Grant Morrison’s ROLLING STONE Interview

As part of his book tour in support of the excellent Supergods, Grant Morrison is doing a lot of mainstream press.

Like this interview with Rolling Stone that set the comic book world aflame. At least on Twitter. You can find the whole interview in the link, and you should check it out, it’s a good one, but here’s a taste:

Grant Morrison on… his new take on Superman:

I’m not using the costumes, just jeans and t-shirt, a Bruce Springsteen Superman. The original champion of the repressed Superman, the socialism and stuff, I wanted a bit of that.

Grant Morrison on… the bleak future of the comics industry:

With comics, the quality now is better than it’s ever been, there are more people now who are really good at what they do, doing what they do. Everything’s available for free, I think that’s the real problem, nobody wants to buy it anymore. One comes out, you see it immediately online and you can read it.

Grant Morrison on… Mark Millar:

There’s a very good chance of running into him, and I hope I’m going 100 miles an hour when it happens.

Grant Morrison on… Alan Moore:

We know Alan Moore isn’t a misogynist but fuck, he’s obsessed with rape.

Grant Morrison on… indie comics:

I always thought that I had a real Scottish working class thing against the fact that these were done by privileged American college kids, and they were telling me the world was flat. “You’re telling me the world is flat, pal?” And it’s not helpful, it doesn’t get us anywhere. OK, so it is, then what? What are you going to do about it, college kid? [Editor’s note: We’ve removed the first part of the first sentence in this quote because, as pointed out in the comments, without context it’s a bit misleading.]


Awesome. I love him. I wish Grant Morrison wrote all the comics. Meanwhile, it looks like the comic book industry has a new Alan Moore: someone whose interviews they can get a tad too outraged about!

But seriously? Why haven’t you read Supergods yet. It’s fantastic. Don’t just take my word for it. Read Paul Montgomery’s review.


  1. To be fair to the man… There is a lot of rape in Moore’s comics.

    Also, the phrase “Bruce Springsteen Superman” has set up a whole new bunch of expectations for that series.

  2. Probably the most debatable idea, but I’m gonna run with it, Grant Morrison > Alan Moore. Let the tempers flare!

  3. “OK, so it is, then what? What are you going to do about it, college kid?” might be my new favorite Grant Morrison quote

  4. “Everything’s available for free, I think that’s the real problem, nobody wants to buy it anymore. One comes out, you see it immediately online and you can read it.”

    Which is exactly what I did with this interview instead of buying Rolling Stone. Oh, the irony.

  5. Somebody should send that Superman quote to Glenn Beck and watch the hilarity ensue. A black Spider-Man! Superman renounces citizenship! Superman is a socialist! AAAAHHH!

  6. I still think Grant Morrison is overrated. He’s had some really great runs but also some really mediocre, self-indulgent ones.

  7. Its a great interview

  8. Sour grapes sounda like mr.morrison is pissed that the student millar,has surpassed the teacher look at his film and creator owned stuff millar is killing it. I find morrison overated I havent liked his bat work and im glad scott snyder is in charge of batman now and his beef with alan moore was covered in the great walking with gods documentry that you morrison fans should own. I rock with team millar all the way civilwar murders final crisis you dont need wiki to read it and it sold way way better

    • First of all, Millar’s got a ways to go before he “surpasses” his mentor. No matter how much money he gloats about. And if someday he should miraculously squeeze out even a turd of creativity on par with Morrison, I’m pretty sure Morrison would be happy for him.

      Secondly, these “sour grapes” stem from Morrison being hurt by Millar suddenly ending their collaboration/friendship. “Team Millar” might never have gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for Grant Morrison. He helped Millar out tremendously when he was trying to break into the industry, and for a while after he started working. That’s not one person’s opinion. That’s fact. And Millar dropped him like a bag of shit when he really started selling (out). My guess would be because he was scared people might found out just how many of his great idea’s were suggestions from Morrison. So Morrison has good reason to be resentful.

      Also, not all of us need a wiki to understand and enjoy Final Crisis. In fact, when you wiki “bland storytelling”, I’m pretty sure you get a link to Civil War.

    • I bet Mark Millar thought of a splash page with a terrible one liner to end a book. He seems to like that.

    • Civil War? You mean ‘stupid story with heroes acting like out of character fascists because the writer sucks’ Civil War?

  9. I have no idea what he meant when he was talking about indie comics lol

  10. Superman the socialist from some who doesn’t like indie comics. Interesting interview.

  11. What i read into Morrison’s Indie comics quote esp. about ‘the world being flat’, was that the work might be good, but its not doing anything innovative or progressive…kind of rehashing old ideas and methodologies, while the college kid thing made me think that he’s saying the work is slick, but vapid. I don’t know if i agree with him, but thats my takeaway.

