Tag Archives: Grant Morrison

5 Memorable Ways Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman Made an Impact


Batman and Robin 13 Damian Wayne vs joker crowbar
How do you like THEM apples!

Batman has had surrogate sons right from his earliest days via the various characters who have been Robin. But not a biological son, other than in alternate reality stories. Grant brought back an obscure character from an Elseworlds storyline Son of the Demon, 1987 by Mike W. Barr and Chuck Dixon that many fans had forgotten, or were not even aware of.

In Son of the Demon Bruce impregnates Talia Al Ghul. Talia later claims to have had a miscarriage. The book ends with the very much alive un-named baby mysteriously being given to an unknown couple.

Grant Morrison took that loose end and imagined that Damian Wayne was raised to be the heir to Ra’s Al Ghul, the next Alexander destined to rule the world. Damian was raised as part of the League of Assassin’s to be an amoral ruthless killer.

Batman Son of the Demon 1987 Mike Barr 2 Bruce Wayne Talia Al Ghul Baby 3

Batman Son of the Demon 1987 Mike Barr 2 Bruce Wayne Talia Al Ghul Baby
“A strange baby? Sure, we’ll keep it why not… that always ends well for everyone”

Damian Wayne was a character you loved to hate. I know I did. A spoiled ten year old brat who was more angry and cynical than Batman.

Talia Al ghul drops Damian off one day to spend time with daddy dearest, leaving Batman with no option than to begin deprogramming the kid from being a killer. When Bruce’s near fascist regime doesn’t really help the kid, eventually he realises (after some prompting from Alfred) that what Damian Wayne needs is a father, not a mentor. Bruce struggles to be a father to Damian, while Damian slowly warms to Alfred while constantly struggling with the need for his fathers approval, and his desires to return to his former life as an assassin with Talia.

Damian needed love, not just discipline. Eventually Damian evolves to become a better person, even having respect for his father, despite routinely ignoring Bruce’s instructions and putting them both needlessly in harm ways on multiple occasions. A later plot development revealed that the deceased Ra’s Al Ghul planned on using Damian Wayne as his new host body, which would effectively kill Damian. This further reinforced Damian’s allegiance to the Bat-Family, although a couple of times during Morrison’s run Damian Wayne does go back to be with his mother Talia al Ghul, only to be rejected or betrayed by possibly the worlds worst mother.



Morrison brought back several Golden Age characters such as the original Batwoman, Zur-en-arhh (as a back up personality for Batman) and the bizarre and frankly silly Club of Heroes from Detective Comics 215, #1955, The Batmen of All Nations. What seemed like gimmicky crap instead became a key feature of Morrison’s Batman run.

Morrison wanted to include parts of Batman’s history that some people found shameful, that had been repressed or had been “swept under the rug”.

Grant Morrison embraced all of Batman’s contradictions, his best, worst and most bizarre elements, and put it all into some kind of strange Batman quantum soup. Morrison’s Batman embraced all of Batman’s history and every continuity, no matter how nonsensical.

I just want to know why the Batmen are floating in the air?

The Club of Heroes from Batman #215 were ethnically diverse “Batmen” representatives around the globe. In Morrison’s version he brought back some of these characters and made them part of Batman’s modern mythos.

batman 113-batman the superman of planet x Zur en arhh_55
Excuse me while my costume makes you go blind!

Zur-en-arhh first appeared in Batman #113, 1958 “The Superman of  Planet X”.

In the story some dude on an alien planet who was inspired by Batman – with bad fashion sense – decides to emulate him after seeing him on Earth through a telescope. Zur-en-arhh brings the real Batman to his planet to help him.

batman 113-batman the superman of planet x Zur en arhh_2
Yeah it’s crazy no matter how you look at it

On Planet X Batman has the powers of Superman, he fights aliens and saves the day of course, eventually returning home. Despite Batman having Superman’s powers, the most memorable part of the story to modern reader is the strange colour scheme used for Zur-en-arhh which seems to be closer to Robin’s costume colours than Batman’s.

I guess Zur-en-arhh’s telescope was defective, or maybe he was colour blind. How else do you explain his gaudy fashion faux-pas?

