Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've just read the sixth issue of The Return of Bruce Wayne, which is the final instalment of the current phase of an epic Batman story that Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison has been telling in serialised form for the past four years. When I included Morrison as a literary influence next to people like David Foster Wallace and Michael Chabon in my recent Guardian interview, I did so very deliberately – although I ingest a lot of superhero comics, Morrison is several echelons above any one else working in that medium at the moment, and the only one who teaches me things about storytelling with every single comic of his that I read. His work on Batman is a daily creative and personal inspiration. And just like Borges or Ballard or Burroughs or Dick or Lovecraft, he's a writer whose imagination produces tremors that ought to be felt far beyond the borders of whatever strange non-genre he inhabits. Which is why it's so frustrating to me that almost no one in this country has heard of him. The problem is, even recommending a Morrison book for a beginner to start with would require several paragraphs of exegesis, and I don't want to write any more about him in this form just yet. But please be aware that next time you see a discussion somewhere about what's exciting in contemporary British fiction, Morrison's inevitable absence from it is – to borrow a significant phrase from his recent Batman comics that means a lot to me but, of course, nothing to any of you – "the hole in things".

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