20 March 2005

Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison is the snarky Brit comic book writer who's into magick who isn't Alan Moore. I almost like his work. It's surreal and full of occult references and history. It's hard not to like a guy who writes a story in which the supervillains are the Brotherhood of Dada and their secret weapon is a painting of a painting of a painting ad infinitium called The Painting That Ate Paris.

And yet.

Morrison's writing always seems better in my memory than when I sit down to try to read or reread his work. Keeping surrealism aloft is hard: if you're not a genius, it devolves into a jumble. And Morrison's writing is usually a case in point.

Dedicated Miniver Cheevy reader Fionn points us to an interview with Grant Morrison on Suicide Girls in which he claims ... well, see what he claims ...

The Wachowskis are comic book creators and fans and were fans of my work, so it's hardly surprising. I was even contacted before the first Matrix movie was released and asked if I would contribute a story to the website.

It's not some baffling 'coincidence' that so much of The Matrix is plot by plot, detail by detail, image by image, lifted from Invisibles so there shouldn't be much controversy. The Wachowskis nicked The Invisibles and everyone in the know is well aware of this fact but of course they're unlikely to come out and say it.

It was just too bad they deviated so far from the Invisibles philosophical template in the second and third movies because they blundered helplessly into boring Catholic theology, proving that they hadn't HAD the 'contact' experience that drove The Invisibles, and they wrecked both Reloaded and Revolutions on the rocks of absolute incomprehension. They should have kept on stealing from me and maybe they would have wound up with something to really be proud of - a movie that could change minds and hearts and worlds.

I love the first Matrix movie which I think is a real work of cinematic genius and very timely but I've now heard from several people who worked on The Matrix and they've all confirmed that they were given Invisibles books as reference. That's how it is. I'm not angry about it anymore, although at one time I was because they made millions from what was basically a Xerox of my work and to be honest, I would be happy with just one million so I didn't have to work thirteen hours of every fucking day, including weekends.

In the end, I was glad they got the ideas out but very disappointed that they blew it so badly and distorted all the Gnostic transcendental aspects that made the first film so strong and potent. If they had any sense, they would have befriended me instead of pissing me off. They seem like nice boys.

Yeah, Grant. They certainly "stole" your narrative technique: scramble a large number of half-formed deep ideas, like a febrile kid shuffling Tarot cards, and hope that at least some of them come out to mean something.

Still, there's some fun stuff in there, especially if you're familiar with Mr. Morrison. And for those of you who are, I cannot resist sharing this quote.

It's best to know the truth because people have a lot of weird ideas about what I do with my time.
I bet.
The Invisibles was mostly stuff that was actually happening to me. I was up on a sacred mesa in New Mexico doing acid with a medicine man and all that. The dialogue for that whole sequence, in fact, was based on tape recordings I made of conversations I had with my friends on the mesa. A lot of stuff went straight into the book, such as going to Ladakh or Ulruru or San Francisco sex clubs.

Oh, that sure clears things up. What were the weird ideas about what you do with your time, Grant?


Indri said...

Yeah Grant, the structure of the Matrix is SO similar to the Invisibles.

Oh, please. Tell me which of those people was the Lord Fanny character? Is Neo Jack? Wait, wait, both have a bald guy.


Job said...

I had been reading the Invisibles when I went to see the Matrix and the similarities jumped out and got me by the throat. The most blatant similarities are how Neo/Jack is stalked by the group of underground revolutionaries, and they bring him out into the 'real' world and train him. He goes through all these hard times in the process. Admittedly, they do it well enough. Why havent the W. Bros ever refuted Morrison's claims? I feel the same as Morrison: I am a huge fan of the film, but the influence of the Invisibles is as clear as day.

Anonymous said...

haven't read invisibles yet, but psychedelic revolutionaries who kidnap a guy and 'wake him up' is a pretty thin similarity to base a plagiarism case on...
hasn't anyone heard of 'archetypes' before?
these ideas connect with people because they're bubbling under the surface of all our minds...