The Ninjabot

Into the Void: Grant Morrison Talks “Annihilator”

Posted on September 2, 2014 at 9:17 am by Tyler Waterman

If you’re even just a casual fan of comics, Grant Morrison needs no introduction. From New X-Men to All-Star Superman, Doom Patrol to Justice League, and of course his franchise-defining runs on Batman, Batman and Robin and Batman Incorporated, Morrison has spent time with nearly every beloved comic character, and each has come out better for it.

However, Morrison’s work isn’t limited to household names, and his independent and original work shines just as brightly as those from the major publishers. Need proof? Look no further than Annihilator, Morrison’s latest partnership with artist extraordinaire Frazer Irving (2000 AD, Necronauts, Batman and Robin), out tomorrow from Legendary Comics.

Annilhator Cover

 

Can’t wait until tomorrow to find out more? You’re in luck; Grant Morrison was kind enough to take some time to talk with Geek Legacy about this new title, why he loves working with Irving, his inspirations and why we should all keep our eyes on Baby Bug Eyes.

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TW: Now of course we’re talking Annihilator, your latest book. I read the first issue and I loved it, I was blown away. Right out of the gate, I noticed a lot of similarities between Max Nomax and Ray Spass, in particular that neither seem to have any fear in the face of places that have driven other people completely insane. Are those similarities intentional, and how are they going to play out?

GM: It’s really a dark story which is why I try to make it funny, to cover up the darkness. It’s all about this hole in the center of the universe, and the galaxy really has this hole, it’s called the Great Annihilator and you can look this thing up. I figured I wanted two characters who looked capable of coming up against it, and both of them can look into the face of death or madness and kind of handle it because they’ve been there. So yeah, I wanted to make characters who could look at some quite dark ideas in science fiction.

TW: There are two very different yet sort of similar worlds going on in Annihilator, the empty void of space and the empty void of Hollywood. Where do you draw the most inspiration from?

GM: It’s all kind of part of one thing, but it was definitely inspired by Hollywood and living in Hollywood. I’ve spent four months living here in Hollywood and I love it because I have so many friends there, and it’s a creative place where everyone I know was involved in the art scene, making livings off paintings or records. When I come home I’m really charged off of it, so even though there is this empty vacuum it’s also a quite rich and creative environment. At the same time it’s also super dark, with all these echoes of Satanism and black magic and Jack Parsons and the Church of Satan. With any dark place I find it inspirational, and this was my chance to sort of talk about that inspiration in a story.

TW: One character that really jumped out at me from this book was Baby Bug Eyes, which I’ve got to tell you got me right in the feels. Is that a character we’re going to see more of, or was that just to punch me right in the gut?

GM: If I managed to get you in the gut I’m really happy because that character comes up quite extensively in the rest of the story.

TW: I’ll start emotionally preparing myself for that now.

GM: You should, actually you really must! [laughs]

TW: Oh no.

GM: He’s definitely a big character, and I’m glad you noticed. I’ve done a bunch of interviews and nobody’s mentioned Baby Bug Eyes and he’s one of my favorite characters.

TW: Now this is another book that you’re doing with artist Frazer Irving. What is it about him that keeps you coming back to do more projects together?

GM: He’s just got such a way of seeing the world. He’s got this fish-eyed lens in the way he sees color, and this story was kind of created for him to draw it, it was very specifically my notion of what a great Frazer story would be. Everything looks very real, it’s kind of plastic and three-dimensional, and the environments are very engulfing. But at the same time, you can see an artist created this world and it’s really a weird and disorienting thing.

TW: I noticed a lot of the character design and even the weapon design is very unique, from the ant-like style of the helmet down to the blasters he uses. Did you have any input on that design or was this the sort of thing where you just let him run?

GM: I had this idea of Nomax being the King of the Ants, and I can’t believe this is the first interview where this has come up, but I wanted this dark character dressed in black with an interesting helmet that wasn’t Batman, so we came up with this notion of the King of the Ants. Then Frazer designed that beautiful helmet and I think it worked great, I can’t think of any other character who has that bizarre silhouette.

TW: Oh it’s very unique, that’s a thing I’m really looking forward to seeing people cosplay.

GM: Oh that would be good, I’d like to see that.

TW: It certainly beats a small army of Harley Quinns.

GM: [laughs] Does anything really beat a small army of Harley Quinns?

TW: Depends on how many mallets they have.

GM: Exactly. Even the US Marines probably couldn’t beat a small army of Harley Quinns.

TW: A lot of your work in some way, shape or form either hints at or is directly tied to the idea of different worlds or universes existing alongside our own. What is it about that concept that keeps it so consistent in your work? Is it because it gives you a sandbox you can go anywhere with, or is it more just an idea that you love and want to embrace?

GM: I think it’s just a natural thing in people, you know? I’ve always kind of been interested in that world beyond the mirror, all that stuff where as a kid the edge of the garden could be city lines or it could be Santa Claus living over the hill. I grew up never forgetting this bizarre experience as a kid where I just walked through the back yard to the tenements across from mine, and I’d come to a different street for the first time, I was maybe four years old or something? And you know with tenements, they’re sort of a mirror image of each other with a garden in between? So I walk through them and I end up at this different street which looks exactly like my street but isn’t my street and honestly it blew my mind. [laughs] So I still remember that, this sense of alternate worlds and alternate takes on things, you know, different possibilities. And I think in our minds we have states where we’re dreaming some things or we’re daydreaming or fantasizing, so we all live in a multiversity of different states and parallel universes, if you want to call them that, and that’s even before we get into the scientific ideas of actual parallel universes. So for me it’s the uncharted, the way that if I was writing 200 years ago I’d have been writing about desert islands or mysterious Africa, for me the strange and bizarre can lie just around the corner with different versions of things.

TW: So really all of the work you’ve done that we’ve all grown with and love started with four year old Grant Morrison?

GM: Yeah! Just crossing a really scrubby back yard trying to get to another version of another street.

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Annihilator will be available at your local comic shops tomorrow, September 3rd. If you’re a fan of science fiction, Grant Morrison, Hollywood or any combination of the three, this book should absolutely be on your pull list. Still on the fence? Check out the preview images and solicitation below, and be sure to tune in to the next issue of the Comic Corner Podcast next week, where I’ll be reviewing the title and giving you a chance to win a FREE copy of the first issue!

Find out more about Annihilator at Legendary.com.

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Story: Grant Morrison
Art/Cover: Frazer Irving
September 3, 2014 /  40 PAGES / $3.99

ONE MAN’S MIND IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

Legendary Comics proudly presents Annihilator, an original graphic novel odyssey from the extraordinary mind of Grant Morrison. This 6-issue series is a subversive sci-fi adventure like no other, brought to life with stunning artwork from Frazer Irving (Judge Dredd, Necronauts). 

Washed-up Hollywood screenwriter Ray Spass is caught in a downward spiral of broken relationships, wild parties and self-destruction. Out of luck and out of chances, he’s one failed script away from fading into obscurity. Little does he know he’s about to write the story of his life.

As his imagination runs rampant, Ray must join forces with his own fictional character Max Nomax on a reality-bending race to stop the entire universe from imploding… without blowing his own mind in the process.

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