batmanOfZurEnArrh.jpg Grant Morrison, from a PW Comics Week interview, talking about his recent run on BATMAN which references “old stories and obscure Tibetan Buddhist practices you have to look up on Wikipedia”:

“I had the idea to develop an approach to comic narrative that would actually benefit from becoming entangled in internet fan speculation, gossip and research…

I’ve always liked to leave resonant spaces, gaps and hints in stories, where readers can do their own work and find clues or insert their own wild and often brilliant theories. I’m often trying to create a kind of fuzzy quantum uncertainty or narrative equivalent of a Rorschach Blot Test effect, which invites interpretation. Lazier readers hate when I do this but fortunately they seem to be in the minority.”

Meanwhile, Morrison’s DC stablemate Greg Rucka talks to CBR about writing ACTION COMICS and how a shared superhero universe ideally encourages fans to pick up other books to fill in some of those blanks:

“Right now, at least for now, the goal is for every book to have its own independent story. And then you can see how they all interrelate, if you wish. Now there will be crossover stories, but I would resent like hell if I was a fan and I had to read every Superman book. Ideally, you’re going to pick it up and enjoy what you are reading and say, “Wow, they’re talking about Allura, who is Kara’s mother. Maybe, I should pick up ‘Supergirl?’ There is something going on with the Science Police, I wonder what James is doing in ‘Superman?’”

Curious readers and interconnected stories can be good for a publisher’s bottom-line. Here’s Morrison again, on the effects of referencing those obscure Batman stories in his current run:

“This all-encompassing take on the material also gave some overlooked old adventures a new relevance and in doing so drew attention to DC’s entire Batman back catalogue by transforming every neglected old story into a potential goldmine of clues towards the psychology of Batman or the identity of his nemesis!”

Posted by Aaron Humphrey


  1. “I had the idea to develop an approach to comic narrative that would actually benefit from becoming entangled in internet fan speculation, gossip and research…”

    Translation: Rather than actually telling a story, I thought I’d just post the equivalent of a rough story outline, and then force the readers to employ their own fanfic-writing abilities to finish the story for me.

    The sad thing is, Morrison is not the only one who pulls this bullshit. How many major Marvel storylines have had to be explained in ONLINE INTERVIEWS rather than in THE ACTUAL STORIES THEMSELVES? That’s pretty much been the entire BASIS of Spider-Man’s continuity, post-OMD.

  2. It does seem entirely possible now to follow the big events in the DC and Marvel universes simply by reading interviews and occasional scans on comics blogs. Sometimes it seems like Newsarama and CBR cover those events as thoroughly as CNN and MSNBC cover real-world news, and I know there are fans who don’t read the actual comics but keep up to date by just reading the news, reviews and interviews.
    In a way, I think this means that the Big Two’s superhero universes are already moving to the Internet, whether they intend them to or not.

  3. In a way, it’s a lot like how longtime wrestling fans have given up watching the TV shows, but know everything that’s happening by reading the net or the wrestling newsletters.

  4. In the same vein, I had a friend who kept up with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager for years solely by following newsgroups (remember those?) and not watching the shows themselves.

  5. When I no longer had the budget to buy all the X-books while in college, I kept up with them almost solely from reading Paul O’Brien’s reviews. And still do, mostly, unless a story sounds particularly good (like Peter David’s X-Factor).

  6. “”“I had the idea to develop an approach to comic narrative that would actually benefit from becoming entangled in internet fan speculation, gossip and research…””

    So Grant finally made _us_ part of the story? I think he might have achieved his goal of making the DCU a living thing in spite of itself.

  7. It the degenerate nature (in regards to storytelling not the editors chasing their sub-editors around the office with a strap-on) of big two comics

    “We are only writing for the hardcore anyway, I don’t need to explain who those characters are or their motivation, they can get it on-line”

  8. “This poorly structured execution of this weak, over-hyped and inevitably overturned “event” storyline also drew attention to deservedly forgotten old adventures and in doing so reminded us of the half-assed stories from DC’s Batman back catalogue that we’d all rather forget. By transforming every slap-dash neglected old yarn into a potential headache of clues towards the psychology of Batman or the identity of his nemesis, readers were put off this work in the same way their enthusiasm for Final Crisis was discouraged!”

  9. Just looking at Mr. Morrison’s picture in the link back to the PW interview…
    he kinda looks like Patrick Stewart in that image. Maybe you have to squint your eyes just a bit…

  10. From the PW interview:
    “In my JLA stories, I popularized the idea of the healthy, Zen-warrior Batman as an alternative to the slightly-hysterical, obsessed and violent portrayal of the character that had gained ground.”

    I always liked this Batman. It’s pretty close to the Batman of the new “Brave and the Bold” series which my son and I both enjoy.

    My favorite bit of the “Zen-warrior Batman” has to be when the JLA goes up against Gorilla Grodd in the first issues of “JLA Confidential”; Batman is captured by Grodd, so Grodd ties Batman to a rotisserie over a huge fire! Holy roasted chicken, Batman! I flashed back to my days of watching the old Adam West Batman series and just had to know how this one turned out! Classic, delightful stuff.

  11. K-Box nails it. Morrison should take his paycheck and send part of it to the readers of FINAL CRISIS, because he largely relies on them to fill in the parts of his story that he can’t be bothered with.