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Creator / Grant Morrison

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The man who gave Superman his balls back.
"I'm the evil mastermind behind the scenes. I'm the wicked puppeteer who pulls the strings and makes you dance. I'm your writer."
GRANT MORRISON to Animal Man, Animal Man #26

Grant Morrison, MBE (born 31 January 1960) is a Scottish writer, best known for the complex use of meta-fiction within his stories.

His first published comic book work was Gideon Stargrave in 1978. After a few attempts at Marvel UK, he started writing Zenith for Britain's 2000 AD magazine. Like pretty much every superhero comic by English/Scottish/Irish writers during the eighties, it was both a superhero deconstruction and an excuse to take shots at Margaret Thatcher. It was because of Zenith that Morrison was hired to do a comic about Animal Man, a character few knew and nobody cared about, and started his long tradition of taking total losers and transforming them into something completely awesome. Next was the Doom Patrol, turning them into the greatest constant Mind Screw ever put into Four Colored pages.


After those critical successes, he wrote Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which became the best selling graphic novel up to that point, and featured selected members of Batman's rogues gallery - as well as the Dark Knight himself - as different aspects of non-comic book, medical insanity, such as schizophrenia and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He then wrote several miniseries in Britain and for Vertigo Comics, and rose to stardom with the relaunch of Justice League of America, which featured DC's big superheroes together again for the first time in years. Besides being aptly described elsewhere on this website as "made up of back-to-back Crowning Moments of Awesome", Morrison's JLA also served as inspiration for the DCAU's Justice League, usually made up of back-to-back Crowning Moments of Awesome itself. At the time he was writing JLA, he was working on Vertigo Comics' The Invisibles, his most personal world, which he described as information given to him by Aliens during an abduction in Kathmandu.


Since then, he has worked with Marvel Comics, writing the controversial New X-Men run, and the Marvel Boy and Fantastic Four: 1234 miniseries. He returned to DC, and wrote The Filth, Seaguy, Vinamarama and We 3 for Vertigo before cutting loose in the DC Universe with the seven Seven Soldiers miniseries and the universally beloved All-Star Superman. He proceeded to yet again redefine the mindscrew in his Batman run, attempting to reconcile the character's 70 years' worth of interpretations, and finally realized his life long dream of somehow making the DC Universe a sentient being in Final Crisis. He then went on to work on the new Batman Incorporated and Action Comics.

He is also the author of the non-fiction 2011 book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero, a mix between a critical history of superhero comics as he had seen it and autobiography.

Whether or not his stories are good is a topic of much debate. Some people love them, some people believe he's just some wacky guy who can't write a story without severe Writer on Board and whose constant forays into This Is Your Premise on Drugs end up dominating his books to the detriment of plot and character. He did once state in the letters page of The Invisibles that his protagonist, King Mob, a Tuxedo and Martini Author Avatar only got laid all the time because the comic book was a magic spell Morrison was casting, and so making his main character get laid would get him laid. And if you think he's joking, you haven't read ''Supergods''…

Recognizable in real life by his shaved head and his already difficult to follow topics being uttered in a nearly incomprehensible accent. In an anecdote in the first volume of 52, his conversation with the other writers and editor goes like this:

Grant: "[something in a barely intelligible Scottish accent] space heroes [Scottish, Scottish] Styx, yeah."
Mark, Geoff, Greg, Steve: "Come again?"

He has also appeared in Mom and Dad in a cameo role.

Works by Grant Morrison with their own trope pages include:

Tropes associated with Grant Morrison:

