This is meant to be a one-stop shop for discussing the works of Grant Morrison. There’s just a few things I wanted to try on a new thread, as well as bring everything under the one roof. This isn’t a complete list, but I’m hoping to add other stuff as we get to them. (Click on the hyper-links to go to discussions of the different books.) Let’s see how many of these stories we can get through…

 

1985-88 Secret Origins

Captain Granbretan - text story Captain Britain #13 (January 1986, Marvel UK),

• "The Stalking" (text story with illustrations by Garry Leach, UK 1986 Batman Annual)

• "Osgood Peabody's Big Green Dream Machine" (text story with illustrations by Barry Kitson and Jeff Anderson, UK Superman Annual, 1986)

Zoids Marvel UK - March 1986 - February 1987 Part 1 Part 2

• Dr Who Magazine Marvel UK - Changes (issue #118-9), The World Shapers (#127-9), Shock! (#139)

 

1988-90 Animal Patrol

St Swithin's Day  (with Paul Grist) Trident 1989

JLA: Ghosts of Stone Secret Origins #46

Arkham Asylum 1989 (See attachment below)

Animal Man (DC, #1-26, 1988-1990): Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3.

Doom Patrol (DC, #19-63, 1989-1993): Vol 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

• "Flash of Two Worlds" (Secret Origins #50, 1990)

Gothic (with Klaus Janson, in Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10) 1990 (Also, see attachment)

• Hellblazer: "Early Warning" #25-26, Vertigo, 1990.

 

1991-94 Odds and Sods

Kid Eternity, with Duncan Fegredo, DC, 3-issue mini-series, 1991

Sebastian O with Steve Yeowell, Vertigo, 3-issue mini-series, 1993

• The Mystery Play with Jon J. Muth, Vertigo, graphic novel, 1994

• Swamp Thing: "Bad Gumbo" (with co-writer Mark Millar and artist Philip Hester,) Vertigo, #140-143, 1994

 

1994-2000 JLInvisible

The Invisibles (Vertigo, 1994-2000): Vol I, Vol II, Vol III.

• Skrull Kill Krew (with co-writer Mark Millar) Marvel, 5 issues, 1995

Kill Your Boyfriend (with Philip Bond and D'Israeli, Vertigo) 1995

• Flex Mentallo (with Frank Quitely) Vertigo 1996

New Toys from Weird War Tales #3 (with Frank Quitely, Vertigo), 1997

 

Aztek, the Ultimate Man #1-10 (with co-writer Mark Millar) 1996

• The Flash: (with co-writer Mark Millar), Emergency Stop / The Human Race 1997

JLA 1997-2000

JLA/WildC.A.T.s one-shot crossover, 1997

DC One Million, 1998 Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Interlude, Week 4, Week 5, Epilogue I, Epilogue II

JLA: Earth 2, 1999

 

2000 - 2004 Marvellous Filth

• Marvel Boy, 6 issues Marvel 2000

• Fantastic Four: 1234 (Marvel Knights) 2001-2

New X-men, #114-156, Marvel, July 2001 - June 2004  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Filth, Vertigo, 13-issues, 2002

 

2004 – 2013

• WE3 (with Frank Quitely, Vertigo, 3-issue mini-series, 2004

• Seaguy, Vertigo Book 1 2004, Book 2 2009

• Vimanarama (with Philip Bond) Vertigo 3-issue mini-series 2005

Joe the Barbarian, DC 8-issue series. 2009

 

• DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space (tribute to Julie Scwartz) 2004

All Star Superman, 12 issues, 2005 - 2008

 

The Infinite Book

JLA: Ultramarine Corps JLA Classified #1-3 (with Ed McGuiness) DC 2004 (+ dedicated thread here)

Seven Soldiers 2005 -6 (+ dedicated thread here)

• 52 (with co-authors Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid), DC, #1-52, 2006-2007

Batman & Son (includes issues from #655-666), 2006-07

The Club of Heroes Batman #667-669, 2007

The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul with var writers, inc Batman #670-671, Oct-Nov 2007

• The Black Glove Batman #672-675, 2007-08

Batman R.I.P., Batman #676-681, 2008

• Batman RIP - The Missing Chapter 2010 Part 1 Batman #701 (also here)

Final Crisis, May 2008-January 2009

Batman and Robin, June 2009 onwards

• Batman 700 2010

Return of Bruce Wayne 2010

 

2012 - End of the world!

