Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Morrison, Grant

(1963-    ) Scottish writer of numerous successful, critically acclaimed and sometimes controversial Comics. His plays Red King Rising (1989), about Lewis Carroll, and Depravity (1990), about Aleister Crowley, were performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the former winning the Fringe First and Independent awards, the latter the Evening News Award.

GM began his career in 1978 writing and drawing "Time is a Four-Lettered Word" for the short-lived experimental magazine Near Myths, for which he also produced two tales about the Jerry Cornelius-like Gideon Stargrave (> Michael Moorcock). He worked for two years on a local newspaper strip, Captain Clyde, while simultaneously writing sf stories for D C Thomson's Starblazer pocket library. He produced a text piece, "The Stalking" (Batman Annual 1986 1985), and a steady stream of stories for 2,000 A.D., Spider-Man and Zoids and Dr Who Monthly before his first major success with Zenith (2,000 A.D. 1987-1992; graph part coll 5 vols 1988-1990), about a pop-star superhero in an Alternate World where such superheroes were developed during World War II. Beginning as a relatively routine story pitting superheroes against an occult Nazi menace and H P Lovecraft horrors, the series became darker and more apocalyptic, ending in a spectacular destruction of the Earth.

GM's work for 2,000 A.D. brought him to the attention of the US market, notably DC Comics, for whom he revamped Animal Man (#1-#26 1988-1990; graph part coll 1991), turning the hitherto unsuccessful character into a fresh, environmentally friendly superhero, which allowed GM to display his fine senses of humour and pathos. The stories grew more abrasive and even outrageous as the saga progressed, ending with a sequence which introduced GM himself as The Creator – Animal Man and others discovering their true Bondage as mere comic-strip heroes. GM also applied his energies to Doom Patrol (#19-#63 1989-1993; graph part coll 1992), slowly remoulding the group from a bunch of misfits whose basic raison d'être had been to tackle weird, often ridiculous composite Monsters into a spoof of superhero comics, culminating in the introduction of Doom Force (#1 1992), a Parody of much of his own writing on the series.

GM wrote The New Adventures of Hitler (first episodes in the short-lived Cut 1989; full story in Crisis 1990), which led to the resignation of columnist Pat Kane and the editor amid allegations of Nazi sympathies because of its portrayal of a youthful Hitler seeking the Grail in Liverpool, and St Swithin's Day (Trident #1-#4 1989-1990; graph coll 1990), concerning an unemployed young man who fantasizes about killing Margaret Thatcher. The same year GM's Graphic Novel Arkham Asylum (graph 1989 US) was published, in which Batman is portrayed as a potential psychotic, as much in need of treatment as the weird villains he has fought.

GM is considered one of the best Revisionist writers: his other work includes the radical updating of the 1950s sf hero Dan Dare as Dare (Revolver 1990-1991, Crisis 1991; graph coll 1991), the popular tv series The Avengers in Steed and Mrs Peel (#1-#3 1990-1991), and Kid Eternity (#1-#3 1991). His Sebastian O (#1-#3 1993) was a Victorian thriller of Wildean flamboyance and excesses, which qualities characterize much of GM's writing. His approach has always been dark-edged, strongly imaginative and steeped in the occult. Nowhere is this more evident than in The Mystery Play (graph 1994 US), a multi-level murder mystery in which Satan kills God, as portrayed by actors during a theatrical performance. [SH/RT]

Grant Morrison

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.