we don’t believe you, you need more people

August 23rd, 2011 by | Tags: ,

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!

Grant Morrison, Rolling Stone 2011

From Grant Morrison, Richard Case, Stan Woch, Daniel Vozzo, and John Workman’s (very good) Doom Patrol 56, part of the lead-up to a big betrayal of the team:

Alternate options: the extended child gangrape in The Invisibles, Lord Fanny’s origin story in the “Sheman” arc of The Invisibles, and probably a few other things that I’m forgetting. I don’t remember whether or not that the monstrous moonchild from that series was the product of consensual sex, but I sorta doubt it.

My point being: get real. Stop believing your own hype. It’s cool you hate your wizard dad Alan Moore or whatever Oedipal thing you got going on, and he’s almost definitely written more rape scenes than you have, but you haven’t made it thirty years in comics without any rape, Chris Ware isn’t a nihilist, superheroes are not here to save us all, and no, Superman is not the greatest idea of the combined human species. It’s the idea of Siegel and Shuster. These soundbytes are absurd.

More Morrison that’s been bugging me enough to not even want to give Action Comics a chance:

You look at the people who created those characters, and they’re all dead. But the characters will still be around in 50 years probably – at least the best of them will. So I try not to concern myself with that. These are deals made in times before I was even born. I can say from experience that young creative people tend to sell rights to things because they want to get noticed. They want to sell their work and to be commercial. Then when they grow up and get a bit smarter, they suddenly realize it maybe wasn’t so good and that the adults have it real nice. [Laughs] But still, it’s kind of the world. I wouldn’t want to comment on that because it was something I wasn’t around for. I can’t tell why they decided to do what they did. Obviously Bob Kane came in at the same age and got a very different deal and profited hugely from Batman’s success. So who knows? They were boys of the same age, but maybe some of them were more keen to sell the rights than others. It all just takes a different business head.

Grant Morrison, Comic Book Resources, 2011

This was the exact moment I went from “Aw yeah, Grant Morrison! (as long as the artists are good)” to “Wait, really?” in terms of how I see this guy. He’s still one of the best writers in comics, but cripes, shouldn’t the best of them also stand up for the ones who got screwed over? Isn’t that what prestige and riches are for? I mean, yeah, do all of the drugs, have sex with all of the women, and I dunno, buy a castle in Scotland when you’re 25 after having made more money off Arkham Asylum than Bill Finger probably ever saw, but once you reach that elder statesman position, once you reach a spot where people look at you with respect and listen to the things you say because you’re viewed as an intelligent and worthwhile creator… shouldn’t you start saying intelligent and worthwhile things? “Well, you know, kids like to get noticed!” is garbage.

You know what Frank Miller did when he got a platform? He repped, and he repped hard. For Jack Kirby, for Bill Finger, for Steve Ditko, and for other creators who deserved to get their art back or to own their creations. For those who got screwed in the name of profit and cheap labor. Sin City letters pages are littered with shots fired at Marvel over how they treated Jack Kirby. The Big Fat Kill (#5, I think) was where I found out that Marvel screwed Kirby. He built a platform and then he used it for good. Is he perfect? Nah. Bill Finger’s name isn’t on DKSA, though it might have been shouted at as a street name or something. But he tried. He got an acknowledgement to Finger and Jerry Robinson into DKR. He didn’t hide behind mealy-mouthed corporate speak to justify two guys getting screwed so that he could write Action Comics with a clean conscience. Two guys who jumpstarted the genre that he loves so much, at that.

It took Abhay to point out that quote to me, and he ethered Morrison over it. King Mob went from counter-culture terrorist to corporate world-changer. Why did Morrison skip straight from counter-culture icon to stooge?

Creator’s rights count. They count more than whatever stupid looking superhero is your favorite. Without the people behind the comics, we wouldn’t have the comics. This sort of callous, blinkered disrespect should be inexcusable.

But sure, keep telling us that Superman is who we should all aspire to be, instead of Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko or Curt Swan or Todd McFarlane or Jim Lee or Frank Miller or (yes, even now) Stan Lee or Adam Warren or any of these cats who have made the works we love. I don’t want to fly. I want to be able to point at something and say, “Yes, I made this with my own two hands and I’m proud of it.”

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82 comments to “we don’t believe you, you need more people”

  1. Great title!

    Good points all. I think there’s a few rape scenes in the Filth as well.

  2. Yes, clearly Morrison is a corporate stooge. That’s why he accuses Brad Meltzer and everyone else working at DC of being sexist. In that exact paragraph.

  3. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the fact in the Batman and Son arc that it’s revealed that Bruce was basically drugged and raped and Damien was the result.


  4. For the record I would really like to be able to fly.

  5. I’ll actually take flying over being Frank Miller or whatever.

  6. The Chris Ware part of his interview was the part that sort of blew up the most yesterday, so I’m glad to see your focus on the two bits that actually bothered me from this interview and others.

    I get that for Morrison these are all human made myths and he feels honored to get to play with them. And talk with them as gods and stuff. But he needs to understand that these are the gods of corporate america now. These are characters who were made into gods through the sacrifice of the great geniuses of our medium. Those are Jack Kirby’s bones your mansion is sitting on.

