Happy birthday to Grant Morrison, who turns 50 today. In celebration of a half-century of the acclaimed Scottish comic-book writer, here are 50 Grant Morrison graphic novels you should read.
1-2. All-Star Superman Volumes 1 and 2.
A new take on a classic; Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely take the things that made Superman charming in the Silver Age and blend them into a dazzling modern story.
3-9. The Invisibles (7 volumes)
A secret society called the Invisibles work against forces who aim to suppress humanity. “The Invisibles” was Morrison at his most ambitious and complex.
10. Batman: Arkham Asylum
A sales juggernaut when released in the Bat-frenzied era of of 1989, in “Arkham Asylum” the inmates take over the asylum on April Fools Day and demand Batman face them before they release their hostages. Drawn by Dave McKean, this is often considered among the very best Batman stories.
11.-16 JLA (6 volumes in softcover)
Morrison brought back DC’s biggest hitters to the Justice League of America and instantly made it a hit. Focusing on high-octane threats, this JLA is superhero adventure done right.
17-23. New X-Men (7 volumes in softcover)
Grant Morrison took the original concept of the X-Men and made it relevant: With a new evolution of humanity on the horizon, Charles Xavier’s school is for those mutants who are the harbinger of humanity’s next level.
24.-26. Animal Man (3 volumes)
B-list superhero Animal Man explored animal rights and the nature of fiction in three volumes from Morrison and artists including Chas Truog, Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood.
27-32. Doom Patrol (6 volumes)
Surrealistic superhero fiction that marked Morrison as a writer to watch in the U.S.
33. The Filth
Something of a companion piece to “The Invisibles,” The Filth features another secret organization and bizarre sci-fi tropes.
34-38. Zenith (5 volumes)
Impossible to find due to legal issues, but well-worth reading if you can find it. Zenith is a superpowered, self-centered pop star who fights evil reluctantly, at best.
39.-42. 52 (4 volumes)
Co-written with Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Greg Rucka, “52″ followed up on “Infinite Crisis” and provided a superheroic tour of the DC Universe minus its big 3 – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It was an experimental form of storytelling at the time – a weekly continuity series with four writers, a layout artist and an assortment of finishers – that’s fascinating in its anything-goes nature.
43.-45. Seven Soldiers of Victory (3 volumes)
Morrison’s revamp of lesser-known DC heroes intermix across genres and settings.
Three bioengineered pets just want to find their way home.
47. Kill Your Boyfriend
A black comedy filled with over-the-top teen rebellion.
48. The Mystery Play
A murder mystery about the death of God – or the actor playing him, perhaps.
Undersea adventure with an unusual twist, featuring a soft drink that comes to life.
A young man nervous about an arranged marriage finds out a superpowered being desires his bride, as well.
Worth noting is Morrison’s “Flex Mentallo,” which due to legal issues hasn’t – and won’t – be reprinted, but is worth diving the back issue bins to find.
- Matt Price