Grant Morrison, earlier this year
Grant Morrison, earlier this year

by Laura Sneddon

Over the last few weeks, my good friend Pádraig Ó Méalóid has been writing a series of articles about Alan Moore and Superfolks, which became an edgeways look at the long running friction between Moore and fellow writer, Grant Morrison. While Moore has previously spoken out about his thoughts on Morrison in various interviews, Morrison has generally kept quiet on the issue. There have been occasional barbs of course, and plenty of praise, but very little on the actual facts of the matter.

The popularity of Pádraig’s articles perhaps suggests there is a demand for such information however, and many of the comments certainly demonstrate a lack of adequate knowledge of the facts. Now who could possibly shine a light on this topic…? Ah, hang on, I know just the fella.

Behold then, a remix edition of Alan Moore and Superfolks Part 3: The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, where we cut and splice the original article – with Pádraig’s blessing I hasten to add! – with Grant Morrison’s own voice. Some bright hard fact-saliva, as one man would put it, and it is sorely needed. Whatever your stance on Moore, Morrison-bashing is rather rife, and quite unfair when you are aware of both sides of the story.

As to my own credentials, I have interviewed both men more than once in the past, and enjoy many of the works of both, but have had very different experiences with the two men on both a personal and professional level. I freely admit then my bias towards Morrison, as Pádraig does for Moore. But enough of me, let’s get on with the remix. All Grant’s words are in red font for ease of reading:

Hope the following rather massive info-dump helps clarify a few things. I also hope this may explain why I’ve sometimes felt myself to be the victim of a genuine grudge that seems quite staggering in its sincerity and longevity. Reading the comments section following “The Strange Case of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison” I can’t help but note how heavily my detractors rely on a total lack of research, gross distortions of historical fact, and playground name-calling to support their alleged points.

Not that I expect this to make much difference but the opportunity to separate fact from fantasy is a welcome one. Pádraig quotes from Alan Moore discussing me during a webchat earlier this year without challenging even the most obvious and basic of the many historical inaccuracies and contradictions in Moore’s assertions. In fact, Moore’s recollections are completely unreliable and I wouldn’t mind having some facts put on record, once and for all.

Thanks to Pádraig for allowing me to respond directly to his piece and to Laura for bringing it to my attention and offering me space on The Beat to get some things off my medal-heavy chest.

Originally, when I set out to look into the various allegations about Alan Moore and Robert Mayer’s Superfolks, I thought it was going to be a comparatively straightforward piece to write. Just read the book, find out what people had said, and attempt to match the two of them up together. What could be easier, I asked myself? Ten thousand words and nearly a year later, I find that I could not have been more wrong. However, doing the research is at least half the fun, I’ve always said. Much of the fascination of writing about things like this is that you never know what you’re going to find out. And one of the things that I found out was that I really needed to know more about the animosity between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, as it seemed to be a constantly recurring aspect of the story of Moore and Superfolks.

So, to go back to where I started, back to the beginning of the piece called Alan Moore and Superfolks: Part 1 – The Case for the Prosecution, there’s that piece from Grant Morrison’s Drivel column in Speakeasy #111 (July 1990), where he talks about reading Superfolks, and makes it really quite clear that he thinks – or pretends to think – that Alan Moore plundered the book for ideas. But this isn’t by any means the beginning of their – for want of a better word – relationship.

But what is the beginning of that relationship? There are two different versions of this, depending on who you listen to.

Not entirely. One “version” is supported by incontrovertible facts and verifiable research. The other relies on demonstrable errors. Beginning with the latter –

So, first there’s Alan Moore’s version of events, which I’ve transcribed from the webchat he did for the Harvey Pekar statue Kickstarter. One of the questioners asked,

You are somewhat surprisingly not the only acclaimed comics writer from the UK to also be a vocal magician. Obviously I’m talking about Grant Morrison here, who has never been terribly shy about his views on you or your work. Can we possibly draw you out on your views of him and his work?

To which Moore replied,

Well, let me see… The reason I haven’t spoken about Grant Morrison generally is because I’m not very interested in him, and I don’t really want to get involved with a writer of his calibre in some sort of squabble. But, for the record, since you asked: the first time I met him, he was an aspiring comics writer from Glasgow, I was up there doing a signing or something. They asked if I could perhaps – if they could invite a local comics writer who was a big admirer of mine along to the dinner. So I said yeah. This was I think the only time that I met him to speak to. He said how much he admired my work, how it had inspired him to want to be a comics writer. And I wished him the best of luck, I told him I’d look out for his work. When I saw that work in 2000 AD I thought ‘Well, this seems as if it’s a bit of a cross between Captain Britain and Marvelman, but that’s probably something that he’ll grow out of.’ –

Let’s start with “an aspiring writer…”

The usually well-informed Moore’s grasp of the facts is a little shaky here but the truth is well documented and, as can be quickly verified, my first professionally published comic book work “Time Is A Four-Letter Word” appeared in the independent adult sci-fi comic “Near Myths” in October 1978 (written and drawn by me, the story was/is, amusingly enough, based around the simultaneity of time concept Alan Moore himself is so fond of these days and which informs his in-progress novel “Jerusalem”). By 1979, I was also contributing stories on a regular basis to DC Thomson’s ‘Starblazer’ series and I’d begun a three year stint writing and drawing ‘Captain Clyde’, a weekly half-page newspaper strip about a lo-fi “realistic” Glasgow superhero. “Captain Clyde” ran in three newspapers. I was even a guest on panels at comics conventions. 


In October 1978, Alan Moore had sold one illustration – a drawing of Elvis Costello to NME – and had not yet achieved any recognition in the comics business. In 1979, he was doing unpaid humour cartoons for the underground paper “The Back Street Bugle”. I didn’t read his name in a byline until 1982, by which time I’d been a professional writer for almost five years. Using the miracle of computer technology, you can verify any of these dates right now, if you choose to. 

It’s true that Moore’s work in “Warrior” and “The Daredevils”, combined with the rising excitement of the early ’80s comics boom in Britain, galvanized me into refocusing and taking my existing comics career more seriously at a time (1982) when the music career I’d tried to pursue was spinning in circles but I hope even the most devoted of his readers might understand why I’ve grown tired of the widely-accepted, continually-reinforced belief that Moore’s work either predated my own or that he inspired or encouraged me to enter the comics field when it’s hardly a chore to fact-check the relevant publication dates.

So I’ll repeat until maybe one day it sticks; I was already a professional writer/artist in the late ’70s, doing work-for-hire at DC Thomson alongside “creator-owned” sci-fi and superhero comics. This was at the same time as people like Bryan Talbot, Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy, and Brett Ewins, making us some of the earliest exemplars of the British new wave. If Alan Moore had never come along, if he’d given up halfway through his ground-breaking turn on “St. Pancras Panda”, we would all still have written and drawn our comics. We published our own fanzines, and small press outlets were popping up everywhere. “2000 AD” was at a peak. Marvel UK was in a period of expansion and innovation. I’d already submitted art and story samples several times to both DC and Marvel, along with a pitch for a crossover entitled “Second Coming” to DC’s New Talent Programme in 1982. I was on the files and I didn’t stop angling for work. DC would have found all of us, with or without Alan Moore, who seems curiously unable or unwilling to acknowledge that he was part of a spontaneous movement not its driving force or sole font of creativity. 

– It was on that basis that I recommended him to Karen Berger when she was starting [indecipherable speech – Vertigo?]. –

It’s hard not to be a little insulted by Moore’s comments that he recommended me to Karen Berger for, what he has described on more than one occasion, and with a fairly extravagant degree of solipsistic self-regard, as a “proposed Alan Moore farm with Vertigo Comics”, seemingly unable to imagine veteran writers like Peter Milligan, me and others as anything more than extensions of his own self-image. See here-

– or here –

However, as five minutes research will confirm, the Vertigo imprint was established in 1993, by which time Alan Moore had fallen out with DC over the “For Mature Readers” ratings system and quit doing new work for them (I believe his split with DC occurred in 1987). I had already been working there for six years doing “Animal Man”, “Doom Patrol”, “Arkham Asylum”, “Gothic”, “Hellblazer” and “Kid Eternity”. I had a good relationship with Karen Berger and was a fairly obvious choice for her to call when she conceived the Vertigo imprint. No other recommendation was necessary. It ought to go without saying that none of us were told to write like Alan Moore – nor did we – and that this is an out-and-out lie. 

Far more significantly, much of the material that fed into early Vertigo was originated by the creators and by Editor Art Young for the proposed Touchmark imprint of creator-owned adult comics he’d been assigned to put together under the aegis of Disney, of all things. Coincidentally gay-themed series like Peter Milligan’s “Enigma” and my own “Sebastian 0” – which actually grew out of a pitch for a revamp of IPC’s “Janus Stark” character – were commissioned by Art for publication at Touchmark, not by Karen Berger. When Touchmark experienced a failure to launch, Art was re-hired by DC and brought his portfolio of projects to Vertigo. At no point was Alan Moore involved in any of this.

 Again, why the fibs, other than to reinforce once more the fantasy of me – and indeed every other Vertigo writer – in a junior or subordinate position to himself?

As Moore points out, the work I did on “Zenith” 25 years ago can trace a little – not all – of its influence to “Marvelman” and “Captain Britain” both of which I loved; my own introduction to the first volume of “Zenith”, published in 1988, admits as much, while also listing the book’s many other touchstones. 

– Then there started a kind of, a strange campaign of things in fanzines where he was expressing his opinions of me, as you put it. He later explained this as saying that when he started writing, he felt that he wasn’t famous enough, and that a good way of becoming famous would be to say nasty things about me. Which I suppose is a tactic – although not one that, of course, I’m likely to appreciate. So at that point I decided, after I’d seen a couple of his things and they seemed incredibly derivative, I just decided to stop bothering reading his work. And that’s largely sort of proven successful. But, there still seems to be this kind of [indecipherable speech] that I know. –

I don’t believe I ever tried to get “famous” by insulting Alan Moore. It doesn’t seem the most likely route to celebrity.

The commercial work I was doing in the early 1980s wasn’t much like the kind of material I wrote and drew for myself, or for indie publication. To get work with Marvel UK and “2000AD” I suppressed my esoteric and surrealist tendencies and tried to imitate popular styles – in order to secure paying jobs in the comics mainstream. There is a reason those pieces were written in a vaguely Alan Moore-ish style and it’s because I was trying to sell to companies who thought Moore was the sine qua non of the bees knees and those stories were my take on what I figured they were looking for. I also did a good Chris Claremont and a semi-passable Douglas Adams. My personal work from the same time is written in a very different style, and is more in the vein of ‘Doom Patrol’ or ‘The Invisibles’. You don’t have to take my word for this: it can be verified by looking at the ‘Near Myths’ material or stuff like the “Famine” strip in “Food For Thought” from 1985. It can even be gleaned by looking at the clear difference between the first four “Animal Man” issues and the fifth – “The Coyote Gospel” story Pádraig mentions – and subsequent issues.


Doing my own approximation of the “in” style to get gigs on Marvel UK books was, I thought, a demonstration of my range, versatility and adaptability to trends, not the declaration of some singular influence it has subsequently been distorted into over four decades – mostly by Alan Moore and his supporters, in what can sometimes feel like a never-ending campaign to undermine my personal achievements and successes and to cast me, at all times, in a subsidiary role to the Master. 

Furthermore to suggest, as Moore does, that subsequent work of mine, including the balance of “Animal Man”, “Doom Patrol”, “Flex Mentallo”, “JLA”, “The Invisibles”, “New X-Men”, “Seven Soldiers”, “Batman”, “All-Star Superman” etc. was equally indebted to “Captain Britain” and “Marvelman” means either one of two things: that he’s read the work in question and is again deliberately distorting the facts for reasons known only to himself – or that he hasn’t read it at all, in which case he’s in no position to comment surely?

(I do know that Alan Moore has read a lot more of my work than he pretends to – one of his former collaborators quite innocently revealed as much to me a few years ago, confirming my own suspicions – but until Moore himself comes clean about it that will have to remain in the realm of hearsay.)

– And, as far as I know, he’s the only bone of contention between me and Michael Moorcock. Michael Moorcock is a sweet sweet man – I believe he has only ever written one letter of complain to a publisher over the appropriation of his work, that was to DC Comics over Grant Morrison, so the only bone of contention between me and Michael Moorcock is which of us Grant Morrison is ripping off the most. I say that it’s Michael Moorcock, he says it’s me. We’ve nearly come to blows over it, but I’m reluctant to let it go that far, because, I’m probably more nimble than Moorcock – I’ve got a few years on him, I’m probably faster, but Moorcock is huge, he’s like a bear. He could just like take my arm off with one sweep of his paw, so we’ll let that go undecided for the moment. But, those are pretty much my thoughts on Grant Morrison, and hopefully now I’ve explained that I won’t have to mention his name again.

Why would he feel qualified, on the basis of the “couple” of things of mine he claims to have read a long time ago, to insist that not only do I rip him off on a regular basis but his friend Michael Moorcock too? Can anyone tell me from which Michael Moorcock novels “Zenith” and “Animal Man” were plagiarized? (And if Moorcock made any complaints to DC in the ’90s, I never heard about them. I had no idea there was any beef with Moorcock until Pop Image’s Jonathan Ellis drew my attention to it in 2004). 

As an important aside in this discussion, Moorcock’s spurious allegations of creative theft are based on exactly TEN pages of material in issues 17-19 of “The Invisibles”. These pages were explicitly presented as a Moorcock pastiche – or more strictly a pastiche of my own Gideon Stargrave stories from “Near Myths”, which were heavily but not entirely influenced by Moorcock and J.G Ballard – occurring in the head of the fictional character King Mob. King Mob actually talks about his obsession with Jerry Cornelius within the story and I reference Moorcock’s work as an inspiration for these pages in the letters column of issue 17.

Not content with deliberately misinterpreting a mere ten pages of my fifteen hundred page comic series, Moorcock – this “sweet, sweet man” – continues to this day to jeer and spit abuse. Here’s Alan Moore’s mate Michael Moorcock –

– describing me as “a sticky-fingered tea leaf” (!) and talking about having me “duffed over”.

“I’ve read the work of Grant Morrison twice. Once when I wrote it. Once when he wrote it. As far as I’m concerned my image of Grant Morrison is of someone wearing a mask, a flat hat and a striped jersey and carrying a bag marked SWAG.”


Leaving aside his own appropriation of entire swathes of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Harry Blyth, Moorcock fails to convince that he’s read any aspect of my “work” even once, let alone twice. He has so far failed to back up the casual slander with any actual evidence or examples of when he found the time to write “The Invisibles”, “St. Swithin’s Day”, “The New Adventures of Hitler”, “We3”, “The Filth”, “Kill Your Boyfriend”, “Mystery Play”, “Seaguy” or “Joe the Barbarian” to name just a few. In a 34-year career, I’ve also written long-running DC and Marvel series, plays, screenplays, video games, short stories and a book; all of which, if Michael Moorcock is to be believed, were written by him. Except for the bits I stole from Alan Moore!