    This is not the Grant Morrison who wrote the Invisibles. I feel like that guy is probably in some other multiverse fighting his way back in, while this brainwashed corporate stooge runs around undoing his good work. I still like the guy, and do feel like fundamentally both he and Alan Moore have their hearts in the right spot most of the time. But stuff like this definitely makes me appreciate people like Frank Miller who use their platform for good.

    And oh and I like that Morrison’s answer for the misogny in big two comics is basically “hey we’re just dudes, dude. We don’t know any better”. Oh it’s okay that Brad Meltzer has rape scenes, which I admit openly to you are wrong, because Alan Moore does too! Good grief.

    Will still be reading his stuff, because I agree with his approach to Superhero comics, and large chunks of his brain shrapnel are embedded in me at this point. But…OOF.

  7. Oh and I’d rather make a dope comic book than fly. I always liked Batman more anyways.

  8. @Sarah Velez: Doesn’t the Invisibles end with the rebels being in charge of the corporation or did we read different comics.

  9. I’ve been pondering this, because COME ON Grant Morrisson, your stories have rapes, and I’ve been figuring that maybe he meant on-panel, depicted rape. I mean I’ve not read all his stuff by far so that might be bullshit, but the example you have there at least and the fakeout ‘I was touched by my father’ moment in the Invisibles are both a ‘just words’ inclusion. I remember seeing Lord Fanny chained to a wall(?) and maybe having sex with some of the masked guys who eventually turned so nasty; I don’t remember if there’s actually a graphic rape scene for that one.

  10. @Rick Vance: The rebels were in charge of the corporation, which was geared toward educating the public with the ideals of the rebels. That was the whole point of King Mob’s transformation from terrorist to zen fighter to whatever he was at the end. He was still on the side of the angels. He didn’t turn into a stooge–he recuperated the revolution in an attempt to increase its potency and reach.

    @Sarah Velez: Batman uber alles

    @Simmered: He didn’t accuse so much as go “aw shucks well you know we’re just some regular old dudes who mess up sometimes you know? Dudes, am i right ladies? Eh? eh?”

  11. @Claire: Definitely a graphic rape for Fanny, including torn clothes and I believe wandering down a dark highway? It’s been a while since I read it. And I don’t remember if Jane was on-panel or not. I think it may have been hidden inside a confessional booth? Which is sort of on-panel and sorta not. He’s definitely guilty, though.

  12. @david brothers: Fair Point.

  13. I dunno anything about Chris Ware’s upbringing, but I’ve always thought his work displayed a dreadfully sniffy attitude towards the very medium he chooses to operate within.

  14. Like many great artists, seems that Grant is more comfortable with big business as big business has becomeore comfortable with him. The recent string of quotes compared to interviews back at the Post- New X Men era show that.

    In fact, in a 2001 interview ( done with Mark Millar) Grant basically said his whole ” Comic Rock God” persona is just that: a persona, an image.

    In a recent interview, one which had the “Mark Millar destroy my faith in human f ing nature” bit, he starts to call out Millar for needing to have a persona or image of his own.

    Morriisons’ comments about Ware seem like misfires upon their unintended target. Similar to his comments on Grunge Music, he probably has a problem with the persona of depressed privilged American artists than with Ware or his work. The same could be said about alt-comix artists who may be turned off by Morrisons’ overall faith in superheroes, paper people can show us the way ideals. They can go Rick Pitino and say” Supermans’ not walking through that door, Batmans’ not walking through that door, etc”. Just like any rock star, movie heartthrob, god mc, etc, their die hard fans can be their biggest turn offs whose love can be fuel for anothers’ hate or blind fury.

    One wonders if DC didn’t take to Morrisons’ stories after returning there mid 2000’s, what would his quotes in interviews sound like? It seems as if DC would turn back every element that he tries to re introduce into it’s world or worlds.

  15. Where did he say that creators’ rights DON’T count? All he does is summarize things that actually happened.
    For that matter, yes, kids do like to get noticed, or are we just going to ignore all the creators who start off doing their own work, then get noticed by the Big Two and make work for hire their main business?
    How is discussing the cultural significance of Superman equal saying creators’ rights don’t count?

  16. @Mark Kardwell: What’s so sniffy about it? Lint is a book that could only be done as a comic, and Ware is talented enough that he doesn’t even remotely need comics to make money. He makes comics because he likes them, or because he has stories to tell in that format.

    @Kyle Garret: You’re right, Siegel and Shuster got what they deserved when they created DC’s most popular character and the source of billions in profits: one hundred and thirty crisp American dollars.

    Work for hire now and work for hire then, such as it was, are two entirely different things.

  17. Morrison definitely has used sexual assault and rape his work, but it seems like he rarely depicts the act itself (Lord Fanny’s case being an exception). It usually happens offscreen or is described, whereas I think Moore is more likely to actually depict it in his comics. I think that might be what Morrison was getting at, but it might just be me being an Morrison apologist.

