsewhere in relation to this comic:

Mad
Crazy
Insane
Weird

All fine words I grant you, but sadly they all too often help to close down critical discussion rather than open it up. Hopefully we can do a bit better than that.

Zom: Why are we annocommentating Seaguy you might ask? It’s not as dense as yer Final Crisises or yer League of Extraordinary Gentlemens (expect us to annocommentate vol 3 later this month). Well for a start as we’ve said time and time again, annocommentations aren’t annotations, they’re not predicated on explaining the significance of assorted reappropriated cultural artifacts, etc… they’re just our random thoughts, that may or may not have anything to do with that stuff.

Secondly, after rereading Seaguy vol 1 the other day I trawled the Internet for a few worthy reviews. Oh dear. Of the reviews I read, I think Jog offered up pretty much the only take that actually attempted to engage with the text on anything other than a very superficial level. It’s like people couldn’t get beyond the idea that Grant Morrison had decided to turn his hand to comedy, and were blinded by whether or not they thought Seaguy was funny or whether they liked the delivery. That the book drips with pink, gooey subtext seemed to be missed entirely, and it’s garish tonal syntheses, particularly its idiosyncratic blend of horror and absurd humour, was subject to the usual grumblings from those unwilling to give any surprising new flavours a try.

Personally I think Seaguy ranks among Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s best work. It’s innovative, highly unusual, smart, brimming with imagination, funny as fuck, tightly plotted, and completely unlike anything else I’ve ever come across ever.

Amy:
When I was making my way to Dave’s comics today I bumped into a couple of friends who don’t understand it’s cool to read comics (because they’re losers) and after a few minutes conversation and a bit of curious peering at what I had in my hand, they proceeded to quiz me on the free copy of Seaguy the very generous Tymbus had just given me (don’t worry Grant and Cam, I’ll have some money next week and I’ll fork out for a copy. double promise!!) . ‘What exactly is it?’ they asked. Now, I hate this question - it makes my brain itch - because how the wank do you explain Seaguy to the uninitiated? Is it, as Zom nods to above, a comedy? Is it horror? Is it a superhero book? Is it Disney for Mature Readers? Is it all that guff Grant spouts about Heroic Narratives? Well, it’s probably all of it, but that’s not the point is it? That’s not what’s interesting about Seaguy. No, what’s interesting about Seaguy, the thing that makes it stand out in the racks, is its indefinability - there’s nothing out there like it - and it’s the fizzing tensions it sets up between the different genre/narrative conventions that comprise it that make it so enjoyable and give it so much personality.

So what did I tell my friends?

Nothing. I changed the subject. I couldn’t be bothered. We talked about a weird bloke I know. Saved myself the headache. They didn’t really give a shit anyway, let’s face it.


From The Mindless Ones:
Seaguy - Slaves of Mickey Eye #1: the annocommentations (part 2)



From The Mindless Ones:
Seaguy - Slaves of Mickey Eye #2: The annocommentations

Zom wrote:Annocommentations for issue 1 can be found here and here

Interview with Cameron Stewart can be found here

And so we go at it again, better, stronger and much, much, much later than you could ever have imagined.

Onwards with the annocommentations, which, if you’re visiting us for the first time, you should understand as not being much like conventional annotations…
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Re: We3: The Deluxe Edition

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:32 am

From Graphic Content:
We3: The Deluxe to include extra pages!
Pamela Mullin wrote:The powerful and emotional story WE3 by the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely will be available for the first time in hardcover. And as if that isn’t enough, this amazing Deluxe Edition will contain 10, yes, count ‘em on both hands, 10 new pages of story by Morrison and Quitely.


From Geeks of Doom:
‘We3′ Deluxe Edition Gets Bonus Page Count
Guys, I’ve never been more excited about 10 pages of comics before in my life. Today, Vertigo announced that, not only will We3 get its first hardcover treatment, but that it’s also getting an extra ten pages from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. And if you realize that this is the same team that summed up all of Superman’s origin in one page, then ten pages can do a lot.

We3: The Deluxe Edition is set to be released on June 21, 2011, and you can pre-order your copy here.

We3 is easily one of my favorite comic book stories of all time, and I’m a huge fan of the the oversized Deluxe Edition hardcovers that DC/Vertigo has been doing over the past few years, so I’m really excited to get my hands on a copy of this book.
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Re: The Official Frank Quitely Thread

Postby TheButcher on Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:19 pm

CBR @ ECCC:
Frank Quitely Spotlight
Jason Baxter wrote:By the time Frank Quitely and panel moderator Douglas Wolk took the dais for the 9th Annual Emerald City Comicon's "Spotlight on Frank Quitely" panel, the hall's seats had filled with fans of the acclaimed Scottish penciller, best known for his collaborations with fellow Glaswegian Grant Morrison including "All Star Superman," "We3," and "Flex Mentallo." Fans relished the opportunity to discuss Quitely's artwork with the artist himself, as well as the future of "Flex Mentallo" and Quitely's methods of combining digital inking and coloring with hand-drawn pencils.

Wolk, himself an esteemed cultural critic and author of "Reading Comics," kicked off the panel by listing some of Quitely's most high-profile works, with the audience offering huge rounds of applause for each comic book work he named.

Wolk started by asking Quitely what he was currently working on, and the shaggy-haired artist began by explaining how his sciatica had been cutting into his work-time, perhaps in anticipation of audience questions related to the delays and setbacks that seem to plague Quitely's oeuvre (no such questions were ultimately asked).

When asked why his sequence in a recent issue of "DC Universe Legacies"—featuring Jack Kirby's Fourth World characters—looked so different from his work on titles like "Batman and Robin," Quitely said that he inked those pages himself. These days, the artist typically combines hand-drawn pencils with digital manipulation via software like Adobe Photoshop, so the "Legacies" gig marked something of a departure for him.

He then revealed that he was still hard at work on the ten new pages of story that are being included in DC Comics' forthcoming "We3" hardcover edition.

"I'm actually working on [those pages] in the hotel room," Quitely told the crowd.

"You've had sort of a [Mick] Jagger and [Keith] Richards relationship with Grant Morrison over the years—do you have any other collaborations in the works?" Wolk asked.