  • All There in the Manual:
    • Anarchy for the Masses for one thing offers a mighty effort at deciphering The Invisibles. Most notably insightful are the numerous interviews with Morrison and crew. Otherwise tends to give away tons of more or less required information about his work in interviews, which usually end up unread on obscure corners of the Internet.
    • Final Crisis Sketchbook, essentially a collection of notes and "behind the scenes" comments on the creation of Final Crisis, contained tidbits of information that never appeared in the actual comic ... like, say, the identities of some of the characters.
    • The later chapters of Supergods also contain a fair amount of Word of God, especially regarding the genesis and intended meaning of The Invisibles and Final Crisis.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Invisibles revolves around them.
  • Author Appeal: Morrison loves the sillier Silver Age characters. He fought and lost to have Egg Fu have his prehensile mustache in 52, for instance.
  • Author Avatar:
    • King Mob, Mo G., "The Writer" , No-Beard, both Wally Sages, Mind Grabber Man, Professor X, The Seven Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp, the "Batman" architect from Tales of the Unexpected , and many more.
    • As The Invisibles was collected without the letter columns from the single issues, one deeply odd fact about Morrison has been mostly lost to memory. After his representation in the comic, Kirk Morrison/Gideon Stargrave/King Mob, spent a few issues slowly dying of a gunshot wound to the stomach, Morrison himself nearly died from what turned out to be a collapsed lung; he just fell over one day after martial-arts practice and spent three days lying on the floor. Morrison draws a straight line between what happened to King Mob and what happened to him, which may explain why King Mob spends most of volume 2 balls-deep in Ragged Robin...
    • Really, if there's a bald main character in a Morrison book, don't think yourself crazy to think said character might be modeled after him.
  • Author Guest Spot: Famously in Animal Man. Hilariously, fellow DC writer John Ostrander realized not long after that by writing himself into a comic Grant Morrison had put himself in continuity, and made "the Writer" a member of the Suicide Squad for one issue.
  • Author Stand-In
  • Author Tract: Morrison pretty much likes to either add himself, or characters who act as him, in a large amount of his stories.
  • Bald of Awesome: Adopted sometime in The '90s. When Morrison made his Creator Cameo in Animal Man #26 he had a kind of mod pageboy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: We 3. 3 dies, but there is an investigation going into the military project and public outrage, and 1 and 2 find a loving owner with a kind homeless man.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Kill Your Boyfriend!
  • Body Horror: One of the two defining characteristics of Nameless.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Deconstructed in a lot of his work, especially The Invisibles. Unsurprising since Morrison himself is also an anarchist.
  • Canon Welding: The concept/character of "Qwewq" or "Earth-Q" has shown up in almost all of his DC work. It was a miniature universe created as an experiment by Superman with no superhuman elements. It was "poisoned" by the intrusion of a supervillain named the Black Death and the Ultramarines were sent in to restore order, but it was too late and the Sheeda manipulated it into becoming Ne-bu-loh AKA The Nebula Man. It was eventually impaled by Frankenstein. It's also implied that this is the "Real World" that Animal Man and the Doom Patrol visited, and may also be the "caged baby universe" powering The Authority's shiftship. If you're feeling particularly philosophical, you could make the case that it's supposed to be our universe, meaning that Superman created us and our universe is destined to become a supervillain due to humanity's overwhelming cynicism.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    • Morrison seems to have a liking for villains who are openly and exultantly evil: Darkseid in JLA and Final Crisis, the Black Glove in Batman RIP, Luthor in All-Star Superman, Leviathan, a.k.a Talia al Ghul in Batman Inc, etc.
    • Also Cassandra Nova in New X-Men, who gleefully commits genocide, although even she is rehabilitated in an alternate timeline presented in his run's finale.
    • His attempt to turn Magneto, Marvel's poster child for the Well-Intentioned Extremist trope, into a Card-Carrying Villain, though? Not well-received. The writers that came after him couldn't retcon the whole thing away fast enough.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: To say the least.
  • Continuity Porn:
    • Morrison is known for bringing back obscure (and even unpopular) ideas. Some dislike this and believe these ideas are best forgotten, while others think he makes these concepts work much better than before. This is a reflection of his personal belief that EVERYTHING that has ever been published is somehow still in continuity.
    • His Sixth Doctor comic "The World Shapers" from Doctor Who Magazine features the return of the Voord who evolve into the Cybermen and Jamie McCrimmon as a mad old man who gets killed. This is all based on a throwaway line from The Invasion about the Doctor and Jamie having encountered the Cybermen on "Planet 14".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Seaguy is pursued by an evil corporation, and Morrison's portrayal of Lex Luthor in his JLA run was explicitly based on this.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The Filth, The Invisibles, Seven Soldiers, Final Crisis. It's practically his style.
  • Cosmic Flaw: Grant Morrison seems to enjoy these:
    • The Big Bad of his Batman run, Doctor Hurt, claims to be "the hole in things" and "the piece that never fit." It's eventually revealed that he's not quite that bad, though he is a Humanoid Abomination.