 

2013 Beyond Batman

 

Happy (with Darrick Robertson), Image, 4-issue mini-series, 2012-13

 

(682 - 20/03/12)

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You're right: you start talking about "continuity" and I start to develop a rash. As long as the series is basically self-contained I should be alright. I have close to zero interest in the JLA at this point, no matter who's writing it. The only exception has been Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier, which I did enjoy.
Mark Sullivan said:
You're right: you start talking about "continuity" and I start to develop a rash. As long as the series is basically self-contained I should be alright. I have close to zero interest in the JLA at this point, no matter who's writing it. The only exception has been Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier, which I did enjoy.

To save your complexion, Mark, I've started my look at JLA - Ultramarine Corps on its own thread. Although I'm sure most readers of Seven Soldiers at the time would have read the JLA miniseries first, you might want to skip that thread for now, as I look at it partially in the context of what came after, including how it played into the plot of 7S.
Figserello said:

To save your complexion, Mark, I've started my look at JLA - Ultramarine Corps on its own thread. Although I'm sure most readers of Seven Soldiers at the time would have read the JLA miniseries first, you might want to skip that thread for now, as I look at it partially in the context of what came after, including how it played into the plot of 7S.

I appreciate your concern for my appearance. Let me know when it's safe to read that thread, since it sounds like there would be some useful background in it.
Mark, I would highly recommend reading the three issues of JLA: Classified right before reading the SSoV. Honestly, there is very little Justice League in it at all and it makes a whole package, particularly if you like Final Crisis.
And its a good lead-in if you ever want to read Morrison's Batman run at some point. His Batman is very non-mainstream and has more in common with challenging stuff like The Filth and Arkham Asylum than superheroics like JLA and New X-men.

Final Crisis, too is about as far from mainstream superheroes as you can get. I'd say you'd like it if you gave it a chance. I hereby predict people will still be reading it long after Blackest Night becomes yesterday's Final Night.
OK, so you mean JLA: Ultramarine Corps, not the JLA: Classified that Warren Ellis wrote, right? I just put it on hold at the library, so I can read it on Sunday, and start Seven Soldiers next week. I'll have to read something else tomorrow on my day off..so many choices...
Yes, they were originally published as JLA: Classified issues 1-3. (Warren Ellis's JLA was the 3rd arc I think #10-15 or something like that.)

1-3 were collected in TPB as Ultramarine Corps, and you get an unrelated Image/JLA crossover with that too! Lucky you! :-)
Looking forward to what you have to say about those issues of JLA:Classified, Mark. I haven’t really spoiled anything with my commentary on it, especially if you’ve read the arc anyway.

Just as a preview, DC still has the first 12 pages of the opening Issue 0 on its website. Check out that JH Williams goodness here.

I’m well into the series again, reading it a character at a time and in the 'wrong' order, just for the hell of it. It’s good stuff (but you knew I’d say that).

Even though it’s pretty much self-contained, there’s a lot in it for longtime fans of DC. Morrison has loads of projects where he can just make any old nonsense up, but a lot of Seven Soldiers draws on DCs rich and varied publishing history.

In fact, it is steeped in DC history and lore; Easter eggs and nodbacks of all kinds are there for those into such things. Actually a lot of Morrison’s references are often so obscure that he might as well have made them up anyway! And it doesn't just reference the comics Grant loved as a 12 year old, but treats every era of the DCU, even some naff recent eras as grist to the mill. It all 'happened' after all. I’d love to see what those fans who’ve known the DCU a long time, or those with an interest in the Golden Age comics that have recently been collected would make of it.
I read about half of the first trade collection of Seven Soldiers of Victory today (well, technically it was yesterday now). DC opted to reprint the issues in the order of the original release dates. So I got through Seven Soldiers #0, Shining Knight #1, Guardian #1, and Zatanna #1. I'm going to start with a few general impressions of each.

Seven Soldiers #0

Morrison just drops us in to a couple of character prologues: True Thomas, who is transformed into The Spider by the Seven Unknown Men; and Shelly, aka "The Whip," who is following in her grandfather's footsteps, and writing an expose about life as a super hero. Greg Sanders was a member of the original Seven Soldiers of Victory, and he is assembling a team to take on an old menace that was apparently not defeated by the original team. This is clearly not the A team. In fact they can't be the Seven Soldiers of this series, either. Even if you weren't reading ahead to see the names of the seven, there are only six members in this ragtag group. They must take on a menace far greater than they expected, and they fail in the task. The mysterious unknown men say they have a Plan B, involving seven more conscripts.

Shining Knight #1

We are in Arthurian England. The Shining Knight tracks the Sheeda into Castle Revolving (these were both mentioned in SS #0). Castle Revolving is apparently some sort of dimensional portal. The Knight and his flying horse fall through in to contemporary Los Angeles.

Guardian #1

A new twist on the Guardian from the Superman comics. The costume is about the same, but this Guardian operates in New York City as the Manhattan Guardian. He is the physical embodiment of the newspaper of the same name, and is aided by the members of the Newsboy Army (another concept borrowed from the original).

