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Grant Morrison: 'I'm not a role model'

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Grant Morrison has addressed his stance on comic book creators' rights.

Action Comics #9 recently alluded to the infamous case of Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, but beyond that the writer refused to be drawn into the creator-owned debate.

Grant Morrison

© Jason Mouratides

Superman Action Comics #1

© DC Comics



"I'm sorry that people were discouraged, but anyone who expects me to take any stronger 'stand' on this issue are going to be disappointed," Morrison told Comic Book Resources.

"I'm not the leader of a political party. I'm a freelance commercial writer who sells stories to pay the bills. I'm not an employee of any company except for the one run by me and my wife. I'm not a role model or the figurehead for any movement.

"I don't doubt that corporations can be underhanded, and I feel sorry for anyone who genuinely gets caught out. We live in a world where every day involves multiple negotiations with corporate power in one way or another, and all I can say is, enlist a lawyer to go through any contract before you sign it. Or self-publish."

Morrison spoke positively about his relationship with DC Comics, which has given him the creative freedom to write titles including The Invisibles, The Filth and Joe the Barbarian through its Vertigo imprint.

"I never signed a contract I regretted, and I never felt cheated by DC," he said. "My own experience proves they can be reasonable and honorable, if you deal with them in an adult fashion and I have to take that into account before I condemn anyone working there today over decisions made in the past.

"I've found that 'issues' rarely seem to come in convenient black and white, and that's pretty much my last word on this."

He also addressed the case of Siegel and Shuster directly, saying that there is more to them than the rights battle between DC and their estate.

"Everyone who's ever written a comic book superhero story owes a debt to Siegel and Shuster," Morrison said.

"I've already drawn fire for speculating on what might have been going through their minds in 1938, so all I'll say is that both men had lives beyond this 'debate', and it seems a bit patronising and reductive to always cast them as witless victims, or to remember them as nothing more than bitter, vengeful dupes of the 'Man'. It's as bad as reducing the idea of Superman to its value as a commodity.

"I'm not qualified to engage with any legal issues, but I have the tools to engage with the nature of Superman metaphorically, which I'm doing to the best of my ability for the next few months. My brief and slender connection to any of this tendentious business ends with Action Comics issue #16, thank God."

The comics industry is seeing a move towards creator-owned projects for acclaimed creators including Ed Brubaker and Roger Langridge.

Morrison recently announced the conclusion of his superhero work with Action Comics #16 and Batman Incorporated #12.

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