Grant Morrison Talks To Playboy About Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Magneto and More

One of comics’ leading lightning rods, Grant Morrison, has popped up in Playboy to give his take on some of the biggest characters that he has worked on throughout his career. (Plus, there’s an awesome two page spread by his pal Frank Quitely, above.)

On Superman:

American writers often say they find it difficult to write Superman. They say he’s too powerful; you can’t give him problems. But Superman is a metaphor. For me, Superman has the same problems we do, but on a Paul Bunyan scale. If Superman walks the dog, he walks it around the asteroid belt because it can fly in space. When Superman’s relatives visit, they come from the 31st century and bring some hellish monster conqueror from the future. But it’s still a story about your relatives visiting.

On Wonder Woman:

Wonder Woman was constantly being tied up or shackled—and it was hugely successful. When Marston died in 1947, they got rid of the pervy elements, and instantly sales plummeted. Wonder Woman should be the most sexually attractive, intelligent, potent woman you can imagine. Instead she became this weird cross between the Virgin Mary and Mary Tyler Moore that didn’t even appeal to girls.

On Magneto:

He had started out as this sneering, grim terrorist character, so I thought, Well, that’s who he really is. [Writer] Chris Claremont had done a lot of good work over the years to redeem the character: He made him a survivor of the death camps and this noble antihero. And I went in and shat on all of it. It was right after 9/11, and I said there’s nothing fucking noble about this at all.

On The Joker:

Let’s say it’s the same person who just changes his head every day. I rationalized that by saying he’s supersane, the first man of the 21st century who’s dealing with this overload of information by changing his entire personality. I quite like him, because he’s a pop star—he’s like Bowie.

And the one that is sure to get the most press and be the most controversial. On Batman:

Gayness is built into Batman. I’m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There’s just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay. I think that’s why people like it. All these women fancy him and they all wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn’t care—he’s more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid.

Grant Morrison knows how to get people talking, that’s for sure. Check out the full piece via the link above, but if you’re at work remember it’s on Playboy‘s website.

Also, considering the current kerfuffle going on in comics over creators and creator rights, there are a few interesting tidbits in here in how the characters are listed. For instance, Bill Finger is listed as the co-creator of Batman, which is something many believe to be the case, but is by no means the official position of DC Comics.

Comments

  1. Mickey Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    Supergods is an awesome book.
    I think I like Morrison’s chatter about comics more than I enjoy actually reading his comics. And it’s win-win now that Quitely’s illustrating his chatter.

  2. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    That quote about Batman is brilliant stuff. I don’t necessarily agree with his comments about Magneto, but I do get where was going and it makes a certain amount of sense to denobilize Magneto’s actions in light of 9/11.

    However, I for one, could use more Mary Tyler Moore in my Wonder Woman.

    And man, that Quitely spread it lovely.

    • mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

      I really liked the comment on Magneto if only because it helps explain his headspace when he wrote Planet X. I absolutely love Morrison’s new x-men, but i’ve always had a problem with his characterization of Mags in that arc. It’s nice to know that he acknowledges its a bit off as well and that the change was in reaction to those traumatic events. It makes much more sense now

    • PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

      Yeah, that’s exactly it. I love Magneto, but didn’t like the ultimate direction of that arc. It makes sense though.

  3. oversimplifications…but still, pretty funny stuff.

  4. I’m sure its totally safe but no way am I opening that link at the office. I think I’ll read it at home…

    • Spoons Spoons says:

      I’m really glad I read your comment before moving to the whole article. I totally didn’t think about that at all.

  5. Great. Now I gotta re-read his entire run of Batman and Batman INC to see the gayness he sees in the character.

    Also, I want to see Morrison write a short comic of Superman walking Krypto on Saturn’s rings.

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      I think it’s more of the implied, “Dude, there are hot chicks in leather, corsets, and what not throwing themselves at you. Mission-schmission!”

    • Only Judd Winnick’s Catwoman knows for sure.

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      He was chatting with playboy.. the batman is gay idea is not his idea… I had a college English professor ( a gay professor) spend a great deal of time trying to prove batman is gay 10 years ago.. its an idea thats been around probably since that awefull 60′s tv show. Fact of the matter is. the character wasnt conceived as a gay character.. so hes not a gay character.. Its all well and good when youve got nothing else to say to playboy though. Midnighter is gay and he rocks…. come to think of it.. maybe Warren Ellis also had this batman is gay idea in his mind when he created midnighter .. even though im not one of the people that thinks the character is that similar to batman.. others do though.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      i’ve always seen midnighter as a metaphor for batman. and apollo as superman.
      of course, it isn’t an original thought. it was mulled over long before i discovered the comic. the idea was suggested to me by the person who introduced me to the book. it was a good selling point on his behalf. i gave it a go and enjoyed the hell outa the authority and the much debated theme.
      i see a lot of similarities when comparing those characters. i suppose it’s all a matter of perspective and choice.

    • edward says:

      @Sitara: that is totally obvious

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      They are definitely modeled after batman and superman sitara.. im glad that they have morphed a bit into noteworthy characters in there own right.
      Ed playing Ed209 yesterday i see

  6. pyynk pyynk says:

    Last night, a friend asked me to suggest some good comics writers. For some reason, I totally blanked on Morrison. Thanks for the reminder.

    And related to this, is there anyone Bob Kane DIDN’T screw over?