  18. @david brothers: It looked less like “am i right ladies” than him saying “Even people whose intentions I know are good still manage to screw up and write misogynistic things” to me.

  19. “Chris Ware isn’t a nihilist,”

    Maybe not in the strictest sense, but I think he’s got a point that the relentless ennui and alienation and “oh, we’re all so alone” is something that tends to come from a perspective where you’re not worried about more immediate problems of food, work, bills, etc. It’s not about his lack of passion for comics, it’s about the philosophy of his work.

  20. @Emp Gonzo: I don’t know if we’re supposed to entirely take Bruce at his word, there.

  21. @Evan Waters: Are you saying that people who struggle with work and bills never feel lonely or depressed or alienated? Because they are too busy struggling? Even Karl Marx would laugh at that.

    In any case, while I don’t suggest Chris Ware’s work is strictly realistic in a Zola-esque sense, he does have protagonists who aren’t rich or even middle-class and he depicts people’s working lives as part of his over-all work. Perhaps Ware’s work is insufficiently proletarian in its content, but then again, Batman and Superman are hardly struggling workers either.

  22. Great essay, thanks for writing it. I also have enjoyed many of his writings, but Morrison seems like an extremely insecure and petty man.

  23. […] Nadel at The Comics Journal David Brothers at 4thletter! Abhay on the Siegel & Shuster […]

  24. […] with rape. I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!” (via DCWomenKickingAss) David Brothers responds. Category: NotesTags: 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, Alan Moore, Brad Meltzer, comics, Grant Morrison, […]

  25. @david brothers

    You and I must have read different interviews. Because mine had Morrison saying that A) sexism is endemic to DC because of the lack of female creators they hire and the reboot is unlikely to change that B) there’s no outright malice in it, just stupidity and ignorance. I think that’s spot on, but even if it wasn’t, that’s hardly something a company mouthpiece would say.

  26. David Brothers, I really hope you’re on WRA for the CA monthly episode because this needs to be heard by more people and keep being discussed.

  27. I think he’s obviously wrong about a number of things, but it’s a leap to call that corporate stoogedom.

  28. I wouldn’t call him a total stooge. I mean, he’s definitely critical of DC in this interview (I agree with Simmered: he’s not just saying “dudes amirite,” he’s saying that people can write misogynistic things without being, themselves, misogynists, but that it still needs to stop).

    And the rape… maybe he meant that he hasn’t done on-panel rape? In a superhero comic? Moore does sort of have rape in everything he writes, so he has a point there.

    But yeah, the creators’ rights thing… not cool. And Morrison is my favorite comics writer, he’s always seemed like a pretty good guy, but what he said in that CBR quote is definitely disappointing. I’m glad that the outcry about that is growing, because I honestly think that he is capable of having sense knocked into him. I think he can come back from the dark side.

  29. And there’s always the possibility that DC is holding one of his cats hostage.

  30. He lost me at the point in his book where he said that CFL lightbulbs were part of the Anti-Life Equation. Although he would have anyway when he flippantly compared the financial crisis to Final Crisis, proving that he has totally lost touch with his roots.

    Grant Morrison’s idea of superheroics is apparently jetting around the world to do mescaline and then making fun of fat women who like Sandman. That book had one surprise in store for me: it made me sympathetic to Mark Millar.

  31. I’m not kidding about that bit about women readers of Sandman. He calls them “Zeppelins” who have obviously suffered “some unspeakable trauma”.

    Very Superman!

  32. …and cue the folks that worship at the alter of Morrison in 3..2… oh I late some made it in already I see….

    My problem with Grant and a lot of his fans is that while I admit he has had some great stuff in the past, they like to think that ALL of his stuff has been on that level. This feeling I get off of a lot of his interviews. Also if you are like me, and actually liked traditional superhero stuff from before this era, it makes me less of a “educated” reader…

    This interview reeked of those sensibilities and felt condescending to other writers along with a “stooge” factor or better yet a sell-out quality.

    Sorry Grant, you are not immune to the failings of other writers (see Final Crisis) and your selective memory along with your “loyal” followers can’t help you out of this one. This was insensitive… which you pointed out well David…

  33. @Simmered:
    But isn’t the implication to rape being endemic of a majority-male DC Comics that Scott Adams, in all his stupid bull about how men are totally allowed to want to rape and such disturbing statements, has a point?

    Because I don’t know about you, but that worries the shit out of me.

  34. Good call on this post!

    In the “Swastika Girls” mini-series, Tom Strong gets raped while he’s asleep… but doesn’t seem upset about it – only the outcome.

    besides rape motifs, Moore seems to prefer to using pre-created characters as well.

  35. @Maxy B: He attributes sexism – not depictions of rape – to the fact that “it’s mostly men who work in these places”. So, no, it doesn’t imply that at all.

  36. I’m sorry, I don’t feel sympathetic towards the Superman creators. They made the deal they made. They didn’t have a gun to their head. If they didn’t want that deal, then they shouldn’t have made it. You can’t go changing the terms later.