Zatanna #1

This is the most familiar character so far: Zatanna Zatara the magician, with appearance and powers like her earlier appearances in the DCU and Vertigo. As a JLA member, she is the only "A list" superhero in the bunch. But a recent magic ritual has gone horribly wrong, much like the one that killed her father Zatara. She fears she has set a monster free to destroy the world, but she's lost her magic.

So far the individual stories appear unconnected, and the time line is unclear. One of the super hero support group members in Zatanna #1 is Shelly, who announces that she might miss the next group because she "scored a major team gig out West." This is presumably the team whose story was told in SS #0. Each of the first individual series issues spend most of their time introducing the characters, and setting up the immediate problem they must solve. The Seven Unknown Men appear to be the only ones who know the big picture, but they are enigmatic (and look a lot like Morrison himself). We do know that they have a "time-sewing machine," which implies that the stories might not be linear. But I found myself accepting all of this ambiguity quite readily. There was more than enough characterization and interesting plotting to get me into each of the issues individually, and the promise of unexpected connections is intriguing.
Seven Soldiers #0

Love this comic! In some ways it's a standalone look at what the DCU must seem like to those at the the bottom of the superhero food chain. We are introduced to these characters and see them meet their fate in a very busy extra-length comic.

I love the old-fashioned feel of the 3 seperate chapters. I'm reading old JLA Earth 1/Earth 2 crossovers these days and they use the same method to make a single-issue story seem like something more consequential.

Of course we get a prologue too.

Part of JH Williams style is that he is so chameleonic. He adjusts his style depending on the tone and subject. Thus the winding roots of the swamp used as framing is very John Totleben/Swamp Thing. Shelly's section is very Frank Miller. Look at her distinctive 'Dame to Kill For' lips and the use of blocks of shadow instead of lines. She even calls herself the Girl without Fear!

Everyone goes on about Morrison's creative relationship to Moore, but I've been surprised at how much Morrison's work spins off Miller as well.

A lot of Seven Soldiers is a manifesto for where superhero comics can go in the 21st century. Shelly gives voice to the limitations of the street-level crime-fighter approach.

"Because I've taken this morally ambivalent urban vigilante thing about as far as I can."

"And now, God help me, now I want to visit other planets and dimensions and fight rogue gods."


It's a fair argument. When the writer has a blank sheet of paper in front of him/her, why stop at dirty back alleys when the whole cosmos can be your playground? Shelly even fights the pogo-borne criminals amongst actual garbage, to drive home the point.

I love it that whereas she is fighting against her allotted superhero role, we've already seen that Batman was able to leave the GCPD and street crime behind with ease. He just ordered up a flying saucer, put on a Boom-Tube Gauntlet and zipped off to the end of the Solar System to prepare to fight the other-dimensional Neh-Buh-Loh. Where she dreams, he just does it! That's why he's Batman and the rest of us are only schlubs!

Williams' Vigilante is definitely brought to us channeled through Moebius' Blueberry. That grizzly leather-skinned look. Love the panels laid out like traditional South-Western tapestries. The whole issue is a wonderful showcase of his talents.

Do you think Dyno-Mite Dan is an affectionate lampoon of Dan DiDio? Similar name, age, build and fanboy beard? DiDio would seem to be just the same kind of superhero fan as Dyno-Mite, too. Loving the old stuff and investing so much of himself in it.

I love that these rag-tag loser heroes do start to work well as a team and their weaknesses make it all the more gratifying when they beat the Buffalo-Spider. That's some twist ending though. Truly horrific. Great use of black and red palette. Reality turned to horror at a single turn of a page.

I don't know if this was the first time reader expectations on a team comic were subverted like this, but I've seen this done a few times since, most notably in the godawful Teen Titans East, which, for my sins, I read lately.

That Saunders' team were all were such D-list and lower heroes made the stakes so much higher. No-one really expected Grodd and Neh-Buh-Loh to beat the JLA after all! One of the things I loved about 52, which is thematically similar to SSoV, is that the heroes there weren't guaranteed to survive either, and some of them didn't! That added a lot to the weekly reading experience.
On this read through I read each hero's 4 issues in turn. I've read 5 of them so far, and I'm hoping to comment on them as complete sets as you finish each hero.

Morrison set himself the rule that each first issue had to be a complete origin story and end in a cliff-hanger. A lot of the enjoyment of SSoV is seeing Morrison try to tell his story within the various limitations he built into the concept. 'Chains of Gold', as an Irish poet once described writing within a strict set of rules.

So the origin issues do merit a look as stand-alones.