Quitely responded by saying that he'd like to make some time to tackle more creator-owned material, like his breakout strip "The Greens" for Scotland's "Electric Soup" comic, adding that he'd already written some story ideas and scenarios that he planned to illustrate.

Wolk then steered the conversation towards the nuts and bolts of visual storytelling, asking Quitely about the way he is able to communicate the passage of time across the panels of a comics page.

"The way I thought about storytelling was, if you had a reasonable idea of what was going on [on a comics page] before the words were put onto it, then I've done OK," Quitely said.

He then talked specifically about a double-page splash from "WE3" featuring a series of panels presented in a row at a perpendicular angle to the reader, as well as the "strobing" sequence of bumbling Clark Kent in the Daily Planet offices from "All-Star Superman" #1. Quitely also shared an anecdote from early in his career (one he's told before on podcasts and in interviews) about a Lobo story he drew for DC Comics editor Dan Raspler, who had many, many criticisms of Quitely's storytelling decisions. Ultimately, Raspler's input helped Quitely develop his now-distinctive, practically faultless knack for communicating action across a series of panels. "I reckon that was the steepest learning curve," he said.

Panels like the aforementioned one with Clark Kent were completed without any photo reference, according to Quitely. "I find it more believable when everything has the same kind of crudeness or ugliness or whatever you want to call it," he said, in reference to the idiosyncratic way many of his characters appear.

At this point, the panel was turned over to the crowd for questions. The first fan wanted to know about how Quitely worked with Grant Morrison to communicate "All-Star Superman's" mind-boggling density of ideas.

This gave Quitely an opportunity to discuss his collaborations with Morrison more generally, saying, "It works differently for each project. Normally, Grant will phone me up with his enthusiasm," but for the ground-breaking "Flex Mentallo" limited series, Quitely admits that he had very little consultation with Morrison and essentially went in blind, since at that point he hadn't picked up a superhero comic since he was a child.

For specific action scenes in "We3," Quitely said that he and Morrison were literally doodling ideas in the same room at the same time, trying to hammer out the beats in simpatico.

The second audience question was also related to "All-Star Superman." A fan wanted to know if Quitely had seen the recent animated adaptation of the series, and Quitely sheepishly admitted that he had not. "I was not invited to the premiere, and they didn't even send me a [complementary copy of the DVD]," he said. Staffers at ECCC's DC Comics booth offered to make up for it by gifting Quitely with a copy of the film this weekend. "I didn't bother mentioning the Region 1/Region 2 thing," Quitely quipped, referring to the different encoding of DVDs for the United States and the UK.

The next batch of questions addressed the specific strengths of Quitely's unique artistic style: the way he illustrates fabrics and textures, the way he expresses movement, and his gift for suggestion emotion through posture and "performance." "Some years ago, I made a deliberate decision not to use motion lines. I was kind of looking for other things that would help suggest movement. If you've got someone getting punched in the face, obviously their head is going to be falling backwards from where the first hit them, and their hair is going to be flying forwards."

Quitely's talent for expressing motion in panels is evident, as one audience member pointed out, in the many well-staged fight scenes from his three-issue arc on "Batman and Robin," as well as his illustrations in "Batman: The Scottish Connection" (when asked if "Scottish Connection" was going to tie into the ongoing "Batman, Inc.," and if Quitely would be involved, the artist said no on both counts).

For the "acting" in his artwork, Quitely said he was inspired by Normal Rockwell and Scottish comics artist Dudley Watkins. "Normal Rockwell would depict a scene, and everybody else in the scene added to the whole texture and flavor of it. You could read their reactions by the facial expressions, y'know?

"It's actually more interesting for me to actually draw [background characters] actually doing something, and not just be generic shapes," he added.

A fan asked if "Flex Mentallo" would ever be collected, apparently unaware that DC Comics has already announced a hardcover edition for 2011. Quitely then revealed that the hardcover would use his original cover illustration for the collected edition that he drew in the mind-'90s, and that all of the interior artwork was being re-colored by Pete Doherty (colorist for the likeminded Geoff Darrow's "Shaolin Cowboy").

Wolk intervened at this point to press Quitely for more details on how he combines digital illustration with traditional "analog" methods, citing a recent "Judge Dredd" cover that Quitely drew entirely on his Wacom tablet."Most of what I do is still done on paper," Quitely said. "Sometimes I start digitally and finish it in pencil, and sometimes vice versa."

He then spoke about the difficulties of employing his style on creator-owned characters, specifically Mike Allred's Madman, who Quitely views as indivisible from Allred's signature style. For his one-page contribution to a forthcoming "Madman" anniversary issue, Quitely decided to depict Frank "Madman" Einstein on a psychiatrist's couch, complaining about how "different" (read: "Quitely-esque") his world was suddenly looking. The page combines unfinished pencils with refined, fully-rendered digital art to evoke a world that is being deconstructed before the reader's eyes.

As the forty-five-minute panel neared its conclusion, Wolk told the audience they had "time for one more awesome question." A fan sheepishly approached the mic, saying, "I have a question, but I'm not sure if it's awesome."

"It better be," Quitely said, smiling.

The fan then proceeded to ask Quitely about how his family has reacted to some of the more mind-bending, psychedelic, and hyper-violent work he's done with Grant Morrison. "This is where the sad music starts playing," Quitely said. "No one in my family has read my work." The father of three then revised his statement: "No, that's not true. Both my sons have."

The crowd laughed in unison and with that, Wolk politely thanked everyone for attending and the room was once again filled with enthusiastic applause.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby Leckomaniac on Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:24 am

For those interested, you can now purchase the Grant Morrison documentary TALKING WITH GODS.

I just finished watching it a moment ago. It is fairly spectacular, capturing the essence of Grant and what makes him so special. Hearing him discuss his work is something I always enjoy.

