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Grant Morrison won the internet yesterday

Grant Morrison's Xanaduum newsletter is turning out to be quite the thing

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Story by Dylan Horrocks, art by Jessica Abel, colors by Matt Madden; from Bizzaro #1

When Substack’s new slew of newsletters was announced a few weeks ago, I have to admit, some folks I spoke with pooh-poohed Grant Morrison’s effort – something freaky called Xanaduum, that seemed to be launching with dusted off excerpts of Morrison’s diaries and art efforts.

While I submit that even that would be riveting reading, Morrison’s recent “SUPERMAN and THE AUTHORITY annotations” woke people up in a hurry. I guarantee that everyone in comics was reading this one yesterday morning, a riveting personal history of the scuttled 5G launch that was the biggest thing in comics before COVID came calling. Morrison was pouring salt right into the tea and it was glorious.

Morrison specifically says not to reproduce excerpts from the newsletter without permission, but that didn’t work very well yesterday with everyone, myself included, screenshotting their favorite bits.

Anyway, my OWN passage of delight was this (and sorry I just HAVE TO CUT N PASTE IT, just this once.)

Concurrent plans existed to push Supergirl in an increasingly fascistic direction for reasons that made scant sense to me.  

Why, I say, oh why, is it so hard to simply serve the concept and write the adventures of a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers? What purpose earthly or unearthly is served by making this character an embittered space tyrant?

When I brought the Maid of Might into the Final Crisis series, my take was very much inspired by the Dylan Horrocks/Jessica Abel story from 2002’s Bizarro Comics anthology book – in my opinion quite simply the greatest Supergirl comic ever. If any version of Supergirl should serve as a template for the character moving forward, this is the one…

WHY WHY WHY indeed.

Far from a once relevant Boomer’s maunderings, Xanaduum is supersharp writing about superheroes, and let’s face it, Morrison is just a great writer who can make almost any topic crackle with possibility. As I’ve probably mentioned more times than necessary, the last time I interviewed them, Morrison admitted that they had done pretty much all there is to do in comics – no dream projects left. Of course, there was still Green Lantern and Substack, and the latter is has turned out to be pretty dreamy indeed – at least for fans.

OK ONE MORE QUOTE, okay Grant? Their description of the plight of the aging rebel is spot on, even when it turns out to be you:

I’d always considered my work in comics as a kind of live performance where the feedback was nearly instantaneous – but the cheers of the crowd were being replaced by a clearing of throats, a shuffling of feet, and although punctuated by the odd half-hearted ‘yay’, it was clear that ‘Wednesday Warrior’ readers of DC superhero titles were less and less interested in what I had to sell.

Meanwhile younger creators who had grown up absorbing the lessons of my work were rendering me obsolete or refining my approach into an easily reproducible house style.

Having prepared myself for this sudden glide into verse 3 of Momus’ hilariously ultra-bleak and medicated song The Vaudevillian, it seemed like the right time to move on from regular superhero comics, leave space on the stage for younger bands, and focus instead on work that provided fresh challenges.

OKAY that is it, I promise. I will never ever quote from Xanaduum again. In atonement, a plug: all of this giddy stuff comes with the free subscription, but $10 gets you an unimaginable even more. 

Anyway, the mention of that Abel/Horrocks story led me to some Twitter convos with both – and in another phone conversation with an industry vet we marvelled at how you could NEVER do Bizarro* or Strange Tales in today’s corporate comics world. And that is so sad. LET CHUCK FORSMAN WRITE SPIDER-MAN, MARVEL! Let Supergirl be a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers. Let Grant Morrison be Grant Morrison -– well we don’t really need to do anything on that score. They are are doing a fine job of it all by themself.

  • Although Bizarro, DC’s foray into indie comics stars doing DC superheroes, was created under the odd rule that no one could write and draw a story because of the bizarre (yes) belief of a DC higher up that someone writing and drawing a DC character without being incorporated might mean they would own the copyright to the character, or something like that. These were times.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! I discovered Morrison back in 1996 when he launched JLA. That lead me to pick up their Vertigo Doom Patrol back issues and some other, prior DC work. I’ve bought and read I’d say a good 80 percent of their DC work. And while maybe they are no longer the “hot” and “now” creator they once were, their comics still have all of that magic — the creativity, the energy, the optimism, the anti-grim and gritty-ness, the love of continuity/past stories — I’ve come to expect. Likely because I’ve obviously aged along with them, it is sad to see them write about, as you put it, “the plight of the aging rebel.” I did not really understand why there was not more buzz around their recent Green Lantern run, for example, or even Superman and the Authority. And it also makes me sad to think that possibly the DCU has seen the last of Morrison or, at the very least, they and I will have aged several more years before their return…

  2. Love his run on X-Men in the early 2000 and to me one of the best comic writer who did not change for this fuck up woke comicverse!!

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