Allow me to demonstrate how easy it is to play this dangerous game:

I’ll start by pointing out how various interviews in which I talked about my practice of Chaos Magic during the 1980s and early ’90s clearly played into Alan Moore’s decision to declare himself a magician in 1993. Next, with censorious authority, I’ll point to my own “Doom Patrol” #53 and claim it gave him the idea for his “1963” project at Image, released a year later. I’ll suggest that Moore’s take on “Supreme” was a lot more like my take on “Animal Man” than “Zenith” was like “Marvelman” or “Captain Britain” – The Supremacy in “Supreme” is a fairly blatant copy of the Comic Book Limbo concept I introduced in “Animal Man” seven years earlier and the Moore book’s wider meta-fictional concerns also covered territory well-trodden by “Animal Man”. “LOEG: Century” with its apocalypse/moonchild plot occurring over three time periods cannot help but recall the apocalypse/moonchild plotline running over three time periods in “The Invisibles” fifteen years previously – with Orlando playing the Lord Fanny role, if you fancy. I could go on and on here, with “convincing” examples, but you get the idea. I’ll wind up with some condescending comment about how I figured he’d grow out of the rip-off magic and metafiction nonsense then wryly conclude that there’s not much chance of that now he’s nudging 60.

The above is at least as plausible as Alan Moore’s outlandish attempts to claim that my entire career rests on two stories he wrote 30 years ago.

As Ed Brubaker pointed out in the comments section of Part 2 of Pádraig’s series of articles, all writers are influenced by all kinds of things, including one another, all the time. The wider issues around plagiarism, influence, ownership and appropriation – especially in the context of the “IP”-driven corporate vision of creativity – are definitely worth further discussion but I’d like to keep this narrowed down to Pádraig’s essay and specifically Alan Moore’s comments about me.

However, as evidence that I’m not alone before the jury, Moore has charged and found guilty the entire mainstream comics industry of living off his leftovers for 30 years here –

– and in other interviews which relentlessly position his own oeuvre as the source of all our Niles. No-one would begrudge him his own obvious influences if he didn’t feel compelled to lecture the rest of us from a moral high ground he occupies dishonestly –

Moore includes Geoff Johns among the “parasites” and “raccoons” rooting through his trash. Why? Because Johns seasoned his own epic expansion of the Green Lantern mythos with a couple of minor elements from Moore’s Green Lantern short story “Tygers” (1986) – a story that was itself created to make sense of a plot hole in the 1959 Green Lantern origin by Gardner Fox!

So, in fact, both Moore and Johns were simply doing their work-for-hire jobs by adding to and expanding upon the many-authored quilt that is DC, and specifically Green Lantern, continuity. In a shared narrative universe, such as those of DC or Marvel, any element introduced into the continuity surely becomes part of the backstory and is therefore available to other writers to build upon or incorporate. Johns’ Green Lantern work and the “Blackest Night” story in particular would have worked as well without any reference to “Tygers”, in fact. Why the sneering, dehumanizing putdown? Who chastises a man for the unspeakable crime of synthesizing prior elements of Green Lantern’s back story into his own fresh and personal creative vision for the character, m’lud?

Would Moore have appreciated a comparison to vermin snuffling among Gardner Fox’s garbage for treats when he brought Fox’s Floronic Man back from the archives to feature in a “Swamp Thing” (Len Wein’s trash!) story? What obsessive snouting around in the municipal tip does “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” reduce to if we regard Alan Moore’s endeavours through the same unforgiving lens he applies to Geoff Johns’ work?

Geoff Johns like the rest of us, has his own identifiable obsessions as a writer. He has his own interests, his own points of view, and his own way of articulating his ideas via his chosen medium. I know for a fact that Geoff has seen and done and endured things in his life that Alan Moore is unlikely ever to experience, yet Moore automatically brands him creatively bankrupt and tries to insists that Johns’ imagination is so low on fuel, it relies for sustenance on his own. If I can speak up for a friend, Geoff Johns, like the rest of us, like anyone who picks up a pen to earn a living, has plenty to say and, with all respect, he doesn’t need Alan Moore’s help to say it.

Excuse the fit of editorializing there. It had to happen. Let’s return to the facts in this “Strange Case” –

The other version of the story comes from Patrick Meaney’s Talking with Gods documentary, where Morrison says,

I remember reading V for Vendetta and thinking, this is what I wanted to do, this is the way comics should be. One of the first things I did was go down to see Dez Skinn in London, the publisher of Warrior I had taking this story, which was a Kid Marvelman spec script, and he bought it straight away so, again, that was a really good jump for me. Then Alan Moore had it spiked, and said it was never to be published. Thus began our slight antagonism, which has persisted until this very day. They asked me to continue Marvelman because Moore had fallen out with everyone in the magazine, and taken away his script, and they said ‘Would you follow this up?’ And to me that was just like, oh my God – the idea of getting to do Marvelman, following Alan Moore, ‘I’m the only person in the world who’d really do this right,’ and I was well up for it. I didn’t want to do it without Moore’s permission, and I wrote to him and said, ‘They’ve asked me to do this, but obviously I really respect you work, and I wouldn’t want to mess anything up, but I don’t want anyone else to do it, and mess it up.’ And he sent me back this really weird letter, and I remember the opening of it, it said, ‘I don’t want this to sound like the softly hissed tones of a mafia hitman, but back off.’ And the letter was all, ‘but you can’t do this,’ you know, ‘we’re much more popular than you, and if you do this, your career will be over,’ and it was really quite threatening, you know, so I didn’t do it, but I ended up doing some little bit of work for Warrior.

It’s hard to put exact dates on either of these versions, but presumably Moore’s story happened before Morrison’s, and, given that Morrison’s story refers to Moore having stopped writing Marvelman for Warrior this puts the date at some point between August 1984, when Moore’s last Marvelman story appeared, in Warrior #21, and February 1985, when Warrior #26, the last issue, came out, – containing the Morrison-scripted “The Liberators: Night Moves” incidentally. So the meeting in Glasgow between Moore and Morrison must have happened at some point between the first issue of Warrior in March 1982 and Moore’s last story, in August 1984. The exact timing in possibly not that important, but I like to nail these things down if I can!

The timing is very important because Moore met me not once but many times – the first at a comic mart in Glasgow’s McLellan Galleries (in ’83, I think) when I gave him a copy of my music fanzine “Bombs Away Batman!” which contained positive reviews of his strips in “Warrior” and “2000AD”. The second time was at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow in 1984 where I recommended William McIllvaney’s “Laidlaw” novels to him. On both occasions, and whatever he may have thought then or now, I was not an ‘aspiring writer’ but a many times published one, as can easily be checked.

In the company of Bryan Talbot, I spoke briefly with Moore again at a comic convention in Birmingham in 1986, by which time we had corresponded on the subject of “Marvelman”, and when we met for a fourth time at the dinner he semi-recalls (in Glasgow during the “Watchmen” Graphitti Editions tour in 1987, when he and Dave Gibbons signed a copy of their book for my mum), I was a full-time professional, working for “2000 AD” – and DC too by that point – not an aspiring writer (I also met and spoke with him after that – the last time we were in a room together was at the Angouleme comics festival in 1990 but by then he would no longer communicate with me, even by semaphore). 

When Moore says “They asked if I could perhaps – if they could invite a local comics writer who was a big admirer of mine along to the dinner.”, the careful, self-aggrandizing, phrasing suggests not only that Moore had no idea who I was but that some special privilege had been accorded me when, in fact, the meal was organized by John McShane, who ran AKA Books and Comics in Glasgow at the time. I spent two afternoons a week hanging around John’s shop talking comics, and as a friend and a fellow professional who knew Moore and respected his work, he naturally invited me along to the dinner as a guest. This mysterious “local comics writer” was, in fact, someone Alan Moore knew, had met, and had even exchanged letters with previously, as outlined above. A fellow professional, in fact.

I remember talking to him about becoming a vegetarian – ‘sometimes you can’t live with the contradictions, Grant’… – which suggests I’d started work on “Animal Man”. I kept detailed diaries from 1978 – 93 and I can check the exact dates but “Arkham Asylum” was also written in 1987. I was far from up-and-coming at the point in time Moore cites.Why the made-up stories about me?

Meanwhile, Morrison’s own star was on the rise. He started writing Zenith for 2000 AD in August 1987, after various other work here and there in UK comics, and this was his breakthrough work. I didn’t come across him myself until later on, when he was writing Animal Man for DC Comics, and still think that The Coyote Gospel from Animal Man #5 is one of the single best things ever put on a page, by anyone. It was during this time that Morrison, as Moore put it, had ‘a strange campaign of things in fanzines where he was expressing his opinions of me […]. He later explained this as saying that when he started writing, he felt that he wasn’t famous enough, and that a good way of becoming famous would be to say nasty things about me’ Morrison himself refers to this too, in his book Supergods where he says,

High-contrast Western manga art by my Zoids partner Steve Yeowell made Zenith’s world a frantic modernist blur of speed lines and contemporary fashions and haircuts. We announced to the world that Zenith was intended to be as dumb, sexy, and disposable as an eighties pop single: Alan Moore remixed by Stock Aitken Waterman. Keeping all the self-awareness outside the story, we used interviews and forewords to admit to our sources. In them we praised creative theft and plagiarism, quoted the French playwright Antonin Artaud and sneeringly suggested that the likes of Watchmen were pompous, stuffy, and buttock-clenchingly dour. The shock tactics I’d brought with me from the music world, delivered with the snotty whippet-thin snideness of the hipster, had helped me carve out a niche for myself as comics’ enfant terrible, and Steve was happy to play along as the handsome nice one with nothing controversial to say.

My public persona was punk to the rotten core. Outspoken and mean spirited, I freely expressed contempt for the behind-the-scenes world of comics professionals, which seemed unglamorous and overwhelmingly masculine by comparison to the club and music scenes. My life was rich, and my circle of friends and family was secure enough that I could afford to play a demonic role at work. Reading interviews from the time makes my blood run cold these days, but the trash talk seemed to be working, and I was rapidly making a name for myself. Being young, good-looking, and cocky forgave many sins, a huge hit British superhero strip did the rest and proved I could back up the big talk

Talking about this more recently, in David Bishop’s Thrill-Power Overload: Thirty Years of 2000 AD (Rebellion, UK, June 2007), –

Sorry to interrupt here, but an interview from 2007 can’t have appeared “more recently” than the extract from “Supergods”, published in 2011, without the aid of string theory.

– Morrison recalls being asked by the editorial people at 2000 AD to come up with an idea for a British superhero strip, he said,

[Zenith] was very much a reaction against torment superheroes. Dark Knight is a brilliant piece of Reagan-era fiction and Watchmen is very, very clever in its architecture, but both books felt pompous and concept albumy to me as a young man in the 80s. I wanted to do something a little less self conscious perhaps, or to align myself with a different current of thinking. I had grown bored with the dull ‘realism’ of the grim ‘n’ gritty school. Brendan [McCarthy]’s work was so unique, so personal and inspirational that I was completely blown away and converted utterly to the McCarthy method – tell the truth on to the page and let your psyche all hang out. At the same time… I wanted some ‘realistic’ aspects to my story. I decided to make it about the superficial things I was into at the time: clothes, records, TV shows. Instead of creating an aspirational superhero, I gave Zenith all of my worst, most venal traits. I wanted to create a postcard from the 80s, but I also thought that if I did it without the prevailing captions and thought boxes the strip might stand up quite well on its own.

My own opinion of what happened, and how I feel about it, has changed quite a bit since I started writing these three pieces. Yes, I have a lot of sympathy for Alan Moore about the things that were being said about him, but I think that it’s pretty obvious there was more than an element of the japester, the trickster, about Morrison’s writing, in particular the piece he wrote about Superfolks in his Drivel column in Speakeasy in 1990, which he makes all the more obvious in his end piece.


There was more than just an “…element of the japester, the trickster…” to “Drivel”. As may be deduced from one or all of the following clues:

– the title.

The accompanying photograph of me sneering, stripped to the waist wearing a rather pretty necklace, and flipping a ‘V’-sign.

Photo Used in Drivel Column
Photo Used in Drivel Column

The over-the-top, bitchy and camp style of the writing –

– “Drivel” was a monthly, scurrilous, humour, gossip, and opinion column in “Speakeasy”, the leading British comics magazine in 1990 when the piece in question was written. I had a brief from my editor Stuart Greene and I mostly stuck to it, except when I used “Drivel” to indulge in William Burroughs-style “cut-up” experiments. My fee for the column went to Blue Cross, so all that manufactured bile wasn’t wasted and helped make the lives of some rescue animals a little more comfortable on a monthly basis. Otherwise, the persona I adopted for “Drivel” was an exaggerated caricature partly inspired by the Morrissey interviews I enjoyed reading. The whole point of the column – which was one of the magazine’s most popular features, incidentally – was to take the piss out of the comics scene at the time.

Alan Moore was only one of the many, many targets of “Drivel” and he came off lightly in comparison to some others – with whom I am still on friendly terms. The main target of the satire in “Drivel” was myself and if anyone’s reputation has suffered as a result of people in other lands and different times presenting as indictable some daft words written in jest, I’d suggest it’s been mine.

In defense of my 30 year old self, he had an editorial mandate to amuse and provoke, unlike the 59 year old Alan Moore who insults, condemns and hurls baseless accusations at his contemporaries and their work in almost every interview he gives. I find it tragic but quite pertinent to this piece that the loudest voice in our business – the one that carries the furthest and is taken most seriously by the mainstream media – is the one that offers nothing but contempt and denunciation, with barely a single good word to say about any of the many accomplished and individual writers currently working in mainstream comics, let alone the wealth of brilliant indie creators.

Does he ever, for instance, use his high media profile to do anything other than steer potential readers away from modern comic books and their creators – while over-playing his own achievements and placing himself centre stage at every turn? How hard would it be to say something encouraging, positive, or hopeful about the generally improved standard of writing in all comic books these days? Or at least say nothing at all.  

And if I may untangle the logic behind so much of his hectoring: Moore constantly reiterates the idea that all modern comics are copied from stuff he did in the ’80s – and they’re all rubbish!

Is he genuinely saying that his influence has been entirely malignant? If he actually believed that, I’d almost feel sorry for him. I see my own influence all over the place and I’m quite chuffed.

I’d also like to point out that that was over twenty years ago now, a long time to have something like that hanging over you, and this applies equally to both of them: Moore is still having it used as a stick to beat him with, and Morrison may wish that a not-terribly-serious piece he wrote as a young man, and which has cast a much longer shadow than anyone could ever have expected, would simply go away. (And, indeed, having someone like me digging it up one more time can hardly help in that, although I’m hoping that this might get to be the final, and definitive, word on the subject…)

I also imagine that having someone get in touch to offer to take over writing his first major piece of work probably wasn’t received terribly well, and it’s hard to blame Moore for that, either.

