Great Comics Artists : Summary of Grant Morrison: Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics
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GRANT MORRISON Page 3
Great Comics Artists Series M. Thomas Inge, General Editor Page 4
Marc Singer GRANT MORRISON Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics University Press of Mississippi / Jackson Page 5
www.upress.state.ms.us The University Press of Mississippi is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Copyright © 2012 by University Press of Mississippi All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America First printing 2012 ∞ Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Singer, Marc. Grant Morrison : combining the worlds of contemporary comics / Marc Singer. p. cm. —
(Great comics artists series) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-61703-135-9 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 9781-61703-136-6 (pbk. : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-1-61703-137-3 (ebook) 1. Morrison, Grant—Criticism and interpretation. 2. Comic books, strips, etc.—United States—History and criticism. I. Title. PN6727.M677Z86 2012 741.5’973—dc22 2011013483 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data available Page 6
Contents vii 3 Acknowledgments Introduction: A Union of Opposites Ground Level The World’s Strangest Heroes The Invisible Kingdom Widescreen Free Agents A Time of Harvest Work for Hire 24 CHAPTER ONE 52 CHAPTER TWO 92 CHAPTER THREE 136 CHAPTER FOUR 181 CHAPTER FIVE 221 CHAPTER SIX 251 CHAPTER SEVEN 285 Afterword: Morrison, Incorporated 293 Notes 305 Bibliography 317 Index Page 7
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Acknowledgments This book would not have been possible without the advice and support of my friends and colleagues. Craig Fischer, Roger Sabin, Will Brooker, and Gene Kannenberg Jr. generously gave their time to read the manuscript and offer feedback. Joseph Witek, Jason Tondro, Steve Holland, Randy Scott, the Michigan State University Library Special Collections, and the George Washington University Gelman Library provided me with sources and images.
Charles Hatfield’s guidance was invaluable. I also wish to thank Walter Biggins for his good counsel and Seetha Srinivasan and Tom Inge for their encouragement. An earlier version of my section on Arkham Asylum appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the International Journal of Comic Art.
I owe editor-in-chief John Lent and exhibition review editor Mike Rhode a debt of gratitude for all they have done to promote the field of comics scholarship. Finally, I want to thank Christy and Eric for giving me the best support and distraction (respectively) any scholar could hope for. EDITIONS, PAGINATION, CITATIONS, AND DATES Grant Morrison’s work has been published and republished in multiple formats. In the interest of consistency, I have chosen to refer to the original comic books whenever possible—a decision that also foregrounds their publication as periodicals.
For serials published in anthologies such as 2000 AD or Crisis, I have assigned page numbers by chapter, not by their position in the anthologies (many of which were unpaginated and which remain out of print). I have cited Morrison’s comics by issue or chapter number and page number, with volume or “Phase” numbers represented in Roman numerals when necessary. For example, (Zenith III.1.5) refers to Zenith Phase III, chapter 1, page 5, while (Doom Patrol 34.22) refers to Doom Patrol issue 34, page 22. vii Page 9
viii Acknowledgments Publication dates also pose a challenge when citing periodical comic books. Because American comic books are typically postdated for two or three months after their release, the copyright dates do not always reflect the actual year of publication; comics released at the end of the year are dated for the next year. When these dates diverge, entries in the bibliography will cite the published copyright dates, but any references in the text will use the actual years of publication. I hope these practices will preserve some sense of the original production contexts for these comics. Page 10