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      And by “this”, I’m referring to where Morrison credits Bill Finger as co-creator of Batman because I seem completely incapable of putting together a decent sentence today.

  7. Love Morrison the man’s a legend, great concepts!

  8. BionicDave BionicDave says:

    Nice of Morrison to link homosexuality with pedophilia and daddy issues. Honestly, for such a self-assured man, you’d think he’d consider what he’s saying instead of desperately trying to please the mass media with soundbites.

    • HailScott HailScott says:

      I could not agree more. I really hope this was quote was taken out of context. If not, it’s pretty vile.

    • @bionicdave You are totally correct in your assessment of Morrison. Morrison always tries to add shock value to his comments when it comes to the mass media about characters or people in the industry like linking Moore to rape and now linking Batman to homosexuality. I’ve had enough of his thoughts on the comics industry and as another person put it here in the comment section undertak1983 says: “I tend to stay away from Grant Morrison’s writing. In my opinion, it’s all convoluted and self-serving.” I couldn’t agree more!

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      .. how bout the interview during which he stated he wanted to run Mark Millar over with his car? Classy.

  9. mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

    We’re going to see some pretty awful comments on the internet as a result of this interview, aren’t we? Hopefully we’ll all be mature here..

  10. Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

    I don’t know how I feel about the Batman part. It’s hard to disagree with his points, but it seems to fly in the face of the Jezebel Jet relationship (I know he did use her a bit) in R.I.P. and Catwoman at the beginning of Inc. I’d like to read the whole article for color. I especially like his view of the Joker.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I think he’s saying pretty clearly that Batman the character is a heterosexual, but much of the concept and execution of that character (that he ignores the advances of numerous hypersexual females in favor of his butler and boy sidekick) has homosexual connotations.

      And while I don’t think he’s wrong, the homosexual under-currents exist only when a creator chooses to play them up or a reader chooses to read it in that light. They definitely aren’t a surface-level kind of thing.

      And even then, I don’t think those undercurrents have been present in the books for quite some time. Damian is his son, and Alfred is pretty entrenched in a father role rather than dutiful manservant. I’d say that for the past 30ish years the Bat-books have had a far stronger theme of “dysfunctional family” rather than homoeroticism.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      Robin was invented to be a “Watson” for Batman’s Sherlock Holmes; i.e., he was a talk-to character, so we could hear what Batman was thinking without having to rely on thought-bubbles. Robin was a kid because most of the readers were (male) children, and DC thought children would get a kick out of thinking they could fight crime just like Robin was. But Robin’s popularity really solidified during World War II, when many of these children reading Batman comics had fathers who’d left home to go to war, and the children yearned to be close to their fathers again, just like Robin was close to Batman.

      When people joke about Batman/Robin being lovers, they are merely feeding into the homophobia and perversion that Fredric Wertham tried to legitimize. It’s sick and insulting.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @BionicDave: Right on, I think the themes a reader chooses to pull out of a work tends to say more about the reader and their own issues than the work itself.

    • Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

      You’re both right, I was reading Morrison’s comments as though he was including his own work, which I think he was with Joker. But, as you both pointed out these themes are largely reflective of works that predate the bat books I have read. Thanks for clarifying. I may just but an issue of Playboy to read this whole article.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      @bionicdave
      i wholeheartedly recognize the truth in all of your first paragraph as a matter of fact.
      however,i don’t think it’s as black and white as your second paragraph suggests.

    • ososnilknarf ososnilknarf says:

      @Funcrusher: you won’t be the first dude to buy an issue of Playboy to “read the articles”! ;)

  11. Not a big fan of Morrison, however he’s dead on regarding Wonder Woman and would give his version a spin.

  12. undertak1983 undertak1983 says:

    I tend to stay away from Grant Morrison’s writing. In my opinion, it’s all convoluted and self-serving.

  13. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Now I know that the past of to shit is shat.

  14. RaceMcCloud RaceMcCloud says:

    Really interesting stuff. Then I remember I’ve hated just about everything Morrison’s written that I’ve read and kinda tune out.

  15. Any one else think of Patrick Stewart in that picture?

  16. MastodonTD MastodonTD says:

    Can someone explain why he is “the most important comic book writer working today,” please? I don’t get it. I don’t get him and I don’t get his writing. I feel like he completely lacks an understanding of the characters he is writing. From what I’ve read it seems his whole schtick is to intentionally write characters in a different way than they’ve been presented in the past and then put them through some bizarre series of events with no regard for fluidity or logic. Different is great and I would never try to undersell creative risks, but I just get the impression that his writing is essentially masturbatory and he gets off by his self-proclaimed shitting on characters and their histories. In my opinion, his writing comes down to one thing – shock value.

    • Smasher says:

      First off, don’t get your dander up. It’s just a piece in Playboy. The “most important comic book writer today” line is just there to explain, with a modicum of hyperbole, why someone should stop and read this before flipping to the naked ladies.

      Morrison perhaps more than any other comic book writer working gets equal parts praise and disdain. You have to appreciate that. Also he’s not shy about sharing his thoughts on superheroes (I mean he did write a book about it).

      And he’s one of the few writers who’ve written long runs on Superman, Batman, JLA, and the X-Men.

