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.)
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.
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.