“Whatever you think I am, that’s what I’m not.” – Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison’s comics blew my mind. And just as I was picking up the pieces he blew it again. Before I tell you my encounter with the supergod I’ll begin with my meager comic book beginnings which began with his series The Invisibles… well kinda. It technically began with The Watchmen, allow me to explain…
I began reading comics a few years ago. Despite taking so long to get into the medium, I always believed in the value of comics. One of my uncles is a long time comic book reader, collector and overall lover of awesome geekery (he sends me text messages like: “Winter is coming.“). So I always had comics around me in that sense.
I started with Watchmen, which of course was great but I wasn’t really sure where to go from there. I found the mainstream superheroes stuff so massive I didn’t know where to begin. It wasn’t until one of my many Wikipedia black hole moments I found myself on The Matrix page (again) and I stumbled across that part that tells you everything that The Matrix had been inspired from but mostly where it stole from and that’s where I first discovered the The Invisibles. The next thing I knew I was knee-deep in Grant goodness consuming everything Wiki and Google could give me on The Invisibles and this Grant Morrison fella. Richard Metzger co-founder of Disinformation described Morrison perfectly in a few words, “A bullet with a candy coating.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but boy was I in for a weird ride.
There’s a reason why on barbelith.com/bomb there are comprehensive annotations on damn near each page of the series. It’s that deep. My brain was jumping for joy at how it managed to be intellectual, postmodern, countercultural, brilliant and bizarre simultaneously. Grant said in an interview, “[I wanted to] see how close I could get to the complete and systematic derangement of the senses.” Well he got pretty damn close. There are countless times while reading where I’ve done double takes at panels, shouted at the comic, “Wait, what?!” and re-re-re-read sections and still didn’t get it. But knew in time I would.
After I finished reading The Invisibles (for the first time) I was like an addict, I needed more Morrison and I needed it weird. I watched his documentary which I recommend Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, I read Doom Patrols and Animal Mans and I’m still reading The Filth which Morrison told me is his favorite when he signed my copy. But I’m not done with The Filth yet. I’m slowly and delicately reading it as if I’m walking on thin ice and any wrong step I could plunge into the icy depths of insanity. But its brilliant insanity so I tend to be a bit reckless while reading every now and then.
Of course Grant Morrison is known for much more than The Invisibles, and every Morrison fan has their own “first time” experience with Morrison, The Invisibles is mine. He’s also known for JLA, New X-Men, Fantastic Four, All-Star Superman, Batman and more.
Now you know why I love the man, moving on when I met him. At Midtown Comics on July 19th Grant Morrison was there for a signing of his new book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero. I was lucky enough to have him sign not only Supergods but The Invisibles Vol. 1 and The Filth.
I stood in line super nervous wondering what the hell I’d say to this man when I remembered a Twitter follower told me Morrison was a fan of Doctor Who. Until then I didn’t think it possible for me to adore that man anymore than I already did, but there was. He’s like my comic book soul mate. It was decided, I would talk to him about the madman in a blue box. Now that I think about it, that seems to be a reflex when I meet people, “Hi my name is Jamila, do you watch Doctor Who?”
It’s my turn to approach him and first off I’m just glad that coherent words were even able to come out of my mouth. I introduce myself and tell him what The Invisibles and his comics meant and did to me and how wonderful it was to meet him. Then I told him I heard he was a big fan of Doctor Who. He told me he’s been a big fan since he was young and he watched the classic series and now the new series. He said he loves Steven Moffat’s writing style and he thinks Matt Smith is brilliant as the Doctor. I asked him if he’d ever get to write an episode like Neil Gaiman and he said that “The Doctors Wife” was one of his favorite episodes and he’d love to write for Doctor Who, they just haven’t asked him yet. (Ask him Moffat!!!)
He was completely genuine and sincere towards me and it seemed like he was that way to all his fans as I watched him in the most non-stalkerish way possible. He didn’t rush people along and just sign their books, he took his time and talked with his fans, really talked with them not to them. You could tell he really enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone. It was an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to have had it.