For a broader picture of what was happening with Alan Moore and “Warrior” at the time, I suggest asking Alan Davis (another on Moore’s list of excommunicated former collaborators) or Dez Skinn for their recollections. I’m sure it’ll be in one of those George Khoury books about Marvelman. I wasn’t part of all that.

But in many ways Morrison was only doing what Moore had done before him. I can certainly recognise the punk spirit in some of what Morrison says – I’m less than 100 days older than Morrison, and I do recall that rule #1 in punk was that everything that went before was rubbish. In hindsight, of course, there is much that was discarded that has since been reappraised, and found not to be so dreadful after all! In much the same way, when Morrison says, ‘Reading interviews from the time makes my blood run cold these days’, I imagine that one of the things he’s particularly referring to is his treatment of Moore in those early articles.

My blood runs cold because I am no longer a young man but an increasingly decrepit 52 year old with a lot less arrogance, a lot more life experience, and a bit more compassion for people, even the ones I don’t particularly like. With the wisdom of hindsight, I wish I could tell my younger self that in the future, no matter how much he thought he’d changed or matured, “Drivel” would always return.

These days, if I aim a barb at Moore, and I sometimes do, it’s generally as revenge for having my attention drawn to some latest interview or other. I know there’s a lot more to him than the contemptuous, patronising Scorpionic mask – we’re all just people and we all do the same daft people shit and all that – but it’s the face I’ve been exposed to more often than not, so I’m afraid my view of Alan Moore has a somewhat negative bias that deepens every time he opens his mouth to preach hellfire and damnation on the comics business and its benighted labour force.

Having said that, I learned long ago to separate my antipathy toward the man’s expressed opinions from my enjoyment of his work and I’ve  been very complimentary about that work over the decades. Conversely, I can guarantee you will search in vain for a single positive comment about me or my work coming from Alan Moore’s direction – in spite of our obvious shared areas of interest.

I certainly think that Morrison may now regret some of his earlier actions but, particularly in this Internet age, nothing is gone, and everything is remembered. It is interesting, I think, that in his book Supergods – which itself seems to actually reflect the title of Superfolks – he doesn’t actually mention Superfolks in relation to his or Moore’s work, but in the context of having been an inspiration for Pixar’s The Incredibles Even so, Supergods has the line “Behold, I teach you the superman: He is this lightning, he is this madness!” by Friedrich Nietzsche as its epigraph, the same as Superfolks did, and Marvelman didn’t. Is this all some sort of strange cosmic coincidence, or is Morrison trying to tell us something? Honestly, I have no idea.

The structure of “Supergods” is roughly based on the Qabalistic idea of the “Lightning Flash” – the zig-zagging magician’s path from the lowest material sphere of Malkuth/the material world via the various sephiroth or spheres to the highest spiritual sphere known as Kether in this system. In the same way, the book moves from the earthy foundations of the early chapters, with their focus on physicality, to the speculations, philosophies and “higher” considerations of the concluding chapters.


I chose this structure for a couple of obvious reasons – firstly, because the superhero as a figure unites the mundane and the divine and secondly because every time a new “age” of comics was said to begin, I noted that it tended to be announced by a superhero wearing a lightning bolt insignia, or descended from one (as Marvelman from Captain Marvel), or came with iconic references to lightning, thunderbolts and electricity. My favourite superhero is The Flash and his emblem is a stylized, simplified echo of the right-to-left zapping course of the Qabala flash.

I was very aware of the irony of re-using that hoary old Nietzsche quote but there was, quite simply, no more apposite epigraph for “Supergods”, I hope you’ll agree.

The title of the book, by the way, is not a reference to “Superfolks” but to David Bowie’s song “The Supermen” which includes the lines “and supergod dies…”.

So, what do I think, in the end? I think, first, that, although Grant Morrison poked fun at Alan Moore with regard to Superfolks he certainly didn’t mean it to be taken as seriously as it was, or for it to become a big stick to beat Moore with.

Pádraig will need to offer more convincing evidence that my 1990 “Speakeasy” column has done the slightest harm to Alan Moore’s sales or his reputation. I’ll wager that less than 2% of the readers of “Watchmen” – still the world’s best-selling graphic novel – have heard of “Superfolks”, let alone “Speakeasy” or “Drivel” (although the proportion is likely to rise if people keep drawing attention to this very minor issue – currently it’s an item on MTV Geek). As I’ve said, it’s far easier to make the argument that Moore, along with powerful allies like Michael Moorcock, continues to indulge in clear, persistent, and often successful attempts to injure my reputation, for reasons of his own.

And I really think it’s a shame that Alan Moore has such difficulty moving on from things like this, because he’s done his own share of saying mean things about Morrison, to this day. I genuinely love Moore’s work, and one of the things I love most is the sense of compassion, of redemption, that is in much of it, but reading over these pieces, it’s hard not to see Moore as the one who is perpetuating this, rather than Morrison, who only ever has good things to say about Moore’s work these days. It’s not that I don’t think that Moore has good reason to do the things he does, just that it can be difficult sometimes to see that your gods have feet of clay. In the end, though, I still love his work, and still admire him enormously as a person and as a creator. I don’t read as much of Grant Morrison’s work as I used to, mostly because I finally decided that I was giving up on superheroes for good a few years back –

By only reading my work-for-hire superhero comics from 20 years ago, I feel Pádraig has missed out on most of the important stuff of my career. I hope he’ll try “The Invisibles”, “The Filth”, “All-Star Superman”, “We3” and “Seaguy” at least.

– but his work on Animal Man and Doom Patrol is still some of the best work ever done in mainstream comics, and I think that people give him a hard time which he definitely doesn’t deserve. I probably fall into that category myself, although I think I may go rethink some of those ideas now. After all, it’s never too late to change your mind.

There is one final thing I want to clear up, seeing as it came up here: Whatever happened to that Kid Marvelman story that Grant Morrison sold to Dez Skinn?

Dez Skinn, in Talking With Gods said about Morrison,

He was such a quiet unassuming kind of guy when he’d come into the office, he was more like a fan than a professional, you know, very shy, very timid-seeming, but his work was the absolute opposite, it was totally out there, even his early stuff. I thought it was a really nice little five-pager but Alan, like any creator, I guess, who owns material, didn’t want anybody else touching his material.

And here’s Dez again, this time talking in George Khoury’s Kimota! – The Marvelman Companion,

Grant did submit a Kid Marvelman story, about a discussion between Kid Marvelman and a Catholic priest, and it was quite fascinating because Kid Marvelman argued a very good case against organised religion. Nobody was flying, no beams from anyone’s eyes, but a bloody clever script, clever enough that I sent it to Alan Moore for his opinion. Alan’s reply was, ‘Nobody else writes Marvelman.’ And I said to Grant, ‘I’m sorry, he’s jealously hanging on to this one.’

There is a long-standing rumour that the story was published in Fusion #4, a Scottish comics fanzine, but the piece in question, called ‘The Devil and Johnny Bates,’ was actually an article about Kid Marvelman by someone else. None the less, Morrison did draw two covers for Fusion including the one for #4, both of which are reproduced here. Yes, that is Kid Marvelman on the cover of #4, and Marvelman himself on the cover of #6. But that Kid Marvelman story never did get to see print, it seems. Which is a shame.

I probably have the only surviving copy of the script. One day I’ll look it out and put it online. I seem to remember it being quite good but I made the teenage mod Johnny Bates look exactly like me, forever damning myself as Moore’s Devil!


[Top photo courtesy of Jonathan Mayo]

[Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth. Her writing is indexed at and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.]


  1. “I find it tragic but quite pertinent to this piece that the loudest voice in our business – the one that carries the furthest and is taken most seriously by the mainstream media – is the one that offers nothing but contempt and denunciation, with barely a single good word to say about any of the many accomplished and individual writers currently working in mainstream comics, let alone the wealth of brilliant indie creators.”

    That’s a really good point.

  2. “I seem to remember it being quite good but I made the teenage mod Johnny Bates look exactly like me, forever damning myself as Moore’s Devil!”
    That was a great epilogue. I love both writers work.

  3. “That’s a really good point.”
    Only if you assume that mainstream comics actually deserve more than contempt and denunciation (which, as a whole, they don’t) or that anyone asks/has any reason to ask Moore about indie comics (which, as far as i recall they usually don’t/don’t have any real reason to).

  4. Wow. Just… Wow. I think Grant comes off really well here. Love the work of both men. Our Tupac and Biggie. And we don’t have to choose. I think THE INVISIBLES taught us there is no bad guy.

  5. “Only if you assume that mainstream comics actually deserve more than contempt and denunciation (which, as a whole, they don’t) ”

    So am I correct in assuming that you hold mainstream comic books to be deserving of contempt and denunciation? Nothing wrong with thinking that, of course, but I am genuinely curious as to why you think that.

  6. I said it in the comment section of Part Three of the original article and I will say it again here….I would love to buy Grant Morrison for what he is worth and sell him for WHAT HE THINKS HE’S WORTH….the ego on this guy is enormous and growing by leaps and bounds by the second….his ego is like the Hulk…the more someone questions it the angrier (or at very least, larger) it gets. GRANT’S EGO SMASH!!!!

    Read through the above article again and make a checklist….it’s clear that Grant is Grant’s biggest fan, taking time to mention how great Grant is at every turn even though he’s supposedly bestowing the real truth hidden by Moore’s lies.

    First RED paragraph……I’ve sometimes felt myself to be the victim of a genuine grudge….wow…must be tough to play the victim here Grant, especially when you previously wrote you took pride in being the punk who started crap with other creators when he was younger just to make a bigger name for himself in comics – as he described it, the enfant terrible (his words, not mine). So it’s clear we are dealing with someone who takes pride in being the “trigger” behind the gun (read: problem). Now he has the nerve to call himself a victim?

    A few sentences later he goes on to thank The BEAT for allowing him to “get some things off his MEDAL HEAVY chest”. Well, I’d like to pin the BIGGEST EGO PRIZE right next to all those medals, but it appears one more prize on his puffed out chest will make Mr. Happy Scribe topple over.

    The next few paragraphs are laden with “I”. I did this, I did that, I wrote this. I published that. I didn’t read his name (Moore) in a byline until 1982, by which time I’d been a professional writer for almost five years. I survived re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. I cured Polio. I made love to Mother Theresa and persuaded her into becoming the force of universal peace we have all come to know and love.
    I, I, I, I, I….yeah…..we get it Grant. You, yourself and “I” and are clearly the greatest thing birthed on this planet. We will never forget this because you refuse to let us forget it.

    Moving on…after calling Alan Moore a liar ( or at least pointing out his perception of mis-information) he finishes by sugar coating his own stroke-able ego once again…..Morrison says….
    Again, why the fibs, other than to reinforce once more the fantasy of me in a junior or subordinate position to himself. The Fantasy of Me as a Subordinate? How dare he? Me? Anyone dare think me a Subordinate? In Grant Morrison’s world the end game for Alan Moore is to lie so that Grant Morrison is perceived his less-than-equal. What this really tells me is, in Grant Morrison’s world he views no one his equal and will call out Alan Moore at every and all occasions to make sure we know it to.

    Then he takes Moore to task for bashing comics and not using his influence as arguably the biggest name ever in the medium to promote comics at any chance ( I don’t disagree with Morrison here, I think Alan should spend more time helping the industry that helped him make his bones than tossing it aside as an inconvenient step child he no longer wants to care for). But as usual, Grant finishes with a comment about his own perceived greatness because….as you well know….he hadn’t talked about how great Grant Morrison was in over a paragraph and needed to reach his every-five-minute-self-promotion quota before he got behind. He finishes with …..Is he (Moore) genuinely saying that his influence has been entirely malignant? If he actually believed that, I’d almost feel sorry for him. I see my own influence all over the place and I’m quite chuffed.

    Yep….I see where I have dumped my greatness on others and it makes me smile. I, Grant Morrison have shown you the love and the way…now…kiss my ring finger and be sure to leave a few bucks in the collection plate when it gets passed around.

    There’s more, but I would imagine you get the point. Perhaps the biggest ego point of all is the fact that Grant Morrison felt the need to come to the Beat, write his own story based on another man’s series of articles so that he can have HIS story straight. I mean, when you’re Grant Morrison, the greatest living creature in the history of existence you need to make sure all the past, present and future history books align and get it right when telling your tale.
    I’m sure there has been negative stuff, perhaps even downright lies written about Frank Miller, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Kurt Busiek and every other writer out there who has a following or at least a credible creative street cred. These men have all probably had someone (of note or some lowly fanboy who knows not of what he speaks) talk shit about them. However (and Mr. Brubaker and Mr. Busiek, I know both of you frequent this site, so please speak freely to tell me if I’m wrong) I doubt any of these gentlemen spend their time policing comic culture fan sites looking for articles about themselves that they can correct to their particular view point’s convenience. I mean really….Grant’s ego is so huge (and thereby so fragile) that he has to make sure he gets in an article of his own to verify and or contradict another man’s article? An article that – at its heart- was supposed to be about Alan Moore and his possible strip mining of SUPERFOLKS to create some of Alan Moore’s finest tales….yet Grant has taken the time to turn it into a piece about….well….GRANT MORRISON.

    Amazing how that worked out, isn’t it?

  7. Seriously….I may be over the top on this…but am I wrong? Think it over and give me your honest opinion…I would really like to know if I’m the only one who sees it this way….

  8. >> However (and Mr. Brubaker and Mr. Busiek, I know both of you frequent this site, so please speak freely to tell me if I’m wrong) I doubt any of these gentlemen spend their time policing comic culture fan sites looking for articles about themselves that they can correct to their particular view point’s convenience.>>

    I doubt Grant does, either — I’ve probably corrected more misstatements about myself online than he has, and I certainly don’t go looking for them.

    I think your characterization of Grant’s statements is, ehh, colorful, to say the least, but not a terribly accurate picture. I doubt he’ll be by to correct you, though. I wouldn’t have said anything myself, but you asked me a question, and it didn’t seem right to answer it and leave the impression that I thought the rest of what you said was an accurate description.


  9. I think we’re going to need to do the old “invite them both to an event without telling them the other is going” and force the two of them to work out their differences and reconcile in front of every one, as the fans need closure! “You were threatened by me? But I was just jealous of you!”. Hug. Tongue kiss. Applause. End scene.

    @Thomas Wayne – Moore and Mozza are two of the best, if not the best two, writers in English language comics. How can you like one but hate the other, I’ll never understand.
    Also, I advise you not just read the red text, read the black as well – the paragraphs where Morrison gets defensive, aggressive or a little egotistic are usually preceded by a pretty harsh quote about him. He is responding to pretty direct accusations of plagiarism. Also remember, for Morrison this actually is personal.
    (And y’know, if you read the article, The Beat went to him asking for his response to the third part of their article about Superfolks, which was specifically about Moore and Morrison’s grudge, so probably pull back on the comments about his out of control ego – all you are doing is showing people the sort of fanboy rage criticism based on not reading any facts that Morrison himself refers to at the start).
    Feuds between successes based on nothing are silly to begin with, and it’s easy to laugh at the self-aggrandising statements Mozza and Moore often make in interviews – although if anyone has the right… – but I truly don’t understand harsh scorn being directed at either one.

