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‘Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods’ (DVD review)

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“Whatever you think I am, that’s what I’m not…”
– Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison is considered a rock star of comics, leaving a trail of rumours, legends and controversy in his wake. (I remember a 90’s UK convention panel where he sent one of his jackets to take part in his absence- needless to say, I never got an answer to my Arkham Asylum questions.)

But first and foremost, he is a storyteller, spreading his mercurial imagination across multiple genres, reviving and transforming mainstream characters and creating a pantheon of his own in a career spanning over four decades.

Patrick Meaney’s fascinating documentary Talking With Gods gives us a real insight into the man behind the myths, taking us chronologically through his life from humble (but not secret!) origins in Glasgow and the physical and spiritual adventures which helped shape one of the most innovative and beloved comics writers of his generation.

Talking With Gods is comprised of exclusive interviews with the man himself, punctuated with contributions from prominent friends and comics collaborators including Cameron Stewart, Geoff Johns, Jill Thompson and Mark Waid.

As we learn, superhero comics and counter-culture were massive influences on the young Morrison’s life.  Growing up near a nuclear base with its Cold War, “men in black” mystique was a major inspiration for his psychedelic spy-fi comic The Invisibles, but perhaps equally important is his interest in chaos magic; real life, symbolism and stories mesh seamlessly together in his perception of the universe.

Without giving away any spoilers, in his quest to expand his consciousness, Morrison confesses to having had some jaw-dropping encounters with the paranormal and magick (with a “k”- no rabbits from hats here!), particularly the two-way connections between life and storytelling.

As you might have gathered, I am an enthusiast of Morrison’s work, so I did enjoy this film, but my one criticism is that it is preaching to the converted.  Everyone involved here is a paid-up member of the fan club and I would have liked to have seen some kind of objective or scholarly analysis of his work demonstrating why it is so ground-breaking or effective.

Although it does briefly touch on Morrison’s enduring love for Superman and his brilliant All Star Superman, I would have also liked to have seen something on the difference between working on licenced properties and his creator led projects.

Sadly we only see brief clips of his comics with little context.  As this documentary was initially released in 2010, there is so much of his life and output uncovered, but the budget rarely stretches to a time machine, now does it?

Morrison is an engaging and self-effacing interviewee who unlike certain of his peers, (I’m thinking of a certain “extraordinary gentleman” in particular), still retains a keen passion and enthusiasm for comics as an art form.

This is a must-see for anyone who has an interest in the man behind the stories and his unique world(s) view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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