October 29th, 2012
*and Batwomen, obviously!
As anyone unlucky enough to follow me on twitter will know by now, I was at Dundee Comics Day yesterday with Botswanna Beast, Mister Attack, Ben Deep Space Transmissions and Ben Deep Space Transmissions’ mate (who was lovely, but whose name I never managed to remember for >>> 5 minutes because I am a cock) yesterday.
Comics journalist Laura Sneddon was working at the event too, so Team Mindless had a brief but enjoyable chat with her about The Singing Kettle, which… uh, probably isn’t something you know about outside of Scotland, I guess. I also apparently ignored at least one person I’m twitter friends with, so sorry Dan!
Anyway, Dundee Comics Day has been a fixture of the town’s Literary Festival since 2007, and this year’s event was focused on Grant Morrison and some of his collaborators. What this meant was that me and the boyce were treated to a solid day’s worth of comics chat, in a setting that was designed to force Mister Attack and myself and especially the Bottie Beast flashbacks back to our time in higher education.
The conversation with Grant Morrison that kicked off the day was entertaining if short on revelation. There wee a few routines in there that anyone who’s heard Morrison speak more than once in the past decade will probably have heard before (“more space combat!” etc), but the man’s still good company whether he’s discussing why Batman is the only character he keeps coming back to (“because he’s so sexy”) or making my teenage brain melt by mentioning that he’s met with the RZA re: the proposed movie adaptation of Happy! Of course he would have gained extra points if he’d announced this by saying “Me and the RZA connect”, but so it goes.
During the Q&A part of the event, I asked whether Morrison was interested in writing something set closer to home – if not GRANT MORRISON: THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION, then maybe something close. Morrison responded by saying that he’d like to write something set in Glasgow, which he reckons would be a good setting for a horror story. He pointed to Bible John as being the work of his that comes closest to fulfilling this promise, but noted that he probably won’t get around to doing something else set in his hometown until he’s in his dotage. Morrison also added that he’d love to play a computer game set in Glasgow so he could drive a car through Princes Square, to which I can only say “I Want To Go To There!”
There was a definite break between Morrison’s panel and everything that followed, and the line between the two parts of the day was exposed when Morrison was asked a question abut the future of comics. Morrison joked that he’s still hoping that the world is going end in December so there won’t have to be a future of comics, before describing how he reckons that the sort of comics that thrive on the variety of new platforms available to them will almost certainly have evolved to make use of the new dimensions available to them. This idea was presented enthusiastically, but there was a subtext of melancholy that makes perfect sense when you think about how closely entwined Morrison’s personal iconography is with the physical properties of the comics form:
June 6th, 2010
PAGES 1, 2 & 3
One of the reasons Morrison loves working on Batman, even if he doesn’t know it himself, is because the character’s rapid response time, both intellectually and physically, suits his high velocity, compressed approach. Here, the guy, who I should probably add is experiencing catastrophic memory loss, has been booted thousands of years across time and half drowned, but does that slow him down? No, the fuck. He launches himself into the scrap with the uprooted sarlac pit (more on that guy later) without a second thought.
I’m fairly certain the idea that there’s a connection between Gaelic and Cthulhu-speak/fifth dimensionese isn’t an original one, and I wonder if Grant was thinking about the connection here. Annie is a first generation immigrant after all, and a pagan at that, so it would make sense that she’d speak some kind of aboriginal british tongue. Also, I’m choosing to believe she’s intoning a healing spell, which is interesting and a nice twist because lovecraftian magic is generally considered the blackest of the black. There’s the implicit suggestion that it was only later on, once the puritans were done with it, that the Cthulhu mythos gained the negative associations it has today.
The talismans represent the latest movement of Grant’s superheroes as gods theme, but because this is Batman there’s a hard(ish) sf explanation as opposed to the more fantastical noodlings of Flex Mentallo or ASS. They are pregnant with the idea, however, what with the DC pantheon zipping around the timestream like they’re popping down the shops or something, that should she clutch his sigil hard enough and whisper his name, even a slave in ancient Rome could summon Superman to her aid. Some future Superman I’m going to write in the future will definitely have this omni-hearing, that’s for sho’.