The Grant Morrison Thread

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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  • As the Captain Comics trip through Grant Morrison’s work is currently reaching the end of The Invisibles, arguably Grant's most personal, complex and significant work, I thought it was time to take stock of the ground travelled so far and have a look at the road ahead. Between starting on the old board, experimenting with a discussion group on the new board and finally settling back on the main Comics Discussion Board here, the threads have become very diffuse. This is an attempt to consolidate the different discussions into one thread and make it easy to jump to whatever discussion you might be interested in.

    The new board’s mechanics do present some problems for a long-term reading project like this. For one thing it would be nice to be able to see how many members are following along. For another I think the function of allowing members to see which threads they haven’t visited for a while helped to bring new posters to long reading projects on the old board.

    Another reason for starting again was because I wanted to get with the positive and utilise a facet of this board that we didn’t have on the old one, namely that the opening post of a discussion stays on each page and both it and the title of the thread can be edited as the subject matter of the thread changes. Hopefully readers will be able to spot when the topic covers books they are interested in and jump in. This is the main reason I thought to start a new thread.

    The list above contains hyper-links to the parts of the board/thread where the different works of Morrison’s are discussed and I’ll be adding to them as we cover each of them. I’m hoping that some fine day all the entries above will be bold red hyperlinks. The hyperlinks are kind of necessary too as we can’t see how many pages are on a thread anymore and this looks like the best way to navigate around a topic.

    (I also think that a thread that links to itself is pleasantly ‘Morrisonian’.)

    The list above is based on Morrison’s DC work, as I found it interesting to see how his interests and commitments to the DCU ebbed and flowed over the years. I’ll add work he did for other companies as we get to them, but I thought this gave a good structure and shape to his career so far.

    I’m hoping we can write about most of his work on this thread and then link to different pages of it. What I’ve been interested in so far have been the connections between Morrison’s different books, so I like having them all on one thread. But flexibility should be possible with this new format.

    BTW - If anyone knows how to link to a specific post rather than just a page of a thread, I’d love to know.

    Also, if you can think of better sub-headings for the diffeent stages of Morrison's career, I'm all ears. These are just the first things I could think of.

    Feel free to jump in and discuss any of Morrison’s works that you happen to be reading, or want to read next.

    Once we finish The Invisibles, I’m hoping to start this thread with Grant’s earliest DC and Marvel stuff, for the UK market...

    Read Batman in The Stalking and Superman in Osgood Peabody’s Big Green Dream Machine here . They’re both fun reads…
  • Good idea, Figs. I assume we're going to finish out The Invisbles in the old thread? I'm up for rereading Kid Eternity and the Vertigo minis (I own all of them). And I planned to reread The Filth soon, since I believe Morrison considers it a companion piece to The Invisibles. My brain is going to need a rest in between, though!
  • Ooh, I like the new format! You've taken my piddly little idea of updating the initial "table of contents" thread and run with it!

    As I've mentioned before, I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the work of Grant Morrison (and looking over your initial post, there's much I haven't read), and I'll be posting from time-to-time whenever I feel I have something signifigant to contribute to the conversation.
  • I assume we're going to finish out The Invisibles in the old thread?

    For sure. Have to keep The Invisibles all on one thread. It can cap the thread the same way it caps that period of Morrison's career. Looking forward to completing it.

    I was in the process of slowly putting the Vertigo minis together as back issues in London, so have parts of most of them, and might look around town for the remainder. I have all of Sebastian O and, oddly enough, The Mystery Play in Spanish! Haven't read any of them yet though!

    Looking forward to The Filth eventually, but I'm with you in needing a bit of time to let The Invisibles sink in beforehand. It's heavy meat to digest!

    You've taken my piddly little idea and run with it!

    Now that you mentioned it, Jeff, I did indeed! If you must steal, steal from the best!!

    ...there's much I haven't read

    Have you read WE3? It's well worth getting your hands on if you haven't. It's a landmark book and not typical Morrison at all. Looking at the list, its the only one that I'd reccomend for the shelves of any and all comics fans, and even for people who'd never open a comic.

