Okay then, The Filth, The Invisibles, Doom Patrol. stripped
away of the glossy covers, these appear to be very traditional
superhero, spy and sci-fi action stories. Reality, authority,
society, a sense of identity, belonging, rebellion, questioning
what is, accepting what isn't - these are all themes of your
work. Why then, when you address these themes in comics, must
they be accompanied by a concerto of choreographed kicks and
Waiting For Tommy XXIII
Interview with Grant Morrison
Nevertheless, the reason these themes are accompanied by violent
spectacle - sometimes - is because that's the traditional
nature of mainstream comic books, your alleged area of interest.
Would you waste your time in an interview with Elmore Leonard
by asking him why he explores his themes to a concerto of
stab wounds and path reports? Why does Philip K. Dick dress
his themes in sci-fi drag?
Ah probably. It's just that you don't always.
I just do the work that feels right at the time - most of
it has some element of the 'fantastic' because that's how
the real world seems to me - filled with the bizarre, the
inexplicable and the downright f***ing ridiculous, so to do
'realism' in the strict black-and-white, kitchen-sink sense
of the term would be, for me, to deny the facts of life and
living. The real world is a lot more like David Lynch than
it's like Coronation Street (why has no-one ever see a ghost
in Corrie? Or been visited by talking animals and en in Black
like ordinary everyday people I know?). I like to use the
images and colours of old comic books in the way Dennis Potter
used old songs - to add poignancy, to evoke the lost nostalgia
of innocent days etc etc. The Filth may well be a gritty realist
drama about a middle-aged bachelor losing his mind in suburbia
but I like to think the drama is given added pathos by contrasting
its dull daylight world with the rich, fluorescent inner life
of Greg Feely. I felt that the super-spy genre was a perfect
framework on which to hang a story of double identity, cover
up, and bad sex. Just as New X-Men is the perfect framework
for a frontline allegory of our world on the cusp of wild
Yes, Greg Feely. In The Filth, your central character is initially
named Greg Feely and described in rather unflattering terms,
depicted as a sad, lonely man, masturbating to transsexual
pornography and suspected by his neighbours of being a paedophile?
What relation is he to sci-fi critic Greg Feeley, and has
Feeley covered your work in any detail of late?
I'd never heard of this sci-fi critic Greg Feeley until Harlan
Ellison called me and said 'Nice one mate! Greg Feeley must
be squirming after that...' And I said 'WHO ?' I don't read
science fiction books or watch it on telly so I'm not really
familiar with that subculture at all.
in The Filth - who is depicted in a very sympathetic and human
light, in spite of your gruesome tabloid-style attempts to
make him sound depraved - is named Greg because Greg means
the same as Grant (he's an inversion of my own 'King Mob'
self-image in The Invisibles) and 'Feely' because the word
suggests both emotionality and intrusive touching.
no idea if the real Greg Feeley has even HEARD of me, let
alone 'covered my work'. If he has any taste at all, I'm sure
he'll vote the Filth this year's Uppermost Spy-Fi Award Magnet
at some old dinner or other.
f*** that! What about Chris Weston? Weston is doing the greatest
work of his career. He drew VENICE! He drew a giant boat AND
Venice! In tiny detail. He does it EVERY month (well... as
near as dammit and better than the rest)!
I was privileged to buy some Authority art from Chris at the
ludicrous price he was selling his stuff for a couple of years
ago. One is framed on my wall, the other I sold on eBay, just
to prove a point, getting well over double what I paid for
it the weekend after and sent him the details. He soon put
his prices up, much to his wife's appreciation. Backfired
on me though, you should see what he tried to charge me for
the windmill in Ministry Of Space.
That was a lovely page.
Mmm. Still, a black and white printout framed on the wall
looks pretty much the same. Sorry, where was I?
Grant, your writing. what you've written. .yes! As to what
you've written and what you haven't. Certain West Coast creators
claim you entertained them with the story that you were responsible
for many of Mark Millar's credited writing works. Aside from
Authority 28, which Mark freely cops to, is there any truth
in this report and the allegations herein? Mark Millar has
also reported a division between the two of you, related to
these events. Can you elaborate?