There are some prime stories and the matter-of-fact way in which he tells them is priceless.
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Re: The Official Grant Morrison Thread

Postby TheButcher on Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:23 am

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Re: The Multiversity--- Pax Americana

Postby TheButcher on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:27 pm

WONDERCON 2011 - DC Icons - LIVE!
Frank Quitely talks Multiversity. "[Grant Morrison]'s told me so far that it's going to take forever to draw, that it's going to be the most complicated thing we've done together," Quitely said.
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Re: The Multiversity--- Pax Americana

Postby TheButcher on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:29 pm

From MTV:
WonderCon 2011: DC Nation Panel Highlights
- Grant Morrison has told Quitely he'll dread drawing the new book. Didio says we should see it next year.
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Re: The Multiversity--- Pax Americana

Postby TheButcher on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:37 pm

WONDERCON 2011 - DC Icons - LIVE!
Next interior work from Quitely?
"I'm working on the extra pages for We3 just now," the artist answered, saying that he'll start Multiversity soon after that, which as far as he knows is a 38-page book.
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Re: The Multiversity 2012

Postby TheButcher on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:40 pm

WONDERCON 2011 - DC Icons - LIVE!
Multiversity...this this still a Morrison project? If so, when is it currently slated for release?
Definitely Morrison. Sounds like 2012.
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Re: The Official Frank Quitely Thread

Postby TheButcher on Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:45 pm

CBR @ WC11::
Frank Quitely Spotlight
"All-Star Superman," "Batman and Robin" and "We3" artist Frank Quitely spent last Saturday afternoon answering questions from fans during his WonderCon spotlight panel, charming the crowd while giving the audience insight into his life and work along with some hints of future projects.

DC Comics' Larry Ganem hosted the proceedings, kicking things off with what seemed to be a softball question, asking Quitely what he thought of the recent "All-Star Superman" animated feature based on the acclaimed miniseries Quitely created with writer Grant Morrison.

Quitely seemed to be genuinely surprised by the question. "You don't really know the answer to this? No? DC sent me a copy of the DVD -- it was just last week -- and I settled down with three kids, one of whom was interested in watching it, and the two of us settled down to watch this DVD, and I was really enjoying the start of it, and ten minutes in, my mother came to the door. She hadn't been around for a week, and she was like, 'Go make a cup of tea.' And you would need to know my mum, but I couldn't say, 'Yes, mum, I'm watching a cartoon. I'll do that later,' I thought I would go back to it the following night, and, just with busy-ness, and getting ready to come here, getting things sorted out, I've seen, sort of, the first ten or fifteen minutes, which I really, really liked. I've seen some of it, and it's good so far.

"The first ten minutes are good, though," Ganem reiterated.

"The first ten minutes are brilliant," Quitely assured him.

"When you get home, you'll eventually watch the rest of it?"

"I'll watch the rest of it."

"You know how it ends?"

Admitting "my questions aren't going so well," Ganem turned the role of interviewer over to the crowd.

The first audience member to take the reins of the panel asked, "I've always heard that Grant Morrison does a lot of thinking about his books before he starts writing them. I was kind of curious, where does Grant come in and where do you come in, as far as the creative work?"

"When it comes to designing the look of characters, Grant usually has something to say about it, and sometimes, he'll actually send me a rough that he's drawn.," Quitely explained. "With Superman, he wanted a shorter cape, and he said, 'Go back and check the old stuff,' and actually, his cape was quite short. I looked at it, and I was like, 'I never really noticed,' but, yeah, it was quite short. If he's designing a new character we've not seen before, he'll actually do a sketch, and say 'it's something along these lines.' Occasionally, for a guy like [Leo] Quintum, the guy on the moon base [from 'All-Star Superman'], he'll just say he's a bit like David Bowie and he's a bit like the West End production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' He'll just get a few different references and expect me to come up with something along those lines. But, generally speaking, things like gravity guns, he usually doesn't describe them in detail. But, more often than not, if it's a new character, or a new take on a character, he likes to do something; a kind of little sketch first."

The next question also dealt with Quitely's and Morrison's working relationship, a theme that would continue throughout the panel "The comics that you and Grant have done over the last five years are some of the best comics being made today. If I hear that you're on it, I'll buy it -- I don't care what it is. With Grant, some of the other stuff he does, I can't even get my head around it, but every time you guys have done something together, it's been pretty clear, and I wonder if you have any ideas why that is?"

"I like to think it's because I'm his translator," Quitely responded. "I like to think "We3" is certainly a project that was clear and more obvious than some of the work he's done. And I think 'All-Star Superman' is [clear], as well. I did the last issue of 'The Invisibles,' and yeah, it was pretty complicated. Grant does a lot of work, and he does go back to certain central themes and explores them in different ways, but he also covers a fair length of types of work. So, yeah, some of it is more difficult to get than others."

The same fan followed up with, "So you're the more action/adventure, literally more straightforward kind of guy?"

"Well, you know, when you speak to any writer, not just Grant, they do often complain that they make all these requests or suggestions in the script, and very often the artist will pick and choose which of these things they want to address, or which they want to include," Quitely clarified. "Generally speaking, if they ask for something in the script, I'll find a way to put it in there, without overcrowding the composition of the page. The thing about drawing comics is, this isn't me sharing my ideas with you; this is me taking the writer's story and presenting it the way that they've asked for it to be presented. I try to make it work for me, and generally speaking, it works for the majority of people if it works for me. I speak to Grant and I speak to other writers. Many other artists, they don't do everything the writer actually asks them to do. Whether it's consideration of deadline or if they have ideas of their own, I don't know. I do what I'm told! "

At this point, Ganem broke in, asking point blank, "Is Grant your favorite writer to work with?"

Quitely quickly answered in the affirmative, stating, "Yeah. I've been fortunate to work with some writers I really enjoy working with, but when Grant and I work together, we often feel that the work we do together is in some ways more satisfying than the work we do with other people."

"So you bring out the best in each other," Ganem asked.

"I think so, yes."

Ganem continued his line of questioning, asking, "One question I've always wanted to ask you: Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch had had a great 12-issue run [on 'The Authority']. It was incredibly hot; it was incredibly edgy at that point. They'd really built that thing up. Did you feel any pressure when you guys took it over?"

