#666 “Animal Man”: Grant Morrison Plays God

Animal Man

Grant Morrison‘s DC Comics debut in 1988 was a run on Animal Man. Originally meant to be a four-issue mini, the series became an ongoing, prompting Morrison to turn it into a discussion of spirituality and the nature of reality — which, if you’re a comics character, means that you live your life enclosed in panels while watched by thousands of people.

Tim is joined by Matthew Brake, series editor of the Theology and Pop Culture book series, to examine the philosophy of this classic late-’80s run.

#610 Michael Kupperman gives us “All the Answers”

All the Answers

Michael Kupperman, best known for the likes of Snake ‘n’ Bacon and Tales Designed to Thrizzle, decided to go with a more serious and narrative-driven approach with his latest work, All the Answers. It’s the true story of how his father, Joel Kupperman, became famous on the radio and TV show Quiz Kids during and after World War II, an experience which not only scarred him for life, but had implications for Michael’s life as well.

In this episode, Michael Kupperman talks about his use of silhouette, the pointers he took from reading Grant Morrison’s work, and the common graphic-novel misfires that he tried hard to avoid. Then, Tim and Kumar review All the Answers, and identify other potential book topics hiding in its narrative!

#544 Gerhard

Dino's Cafe

At last month’s Toronto Comicon, Koom got a chance to sit down with Gerhard, most famous for drawing backgrounds and environments for (and NOT inking!) Dave Sim’s Cerebus. Koom talks with him about working with Dave Sim and navigating some of Sim’s more controversial moments; the ergonomics of comics creation; working with Grant Morrison on “Smile of the Absent Cat” in Heavy Metal; and more.

Continue reading #544 Gerhard

#523 Who is Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman: Earth OneOf course she’s been around for decades, but when it comes to how the character’s been presented, there’s always been a tension between her feminist qualities and the pinup-y ones. Is she here to empower women or excite men? Can it be both?

This week Emmet and John are here to talk about the genesis of a DC marquee character and how she’s been presented by various creators, with an emphasis on Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One, and a useful comparison of Wonder Woman comics and the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

#424 Nathan Fairbairn’s coloring; we ask for “Seconds”!

Knives ChauWhile some colorists’ work can be recognized no matter what kind of story it is, Nathan Fairbairn says he prefers to start from scratch in his approach to each story he colors. While his colors on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work tends to be bright (and often influenced by O’Malley’s own vision– such as the colors of Knives Chau’s scarf), his other work may be much more subdued.

Tim talks with him this week about how the style of comics coloring can affect how quickly or slowly people read the story, what can go wrong with colors and the printing stage, the history of comics coloring, and more.

#416 Grant Morrison’s “New X-Men”

WolverineIn the world of corporate comics, creators are challenged to put together a run on a given book that will stand out against everything that’s come before in that book, and leave a mark on the series that will last well beyond their run. Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, from 2001 to 2004, met that challenge. In the ten years since he left the book, several characters and situations he set up have endured, including Fantomex, the Stepford Cuckoos, and Scott Summers’ relationship with Emma Frost. Morrison had a good handle on all his characters, old and new, and introduced the new ones in a way that made us care about them, something that certain comics writers have failed to do.

Of course, it’s not perfect. The X-men going public seemed to be the biggest event of the run — somehow overshadowing the slaughter of six million mutants on Genosha. The art was inconsistent — great when Frank Quitely was on it, but questionable some other times. This week Tim and Kumar examine Morrison’s run, particularly the initial “Cassandra Nova” arc.

#329 “Flex Mentallo” and related issues

Flex MentalloIs Flex Mentallo just a superhero story or is it something far more? Does it speak only to comic book fans or can it say something for everyone? Is it about childhood, adulthood, drugs, loss, hope, despair, the comic book marketplace, pain, healing, or all of these at the same time? And do you have to be on acid to understand Grant Morrison, or does it just help? Writer Troy Belford and indie cartoonist John Linton Roberson go on and on about all of this, and it’s a bit beyond the usual. Have a listen to this special mega-length episode…IF YOU DARE.

John blogs about Flex

REVIEW: Supergods – What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

By Grant Morrison

Spiegel & Grau 2011

Grant Morrison is a decisive subject in comics. Many love his work. Many love to hate his work. Many just don’t know what to think of him.

What Morrison delivers with Supergods is a unique text about comics. It is part history, part deconstructionist analysis, part personal memoir, part reflexive view of his own work. It is a varied and interesting book that provides some fascinating insight into his ideas about the superhero.

The book follows a basic chronological structure that is divided along 4 ages: Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age, and Renaissance (starting the late 1990s). He deconstructs covers of famous comics such as Action #1, Detective #27, and The Dark Knight Returns #1. Certain key characters and stories are reflected on. It is not really any unique ground that is tread as far as the history of comics is concerned, were it not for Morrison’s uncanny intellectualizing of the materials in a way that augments their historicism with a psychological attention reflection on the material. Continue reading REVIEW: Supergods – What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

REVIEW: Joe The Barbarian

Written by Grant Morrison.

Art by Sean Murphy.

DC Comics/Vertigo, 2011.

Grant Morrison is a decisive writer in the comics form.  Many people do not like his more experimental works, especially when the narratives get characteristically dense or abstract. Final Crisis anyone? Many people don’t enjoy when he incorporates more esoteric ideas like chaos magic, ceremonial magic, occult philosophy, media theory, surrealism, dadaism, William S. Burroughs, psychedelics, alien abductions, etc. Invisibles reads like an incredible mess if you are not familiar with some of those topics. The same could be said of Doom Patrol. Some of his work doesn’t traffic with these outre ideas or experiments in the form though, and Joe The Barbarian is an example of such a work.

I hate to say that this book is an example of a “restrained” Morrison. What Morrison did was write something that appeals more to the Neil Gaiman fan than the Robert Anton Wilson or William Gibson fan. The pitch mashup I would use is The Goonies meets The Never-Ending Story. It’s a self contained eight issue miniseries that has been published in a nice hardcover. Continue reading REVIEW: Joe The Barbarian

#255 All Star Superman

Superman is one of the most iconic characters in American comics. Even people who don’t read comics (and perhaps haven’t seen the movies either) have some familiarity with him. While Tim is not a DC reader, Kumar is somewhat of a fan, especially of Silver Age Superman stories. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman mines those Silver Age stories for wackiness, but then infuses them with thoughtfulness and heart. Kumar, finally back from vacation, joins Tim to review.

Grant Morrison interview on Newsarama

Review of All Star Superman #10 on iFanboy

The Secret of All Star Superman by Douglas Wolk

All Star Superman on Wikipedia