  10. Laura,

    Thanks for sharing this article and creating the space for Grant to share his thoughts. Regardless of who we see as right and who is wrong , it’s really valuable to be able to get a “behind the curtain” view from these highly influential creators. It’s fascinating to peel back the layers and see what their influences were and how they perceive the effects of those influences and fellow creators on their work.

  11. I can’t help but wish for a little scholarly cold water on the whole “plagiarism” issue. Mapping out influence is a complex business. But using similar plot points as a “gotcha” game, as if this would dismiss a writer even were it true, is not only silly but rather anti-literary. As always, it’s how an artist pulls something off, its tone and effects, not the similarity of Wikipedia plot summaries.

    Moore and Morrison are distinct and unmistakable for one another. I admire the work of both. The great irony is that, thanks to both their work, what they’ve written will be analyzed and seriously discussed far into the future — and will endure and be loved, long after the personality conflicts involved (or the online fights between fans of “Team Morrison” or “Team Moore”) are the stuff of academic theses.

    If we love comics, let’s start from there.

  12. Ben,
    Fanboy rage criticism? A bit much…I think…but I’m willing to accept that since I was willing to give such a strong opinon on Morrison.

    I read the entire article…and my thoughts remain the same…does Grant Morrison not come off as a huge ego maniac? Perhaps my wording is to strong but is it not accurate? And even if The BEAT came to him looking for answers, what was written by him didn’t have to come off as ” I, GRANT MORRISON, WILL SET THINGS STRAIGHT FOR THOSE LESS INFORMED WITH ALL MY WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE BECAUSE, WELL, I AM GRANT MORRISON.

    Again, I am not some thin skinned punk who is willing to throw rocks from afar and then run in the opposite direction. If I am the only one who feels this way I am more than willing to admit that I may be reading more into it than I should and take all the verbal punishment I am sure will be thrown my way if, indeed, everyone agrees that I am way off base here.

    I just ask that you look it all over again (including the original three part series) and be sure I am entirely wrong before you call me on this – the man chose specific words to use – and those words draw a picture of how he views himself and how he thinks you should view him as well…at least I believe they do.

  13. Thomas,
    Does Morrison have a big ego? Sure, but so does Moore. Both make grand statements about their own genius on a regular basis – they undercut them with humour, but they do make them. (Although I’ve heard of both seem much more self-depreciating in person when they talk than when it appears in transcript). Both also talk down the others achievements as we have seen – Moore seems to have a general dislike of Morrison, whereas Morrison has specific points of grievance (or annoyance). The “feud” should be beneath them, but I think both having a big ego is fine – hopefully it continues to compel them to keep out doing themselves, and they are the super-star critical darling highly influential comics writers, so the ego isn’t undeserved.
    Sure, I roll my eyes a bit at Morrison’s suggested structure of Supergods, but I’ve done the same with things Moore has said to defend criticisms of his work (Neonomicon anyone?). You’ve got to give them some leeway when it comes to discussing their art/source of income.
    End of the day, I’ll read pretty much anything either of them release. They entertain the heck out of me, so I’d forgive a lot more from either writer.

  14. I love superhero comics, especially when two gaudily dressed, titanic titans lock horns and beat the shit out of each other in front of everyone on a regular basis. Tune in next month True Believers when marvelous Moore and God like Grant fight it out in ‘ the school playground of all our yesterdays ‘. Excelsior !

  15. Thomas Wayne – I think you are very much reading these articles, and this one in particular, through the lens of your preconceived idea of who Grant Morrison, the distanced personality (I assume you haven’t met?), is. I spoke to him about Pádraig’s series of articles and it seemed like a good time to set the record straight – particularly as it was being picked up elsewhere, and some of the facts didn’t stack up. I should say again, that this was with Pádraig’s blessing.

    Much of the above is purely factual, but I’m a little amazed that “medal heavy chest”, to name one example, wasn’t seen as the humorous aside that it was intended as. Morrison is a writer after all, an entertainer. It would be a bit rubbish if aside from setting the record straight, it read like a dry old history text book.

    So in short, yeah I think you are getting the wrong impression here, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s coming from. One thing I’ve found time and time again in the comics industry is that – with notable exceptions – everyone is actually really friendly, praiseworthy of others that they work with and whose works they enjoy, compassionate, and genuine. Whatever else he may be, Grant is just a guy from Glasgow who spends a ridiculous number of hours writing because he loves it, who has time for anyone who wants to chat.

  16. Forrest – cheers! I can’t really take credit for this one, and Pádraig definitely deserves thanks for giving his blessing as well.

    It’s great that Grant has been able to put his story across in the same place the conversation was currently happening.

  17. “So in short, yeah I think you are getting the wrong impression here, and I’m not entirely sure where it’s coming from.”

    Oh, c’mon, everyone who’s ever read any article about Morrison at Beat knows Thomas Wayne’s MO – he hold for objective undeniable truth that Morrison destroyed Batman and Damian is da worst character in da history of da humankind and everything he’s ever wrote is da shite and popular opinion that Morrison is one of the best in comics is product of deluded simpleton minds. So no matter what amount of common sense you try to inject, his endless monologue that Morrison is the antichrist of industry will continue without break.

  18. Thomas Wayne, hiding behind a loser nom de plume, listen up. Grant Morrison owns your sad little ass. Owns it. Now go away before more people laugh at you online like they do in real life.

  19. There’s a difference between disagreeing with HOW Morrison is defending himself versus disagreeing with his defense.

    Sure, it might sound egotistical for him to say “I did this, I did that, all years before Moore”, etc., but is he factually incorrect? He does say some things will just be an endless he said, he said debate, but publication dates and convention appearances should be fairly easily confirmed.

    It just sounds like some people are attacking his post here not for what he said, but how he said it. Which I’d say could be a fair point to judge someone on, but I don’t think the other side of the argument should go without the same judgement, and there still needs to be acknowledgement of what is or isn’t fact.

  20. Thomas,

    Yeah, I think you may be reading a little too much into Grant’s comments, as well. First, it is not de facto egomania when someone defends their position or themselves in a public forum; in fact, what is now held by many to be self-aggrandizement was at one time expected. Second, I think we need to remember the self-deprecating sardonicism of our cousins on The Isle, especially when comparing written speech to oral speech; as was pointed out once in a transcript of an Alan Moore television interview, words which come across as gross hubris in print are wonderfully self-effacing when heard as spoken by the subject (of course, Grant’s rebuttal was intended as written speech, but I hope my point still stands). Finally, I don’t think anyone here can honestly dispute both party’s egos at work, but as I’ve always said, it ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.

  21. Fascinating stuff, if rather depressing. I wonder if some clever therapist will come up with a programme to combat the growing incidence of:
    ‘Comic book creator depressed by the conflict between Moore and Morrison syndrome’ (American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV).

  22. Further reflection…. Why does this shit happen all the time? Because people like Padraig allow Moore to just spew anything and state it as fact.
    Hell the NY Times even did it with Alan.
    Sad excuse for journalism.

  23. So am I correct in assuming that you hold mainstream comic books to be deserving of contempt and denunciation? Nothing wrong with thinking that, of course, but I am genuinely curious as to why you think that.

    Superhero comics generally don’t deserve “contempt and denunciation,” but writers who produce stories that don’t say anything meaningful do. Writing an “illusion of change” story nullifies the possibility of a meaningful theme, since there’s no conflict that produces change. Unchanging villain, unchanging hero, both acting exactly as one would expect–the story doesn’t need to be written. A three-sentence summary would suffice.

    Superman and Wonder Woman, for example, are icons and symbols, but what’s the point of writing a story about either one that treats him or her as a symbol from start to finish? A story that turns someone into a symbol through recognition of heroic actions is vastly different from one that merely celebrates one’s status. Once a fictional character becomes a symbol, his story is (arguably) done.

    If a writer handling a superhero produces nothing but themeless stories, there’s no need to read them. The ones that develop the hero should be read instead.


  24. Well, as a huge fan of Alan Moore and a huge fan of Grant Morrison (although I found the need to have a MorrisonCon in Vegas a little too rich for my tatstes) I think Grant has made a well reasoned well thought out argument. The problem is that Alan doesn’t frequent the ‘net(as far as I know) and everything he says or does is filtered through the eyes and minds of others. Mr. Wayne ( I’ve never understood the need to hide behind pseudonyms if you really believe in what you say you should also be unafraid of admitting being wrong when you have to) really has somekindoflove/hate relationship with Morrison and should seeagood psycho-therapist to work through his issues, his attacks seem to be sooo personal.

  25. Since this most recent eruption of the on-again, off-again “feud” between Morrison and Moore, we’ve seen some in the comics community pile on (Julian Darius termed it “Team Moore” and “Team Morrison” which sounds about right), and we’ve seen others in the community understandably wringing their hands over the fighting between two of the most admired and successful writers in the history of the medium.

    Not me.

    Don’t get me wrong. I hate fighting, and to the extent that this feud involves real people with real feelings, egos, and reputations, it’s a sad thing because it means two talented, passionate, sensitive, and (from what I can gather) two genuinely good people are experiencing pain. That’s bad in a John-Donne-Ask-Not-For-Whom-The-Bell-Tolls kind of way.

    However, for those of us sitting in the cheap seats, this ongoing tension has been a positive thing–not because it keeps the gossip mill grinding, but rather because it fuels so much of the artists’ work. Creative rivalries have resulted in some of the most magnificent work in history. What would Shakespeare have been without the intimidating presence of the better educated “college boys” like Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, or the younger Ben Jonson nipping at his heels? Can you imagine modern art without Picasso and Matisse keeping tabs on one another? How much of Faulkner and Hemingway’s success came from one trying to supplant the other? And look at what happened to Marlon Brando’s career after James Dean’s death and Montgomery Clift’s car wreck. Imagine the Beatles without the Stones or the Who, or even Pearl Jam without Nirvana. How about George Carlin without Richard Pryor. Not nearly as much laughter and not nearly as much truth.

    Much of our greatest creative work has sprung from the disreputable wells of envy, jealousy, pride, ego, resentment, and anger. When you read through Morrison and Moore’s work (Neil Gaiman’s too), you see an ongoing “conversation” between them pasted all over it. It’s the fuel that gives us Flex Mentallo and the pride that gives us Promethea.

    As long as no one is drawing too much blood and both of them are able to stay healthy, to remain sane, and to keep on writing, I say let ’em fight.

  26. Laura,
    As I suspected it appears I have gone over the top and Grant’s ego is not as out of control as I have preceived it. Like I said, I am no thin skinned punk who throws stones at a distance. I shall take my lumps ( I mean, when someone as all-powerful as Don Murphy gives me a tongue lashing I should probably rethink my entire life strategy…perhaps join the Convent as I had wanted to as a little girl) and be a man about my choice of words- so apologies to all, especially Grant, for judging a man based on his words, or my perception of them.
    Keep up the good work.

  27. Morrison’s a great writer, no doubt about it. I have many of his books on my shelves and will continue to buy his works. However, it’s sad that the ultimate bad boy rebel is now a company man for DC. I don’t mind the ego if you have the goods to back it, and Morrison does, but he’s really nothing more than a public face for DC. For all Morrison’s complaints that Moore is unnecessarily harsh on modern mainstream comics and how they keep reusing his old ideas, DC sold Before Watchmen this year.

  28. There is no need to have “teams” in this…if Alan Moore ever travelled eventually there would be an Old Timers Game where both would come out and shake hands. Unlike Laura, I’ve had nothing but great interactions with both of these savants, and will continue to enjoy their work as long as I’m able to read.

    I’m really glad to have given Grant a chance to air his side of things.

  29. John Shableski – it’s like Twilight all over again!

    Greg Carpenter – that’s a unique perspective on things, and you may well be right. Rivalry between artists and writers has been of great historical value after all. Though I do find it sad that the volume of work from Moore has surely been massively curtailed due to various falling outs with others in the industry. Could we have had several other Watchmen-calibre works from him by now if that hadn’t happened? Alas, we shall never know.

    Cheers Thomas, much appreciated.

    Chris – Morrison is a freelancer who has worked with DC many times over the years, but he is not a DC spokesperson any more than Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, or Andy Diggle etc. I’ve spoken elsewhere that I don’t believe freelance creators should be punished for their choice of employer, and the decisions that a company makes reside solely with the decision makers within the company.

    Beatster – but teams are fun! We could sell t-shirts ;) I should mention as well that Morrison has never been against the idea of reconciliation in the past. Suffice to say, it sadly did not happen. On the other hand I do hope no meeting is scheduled for the 21st of December… that’s one prophecy I’d rather not see fulfilled!

  30. Laura,

    A freelancer can be a company advocate. Morrison has gone on record often discussing his feelings in the Siegel/Shuster battles with DC and he’s sided with DC. In fact, I believe his intention of working on Action Comics was to change Superman just enough to protect the IP for DC. His dismissal of Moore’s claims against the company are hard to agree with when DC is currently publishing Before Watchmen.

    I understand. Morrison, like anyone with a good head on their shoulders, is looking at his future and thinking of his financial security. If he’s decided his financial security is best served by not only absolving his employer of their past sins but by helping them whitewash those sins away, well, he’s his own man and I can’t fault him for making the best decisions he can. I can find fault with the decisions themselves and his justification of those decisions, especially when I’m judging based on the man’s own words.

    As far as the “freelancer” term, maybe I’m being a little too absolutist, but it seems to me if an independent contractor, which a freelancer is, contracts a vast majority of their work for one company, it’s a bit misrepresentative to claim some sort of independence from that company, especially when the contractor is helping the contractor executing the decisions the company is taking criticism for.

  31. Synsidar,

    Thanks for elaborating. In general, I tend to agree with you, although I don’t so much use the term “theme” as that of “well-told.” Let’s face it: some absolutely dreadful superhero comics have been produced that attempted to pierce the veil, and some jaw-droppingly delightful comics have been produced where a Black Adam does nothing more than try to kick the shit out of everybody (again) for 22 pages. I think that’s the primary beauty of mainstream superhero books – you essentially tell the same tale over and over, many times reducing a character to naught more than its essence, but, when done well, you produce magic. Admittedly, it’s a rather difficult position to argue, because somewhere out there, someone honestly and fervently holds Thor Corps to be the apex of comic storytelling

  32. Alan Moore kicks Grant Morrison’s and Don Murphy’s ass at the same time in a street fight!
    Fun reading actually.
    How about an article why Grant Morrison and Mark Millar don’t like each other as well?
    Comicsbeat is easily one of the top comic book news websites!

  33. Oh jeeeeeesh. In one shot Morrison has single-handedly almost totally squandered all the respect I had for him due to his not being on Twitter much or being one of those sorts of comics professionals (Breevort, Liefeld, etc) who take potshots so often.