Shining Knight #1

We're thrown into the dark climax of a High Fantasy epic here. There is obviously a huge back-story that we can only surmise at this stage. Morrison's great contribution to the DC mythos with SSoV is to bring in his native Gaelic/Celtic mythology. Arthur etc was already there, but here we're getting it from a Scottish-born Celt, who's studied the literature in some depth. The text about 'All but Seven returned from that Castle Revolving' is from a fragmentary Welsh poem which contains the oldest documented mention of Arthur as leader of a band of warriors. Its called The Spoils of Annwyn.

The Sheeda get their name from a Gaelic word for the Fairy Folk - The Sidhe, pronounced Shee. Sidhe means 'mound' as they were thought to reside in great grave-mounds that the Celtic invaders discovered around Ireland, built by earlier peoples. The famous Banshee means simply 'Woman of the Mound'/ Fairy Woman.

Justin's fall from Celtic High Fantasy to modern day LA is a long one.

Guardian #1

As I say, a lot of SSoV is a manifesto on 21st century superheroics. The main message is that they don't have to be single white guys in their 20s, wearing spandex. Jake Jordan, like Buddy Baker before him, is an attempt to show that someone with family ties and a committed relationship can also make for good stories.

I've mentioned before that Big Two superhero comics are in a lot of trouble because, for various reasons, they have to keep auto-cannibalising the same old ideas and concepts. At least here, the old ideas are used, but not by simply reverting things back to how they were. The idea of Cadmus selling the rights to the Gaurdian character to a NY newspaper allows the ideas to be used again, but gives us the feeling that things change and grow in the DCU and they are subject to financial and commercial ebbs and flows like in our world, instead of just being subject to reset by writer's fiat. The original Guardian was a minor hero, and I don't see the point in being so precious with him that the concept can't grow and change.

Zatanna #1


I don't know if Zatanna is A-list, exactly, but being a member of the JLA is a big deal. Zatara looms over her story as the absent father. We are even brought to the very room where he died during Moore's Swamp Thing run. Perhaps that is when Zatanna came into her own as a superhero. Parents are a big deal in SSoV. Zatanna's thoughtless wish for the man of her dreams to arrive is tied up with memories of her intense relationship with her single-parent father. Freudian stuff. I'm sure Zatara was never as consequential a character as in his sacrifice to save his daughter and her subsequent life dealing with his sacrifice. Lets hope they never bring him back!

(I only noticed this time that child-Zatanna's repeated "Spoo" while on TV with her father is "Oops" spelled backwards.)

People have often wondered what place a cynic like Dr 13 has in a wonder-filled world like the DCU-Earth, but I think Grant finds a short-lived role for him here. He translates the supernatural wonders there into the language of real-world scientific speculation. He uses the latest theories to explain them scientifically rather than allowing that they are just 'supernatural'.

Poor Zatanna has a lot on her plate by the end of this first issue!

BTW That's Gimmix rather than Shelly who tells them she's joining a new team for an adventure out west. You can start mentally putting that timeline together from here.
The Sheeda get their name from a Gaelic word for the Fairy Folk - The Sidhe, pronounced Shee. Sidhe means 'mound' as they were thought to reside in great grave-mounds that the Celtic invaders discovered around Ireland, built by earlier peoples. The famous Banshee means simply 'Woman of the Mound'/ Fairy Woman.

I noticed the physical resemblance, at least with the small winged ones. Not too far from Disney's Tinkerbell, even. But I hadn't made the connection with the Faerie. That puts an interesting slant on things.

I'm sure Zatara was never as consequential a character as in his sacrifice to save his daughter and her subsequent life dealing with his sacrifice. Lets hope they never bring him back!

(I only noticed this time that child-Zatanna's repeated "Spoo" while on TV with her father is "Oops" spelled backwards.)

People have often wondered what place a cynic like Dr 13 has in a wonder-filled world like the DCU-Earth, but I think Grant finds a short-lived role for him here. He translates the supernatural wonders there into the language of real-world scientific speculation. He uses the latest theories to explain them scientifically rather than allowing that they are just 'supernatural'.


I agree about Zatara. Maybe he could have been a more important character, but was never used that way. Matt Wagner's current Madame Xanadu series has used him in a way that fills in the character a bit, I think. I only know Dr. 13 from the Vertigo one-shot years back; never read any of the prior appearances, or the more recent ones. And I just assumed "Spoo" was the rabbit's name! That's a nice subtle touch from Morrison.

BTW That's Gimmix rather than Shelly who tells them she's joining a new team for an adventure out west. You can start mentally putting that timeline together from here.

You're right. For some reason I was assuming it was Shelley, but the red hair is a giveaway. Same timeline, of course.

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