For an honorary knight who has his own convention, Grant Morrison remains relatively unknown -- unless of course you're a comic books fan.
Pretty much everyone in the comics community knows that Morrison has written some seminal runs in both the DC Comics and Marvel universes, including game-changing retellings of both Superman and Batman.
Now that two of Morrison's most popular works are winding down -- "Action Comics" and "Batman Incorporated" -- the legendary writer invited a select group of journalists to DC Comics' office in Burbank, CA to share how he's going to be blowing minds next.
Ever the prolific writer, Morrison has not one but two new ambitious titles in the works.
"Wonder Woman: Earth One," drawn by Yanick Paquette, represents the third part of the "Earth One" equation after earlier Superman and Batman books. The first book is going to be 120 pages, so more of a graphic novel than a comic, per se.
"Hercules dies!" says Morrison, while describing the "Wonder Woman" panel shown below. "This is the moment where Hippolyta, basically the queen of the Amazons, and the women have been chained up and controlled by Hercules and his men. It's part of the Greek legend. And she finally turns on him and gets those chains around his neck where they belong."
Though her mom is displayed in the image above, the book will center around Wonder Woman, though perhaps not an aspect of her that we're very used to seeing. "It's not like a superhero comic. It's a comic about the sexes and how we feel about one another. And why Wonder Woman kind of represents the best of something, and should be allowed to represent it," said Morrison. "The Amazons over many thousands of years of living eternally have developed some very strange and ritualized ideas about sex."
As though that weren't enough to stoke our imaginations, Morrison then went on to speak at length about his "magnum opus," "Multiversity" -- a 9 issue series of 40-page books, where the first and last comprise an "80 page giant DC super spectacular story. In between, what we have are 7 comics, each of which comes from a different parallel universe," said Morrison. "They all have a different storytelling approach. A different artistic look. Each one's drawn by a different artist. But each of them combine."
One of those artists is Cameron Stewart, who drew the panel below, which looks unlike any of the other books in the run. "This is the Captain Marvel book 'Thunder World,' which is the Shazzam characters told in an almost Pixar kind of way, as if this 40 page story was the first movie in a big franchise."
While hearing Morrison talk about his new projects was certainly fascinating, we were also interested in Morrison's unique perspective on why superhero movie fans are missing out if they're not reading comics. "They're missing the full spectrum of these character's emotional lives," said Morrison. "The most important thing is the long involved soap operas. It's a type of narrative that you don't get anywhere else except on very long running soap operas, where characters can go into depth. 20 pages every month going into these characters lives over decades give you a lot more insight and a lot more involvement than say a two hour movie, even with Robert Downey Jr."
Morrison is known as someone who can breathe new life into a series, even if that means rewriting a character's past. In light of the recent Mandarin flack, when "Iron Man 3" veered far away from that character's roots, we thought Morrison would be a good person to ask about letting go of a character's comic book past in order to gain a more entertaining present.
"In Australia, Aboriginal artists, every generation goes in and repaints the cave paintings. And they all tell the same stories over generations. And that's what we do. The human species tells the same stories over and over again. Stories of heroes and villains. And I think we have to update them for each new generation," said Morrison. "Any fans who cling on to maybe a version of something they read when they were children are really just hanging on to a past. The world's moved on. There's new children. They want their version of it. So I think it's very important to freshen these things up and to update them and to move them forward and to look at them in the context of all the things we're interested in now."
Since he knows the man better than most, we also wanted to get Morrison's take on the upcoming Superman movie "Man of Steel."I've spoken to [screenwriter] David Goyer, not about the 'Man of Steel,' but I know he's used a couple of my lines from some of my Superman stuff in it. And that's the only involvement I've had. But that's good enough for me," said Morrison. "I'm really looking forward to it. There's a very good chance this is going to be the Superman movie that changes the movie perception of Superman."
Like talking superheroes with one of the men who knows them best wasn't exhilarating enough for one evening, we got an exclamation point when Lee Meriwether, the original Catwoman in the 60s "Batman" TV show showed up. At 77 the former Miss America still looks stunning. And she made sure to have Morrison sign a comic before she left.
Now ain't that a wonder?
See Superman in the new "Man of Steel" global TV spot...
Follow me on Twitter (@adpoc)