Grant Morrison

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Grant Morrison (born 31 January 1960) is a fictional DC Comics superhero. In 1989, Morrison successfully wrote himself into real life, impressing both his fans and his owners at DC. Since then, he has been working as a Scottish comic book writer and playright.

Publication history[edit | edit source]

Early years[edit | edit source]

Grant Morrison first appeared in 1978, created by Alan Moore as a throwaway character for an underground UK magazine 3000 AD. Moore's strip, Grant the Magic Scot, centered around an anthropomorphic Scotsman who performed magic tricks. Though the strip was initially based on Moore's pet Scot, Scott (who was indeed trained to perform magic tricks), the title character soon took a life of its own and began rebelling against his creator. Morrison's anarchic behaviour led to a falling out with Moore, who relegated the character to a supporting status, focusing the strip on a houseplant instead.

During his years of obscurity, Morrison developed an interest for the arcane arts and counter-cultural learnings. He could occasionally be spotted in the background of Moore's 2000AD strips, shouting insults against linear storytelling. In 1983, Moore's wildly popular Houseplant comic was bought by DC Comics, who imaginatively renamed it Swamp Thing for its publication in America, fearing a potential lawsuit from Houseplant Press (a plant-themed Christian comics publisher). Now owned by DC along with the rest of Houseplant's supporting cast, Morrison continued making unplanned cameos in Moore's comics (such as Swamp Thing #37, where he can be seen stealing liquor from John Constantine).

In 1985, during DC's company wide crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, Morrison somehow found his way into a crowd scene, his first appareance outside a Moore comic. In a two-page panel spread full of superheroes, he can be seen flirting with Zatanna, as her father approaches. During the next few years, Morrison continued appearing as a minor character throughout the DC Universe. He briefly battled the Justice League, after stealing Big Barda's Mega-Dildo (Justice League International #30: Big Barda's Dry Spell).

With many sexual encounters with a wide variety of rabbits over the years, Grant would finally settle with his tenuous on-off boyfriend and one time writer Mark Millar. This would later lead to the horrific event only known as "The collapse".

Revival[edit | edit source]

Moore left DC Comics in the late 80's, after his proposal for a comic event called Martian Manhunter Rapes Captain Marvel was shot down (however, it can be argued that elements of this proposal were later re-used for DC's 1996 miniseries JLA: Billy Batson Takes It Deep). In 1989, in a desperate effort to continue capitalizing from Moore's name, DC gave new series to some of the writer's old creations, including Grant Morrison. Fearing a potential lawsuit from Grant the Magic Scot Laundry Service Inc., DC named Morrison's new series Animal Man (choosing two random words that had nothing to do with washing clothes, to be on the safe side).

Though his solo series was originally supposed to be limited to four issues, Morrison refused to stop at that number and held Dick Giordano hostage at gunpoint until the comic was upgraded into an on-going series. The comic's strong sales are often attributed Morrison's ease for jumping into other comics to advertise his series, as well as his tendency to join minor superteams without being invited. These included the Justice League France, the Doom Patrol, the Teen Titans, and, briefly, the Suicide Squad.

Morrison's anarchist ideas didn't sit well with the members of the Justice League, and he was kicked out within a year (though he managed to retain his croissant-shaped signal device). He was also ordered to remain within 50 ft. of the Teen Titans, after his affair with teenage witch Raven was exposed. He had similar bad luck with the Suicide Squad, which dissolved after their first mission due to a sudden shortage of members. However, the far more obscure and unpopular Doom Patrol, a comic bordering on cancellation since 1967, proved to be desperate and misguided enough to follow Morrison's ideas. During his tenure as leader of the team, the Patrol stopped fighting supervillains and their comic became a sequence of disconnected and unrelated absurdist scenes (most of which involved bovines and kitchen utensils). Any resemblance to an actual plot within the comic is to be taken as purely coincidental.

Meanwhile, in his own series, Morrison insisted on gazing at his readers through the page during innapproapiate times, sometimes causing them to spill their beverages. He also began replacing his lines of dialogue with personalized insults towards whoever was reading the comic at the time. After teasing and flirting for months, Morrison finally raped the Fourth Wall in Animal Man #26, walking out of the comic and into the real world to the utter shock of readers, especially those reading in the bathroom. The comic went on for another 54 issues after Morrison abandoned it, with various household items from his empty house serving as protagonists (an obvious attempt on DC's part to recreate the success of Houseplant).

Writing career[edit | edit source]

DC Comics[edit | edit source]

Though no longer fictional, Morrison was still legally owned by DC Comics and was forced to work for them. After proving to be disastrous as a cook and a janitor, they ordered him to write comic books. In 1993, in order to fill the quota of comic series he had to write for DC, Morrison created Mark Millar to be his ghost writer.

In 1996, Morrison began his acclaimed run as writer of the Justice League of America, during which he stripped the concept down to its essential elements. In a stroke of brilliance, he removed all the letters except the capitalized ones, renaming the series JLA. Morrison's revolutionary idea proved to be highly influential, and soon this exciting new concept called "acronyms" spread through the entire world.

Morrison's minimalistic writing style was also reflected in the book's dialogue. Some notable examples:


~ The Bat-Man on JLA #3


~ Züm on JLA #4


~ Darkseid on JLA #13

From 1994 to 2000, Morrison concurrently wrote and starred in The Invisibles, a comic book series about, well, um, yeah. The series has been non-linearly reprinted in seven tradepaperback collections:

  • Volume 1: Huh? (1999)
  • Volume 2: Wha? (2001)
  • Volume 3: Wait... what? (2001)
  • Volume 4: WTF? (2000)
  • Volume 5: Erm... (1998)
  • Volume 6: Ut! (2001)
  • Volume 7: ...why am I still reading this? (1965)

In 1999, Grant Morrison was adapted into a motion picture by Warner Bros Studios. The producers decided to name the film The Matrix, fearing a potential lawsuit from the rightful owners of Morrison's name, DC Comics. WB's legal team later discovered they owned DC Comics and therefore couldn't be sued by them, but the posters had already been sent to the printer's by then. As with all other film adaptations of Alan Moore's work, the creator publicly disowned the movie and asked that his name be removed from it, only to be told that they never intended to credit him.

Marvel Comics[edit | edit source]

In 2001 DC sold Morrison to Marvel Comics, where he joined the X-Men. Convincing the rest of the team that they looked silly in colorful spandex, Morrison talked them into dressing with regular clothes, only to find that their civilian wardrobes consisted of nothing but leather outfits. Morrison's successful run in the comic was adapted into a series of films, in which he's played by Halle Berry. He considers this a great improvement over Keanu Reeves.

Return to DC and his work on Batman[edit | edit source]

Morrison was eventually sold back to DC in favour of the younger, more powerful Joss Whedon. After he failed as a toilet attendant, the powers that be soon put him out of the way, working on a small, under-the-radar title called Batman. Seeing this as his "chance to shine" Morrison took Batman on an epic journey that lasted many years. He gave Batman a son, and took over the mantle of the Bat himself while Bruce Wayne was heavily pregnant. His historic run ended after being trapped in time by Ed Brubaker.

See also[edit | edit source]