"Yes," Quitely answered. "I actually felt as much pressure taking over 'The Authority' after Warren and Bryan as I did starting 'New X-Men' with Grant. It was a definite thing. With 'New X-Men,' X-Men fans were used to seeing more definite writers and artists doing 'X-Men.' But the pressure was that it was a really big book and we were changing it quite a lot. We knew that not all the fans would like it -- and a lot initially didn't like it. I think there was a general feeling that we were two guys from Vertigo who were taking over a really-liked book and not knowing what to do with it, and that was sort of the feedback we got from them.

"The pressure going into 'The Authority' was completely different," Quitely continued, "That was a book that only belonged to Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and I think it had become really popular -- at the time I remember this -- it seemed like a really fresh spin; it seemed like a fresh approach and they just totally made it their own. It was either my favorite of one of my favorite comics at the time, and Mark and I talked about it before we took it on because we were very well aware of the fact that it was their book."

Ganem turned things back over to the fans, and the next one asked, "I wanted to know if you'd touch on 'We3' a little bit; how that came about; what the genesis and inspiration of that one was? Also, a number of years ago, there was some discussion about it being made into a film, and I just can't even wrap my brain around how that would work, considering the innovation with handling you had done with that book."

"Okay, the way it came about was that Grant told me that he had created various creator-owned projects that he was wanting to do through Vertigo, he wanted a different artist on each book, and he wanted me to do one of them," Quitely responded. "He started talking about the ideas that he had and got to this one, 'We3,' and I said, 'What's 'We3' about?' He said, 'It's a cat and a dog and a rabbit.' I laughed and I said, 'No, no, really. What's it about?' And he said, 'It's a cat and a dog and a rabbit.'

"I'd worked with Grant maybe on four or five occasions before that, and I'd never not found it a really satisfying experience -- but it just didn't sound good. We talked about it at some length and I started to think, well, actually, maybe that could work. As soon as I started doing some designs for how the animals might look, I started to get a much cleaner feel for it. Grant was really liking the idea of trying to push what we could do with the storytelling. He had ideas in his mind that you couldn't quite see, but you knew there was something there. It wasn't the two of us getting together; this was a much more collaborative approach than the way we normally work. We usually have a big discussion at the top when we start something together, and then I'll sit and work with the first script and get back to him with any questions. With 'We3," we actually sat there and we worked on the stuff together. When I say we worked on it, we both had pencils in our hands and we were both drawing, but most of the time it just was Grant looking over my shoulder saying, 'No, no, make it better; make it more new. Draw something we've not seen before,' so there was a lot of back and forth. It eventually became like a regular thing, where I was left alone, making the artwork work, but there was this period beforehand with each issue, where we actually sat down and worked out some of the sequences together.

"As for the movie, a few years back, New Line took an option out and nothing happened with it, and nothing's happened with it still. There's nearly always been a director attached to it, but as far as we know, we've never been close to having a studio finance it. I think the problem is, that if you aim it at a more adult audience, it's about a cat and a dog and a rabbit, and you really have to talk people into it to get involved with it in the first place. So you would definitely have that in the way to get adults to see it in a cinema, or you'd have to change it quite a lot to make it kid friendly, so I don't know"

The next questioner asked about a possible Absolute edition of "We3," and wondering if there's an actual release date.

"It's not an Absolute, I think it's a Deluxe. Originally, when Grant put the proposal in with Vertigo, before we actually started it, he wanted it to be three books, but he was looking at a little over 100 pages. The way it broke down best was three 32-page books, and he felt that he could tell the story well in 96 pages. But when he was told six months or so ago that they were thinking of bringing it out as a Deluxe, that they wanted sketchbook stuff for out the back, and they wanted him to talk about it, he -- I don't know if he initiated it or what, but anyway, but we've got an extra ten pages of story that fill out some of the -- I wanted at the end, for, like, the rabbit to come back as a ninja zombie. Grant thought that was too good an idea, so the ten pages are expanding a couple of scenes."

The same fan had "heard a rumor that you got a go-ahead for a reprint of 'Flex Mentallo,'" which Quitely confirmed, adding that the series is being recolored by Peter Doherty.

Going for the trifecta, the fan then mentioned that he'd heard that Quitely and Mark Millar have been working and talking about projects, but Quitely was noncommittal in his answer

The next fan asked about Quitely's design process for his "very unusual" covers.

"The cover design process varies from project to project," Quitely responded. "Sometimes I'm given carte blanche and I can do what I want, and sometimes either the writer or the editor will give some kind of suggestion or idea, even if it's just for a general flavor or atmosphere that they're going for. Sometimes I get quite a specific description of what either the writer or the editor is after. And sometimes I actually get a thumbnail, usually from the writer, saying, 'take this kind of image or composition and make it work.'"

The fan followed up, asking specifically about the cover for "Batman and Robin" #2, to qhich the artist answered, "All of the 'Batman and Robin' covers, I think all without exception, were worked up from thumbnails that Grant sent me. He'd have tiny loose thumbnails, just so that I knew the type of cover, the type of composition he was after. I just worked from there. That particular one, oddly enough -- there was a little bit of a misunderstanding between the two of us. That was supposed to be Batman standing behind a model of a city, with a dead guy and his hand on the street. I actually thought it was a real city; that was put together as a montage image. You picked the one example that didn't quite work, but yeah, all of the 'Batman and Robin' ones were taken from Grant's thumbnails."

The next fan asked about Quitely's artistic inspirations, be they photographs, other artists or what. "Everything inspires me. I'm inspired by just everything around me," Quitely responded before expanding on his answer. "There's a Scottish artist, Dudley D. Watkins, who was a Sunday newspaper artist, and was a big influence when I was younger. Steve Ditko and John Buscema and bunch of guys, when I was very young and had my first exposure to a bunch of American comics artists. All through my teens, it was Mort Drucker and Jack Davis from 'Mad Magazine.' I loved those guys. In my late teens and early twenties when I started to publish comics, the other guys who were involved in the anthology comics that I was drawing, they introduced me to Moebius, Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons and a bunch of other stuff. I was up and running from there."

The next fan asked when to expect "Multiversity," the mammoth project being written by Morrison.