    If I invent something and take it to a company they will say that I can get a percentage of sales or some lump sum. If I pick the percentage and then it doesn’t sell, I can’t change my mind. And the same goes the other way around. Life is about taking risks. You can’t change the deal. Can’t live with that? Don’t make the deal.

  37. Here’s my question: Isn’t Grant’s take on Siegel and Shuster — “I try not to concern myself with that. These are deals made in times before I was even born” — essentially the same rationalization that anyone working in superhero comics at the big two makes? He just said it out loud.

    Jack Kirby got screwed. Dave Cockrum got compensation from Marvel from his deathbed. DC continues to fight Siegel’s family in court instead of making a deal. There’s a crowd of Marvel creators — including Len Wein, who gets nothing for Wolverine — receiving zero from their creations only because they created them too early, before participation deals went into effect. (It’s my understanding that DC’s a bit better in this regard.)

    To be sure, I miss the ’80s and early ’90s, when big-time writers and artists were willing to stick out their necks for important issues, and creators like Neal Adams who are willing to help out their fellows are to be lauded, but the entire industry is a tangle of rationalizations and willing blindness on the part of fans and pros alike, of which Grant’s pretty dumb statement is only the latest example.

    And even though I sometimes donate to the link, I’m as much of a hypocrite as the next guy: Steve Bissette’s Marvel boycott on behalf of Kirby and his heirs sounds about right to me, but the only people I see signing on are those who stopped puchasing Marvel product years ago, and I still buy Brubaker’s Cap and the occasional Marvel toy for my kids.

  38. In addition to being a hypocrite, I also suck at html. That was meant to be a link to the Hero Initiative, a great charity.

    Oh, and Eric Mesa, as someone who presumably reads about guys and gals in colorful costumes fighting for justice, you don’t feel at all sympathetic toward Siegel and Shuster, even though there’s a WB exec somewhere who’ll make more on this upcoming Superman movie than Joe and Jerry ever did on the character they created?

    That may be legal, but it ain’t right.

  39. Eric Mesa, National/DC changed the deal on Siegel/Shuster; they didn’t just buy Superman off them, they employed a Siegel/Shuster studio to continue to create Superman stories for them, but during the war, when Siegel was unavailable, they started having other folks write, and they hires Shuster’s studio artists out from under him. But don’t let not knowing what you’re talking about stop you from weighing in on a business screwing over the guys who created a medium or hobby you like enough to post messages on a blog devoted to covering it.

    Re Morrison writing about rape vs. Meltzer writing about rape, the thing that always galled me about Meltzer’s IC one was that it occurred in an “all-ages” (at the time, DC published only books labeled “Mature Readers” and everything else), superhero book starring the Justice League, with Superman and the stars of their Justice League cartoon on the cover. I don’t know if Morrison’s stories took place in the labeled for mature readers Vertigo books, but I do know his JLA run was free of rapes on the meeting table and sexual menace in general. That doesn’t make his “I’ve went 30 years without rape” statement accurate, but I think it’s always worth noting the Where and How of where DC put that scene in IC.

  40. Wait, as I was typing the above, I remembered that Morrison’s “all-ages,” set in the DCU, Justice League-starring comic Final Crisis included a line of dialogue where the villain with the scales mentions the planned gang rape f Supergirl:


    So never mind. Shut up, Grant Morrison.

  41. Similar to Morrison’s point about how one can do sexist things without being A Sexist, Misogynist Monster, I believe that someone can say short-sighted, dumb things without being An Asshole Who Doesn’t Deserve Your Money. I think that’s what’s happening here. I hope he reconsiders his stance on Siegel and Shuster, I really do.

    @Earth-2 Chad: I think someone can actually agitate or at least speak out on behalf of Creators’ Rights without being fired forever from Marvel and DC. Frank Miller and Neil Adams have jobs at DC, and they’re the ones who “started all this nonsense”.

    About Ware: I recognize his massive talent and boundless craft, and I enjoyed Jimmy Corrigan, but he’s not for me. But so what? I’m not going to talk shit about him. I do think his “genre fiction has ruined my life” character type is annoying, but again so what? One thing that needs to end in comics (hell in fiction in general) is this cold war between people who like superheroes and wizards and people who like professors and aimless youths. This is a world where I can read Poul Anderson novels about legendary Vikings, and then check out Don DeLillo’s book about a professor of Hitler Studies dealing with his mortality. And that needs to go both ways.

    About compensation: I realize getting money out of corporations is like pulling teeth. However Marvel and DC (Marvel in particular) need to set aside like 3-5% of their annual profit (including movies, video games and merchandise for sure) put it in a big pool and fairly distribute it to creators, (or their families) past and present as royalties and create well compensated consulting jobs where creators can have at least some say in how their creations are used.

  42. Neal, not Neil. :negativeman:

  43. Interesting. I was just commenting to someone a week ago how disturbed I’ve long felt about Alan Moore’s seeming fascination with rape. Of all the comic book creators out there, his works are the only ones that have continually given off such a vibe.

