Reunited after 15 years of being apart, the flagship characters of DC Comics are reasserting their claim to the title "the Worldís Greatest Super-Heroes." Over the past year, JLA has rivalled UNCANNY X-MEN in sales and has stirred up more excitement than mainstream super-heroes have in quite a while.
That success is largely due to the presence on JLA of writer Grant Morrison. A Scotsman, Morrison is largely considered part of the "British Invasion" of American comics that took place in the late Ď80s. Along with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Jamie Delano, Morrison laid the groundwork for DCís Vertigo line and then left comics for a brief sabbatical.
In 1995, he returned in full force, starting his creator-owned Vertigo title THE INVISIBLES. Since then, Morrison has been busy: THE MYSTERY PLAY graphic novel, a FLEX MENTALLO mini-series, the short-lived super-hero series AZTEK, and Marvelís bizarre SKRULL KILL KREW mini-series are only the most notable of his work in the past two years.
Strangely low-key for such a busy man, Grant Morrison made time to speak with us on June 23 about his plans for JLA and THE INVISIBLES—as well as a few other topics.
Interviewed by SCOTT SIMMONS on June 23, 1997
First of all, I guess weíre both aware that youíre writing DCís best-selling title right now.
JLA sells as much at our store as most of the X-MEN titles.
Let me ask you: Were you expecting that kind of response when you took on JLA?
Ah—"no" is the honest answer. Iíd hoped for it, but, to be honest, I didnít expect it.
Has the bookís warm reception by critics and readers changed any of your plans?
It made me bolder, actually.
So there are things that you wouldnít have tried?
Yeah, well, a few of the people are into it, and I kind of think obviously Iím onto the right track ... . But I had a feeling that this would be the right time for this type or version of JLA. And the fact that itís been successful kind of gives me the impetus to go on and do some more interesting stuff.
I have a lot of ideas on where and what to take it, where and what to take super-hero comics in general. So this gives me an opportunity, and itís great. Itís a responsibility.
Is there a particular issue where we can look for the change in direction to start manifesting itself?
Youíll start to notice around issue 10, which is the start of the big Justice League epic. Thatís gonna be the one.
[I want to take] the idea of super-heroes
out of the 20th Century
How long are you planning on staying on JLA? Do you have a definite time period set for it?
Oh, right now Iíve got three years worth of stuff that I think is really, really good. Theyíre all right there. But of course as I go on I could come up with other ideas and other ways of saying the same things—but currently itís going to be three years.
And do you have a long-term goal? Is there a destination that youíre trying to reach?
Pretty much. I wanted to finish with the book in the year 2000.
And, having finished it, leave the Justice League in a fit state for the 21st Century. [I want to take] the idea of super-heroes out of the 20th Century and into the 21st Century. So I want it to be really ultra-modern, high-tech, futuristic by that time, so that whoever takes it on is dealing with something that we just havenít seen in the last century.
Now, I believe that Iíve heard in earlier interviews that you were planning on ending INVISIBLES VOLUME THREE in the year 2000 also.
So is that still planned to coincide with the end of the millennium?
Pretty much. Itíll probably be somewhere in the middle of the year, maybe, the way things are working out, but definitely I want to finish it off—finish off JLA and INVISIBLES is ideal—then take a rest.
Oh, really? Take another sabbatical, I guess?