    • What’s to explain, since you already made up your mind? He’s a comic book creator who’s done a lot of hugely popular run for the Big Two and creator-owned books. His runs on JLA and New X-Men are often considered the best in their respective franchises, and two of the best superhero runs ever, along with his stint on Animal Man and Doom Patrol. All-Star Superman may be the most beloved superhero story of the last decade. WE3 and Flex Mentallo are often considered classics that showcase the strength and power of the comic book medium. He’s currently in the middle of a very popular run on Batman. He’s done a long-form run called the Invisibles that has been studied and analyzed several years after it’s release, there’s even a book dedicated to discovering it’s secrets. He’s had books, documentaries, and now a comic convention dedicated to him.

      He’s a pretty popular comic book writer, or so I hear.

    • mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

      Jeremy, I wish I could *like* your comment, ’cause that was beautful man :D

    • Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

      High five Jeremy!

    • MastodonTD MastodonTD says:

      Haha, Smasher, I assure you my dander is still down. I appreciate the response guys (unless Smasher is a gal). Not everything is going to be for everyone. Maybe I’m a bit of traditionalist when it comes to superheroes and Grant is too progressive. It seems that he gets a pass with his Batman run which just turned who Batman is on its head, while JMS does the same to Spiderman and causes an uproar. All-Star Superman is about the only work of his I have enjoyed as well as the first couple issues of Action Comics with plainclothes Superman (which is a creative risk in the right direction), but I have to say I don’t think I have read any of his creator owned work due to my lukewarm interest in his superhero books. Maybe I would appreciate those as they are his and his alone and don’t involve years of history and established characters.

    • Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

      @ Mastadon I’m an avid Morrison fan, but I can definitely understand anyone not liking his work. Check out WE3, I’ve yet to hear anyone say bad things about it.

    • abstractgeek says:

      I’ll say something bad about WE3

      It was too short.

      Does that count?

    • Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

      The deluxe edition has 10 extra story pages. Complaint denied! :)

  17. Heysideburns Heysideburns says:

    Apparently Quietly pictures Grant as a 75 year old man in his head….he’s my favorite artist in comics but good lord, he looks like Prune face from Dick Tracy…everything else looks gorgeous though

  18. gundaRn says:

    So does this give me a legitimate reason to buy Playboy then?
    Still not sure my wife would approve.

  19. Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

    I would read the hell out of a well done alternate Batman who’s gay. Done seriously, not stupidly.

    • Well that’s Midnighter from Stormwatch right?

    • Smasher says:

      Hmm… would Gordon be to Gay Batman what Lois is to Superman?

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @Smasher: No, I think gay Batman would be about as asexual as straight Batman. Now gay Bruce Wayne on the other hand, lots more potential there. I don’t think it would be Gordon though, maybe a pre-accident Harvey Dent?

    • when they do the next flashpoint-reset-reboot thingamajig, they should make that happen. Get some MSM buzz.

    • @KenOchalek You’re onto something there.

    • mark. mark. says:

      I vaguely recall in the notes for the edition of arkham asylum that i have the morrison conceptualized batman as repression gay with a sexual attraction to the joker, and that the joker intentionally provokes him and how stifled he is. it’s either that our just extraordinarily sexually repression. the end result is the same – i’m inclined to agree to with ken that gay or straight, batman is just pretty much asexual.

    • mark. mark. says:

      ugh. sorry about the litany of typos in the above comment, everybody.

    • PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

      A Batman/Two-Face romantic relationship would be all kinds of fun to write about. “Every time he commits a crime I see the face of the man I love and the face of the man I hate.”

    • @PraxJarvin

      This stuff writes itself!

    • edward says:

      Before Danial Criag was cast as James Bond, my gay friend told me the next 007 movie was going to be gay and featuring a James Bond seducing a whole bunch of straight dudes. He was completely serious

      After laughing at him I said if they did that it would be the last bond movie ever made

      Of course, even though they’re similar characters, Bond doesn’t really have the inbuilt gayness of batman

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      @mark Typos be damned! The point about Arkham Asylum makes sense and honestly between that and Miller’s take on the Joker in Dark Knight Returns, the majority of well written Joker stories we’ve seen since then have involved the duel between the two characters with less impact being placed on the caper and more about scoring points against Batman.

  20. odino1 odino1 says:

    What do you mean with “alternate”? Batman, as Morrison says, is clearly gay. The alternate version would be heterosexual.

  21. muddi900 says:

    Yer ghey!

    The internet is not going to be nice place for a few days!

  22. SirSullymore SirSullymore says:

    Are those all characters he wrote in the art? When did he write The Question? Unless Quitely is counting 52..

  23. edward says:

    God, I miss the Invisibles

  24. wangman31888 wangman31888 says:

    I’d be so mad if I had my buddy draw me and my face looked like an orange peel hahaha

    I know that’s his “style” but help a brother out!

  25. DavidRose92 DavidRose92 says:

    Grant, you genius! You’ve done it again.

  26. The word Morrison needed was not “gay” but homosocial.

    His thoughts on Batman make no sense unless he thinks Batman is REALLY homosexual and even then it still does not make sense because Batman is obviously not homosexual unless you think gay males don’t like female company and are closet pedophiles, which is offensive.

    Even his characterization of Batman seems off.

    Batman does his best to not be compromised in any way, including being manipulated by female sexuality.

    That’s why he can often walk among fine women and not be reduced to a fool.

