Friday, June 29, 2012

For the Love of Comics: A Grant Morrison Story

Someone whose opinion I respect a ton told me to be honest but to be kind. To be less brutal and to be open and to be sure that what I'm saying isn't offensive. Isn't a bad thing. Isn't just shitting on something to shit on something.

Again, I respect his opinion immensely. And I agree.

I've been shitting on Grant Morrison a lot recently. I've been unfair. I've been pointing fingers. I've been doing a lot of nasty things. And I'll tell you why:

I'm jealous.

Jealousy rears it's ugly head in a lot of weird ways. And I'll be honest, I'm immensely jealous of Grant Morrison and his fanbase.

I've spoken a lot of nasty things or questioned his talents or spoke ill of him as a person or writer or talent or whatever you want to say. Here's the thing though:

I was a huge fan of Grant Morrison for a long time. Here's some of the stuff of his I've liked in no particular order:

New X-men
Animal Man
Doom Patrol
Joe the Barbarian
Arkham Asylum
All-Star Superman
Flex Mentallo
Marvel Boy

So am I a full-time all-around hater of Grant Morrison? I would say no. All of the above I own either some single issues of or trade paperbacks or hardcovers of. I've read his New X-men stuff about 10 times in hardcover and I've read his JLA in trades (the first 4 trades) about 5 or so times and All-Star Superman a few times as well.

So yeah, jealousy is a bitch. I'm glad my friend called me out on my shit.

But here's the thing: I do think that maybe it's a difference of opinion. It's not that I don't like his work because he works for DC. I'm not the biggest fan of the New DC 52 and I've been pretty vocal in my disappointment of that. I wanted to like it and I sampled a few but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't stick with some of them (though Flash is an incredible comic book by incredibly talented people).

I don't have any interest in Batman Inc and I didn't before the relaunch. I just don't get the appeal of a Batman who has a worldwide network of Batmen. It takes away from the mystique of Batman. It's cool that he has people all over the world that he's inspired, but an Outsiders style book would work in the same sense and wouldn't have to be bogged down as a corporation.

But again, I digress...

I'm jealous that Grant Morrison has the fanbase where people will spend upwards of $1200 to see him and hang out with him and hear him talk. I'm jealous that people want to hear his stories and want to pay him exorbitant amounts of money for his ideas and his plots. I wish I had that.

Now, I do think that he may have fallen into a holding pattern with his more mainstream work. It happened to Chris Claremont. It happened to John Byrne. It happened to Frank Miller. It's happened to a lot of the big name guys because their ego gets in the way or they get set in their ways. It happens to all of us. Hell, it happens to me when I'm hating instead of participating. Which is what I should be doing.

I'm just not interested in his Batman work. I wasn't interested in Batman and Son. I wasn't interested in RIP. I wasn't interested in Final Crisis or 52 or a bunch of the other stuff that he's done because they just didn't speak to me. And I love Batman. I'm going to the Dark Knight Trilogy in IMAX in spite of the fact that I own 2 of the 3 movies on Blu-ray and have seen the first two in theaters probably about 12 times total (8 for DK and 5 for BB). I love Dark Victory and Haunted Knight and Long Halloween and City of Crime and Under the Red Hood and Man who Laughs and Year One and Year 100 and Dark Knight Returns and Gotham after Midnight and Hush and quite a few others. I loved Snyder's Detective run with Dick Grayson as Batman.

But I just couldn't get excited about Grant's run on Batman. I'm not excited about Batman Inc.

What I am excited about is Happy from Image. I'm excited to see if he can shed some of the corporate weight that might have bogged down his writing and just soar with a new crazy idea. I'm worried it might turn out to be Filth again but I'm hoping it might be Flex Mentallo or We3 again. I don't know what to expect because I haven't seen much for it, but who knows? It could be crazy.

I just don't get it. I think it's fantastic that Isotope is putting his show on. I think it's something that could get people really excited about comics, but I'm worried it's too pricey for the common fan and it would just be crazy rich people and super-obsessed fans of his.

That's all well and good when you have money, but again, jealousy rears it's ugly, huge, angry head when you can't pay your bills and everything is pressing down and just shoveling you off into the dark ether of being pissed off all hours of the day.

But this is about Grant Morrison. I need to take my friend's advice and another well-known writer's advice and stop hating and start criticizing. What don't I like about Grant Morrison's Batman comics? I think they're too steeped in trying to harken back to old stories. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Batman comic that wasn't hindered by 70 years of continuity and instead leapt into the future headlong?

Like Batman Beyond? Just move forward. Keep moving. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can use this newfound hope for comics and newfound attempts at participating more in the creation and love of comics and less about the anger and just vitriol that doesn't need to be spewed.

This might be an ongoing blog topic. A comic creator and what they used to mean to me and what I hope they might some day mean to me again. That might be fun.


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