Purple, red and yellow were prominently featured in Zur-en-arhh’s costume. Grant Morrison took the costume and created a “back up personality” for Batman that he reverts to after being brainwashed and drugged by Dr. Hurt (who may or may not be the Devil) during the Batman R.I.P. storyline.

When Batman becomes Zur-en-arhh in the Morrison run he also sees hallucinations of Bat-Mite. Batman R.I.P. was another controversial story that divided fan opinion. Whether you loved it or hated it, it was a truly unique story.

Hell, they even made a toy with a bonus Bat-Mite thrown in. Now… where can I buy me one of those Batman pervert telescopes?

batman of zur en arhh morrison bat mite action figure
Don’t mess with my Bat, man
Batwoman Morrison Kathy Kane Batman Incorporated  X
Bad-Ass Motorcycle Mama

Kathy Kane (the original Batwoman) appears briefly in Batman Incorporated, mostly via flashbacks that show her as a total bad-ass, instead of the lame character who originally appeared in the classic Batman comics.


batman-incorporated 2
A Batman of many nations

Grant followed up reintroducing the Club of Heroes by creating Batman Incorporated. The idea being to have various Batmen around the world contributing to the global war on crime and further fueling the idea that Batman is an urban myth, more than one man, or un-killable. Bruce Wayne travels the world and recruits various International Batmen in one of the more entertaining chapters of Morrison’s long run on Batman.

The whole idea of Batman Incorporate is deliciously absurd as Bruce Wayne comes out publicly and states that he backs / funds Batman. Bruce Wayne also goes online and creates all sorts of information about who Batman really is. The idea is that there are so many contradictory theories and disinformation about who Batman is that it becomes a mess – like modern day conspiracy theories that run rampant on websites, chat rooms and message boards.

Just one more crackpot conspiracy theory among a thousand others – Batman Incorporated V1, #6

Batman Incorporated disinformation Bruce Wayne online batman is bullshit
BATFAN_007: Dude, Batman is a scam created by the Illuminati to control the reverse vampires and Lizard people!!!!!??!!!!!!

All the theories are basically unprovable. I love the idea that Batman has created multiple fake user accounts and websites that basically say Batman is Bruce Wayne, and only add further confusion by being unreliable sources of information.

While some fans hated this element, Batman Incorporated is my favourite part of the Grant Morrison Batman stories.

Batman International Club of Heroes Grant Morrison
Robin was no fan of the Village People’s YMCA disco break dance hybrid dance off in Gotham

Batman has had his issues with the JLA before, even walking out of them on to lead the Outsiders team on the cover of Batman and the Outsiders V1, #1 1983. Batman remained a leader of the Outsiders for 32 issues before going his own way once again. While Batman has been vocal in his disapproval of the JLA in various stories with Batman Incorporated he had the chance to build up a non-team – Batman Incorported – from scratch that would follow his orders. Each Batman operated in their own country, more a loose collective than a team in the traditional sense. Grant Morrison wrote some of the most memorable issues of JLA, and with Batman Incorporated Bruce Wayne starts a bold new experiment that leaves Nightwing, Batgirl and Red Robin (not to mention the readers) shocked, wondering if Batman has truly lost his marbles this time.


final Crisis issue 6 death of Batman

Grant Morrison killed Batman –  or at least made everyone in the DC Universe and the real world world think Batman was dead, right after he broke his “gun rule” and shot Darkseid with a bullet that could potentially kill a God.

Turns our that during the events of Final Crisis the Batman that died at the hands of Darkseid’s Omega Beams was a clone. Meanwhile the real Batman was sent back in time and had become an amnesiac cave man. Then Batman became a pilgrim, pirate and Zorro like Western hero, confused yet?

batman shoots Darkseid
Batman defies all good sense by shooting an unkillable God with a God bullet

As Batman journeyed through time he regained pieces of his memory. This story more than any other was a love / hate affair with fans, some fans swearing off of Morrison’s Batman altogether, others finding brilliance in how Grant broke down and rebuilt the mythology of Batman piece by piece.

