Boy, a bomb dropped onto the comics world the other day over on Comic Book Resources when Grant Morrison said he is going to stop writing super-hero comics. The whole interview is worth reading here:
But it was this questions that simply stood out:
CBR: I think a lot of people are surprised that you've remained dedicated to writing superhero comics for this long. Did you always foresee a waning of that work, or did it sneak up on you that "I'm not sure if I need to write anymore superhero stories"?
Morrison: The idea was always that I'd keep doing it as long as it gave me a lot of pleasure and allowed me to express myself . And it still does, but I can see the end coming closer. I'm coming to the end of long runs and stories I've had planned in my notebooks for years and the stuff I’m developing now is quite different. The "Action Comics" run concludes with issue #16, "Batman Incorporated" wraps up my take with issue #12, and after that I don’t have any plans for monthly superhero books for a while. "Multiversity" is eight issues and I’m 30-odd pages into a Wonder Woman project but those are finite stories. I'm not saying that I'll never write superheroes again. It's just that my relationship to them has changed especially after finishing the book and I’m not sure if I want to maintain the same kind of relentless level of production.
Morrison finally leaving the genre isn't that surprising to me. He is something of a rock star in the comic world and has plumbed the depths of the super-hero world. Maybe it is time for him to try something new. I don't blame him at all. And I could rattle off the stuff he has written in the genre that showed just how far and how fantastic the medium can be - from Doom Patrol and Animal Man to JLA to New XMen to All Star Superman - it all has been wondrous.
And this Action Comics run has been as great. It started mid-sprint and hasn't slowed down. We have been pelted with idea after idea, with the origins and ethics of Superman showed in a nuanced way rather than drummed out via exposition. This Superman feels right. And I'll reiterate ... I think it is great.
You knew there was a 'but' coming right ...
But I worry in what state he will leave this DCnU Superman. This is a new Superman. Action Comics is set 5 years prior to current stories. It is supposed to be the bedrock on which a whole new mythos of the main character of the DC universe is built on.
Will Morrison be able to wrap up all his plots in just 5 months?
And more importantly...
Will Morrison be able to leave Superman as a defined and well-established character in the next 5 issues? Will there be enough of a foundation?
Will the 'lost 5 years' ever be covered?
Will enough be explored such that when Morrison is gone that both titles will be set in the now? That both books are on a creative level such that one doesn't define the other?
From an editorial viewpoint, I wonder ...
Did DC always know that Morrison was in it for 1.5 years?
Did they try to have him write something more of a 'Secret Origin' style book to set up Superman for the future? Or was he given free reign?
The news of Morrison leaving has to make DC shudder. Morrison's Action made Superman sort of relevant again, despite the shakiness of the Superman title. What does this mean moving forward? Who is going to take over the book (although Sholly Fisch seems to be warming up in the bullpen)?
Lastly, this news makes me respect John Byrne. I know some love him and some hate him. But there is no denying that he had a long term plan for Superman when he took the reins 25 years ago. He did Man of Steel to set up some parameters for the character - who is Superman, when did he arrive, who is Lois, who is Lex, how does Batman react to him. It was a decent enough foundation that Byrne could then write and draw years of Superman from the character's 'beginning', reintroducing us to aspects of the legend while weaving his own story.
I had hoped Morrison (like Byrne) would also be on the book for years, seizing the keys to the kingdom and writing a new legend. Now it seems like he didn't want the kingdom long term, he only was visiting. I hope the new tenants on the Superman books bring the right ideas and outlook to the character.
And, needless to say, I am sad to see him leave the book. Because in a world where a Superman editor calls the character a loner, Morrison seemed to understand just who Superman is.