    Yes, unfortunately, rape is a very real aspect of life, but I can’t help but observe how many times I’ve seen in play a part in Moore’s story-telling. As such, I’ve long wondered and about his motivation, subconscious or otherwise.

    For me, this observation started with the original publications of Watchmen, Miracleman and Batman: Killing Joke, a time when I was just a teen. Prior to those three occurrences, the only time I could remember seeing even the suggestion of rape was in the second issue of Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar. I was 13 then, and so it made a very disturbing impression.

    With further regard to Killing Joke, Moore has since denied that Barbera Gordon was raped, but his denial could never override what the visual storytelling aspects communicated to me and countless others; thus, if it quacks like a rape.

  44. @david brothers: The lesson one might take from that could be, sadly, “you cannot create real change or reform from within the corporate structure, no matter how much you’d like to”… at least if one looks at the Invisibles as a model Morrison used to rebuild himself into who he wanted to be (which he has essentially said is the case).

  45. I know everyone wants GM to make a big anti- corporation stance on all this stuff but he is protecting his job. I believe DC talked to him about anti-DC remarks and since then its been ‘yes sir,sir’. DC lost Rucka,Waid,…. its got to have some fucked iner workings. Anyway, Morrison likes to take potshots at Moore every chance he can and it gets everyone to talk about him. Maybe he is a bit of a prick? His best friend was Millar LOL.

  46. and the graphic rape scene in that image you posted is where, david?

  47. This is what happens when a geek gets a following: He vanishes up his own ass.

  48. I think someone can actually agitate or at least speak out on behalf of Creators’ Rights without being fired forever from Marvel and DC. Frank Miller and Neil Adams have jobs at DC, and they’re the ones who “started all this nonsense”.

    Neal and Frank are all-time greats who sell comics. They will always have work.

    But is there anyone currently employed at Marvel and DC who weighs in on specific cases like the Kirby lawsuit or the Siegels’ lawsuit? Mind you, I’m not making judgments, I just think that the big two comic companies are a little less forgiving than you think.

  49. Yeah shitting on your boss is frowned on in corporate america. You don’t get to play with the big toys like Supes and Bats by talking shit. Get real people.

  50. @Robert Boyd: “Even Karl Marx would laugh at that.”

    I think Marx especially would laugh at that. Marx wrote about the misery of being alienated from one’s work, and about how capitalism encourages workers to try to overcome the emptiness and desperation of their lives by buying the overpriced goods they themselves spend all day making and selling. I think he’d find a lot in Ware’s work that resonates with his own ideas, actually.

  51. As far as Morrison goes, I miss the days when he wrote comics that seemed different and original and, well, about something. I can tell you what Seaguy is about; I can tell you what Animal Man and The Filth and We3 are about; I can tell you what The Invisibles was about (although I never liked The Invisibles); and all of these books were actually trying to speak to something larger than their superficial subject matter. His Batman run, though – in addition to just being mediocre, it’s not about anything other than Batman, and Batman as he relates to different versions of Batman (the same thing, incidentally, he did in All-Star Superman, only then with tighter scripts and much, much better art).

    Interviews with Morrison used to interest me, then they infuriated me (this is a man who used to brag that he doesn’t read anything but comics), now they’re just boring and predictable. The requisite Moore-bashing? Check. The shrugging dismissal of any signs of pervasive moral rot within the industry? Check. The by-now-rote hyperbolic gushing about the revolutionary nature of cape-and-tights stories? Check. These aren’t the words of a genius; they’re the words of a huckster, a shill, and a familiar one at that. Once upon a time he was the next Alan Moore; now he’s Mark Millar with a tarot deck and a bag of cheap pot.

  52. Oh c’mon. Guy’s sold enough screenplays to afford good pot.

  53. still, who would you rather talk to, moose n squirrel: a crazy old hobo muttering to himself, a scottish yoga pervert smoking pot who makes a great superman story, or a big fat hyberbolic guy who calls anyone he meets ‘cowboy’? :damn:

  54. Um… the hobo, I guess?

  55. @hairlip: Check out the Invisibles #6-8. More rape than you can shake a stick at, done under the aegis of “No, no, see, this guy is a GENIUS and you don’t underSTAND him. THIS is what he meant by all that rape and torture!”

  56. But name one explicit rape scene in his comics. Where on panel rape is occurring? The closest I can get is Buddy’s wife almost getting raped by hunters in Animal Man.

    Rape is real, it happens, works can and should allude to it. I personally don’t have a problem with unsavory things being depicted in books/movies/comics. But having allusions of rape and telling stories where rape victims lives are colored by that experience is really different form having your artist draw Dr Light in his awful costume with that stupid hat ripping Sue’s pants open and pounding away while she cries and screams in agony.

    Also on the whole Talia thing I always figured it was implied that they drugged him and harvested the sperm. I don’t think it was Morrison’s intent that Talia drugged Bruce and gave him a handy she collected into a cup or whatever nonsense. I don’t think Damian was ever in Talia’s womb. The kids a test tube baby.