    His working class comment reminds me of like the rich kid who goes to film school….makes something really slick and expensive, but its the poor kid who scraps and figures out a way to innovate with hardly any resources.

    thats my interpretation.

    • My take is that so much of it has a very…passive quality. A “life is hard…” and that’s it tone. There’s very little aspirational about the Chris Ware school of comic story telling. Superhero’s, on the other hand, are proactive.

  12. I also thought there was some disconnect between the question about Supergods and the answer regarding indie comics.

  13. After reading Supergods I can say, unequivocally, that Morrison is at least as batshit, contrarian and flakey as Alan Moore. That doesn’t mean he is stupid, untalented or even necesarily wrong… but he is TOTALLY batshit.

  14. Really should have given more context to his quote regarding “indie comics.”

    “I can appreciate someone like Chris Ware for his artistry, which I think is beautiful, but I think his attitude stinks, it just seems to be the attitude of somebody really privileged, and honestly, try living here, try living on an Indian reservation and shut up, and really seeing all that nihilistic stuff, it really makes me angry, it’s unhelpful to all of us, and it’s coming from people who have money and success to talk like that and bring those aspects of the way we live in favor of all the others, and it’s indefensible. ”

    Hope this helps people understand more. He isn’t saying he never liked independent comics.

  15. I’m sure if it was ten years ago people would be outraged over those rape comments on Moore. But it’s really sad to point out that rape is pretty common in most of his work. That doesn’t diminish the work but….well you can’t disagree with the comments is what I’m saying.

    Also, truer words have never been spoken before on the future of comics.

  16. I noticed some prominent Marvel creators like Bendis taking some Twitter potshots at Morrison yesterday because of this interview and was quite surprised. Like, high school level stuff. I thought he was better than that. Read the interview, and unless you’re Mark Millar(ha) I don’t see much to get worked up about, and even in that case it seems to be a mutual dislike based on legitimate beef between the two.

  17. Bruce Springsteen has always been faker than Andy Warhol and Madonna combined. He’s supposedly “blue-collar” but he was an over-privileged college kid. He’s supposedly a champion of the working class, but he calls himself “The Boss”, which is ironic in a way that none of his fans seem to pick up on.

    I love Morrison, but I have to say that lately his whole social philosophy seems to be a mass of naive contradictions.

    How does “getting back to the Superman of the ’50s” equate to “looking forward”? There’s nothing new there. Morrison acts like Superman hasn’t already been standing up for little people all along. It’s just more retro-ism billed as something new.

    And I definitely don’t subscribe to the Glen Beck view of the world, but I can’t help suspect that Morrison’s “socialist Superman” will be filled with a bunch of naive simplistic platitudes. The very fact that Morrison would use “socialist” as some blanket term is in itself very politically naive. Hitler was a socialist. Socialism has many different aspects to it. I don’t agree or oppose “socialism”, because the term itself is too broad to really have much meaning unless you get into specifics. The only people who will feel one way or the other about Morrison’s “socialist” comment are people who only react in knee-jerk ways. “Socialism! Heavens no! I’ve heard that’s a bad word!” OR: “Oh Glenn Beck would hate it so that means I automatically have to think that it’s cool.” In the end both responses are equally vacuous.

    Morrison is better off tilting at windmills and talking about magick spells. When he gets into specifics about how the real world works, he comes off as a child of the ’80s who never grew up. He’s my second favorite comics writer ever, but lately it seems that the only folks he’s impressing with his rhetoric are those who didn’t already “get” his ideas when they were originally in comics form. All of “Supergods” was a jumble of half-baked ideas that he’s ALREADY given us in comics form, provided that the reader could actually think critically and read between the lines.

    • Just a respectful response to your Springsteen comments. I think that you are a little mistaken about his background. I’m pretty sure that he spent a semester at community college (not exactly an “over-priviledged college kid”) and he definitely came from a working class background. If I recall correctly his dad worked in construction or was a bus driver or something like that.

      He also doesn’t call himself “The Boss,” the band calls him that and his fans kind of picked it up. I’ve heard plenty of interviews where he’s commented that the nickname embarrasses him.

      I’ll admit that I’m a pretty big Springsteen fan, but I think that your assumptions about him are a little off base.

    • Couldn’t have said it better, colossus.

      @froggulper: If you’re going to accuse someone of not knowing their facts, ya may wanna make sure you know yours first.

    • I do find the notion that Bruce Springsteen is ironically mocking his fans to be quite hilarious. Well…that, combined with paranoid and wrong.

  18. Morrison is one of the few comics writers non-comics readers seem to know about. I get links about him from people who don’t read comics at all. So he sure knows how to get noticed!

