The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Gaiman, Morrison, and the strange substratum
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Hey cool—a long New Yorker profile on Neil Gaiman by Dana Goodyear. I like this line:

“Sandman,” Gaiman says, is sexually transmitted. “Guys who wanted their girlfriends to read comics would give them ‘Sandman.’ They’d break up, and the girl would take the ‘Sandman’s and infect the next guy.”

(Hmm—a general theory of cult media transmission?)

But reading about Neil Gaiman reminds me of another comic book writer with a striking accent who you ought to know about. He’s not as famous as Gaiman, but I think he’s exerted just as much influence on culture in the last few decades. He’s Grant Morrison.

His All-Star Superman series is one the gems of comics of the past few years: built on familiar foundations, but thoroughly, thoroughly weird. It leaves the self-conscious grit of superhero reboots behind, but it’s not without sharp edges. In fact, it’s hard to put a finger on Morrison’s tone in the series; the whole thing is rainbow-colored but super-sophisticated.

Like a Bollywood movie directed by Wes Anderson.

And it’s particularly remarkable if you also read The Invisibles, the long series that came earlier, and is still really Morrison’s signature work. The Invisibles is a boiling nine-dimensional stew of symbols and sub-cultures, and I mean, it’s just really, really weird. But it’s this guy, the guy responsible for this deep utter weirdness, that DC has now put in charge of the Justice League, Batman, and Superman, all in turn. The weirdest writer of them all is the king of the castle.

So, just to be super-clear—this is your geek-cred talking point—Grant Morrison is the most popular, most important comic book writer working today.

But this is the important part: I think if you look on any writer’s shelf in TV or Hollywood, you’ll find Morrison. That’s definitely true of writers of shows like Battlestar Galactica and LOST. Yes—in fact, LOST is basically a TV series written by Grant Morrison. It’s his techno-occultism, his rainbow sophistication. Comic-book adventure meets quantum foam meets Rider-Waite. I really believe the writing staff at LOST would cop to it.

If “the weird” has gone—is going—mainstream, Grant Morrison (along with Neil Gaiman) gets a big chunk of the credit. He’s been toiling for decades, digging this underground lake that connects all these points, all these people.

Nerds of many worlds, all reading the same comics—all reaching down into the secret substratum of the strange.

3 comments

Oh my god, AND you’re a Morrison and All Star Superman fan? How are we not best friends?

At Wondercon a few years ago, and after a series of questions that had provoked lengthy socio-political rants, Morrison was asked if he was working on a piece that would contain all his feelings about the state of the world. He replied that he’d already written it: Seaguy, which had just been cancelled (it’s since been revived). I was thrilled, Seaguy is my favorite Morrison work and if you haven’t read it, you must.

I have NOT read Seaguy!

For all my trumpeting, I am a) totally not a Morrison completist, and b) kinda new to the party. I should give credit to Andrew Fitzgerald, who pushed the first trade paperback into my hands not so long ago like samizdat. Psst. Read this. READ IT.

I try to read the Invisibles at least every other year…I find something new every time.

Also I found this documentary folks from my alma mater are brewing up:
http://grantmorrisonmovie.com/

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