Batman_Return of Bruce Wayne_1

During his run Morrison explored Batman as a man, as an icon, as a symbol, as a god, as mythology, and Batman as pure idea.

Final Crisis was the storyline that divided fans more than any others. Some used the story as further evidence to call Morrison a lunatic who writes incomprehensible nonsense, while some high brow fans praised him as a creative genius. The truth is that many fans simply did not understand what the heck Morrison was doing with Batman, but in contrast there were plenty who did understand and just did not like Morrison’s Batman stories.

At the beginning of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, the writer established that Batman is much more than Gotham City. Now that he is rebuilding Bruce Wayne, he has to take him back to Gotham City and establish him in the city throughout time. Batman and Gotham City are intrinsically linked to one another and inseparable throughout time. – Cody Walker, The Anatomy of Zur-en-arhh: Understanding Grant Morrison’s Batman


Batman and Robin Damian and Dick Grayson

With Bruce Wayne out of the picture (characters in the DC Universe thought he was dead, and so did the public after the events of Final Crisis – until it was revealed Bruce Wayne had been sent back in time) Dick Grayson (formerly Nightwing and the first Robin) reluctantly stepped up to become the new Batman, with Damian Wayne as his sidekick Robin.

Where Bruce was cold emotionless and gruff, Dick Grayson was a happier light hearted Batman who even cracked jokes. Damian Wayne continued to be Robin – a cynical angry savage Robin. With this pairing reversed – happy Batman, angry Robin, Morrison mixed up the dynamic of the dynamic duo. What could have been clumsy and irritating turned out to work surprisingly well.


Composite Batman of varius eras

Dark Knight Returns? Canon.

Batman ’66? Canon.

Batman with guns? Canon.

Batman Manga? Canon.

Crazy LSD inspired science fiction stories with Batman fighting aliens? Canon.

Morrison took everything cool, great, nonsensical and contradictory from Batman’s long history and made it all canon.

Yes, all of it.

It even makes sense if you listen to him on the Fatman on Batman Podcast with Kevin Smith where Morrison explains his theories. Morrison and Smith talk in depth about Morrison’s career in comics and go super in depth into his theories on Batman, Superman, superheroes in general in Fatman on Batman episodes #26 #27 and #44.

Uproxx.com has a great brief transcript and a link to a short video highlighting Morrison’s mad theory:


Grant Morrison: The best way to do Batman that’s never been done is to accept every single year as one guy’s biography. […] Batman from 1938 who’s out there with guns in his hand and he’s fighting vampires and crooks, I thought, well, imagine that’s Batman at 20, you know. And then he meets this kid when he’s 21, and the kid’s this little working class circus kid who’s totally cocky. And this introverted young Norman Bates Batman is suddenly, “Wait a minute. This is the kid that died in me. This is everything that I wanted to be.” And the two become friends, and it’s not creepy. It’s like, “He’s my best friend and my brother and everything I wish I could be.” And the kid’s looking at him like, “He’s everything I wish I could be.”
Kevin Smith: “You’re going to make me cry.”

Grant Morrison: Then it’s suddenly Adam West and Burt Ward for a few months, where it’s just really synthetic and fucked-up because they’ve been on so many mind-altering chemicals from The Scarecrow and The Joker. They don’t know what the fuck’s happening. When they punch people they’re seeing graphics in air. I thought, imagine it’s just all real. […] It fit beautifully into the personality of this insane, billionaire, unique human.”

The video (of the audio) is a little over 3 minutes and if you are true Batman fan you would be silly not to listen to it.

The full conversations of Smith and Morrison over 3 Fatman Podcast episodes go to around four hours, you can find them on Smith’s Smodcast/Fatman website, Itunes and edited together by fans on Youtube.

Morrison’s “everything is canon” Batman theory that he used for his 6 Year Batman run:

3 episodes of Fatman on Batman with Kevin Smith and Grant Morrison edited together on Youtube:

Grant Morrison took everything from Batman’s convoluted history and said “why not?”