Authority 28 caused some problems for me personally because
I wrote the story as a favour and then, surprisingly, wasn't
paid or acknowledged for it until I called Wildstorm and the
situation was quickly resolved. I wanted the issue to go out
under some whimsical credit like 'The Mock Millar Experience'
but otherwise I had no intention of putting my name on it.
It was a gag. This is the story of watch gears turning and
bureaucratic springs unwinding - hardly the fuel for so much
rumour among so few. The best bit no-one saw was the first
page - another victim of the censor's scythe. My original
had a splash page with Jesus Christ, Allah, and Buddha all
standing in front of a bullet-pocked wall. Each wears a blindfold
and sweats nervously, fag in the lips. A big balloon from
off panel reads...'FIRE!'. Turn the page and it goes into
the Surgeon's speech before they meet Religimon.
as being best mates off duty, it's no secret that I occupied
an informal position as Mark's mentor, advisor and champion
for most of the last decade; in response to those highfalutin'
'allegations herein', all I can say is... distance and a keen
critical eye make it pretty easy to spot my contributions
to the canon of the bulging Monty Millar. Otherwise...there's
no story here.
To be honest, the only thing likely to cause any real divisions
between us are daft attempts to talk my artist out of upcoming
creator projects, which fall under the heading of deliberately
interfering with another writer's 'earning capacity', a disgraceful
habit the saintly Mister M. seemed so staunchly opposed to
in his own recent interview with you. Maybe it was guilt.
Otherwise, the comics biz is like the f***ing schoolyard,
Rich. All 'I hate you' notes and whispers up the back but
they're always there with the luvvie gush on tap when the
phone call comes to say 'He's dead...have you any SPECIAL
Until that day, and for the record "Grant Morrison was an
inspiration for me, though I only nicked three of his ideas.
He will be missed - Rich Johnston", let's keep going with
the whispers up the back. There has been speculation about
certain Marvel concerns making their way into your work of
late. A recent scene where Henry McCoy reiterated that he
wasn't gay to Cyclops seemed over-elaborated, especially when
he had done so, slightly less obliquely to Emma Frost an issue
or two before. Editorial concerns pushing aside storytelling
concerns, or too many fans with too much time on their hands?
It's always fans with too much time. The Beast thing was my
mocking, ironic take on the whole 'Let's have a Gay on the
team' current I was seeing elsewhere. I thought it would be
more fun and more sophisticated to explore the very concept
of 'gayness' and people's strange need to define themselves
using such off-the-peg labels. It was also to point out that,
like the Beast, it's possible to be flamboyant, stylish, witty
and 'gay', without being homosexual. I've had people shout
'POOF!' in the streets at me all my life and I've been immensely
influenced by 'gay' culture for want of a better word (the
'gay' influence is so strong in my work that I had to write
'Boys Ahoy!' - a punky sea shanty for the upcoming 'ass2ass'
CD ''There was Cocteau and Jarman and Hockney and me, and
Billy Burroughs the cabin boy, aged 23...'), but I like
to make the sexing with the ladies and don't find men very
arousing, despite all my efforts and experiments with drugs,
drink and drag... so I wanted to have a character stand up
for the people who are neither gay nor straight nor anything
other than just plain ODD - the people who don't have shops
to shop in and helplines to phone, but who feel as alienated
and persecuted as any 'Gay'. The scenes with Beast were presented
exactly as I'd intended and the whole thing will play out
and make its little point as intended.
things I've had imposed on me at Marvel are those stupid 'PREVIOUSLY'
pages which nobody reads anyway. Everything anyone needs to
know is there in the story so I really don't understand the
fascination for these ugly text pages - they look like '60s
Marvel have a 'no flashback' rule, supposedly, which I think
is f***ing stooped, but has only affected me once and no-one
they're a bunch of wholesome blokes and I've had very few
hassles at Marvel. My stuff goes in, my stuff comes out. I
wish Frank Q. was drawing every issue and then I'd be famous.
Fame comes at a price. In this case it would be only having
four issues out a year.
It's working for Millar and Hitch!