SDCC 2017: Grant Morrison Writing Sequels To ARKHAM ASYLUM And WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE

Chris Burnham rents a room in the serious house.

It wouldn't be Comic Con without Grant Morrison.

When it was announced the Thursday panel for DC Comics would feature a surprise guest, there was really only one possibility: the eccentric Scotsman whose dome plays host to the living DC Multiverse. That’s my theory anyway, and it’s not nearly as out-there as some of the ideas he's has had over the years. Some of his wild experiments don’t work. Most of them do, and the idea that two of them are going to get sequels is incredibly exciting.

The first, one we figured would get a follow-up since every other book in the series has one, is Wonder Woman: Earth One. It’s one of the better modern Wonder Woman comics, an origin re-telling that brings to the surface all the queer and kink subtext that had remained buried for so long (see also: that Professor Marston and the Wonder Women trailer), while also touching on the seldom explored intersection of Themysciran culture and race in the world of men vis-à-vis the inevitable clash between bondage imagery and a black Steve Trevor.

The second, more curiously, is a follow-up to the 1989 classic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. There have been plenty of comics that have since used “Arkham Asylum” in their title, but none have managed to match the nightmarish haze created by Morrison and artist Dave McKean. Their take on the Joker as super-sane, a state of excessive self-awareness that manifests as insanity within the comicbook narrative is… well, it’s an extremely Grant Morrison thing, to be sure.

What’s doubly interesting about this announcement is the choice of artist. Chris Burnham, Morrison’s collaborator on Batman Inc., has a style best described in this context as the polar opposite of McKean, with a focus on minute detail where McKean’s ideal sandbox has always been patterns and dream-like abstraction. Burnham’s work is as bright and literal as they come, not to mention more ostensibly childlike. Which is fitting, since Morrison’s own approach to DC shifted in a similar direction the mid-late 2000s while maintaining the ridiculous insanity. The two have since teamed up to give us such classic panels as…

and...

So whatever the 120-page Arkham Asylum sequel ends up being, and whenever it decides to arrive, rest assured I am here for it. 

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