    Looking forward to your contributions.
  • I haven't even heard of it. I must remember to give it a look next week.
  • Jeff of Earth-J said:
    I haven't even heard of it. I must remember to give it a look next week.

    Frank Quitely art. It was a one-shot GN.

    Think 'The Incredible Journey' with heavy ordnance.
  • Whew! I'm somewhat flaked out by the just-completed Invisibles reading project! Not only did it have to be wrestled into sense in my mind, but Mark kept the reading going at a pretty steady clip.

    Before I jump into another long mind-bending epic, I thought I'd look at some of his self-contained early stuff for a bit.

    This is the most comprehensive bibliography I've found for Morrison's work, by Michael Karpas via

    I'd love to get my hands on his really early Gideon Stargrave and Starblazer stuff, but for now, I can only dream!

    Just before we look at Morrison's earliest Batman and Superman stories, I thought we'd have a quick look at Captain Granbretan, which was reprinted in the Captain Britain Omnibus, but can be found at the same fish1000 - lost and found site.

    Later on, I want to look at Morrison's work on Zoids for Marvel UK. It was never published in the US and is hard to find. Despite being one long toy advert, it contains the germs of a lot of the ideas and themes he'd later develop more fully, and is worth discussing for that. If anyone is interested in looking at this early work, let me know.
  • Captain Granbretan – from Captain Britain #13 (January 1986, MarvelUK)

    There’s a couple of different ways to approach this quite slight-looking 3-page prose story.

    First of all, its kind of hard to fit it into Morrison’s work overall. In some ways it’s not even very Morrison-esque.

    One thing that struck me about the Morrison comics I’ve looked at so far has been the sheer optimism which he continually displays. In The Invisibles he was even able to point out the brighter side of humanity’s rape of the planet’s limited resources. That’s optimism!

    This story has a very different tone. I’ll give a quick summary after the SPOILERS warning below, but you really should read the damn thing. It’ll only take you a few minutes.

    Ah, go on...



    In this story, the titular Captain Granbretan, aka Paul Peltier, received a techno-magical suit much like the Captain Britain we know and love, but he has been even less able than Brian Braddock to cope with the endless responsibilities and duties that come with it. He slips into a deep depression and gives up trying to continually be there for everyone. The suit develops sentience and proceeds to take over control of the suit in order to do heroic deeds. With Paul inside unable to do anything but be carried along, he eventually dies as a result of exhaustion or starvation. The suit decides to ‘absorb’ what’s left of his body and return to the standing stones at Darkmoor to await it’s next wearer/victim...

    That is a seriously downbeat superhero story. Especially for Grant to write. In it, the very idea of being a superhero is fundamentally undermined. It seems to be saying that anyone who tried to spend all their time saving people, with no thought for their own needs, would quickly go crazy.

    The publishing date is significant. It’s the exact same issue of Captain Britain where Brian kills an already beaten foe by crushing Slaymaster's skull with a rock, and where we saw Brian’s sister Betsy getting a misogynistic thrashing from Slaymaster/Alan Davis before being violently blinded.

    As I commented on Jeff’s Captain Britain thread, Captain Britain #13, as brutal and cynical a superhero comic as you will find, surprisingly preceded Watchmen and Dark Knight Returnsby many months and actually kicked off the comicbook ‘Year Zero’ of 1986 by coming out with a January 1986 cover-date. Now to find that the issue also contains one of Morrison’s most nihilistic and despairing takes on the superhero, adds to the significance of this particular issue considerably.

    Here is a look at the cover of this notable issue. As different as the two stories in it are, the cover blurb kind of unites them under a joint theme:


    Were there many really ‘Grim and Gritty’ superhero comics before 1986? This is one of those times that I really wish more of the other Comics Cavers contributed to these threads. I might be on to something here, but my knowledge of comics isn’t up to the same standard as the ‘Overmind’ of the massed Superfluous Heroes. I thought perhaps a more mainstream title like Ostrander’s Suicide Squad might have preceded the 1986 ‘Year Zero’, but it looks like comics like these were hardly possible before the success of Miller’s and Moore’s ground-breaking pieces. (Ostrander’s Suicide Squad first appeared in 1986’s Legends crossover.)