"I've not started on it yet," Quitely said. "I'm halfway through the ten extra "We3" pages, so I'm guessing -- I'm hoping -- by, like, from a month from now, I'll hopefully have some 'Multiversity' script. I really know very, very little about it. I know it's the Charlton characters, the book I'm doing. I don't know how many other books there are or what other groups of characters they've covering but Grant's told me that I'll have script by the time I finish the 'We3' stuff, so that is the next thing I'll be starting on, so it shouldn't be too long.

Ganem prompted Quitely to relate what Morrison had told him about the project. "He did also say it's going to take me forever to draw, because he's made it super complicated," Quitely answered to chuckles from the crowd.

"Are there any chance we'll get any extras in the 'Flex Mentallo' reprint? Because the behind-the-scenes stuff really interests me."

"I believe Grant's going to write some stuff about it, but beyond that, I don't know. I've got most of the original scripts I worked from and most of the thumbnails for most of the projects I've worked on. Thus far I've found a couple of pages of script for 'Flex' and the cover roughs for the original series, so I don't have much. I don't know how much there's going to be, what visual extras will be in the back. I know Grant's writing some stuff about it. I think they're relying on me to go to down to my mum's house and up to the attic and go through boxes."

Ganem asked, "Do you have scripts and sketch material from all your projects?"

Quitely replied, "From most of them, yeah."

Ganem wanted to be sure. "And you keep them where? In your mother's house?"

Quitely admitted he doesn't "have a filing system. They're in plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Some of them are in my mum's house and some of them are in my house. Some are in the studio. I'm not organized."

"So when you say you have them, they just … somewhere."

"That's right."

"So, 'have' might be a strong word for it."

"Um, yeah," Quitely admitted sheepishly.

The next questioner expressed admiration for the way the artist handles movement, citing "the clumsy way Clark Kent moves around and manages to save people's lives without them realizing it. But the one thing that I always admired was the way you did Flash in 'JLA: Earth 2,' when he's running and you would see the bits and pieces of him. I was just wondering how you came up with that idea, since it's so different from how he's usually depicted."

Quitely answered, "It was a variation of the idea of the strobe photograph; we've all seen, like, the running guy or the golfer? You take stop motion photographs and you put them all together? It came about like that, partly. There some Russian architects who tried to create movement in sculpture by putting what was like a strobe image, but it was more broken up than that. It's like a cartoon thing, where somebody's moving their head, and you see multiple faces, or multiple fingers on the hands, waving. It was just looking at the different ways movement was depicted, and trying to come up with something that worked as something that suggested movement but wasn't a huge distraction to the overall flow of the story. I'm real glad it worked for you. But it was as simple as that; it was just looking at different ways movement was depicted, and trying to come up with something along those lines."

A fan wanted to know how long it takes Quitely to do an issue, "'cause I love your work, but I want to see more of it."

"Penciling and inking, or penciling and digital inking, I used to work for two hours [a day] and be able to do about two and half pages a week. I'm kinda down to about two pages a week now, and after the third issue of 'Batman and Robin,' my sciatica problem came back. It was really bad once, and I promised it would never happen again, and it did. I was off for, like, three months, then six months working really slowly. After 'Batman and Robin,' it was just like a year of building up slowly. I only did covers in that time, and I'm just getting back into doing interiors now. The last year and a half, I've been slow even by my standards, so I'm hoping to be back to just regular slow from now on."


WC11: Frank Quitely Spotlight

by Dave Sikula, Contributing Writer |
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Category: Comic Books | 1 Comments | Print Article

Posted: 4 hours ago|Updated: 2 hours ago

Flyer art for Quitely's CBLDF benefit appearance

"All-Star Superman," "Batman and Robin" and "We3" artist Frank Quitely spent last Saturday afternoon answering questions from fans during his WonderCon spotlight panel, charming the crowd while giving the audience insight into his life and work along with some hints of future projects.

DC Comics' Larry Ganem hosted the proceedings, kicking things off with what seemed to be a softball question, asking Quitely what he thought of the recent "All-Star Superman" animated feature based on the acclaimed miniseries Quitely created with writer Grant Morrison.

Quitely seemed to be genuinely surprised by the question. "You don't really know the answer to this? No? DC sent me a copy of the DVD -- it was just last week -- and I settled down with three kids, one of whom was interested in watching it, and the two of us settled down to watch this DVD, and I was really enjoying the start of it, and ten minutes in, my mother came to the door. She hadn't been around for a week, and she was like, 'Go make a cup of tea.' And you would need to know my mum, but I couldn't say, 'Yes, mum, I'm watching a cartoon. I'll do that later,' I thought I would go back to it the following night, and, just with busy-ness, and getting ready to come here, getting things sorted out, I've seen, sort of, the first ten or fifteen minutes, which I really, really liked. I've seen some of it, and it's good so far.

"The first ten minutes are good, though," Ganem reiterated.

"The first ten minutes are brilliant," Quitely assured him.

"When you get home, you'll eventually watch the rest of it?"

"I'll watch the rest of it."

"You know how it ends?"

Admitting "my questions aren't going so well," Ganem turned the role of interviewer over to the crowd.

The first audience member to take the reins of the panel asked, "I've always heard that Grant Morrison does a lot of thinking about his books before he starts writing them. I was kind of curious, where does Grant come in and where do you come in, as far as the creative work?"

"When it comes to designing the look of characters, Grant usually has something to say about it, and sometimes, he'll actually send me a rough that he's drawn.," Quitely explained. "With Superman, he wanted a shorter cape, and he said, 'Go back and check the old stuff,' and actually, his cape was quite short. I looked at it, and I was like, 'I never really noticed,' but, yeah, it was quite short. If he's designing a new character we've not seen before, he'll actually do a sketch, and say 'it's something along these lines.' Occasionally, for a guy like [Leo] Quintum, the guy on the moon base [from 'All-Star Superman'], he'll just say he's a bit like David Bowie and he's a bit like the West End production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' He'll just get a few different references and expect me to come up with something along those lines. But, generally speaking, things like gravity guns, he usually doesn't describe them in detail. But, more often than not, if it's a new character, or a new take on a character, he likes to do something; a kind of little sketch first."

