Grant Morrison, in his recent time with DC Comics, has written, well, every major character in the line-up. He has created characters, ended characters, and redefined what it means to be a hero in the DC Universe more than once in the last six or so years, but none will feel his impact quite like Batman.
Starting with the story “Batman and Son,” Morrison has crafted an epic that gave Batman a new sense of family, both literally and figuratively, then systematically destroyed it all, tearing the character to his core. As his epic ends with Batman, Incorporated #13 on July 31, 2013, we caught up with the creator at the red carpet of the Walking Dead anniversary party at Comic-Con International: San Diego for teases about the final issue, what he thinks of Batman, and his upcoming DC work with Multiversity, Wonder Woman, all before a hiatus from superheroes.
Newsarama: Grant, we’re coming right up to the very end of Batman, Incorporated. Your entire Batman epic is ending. What does it feel like now that you’re looking back and seeing everything that you’ve done over the years here?
Grant Morrison: I haven’t even thought of it yet. I’ll get to it when it’s done; the last one isn’t out yet. I really think a lot of people will hate it, because it’s super bleak. It kind of – to a certain extent it destroys the concept of Batman.
So I think a lot of people will not like it. But then a few years will pass, maybe a bit less, several months, and then people will start to say, “oh, this all makes sense.”
But I genuinely think it will cause a slight upset. Maybe if I say that it won’t!
Nrama: So is this like an “Empire Strikes Back” thing where it’s ending on a series of down notes?
Morrison: No, it’s not even that…
Part of what the Batman run has been is recapitulating the years of Batman and the different ways that Batman’s been dealt with. So I wanted to deal with that modern Batman that has started to get bleak again. The stuff that Scott [Snyder] is doing, that John Layman is doing, everyone is starting to get bleak again. You cannot bring Batman into the light, is basically what I’ve learned. So we wanted to acknowledge that in this last issue – it’s quite nightmarish in a way.
[Just then, Robert Kirkman walked by, and tapped Morrison on the shoulder. “Hey,” said Grant. “I love you,” said Kirkman. “I love you too!” Grant replied.]
Nrama: What is it about Batman that brings that bleakness back to him? Is it his obsession?
Morrison: No, I think that it’s because he always has to stand for a certain part of us, it’s the part of us that deals with the darker stuff. So Batman is constantly forced into bleaker and bleaker confrontations with our existential fears.
That’s what he is I guess, and we wanted to take that to our own personal limit and say, there’s a place where Batman runs out – beyond that place, you’ll see what happens.
Nrama: Now, I know Damian was always created to die. Was there ever a second-guess moment where you almost let him make it through?
Morrison: There was a little second of it. But then I thought, no, the character has to go through this thing. The last issue kind of resolves it in a different way. You’ll see.
Nrama: They just announced that they’re making “Batman and Son” into an animated movie called “Son of Batman…”
Morrison: Oh really? I didn’t know that! That’s news to me, nobody tells me anything!
Nrama: Well, what do you think of the idea of that being brought to a different medium?
Morrison: Oh, it’s fantastic! When I saw the All-Star Superman movie, I don’t usually see my stuff moving and talking, so it really excites me every time.
Nrama: Now of course, you told me earlier you’ll be taking a bit of a break from superheroes for awhile. Tell me what you’ll be doing in the meantime.
Morrison: I don’t want to talk too much about concepts. There are a bunch of new books I’ll be doing, but this year I’m mostly doing stuff outside of comics, a couple of television things and movie stuff that I’m doing.
Next year, it’s mostly new comics. It’s mostly science fiction stuff, I’d say, or vaguely science fiction stuff. It’s mostly in the vein of The Filth or The Invisibles.
Nrama: And of course, one of your last DC Superhero projects for the time being is very science fiction with Multiversity, is that something you’ve already written, or are still working on?
Morrison: I’ve mostly written it. I’m just kind of finessing the last stuff. Cameron Stewart has finished his issue. Frank Quitely has been working for two years and still has nine pages to draw (laughs).
But it’s the most beautiful stuff I think he’s ever done, so it’s worth the wait.
Nrama: Was there any particular world you used that maybe surprised you with how much you enjoyed it?
Morrison: They’re actually all great. The Nazi one I love because it’s actually a very ambiguous story, it’s not as black-and-white as you might expect. Obviously, the Quitely one I love, the Watchmen thing we’ve done, this whole riff on the structure of Watchmen is really exciting. It’s quite a cerebral, formalistic kind of comic.
Cameron Stewart’s Captain Marvel is just amazing. All of them are really quite good. I wanted this to really be that every single book works on its own, but they all make a bigger structure, a bigger story. Each one of them is the best possible take on that view of superheroes that we could possibly do.
Nrama: You did your quintessential Superman story, you did your quintessential Batman story, now you’re working on Wonder Woman as well. Why was it important to you to put your stamp on her, the same way you had on the other two?
Morrison: I’ll be honest, Dan DiDio came to me and said “would you like to do this” and I said “yeah!” Once you’re given that opportunity, you start to think about “what would I do with that character.” I got into it, it was never an intention to do a Wonder Woman story until it was made available to me.
That one has been amazing. It’s totally different story-telling than anything I’ve done before. I’ve been reading all this feminist thought, a thousand f***ing years of feminist though – and not one laugh until I got to Caitlin Moran’s work! (laughs)
But it’s been really interesting. It’s a way of writing a story that I’ve never done before, thanks to all of the research I’ve been doing.