The reboots, pre-crisis, post-crisis and made it ALL canon in a bizarre way that makes sense. He even included the Batman ’66 TV show and the screwball 50’s comics where Batman did increasingly bizarre things month after month. In Grant Morrison’s Batman everything from the original Dark Knight who killed and used guns to the smiling cop who walked around in the daylight to the 70’s James Bond adventures, 80s dark and cynical Batman and everything else before or after and made it canon (at least while he was writing the book).


He brought back Bat-Mite and the original Batwoman, the Club of Heroes, Dr. Hurt, Zur-en-ahh and any other shameful dirty laundry that fans are generally embarrassed by or want to forget. Grant brought it all back and celebrated everything that was part of Batman’s history, the good, the bad and the ugly – something only a true hardcore Batman fan could do.

How Batman stories Inspire us to be better Human Beings

Grant Morrison of many worlds Multiverse Morrison
The Fantabulous Misadventures of “MULTIVERSE MORRISON”

There is always a part of us, that thinks we can dodge the bullet, and its a brilliant part – even if we are wrong, we need it.  We can’t survive without it, Batman personifies that.

You can take it even deeper, Christ is God made flesh.  Whether he’s historical or not, it doesn’t matter.  The same as Batman is not historical.  It makes us feel something. It presses a human button that is very important. – Grant Morrison / Fatman on Batman Podcast

Whether a story is about reality and actual events, or pure fantasy either way the effect is the same, a story makes us feel something.

I agree with Grant Morrison, pushing that button that makes us feel something is important.

A good story usually has characters we care about, drama, conflict, resolution and holds our attention from the beginning until the end.

Films, novels and comic-books can do many things, but the one thing they need to do more than anything else is they have to be entertaining, otherwise we just won’t engage with the story in the first place.

While the quality of various Batman stories is all over the place – for a 75 year old character, he has a surprising amount of good quality material to delve into.  Batman has great movies, cartoons, comic books and video games to his name, something few other superheros have achieved.

Even his forerunner Superman is sorely lacking in the modern video game and cartoon department, relegated to JLA and Young Justice appearances and the odd direct to home market animated feature or the obligatory pathetically dull handheld game destined for the wasteland that is the game store bargain bin.

Batman Masks classic, dark knight adam west modern

No matter what medium we find Batman in, he is a character that manages to not only remain relevant and interesting, but cool, like upper level Bruce Lee or Elvis cool, the kind of cool that never goes out of style.  Batman is basically unkillable.

As a man he is vulnerable, but as an idea, a mythic pop-culture icon that transcends generations of fans – he is immortal.  Like his spiritual brothers Sherlock Holmes, Zorro and The Shadow, he refuses to be contained by any one medium, any one incarnation.  Batman is a character without limits.

There is something about Batman that attracts unrelenting passionate enthusiasm for the character from fans.  From the most hardcore to casual Bat-Fan, the love for the character is consistent amongst the old and young, and people of different races and cultures from around the world. Like Tintin, Astro Boy and Mickey mouse, Batman is loved and celebrated around the world, and that is no easy feat for such a dark character.

Batman’s darkness seems to be part of his enduring appeal.  His traumatic childhood makes him a sympathetic character from the beginning, his lack of super-powers makes him more relatable.  Every fan thinks, maybe, well… you know – just maybe …if you have enough money, time and training you could be Batman.  Until you get shot and stabbed in your first week like Dave in Kick-Ass.

Grant Morrison suit_2222
Me am Number#1 BATFAN

But the fantasy is appealing.  It doesn’t matter that it is bullshit.  In Batman’s world, he CAN dodge bullets.  He can jump a little further and make the impossible ordinary.  In a comic book world who is to say gravity is not a little different, and human bodies are not more robust?  There is no way to disprove it and anyone who would try just doesn’t get the fun appeal of comics.

What evidence do we have that Batman can dodge bullets?  The fact that he does it on a weekly basis.  We know it is impossible, and a bit silly.  But that doesn’t matter, the fact that Batman can dodge bullets is just damn cool, and that he can run around in the best super-hero costume ever designed without getting heat exhaustion in the summer, or frost bite in the winter, and his mask never slips sideways when he gets sweaty making him temporarily blind – none of that matters.