The next question also dealt with Quitely's and Morrison's working relationship, a theme that would continue throughout the panel "The comics that you and Grant have done over the last five years are some of the best comics being made today. If I hear that you're on it, I'll buy it -- I don't care what it is. With Grant, some of the other stuff he does, I can't even get my head around it, but every time you guys have done something together, it's been pretty clear, and I wonder if you have any ideas why that is?"

"I like to think it's because I'm his translator," Quitely responded. "I like to think "We3" is certainly a project that was clear and more obvious than some of the work he's done. And I think 'All-Star Superman' is [clear], as well. I did the last issue of 'The Invisibles,' and yeah, it was pretty complicated. Grant does a lot of work, and he does go back to certain central themes and explores them in different ways, but he also covers a fair length of types of work. So, yeah, some of it is more difficult to get than others."

The same fan followed up with, "So you're the more action/adventure, literally more straightforward kind of guy?"

"Well, you know, when you speak to any writer, not just Grant, they do often complain that they make all these requests or suggestions in the script, and very often the artist will pick and choose which of these things they want to address, or which they want to include," Quitely clarified. "Generally speaking, if they ask for something in the script, I'll find a way to put it in there, without overcrowding the composition of the page. The thing about drawing comics is, this isn't me sharing my ideas with you; this is me taking the writer's story and presenting it the way that they've asked for it to be presented. I try to make it work for me, and generally speaking, it works for the majority of people if it works for me. I speak to Grant and I speak to other writers. Many other artists, they don't do everything the writer actually asks them to do. Whether it's consideration of deadline or if they have ideas of their own, I don't know. I do what I'm told! "

At this point, Ganem broke in, asking point blank, "Is Grant your favorite writer to work with?"

Quitely quickly answered in the affirmative, stating, "Yeah. I've been fortunate to work with some writers I really enjoy working with, but when Grant and I work together, we often feel that the work we do together is in some ways more satisfying than the work we do with other people."

"So you bring out the best in each other," Ganem asked.

"I think so, yes."

Ganem continued his line of questioning, asking, "One question I've always wanted to ask you: Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch had had a great 12-issue run [on 'The Authority']. It was incredibly hot; it was incredibly edgy at that point. They'd really built that thing up. Did you feel any pressure when you guys took it over?"

"Yes," Quitely answered. "I actually felt as much pressure taking over 'The Authority' after Warren and Bryan as I did starting 'New X-Men' with Grant. It was a definite thing. With 'New X-Men,' X-Men fans were used to seeing more definite writers and artists doing 'X-Men.' But the pressure was that it was a really big book and we were changing it quite a lot. We knew that not all the fans would like it -- and a lot initially didn't like it. I think there was a general feeling that we were two guys from Vertigo who were taking over a really-liked book and not knowing what to do with it, and that was sort of the feedback we got from them.

"The pressure going into 'The Authority' was completely different," Quitely continued, "That was a book that only belonged to Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and I think it had become really popular -- at the time I remember this -- it seemed like a really fresh spin; it seemed like a fresh approach and they just totally made it their own. It was either my favorite of one of my favorite comics at the time, and Mark and I talked about it before we took it on because we were very well aware of the fact that it was their book."

Ganem turned things back over to the fans, and the next one asked, "I wanted to know if you'd touch on 'We3' a little bit; how that came about; what the genesis and inspiration of that one was? Also, a number of years ago, there was some discussion about it being made into a film, and I just can't even wrap my brain around how that would work, considering the innovation with handling you had done with that book."

"Okay, the way it came about was that Grant told me that he had created various creator-owned projects that he was wanting to do through Vertigo, he wanted a different artist on each book, and he wanted me to do one of them," Quitely responded. "He started talking about the ideas that he had and got to this one, 'We3,' and I said, 'What's 'We3' about?' He said, 'It's a cat and a dog and a rabbit.' I laughed and I said, 'No, no, really. What's it about?' And he said, 'It's a cat and a dog and a rabbit.'

"I'd worked with Grant maybe on four or five occasions before that, and I'd never not found it a really satisfying experience -- but it just didn't sound good. We talked about it at some length and I started to think, well, actually, maybe that could work. As soon as I started doing some designs for how the animals might look, I started to get a much cleaner feel for it. Grant was really liking the idea of trying to push what we could do with the storytelling. He had ideas in his mind that you couldn't quite see, but you knew there was something there. It wasn't the two of us getting together; this was a much more collaborative approach than the way we normally work. We usually have a big discussion at the top when we start something together, and then I'll sit and work with the first script and get back to him with any questions. With 'We3," we actually sat there and we worked on the stuff together. When I say we worked on it, we both had pencils in our hands and we were both drawing, but most of the time it just was Grant looking over my shoulder saying, 'No, no, make it better; make it more new. Draw something we've not seen before,' so there was a lot of back and forth. It eventually became like a regular thing, where I was left alone, making the artwork work, but there was this period beforehand with each issue, where we actually sat down and worked out some of the sequences together.

"As for the movie, a few years back, New Line took an option out and nothing happened with it, and nothing's happened with it still. There's nearly always been a director attached to it, but as far as we know, we've never been close to having a studio finance it. I think the problem is, that if you aim it at a more adult audience, it's about a cat and a dog and a rabbit, and you really have to talk people into it to get involved with it in the first place. So you would definitely have that in the way to get adults to see it in a cinema, or you'd have to change it quite a lot to make it kid friendly, so I don't know"

The next questioner asked about a possible Absolute edition of "We3," and wondering if there's an actual release date.

"It's not an Absolute, I think it's a Deluxe. Originally, when Grant put the proposal in with Vertigo, before we actually started it, he wanted it to be three books, but he was looking at a little over 100 pages. The way it broke down best was three 32-page books, and he felt that he could tell the story well in 96 pages. But when he was told six months or so ago that they were thinking of bringing it out as a Deluxe, that they wanted sketchbook stuff for out the back, and they wanted him to talk about it, he -- I don't know if he initiated it or what, but anyway, but we've got an extra ten pages of story that fill out some of the -- I wanted at the end, for, like, the rabbit to come back as a ninja zombie. Grant thought that was too good an idea, so the ten pages are expanding a couple of scenes."

