Trying to define Grant Morrison is like pretending to capture —inside the two dimensions of a folio, or in the vague space of a blank screen— one of those beings made up of pure information that appear and disappear in the pages of The Invisibles.
Or some of the genies from The Fifth Dimension which gave The Justice League so much trouble.
He manages brightly to make it more difficult by admitting he uses a different public image in each interview. We can only try to follow his / their traces and, at the same time, enjoy our spree across one of the richest imaginations in nowadays comic book industry.
In fact, we can agree on the fact that everything depends on one’s roots: on the place you come from.
Grant Morrison was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in January of 1960. That’s a fact, but it has the same importance as if I were to take for granted that I’m a desirable fellow, just because I’m the most gorgeous man that has ever slept in my bed. In fact, no other guy has ever slept in my house, so… what’s the importance of being Ernest when you want to be earnest?
His family had a radical and bohemian disposition: his mother was a secretary and a typist —very keen on Star Trek, comic books and Science Fiction—, his father “had several jobs while he fought the government”. Hope his dad didn’t fight the Power while he was working for the System as civil servant; the same that happens here in Spain where many of the “antisistemas” are “funcionarios”, who think that just for wearing the right t-shirt at the right spot you become a brand new radical.
There were always books and comic books at home: the likes of Mick Anglo’s Marvelman, Lee & Kirby’s Fantastic Four, Steve Ditko’s Spiderman, or The Adventures of Superman and The Justice League. His uncle was a big collector himself, and he was the person who egged on Morrison’s interest on mythology and occultism.
Since Morrison was five years old, he set his mind on growing to be a writer; comic books would come later, thanks to Alan Moore and his works for Warrior magazine.
His main inspiration —and one of the biggest influences that he admits— is the North-American John Broome (1913 – 1999) who during 25 years, up to 1970, wrote some of the most remarkable stories of such characters as The Flash or Green Lantern. Brome was, so to say, the comic book answer to The Beat Generation: a fellow who grew marihuana and wrote The Flash terrific stories while living in Paris or Hong Kong. He was always traveling.
The basements were there, but when he was sixteen Morrison —as most kids of his generation— was captured by punk explosion, and played with several bands without getting very far from Glasgow. Soon the concerts were over, but his interest on music never faded away. I can guess what happened here, suddenly a “skinny” —the kind of no-brainer girl that in Spanish I call “pellejuda”— took control of his hurt and his guts, so he mislaid all interest in anything which didn’t call her attention.
Still, there are many musical references in his works. For instance in The Invisibles we can find bubbly discussions on Britpop in the readers’ mail, and Morrison, in person, makes some performances as a discjockey on special occasions.