Friday, July 22, 2011

Morrison on Superman

Morrison on Superman

That's the link a friend sent me, inquiring about my thoughts. The timing is very interesting, since I was recently in the midst of a conversation with Rude about the fact that I am both in love with, and hating Morrison's work on Batman Inc.

Why bring that up?

Generally because my first reaction now is that I'll have the same feeling about his work on Superman. I'll be honest. I wasn't thrilled when I heard him announced for the new creative team on Action. Grant Morrison does breathe new life into characters, offering fresh perspective and opening up new avenues to the character for development and growth. I cannot deny that, nor would I want to. Those are the strengths of what he does, and very often it works.

Batman Inc was a powerful, brilliant idea.

His execution though can sometimes leave me wanting more. Rude pointed out that Morrison likes to leave the minor details for us to fill in for ourselves. He doesn't need to spoon feed everything out for us. I agree, and sometimes I don't even mind that approach. Unfortunately I have found that in reading stories like R.I.P. and now Batman Inc, that another thing he likes to do is excuse himself from having to 'enter' a scene or 'exit' a scene. We're often left reading story without context, because his transitions within the book are so choppy as to be non-existent. They are disruptive to the story itself.

This concerns me, especially in the context of his new Superman story, because we're going to see something fully original and fresh from him. That should be good news, but if Grant decides that we can 'guess' the context for ourselves, it's going to leave the readers scratching their heads more than clapping their hands.

Also, I don't find his perspective on Superman as intriguing as I found the idea behind Batman Inc.

One of the things that concerns me is that he's going to blur the line between Superman and Batman. I'm not saying it can't be done, or even that it shouldn't be done.....I'm just concerned that in doing it, we're fundamentally changing the most iconic character in comics. For decades Superman has known that Luthor was the bad guy, but he respected the conventions of the United States legal system enough to operate within it. There is an implication in the article that Clark may now be willing to take the law into his own hands, or to decide what justice is for himself.

Doesn't that completely miss the mark?

Aren't we talking about dirtying Superman up a little bit, if that's where we take him?

What do I think of the article?

Honestly.....I'm concerned.


Randy Meredith said...

I'm reading Supergods, Grant Morrison's new book on comics and culture. I'm only 50 pages in and have only read about Superman and Batman. I don't know how I feel about the book yet.

In any case, in the Superman chapter Morrison makes a big point about the vigilante nature of Siegal and Shuster's Superman. As well as the mistrust the public has of him initially. I get the feeling that his research for the book is really informing his creative process for Action.

Interestingly enough, the rumors are DC is rebooting Superman to "move him away from Siegal and Shuster" so as to claim more of a legal right to the character -- hence the t-shirt, jeans and running shoes. At the same time, Morrison is making it pretty clear he's writing the book based on S & S's ideas.

I am willing to give Morrison's book a bit of leeway as he wrote All Star Superman which may be my favorite Superman story ever.

But then the whole New 52 thing has me thinking about dropping all monthlys and buying trades as they come out, so I won't have an opinion on any of it until next spring.

The 4th Man said...

I'd love to hear back from you after you've read the whole book. I'm sure you'll have some interesting insights to share.

To the core of your point, about Morrison likening his vision to Siegal and Shuster's original vision, I've heard that argument put forward as well. I'm just not sure I care. I don't worry about an interpretation (even the original) that's 70+ years old. Do you?

I, like you, am willing to give him some leeway and see what comes. But the comment about his nature actually reminds me more of a character like Supreme or Majestros.

Now, if it becomes Grant's version of his journey from outsider to a national icon, then maybe I'm concerned for no reason.

As an aside, I wonder why I didn't consider dropping DC's monthlies at the same time? Switching over to trades couldn't get any easier, in terms of timing, could it?