    I’ll check out the whole interview. I’m a big fan of The Invisibles.

  19. Here’s the Comic Journel response:

    Spot on in regards to his Chris Ware/Alan Moore comments

    • Are we sure that isn’t a parody of TCJ?

    • oh no, the college kids got mad.

    • Well, I see what your saying, for what it’s worth here’s my reading of his TCJ/ Chris ware comments.

      TCJ is considered by many to be the the credible critical voice of the comics medium. Morrison feels he is the an intellectual giant. Morrison feels they never really embraced his work. Chris Ware is (rightly) their critical darling, therefore they and him are self indulgent and misguided. I have lived in the UK all my life and he chucks in a real British class issue cliche for good measure. That being working class is by definition some how more “valid” than being middle class, Therefore they are all middle-class navel gazers.

      It all seems a bit some someone who trys to chat up girl, gets rejected and wanders off muttering, “I didn’t like you anyway”

  20. Man I love this guy.

  21. Long Live Grant Morrison

  22. Was I the only one upset about the whole “Comics? Meh. If they die, I’ll just go write movies” attitude he seems to be showing?

    • Thats the only part of the interview that kind of bugged me. It sort of goes against everything he’s said in the past about not wanting to comics to be written like movies.

    • I don’t think that’s it at all. I get the feeling that he’s loyal to the characters and what they represent and with movies eclipsing comics, at least in his opinion, right now then he’s prepared to make the shift if has to just like so many pulp writers came to comics when that medium fell in popularity.

    • He was asked if he had a plan for his professional career if the comics industry as we know it goes away. He said he did. I’m not sure why that would be weird. For someone who believes that comics are in trouble as he does, it would be weird if he DIDN’T have a plan.

  23. Grant Morrison, off the bench, up at bat. He rushes the pitcher and takes a swing.

  24. Well, his indie comics remark annoyed me. Why criticize people for going to college and trying to make a living doing what they want? So are indie comics only valid if they are made by poor people from third world countries? And there are plenty of foreign artists coming in and doing creator-owned work. Also, is it better that he did indie work because he was an immigrant? I’m glad for his success but this remark kind of turned me off to his personality.

    • It isn’t that they went to college, it’s that the attitude the work exhibits “stinks” and is “nihilistic” (according to Morrison), which coming from American college kids who ain’t that bad off put a bad taste in his mouth. His “the world is flat” is talking about them all having this attitude and he thinks the we don’t all have to be like that.

      Still kinda a silly comment, but I see how he could have rationalized things this way. When everyone is doing something in a medium you consider yourself to be part of, in a way you don’t like, you tend to rocket pretty hard in the opposite direction. It might not be the smart or practical thing to do, but it’s a very human response nonetheless.

    • I enjoy that Morrison’s comment concerning Ware and ‘indie comics’ elitism and overprivileged-ness is also steeped in arrogance and… elitism. It’s about as silly to brand a section of comics with a label of being nihilistic as it is to label superhero comics with the stereotype as being juvenile (which they certainly can be!).

  25. Most successful comic book writers are very good at writing comics. Whenever their comments drift into social commentary, they are typically cringe inducing. Same here.

  26. In defense of Alan Moore rape scenes, the scene in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II where Mr. Hyde rapes the Invisible Man to death is COMEDY GOLD!

  27. Tells it like it is!

  28. My favorite quote from the article was when Morrison compared superheroes to William Blake’s angels.

    That gave me pause and got me thinking.

    It was a good interview.

    Alan Moore destroys Grant work for work though.

  29. Didn’t really care for Grant Morrison’s work before now and I can’t say I love it after reading both the interviews, but I will say I like his outlook on life and friendship and I wish I could meet him someday.

    Not a fan of Alan Moore either.

    Alan Grant is a different story. I miss that guy. His Shadow of the Bat run was great.

  30. Did anyone else notice that Grant kind of looks like Lex Luthor in that picture ?

  31. I have been very concerned about the art with the new Superman
    but hearing “jeans” and “bruce springsteen”

    Now I am downright worried.

    A more back to basics Superman for awhile – fine- good.

    A Superman brought to you by JC Penney- No thanks.

    • It’s been obvious that he’s sporting jeans and a t-shirt since they revealed the first cover months ago. If ya haven’t seen the image, ya may wanna sit down because . . . he’s also wearing workboots!

  32. Love the interview.

  33. Yep, gotta love him! I love the supple way he kicks comic book fans in the balls!
    Wish I could do the same.

  34. Please read the interview as most of these quotes are taken massively out of context.

    • I checked out the article. Some interesting thoughts from an interesting guy. Going to the link before jumping on the dogpile: Always a good idea.