    Morrison makes some decent points here and there, but the whole thing reeks of jealousy. It’s totally obvious that Morrison owes a LOT to Moore’s influence, and throughout his career Morrison’s actual comic stories have included plenty of barbs against Moore and the idea of what Moore represents to the canon. Morrison has clearly had an Oedipus Complex with Moore for decades now, and just when I thought that maybe he’d grown out of that or left it alone, he comes back with all this stuff. I genuinely understand and appreciate his trying to set the record straight, but more often than not here I get a very strong “Methinks he doth protest too much” vibe.

    Morrison may have been published in ’78, but he was obviously still an “aspiring” writer well after that. If he was really an established writer in his own right, he wouldn’t’ve “had” to write like Alan Moore by DC’s suggestion or whatever.

    It’s very true that the genius of Morrison goes well beyond Moore’s shadow, but Moore is still obviously SUCH a big part of Morrison’s artistic identity, and the very content of so much of Morrison’s work is basically predicated on reacting to (if not imitating) Moore.

    I mean, Moore basically gave up superheroes, especially Big Two superheroes, in 1988. But for 25 years now Morrison has been pulling every trick and double-think tactic he can think of to convince us, and himself, that wallowing supinely in Big Two superheroes is something that smart people should do, endlessly. I’m not a total homer for the guy and think he’s basically wrong on some points, but Moore’s creative range far exceeds Morrison’s. That Morrison can pull out evidence about out “I was doing crappy forgetable indie work in ’78, before Moore!” or “I was into stupid magick FOR REALZ a year before Moore REALLY said he was!” is kind of pathetic, since those aspects of Morrison’s work and character just aren’t all that deep.

    And Zenith was more than just “a little” based on Marvel Man and Captain Britain…

  34. This article by Grant Morrison is a farce: Those of us who were reading comics back in the day, know he hugely ripped off Brendan McCarthy’s work which was, in the 80s, a stylish, subversive alternative to Alan Moore’s ‘grim’ comics style. The work that McCarthy and his writing partner Peter Milligan produced, like the punk-surrealist ‘Strange Days’, was akin to The Velvet Underground in comics: stuff like Zenith was just a blatant steal from their earlier Paradax strip.
    McCarthy is on record saying that he invented ‘Danny the Street’ (the most memorable character in what was a pretty good Doom Patrol run), and has expressed annoyance that Morrison subsequently claimed it for himself.
    Eventually McCarthy stopped working in comics after the swansong ‘Rogan Gosh’ (the ‘suicide on the phone’ motif duly ripped off for Flex Mentallo). Probably got fed up with seeing his ideas stolen by Morrison.
    Both Morrison and Moore can be decent writers, but are a pair of deeply dishonest bullshitters. They deserve each other.

  35. for those debating the goodness of superhero comics up there….

    that’s not the point. moore in many ways is just as deprecating of indie/web/non superhero stuff. and of course his spiel always begins with the words ‘i haven’t read any of this, but….’

    so, yeah, comicdom’s most famous ambassador probably could do with a being less of a pranny.

  36. @Don Murphy – you criticise Padraig and the world at large for letting Moore speak unchallenged, to spew anything and state it as fact, but all any of them did was allow him the chance to speak like Morrison was here – how do you know Morrison isn’t spewing any old rubbish in red and it’s been published unchallenged?
    It’s just silly to take such strong sides when it comes down to old men who are more alike than different, who don’t really seem to know why they dislike each, except for things they heard off of other people.

    @terry cantor – Brendan Mcarthy designed Zenith, so outrage over being robbed wasn’t why he left comics, and his leaving comics was rather temporary as he’s been at it again for a few years now.

  37. I’ve made a jokey comment above: “I wonder if some clever therapist will come up with a programme to combat the growing incidence of: ‘Comic book creator depressed by the conflict between Moore and Morrison syndrome’ (American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV).” But, in all seriousness, as a comic book writer myself who has been deeply influenced by both men I do find it depressing and disturbing. It’s a bit like a kid’s parents constantly fighting and the kid suffering a degree of disorientation as a consequence. I feel like that character on the Simpsons who shouts out: “Won’t somebody think of the children!”

    Greg Carpenter makes a good point that such rivalry is often productive, leading people on to more achievement. I am not sure how much that is the case here, or if any of the books they two wrote would not have been written if they had been friendly. The key motivation for them to write was not to better the other, I’m sure.

    Anyway, I’m talking about the disillusioning affect that their bitter squabbling has on other creators who have been influenced by Moore and/or Morrison. I’m not the only one suffering the syndrome, am I? I say ‘creators’ especially here (although readers in general are affected of course) because as a creator we have given a considerable part of our lives to making comic books (rather than the other roads we could have taken), so it’s obviously important to us. We have done so partly under the influence of older creators or characters or stories that fired us up in some way. There is inevitably a bit of a ‘looking up’ to those creators involved in that, partly because of the age and status differences there when you are a younger creator just starting out. So, there’s likely to be a disorientating and disillusioning aspect if we find out that the ‘wise old man’ figure in your personal mythology is, ah, a bit of a cunt. I’m being frivolous again, and not saying either Moore or Morrison is such, but you get my point I hope.

    We could be a bit crude and boring and just say about this whole trouble: ‘that’s life, people fall out – get over it’. But I’m drawing on the Joseph Campbell ‘wise old man’ bit deliberately here as it does seem to me that something of that nature may be going on, or its fun to put it into that frame anyway. So, the disorientating and disillusioning affect of finding your heroes are not the shining ideal you once thought they were leads, if we keep at the quest and face these trials and tribulation, to a higher personal state. As he man himself writes: “For if it is impossible to trust the terrifying father-face, then one’s faith must be centered elsewhere…” (The Hero With a Thousand Faces, p110)

    So, to summarise and be silly again – we may be transforming via Moore and Morrison into, ah, Moses. Or since I live in Japan, let’s say via Busiek into… Buddha.

  38. Hey Laura,
    This post has been a great read and the commentary has added quite a bit. Like many, I too have enjoyed their works the funny thing to me is the additional ‘colour’ they bring out of the readership.

  39. Don Murphy is the most hated man in the movie industry, which is saying something.. His vendetta against Moore (who loathes Murphy’s shitty films in a very public way) is well known, but his support for Morrison (who can’t get a movie going – unlike his other arch-villain Mark Millar) seems misplaced.

  40. As the jackanapes who asked Moore the question on that webchat…

    The unintelligible mumbling bit of the transcript around the word Vertigo has, I think, led Morrison to respond to a claim other than what Moore made at the time. If I recall, Moore’s claim was not that Berger brought Morrison in for Vertigo, but something along the lines of “what became Vertigo,” referring to the late-80s/early 90s “Berger books” that included Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Sandman, Doom Patrol, and Shade: The Changing Man.

    In this regard Morrison’s comments about the founding of Vertigo some years later are almost, but not entirely, irrelevant to the point Moore was making.

  41. I’m glad to see Grant Morrison sticking up for himself here; he’s usually pretty quiet on his view of ‘the feud’, and I was curious as to his full side of the story.

    And I’m glad to find out where the Supergods title comes from! Nice one, Mr. M.

  42. I’m curious as to why Morrison’s own testimony from Talking with God’s isn’t referenced here as it seems a bit at odds with some of the comments he has above. In it he himself says that he “DC started to recruit because Alan’s Swamp Thing had been very successful. They said they’d give me a call and it was one of those moments .. oh god DC calling.”
    In other words he admits DC was was interested in him because of Moore. Whether it was because they wanted someone like him or someone directed them to him we don’t know. However, Berger says in this meeting Morrison came up with a number ideas including Animal Man which Morrison states he pitched with a “sub-Moore” approach because that’s what I though Karen wanted.”

    Also interesting is J.H. Williams’ comment that he sensed Grant just “has to poke at him (Moore) .. I just get the feeling.

    I have no horse in this race but again if you’re going to build a rebuttal in the voice of Morrison the documentary would seem have some interesting perspective.

  43. “…Alan Moore had fallen out with DC over the “For Mature Readers” ratings system…”

    Incidentally, all but one issues of “Dodgem Logic” had the words “FOR ADULTS ONLY” on the cover.

  44. I don’t think Morrison is saying that the success of Moore was in no way influential when it comes to what kind of story DC was looking to tell (he says as much above when talking about the style of the initial Animal Man issues), or which nationality of creators was rich for the plunder, but rather that had Moore not had that success, that the other UK creators would not have stopped pitching, and would not have stopped writing. and that interests had already been expressed.

    Moore too has spoken more than once of Vertigo being an “Alan Moore farm” which I feel is a little disrespectful towards Karen Berger – Vertigo has produced some of the most important works of the last few decades, and while Moore was the bees knees at the time, the variety and quality of styles coming out of that imprint are under no man’s shadow.

    “Who influenced/ripped off who” is a bit of a dead end track to be honest, an issue explores in detail in the sequart trackback below, and perhaps something we will come back to later.

    I think it’s important to note that Morrison has told parts of his history in numerous interviews over the years, and indeed in a documentary, but generally these things have to fit to a narrative. To be entertaining and so on.

    This piece here is a rebuttal in its simplest form – just the facts ma’am! – and untouched by editor hands.

    (As an aside – yay for no hatemail! I do like it when I avoid that ^_^ And an aside aside, Morrison really doesn’t seem like a jealous fella to me – he praises Moore’s works repeatedly when he could just avoid all mention, and he comes across as a very peaceful and compassionate person. Why would he be jealous? He’s pretty much doing everything any aspiring writer could want to do, and having fun doing it. IMO.)

  45. I’m really glad to read Morrison’s take on things. He’s clearly more level headed and fact based than Moore in his assertions. In my opinion Moore has a handful of good works that aren’t as groundbreaking as he and a lot of fans make them out to be. Morrison on the other hand has a long career of books that are as good if not better than what Moore did. Even when Grant doesn’t like what another writer is doing with something, he’s not yelling that the guy is a hack and thoughtless. So he doesn’t like how Animal Man is going? He’s not telling everyone Jeff Lemire is creatively bankrupt and that no one should buy his book. He just says he would (and did) do it differently. No biggie, a simple difference of opinion. Which is why I like Morrison and his books a hell of a lot more than I like Moore and his.

  46. I’m a big fan of both writers.

    *Sorry Grant…….. but Moore is absolutely right on the things he said about Geoff Johns.

  47. By the way, there was a really great decoding of Final Crisis by Argentinean magazine Comiqueando (a classic magazine in latin America), which said that basically the story was Morrison denouncing Moore for starting the whole “grim-and-gritty superheroes” era (I haven’t read Final Crisis and it’s been a while since I read the magazine article, so I might be oversimplifying things, but I remember that was basically what the article said). According to the article, the evil monitor Mandaark (who in the story used to be the best of the monitors, but had turned evil) was supposed to be an allegory of Moore.

    Surprinsingly, I haven’t seen this analysis in English-written comics websites (not that I’ve been looking for it, though).

  48. Nothing beats 13,546 issue ‘stories’ that can be done well in just 4 comics like a bunch of overpaid old farts sniping at each other.

  49. In the ’90s, when Alan Moore was writing Supreme for Liefeld’s company, he had lots of projects ready for his artists. Then Liefeld’s company went bankrupt. Moore, in order to get quick gigs for his artists – some were stuck with bills, mortgages, etc. – relinquished the creator rights of Tom Strong, Promethea, Top Ten, just so the artists could get money upfront faster. This was a man who had been in an epic fight over the rights of Watchmen, and he gave his rights away again, not for his personal gain, but for the sake of his artists.

    What has Morrison ever done that is so noble and selfless? Like the little bastard says, he owns everything he’s ever written from Captain Clyde onwards.

    In Supergods, Morrison claims that Gardner Fox was fired because his style was outdated and DC wanted new voices. I had to discover the truth in an Alan Moore interview: Gardner Fox was fired because he helped organized a writers’ union to demand better rights. Expect MOore to teach you comics history in interviews, and Morrison to defend his employers.

    When McFarlane asked Moore to write Spawn, Moore asked the regular paying rate, even though McFarlane wanted to pay him more than the other people at Image. In the introduction to Milligan’s Enigma, Morrison confesses that he was invited to the celebrated Italian Lucca Festival, and then he pretended to be sick, and got himself free vacations without bothering to attend the festival. What a dishonest little man!

    Reading Alan Moore’s interviews from the ’80s to now, one gets the impression he’s always the same person, with the same convictions and voice. Reading Morrison from the ’80s to now is like meeting a different person each time: he has no convictions, no moral positions, no beliefs, nothing, he just flows with the current and bends according to situations and whatever suits. So anarchist in the ’90s, and corporate yes man in the ’00s.

    The feud to me only matters in one topic: who’s the most morally upstanding person. And I don’t have any doubts Moore takes the prize.

  50. It’s odd to say Grant owning his own material is a bad thing, when so many of Moore’s issues with his employers arise from creator ownership, not to mention the fact that Grant actually owns very little stuff out right (most of his creator owned stuff is locked in Vertigo creator owned but not controlled limbo).

    Present day Image comics creators make the choice to forsake an upfront payment in favor of having full creator ownership. Moore chose to go the opposite direction with ABC and sacrifice his rights in favor of getting payment upfront for himself and his artists. You can argue for both choices, but I’m guessing it was partially to get his own upfront payment as well, since he often seems to take work purely for financial reasons (i.e. writing Neonomicon to pay a tax bill).

    If Moore is such a benevolent and giving collaborator, why has he wound up on the outs with so many people he’s collaborated with over the years, while Grant has generally good relationships with everyone except for a couple of notables (i.e. Moore, Millar)?

  51. Glad to see GM defend himself. I lost a bit of respect for Moorcock years ago after reading some of his comments and the Moore/Moorcock tag team is pretty sad.

  52. Mixed feelings about this. The resorting to the old Versus narrative should be incredibly boring and sad Laura, Padraig and Grant indulged in it. As it is, they’re reasonable, balanced and good writers making this a good read, and Grant made me chuckle on a few occasions. I’m sure the initial fallout in the 80s was particularly upsetting then and will continue to be so each time this topic rears it’s head. It’ll be ten or twenty years maybe before writers get round to rearing my feuds with comixer contemporaries, so can we writers maybe change the text before then?

  53. A few points:

    Morrison’s insinuations that Moore got “metafiction” from him appear to be highly questionable:

    1) Morrison’s Animal Man is extremely similar to the Alan Moore comic strip from 1978 “St. Pancras Panda” Back Street Bugle #18, August 15 – September 11, 1978 where the Panda exists the comic and meets Alan Moore, who calls himself God. Morrison appears to be aware of it since he mentions it in the interview.

    2) Moore did metafiction before Morrison, both in that Panda strip and “In Pictopia” released in 1986.

    3) Morrison did not create comic book limbo as he claims. A brief look at Wikipedia states

    “Limbo refers to a fictional location in books published by DC Comics. Limbo first appeared in Ambush Bug (vol. 1) #3 (August 1985), and was created by Keith Giffen.

    In Ambush Bug (vol. 1) #3, Jonni DC mentions removing Wonder Tot from DC continuity having “dumped her in Limbo.”[1] Ambush Bug later returns to Limbo in Son of Ambush Bug #6.”