  57. kill yr idols

  58. Morrison and Whedon are the two most overrated writers working today.

  59. This thread got really toxic. Everyone with terrible opinions be quiet, please, especially if you don’t know how to talk to people like an adult instead of a robot with so many opinions and so little time to express them.

    I’m not calling for a boycott. I’m saying that this guy’s interviews (and apparently Supergods) keep showing me that he is clearly not the man I thought he was, and that’s actively harming my desire to check out his new work (that and the serious dip in quality the man’s work has taken over the past few years, really).

    @Jeremy: We’re not playing “Who wrote the worst rape scene?” Morrison said, “I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!” There are no qualifiers there, and no suggestions that rape being off-panel makes it more acceptable than on-panel rape (it doesn’t). You’re moving the goalposts. Morrison said “No rape in thirty years.” I, and several others on this thread, pointed out specific instances where he has had explicit rape, on-panel or otherwise, over the past thirty years, including in Batman and Final Crisis. So I could care less about a “but name one explicit rape scene in his comics.” One: I already did. Two: that’s irrelevant.

    @hairlip: Moore’s not crazy.

    @James W: Yeah, no way does Morrison smoke dirt weed.

    @moose n squirrel: Despite how I feel about his public persona now, he’s still a very good writer, miles ahead of Millar to be sure, and able to keep up with Moore in his prime. He’s just outed himself as having some hilariously terrible opinions in the name of drumming up press for his books.

    @George Bush (not that one): Nobody’s asking him to take a hard line stance against whoever signs his checks. It’s just, when you’re talking about a situation that has a very clear right and wrong component, how about you don’t say anything instead of coming down on the side of wrong?

    @Earth-2 Chad: I bet every single person at Marvel right now wishes they’d treated Kirby differently. It’s not about editorial–it’s about the bean counters behind editorial. They don’t care about sentiment, unless that emotion translates into dollars.

    @rizzo: You’re stupid. Overrated is worthless as a term, and simply means “People like them but I don’t so those people must be wrong.” Bring something to the conversation or shut up.

  60. So is there a difference between Gangrape and normal rape which is the reason why Grant said what he said?
    Maybe in his line he meant Alan moore had more one type of rape where Grant been dabbling in many pages of Rape, from force intercourse of the mind, Force Intercourse done by vixen on a intoxicated person, Force Intercourse done in a group, To Conan Style of Force Intercourse. Just that in those 30 years he had not been doing the cookie cutter rape scenes alan moore once did.

  61. One bit that made me think came from what TCJ called “a long patch where [Morrison] reels off his fave superhero movies”: Morrison’s instant dismissal of Thor‘s rural setting, and his swift conclusion that superheroes are for big cities and don’t work without them.

    Not that I’ve ever seen Thor, but walking around a Southern university town, I see plenty of architecture and space that would be ready for weblines, Hulk leaps, and dynamic duos if someone put it on a page. It’s not as tall of a place, but there’s still stunning vistas, space through which inhuman movement could have breathtaking impact.

    It’s a decent question that Morrison raises: are there unique aesthetic places for superheroes in suburban or rural space? In the American South? In anywhere populated short of the coastal cities where media have traditionally been assembled in America? Certainly there have been successes – I’d count Batman Inc. #7 among them – but they seem to rely on a lot of jogging around and driving, or cliches like a rescue on horseback, that don’t take full advantage of the artifacts around them.

  62. So how much of DC’s money did Frank Miller give to the Bill Finger Estate after the massive success of DKR/Year One/ASBARTBW?

  63. “Are you saying that people who struggle with work and bills never feel lonely or depressed or alienated? Because they are too busy struggling? Even Karl Marx would laugh at that.”

    No, but they want to have some kind of hope that things can get better- or at least the emotional catharsis of tragedy- which is something that Ware never really offers. Things just sort of stay at a depressing equilibrium. I think what Morrison is talking about is similar to what the movie Sullivan’s Travels argued, and I do think there’s a tendency for us to exalt the expression of misery as an inherently higher art than escapism or heroic idealism.

  64. @Evan Waters:

    There’s also a tendency for escapism or heroic idealism to become the shallow celebration of material success. There’s a lot of tendencies in this world, working at odds.

  65. There was no rape scene in the page you posted. Just a sentence. Hardly contradicts what Morrison said. And as Mobius pointed out, you’re insulting Jack Kirby and others by portraying them as helpless children. (Besides, Morrison didn’t comment on the return of artwork or even Kirby. He was talking more about Siegel and Shuster. And you never addressed the Bob Kane difference either. Point to Grant.)

    Taking his comments out of context and blasting them is beneath someone of your stature. You’re better off commenting intelligently and informatively, even though it may not be as entertaining and inflaming as you’re trying to be. No need to bring yourself and your writing down to make a point!

  66. @Bru-Hed: I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but read what I wrote before you comment, and definitely check yourself before you condescend to me about my stature. I address every single thing you say, I’m not portraying Kirby or anyone else as children, and the Bob Kane/Bill Finger point is directly relevant to my Frank Miller point.