  27. sitara119 sitara119 says:

    i love morrison. he has a very interesting way of looking at things. it’s like he has a different pair of goggles than everyone else. i dont find his remarks to be offensive or insulting at all. it’s just his personal view and it’s not hurting anyone.

    • That’s because you lack empathy.

      He said something stupid in the media that unlike the Wonder Woman comment has no logic or statistics to support his claim.

      I’m not mad but it is inexcusable unless he were to say, “Listen, it was an interview and I was trying to be provocative and fucked up in a spur of the moment attempt to give Playboy magazine a good interview from some comic book guy.”

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      meow. ;)

    • edward says:

      @ScorpionMasada: what does empathy have to do with anything? That doesn’t make any sense

      And I agree with Morrison about Wonder Woman. She is a horrible boring character. At least there was subtext when she was being whipped and tied up instead of no text like there is now

    • jerriblankstare jerriblankstare (@dbergene) says:

      I don’t quite follow the leap from “he’s more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid” to the conclusion that Morrison is associating him to a closeted pedophile . The reaction seems to be what readers have implied that to mean rather than taking it at face value. He is a mad genius fo’ sho and it’s more interesting to see where his mind is at when he is writing Batman.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      “i’m not using gay in the pejorative sense…” morrison clearly states.
      pedophilia would definitely fall under a pejorative sense of the word and then some.

    • Morrison uses that comment as support for his claim that Batman is gay.

      Batman is obviously gay because he hangs out with a boy. Or utterly gay.

      The majority of homosexual males have no interest in hanging out with little boys same as the majority of heterosexual males have no interest in hanging out with little girls.

      His “evidence” is faulty, wrong and offensive.

      If you can’t see that, you don’t understand logic or human sexuality.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      the point is that the “concept” of batman is gay, not necessarily the character himself. and even if batman were gay, he would never have a relationship with a child. homosexuality and pedaphilia are obviously 2 totally different things. nobody here from what i can tell believes any differently. no one’s debating that they are one in the same.
      i mean, what do you think? that if given free reign by dc that morrison would write a batman story that reveals that the most popular superhero ever is in fact a pedaphile? does that sound logical to you?
      it’s like saying that the concept of a military with no women(which there have been a lot of those for thousands of years) isn’t a gay concept. a bunch of guys get together and say “no girls allowed.” sounds gay. doesn’t mean that the people involved in the military are necessarily gay no matter how many ancient greek military jokes you may have heard over the years. the punchline isn’t that they might be homosexual, but rather the failure to recognize that’s what a gay army might say.

    • Play semantically with character or concept and you still have the same thing.

      Why mention the child then?

      Gay people do not say “no girls allowed.” Even that comment belies your inablity to understand homosexuality and promote inaccurate stereotypes.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      wow. so far you’ve accused me of having no empathy, an inability to understand homosexuality and human sexuality and i promote inaccurate stereotypes. and that’s just in this topic thread. anything else you want to judge me for? go ahead and get it outa your system.
      you offer more personal attacks in your arguments than evidence supporting your point of view on the topic at hand.
      it really weakens your statements and gives the impression of youth. people will respect what you have to say if you can stop yourself from attempting to belittle them to elevate yourself.
      my mom is gay and so was my best friend growing up.
      what deeper understanding do you have of homosexuality that is so beyond me? are you gay? if not everything you say is a subjective opinion that you can’t prove. and that’s ok. you don’t always have to be right. just enjoy the debate instead of trying to win an argument. above all else, keep the bashing to a minimum. bashing someone for their opinion is no different than bashing them for their sexuality. you have to keep things in perspective.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      And we’re done here. All further comments in this sub-discussion will magically disappear.

    • Woah. Guys both of you have valid points, but what started as an interesting debate seems to have turned a wee bit personal. I’d love if you kept discussing the topic as both of you have interesting takes – any chance we could return to debating the topic and not the poster?

  28. Muady Muady says:

    Like every time Grant Morrison does this kinda interview, everyone going to take everything he says wayyyyyy too seriously. All of it reads like he’ just shooting the s!*t, throwing out his impressions.

  29. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    Had to delete a few comments there.

    “No personal attacks” applies to creators too.

  30. Tanner Trallis says:

    Let me know when he says something that hasn’t been said a thousand times before.

    • filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

      I went “meh…” too but to be fair I guess the interview was aimed at a new public who didn’t read them before.

  31. edward says:

    I can’t believe after the 60+ years of this idea that Batman is gay people are still upset by it.

    • Dr.Casanova says:

      Yep we’ve come a long way. Now you can get pudding in cups.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      i can’t believe that the mere suggestion that the concept of batman is gay is so disparaging to the whole idea of the character to so many people. like batman being gay is the worst thing that could happen to him or us. seems so petty.
      in my view, morrison didn’t say anything negative about gay people or batman. he just put the words”batman” and “gay” together in the same sentence and people are going ape shit with nerd rage.

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      I see this all the time though. One huge example that springs to mind is the shocking number of people who constantly “champion” gay rights, and can not shut up about how much they want gay marriage to be legal and then J.K. Rowling says Dumbledore is gay (which was sorta kinda obvious anyway) and those same people are OUTRAGED! How DARE she imply Dumbledore is gay! I can’t put that on a bumper sticker to show how intellectual and open minded I am! OUTRAGE!!!!

    • Calling Batman gay is a lazy joke from a guy who is supposed to be some sort of intellectual wizard.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      i think you’re confusing him with alan moore.