    • Darkseid becomes one of these in Final Crisis; after his body was killed by Orion, he fell back in time and became a "black hole at the base of creation" that threatens to consume the entire multiverse. The series' other villain, Mandrakk, can be thought of as a metatextual version of this, as Word of God says he is essentially the personification of negative trends in the comic book industry itself.
    • In the Grand Finale of his New X-Men, set in a Bad Future, the Stepford Cuckoos make frequent reference to the fact that reality wasn't "supposed" to have gone down that path, and that there are "holes" in existence. In the final issue, the "hole" is revealed to be Cyclops quitting the X-Men; the Phoenix, which "burns away what doesn't work," sets things back on track.
  • Darker and Edgier: Basically everything he writes, but especially his run on New X-Men...
  • Death Is Cheap: A recurring theme in his mainstream books is the acknowledgement by characters that in comic books, death doesn't really mean a damn thing. Some characters aren't scared to die because they know they'll just come back later, others snark about how they've died before, and other others still find a death a sad occasion but hopes for a resurrection regardless.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Most of Morrison's work revolves around deconstructing, subverting, and mashing together as many tropes and genres as possible. Sometimes this covers a staggering variety of things (see The Invisibles), and sometimes his focus is narrowed to merely the entirety of the DC Comics universe (see Final Crisis) or the history and mythos surrounding a particular character (see All-Star Superman, his run on Batman), but he's always doing it in one form or another.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: While he did start writing comics in his late teens, it took him a while to see it as his true calling. At one point, he was even a filing clerk for about a year.
  • Deus ex Machina: He handwaves most of his run in Animal Man himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He might have experimented with drugs in the past, but he claims to have never indulged in anything as severe as crack cocaine.
  • Gainax Ending: As of this writing, there are eight entries in the "Comic Books" section of this page and four of them are about comics he wrote.
  • Genre Savvy: Both Grant himself and his characters know how death works in comics. He made no attempt to convince people Batman wouldn't return from the dead. When Metamorpho died, the implication was that he was most likely going to come back. Even Jean Grey's tombstone states "She will rise again."
  • Gentleman Thief: Fantomex from his New X-Men run is based on Italian comic book thief Diabolik and the French crime fiction character that inspired him, Fantômas.
  • Gentleman Wizard: Grant himself. He may have accepted female fans taking him dancing once in a while, to make them a little happier, but unlike lots of other celebrities, never takes advantage of them.
  • A God Is You:
    • The Invisibles, The Filth and his DC superhero writing all contain examples of unique, bizarre or transcendent self-empowerment.
    • Deconstructed in Annihilator where Max Nomax created our universe out of spite and does his best to ignore every epiphany and opportunity for self-improvement.
  • Government Conspiracy: Again, from The Invisibles.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Morrison has talked candidly about epiphanies he's had while on drugs, and he often included this trope in his works.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: The death of his pet cat impacted his writing of Animal Man, and he discusses it in his appearance during the final issue.
  • Lighter and Softer: All-Star Superman, as befits his depiction of the title character.
  • Lost Technology: Maggedon from his JLA run is an ancient, universe-ending weapon.
  • Mind Screw: At least one per issue. Also, the other defining characteristic of Nameless.
  • No Fourth Wall: Some creators like to break the Fourth Wall. Morrison likes to use a grenade launcher on it.
  • Old Shame:
    • Never, ever mention his time on the UK Zoids comic. It tends to be "conveniently forgotten" by his biographers and fandom, and he seems to prefer that it remains obscure. However, Zoids fans who know about it generally rate it high and wish the ending was known...
    • He also apologized for his take on Magneto, significantly later.
  • Order Versus Chaos: A common theme in his work.
  • Porn Stash: According to a comment by Julian Darius in 2011: "Grant Morrison has confessed (in our documentary Talking with Gods) that he used to draw super-heroes having sex." You know he didn't throw those drawings out, they're hidden in a box somewhere, famous Rule 34 waiting to happen.
  • Reconstruction: Morrison likes to put things back together as much as he enjoys pulling them apart, even if he does put them back together in very different ways than they started out; in particular, his recent superhero works have been largely an attempt to bring back Silver and Bronze Age superhero tropes after the lengthy process of deconstruction they've been subject to, albeit in a way that works post-Dark Age.
  • Recursive Reality
  • Reimagining the Artifact: Frequently employed:
    • In his JLA run, he brought back such goofy stuff as Aquaman's Silver Age imp sidekick Quisp in a way that fit the tone of the new title.
    • Seven Soldiers was a project whose entire remit was to take dated or underused old characters and re-imagine them for today.
    • All-Star Superman is almost nothing but Reimagining Artifacts from the 1960s and 1950s stories.
    • Grant Morrison's Batman has a bunch of these, as part of his quest to make everything canon.