    I’m not stupid, is what I’m saying, and you aren’t saying anything new. Other than the condescending “no need to bring yourself and your writing down” bit. I guess that’s new. Tired and a stretch and untrue, but new.

  67. While we’re beating up on GMoz, it’s true he doesn’t always get the details right in his interviews.

    He goes out of his way to mention Seigel and Schuster and Bob Kane being the same age when they made the contracts they did. Actually their ages was a crucial difference. Because Bob Kane was too young to sign a contract when he did, he had more leverage with DC later, that meant he got more back from inventing Batman than they did for Superman.

    At least from what I remember in ‘Men of Tomorrow’.

    Yes, I found myself, a day after reading the RS interview with Morrison, going “Waitaminit! What about all those rapes in Morrison comics!”

    So what he says was definitely bullshit. I kinda see what he’s getting at though. Moore loves his rapes.

  68. David, I would not have bothered to post unless I read your article. And I stand by everything said. You should read what Mobius had to say to better understand the point. Why you decided to take my comments as a comment on your intelligence or condescending is beyond me; the intention was as back-handed compliment.

    As the old joke goes, “I hate it when people condescend…You know, talk down to you?” 😉

  69. @david brothers

    Not going to weigh in on this topic at all, but I feel like your last post should rightfully have been accompanied by a Jim Ross commentary track. That was some serious Steve Austin-esque house-clearing.

  70. @Bru-Hed: See, here is the problem with your point. In the above quote, Grant seems to be getting on Moore for even bringing up the subject of rape in comics in the first place. You know, because that Alan Moore, he won’t be happy unless he darkens every door in superhero comics with his cynicism and despair! Grrr, What a rotten fellow! Good old Grant would never bring up that nasty subject in a medium that is supposed to inspire people and fill them with wonder!

    Except, a long time ago he did, and thus his attack on Moore for bringing up the subject of rape in comics is kind of bullshit. Look, Grant Morrison has received a whole lot of unfair bullshit from the comics community over the last few years, but this time he legitimately messed up and said something stupid. He’s human, it happens. Save your pedantic white knighting for another occasion.

    Finally, never use a emoticon like that again. Seriously. Even if you’re just trying to piss someone off all it does is make you look like a smug twerp.

  71. Guys, clearly Morrison’s operating under the assumption that it’s not a rape scene in comics unless there’s a bunch of deliberately spaced word balloons each containing a single onomatopoeia of a husky grunt, as detailed in the Sequential Art Style Guide.

  72. From my understanding, there weren’t clear-cut written legal contracts during the Silver Age. Kirby & Ditko co-created mountains of characters for page rate. W some hen written work-for-hire contracts came in the ’70s, that’s went things got both clearer and more dicey.

    Also, work-for-hire does not equal not making money off one’s creations. The company can own the characters and still give writers & artists money for their use.”They signed a contract,” “They should have known better,” etc. doesn’t wash. Marvel and DC should have done right by Kirby, Siegel & Shuster, Finger, Gerber, et al but didn’t.

    It sucks to see someone whose work you like not living up to your idea of him or her. I actually liked some of what Morrison said in the Rolling Stone interview, but the cheap shots at Moore and wrong-headed statements were disappointing.

  73. @David, I think Morrison still has the potential to write solid-to-amazing comics, based on Seaguy 2. But aside from that and All-Star Superman, he’s been putting out fairly mediocre work for a good long while now. Final Crisis was a mess, his Batman run has produced a little over half a dozen genuinely great issues over the course of three-plus years, and even Seven Soldiers had more misses than hits (and never bothered cohering into a satisfying story in the end).

    And even All-Star Superman, which I love, isn’t really about anything other than Superman and what it means to be Superman. It’s a great Superman story but… this is a guy who used to write stories with themes that resonated beyond “Cape Dude is important because Other Cape Dude isn’t Cape Dude.” Like, I read the latest issue of Batman Inc – the one where a computer has barfed all over the panels and everyone’s talking like they’re in a really bad early cyberpunk novel – and for the first half of the issue I’m like, oh, I see, Grant Morrison is being Self-Referential again, with the references to mid-nineties computer comics and shitty Wired article-inspired sci-fi, and then for the second half I’m like, no, sorry, this is just really bad, and there’s no excusing it no matter what Morrison was trying, and all I can say is I really, really miss the guy who wrote Animal Man right now.

  74. My main Morrison beef right now is when he comes too self-reference for his own good, when the themes and cleverness overtake the goddamn plot and the surface story isn’t even all that engaging. “Yeah, but did you know that thing that woman said that was totally nonsensical in the context of the comic was actually a reference to Margret Thatcher?” No, I didn’t know, but why the FUCK does that matter, and why the FUCK do you think that makes for good storytelling? Even when Doom Patrol veers heavily on naval-gazing and disappearing up its own ass, it was still a wonderful superhero team book on the surface, with legitimately great character work, clever dialog, and wild comic book ideas and visuals that showcased what the medium could do.