    • I think they are both into the occult or at least magic.

      I’m just glad it wasn’t Alan Moore in this interview.

      Not saying that Morrison didn’t have some interesting ideas during the interview.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      i’m glad it wasn’t moore, too. i’ve heard enough of his “being taken advantage of”, before watchmen crazy nonsense.

      i was ready for “drug induced, 50s homeaging” crazy nonsense. lol

      and you’re right. there is something magical about those guys.

  32. AceBathound AceBathound says:

    I generally like Morrison… as long as he isn’t writing Batman or the X-Men. I know, I’m weird.

    • filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

      If you are weird, then I am too. I dislike most of his “universe” stuff, while I generally love his “non universe” stuff (Vertigo et al.)

  33. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    The reason Morrison’s statments are more likely to be disected and debated is because he’s the most polarizing writer in comics. Why? Because some people have spent time and money trying to understand the man and his work, and have been met with disappointing results. Instead of simply saying “This isn’t for me.” some of these people ease their disappointment by raging against the machine that is Grant Morrison.

    They lie in wait until he writes a book or makes a statement, and then they jump all over it and pick it apart. They use terms like “overrated”, “drug-induced”, “masturbatory”, and “self-serving”. They do this for one reason; nobody likes to be left out. When something is popular and you can’t understand why, it can be frustrating. A mature reader will simply admit that he is not fan, and that the work does not appeal to him. An immature fan will resort to name-calling. To these people, the quote “Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay.” immediately becomes “I, Grant Morrison, hate gay people as much as I hate comic readers, and Batman is a pedophile.”

    My advice to these folks would be to try reading something without looking for something to hate. You may see things differently. If you want to be taken seriously in a discussion about one man’s opinions, try not to make the fact that you hate everything about him so blindingly obvious.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      well said. a lot of fine points.
      immature fans do resort to name-calling and unsubstantiated judgements. which, in this particular thread, comes off as a bit contradictive to say the least. i can’t help but find it amusing. i just wanna say “really?! really?!”
      i can respect anyone’s opinion as long as they don’t act like a child about mine.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      “The reason Morrison’s statments are more likely to be disected and debated is because he’s the most polarizing writer in comics.”

      I disagree. There are other comic book writers just as polarizing as Grant Morrison. No, what sets him apart and makes him a target for debate here is that there are few other writers (if any) who have been given a voice by the mainstream media to pontificate to the general masses on the “meaning” of their comic book superheroes. Do you ever see Rolling Stone doing a spread on Mark Waid, or Brian Bendis? Does Playboy go to Mark Millar for his take on what Superman’s really about? Nope. Because Morrison has become the pop media’s “go-to boy” when it comes to getting shocking soundbites about the characters many of us hold near and dear. It’s the only substantial niche Morrison’s been able to carve for himself outside the small world of comic books. And he will gladly fill that niche – churning out statements provocative and even inflammatory – if that’s what it takes for him to gain relevance and street cred in an entertainment industry which he hopes will produce his screenplays and novels.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @BionicDave: Okay, then. Other than Alan Moore (who doen’t even write mainstream comics anymore), which current writer would you say is MORE polarizing than Grant Morrison? Because from where I’m sitting there isn’t one.

    • I have no problem with Grant Morrison.

      I’ve never criticized him before til this thread.

      Some of his books are amazing and sit in my library.

      I don’t care about the characters he talks about either.

      I have a problem with cats feeling the need to defend him when he says something stupid and he most definitely said something stupid.

      ** COMMENT MODERATED **

    • Paul Jenkins

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @ScorpionMasada: Not even close.

    • Just joking . . . and thanks for not deleting my whole comment!

      I will try my best to not be a pain in the ass.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      @Conor: I do indeed count Alan Moore. This year’s *Before Watchmen* has made Moore polarizing on a whole new level that Morrison hasn’t even touched yet. Not to mention Moore’s recent *Necronomicon* c̶r̶a̶p̶ oeuvre… so yeah, of course I count him in this discussion. Not to mention names like J. Michael Straczynski, Chris Claremont, Mark Millar, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Neil Gaiman, Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Rob Liefeld – and even Judd Winick, about whom you yourself wrote “I don’t know if there is a more polarizing writer in comics today than Judd Winick.” http://ifanboy.com/articles/the-ifanboy-letters-column-020108/

      All by way of saying… if the mainstream media wants to dissect and debate a polarizing comic book writer, they have many more names to choose from besides that of Grant Morrison. As if it even matters that he’s polarizing to us comic book readers; as I mentioned above, the only reason the non-comic reading masses even know who Grant Morrison is (save for some My Chemical Romance fans, or the random non-comic *Supergods* readers) is because he happens to be the bald nut-job whom the media goes to now and then to say deep or flat-out kooky things about our beloved superheroes.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @BionicDave: I wrote that about Winick in 2008 before FINAL CRISIS and “Batman R.I.P.” when people around here REALLY started taking Morrison personally.

      Those other names you listed, other than Alan Moore, aren’t even in Morrison’s league when it comes to being polarizing. Not even close. Are there other polarizing creators? Of course, no one has said there aren’t. But after running this site for 12 years, I can say with authority that ever since FINAL CRISIS and “Batman R.I.P.” I haven’t seen anyone come close to riling up the comics audience here at iFanboy.com like Grant Morrison, who does it not only with his words but with his writing.

