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Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

Talking with Gods

Grant Morrison Speaks Up

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Although some cutting edge comic book authors have rejected the whole idea of superheroes, Grant Morrison embraces them as manifestations of the power of myth and art. For the outspoken and controversial author, Superman and his companions represent a perspective on the unfathomable complexity of the cosmos.

Morrison is a fascinating character and the subject of a documentary, Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. Director Patrick Meaney interviews many of Morrison’s associates, including some of the many artists who have drawn his visions, but the shaven-headed Scotsman is at the heart of the film. Talking with Gods is aptly titled, since Morrison claims to have done just that—and written the encounters into his comic books. Many of his stories play with the idea of the universes of meaning each of us can create along with the way time and space can be represented in paper and ink.

Talking with Gods
reveals Morrison’s impoverished but unusual childhood in Glasgow, where his father was active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The madness of Mutually Assured Destruction and paranoia over official secrets informs some of his work. So does Aleister Crowley, whose magickal texts were introduced to him by an uncle. Morrison’s mother was deep into science fiction and took him to see 2001: A Space Odyssey three times. The influences of childhood can all be seen in Morrison’s oeuvre.

At one point in the film, Morrison complains that The Matrix was lifted from his series The Invisibles. Upon a moment’s reflection, he decides that’s OK, because he wants the Gnostic, magickal concepts underlying all of his work to filter into the public consciousness. Ideas, as well as the words and images that represent them, have power.

Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods
screens Feb. 7-10 at the Rosebud Cinema.
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