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[Date: December 15, 1999]
Grant Morrison is a writer, about to finish his writing chores on the popular JLA comic book.
The Superman Homepage would like to thank Grant for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into his busy schedule.
This interview is Copyright © 1999 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
Q: Can you please tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
A: I write mostly comics but also prose, journalism, plays and screenplays. I live in Glasgow where it's just like 'Trainspotting' and 'Braveheart' put together.
Q: When did you become a Comic Book fan?
A: In 1972. I was in hospital for an appendix operation and I was given three comics - A Superboy, a Flash and an Action Comics. I was hooked instantly.
Q: Who would you like to see play Superman on the big screen in another Superman movie?
A: Ben Affleck, with Daniel Day-Lewis as the classic Neal Adam's Batman.
Q: When did you first decide that you wanted to write comic books?
A: In 1972 (see above)
Q: How did you go about becoming a comic book writer?
A: I was in a band and like most bands, we constantly arugued about everything. I could see it was going nowhere and I couldn't stand being in the Nazi grip of Social Services, so I just started knocking on doors and trying to sell my writing. Several years later, I got some work at 'Warrior' magazine, then got noticed by Marvel UK which led onto 2000 AD and being spotted by Karen Berger during a talent scout to the UK in 1986. I've never looked back.
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I didn't go to college. I left school at 18 and went straight onto welfare for eight years.
Q: Would you recommend that others join the comic industry?
A: Yes. It's like playing with toys for money. If only the parties were better it would be the best job in the world.
Q: In your opinion, is the comic industry still a strong business?
A: Yes. Every time, the industry seems on its knees and everyone's preparing to leave the sinking ship, we pull out a miracle and suddenly there's a boom. I predict that comics will be huge again around 2003-2005.
Q: Who's your favorite comic book hero?
A: The Flash.
Q: What version of Superman is your personal favorite?
A: The Weisinger-era Silver Age Superman and some of the 'creepy' 70s stories. John Byrne did a good job on his revamp but it wasn't to my taste and threw out a lot of the charming, imaginative elements that drew me to the character.
Q: Which do you think of when writing a story that stars Superman?
A: I have my own version of Superman in my head - I see him as much more intelligent than I generally see him portrayed, for instance. I grew up when he was also a super-genius so I tend to write him as some combination of Jesus, Einstein and the American flag.
Q: The "World War Three" storyline in JLA is your farewell to the title, can you tell us why you're leaving the book?
A: Years of writing to deadline just wore me down to the point where it wasn't fun anymore and I felt that I needed a break before I got stale. I'm very pleased with the work we've done on JLA and the last storyline sums it all up.
Q: What are you working on at the moment? What plans do you have for the immediate future?
A: I'm taking a six-month/year long break from comics. The only new work I have upcoming is MARVEL BOY for Joe and Jimmy at Marvel Knights. Currently, I'm working on a novel entitled 'the IF' and one or two screenplay ideas.
Q: Can you let us in on any future/up-coming Superman-related projects you are working on or will soon be working on?
A: There's nothing right now unless the long-awaited 'Hypercrisis' storyline gets off the ground. That project - or 'The 12 Labors of Superman' as it's also known will redefine everything about the Man of Steel and the DC Universe and explain how John Byrne's Superman can exist at the same time as the Golden Age Superman or the quite different Weisinger-era Super-family. It'll be like 'CRISIS' but with a completely new concept to replace the simple expedient of a 'cosmic reset' button.
Q: You and Mark Waid offered to do Superman awhile back, we've heard a few things about your ideas (Metallo: The Man with the Red Kryptonite Heart), what else were you planning for the Man of Steel? Is there any chance that we might see your ideas in an elseworlds story someday?
A: Probably not - unless someone else writes it. I'd love to tell you all the cool stuff we had in our proposal but we don't want people to read it and stripmine it for ideas, as has happened in the past.
Q: Will we ever see Solaris again?
A: I hope so but I have no control over that. He was scheduled to return if Mark (Waid), Mark (Millar), Tom (Peyer) and I had been allowed to write the books but I have no idea what will happen with him now. People tend not to re-use the villains I've created for some reason.
Q: What can you tell us about the Marvel Knights, 'Marvel Boy' mini-series that you're doing with J. G. Jones?
A: It's my attempt to do a flagship character for Marvel. I'm also trying to get away from the nostalgic 'retro' style that's come to dominate comics recently so apart from the name and a conceptual tip of the hat to the work of Bill Everett, this is something completely fresh and forward-looking. It's like a punk arcade game with Atari Teenage Riot soundtrack and has the most dazzling J.G. Jones artwork you've ever seen. I'm having a great time on the book and I hope it will establish a few new trends for the start of the 21st Century.
Q: Any reason why there are so many Aztec references in your work?
A: I've always been very interested in mythology and magic and was reading a lot of stuff on Aztec and Mayan culture for the Invisibles. That bled over into the creation of the Aztek character.
Q: Any chance of any more Animal Man?
A: He plays a big role in the final JLA story but that's about it.
Q: Any plans for more "Invisibles" after this current series?
A: No. The story is completed in the final issue. The TV series may still have legs so if that happens I'll rethink it for television.
Q: What do you think of the Superman Homepage?
A: Anything done with love, care and attention has my thumbs up.
A few "off topic" questions:
Q: Do you have any bad habits?
A: Plenty. You don't want to hear them...
Q: What is the best advice anybody ever gave you?
A: Don't listen to anyone's advice but your own. Which is also the worst advice anyone ever gave me.
Q: Who would you most like to sit next to on a long airplane flight?
A: A trappist monk.
Q: Who would you least like to sit next to on an airplane flight?
A: John Constantine, Hellblazer.
Q: What is the one thing you can't live without?
Q: If you were down to your last $10 how would you spend it?
A: I'd buy a replica gun so that I could steal more money.
Thanks for allowing me to interview you!
Thank you, Steve.
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.