      Alan Moore riles up the audience but pretty much only with his words. No one gets upset about the books that Moore writes like they do with Morrison.

      http://ifanboy.com/articles/when-did-everyone-start-taking-grant-morrisons-comics-so-personally/

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      @BionicDave: Obviously we disagree on Morrison’s polarizing effect. But you mention a few good points. Grant Morrison IS the rock star of the comic book industry. My question to you is; why is that such a bad thing?

      The guy gets people talking. He’s likable, interesting, and approachable. I don’t see the other creators you mentioned being approached for random interviews on their thoughts about superheroes. In fact, the only other writers in your list of “polarizers” that get somewhat frequent attention from the mainstream media are Mark Millar, Frank Miller, and Jeph Loeb. What do those three have in common? They’ve all worked in Hollywood. Not a coincidence. Mark Millar will gladly sit down and boast about how much money his latest property is making him with anyone who will listen. Jeph Loeb has had a respectable career in the television industry for years. Frank Miller has seen both the ugly and bright side of Hollywood, and the respective misery and fulfillment it can bring. What’s wrong with Morrison having a desire to branch out and join their ranks? If ya know anything about the guy, you know that he has a serious love for film. Furthermore, this is his career, and there’s a hell of a lot more money to be made in film than in comics. I fail to see what’s wrong with a little well-deserved self-promotion.

      What sticks in my craw is when comic fans act as if he says these things SIMPLY for attention and with a blatant disregard for the medium, its characters, and its fans. As if he’s in it SIMPLY for the money and the attention. Grant Morrison loves comics. He loves superheroes. He loves his fans. Anyone who can’t see that just isn’t listening. Sure he has some wacky perspectives on things we all hold dear, but that doesn’t make them any less valid. It makes him more polarizing. Which is the reason he gets this kind of attention.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      As for the grand “who is polarizing” argument, that’s obviously up to people to decide for themselves, it strays from my original point.

      @WheelHands: I never disputed that Morrison has a polarizing effect. In fact, I fully agree that there are tons of comic book readers who either despise the guy or worship him, and – every now and then, when the mainstream media goes to him for provocative soundbites – he tweaks lots of non-comic readers into giving deeper thought to the iconic superheroes most people consider two-dimensional or childish. Normally, I’d have no problem with that. I love it. Regardless of what I think of Morrison as a person, I love it when non-comic readers see the mature depth and relevance of comic books.

      What bothers me – the very reason I am present in this posting thread – is that this time, Morrison has used his pulpit to make homophobic slurs. And because of his own ego (and the lack of people both inside/outside the comic community who should call him on the carpet for his comments) he will never admit that he misspoke and/or clarify what he truly meant. Do I believe that Grant Morrison is a homophobe? Not at all. But then again, I know him much better than Playboy’s non-comic readers do – and that’s the problem. If you don’t know anything about him, then the comments he made about homosexuality only reinforce damaging anti-gay stereotypes.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      playboy and rollingstone like to talk to people like moore, miller and morrison because they’re controversial. they say things that piss people off. and makes them laugh. above all else, it makes most of us go “hmmmmm”. which seems to be something that these crazy rockstars of the the comic world all have in common.
      as to their motivations for doing such? who knows? none us here KNOW those people personally so anything mentioned is pure specualtion.
      but the things morrison mentioned in the article about wonder woman and batman are thoughts and ideas that that have been around and debated about since “Seduction of the Innocent” was published in the 50s. morrison draws a lot of inspiration from comics from that time period. i really find it interesting to know where his head is at when he pays all those homeages and reintroduces characters, themes and ideas from that time period. i’ve never noticed an implication on his part in any of his batman stories that batman and robin are lovers behind closed doors. which reinforces that he was speaking only to the concept and not the character.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      @sitara: What I cringe from most in Morrison’s interview is his use of the word “deviant” in describing what he believes is Batman’s sexuality – as well as his implication that gays have fetishes for kids and older men. Had he used the word “different” instead of “deviant” – and had he used the term “hanging out with his guys” instead of “hanging out with the old guy and the kid,” then whatever, you’re right, it’s just another person saying Batman’s gay.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      @BionicDave: While I realize you and I were discussing the general bombacity (if that’s not a word, it should be) of Morrison’s usual soundbites, I gotta say I don’t find anything especially homophobic or offensive in this quote about Batman. I think many people here are getting wrapped up in the last sentence about Bruce Wayne prefering the company of an old man and a kid. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Morrison meant to imply any “daddy issues” (though Bruce certainly has those) or pedophilic tendencies with that particular statement.

      I interpreted it as saying that Bruce Wayne is more comfortable fighting crime with his allies than he is kicking game with leather-clad hotties on rooftops. His allies just happen to be an old man and a young boy. It’s his comfort zone. Someone above used the word “homosocial”, and while I’m not sure if that is an actual term, I do think it goes a long way in describing Batman’s preference of company. Personally, I’ve never bought into the idea of intentional homoerotic undertones present in the Batman mythos. A lot of rich men had butlers, and like you said above, Robin was originally intended as a Waston to Batman’s Holmes; a storytelling technique and an effort to appeal to young male readers. But you have to admit, sex of any kind with either gender seems to be the furthest thing from Batman’s mind. While many might see this as homosexual or even asexual tendencies, I think cooler heads understand it as a commitment to his “solemn vow”. But I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to understand where the “stigma” comes from. That’s what I think Morrison was commenting on. He DID insert the disclaimer that he was not using “gay” in the pejorative sense. That was an effort (however lame) to avoid offending anyone.