    But what is Seaguy? People get upset at readers saying they didn’t “get” Seaguy, as if they didn’t know how to read it. Its in plain English, Cameron Stewart has clear storytelling, that’s wasn’t the fucking complaints, valiant Seaguy defenders. It was the people like me reading it along, occasionally amused by a wacky visual, putting it down and thinking, “Well, that was certainly a comic book!”, all the while I should have seen that it was a criticism on comic book status quos, and the pointlessness of life and death, and a billion other little things people find secret meanings from listening to David Bowie backwards, nevermind the inane plot or the robotic sounding characters, WE GOT SHOW EVERYBODY HOW DEEP AND CLEVER WE ARE!

    Sometimes I think Morrison just can’t get down and dirty in the coal mines with everybody else anymore, less they stain his new suit. Sometimes his way works (Batman Inc #4) and sometimes it don’t(everything about “Clown at Midnight” for example).

  75. @moose n squirrel:

    To me, and I’m a fan of Morrison’s, Seven Soldiers is the only comic of his I’ve read that bothered cohering into a story at the end. I was pleasantly surprised.

  76. If your looking for the leftist Grant Morrison, he was last seen on Sept 16th 2001 when he blogged :

    “Islamic Fundamentalists will kill anyone and anything in the name of religious JIHAD. Capitalist Fundamentalists will kill anyone and anything in the name of MONEY. No difference AT ALL. […] American presidents should really stop bullying and brutalising weaker and more primitive nations. It doesn’t look good on the CV.”

    That blog post quickly came down because, according to his partner, “about fifty people wrote in some supporting, some very strongly against and threatening all sorts, ‘We won’t buy your comics again’, retailers pulling out, not selling his comics.”

    After that Morrison has never strayed from being a good liberal (of the ‘corporate new age’ variety). His New X-men run even had Wolverine lopping off a Talib’s hand to save burka’d women while Professor X telepathically stopped Islamic hijackers.

    Now he speaks ‘fair and balanced’ just like any liberal person must do in order to keep working in the American media.

    As a former member of the Invisible Army it is unpleasant to see King Mob now acting as DC’s spokesman in-between touring with Deepak Chopra but as someone who saw his ‘call to inaction’ at the Disinfo conference back in 2000 I’m not really surprised. As the philosophers say “all it takes for evil to win is for good people to self-neuter to please management” and as NeoMarx said “new-age is the MDMA of the masses”.

    Still he feels like an old friend and I cannot judge him too harshly.

  77. @Jeremy:

    “Sometimes I think Morrison just can’t get down and dirty in the coal mines with everybody else anymore, less they stain his new suit.”

    Finally managed to plough through to the end of Supergods and it’s infuriating how many times he brings up his working class up-bringing as a shield to any criticism like this. We get it Grant. You grew up in Glasgow, in the 70s, nobody is saying that wasn’t rough. But when you’re running around dismissing Siegel and Shuster’s legal problems and presenting the image of COMICS SUPERSTAR GRANT MORRISON, I find it extremely hard to buy into that as an excuse anymore you bleeding champagne socialist.

    Morrison has published some great stories, but that still doesn’t mean he hold some dodgy views. I guess the problem with referential fiction and art is that you will invariably find something in the author’s intent that you disagree with. But even when I literally have wanted to throw his comics across to room (Kill your Boyfriend you 90s piece of shit. And not in the Liefeld way either), I always found Morrison hard to dismiss completely, mainly as I felt that he did want his readers to be challenged by his opinions, to open a debate over what he felt comics or the world was.

    Now after reading his book and some of his recent comments I feel he just wanted to lecture us.

  78. @david brothers: yes he is.

  79. […] threw some shots Grant Morrison’s way last month, and I didn’t even bother buying (or bootlegging) Action Comics. I’m just not […]

  80. Full disclosure: I love the man’s work. To the death.

    This is my guess as to what’s happening here: Grant Morrison wants in on Hollywood Big Bucks and Mainstream Credibility. Problem is, Hollywood doesn’t play with counter cultural weirdos like Alan Moore and his patented Spitting Venom™. If Grant says enough cozy things about working within the rules of the corporate structure while poo-pooing ideologues like Moore, his chances of being allowed a Millar / Miller moment are far greater than the LSD munching majik practitioner he’s portrayed himself as in the past.

    He’s hungry for this: it doesn’t matter how brilliant his work is in comics – until he produces a film (preferably a good one) he’s still a funny book writer to anyone who ‘matters’. He’s admitted as much in regards to his heightened status for writing “Supergods” – an actual book. You know that Mark Millar – a talented guy who made the decision to make commercial, low com denom dreck (and a sort of protege) – having infinitely more stroke than him on the left coast is probably melting his fucking mind!

    I wish he wasn’t doing it in this manner – digging himself out of the hole his self-mythologizing buried him in – but if he gets into Hollywood and makes something amazing (must say ‘Dinosaurs vs. Aliens’ sounds less than promising), maybe it will be worth it.

  81. “They can go Rick Pitino and say” Supermans’ not walking through that door, Batmans’ not walking through that door, etc”–Apollo9000

    That, was gold.

  82. I figured Grant Morrison had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he said that thing about Alan Moore. It was in Rolling Stone, after all.