    I know that we had Wolverine and Punisher long before 1986, and Squadron Supreme long before Watchmen, but all of those worked very much within the storytelling codes of pre-1986 comics, whereas the two stories in Captain Britain #13, and then DKR and Watchmen all moved substantially outside that mode. Superheroes who kill, and a certain psychological realism which undermines the very notion of superheroics.

    So based on this short story, I get to place Morrison at the vanguard of one of the most notable movements in English-language comics of my lifetime! I’m quite bemused by this as Morrison has generally placed his work in opposition to the Grim ‘n’ Gritty trend which took hold from 1986 onwards.

    Another way of looking at the story is to see it as a kind of late juvenilia.

    Grant was 25 when this story was published, but the young hero of the story might be a picture of Grant of a few years earlier (or any teenager, come to that). He has trouble finding his place in life, bucks against the role society has placed him in, and most tellingly, is a fan of a pop group called ‘Les Smiths’, who no doubt have much in common with Morrissey’s miserabilist musicians in our own reality. Just to complete this picture of teenage angst, Paul Peltier doesn’t just opt out of his role as a superhero, but ensures that he does so in a very public fashion. Everyone can see him moping miserably atop ‘Napoleons Column’ in Trafalgar Square in the very centre of ‘Londra’. It’s not enough just to be depressed when you are a teenager, but everyone has to know that you’re depressed!

    Given that most of the heroes that Morrison wrote after this did move heroically beyond their feelings of inadequacy and step up to do the right thing – even his first ongoing superhero of only a couple of years later, the feckless Zenith, - this story might be a kind of purging for him of the whole Grim ‘n’ Gritty / Psychological Realism approach.

    Been there, done that, moved on…

    (And before Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns had even been published, yet…)
  • I was already tired of "'grim and gritty" comics by the time Watchmen came out, so I've long thought the notion that Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns turned US comics in that direction doesn't stand up.

    Miller's artist-writer run on Daredevil is extremely grim and dark, and it preceded Watchmen by years (in fact, it was over by the end of 1982). Claremont had already taken Uncanny X-Men in an increasingly dark direction, and New Mutants was very dark while Bill Sienkiewicz was the artist. Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans got quite dark. Denny O'Neil's Iron Man was very downbeat, especially earlier on, and so was the issue of his Daredevil that I read.

    For that matter, Steve Englehart's Batman stories in Detective Comics, and the Clayface III story in #478-79, seemed very dark to me when I read them as a kid. And they're from 1977-78.
  • I had thought of some of those examples. (I haven't read them all) Especially Miller's very Noirish Daredevil. Still, as bad as things got for Matt in those issues, he never actually killed anyone, whereas Captain Britain does it with hardly a pause in this issue of the comic. That's changing the rules of the whole genre. (He never had to account for this later, as far as I know.) In Daredevil, the game of Russian Roulette with the paraplegic Bullseye was as close to the bone as it got, but that was pretty dark alright. Deliciously so!

    Miller's Born Again has more elements of what I'd call Grim n Gritty, with the realpolitik and the representative of the US bloodbath in South America running around jacking himself up on pills. Another one from 1986.

    Of the other examples you cite, the heroes still act like heroes, whereas none of the Captains Britain/Granbreton in this mag act very heroically. Betsy-as-Captain-Britain gets the crippling that real-life superheroes would get all the time.

    I don't argue at all that 1986 was the culmination of a direction in superhero comics that had been going on for a while. Before this, intrusions of 'reality' were the exceptions that lifted stories out of the norm, but all of this extreme violence/realpolitik/psychological 'realism' became the norm after this year.

    It's hard to put my finger on it, but its the difference between Squadron Supreme, which for all its innovations is still very much a superhero tale, and the Watchmen, which reaches outside the genre.

    Obviously its a sliding scale of degrees, and its probably subjective where you could say anything changes, but I don't think anyone can argue that 1986 wasn't a watershed year for our hobby.
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