      • Morrison's unconventional take on Robin with the character of Damian Wayne deserves special mention. Where many fans have previously taken the very concept of a Kid Sidekick with a grain of salt (see above) because of the obvious dangers of the superhero profession, Damian shook up the classic Batman/Robin dynamic in that he was a scarily competent fighter who was raised as an assassin from an early age, and he could be even more deadly in the field than Dick Grayson, who served as the Batman to his Robin.
      • Morrison also brought back Bat-Mite, who was a thoroughly Silver Age thing that wasn't used beyond that point if not in some kind of Mxyzptlk story or something. Morrison reimagined him as the drug-fueled guide to Batman on his journey in "Batman R.I.P."... but then Mite disappears implying he actually averted this and really was an imp from the fifth dimension. Really, it's up to the reader's interpretation.
      • The Club of Heroes that Batman belonged to is reimagined as a kind of parody of the Legion of Super-Heroes; they were formed by a bored billionaire who wanted a club of heroes of his own, and Batman never even showed up to their first official meeting, and the club disbanded after that.
      • On a more general note, Batman's aversion for alcohol, at least as far as The Silver Age of Comic Books had it, was originally part of his goody-two shoes personality. Now, it is part of his fear of losing his physical and mental edge if he drinks, so he has good reason to prefer milk.
  • The Rival: He and Alan Moore don't get along. Moore has accused Grant of, essentially, being his Kenny Bania and stealing his schtick ("It's gold, Jerry, gold!") and art style. To his credit, Grant has pretty much admitted this and says it's because Moore was so well-respected and influential, and that DC wouldn't have given him the time of day unless he dulled his own "esoteric" style and mimicked Moore's.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: In his superhero work, he's usually high up the idealistic end. His other work can vary, but has a strong tendency towards the optimistic.
  • Status Quo Is God: Morrison adheres to this but also makes it clear he's not exactly thrilled about it. Almost any in-canon run he's written is done with the intent to shake up the status quo to the point where nothing was really recognizable anymore. If Grant Morrison wrote it, you'll know he wrote it by the time he's done with it. That said, even with all the shake-ups, he always ends his runs with enough room for other writers to come in to undo them. More often than not though, these are done with a somewhat back-handed connotation. His Batman run ends with almost everything he's built in ruins or shambles to make room for Scott Snyder's tenure with the character and Bruce Wayne continuing his crusade against crime is treated as a tragedy than a heroic triumph.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • According to the notes included by other members of the 52 writing staff in one of the TPBs, Morrison himself.
    • 'e's got a crackin' wee scot accent, I tell ya.
    • An anecdote in Bryan Talbot's book The Naked Artist has Morrison appearing on-stage at an Italian comics convention, and needing a volunteer Scottish interpreter to translate him into standard English for the official Italian interpreter.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Morrison writes believing this wholeheartedly. Of course, your opinion, as stated above, may vary. We suspect if you've read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger trilogy then you'll get most of Grant's references.
  • Walking the Earth: After earning a large amount of money from the sales of Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Morrison proceeded to travel around the world for a while.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Invisibles as a group are that.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Mark Millar. Morrison was a mentor to the then up-and-coming writer and the two collaborated on plenty of books. It's only when Millar went off in his own direction and immersed himself in the Darker and Edgier tropes Morrison both despised and is trying to subvert that the two became estranged. When asked in an interview if the two still hung out, Morrison replied with a blunt "No."
    Morrison: There's a very good chance of running into him, and I hope I'm going 100 miles an hour when it happens.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: A recurring theme in his work, from Danny the Street to Sir Ystin to Jimmy Olsen. Morrison himself has claimed to have crossdressed at least once.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Morrison invokes this in his notes for the 15th Anniversary edition to Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. An early version of the script was passed around for people to look at and most of them balked at the attempt to integrate psychological horror and heavy symbolism. He then says, "Who's laughing now, asshole?"
  • Writing for the Trade: Morrison has stated that his run on Batman is to be divided up into "separate books" that all go together. This makes some of the more unusual issues make more sense. Final Crisis also becomes much more comprehensible when reading it as a trade rather than individual issues being released each month.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Morrison is a follower of chaos magic, which practically runs off this trope. He regularly prays to various Gods for a variety of reasons (he prays to Hermes and Ganesh to aid him in his writing and has also prayed to Hermes when he's had to make radio appearances). He casts spells to make his friends' lives better and claims to have healed his cat using magic. In his view, his conviction and belief that the magic will work actually changes reality to suit him. Morrison also believes this happens to him and his readers when reading his comics, which he regards as like spells - notably, he once became seriously ill coincidentally after writing part of The Invisibles where King Mob, his Author Avatar, gets seriously ill, further solidifying his belief in the magic power of his writing.


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