      You say “____ is gay.” or “The concept of ____ is utterly gay.” and you’re bound to piss somebody off. People’s ears prick up when certain hotbutton words or phrases are used in this way. However far civil rights have come in recent years, we haven’t yet reached the point where the phrase “____ is gay” isn’t controversial. Maybe that kinda statement should remain controversial. I’m not saying Morrison isn’t aware that it would generate some controversy. He most certainly was. But it’s important that we try to understand what he meant by it. In the context Morrison was using, certain elements of the Batman mythos can be interpretted as kinda gay. Whether that sits well with someone or not often has more to do with the person’s interpretation of the statement than it does with the person making it.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      @bionicdave
      i can see where you’re coming from. gay men don’t just like daddy bears or cubs. some like batmen, if you will. but deviant isn’t a negative term. “deviating or departing from the norm” so says webster.
      batman dresses in a giant bat suit. that is deviant behavior. and like nite owl from watchmen, i bet the suit would come into play during sexual activities. dressing up in costumes daily is fetish like behavior.

      here’s a question: what if grant morrison is gay? would his comments cease being offensive?
      i’m straight and i wouldn’t get mad if people suggested that Daredevil is a deviant, man slut who likes cougars and school girls(that’s not a specific example, just a hypothetical).

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      @WheelHands & sitara: I genuinely appreciate both your points of view. I agree with some parts over others, but it’s always enlightening to hear varied opinions from those who think and communicate clearly, such as yourselves.

      While I acknowledge that the strict definition of “deviant” would apply to anything that is other than common, I’ll also point out that it is an insulting word that has been used to slur gay people, specifically, for centuries. Using that word when discussing gays is immediately inflammatory – and while I don’t believe at all that Grant Morrison himself is a homophobe? He is, however, a man who makes his living as a professional communicator, for God’s sake. He is also a media-savvy human being – and he should know that tossing such words into a popular magazine interview would reinforce anti-gay sentiment both formal and (more insidiously) informal. And instead of showing an ounce of humility or plain courtesy in offering any kind of regret about his word choice, it appears that Morrison has decided instead to hide behind the shield of I-don’t-have-to-explain-myself-to-nobody. Well, this is 2012. Gays are fighting for their political lives – and for their literal ones, in many parts of the world. Expect us to throw a penalty flag when people in the media deride us bluntly or subtly, intentionally or not.

      As for Morrison’s own sexuality… I honestly don’t know, or even think it’s relevant here. Similarly, one doesn’t have to be a real bigot to make an accidentally bigoted comment – but it does take a real man or woman to admit when he or she has misspoken.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      @BionicDave, sitara119, & Conor Kilpatrick: Good talk.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      @bionicdave
      i was just wondering if morrison was gay, would his statements still be “bigoted”? i thought it might be relevant since we’re discussing sexuality as it applies here. no biggie. i’m fine with glossing over it.

      i concede the deviant point in your favor. it has been used as a slur to criticize gay people and people with antithetic sexual practices in general for centuries. i can sympathize with you on a lot of levels there. you are genuinely offended and no one like me should talk you outa that. it’s not my place and it would be rather pretentious of me to tell you how you “should” feel. you had every right to throw that penalty flag.

      should morrison have known that his words would reinforce anti-gay sentiment? i don’t know. he IS media savy, so maybe. i’m not sure if i would call morrison a professional communicator. if nothing else, because half of the audience he’s speaking to don’t grasp what he’s trying to say in his works to begin with. lol. he’s an artist and those people can be difficult to understand on any platform and they don’t generally feel inclined to explain themselves any further than they want to.
      but you’re definitely right about not having to be a bigot to accidentally make a bigoted comment.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      man, great thread fellas.
      best conversation since before watchmen and hank pym.
      a lota fun.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      I agree, gents – this thread has been a real interesting back-and-forth.

      @sitara – I suppose if Morrison were gay, then his word choice while commenting about Batman’s sexuality could be interpreted as: 1) accidentally and unintentionally offensive; or 2) intentionally offensive and self-loathing; and/or 3) merely meant to be shocking and provocative, with no true insight into what Morrison honestly believes. Like I said before, I don’t know what Morrison’s sexuality is, but he’s publicly voiced a sexual appreciation for women, and is married to one (for what that’s worth). If I had to put money on it? I’d say he’s straight or mostly straight, while having dabbled in lots of different alternative sexual experiences. But who knows.

      As for your Daredevil hypothetical…? lol It’s tricky because it relies on you being straight, and heterosexuality is the majority and not a minority, and as the majority it is thus considered open to / and able to withstand public derision. That’s why it’s apparently okay for comedians to make fun of white people on American TV, while if they make fun of minorities, it’s considered racist. Similarly, we here in America have Black History Month and Asian-American History Month – and if we don’t have Gay History Month yet then I’m sure we’ll get it soon, lol – but we won’t have White History Month. It’s a weird and confusing double-standard, I know. Basically it means I can make fun of straight people all I want with no real punishment, but the second some Scottish comic book writer uses terms that can be considered homophobic in Playboy magazine, I can roast him on internet message boards.

