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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/25/2008

The Interview: Comic-Book Writer Grant Morrison

By Michael Cavna

When everyone from Comic Book Resources to Entertainment Weekly cites your status as a creative superstar, you know your place in the comics pantheon is ensured. Scottish writer GRANT MORRISON's legacy includes providing one of the most unique interpretations of Superman to date ("All-Star Superman"); bringing baby-mama drama to the Batcave ("Batman and Son"); and having the caped crusader battle for control of his own psyche and life ("Batman R.I.P.").

Morrison is nominated for an esteemed Harvey Award for writing "All-Star Superman"; the awards will be presented Saturday night as part of the Baltimore Comic-Con. Comic Riffs recently caught up with Morrison, 48, to discuss the return of Barry Allen (the Silver Age incarnation of The Flash) in the Final Crisis storyline and the impact it will have on the DC Comics universe.

It seems right to Morrison that Barry Allen's Flash "should suddenly come back and symbolize something." (DC Comics)Enlarge Comic

David Betancourt: With so many resurrections in the DC universe over the years, what made now the time to bring Barry Allen back from the dead?
Grant Morrison: For the last couple of decades, comic books have been going through a period of deconstruction. They've been taken to the point where they're all going through real-world problems. ... Instead of taking superheroes into the real world and finding out that they don't function very well in the real world, we wanted Barry to come back because he was symbolic of a certain time in America -- which was a kind of pioneer of domestic science fiction or science-driven time.

When Barry Allen first appeared it was 1955, and basically he saved the concept of the superhero. I think Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman were the only superheroes being published at the time. It was a very demoralized time, postwar. And I think for me, it kind of feels emotionally the same, and it seems right that this character should suddenly come back and symbolize something.

DB: Was there any resistance from higher-ups on bringing back a character who had been gone for a long time?
GM: There wasn't a lot of resistance at all. It evolved in discussions; I think everyone realized that each step made sense.

DB: What do you think it means to die in the DC universe? Are resurrections merited, given the right circumstance?
GM: Stories work that way. Look at Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. The creators basically intended to kill the hero off but people loved them so much. It's worth getting the drama over because you can never go wrong with the death of Superman or the death of Batman. But at the same time, people have to understand, that it's part of a long-running story, and these are franchises, as well. The great thing about living in the DC universe is that yeah, the dead can come back, but that doesn't happen in the real world.

But what we're dealing with here, I think it's important to get back to the fact that superhero comics can do things that the real world can't do. That's why people like them. That's why we enjoy them as an escape. They can take us to places the real world can't. The real world is cruel, but superhero comics are fantastic.

DB: How will Wally West (the current Flash) be affected by Barry's return?
GM: There's potential there for kind of soap-opera stuff in the sense that, Barry's nephew, Kid Flash, Wally West, is now the Flash. What happens when the master returns and you were the student and have become the master? There's all kinds of personal stuff we can explore there as well. The Flash has always been a book about legacy, and about generational succession. I think those elements will still be a part of it.

DB: Is Barry still faster than Wally?
GM: That's going to be a good story to tell.

By Michael Cavna  | September 25, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Interviews With Cartoonists  
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Morrison is the right creator to bring back Barry Allen. By now he should be the go-to guy at D.C. for reviving unused characters, having saved the company's copyright on so many forgotten second-stringers in his wrap-up to "Animal Man".

When he did to "Doom Patrol" exactly what should be done to "Doom Patrol", I became a definite fan. He deserves the profuse praise that "All-Star Superman" has brought him.

OMG - I just realized that this post sounds as if I'm trying to make friends with Ted Forth. Never mind.

Posted by: Seismic-2 | September 25, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I want to nominate the last paragraph of Seismic-2's comment for a Riffy in the "great comment" category.

Posted by: Riffy Nominee Suggestion | September 26, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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