The same fan had "heard a rumor that you got a go-ahead for a reprint of 'Flex Mentallo,'" which Quitely confirmed, adding that the series is being recolored by Peter Doherty.

Going for the trifecta, the fan then mentioned that he'd heard that Quitely and Mark Millar have been working and talking about projects, but Quitely was noncommittal in his answer

The next fan asked about Quitely's design process for his "very unusual" covers.

"The cover design process varies from project to project," Quitely responded. "Sometimes I'm given carte blanche and I can do what I want, and sometimes either the writer or the editor will give some kind of suggestion or idea, even if it's just for a general flavor or atmosphere that they're going for. Sometimes I get quite a specific description of what either the writer or the editor is after. And sometimes I actually get a thumbnail, usually from the writer, saying, 'take this kind of image or composition and make it work.'"

The fan followed up, asking specifically about the cover for "Batman and Robin" #2, to qhich the artist answered, "All of the 'Batman and Robin' covers, I think all without exception, were worked up from thumbnails that Grant sent me. He'd have tiny loose thumbnails, just so that I knew the type of cover, the type of composition he was after. I just worked from there. That particular one, oddly enough -- there was a little bit of a misunderstanding between the two of us. That was supposed to be Batman standing behind a model of a city, with a dead guy and his hand on the street. I actually thought it was a real city; that was put together as a montage image. You picked the one example that didn't quite work, but yeah, all of the 'Batman and Robin' ones were taken from Grant's thumbnails."

The next fan asked about Quitely's artistic inspirations, be they photographs, other artists or what. "Everything inspires me. I'm inspired by just everything around me," Quitely responded before expanding on his answer. "There's a Scottish artist, Dudley D. Watkins, who was a Sunday newspaper artist, and was a big influence when I was younger. Steve Ditko and John Buscema and bunch of guys, when I was very young and had my first exposure to a bunch of American comics artists. All through my teens, it was Mort Drucker and Jack Davis from 'Mad Magazine.' I loved those guys. In my late teens and early twenties when I started to publish comics, the other guys who were involved in the anthology comics that I was drawing, they introduced me to Moebius, Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons and a bunch of other stuff. I was up and running from there."

The next fan asked when to expect "Multiversity," the mammoth project being written by Morrison.

"I've not started on it yet," Quitely said. "I'm halfway through the ten extra "We3" pages, so I'm guessing -- I'm hoping -- by, like, from a month from now, I'll hopefully have some 'Multiversity' script. I really know very, very little about it. I know it's the Charlton characters, the book I'm doing. I don't know how many other books there are or what other groups of characters they've covering but Grant's told me that I'll have script by the time I finish the 'We3' stuff, so that is the next thing I'll be starting on, so it shouldn't be too long.

Ganem prompted Quitely to relate what Morrison had told him about the project. "He did also say it's going to take me forever to draw, because he's made it super complicated," Quitely answered to chuckles from the crowd.

"Are there any chance we'll get any extras in the 'Flex Mentallo' reprint? Because the behind-the-scenes stuff really interests me."

"I believe Grant's going to write some stuff about it, but beyond that, I don't know. I've got most of the original scripts I worked from and most of the thumbnails for most of the projects I've worked on. Thus far I've found a couple of pages of script for 'Flex' and the cover roughs for the original series, so I don't have much. I don't know how much there's going to be, what visual extras will be in the back. I know Grant's writing some stuff about it. I think they're relying on me to go to down to my mum's house and up to the attic and go through boxes."

Ganem asked, "Do you have scripts and sketch material from all your projects?"

Quitely replied, "From most of them, yeah."

Ganem wanted to be sure. "And you keep them where? In your mother's house?"

Quitely admitted he doesn't "have a filing system. They're in plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Some of them are in my mum's house and some of them are in my house. Some are in the studio. I'm not organized."

"So when you say you have them, they just … somewhere."

"That's right."

"So, 'have' might be a strong word for it."

"Um, yeah," Quitely admitted sheepishly.

The next questioner expressed admiration for the way the artist handles movement, citing "the clumsy way Clark Kent moves around and manages to save people's lives without them realizing it. But the one thing that I always admired was the way you did Flash in 'JLA: Earth 2,' when he's running and you would see the bits and pieces of him. I was just wondering how you came up with that idea, since it's so different from how he's usually depicted."

Quitely answered, "It was a variation of the idea of the strobe photograph; we've all seen, like, the running guy or the golfer? You take stop motion photographs and you put them all together? It came about like that, partly. There some Russian architects who tried to create movement in sculpture by putting what was like a strobe image, but it was more broken up than that. It's like a cartoon thing, where somebody's moving their head, and you see multiple faces, or multiple fingers on the hands, waving. It was just looking at the different ways movement was depicted, and trying to come up with something that worked as something that suggested movement but wasn't a huge distraction to the overall flow of the story. I'm real glad it worked for you. But it was as simple as that; it was just looking at different ways movement was depicted, and trying to come up with something along those lines."

A fan wanted to know how long it takes Quitely to do an issue, "'cause I love your work, but I want to see more of it."

"Penciling and inking, or penciling and digital inking, I used to work for two hours [a day] and be able to do about two and half pages a week. I'm kinda down to about two pages a week now, and after the third issue of 'Batman and Robin,' my sciatica problem came back. It was really bad once, and I promised it would never happen again, and it did. I was off for, like, three months, then six months working really slowly. After 'Batman and Robin,' it was just like a year of building up slowly. I only did covers in that time, and I'm just getting back into doing interiors now. The last year and a half, I've been slow even by my standards, so I'm hoping to be back to just regular slow from now on."

Ganem asked, "So, normally, it would be ten weeks for a book?"

"Yeah, I think the most I've ever done, is like, seven, seven and a half issues a year. I'm kind of aiming for six issues a year."

"Is digital inking faster than regular inking?"

"Digital inking is faster than regular inking, but it involves spending longer with the pencils, so it's not a huge saving."

Another question from the floor: "Your art had a real fluidity and motion to it. Do you use photo references to get that fluidity?"

