DC 30 Day Meme Day 7: Favourite Writer

Posted: 07/31/2010 in Comics
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Before I began this whole thing I’d said some really nice things about Gail Simone in the past but it seems that until I dug into the meat of what I had to say about Birds of Prey that I’d never quite realized the extent of her influence on me all at once. Not so with Grant Morrison. There are a great many writers I admire and respect, especially in comics but no one has had as profound of an impact on me as he has.

In many ways I feel like I unintentionally groomed myself for Morrison’s oeuvre and The Invisibles in particular as a teenager with my immersion in Fight Club and The Matrix, or at least the underlying dissatisfaction with the world around me that both films spoke to. The Matrix really offered little more than a dress code and a magical world that pretty much existed only to underwrite extreme violence. On the other hand, Fight Club offered a lacerating and intelligent critique of not only consumerism and the spiritual void felt by Generation X, but the entire institution of masculinity in late 20th century America.

I reached out for The Invisibles in the strangest way that I’ve ever approached a narrative. I had heard vague mention of how the comic changed a person, that strange coincidences and interesting opportunities opened up around the reader as they delve into the comic, and so on October 31st, 2005- disliking who I was and where I found myself in my life- I took my first steps into The Invisibles with the vain hope that the rumors were true. Without digging into the objective reality of magic or the concepts that Morrison poured into the construction of the book like I’ve done repeatedly over the last five years, I’ll simply say this; on October 31st, 2005 I was a young man in the prime of his life but drifting through it aimlessly. I lived with my parents, had no ambitions, and disliked what I saw in the mirror. I guess I still kind of hate what I see in the mirror when I haven’t shaved and put on make up but I truly know who I am, I know what I want from life, I’ve met most of my idols, I have an amazing girlfriend who loves both the man I was born as and the woman I’m yearning to become, and some of the greatest friends a girl could ask for.

It took a lot of guts and action on my part to do all the things that lead me to where I am five years later, but much of the will to do it and many of the methods to carry it out came from The Invisibles. Beyond all the occult notions and intentions behind the book, it is presented in a way that almost demands you pull the curtain away and investigate the construction of it. Through the letters pages, which I found preserved in scans of the original issues (I read the series in trade), Morrison engaged with the audience and expounded on his thoughts on a wide range of subjects, directing the readers on how to research the concepts and ideas woven into the comic. As a result, much of the year that it took me to complete The Invisibles was spent on the first genuine spiritual journey of my life, driving me to explore Gnostic Christianity, Neo-Platonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the occult. I was also inspired to investigate the works of Robert Anton Wilson, William S. Burroughs, and Michael Moorcock through The Invisibles. One of Morrison’s greatest talents as a writer is his ability to encourage and inspire exploring the concepts in play outside the immediate context of the comic, something that has carried on in his work from Doom Patrol and Animal Man through to Batman and Robin.

What endears me the most to Morrison as opposed to Gail Simone, Brian K. Vaughan, or Greg Rucka is that his work has without fail driven me to explore outside the confines of the reading experience whether it be to track down the novels of Umberto Eco, research Chaos Magic, or try dressing in drag. He writes to educate, infect, and inspire in a medium whose audience does not expect and frequently does not appreciate it.


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