    If Supreme was influenced by anything, it would likely be Keith Giffen. (Although its conceivable Morrison was also an influence, there’s no evidence to suggest it.)

  54. Patrick Meaney:

    I bring up Morrison’s owning his original work because he has used it to gloat on the internet, as a reason why he doesn’t care about the creator rights struggles and injustices happening around him. And to establish a contrast with Alan Moore, who, in spite of his struggles in favour of creators rights, is willing to give away his rights in order to help his fellow artists. My question is, when did Morrison ever so something that selfless for an artist? And I don’t have reasons to believe Moore did it for the money. Moore has refused the royalties of his film adaptations, he’s refused millionaire deals with DC over the years. Moore simply has principles, which is something I understand is hard to comprehend in this dog-eat-dog world. And when Moore is writing for the money, you can tell. You’re not going to tell me Promethea and Neonomicon have anything in common, are you, in terms of depth, theme, structure, characterisation, innovation? So I’ll continue to believe his version of the ABC line, until facts prove otherwise.

    Why doesn’t Moore have good relationships with his collaborators? You’d have to ask them, or Moore. I’d presume it’s a mixture of several things: 1) Moore’s outspoken, confrontational personality, which is the opposite of the one seen in the industry – everyone pretending everything is always chummy all the time, the myth of the Marvel Bullpen, finally blown to bits by Marvel: The Untold Story; 2) Moore’s collaborators eventually having to work for DC and Marvel, which forces them to be defensive of their employees; 3) and Moore probably not being an easy person to work with. I’d liken him to Jim Shooter, an editor reviled for micro-management but who steered one of the best ages of Marvel, with lots of classic runs. Perhaps people like Moore and Shooter just have too high an expectation of their collaborators. I know I never looked at a Morrison comic book and thought, ‘He really brought out the best in his artist!”

    Morrison is liked by everyone (except, I presume, Chris Ware and Dan Clowes) because he simply avoids conflicts. He’s never said anything controversial, never stood up for rights, Morrison just wants to work and he’ll behave in order to work for a living. Moore never had problems burning bridges. In this age when we’re starting to see more and more writers and artists finally blowing the lid and expressing what they really think about Marvel and DC, it’s time we finally start seeing Moore as a pioneer. Comics can only improve if more and more creators expose the injustices within the companies.

  55. Sadly this says it all, “to get some things off my medal-heavy chest”. He doesn’t mention the dry-humping of Before Watchmen. He only points to ‘2’ works of Moore, yet barrages off a litany of his works. I really want to give him a fair go, after not so with ‘part 3’ of the article. And seriously I can’t read mainstream comics which now goes in circles with renumbering, re-titling etc.

    Indie comics and Indie writers are going to save the industry, because, DC and Marvel are not going to. Its probably why GM took his book ‘Happy’ to Image .

    Ahem… just like Alan Moore did so many years ago.
    Just put on ‘V’ mask GM, you know you want to.

  56. interestedfan – that is indeed the point, that such “convincing” conjecture, in either direction, is daft and unnecessary.

    Miguel – “Morrison is liked by everyone (except, I presume, Chris Ware and Dan Clowes) because he simply avoids conflicts.”

    Or, he’s just a likeable guy that tends not to fall out with people? Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, and many others, are all really nice blokes. It’s unfortunate that Moore apparently sees things in black and white when the message in his books is often one of compassion. There are principles, and then there is bitterness. I personally found it disappointing that Moore cuts off friends as well as “enemies”.

    Has Morrison ever needed to do anything “selfless” for his collaborators? (Although actually he is doing so for Happy.) None of them have any complaints, and many continue to request to work with him. I think that’s a really disingenuous line to take, to try and interpret Morrison’s good track record with others as something nefarious.

    Aru Singh – “to get some things off my medal-heavy chest” is a joke, but I guess a good example of how people choose not to see the joke when they could instead take a meaner interpretation. Before Watchmen was originally on the cards to be discussed, but we felt it would be too derailing from Pádraig’s original intentions and perhaps better fits a later discussion. As it is, it’s the three articles here that were being responded to.

    I’m slightly amused that coverage of this elsewhere labels Pádraig as a scholar and myself as a reporter – guess you can’t be the former if you write about Morrison! ಠ_ಠ

  57. Aru – I feel the need to interject. Moore went to Image when it first started, and when it was publishing Youngblood, Wildcats, Spawn etc. – i.e. a lot of crap dressed up in flash and thunder, rather than the “indie” powerhouse it is today. His first work for them was an issue of Spawn Todd McFarlane asked him to do, and McFarlane paid VERY well – there’s no shame in taking a work for the money, and Moore has always tried to write a good story regardless of the situation, but it’s not quite comparable to why Morrison’s getting Happy! published through Image, considering Moore was writing other people’s titles.

    How else do you explain his work on Wildcats, Supreme (fine work, but based on another artist’s character regardless), Youngblood, and the eternal classic Violator/Badrock?

  58. “medal-heavy chest” is a joke in the same way that Ricky’s Gervais’ ironic references to his Emmy awards etc are jokes e.g. its self aggrandisement masquerading as self deprecation.

  59. A few things should be pointed out here: the comments by Alan Moore that Morrison is largely concerned with refuting and responding to here were spontaneous thoughts expressed on a live online web chat as a response to a question he didn’t know would be asked (all questions were submitted live by viewers) (He also didn’t arbitrarily slate Morrison, the question was specifically about the nature of Moore’s relationship with him). To take this article as Moore’s viewpoint vs Morrison’s is very lopsided as Morrison has the advantage of writing from the position of having the time to deliberate and rationalize his views. Moore’s comments were off the cuff and lasted a few minutes; Morrison has seemingly spent a long time thinking about and writing this piece. If Alan Moore were to write a similar piece ( and there’s no doubt at all that he never will) then maybe it would be a fair ‘battle’.

    As always of course, if you actually watch the footage (and it is online somewhere or other; i’ve watched it) you will see that there is a more playful tone in what Alan Moore says than you would think merely from the text. This doesn’t mean he can’t actually have meant the words but there is a double standard being applied here: Morrison rails against his own frivolous words being brought up to beat him with but misses the point that perhaps Moore too has spoken frivolously in his time? Why do his comments have to have been informed by nothing but spite and bad will towards Morrison (and to be totally without any sense of humour or mischief) but Morrison can say his were purely for effect and mischief and therefore should be discounted as being his actual views?

    Let’s apply an equal criteria to both men here.

    One more point: for someone claiming to want to address the ‘issue’ with facts Morrison should have trimmed his coments to exclude such second-hand suppositions as knowing Moore reads his work because some nameless creator told him so. Not only is it totally insubstantial as a claim it has the unfortunate cumulative effect of suggesting resentment on Morrison’s part.

  60. “I’m slightly amused that coverage of this elsewhere labels Pádraig as a scholar and myself as a reporter – guess you can’t be the former if you write about Morrison! ಠ_ಠ”

    Laura, maybe it is to do with the tone and content of your respective pieces? Paidrag’s article was about a point of interest in an author’s work (the influences behind certain elements of Alan Moore’s work) and your follow up ‘article’ changes that into more of a ‘he said / she said’ debate ie. tabloid tittle tattle. You haven’t done any scholarly work here, you have simply presented a platform to someone you acknowledge as a friend.

    So personally, i would say the two tags were suitably given in this instance.

    I also feel obliged to say that you are disingenuous with certain things you wrote: ” While Moore has previously spoken out about his thoughts on Morrison in various interviews, Morrison has generally kept quiet on the issue.” Now, i’m sure you know that the two names should be reversed in that sentence. Moore has maybe a few quotations to his name regarding Morrison (and I have an exceptionally deep archive of Alan Moore interviews, as I know does Paidrag; you have to search pretty deeply or have Paidrag’s kind of knowledge to find more than a couple of Moore quotes about Morrison), which are usually prompted by being asked about him (as in the example in this article), whereas Morrison has made many ad hominem comments about Moore, something he acknowledges himself in the article: “These days, if I aim a barb at Moore, and I sometimes do, it’s generally as revenge for having my attention drawn to some latest interview or other.” Here we have the same double standard I mentioned in my comment above: ‘barbs’ aimed at Morrison by Moore in ‘revenge’ at having his ‘attention drawn’ to Morrison are not okay, but perfectly acceptable the other way around.

    In fact, Moore rarely gets asked about Morrison but Morrison often gets asked about Moore and the reason for that is because Moore’s influence and reputation is greater within the field of comics and massively greater in the wider world beyond comics. And, sorry to say, Morrison’s comments here and elsewhere do seem to drip with resentment about that fact: “Conversely, I can guarantee you will search in vain for a single positive comment about me or my work coming from Alan Moore’s direction – in spite of our obvious shared areas of interest.”

  61. Steven – I actually don’t think any of the pieces in this series are scholarly, but that’s rather beside the point I was making. Tabloid? Really? Sigh.

    There was nothing incorrect in my statement – Moore has spoken out previously and Morrison has previously kept quite quiet other than the occasional barb, or compliment. Otherwise this piece would have contained nothing new!

    Let’s indeed apply an equal criteria, because I don’t think you’re quite managing either.

  62. What if Alan is just cranky because he has been cosplaying as Tom O’Bedlam all this time and nobody noticed?

  63. Mrs. Sneddon:

    “Or, he’s just a likeable guy that tends not to fall out with people? Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, and many others, are all really nice blokes. It’s unfortunate that Moore apparently sees things in black and white when the message in his books is often one of compassion. There are principles, and then there is bitterness. I personally found it disappointing that Moore cuts off friends as well as “enemies”.

    I realize this will be hard for you to understand, Sneddon, but Moore doesn’t have the temperament of a comic book writer. He’s the only comic book writer I know who thinks, speaks and acts like a great novelist. He’s a well of contradictions, like most great novelists, preaching one thing and doing another. He’s frank, outspoken, erudite, principled, and rancorous. I admire him a lot for that. Better that than the spineless comic book writers who continue to project the illusion that everything is hunky-dory in the comics industry, when every year we see one new creator exploding in public about what’s going on in the backstage – Chris Roberson, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, etc. If Moore feels insulted, attacked, or offended, I prefer he shows that in public rather than pretend the world is all sunshine. How do you know Gibbons, Lloyd et all are ‘nice blokes’? Because they gave you an interview? Do you live inside their heads? Do you know their secrets? They’re entertainers, they live off entertaining people, of course they’ll project an image of nice, cool, easy-going lads. They don’t want to wash their dirty laundry in public. Moore doesn’t have a problem doing it, and I admired him for that.

    “Has Morrison ever needed to do anything “selfless” for his collaborators? (Although actually he is doing so for Happy.) None of them have any complaints, and many continue to request to work with him. I think that’s a really disingenuous line to take, to try and interpret Morrison’s good track record with others as something nefarious.”

    There’s nothing selfless about Happy! Morrison is realizing where the wind is blowing, he has finally understood that with Vertigo’s restrictive contracts he won’t get the movies and TV shows everyone else is getting. You can tell he’s hurt no one’s turning his comics into movies, he keeps complaining about that in interviews. So he’s going to Image with a mediocre comic book screaming to be turned into a mindless cool action movie. It’s sad to see the writer of The Invisibles deliver a comic book Mark Millar could have authored, but that’s how the mighty fall.

    I also assume Morrison’s collaborators don’t have complaints and continue to request working with him because he’s always published by DC/Vertigo, which pays well, and because his comics sell well. So it’s an intelligent decision to work with him. If he continues to write at Image, however, it’ll be interesting to see if many artists are willing to join him. We’ll see what loyalty exists when they stop receiving big DC paychecks upfront.

  64. Sneddon:

    “There was nothing incorrect in my statement – Moore has spoken out previously and Morrison has previously kept quite quiet other than the occasional barb, or compliment. Otherwise this piece would have contained nothing new!

    Let’s indeed apply an equal criteria, because I don’t think you’re quite managing either.”

    Alan Moore doesn’t mention Morrison once in the lengthy book of interviews Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman. Moore very rarely will speak about Morrison. Morrison, however, has been attacking him since the ’80s, as the Drivel column shows, and in recent years in Supergods and then in a Rolling Stones interview where he accused him of being obsessed with rape.

    With due respect, Sneddon, you’re not much an investigative journalist. You’re not Naomi Klein, that’s for sure.

  65. Miguel, where does Laura Sneddon claim to be an investigative reporter? She mentions GM’s barb’s in the 3rd sentence so I think she knows about no beard poking at all beard. As for your earlier comment about the Marvel Bullpen, the myth of that has been public record for decades before Howe’s book.

  66. @Miguel

    Couple of points: when did Ed Brubaker “explode in public about what’s going on backstage” in corporate comics? I’ve missed that one, all I’ve seen from him is a calm and reasonable statement about the increased frequency of Marvel’s release schedule as the main reason for leaving Winter Soldier, in addition to his creator-owned and movie/tv work. Was there anything more sinister than that? Examples please if there was.

    Also upbraiding someone for saying a person is a nice bloke and asking if they live in their head, know their secrets, thoughts etc and then going on to ascribing thoughts and motivations for why creators are collaborating with Morrison at Image is quite the leap in logic as you’re doing the exact some thing you berated a person for a few paragraphs prior. Fair to say Laura is more qualified to say if Lloyd or Gibbons are a nice bloke because she has actually interacted with them and can come to the conclusion while you have no idea about the motivations and monetary rewards for why a Darick Robertson, for example, would collaborate with Morrison at Image besides your own wild hunches (a hunch of my own: he wants to work with him. As has many an acclaimed artist and continue to do so; cf. Frank Quitely, JH Williams, Frazer Irving and so on). Sadly the list of acclaimed artists Moore can work with is ever dwindling, whether it be by their own corporate associations or being blacklisted by the bearded one himself.

    @thebeat, @Laura Sneddon, @Padraig:
    Given the success of this series, particularly this latest offering, any chance of some textual analysis of the Moore/Morrison feud? That would be a lot more fun than simple he said/he said transcribing, use actual published examples and what they have to say! Off the top of my head, for Moore the Jimmy Olsen analogue was a very pointed critique in Supreme, bordering on unfairly. For Morrison it seems more satirical and gentle ribbing, such as the Beard Hunter in Doom Patrol and All-Beard/No-Beard in Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian, and a more general critique of Moore’s influence on superhero comics as a medium via Mandrakk in Final Crisis.

  67. ” Off the top of my head, for Moore the Jimmy Olsen analogue was a very pointed critique in Supreme, bordering on unfairly. ”

    What makes you think the Jimmy Olsen analogue is commenting on Morrison? I think you are COMPLETELY misreading it.

    He’s clearly an Alan Moore self parody. He kills the super dog and has Omniman rip his own heart out: similar to things that happened in “What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”: Bizarro rips his heart (actually I’m not sure about that, can’t remember if he dies from ripping his heart out or kryptonite poisoning) out and Krypto dies. He also writes “The Rape ordeal of Omni-Dog” which can be seen as a parody of Moore’s rape ordeal stuff with Kid Marvelman.

