Grant Morrison hits the big time…

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An article in The Sunday Times (Scotland – 28 December 2003) describes the enormous success of prominent Chaos Magician and admirer of Aleister Crowley, Grant Morrison… I recommend his Lovely Biscuits collection for any Thelemites.

The Sunday Times – Scotland

December 28, 2003

Film career beckons for comics hero

Senay Boztas

HE RELIEVED Batman of his trademark cape and winged mask and made the X-Men’s Magneto into a drug addict and mass murderer.

Now Grant Morrison, the Scottish comic book writer who transformed the images of the world’s best-known super-heroes and villains after September 11, has joined the Hollywood elite by penning his first screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s film company.

Morrison, from Glasgow, has won a lucrative deal to create and write a film called Sleepless Knight. It involves an alienated teenager who becomes a hero when a faulty time machine locks the world into an eternal Hallowe’en night.

Alex Bradbury, a shy 15-year-old who feels like an outsider in normal life, comes into his own when life becomes a battle between ordinary people and the supernatural.

The hero — who is named in homage to the American fantasy writer Ray Bradbury — falls in love with a mysterious girl, but she is soon kidnapped by the monsters roaming the streets of his transformed city.

“It is a fantasy story about a time experiment that goes wrong, and people are suddenly roaming the streets wearing masks and stuck for ever in Hallowe’en,” said Morrison.

“It falls to teenagers, people who were excluded and on the margins before, to fight the forces of darkness. This shallow teenager Alex, who was into ghosts before, becomes a hero when this world of ghosts comes along.”

Morrison pitched the idea to Spielberg, whom he hopes will direct the film, and is currently completing the second draft of the script. It will be produced next year by Don Murphy, who worked on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, starring Sir Sean Connery.

The script has been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the cult television series. The film will be live-action with computer generated images.

Morrison, who continues to live in anonymity in his home city, spent seven years without a job after leaving school. He now earns up to £150,000 a day in Los Angeles.

He rose to prominence after writing Arkham Asylum, a Batman story that became one of the biggest-selling comic books in the history of publishing.

It earned him £140,000 on the first day of sales alone, and he was soon recruited to work for Marvel Comics in New York. In the past two years, he has re-created the New X-Men, which have become a huge success with the help of two films.

One of his creations was St Swithin’s Day, a story about a man who tries to assassinate Margaret Thatcher. Other controversial titles include The New Adventures of Hitler and The Invisibles, a series about a group of occult terrorists.

Morrison, who spends part of the year in California, is working on film scripts and computer games. He is also writing a novel and continues to write comic strips for Vertigo, a branch of DC Comics based in New York.

Following the September 11 attacks on New York, Morrison agreed to recast some of the most famous superhero characters to make them more relevant to the changing world.

In an interview with The Sunday Times he said that there was a demand for them to espouse pacifism and fight global capitalism, discrimination and religious fundamentalism. “The real heroes in the world are those guys who ran into the collapsing buildings of the World Trade Center trying to save lives,” he said.

“Spiderman wasn’t there and Superman wasn’t there. Those firemen in oilskins and helmets were there, not superhumans in costumes. In the wake of September 11, violent superhumans are not enough any more. We should be putting the current international developments in context rather than just having wrestling matches between colourful characters.”

Stuart Cosgrove, director of Nations and Regions at Channel 4, which shows the Buffy spin-off, Angel, said: “Grant is one of the most gifted creatives in Scotland.

“Sleepless Knight has all the pop credentials and I hope it is the project he takes to a big world audience.”

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