GRANT MORRISON FEATURE
feel good. That is a more emotional response.’
McGowan first appears brandishing a Molotov cocktail and screaming ‘Fuuuuuuuck!’ out across the title page. There‘sjoyriding. drug taking and magic. ‘lt’s just Dennis the Menace boosted up and slightly closer to reality.’ defends Morrison. ‘British comics have always dealt with the anarchic spirit of young people. This is following the tradition. but presenting it as it actually happens in the world today where kids steal cars. take E and don't really want to obey the laws of the land.’
Morrison looks as if the term etiolated might have been invented to describe him. Thin and pale. he sits in the front room of his flat in drainpipc trousers and Mod sweatshirt. The ultra-trendy collection ofCDs. from the Beatles to Zuvuya. displays a catholic taste in music. while the only magazine in the newly painted room is an un-thumbed copy of Skin Two. So how does this picture of leafy suburban hedonism sit with his nihilistic creations?
‘Whocver has the destructive thing is the guy who writes the comics.’ says Morrison of the almost schizophrenic status of the writer. ‘The other one's desire is to have a quiet life and not to be beaten up on a Friday night. I have always had that frotn growing up at the time of punk. it was so radical. it completely changed my mind about everything in my life. That idea that we can do anything. we can be in bands just as much as these crappy old guys and we can write and we can bring out fanzines and do what ever. it was nihilistic. but it was a creative nihilism. Because you say “everything in the universe is rubbish. but l can do better".
‘Sotnetimes things have to be destroyed to improve them. But obviously l am trying to separate those off from the person sitting in a nice house who quite likes being able to buy
Grant Morrison: The term etiolated might have been invented to describe him champagne. But the guy who writes this is another part of my head. He’s a lot more dangerous. He wants to see the whole thing knocked down. he wants to see his house blown up.‘
Comics come low in the cultural brow line. reﬂecting a stuffy attitude to modern. instantly disposable lifestyles. But like the artform or not. Morrison is an artist. Writing comics involves more than filling in speech balloons. Like writing a lilm. the scene has to be set. the characters described and the dialogue written for each frame. The person who creates the artwork then takes this script and interprets it to create a mesh of two people’s visions.
‘Writing is still locked into the whole idea of 19th century novel in terms of stories. I don’t like that approach, I don’t think it is anything like the way we actually live.’
Morrison has been described as a post- modernist for his jump-cutting style of writing which freely samples from a whole encyclopedia of references. It is a term he rejects. although accepting it as inevitable that as the end of the century approaches. art has run out of steam. ln particular. writing is borrowing so heavily from the past that it is creating the ‘litorary equivalent of a bird stuffed in a cage.‘
‘Writing is still locked into the whole idea of 19th century novel in terms of stories. i don’t like that approach. l don’t think it is anything like the way we actually live.’ he says. ‘l am more interested in trying to reflect how my mind works. That‘s not necessarily how everybody’s does. but 1 do think that people think in a way that is non-linear and involves cut-ups and disjointed perceptions. So l am trying to reflect that. but obviously there is still a story in there which you can follow from beginning to end. so l haven‘t quite escaped from the constraints.‘
in the past. Morrison has sampled wholesale from his sources, often using them to dictate the whole proceedings. But in The lnvisibles, he
uses such reference texts as The Prisioner more to create a texture behind his own creations. Music is as evident as it ever was. In one memorable scene the top Invisible. King Mob summons the spirit of John Lennon.
‘That was actually for real.’ says Morrison. ‘The whole thing about magic is that you set up a series of correspondences. you burn the right perfume and listen to the music that evokes the feeling of the god that you are after and wear the right colours. and so on. Well i thought you could do that with anything. so what would happen if you did it with John Lennon. because the guy‘s dead. he has passed into this realm of mythology.
‘I played Tomorrow Never Knows in a loop. got my Rickenbacker out. wore a Paisley shirt and Beatle boots and stuff like that andjust tried to summon up Lennon. Of course it was easy because i had taken acid. which would be the sacrament for Lennon. and it worked. I wasjust in this huge space with this huge Lennon head in front of me. and it was like rotating. it was made out of music and the thing was there. [just put it in the story. i am sure that you could turn it into a religion. but fortunately I am a writer not a preacher: it just provided me with two interesting pages in The lnvisibles.‘
Perhaps it was this to which the rent-a-quote MP was responding. or just to the level of swearing and amoral violence. But what he failed to see is that comics provide an instant and disposable reflection of our society. In Grant Morrison we have an artist who takes that reﬂection and provides it with a local habitation and a name. L]
The Invisibles is published by Vertigo/DC C omics, available from all good comic shops,
priced £1.25 (special Double Issue £2.00)
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The List 26 August-8 September l99417