"I tend to build up the environments and the figure work like an animator would, with simple stick figures and flesh them out. I try to use as little photo reference as possible, because I find that, with the idiosyncrasies with my work, it doesn't generally look 'photo reference,' and when I have to use straight photo reference -- like if I lightbox a photograph or something -- it would really jar with the more organic look of my normal artwork. If I have to use photo reference -- if it's like the White House, or if it's a specific model of car, or a specific type of animal -- I'll try to draw it from a slightly different angle from the photograph, just so it becomes more of a drawing, rather than a tracing or a copy or something else. As for the movement, because I generally take things up from simple stick figure drawings, you can kinda see even with stick figure drawings if it's really working or not. If it looks static and clumsy as a stick figure, it's gonna look static and clumsy by the time you put muscles and clothes and stuff like that on the character, so if you can make it work in the thumbnail stage, there's no reason it won't work in the finished stage."

Continuing with the line of questioning about artistic process, Ganem wanted to know if Quitely thumbnails the whole page first.

"Yeah, I've never, ever started drawing a comic book page -- even when I did small press stuff and was writing my own stories -- or started a page without the whole thing being planned out. I've spoken to other artists, who, quite often, will start at the top of the page, and they'll get halfway through a page, and will say, 'I really don't know what to do with the bottom of this page,' or they haven't left themselves enough room. I just can't get my head around that way of working at all."

The next fan had "read an article recently that reprinted some of your work on 'New Gods #1,'" and was "really struck by how you changed Jack Kirby's story, and kind of made it your own, along with the scripter. Would you ever go back to something like that, where you'd draw eight-page reprints of different stories?"

Quitely corrected the fan. "Well, that wasn't a reprint; that was a recent work. It was Len Wein that wrote it, so I had no influence on the story or how the story differed from the way events were originally depicted, way back when it was Jack Kirby was doing it. What I did was take Len's script, and it's the first time -- the only time -- I've worked 'Marvel process' on a DC script. He wrote it out -- there were no panel numbers or anything -- he just wrote what he wanted me to draw, and I had to break it down. That was an interesting process. I got a bunch of Jack Kirby reference for it, and I noticed that, probably because [Kirby] worked so fast, Orion's helmet would look different in three different panels on a page. He just had that kind of way of working, so I just took the general style and tried to keep as faithful as possible to the original designs. But for me, it was a really straightforward job. I think I had a good, fun script to work from and I had these amazing Jack Kirby designs to reference, so I just ran with it."

Ganem clarified for the audience that the story was actually a backup in the recent "DC Universe: Legacies" series.

With all the mention of Quitely's mother, it was no surprise that the next questioner said that someone had told him, "I should ask you what your family thinks of your comics."

Quitely seemed a little chagrined. "Oh, no you shouldn't."

Ganem asked who had told him to ask that.

"An anonymous source," was the response.

"I was at the Emerald City [Comicon] in Seattle a few weeks ago, and somebody asked what my family think of my comics and I said none of them have read any of my comics. After thinking about it, my eldest son, in fact both my sons, have read a couple of the things I've done and liked them. My mother read one comic that I drew. It was 'The Scottish Connection,' which was a Batman which Alan Grant wrote, and I said to her, 'What did you think of it?,' 'cause it was the first kind of mainstream thing that I'd done that I was proud of. She said [Scottish mother voice], 'Your drawings were very good, but the writing was rubbish.' [Laughter] And of course, I went and told Alan Grant."

Ganem told the crowd that when that question had been asked in Seattle, and Quitely had responded that none of his family have ever read his comics, the audience responded with a big "Awwww," but he didn't hear anything from the San Francisco group, calling them a "tougher crowd than the Seattle audience."

Another fan wanted to know, "If you had to break into comics again, if you had zero fame to your name, how would you do it?," to which Quitely answered, "I would almost certainly start doing a webcomic. I would probably workprint it, as well; do some sort of hard copy, When I started out, I kind of got into small press comics almost by accident. Once I started drawing my own stuff, I really started falling in love with the whole sequential process; the idea of actually making comic books. But it wasn't actually a childhood dream or anything. The childhood dream was that I would have a job that just involved drawing, but it wasn't specifically comic books -- it could have been anything. Looking back, the way people got into comics back then was just by doing fanzines and small press stuff, self-published stuff, Now, it seems to be, like, the webcomic is current equivalent of that. You have so much more control. It costs you nothing extra to make it in color. There's no initial expense of actually to print up. It's easier to find an audience, as well. It's still just as difficult to get money out of it when you're starting out, but in a lot of ways, it's still kind of the best time; I mean, it's not the best time to be getting into mainstream comics because it's always difficult to come in as a new guy, when there's editors who have got a lot of names in their books, and not quite enough work for everybody who's worked for them before. So, it's still very difficult to get a start, but it's easier to get started on your own."

Ganem asked if there were any webcomics Quitely followed.

"I'm following Dan Goldman's stuff; he was one of the 'act-i-vate' guys. You know, Dean Haspiel and Dan Goldman, and that bunch. And -- I can't even remember the name; the Canadian guys. Karl Kerschl, Ramon Perez, good stuff."


As the panel began to wrap, a fan wanted to know if Quitely's underground "Electric Soup" work is being collected anytime soon.

"Maybe. It's kind of embarrassing, because it's mostly really, really lame. Some of the drawings are okay, but most of the writing's hopeless. But yeah, I have been toying with the idea -- it's all black and white, anyway -- of doing a really cheap, low-priced version of it; mail order or something. I don't know."

After being cautioned by Ganem that the final question had to be a good one ["No 'what's your favorite color?' or anything about Marvel"], the final questioner asked, "One of the things Grant Morrison talks about frequently are the tripped-out magical experiences that come from working on his comics, and a few of the artists that work with him have talked about it, too, like Chris Weston. I was wondering if you have any bizarre comic-related phenomena, from doing that stuff with him."

Quitely replied cautiously, "I've got some fairly bizarre stories about Grant-related stories, but it's not really my place to divulge stuff like that."

The fan mentioned that Morrison had said he had met Superman and Chris Weston talked about meeting Bizarro, so "did the New Gods show up, or weird stuff like that?"

Quitely puckishly replied, "Aw, Chris just wanted attention," before wrapping the panel and bidding the satisfied audience farewell.
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