    Later, in Tomorrow Stories, Moore directly parodies Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow again in First American, where First American writes the fan fiction where “all the comedy villains turn into serial killers.” He also has an intro that says (going from memory) “This is an imaginary story, that may happen, but then again won’t” there’s no ambiguity about it being self parody.

    Although to be fair, the Supreme annotations online state

    “Page 2: Moore has clearly positioned Billy Friday as a satire of the “avant garde” British comics authors of the eighties  including Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, and Moore himself  who introduced a climate of revisionism to comics. Moore has said in recent interviews that he now believes this revisionism stripped superhero comics of everything that once made them charming and clever; this series may be seen as his attempt at atonement.”

    I’m not seeing any actual references to Morrison, though, despite what the annotations claim.

  68. Also Mandrakk (The lame Darth Vader ripoff) being Alan Moore sounds like really stupid fan gossip nonsense. Sometimes a lame Darth Vader knockoff is just a lame Darth Vader knockoff.

  69. @Miguel
    Grant isn’t leaving Vertigo, Image is publishing Happy because he wants to be part of Image Revolution and he knows from previous discussions that Karen Berger is uncomfortable with stories that put children in sexual peril. In fact there are projects Morrison is developing with Vertigo.

    Unlike your idol and guru, Grant usually praise the works of other writers and artists. Your master thinks no one is on his level. Unlike “Saint Alan”, Grant trusts his partners and doesn’t need to write three pages to describe a panel. By the way, I don’t know any comics writer that works in “Saint Alan” style, but you must think everybody is wrong.

  70. “interestedfan, what are the similarities between Vader and Mandrakk?”

    Been a while since I read Final Crisis, but in the last issue, don’t they reveal he’s the boy’s father (“Luke, I am your father!”) Isn’t he some good guy turned bad? His whole schtick is that he’s the primal villain in the primal first story, the basis of all stories, and Star Wars is supposed to be doing the whole Joseph Campbell basic hero of a thousand faces myth thing, kid verse evil dad. And like Star Wars, (and unlike any myth I can name) they save the reveal until later, rather than saying the bad guy is the boy’s dad upfront.

    It’s pretty bizarre to claim Mandrake is Moore, it’s like saying he’s the creator of the DC Universe and came up with everything at DC comics, it would place him at the center of every idea at DC. If you accept that Mandrake is Moore, you have to reject the notion that Morrison’s stuff isn’t derivative of Moore, it would be an acknowledgment that every DC comic descends from More and is derivative of Alan More.

  71. Miguel – so comic writers are spineless and novel writers are above reproach? Hmm. Also, I am neither “Mrs”, nor “Sneddon” – my name is Laura Sneddon or Laura, ta very much. No need for rudeness in this rather lovely part of the internet!

    I have not interviewed Lloyd or Gibbons but have interacted with both, as I have with Morrison and Moore though with the former far more regularly than the latter. I ascribe no head examining to any in my writing or day to day life, but I do know that for Happy Grant has been selfless, and that he has little to prove on that front. Equally, I can see that Moore has fallen out with many people, amd ascribing sinister motivations to those who have not done the same in order to rationalise the former is a leap in logic I’m not willing to make. I’m sure Moore is lovely to those he has not fallen out with, in fact I know he is, but to use his fallings out as something positive is a tad bizarre.

    Let’s not pretend you are giving me any due respect though, I think it’s rather obvious you are not.

  72. From CBR: RE: Rollingstone Interview
    Grant Morrison:
    “I was reading some Alan Moore Marvelman for some reason today. I found one in the back there and I couldn’t believe. I pick it up and there are fucking two rapes in it and I suddenly think how many times has somebody been raped in an Alan Moore story? And I couldn’t find a single one where someone wasn’t raped except for Tom Strong, which I believe was a pastiche. We know Alan Moore isn’t a misogynist but fuck, he’s obsessed with rape. I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!”

    Whether its true or not, for someone who supposedly isn’t throwing out barbs, this is very loaded to say the least. Rest abridged interview here:
    -Aru Singh

  73. Pessoa:

    “Unlike your idol and guru, Grant usually praise the works of other writers and artists. Your master thinks no one is on his level. Unlike “Saint Alan”, Grant trusts his partners and doesn’t need to write three pages to describe a panel. By the way, I don’t know any comics writer that works in “Saint Alan” style, but you must think everybody is wrong.”

    I often read Morrison praise the works of other DC employees. Beyond the Big Two, Morrison has no interest in comics. He’s publicly attacked or dismissed the work of Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, the Hernandez brothers, The Comics Journal and Fantagraphics. If an interviewer gets Moore to talk about comics history, though, he’ll only have praise to people like Winsor McCay, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Robert Crumb, etc, an eclectic range of comics. Thanks to him I discovered an excellent 1960s comic called Herbie Popnecker. Morrison never made me discover any classics.

    It’s true Moore doesn’t praise modern comics, but if he doesn’t believe they’re good, why should he praise them? His standards are different than Morrison’s, obviously.

    As for Moore’s style, it works for him, it has led to masterpieces like V for Vendetta, Marvelman, Watchmen, Swamp Thing, From Hell, Supreme, Tom Strong, Promethea, Top Ten. Each writer should write the way he wants, I don’t even understand why this is an issue or what relevance it has to this discussion. I will however say that I don’t believe Lloyd, Gibbons, Williams III and a few others were ever as good as when they were turning Moore’s dense scripts into pictures. He may he difficult, but obviously something about his writing brings the best in his collaborators. Of Gibbons, for instance, one can’t honestly say that the work he did a few years for Green Lantern is on the level of Watchmen.

  74. Sneddon:

    “so comic writers are spineless and novel writers are above reproach?”

    Novelists (and writers from outside comics in general), from my experience, are outspoken and confrontational if they think they’re in the right. It’s not uncommon for writers to have falling outs. I can point out a few, for instance: Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa; Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul; Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda; José Saramago and António Lobo Antunes. Only in comics do we have an atmosphere of secrecy and complacency where everyone is obliged to be friendly to everyone else, sometimes just for appearance’s sake. I don’t think that’s healthy, because it curtails a critical spirit. Only dictators like to make people think everything is hunky-dory and orderly within their realms. I’ve read enough cases about creators being exploited and blacklisted in comics and being reneged by their own peers out of loyalty to their immoral employees. Most people are afraid of speaking out because they don’t want to burn bridges with DC and Marvel, comics major employers. If Moore has such standards that others can’t reach, perhaps he’s not the one to blame, perhaps we should hope more would be like him.

    “I have not interviewed Lloyd or Gibbons but have interacted with both, as I have with Morrison and Moore though with the former far more regularly than the latter. I ascribe no head examining to any in my writing or day to day life, but I do know that for Happy Grant has been selfless, and that he has little to prove on that front. Equally, I can see that Moore has fallen out with many people, amd ascribing sinister motivations to those who have not done the same in order to rationalise the former is a leap in logic I’m not willing to make. I’m sure Moore is lovely to those he has not fallen out with, in fact I know he is, but to use his fallings out as something positive is a tad bizarre.”

    It’s only bizarre if you think everyone should be friendly with everyone. Sometimes people are simply worthy of our contempt and spite. We live in a world where the pressure to be like everyone else is immense. Moore has resisted and has carved out his own life for himself, on his terms. He has the life he wants, and I’m sure he can live with the consequences of his decisions.

  75. ” Sometimes people are simply worthy of our contempt and spite. “Yes i think you illustrated your point, but probably not in the way you intended.

  76. Laura, are you sure Grant is “kept quite quiet” about Alan Moore?

    Just read the several interviews that Grant gave and realize that he is the one atacking Moore since the early years. And it’s not my opinion, it’s a fact that you can check anytime you want reading his interviews. And even the Talking with Gods documentaries.

    It’s quite clear your preference for Grant Morrison, but I don’t think it’s a good thing to do when you decide to choose any sides… specially when you are writing and article like this.

    Please, let’s try to be impartial on this.


  77. Robson – I think he has kept quite quiet yes, apart from the barbs which I mentioned – and which people keep skipping that I have mentioned ⊙﹏⊙ I do not think Grant is a saint, I’m sure he’d laugh at the thought, but quite quiet is quite fair. And quite subjective of course!

    George Bush (not that one) – I like you I do. I do not feel contempt nor spite for anyone, even those who have given me real cause over the years. I knew I was a hippy but I’m happy to be a bizarre one too!

  78. It should be noted that Morrison loves a good rape plot thread himself, and his statements about Moore are probably just bad faith.

    Off the top of my head:

    1) Seven Soldiers have the rape and pillage bad guys, one of whom says “Rape Good!” in shining night (If I remember correctly)

    2) The rapey bane Batman knockoff and the creepy pedophile priest black glove member in Batman

    3) Extended rape plotline in The Invisibles with Fanny, as well as mind control rape villains

    4) Final Crises has Marvel Marvel physically and emotionally violated, and its implied she goes around raping people while possessed by Dessad.

    5) Sexual abuse plotline in Doom Patrol

    6) Villain just threatened to rape Talia and turn her into a prostitute in her backstory issue in Batman Inc.

    If Morrison really cared about how female comic characters are treated, he wouldn’t be cheer leading DC Comics the way he does.

  79. If you wish to be thorough, don’t forget he added child molestation to the backstory of Golden Age boy character Kid Eternity, the detective of The Mystery Play is a child rapist, and Mad Hatter in Arkham Asylum is implied to be a child molester too.

    I’m not squeamish so I don’t care about rape in fiction, how many rapes Moore and Morrison have in their work is just an absurd point; his comment is only relevant in so far as it reveals that he says things without thinking them through, he’d do everyone a favour if he simply refrained from making these bombastic and controversial commentaries he adores to provoke scandal.

  80. “he’d do everyone a favour if he simply refrained from making these bombastic and controversial commentaries he adores to provoke scandal.” Great advice Miguel. Why don’t you lead by example.

  81. @Miguel
    You don’t care rape in fiction but you compleated the list of interestedfan. The rape plotline in Doom Patrol is one of the best stories about a girl sexually abused. By the way, Crazy Jane is one of the best female characters. I love her solo story in the epilogue of Morrison’s run in Doom Patrol.

    You insist freelancer Grant is a DC employee, it must be the example of your idol that called his ex-partner Dave Gibbons a DC employee. I didn’t read any interview where he dismisses the works of Clowes, Ware or Hernandez Brothers, but Grant has the right to have a opinion. In fact he praised Tales Designed to Thrizzle published by Fantagraphics and wrote the preface of True Faith written by the newbie Garth Ennis. He said good things about Marvel writers like Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman and Brian Bendis and he likes so much Image that he wanted do take a part of Image Revolution.

    It looks like the admirers of Moore think all the quality of his works lie on the talent of the writer, but Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Promethea wouldn’t have the same success without accomplished artists like Stephen Bissette, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd and JH Williams. In a recent comicon, Morrison, Vaughan and Hickman praised the hard work of the artists and recognised their importance.

    Moore doesn’t have the same love Morrison has for comics as a media. Comics have to adapt to survive in a world with new medias and Grant fights for it. Therefore he accepted to write Action Comics and joined Image Revolution. He embraces the new and keeps moving forward, while Moore is a grouch man that lives in the past.

  82. @Lipman who writes you criticise Padraig and the world at large for letting Moore speak unchallenged, to spew anything and state it as fact, but all any of them did was allow him the chance to speak like Morrison was here – how do you know Morrison isn’t spewing any old rubbish in red and it’s been published unchallenged?
    It’s just silly to take such strong sides when it comes down to old men who are more alike than different, who don’t really seem to know why they dislike each, except for things they heard off of other people.

    Because I have basic reading comprehension skills Ben. Morrison provides direct and provable evidence that Moore is talking smack about him. This is something Padraig should have done if he was doing a journalistic series as he claims to be doing. It is the same thing the NY Times should have done when they let Moore spew atrocious lies about theWatchmen and V for Vendetta movies, so of course I can’t expect better by a fan press reporter. But of course it should still be pointed out as the bullshit it is.

    @Aaron Berger= yeah give me a call pal, let’s discuss the hate. ANYTIME.

  83. @ Pessoa:
    “Moore doesn’t have the same love Morrison has for comics as a media.”
    I respect both Moore and Morrison as artists, but what is this comment about? Moore always regarded comics as a unique artform, and fought through his work in the 80s for it to be considered equal to other established artforms. (Proof of that can be found by reading most of the interviews conducted with him, and to have a precise quote, you can just watch his video interview for the promotion of Swamp Thing from the 80s, which is uploaded in You Tube )
    In addition the entrance fee for his last conference appearance in 2012 was a donation of a graphic novel to the local library, so that they can build a comics section, so it is highly doubtable that he doesn’t love comics as a media, just because he doesn’t adapt to the modern day comics standards.
    (The recent exploitation of Constantine by DC, certainly doesn’t prove him wrong at all, does it?)

  84. @ZNS
    Moore may have fought for comics in the eighties but more than 20 years later he became a grumpy man. He just complain. I didn’t like the way DC treated John Constantine and I will miss the bastard, but comics industry isn’t only DC or Marvel.

    Currently, we have a vast diversity in comics with Asterios Polyp, 20th Century Boys, The Underwater Welder, The Score, Habibi, Chew, Saga, Blacksad, Journalism etc. However Moore smugly thinks there is no one on his level today. Instead of complaining so much, he should be happy with the quality of several creators working with comics.

    The times are a-changin’ and comics must adapt to survive. Unlike Moore, Morrison doesn’t complain. He embraces the new and keeps moving forward. He express his disagreement in some topics with writers of the new generation but doesn’t say he is better than them. He joins them in the fight for comics survival while Moore just complain, complain, complain…

  85. Pessoa:

    “Currently, we have a vast diversity in comics with Asterios Polyp, 20th Century Boys, The Underwater Welder, The Score, Habibi, Chew, Saga, Blacksad, Journalism etc.”

    I’ve never seen Moore criticize those by name. His diatribes are aimed at a ‘comics industry’ which I think anyone capable of reading between the lines understands means DC and Marvel.

    “However Moore smugly thinks there is no one on his level today. Instead of complaining so much, he should be happy with the quality of several creators working with comics.”

    When he made those comments, in reference to DC’s claim that they had chosen its top-flight talent for Before Watchmen, I think he was pretty justified: JMS, Azzarello, Cooke, please…

    “The times are a-changin’ and comics must adapt to survive. Unlike Moore, Morrison doesn’t complain. He embraces the new and keeps moving forward. He express his disagreement in some topics with writers of the new generation but doesn’t say he is better than them. He joins them in the fight for comics survival while Moore just complain, complain, complain…”

    You keep saying the times are changing, but I don’t see what that has to do with comics. I don’t know what this ‘new’ is you speak of, but what I see is Morrison revamping decades-old characters like Superman. And that’s a pretty old game in superhero comics. I don’t believe Morrison is part of any solution. If comics are in danger and need saving, that saving is being done by creators who don’t have any emotional attachment for childhood heroes but create their own stories, the way proper writers do.