That Batman’s joints should be shot to hell in a handbasket, and his his scar tissue so numerous that he should barely be able to move, let alone run jump and punch crime in the face just somehow makes him more appealing, rather than silly.  Comics are full of dumb silly ideas, but we look the other way, because – hey- we all enjoy a good story.

You give Batman the benefit of the doubt, because he is Batman and he has it all figured out.  If we went into his world he would probably tell you he engineered the texture of the cowl to be non-slip while somehow still breathable, all while allowing him wireless tele-communications, night vision and creepy fake white eyes to freak out criminals.

Now and forever, Batman is the guy, the man, the big cheese, the coolest cat in town.  He takes some lumps both in the comics and now and then in the press for having the odd rubbish movie, but he always bounces back, like the six million dollar man – we can rebuild him – better, faster, stronger.

Batman toys trades John Sorensen Batblog numberonebatfan desk_600x498

I don’t know how long Batman will be around, but the longer he is the more he demonstrates the power of fictional characters to influence real lives, real people.  Batman hanging around for as long as he has is only the beginning, his near-mythic cultural resonance has transcended the funnybook cultural ghetto he was born and conceived in.
We need look no further than the recent Brett Culp directed documentary Legends of the Knight for evidence of Batman’s impact upon the “real” world.

“A documentary about the power of storytelling to create positive change in our lives and around the world, expressed through the lens of one of the most popular stories of our time – the Batman.” -IMDB.COM

You can’t write copy like that, well… you can in this case.  If you don’t get excited reading that sentence, then maybe Batman is not the guy for you.  I encourage you to watch the brilliant documentary.  I will write a full article about it eventually but have too many other features planned first, so it is on the back burner for now.

While Batman has run the gauntlet during the decades from pure pulp-fiction to neo-noir, he is not limited to any one genre.  His stories, while made up, make believe and well, hogwash – show a remarkable power to entertain, inform and inspire.  Fiction has a great power to incorporate the best of what is real, and what is unreal.  Weaving a tapestry of emotion, feeling and connection to us in our every day lives, Batman lives in the hearts and mind of millions around the world.

Bastman batsignal bat logo_600x450

A great story, whether real or imagined, has the power to make us feel very real feelings.  A great story and a great character have the power to lift us up and take us on a journey to another place, perhaps even another time.  Fiction has the power to remake and remold reality by inspiring the greatest values in us stealthily wrapped in cheap disposable entertainment.  If you want to influence the minority, create some wonderful ideas and inspiring ideas.  But if you want to influence the whole world, create a story that inspires with archetypal characters that resonate while teaching timeless life lessons.

Why is it that mankind can routinely lose its own history, forget the culture of lost and destroyed civilizations (whoops, there goes another one while you read this sentence, bugger…) while our stories survive?  The cultural narrative of a civilization is only as strong as its best stories, its highest ideals.  After we are dead and gone, all people will have left of us is our stories.

Batman never being born, can never die.  A story can exist beyond generations and even beyond cultures and countries. A story knows no borders, and time means nothing to a fictional character.  One hundred years of our time is like five years for Batman or The Phantom.  Give then two hundred years and Sherlock, Batman and Zorro will defy logic and reason, getting younger, more handsome, and more brilliant.

Take a look at an early issue of Detective Comics and compare it to any issue from today.  Batman is smarter, stronger, impossibly handsome and he continues to evolve and grow both in the fictional stories and in our world as an idea – at a phenomenal rate.  He shows no signs of slowing down.

Bruce Wayne smoking with Gordon in Detective 27- catwoman horz
A murder, how boring! Just let me finish my pipe first…

I feel that the world is a better place with Batman in it.  If on all the various earths in the multiverse there are earths were Batman does not exist (not even as a fictional character) then I don’t want to live there thanks.  I’ll stay right here on Earth-1, or is it Earth Prime?  Whatever it is, I’m glad I live on planet Batman, the coolest planet in the galaxy in my opinion.

I was going to talk about other ways that Batman inspires me to be a better human being, but perhaps that can wait for another time, I’ve rambled long enough for today.  Well, just a hint then:  it involves training in martial arts, lifting heavy weights and a passion to give back to the community.