  34. As someone who has embraced all aspects of Batman through the ages, why shouldn’t Morrison reference the homosexuality that was brought up in the Seduction Of The Innocent? He’s always said that he valued and drew from all aspects of the character so although I wouldn’t subscribe to his statement I feel it is fully within the approach he has stated he is taking with the character. Simply because we don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s not a part of the character’s past, and Morrison has just as much justification to use it as he did when he used the 50′s era sci if stuff.

    • Didn’t realize that homosexuality was a concern in comics back then.

    • There was a huge anti-homosexual campaign against batman at the time. It’s frightening stuff. Well worth checking out.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      until the 1970s, homosexuality was considered a mental disease. there was a scare that comics made children gay or “sick”.
      the author asserted that comics encourage homoerotic as well as other behaviors considered to be delinquent.
      seduction of the innocent(1954) suggested that wonder woman was a lesbian because of her strength and independence and that batman and robin were lovers.
      the book also stated that superman was an un-american facist and that comic creators should be under suspicion of communism.

  35. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    On Bill Finger: Yeah, Morrison also dedicated one of his best Batman issues (#673) to Finger.

    I like Morrison a lot but find many of his theoretical thoughts superheroes to be kinda dubious. It seems like he just projects what HE thinks about things onto the entire culture. The quotes above aren’t good examples of this (I actually agree with much of what he says there), but in his Supergods book I found an awful lot of subjectivity written as if it was “how the culture thought” or “how things are”.

    He’s obviously a super-smart writer, though, and it’s always interesting to hear what he has to say.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      The reason his subjectivity read as “how things are” is simple; he was writing the book. Writing 101: Don’t waste the reader’s time by placing “in my opinion …” in front of every statement. It’s obviously your opinion. You’re writing it.

      Morrison may have a healthy ego, but he doesn’t expect or desire us to believe that his word is scripture.

    • my old memory is foggy but i’m pretty sure in your writing 101 class they also taught that, in non-fiction work, facts should be backed up with foot noted sources or primary research.

      but as I say, i’m old, “news” used to also come from research and reported facts not someone pundits opinion on 24 hour repeated cycles.*

      *authors note: as this sentence has no supporting research please construe only as the opinon of this author and not facts handed down from the word of God.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @jokingofcourse: News and opinion pieces are not the same thing.

  36. keithfury keithfury says:

    Oh Morrison, it is truly amazing how he can cause such comic book fanboy debate with a two page spread in Playboy. Love him or hate him you sure can’t ignore him. It was nice to read some fucked up Morrison shit that messed with my head and then turn the page to some mind soothing boobies. Thanks Playboy.

  37. Sockman Sockman says:

    Isn’t self masturbatory art usually what causes philosophical debates, inspires, educates, and insights revolutions? It’s a powerful thing not a product for simple consumption. Morrison’s work can be interpreted it speaks to people in different ways. If you don’t like it, fine, but you cannot ignore the wealth, experience, and love in it. From Pyg’s double meaning dialogue to Final Crisis being written with an operatic punctuated equilibrium, he does new and interesting things all the time always forcing a reader to look deeper or think different. I just read a very interesting article about how his entire Batman run was a comprehensive timeline of art history. I didn’t notice this on my first read but I will for sure pay attention the next time and be educated. So many layers add to the reading experience of a Morrison book. I think he is the most interesting guy to write comics since Alan Moore.

  38. Matrix Matrix says:

    It was pretty funny. Is the Magneto statement regretful or just being honest? I can’t grasp the tone.

  39. Runaway13 says:

    Why would a porn website want to interview anyone about comics?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      It’s an interview taking place in Playboy Magazine which has a long history of covering culture as well as naked co-eds.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      playboy is not a porn thing. it’s far more artist than porn. they only show the human form. no sex to my knowledge. only sensuality. not porn!

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      *far more artistic than porn*

    • Runaway13 says:

      Thanks for the clarifIcation.but I still find it strange that they will do comic interviews in a magazine like Playboy that mostly is for straight males who probably don’t buy that issue for the Morrison interview versus a magazine like Game Informer that’s fanbase is video game and comic nerds like the people that come on this site.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @Runaway13: They did it because, as we said, Playboy has always covered the larger cultural world.

      And all kinds of people come to this website.

  40. FoeApple FoeApple says:

    I know these are just his specific opinions on characters but in some way Grant Morrison has started a fight with me (not directly mind you but it feels that way). I don’t think I’ve ever lost so much respect for a writer in such a short amount of time. I hope others can understand where I’m coming from when I say this because Grant M. just shit all over my childhood in a single interview. Most of the things he has said about Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Joker are true and I won’t argue with that portion. As for the rest of the caped cast they were brutaly beat and left in the streets for the public to laugh at, this is seriously how I feel. In a fight for trying to making a public who doesn’t read actually want to read a comic book. I may quiet honestly think G.M has done nothing but set us back another year. I digres. I do not believe Batman is gay and I will not believe Batman is gay. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the gay community but I hate the thought of everything someone has writen or i read about Batman’s relationships in a comic was just a huge waste of time. In fact I believe the opposite. I think Bruce Wayne is nothing but a gaint womaniser superhero who only looks at women for one thing. You know we have seen it. I can go on and on but I won’t. Thank you for letting me rant.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      Morrison does not believe that Batman is gay.

      “Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual”

      He thinks the tropes around the character are gay.