  86. This was great fun to read. I’ve been well aware of the criticisms launched at Mr. Morrison, particularly by Mr. Moorcock, for some time, so it’s a little refreshing to hear the other side of the story. While I love Alan Moore’s work (and Michael Moorcock’s), I’m a Morrison fanboy all the way. He also seems like a really nice guy in real life (never met), just based on other interviews I’ve read or seen. I think Morrison handled this with as much class as someone defending themselves can, really. For the haters, I mean, this is his (Morrison’s) side of the story, so some of it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. But for me, this just adds to my ever growing respect for Morrison as an artist and a human being.

  87. “s. k. m. says:
    Abhay Khosla posts a good response to Morrison here.
    Scroll down and you’ll see it.

    A great column! And some things are quite obvious since we can check the FACTS on internet, early interviews and so.

    “The annotations began with an introduction by Morrison hagiographer Laura Sneddon: “While Moore has previously spoken out about his thoughts on Morrison in various interviews, Morrison has generally kept quiet on the issue.” Among many other things, this utter horseshit overlooks the sizable portion of the article that follows recounting the time Grant Morrison, in the documentary film of his life story, spoke at length about Moore. Specifically, Morrison claimed Moore sent him a sinister letter threatening to end his comics career (and which story was wholly unaccompanied by visual evidence of the actual letter in question, the specific text therefrom, corroboration from any other people who had seen the letter, and so on).”
    And continues…

    I’m sorry Laura, but you’re not being impartial on this…(as said before) I know you are a huge GM fan, but saying things like: “He’s been quiet while Moore is yelling” is just wrong (from the impartial point of view, just to be clear).

  88. Robson – nowhere have I claimed to be impartial, in fact my opening paragraphs make clear that I have had very different experiences with both writers which has an impact on my thoughts. What I have said is that one of the Moore fans above was not being impartial either, and indeed, I think that is the main problem all round. It has devolved into “my writer is better than yours!” which is rather absurd. Clearly both writers have contributed a great deal to the medium, which has little to do with how much any one fan may like or dislike them.

    The tcj has a history of being anti-Morrison, which he is well aware of, and I’m guessing from their patronising tone towards myself that they don’t much like me either. So also impartial, and a little odd coming a clear week later.

    I would like to thank everyone here at The Beat for the mostly civil discussion – other experiences this week have thrown that into sharp relief.

  89. @Miguel
    Fanboys may think the competition is DC vs Marvel, but the game changed. Today comics is competing with videogames, internet, blu-ray etc and many children or teens prefer the new medias. In view of this, comics must adapt to survive.

    I don’t know what will be the future of comics industry, but I think it will not be as popular as it was. However there are many creators working in comics industry, Grant among them, and they are trying to fortify the media they love.

    Your antipathy for Morrison is enormous, you ignore he is writing his own stories for Image and Vertigo. Grant has fun writing about heroes. Fun is a high concept Mr. Moore should try some day…lol…

  90. Nope. You’ve been calling me by my surname which of course you must know is aggressive, accused me of talking “crap”, and now talk of getting things “in my skull”. I do my best in written discourse to never speak to anyone in a manner I would be unhappy with doing so in person. That also means I see little point in talking to someone who in person I would think rude and snide.

    I disagree with what you have said, but I disagree with your manner more. Unless the second is rectified – and I can assure you that how you have written your last two comments to me does upset me – I won’t be able to address the former. Just how I roll.

  91. Miguel, please stop treating Laura like a child. I hope you’re a much more fun and lively person in real life, because you come across as insufferably smug in these comments.

  92. Apologies for the double-post, but is Miguel really calling playing videogames the activity of a child? Someone hasn’t played Shadow of the Colossus or Silent Hill 2.

  93. No smug doesn’t cover it, Miguel you are rude, hostile and everything wrong with comic fandom. You attacked Laura repeatedly with straw man attacks and rudeness and made so many illogical statements that I hope you were trolling and not really this stupid. Give it a rest a hole.

  94. didn’t Brendan McCarthy distance himself from Morrison for ripping off Paradax when writing Zenith? I’m pretty sure they are not buddy buddy… and no one gets between me and McCarthy!!!!

    I like the Filth, I like Animal Man, I like We3 and Invisibles and Flex Mentallo, but Morrison himself, not really.
    Same with Moore, honestly. I’m not sure I’d like either one in person. Although I end up siding with Moore at the end of the day.

  95. “didn’t Brendan McCarthy distance himself from Morrison for ripping off Paradax when writing Zenith?”

    I think McCarthy designed Zenith. And if he distanced himself, it couldn’t have been over primarily Zenith since Morrison convinced McCarthy to design the Skrull Kill Krew according to Tom Brevoort.

  96. An excellent article! I hadn’t read this until Marc-Oliver Frisch linked it in his sales chart column but thank you for exerting all the effort it must’ve taken to put this together. I think Grant Morrison makes many excellent points. I like (and sometimes dislike) both his and Moore’s work but Moore’s increasing negativity seem to border on delusion at times.

  97. It’s a pity that Grant will never read this comment, but I’ll try to find some other way of buying him a pint (anywhere in Partick).

  98. Pretty strong meat there from Longeur. This is interesting but childish stuff. I love loads of Grant Morrison’s work, loathe some bits and am ambivalent to others. Same with Alan Moore. They’re both innovative and derivative. Moore’s LoEG owes a massive debt to Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula novels particularly the Bloody Red Baron which featured the likes of Mabuse, Caligari, Robur and all manner of pulp characters years before LoEG was published. Likewise, Grant Morrison picking at Moore’s psycho sexual hang ups is a bit rich considering his penchant for transgendered characters. Meta Maid is hardly a sympathetic treatment and the Fanny / Bodie from the Professionals bit in Invisibles is just a grimmer rehash of the TNT Tom / Meta Maid liason at the end of Phase III of Zenith. And I don’t even want to go into Tex Porneau / Spartacus Hughes territory.

  99. “And if Moorcock made any complaints to DC in the ’90s, I never heard about them. I had no idea there was any beef with Moorcock until Pop Image’s Jonathan Ellis drew my attention to it in 2004.” – Grant Morrison, quoted above.

    “He said my work was crass and immature and a disgrace, but, as Mark points out, Michael Moorcock branding your work crass and immature is probably a great compliment! I think he read one issue and has no concept. He’s made a fool of himself because he seems to think that the whole of The Invisibles is based on the Jerry Cornelius concept without having read the rest of what we’ve done.” – Grant Morrison, quoted in SFX #21 (January 1997), pp.39-40.

  100. Once there was a wizard called Alan. He was the most powerful wizard in the land. And he had two sons, Neil and Grant. He loved Neil more than Grant and gave Neil his secret spell book, so that he might become his heir. But one night, Grant stole his spells for himself, and made himself a powerful wizard in his turn. In time, Grant made his own spells, but Alan always suspected that these spells were in fact spells from his book in disguise. Neil got bored with magic spells and decided to get a proper job instead. The end.

  101. I’m with ‘Thomas Wayne’, Terry Cantor and Miguel on this one; their comments on Grant Morrison, his career and his antagonistic relationship to Alan Moore have been vigorously expressed in a manner the Grant of old would have heartily approved of, if they were discussing someone else and not Grant himself.

    The minor differences in age between Moore and Morrison would seem to make them equals in terms of attitude, background and outlook, maybe even politically compatible, but IMHO, Moore seems to be from a completely different generation to Morrison going by the differences in their general tone of their work. Moore’s Captain Britain work with its Jim Jasper’s induced fascist rewiring of British society isn’t so different to the police state V and Evie fight against in V For Vendetta. Moore also produced work for things like Brought To Light and AARGH! in the late 1980s AND refused to work with DC Comics on principal over the ratings controversy, as did Frank Miller, at the same time. Moore also spoke out against Marvel Comics’ treatment of Jack Kirby when Marvel was refusing to acknowledge Kirby’s contribution to creating almost all of the early Marvel Universe characters.

    I don’t see the same spirit or approach Moore has to his work or public comments in interviews in Morrison’s own output and never have. Or heard or read Grant speaking out against anything at all apart from trivial things such as Neil Gaiman already making a million quid a year by the early 1990s, for example. It’s obvious from Grant’s outpourings that he considers himself a contemporary of, and an also an equal to Alan Moore. I don’t believe he is. Moore’s more personal work reflects a pessimistic outlook on the world in general; V For Vendetta was Moore’s response to the way British society was being affected by Thatcherism. Morrison’s work at the same time as V was serialised in Warrior magazine was the Zoids comic, followed by his absorption by DC Comics in their then UK comics industry sweep for the next Alan Moore.

    Moore finished off V For Vendetta, his masterpiece, over at DC Comics in the late ’80s as well as Watchmen with Dave Gibbons. Grant was, I believe, starting up on Animal Man. A well regarded strip but no Watchmen. Fandom at this time was also purchasing the new Marvelman/Miracleman stuff from Eclipse Comics, another strip left unfinished with the demise of Warrior magazine. While Morrison is a very prolific, varied and professional writer, the vast majority of his work leaves me cold. I also lost any respect I may have had for him when he shoehorned a Morrissey cameo in Cut magazine’s The New Adventures Of Hitler in 1988. Grant doesn’t mention this strip very often, it seems. I wonder why?

    Morrison’s an intelligent man but Alan Moore’s intellect is on a another level to Grant’s. In Supergods, Grant admits to using his Doom Patrol and Invisibles stories to actualise his own personal fetishes and desires, presumably being too reticent, withdrawn and afraid to take the plunge in searching out BDSM clubs himself. Moore’s work throughout his career, apart from his Image and ABC stuff, has always had what Morrison abhors – realism, ordinary boring unpleasant grim realism, admittedly seen from the POV of extraordinary characters.

    Moore’s left superheroes far behind. Grant hasn’t. Why would someone that I recall from an early 00’s Glasgow Herald interview claiming a lack of interest in writing superhero comics because, and I’m quoting from memory here, science is actually on the brink of creating superheroes in laboratories thus making comic books finally redundant? I’m still waiting to see these super humans, Grant – where are they? Moore’ s later work I’m indifferent to. Ditto for Frank Miller. Morrison’s stuff can’t hold a candle to anything Moore and Miller produced in their prime and Grant is resentful of that.

  102. There is two sides to every story and then the truth.

    I think Grant Morrison has put a robust defense here but the chink in the armour is the Moorecock stuff.

    Are you really saying Grant that you’d let a young writer in the industry essentially mimic or rip parts of you off and just pass it off as a homage and you’d be cool with it?

    Are you really going to give that the greenlight or be a grumpy old man in a few years like Moore? Seems you have put yourself on a bit of tightrope there.

  103. Moore vs Morrison is akin to Stephen Fry attempting to annoy Irving Welsh, a pointless task that has only served to illuminate Moore’s obsession with Morrison while failing woefully to establish anything like the converse, an allegation he doesn’t even manage to make convincingly never mind present evidence for.

    A lot of people are unwilling to take sides on the dispute because they value both writers but I’m prepared to say that Morrison’s movements in the 90’s were forward whereas Moore’s have been consistently backwards towards the Dickensian era he now inhabits as only a curmudgeon can.

    Bring on Morrison’s divorce and rebirth upon the world stage as a provocateur because if an old tight beardy is all we’ve got as a legacy (other than the Time Warner mack) then our sentence is definitely not up.

  104. I love this feud.
    Especially that it’s been going on for so long.
    Part of me hopes that these two brilliant minds are working together to create this plot beyond their convention… It wouldn’t be unimaginable, or uncommon for either, that they would hatch a plot that begins with comics and extends into reality. Of course it’s probably a sad argument, one that we have very little business being a part of, fueled by spite, misunderstanding and perhaps some chest beating.
    I love both of their work and hope that this is play, an expansion of their universes into ours, to influence and play with our lives. The story of them making this story would be far more heart warming than the reality these interviews suggest. Either way, bravo to both and look forward to reading more.

  105. According to Karen Berger in the documentary Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD (2014), Alan Moore did in fact recommend Grant Morrison to her in the 1980s, just not for Vertigo. Game, set and match.

  106. I rarely read writer interviews and despite being a long term comics fan was unaware of the ‘friction’ between Moore and Morrison….. ultimately it all rests on the body of work each has created – for me most of Grant Morrisons work is throw away drivel, even the much touted Invisibles is pretty patchy quality wise….. and while Alan Moore has admittedly churned out some crap, in his long career he has consistently broken new ground and provided us with the best comics ever created, work that at its best is high art – hence the over inflated ego

  107. Someone on reddit has compiled a list of things Grant Morrison has said about Alan Moore since the ‘80s:

    It’s not a response to this article, but it adds a lot of context to the things discussed in this article. Examples:

    “I felt the first four issues of Animal Man were in a style that was acceptable at the time, which was along the lines of what Alan Moore was doing. I kind of figured that’s what DC wanted, so that’s what I gave them, but by the end of the fourth issue, I was really bored with doing it that way. I just thought I had to get away from what had become the orthodox style of the time, particularly from British writers. I could probably have kept it going on sheer technical ability, but I’d have been terribly bored doing it.” -Grant Morrison

    “…Back in the eighties, when I was writing Zenith, the persona I had then was Morrissey; he slags everybody off, he’s really clever; all that Oscar Wilde stuff. So I started saying cruel things about everybody else in comics. No one had ever done that before and it made me famous, but it was a horrible way to get famous. It just seemed funny but I was upsetting a lot of people, and it became a persona I had to escape from because everybody hated me.” -Grant Morrison

  108. As others in the comments have pointed out, when Moore mentions he recommended Morrison to Karen Berger, it wasn’t for the start of the Vertigo comics imprint in 1993 (as Morrison misinterprets), it was actually for the “Berger Books” of the late ‘80s, which sprung up in the wake of Moore’s success for DC with Swamp Thing and Watchmen. The “Berger Books” were *rebranded* as the Vertigo imprint in 1993.

    And Berger does indeed confirm that Moore recommended Morrison to her in the documentary Future Shocks: The Story of 2000 AD. Here’s what they say in that scene:

    KAREN BERGER: I reached out to Alan and I said, “Alan, who do you see out there that’s really talented?” And he goes, “oh, you really should meet this guy Grant Morrison, he’s got something. He’s only done a few things but, you know.” They’ll both probably hate me for saying this [laughs].

    GRANT MORRISON: They had a, a kind of, a day where they just gathered everyone. People like me and Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean all went in on the same day to pitch ideas, and I’d come up with the Batman thing, Arkham Asylum. And on the train down I thought up something to do with this old Animal Man character that they had lying about that I liked as a kid. So I went in and pitched these two projects and just sold them straight away, you know. And Karen claims she can understand my accent. Clearly that’s how you do it, just go in and go [speaks gibberish, mocking a really thick British accent] and you’ll get a job at DC [laughs].

    KAREN BERGER: So it turned out where I went to England at first sort of to be an ambassador of DC and a talent scout, but ended up editing so many new projects with UK writers and artists. There was a really great response from comics readers and comics retailers.

    PETER MILLIGAN: At the time it was known as the “Karen Berger Books,” or the “Karen Berger Line.” I thought that was actually really accurate.

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