SDCC: Grant Morrison Returns to DC with More BATMAN and MULTIVERSITY

Someone’s going to be busy for the next eternity.

Grant Morrison is one of the weirdest people working in comics. Nevermind that his take on Batman somehow incorporates all 75 years of the character’s sprawling continuity, or the fact that he once wrote himself into an Animal Man comic so he could bring the hero’s dead family back to life, he’s just a crazy Scottsman who’s done too many drugs and sat through too many magic rituals, but it all bleeds into his work with surprising sincerity. Comic Con is a special place for Morrison. It’s where he once sat down and talked to a Superman cosplayer as if he was Superman, which gave him the idea for his seminal take on the character, All Star Superman, so it’s fitting that it’s where he just announced his big DC comeback.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, he has not one, but two major new DC series in development (three if you count his long-awaited Wonder Woman: Earth One) and it appears he’s in it for the long haul. The first new book from the recently appointed Heavy Metal editor-in-chief is Multiversity Too, the continuation of his most recent DC series, and the second is Batman: Black and White, his return to the Caped Crusader for the first time in three years.

Morrison is considered to be a hit-or-miss writer. Long runs on A-list titles with editorial constraints aren’t his strong suit, but when he hits, he usually knocks it out of the park. His six year run on Batman during the last decade began with a fair bit of meandering, until he decided to kill the Dark Knight off in Final Crisis, before writing some of his best work in a mainstream DC title, which saw Bruce Wayne’s protégé Dick Grayson take up the mantle, alongside Damian Wayne (Bruce’s son and a trained assassin) as the new Robin, a dynamic he decided to keep around even after Bruce came back from the dead. Batman: Black and White takes its title from an anthology series in the mid-90s, wherein various different creative teams would tell multiple short stories per issue, only here it’s going to be Morrison alone exploring various eras and facets of the Batman mythos with a rotating team of artists. It’s a dynamic that puts a lot of the onus on him, but it’s one that worked wonders for The Multiversity, the other title he’s bringing back.

The DC Multiverse consists of 52 paralleled universes, each featuring different incarnations of the Jutice League and their related villains. The main DC stories have always collapsed and re-expanded this concept for the sake of aligning or adjusting their bizarre continuity (everything from 1985’s Crisis On Infinite Earths to 2011’s Flashpoint to this year’s Convergence and Divergence events have been geared towards this) but Morrison’s take on the whole idea is a little different. In The Multiversity, he proposes that all these 52 worlds not only exist in some tangible way, but they also exist within each other’s worlds in the form of comicbooks. For instance, the Batman and Superman we’re familiar with can read about the parallel superhero dimension where the Nazis won World War II, and they can in turn read about Calvin Ellis of Earth-23 (What if President Obama was Superman?) who can then himself pick up a comic and read about the goings-on of the universe where everyone is vampire.

Rather than existing merely as a concept, Morrison actually details every single aspect of these worlds in the sixth issue of the series, The Multiversity: Guidebook #1. The event itself is about these parallel comic universes colliding, dictating the need for every hero from every corner of the Multiverse to unite in order to save existence itself, and it’s a massive, mind-bending epic that can’t really be explained in text. It consists of seven individual #1 issues bookended by a main story, each taking place in a different universe, and Multiversity Too seems to be spinning out of that concept. The series will begin with Multiversity Too: The Flash in 2016, and while which universe it focuses is on is yet unknown (let alone which specific speedster), it makes sense considering there’s always been a Flash at the center of these crazy universe-combining stories. The full team for the series is yet to be announced, but expect another long list of people lining up to take turns.

Morrison is a guy who loves comics, and he especially loves superheroes. His standalone 4-issue series Flex Mentallo is perhaps the biggest testament to his take on comics as modern mythology. In it, he tears down the walls of reality and brings the superheroes from our imagination into the real world so they can save us from every day problems like depression and addiction. That’s exactly the kind of perspective he puts into his work, because he understands what some of these characters and stories mean to people (as they once did to him), so if you ask me, his continued involvement with DC is fantastic news.