See more photos in Dianne Garcia's gallery, “Grant Morrison and Gerard Way at Meltdown Comics” and read more in “Grant Morrison's Supergods: Comic Book Writer Chats About Why We Need Superheroes.”
We were having Comic-Con withdrawals. Severe ones. So, in order to continue our nerdfest, we headed to Meltdown Comics on Thursday night, where a large crowd of both locals and travelers who had head to L.A. after the Con had gathered for a night with the one and only Grant Morrison.
Morrison is part of the pantheon of comic book greats. The dapper, Scottish writer is responsible for the Batman classic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. He created late-1990s series The Invisibles and co-created the character Xorn during his time working on X-Men. When DC relaunches this fall, he'll be handling Action Comics.
Last night, Morrison was at comic hub Meltdown to promote his latest book, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human. Though Supergods was the catalyst for this appearance, the discussion touched on many aspects of his career.
Musician/comic book creator Gerard Way opened the night by recalling an early encounter with Morrison. It was at the end of the 1990s and he was inside DC's New York City headquarters when the spotted the famed writer. He likened Morrison's appearance, wearing rubber despite the heat, he added, to “King Mob from The Invisibles.”
Over time, Way and Morrison have become friends and the former speaks of the latter as an influential figure in his life. It was fitting then that Way conduct this live interview.
Way brought up an interesting misconception about Morrison, that many may believe “that he's like Tim Leary” in regards to drug experimentation. Morrison noted that he was “straightedge” until he reached his 30s, describing himself as a “straightedge good boy mod” in his early career. This led to a conversation about The Invisibles and, in particular, the “method acting” approach that Morrison took while he was writing the series. He discussed how he took on aspects of the characters personalities as he worked, sometimes even becoming sick when they would get sick.
“Reality becomes very plastic,” he said of the experience.
Way and Morrison discussed The Invisibles as “the high,” with Morrison drawing a comparison to another late-1990s classic, Pulp's album This Is Hardcore. The Filth, in comparison was “the comedown.” Morrison says it was “about my cat dying, about my dad dying.” He says it's is favorite, adding that it's his “response to the 21st century.”
During the audience Q/A session, guests asked some really interesting questions on a variety of topics. Someone asked about any possibility of Morrison writing an episode of Dr. Who. His answer was “I don't know,” but he stressed that he has loved the series since he was a child and thinks that Matt Smith is the “ultimate” Doctor.
Another audience member asked about how Morrison's musical interests affect his writing (Morrison had played in a band in his early career).
“I always thought of comics as music on paper,” said Morrison. He described individual works, like his last issue in the Batman and Robin series as being structured “like a song.”
The main event closed with a song, when Morrison played for the audience on a guitar that Way had given him as a gift. He played a song that Way enjoys, that the My Chemical Romance frontman said that his two-year-old daughter also loved. It was a song that Morrison said John Lennon had given him.
“I decided to treat John Lennon as a god,” the writer explained. He then detailed a magic ritual he had performed. He said he made a circle with Beatles albums and wore a paisley shirt and his Beetle boots. He went on to describe how he saw the famed singer's head and how the song came out of this experience.
“Keep looking for signs, that somebody loves you,” he sang in a gravely voice with a Lennon-esq quality to it as he played guitar.
The song that closed the panel felt like a once-in-a-lifetime event. We came to hear Grant Morrison speak, but we also got to hear him sing and play guitar. It was fun and completely unexpected. We couldn't really ask for more than that.
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