"The Empire Strikes Back," "The Wrath of Khan" and "Electric Boogaloo." Three superlative examples that sequels became works of art, surpassing, in most people's views, their preceding chapters.
With "Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye," superstar writer Grant Morrison hopes to do the same for his scuba suit-wearing leading man when Seaguy embarks on his latest adventure on April 1.
First introduced in the 2004 Vertigo miniseries "Seaguy" by Morrison and Montreal-based artist Cameron Stewart ("Catwoman"), Seaguy is a wannabe superhero in a world no longer in need of superheroes. Evil was destroyed when a force known only as the Anti-Dad was defeated by the world's superheroes, effectively leaving them all out of work.
But in the original three-issue series, Seaguy discovered what he learned may not be the whole truth, and along with his trusty sidekick Chubby Da Choona -- a talking, cigar-smoking fish -- he set off to find the true meaning of life. And more importantly, what it means to be a hero.
CBR News talked to Morrison yesterday about "Batman & Robin," his forthcoming series with Frank Quitely, and today we return with his thoughts on "Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye," as well as some news about some other projects he's currently writing.
CBR: Is "Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye" a bigger, badder version of the first volume of "Seaguy" that you released in 2004? Kind of like "Empire Strikes Back" or "The Wrath of Khan?"
Grant Morrison: It kind of flows on from the first one. One of the things we wanted to do with Seaguy -- it was a way of doing a whole human life in three books. The very first time we see him, there's this hand of Death playing chess with him and Death says, "It's your move, Seaguy." It's kind of like being born. The first thing that happens when you're born is that you're going to die. The first book is very much a child's eye view of everything. He's quite naÃ¯ve. And his features are soft. And he's got these weird, little animal companions beside him. But he slowly learns. He grows up a little bit. He goes on a voyage and discovers a world that's bigger and creepier and stranger than he ever imagined.
So by the time we get to this second book, this is punk rock Seaguy. This is a guy who has made it through the sensations of society without getting brainwashed. They tried to hold him down but there's something about this guy. He's wants to be a hero in a world that doesn't need heroes. It's about the next phase of his life. It's like his teenage years, in the same way that the first book was his childhood book. And the final book will be the adult take on the whole concept.
And while you're re-teaming with Frank Quitely on "Batman & Robin," you're reunited with someone else you are very familiar with for this next chapter in Seaguy's life, Cameron Stewart.
Cameron's one of my favorite artists. He's up there with Frank as a guy who just does a brilliant job with my scripts. He really knows what I want. When you see the second part of this one, when Seaguy has to go into hiding as a matador, it's some of the most bizarre, beautiful artwork anybody has ever done.
Do you find the audience who enjoys "Seaguy" is a different subset of your fanbase than the ones who like the more mainstream superhero books, like "Batman" and "Final Crisis?" Or is there a crossover?
I have a fairly big audience for anything that I do, even if it's a weird Vertigo series. There's always a crowd that follows me everywhere, which is quite nice. And there's the crossover between the people who read the superhero books. But Seaguy's just a superhero story too. And by the time we get into the third book, it's quite a serious superhero story. This is my "Watchmen," really. This is where I'm really getting to talk about the idea of the superhero.
It's kind of a conspiracy story. It's something like "The Prisoner." We're starting to see more and more about what actually happens. This series is a transition from the world we're living in today into the world of Seaguy, which is taking place maybe 50 or 70 years in the future. So believe it or not, it's actually quite realistic in the end in the sense that it's going to explore how the world got that way and why it got that way and the real piece of shit that's behind it all. It's a big superhero book. The thing that it's closest to of my previous work is "All Star Superman." So if people like the style of that book, this one comes closest to that in scope and in the way it's written.
Should folks go back and read "Seaguy" before reading this new series or can they jump right in with this one?
You can read this one on its own as well if you like, because it's Seaguy growing up a little bit. It's a bit more effervescent. You can see Cameron's drawn his features a little sharper. He looks a little more adult. You can see his cheekbones. It's about a guy learning who he is and trying to figure out his place in the world. So yeah, you can read it on its own. But once you read this, you'll see how it all starts to patch together, how the child-like elements of the first book actually mean something. It's almost like growing up.
When will we see the third part of the trilogy, "Seaguy Eternal?"
I think the idea is that we're just going to straight onto it. I know Cameron wants a little bit of a break after this series but I think it will be out fairly quick. It won't be anything like the last time when we had to wait 100 years.
Is writing Seaguy more liberating than writing Superman or Batman because you don't have to deal with 70 years of continuity and 70 years of mythos?
Yes, obviously with things like Superman and Batman, they've been written by other people for 70 years. So you are trying to set up your particular take on characters. So even though you can add a little bit of your own stuff, the readership still has certain expectations of what Superman and Batman are capable of. And what they should be doing. With Seaguy, nobody has written him but me. So no one can say, "Well, Seaguy should be doing this, this and this." Or "He shouldn't have done this." That's the freedom of it. He's my character. And he says whatever I want him to say. No one else gets to put words in his mouth. And like you say, when it's your own character, it's a lot easier to maneuver.
Would you ever let someone else write Seaguy one day and see what they could do with the character?
I don't think they'd be able to. The main book will eventually comprise of three trilogies. The book virtually takes the guy from birth to death. So I can't see how someone could continue with this.
Son of Seaguy?
Could be. Now you're talking, Jeff. Son of Seaguy. Daughter of Seaguy. We could do a whole family. If people really love it, who knows? I love the character. He speaks in my voice a lot more than the others do.
Are you working on anything else right now for Vertigo or DC?
I've got the Bruce Wayne stuff that I obviously want to get on to. I have to deal with what happened to Bruce because that won't necessarily be in the "Batman & Robin" book. Although there will be some elements of that. I'm going to do that and there's a Multiverse book that I'm working on. It will probably take forever because the book is quite difficult to write. I've been spending a lot of time on it. I've just been doing an Earth Four book, which is the Charlton characters but I've decided to write it like "Watchmen." [laughs] So it's written backwards and sideways and filled with all kinds of symbolism and because of that it's taking quite a long time to write. So there will be a Multiverse series coming out but that will be in 2010 or the middle of 2010. And apart from that I'm doing a bunch of work here in Hollywood. That's why I've dialed back the comics a little bit.
You're doing some screenwriting?
I can't really talk about them right now but there are some time-sensitive scripts I'm working on. There is a lot of that coming so the comics are kind of understated and dialed back a little. I'm also doing this book called "Joe the Barbarian" with Sean Murphy, which is with Vertigo as well. That's its working title, but we may change it. I just finished the first issue of that.
When will we see that?
I'm not sure when it's coming out. Sean's just started work on it. So I guess it depends on how quickly he moves on the artwork for that.
And what's "Joe the Barbarian" about?
I've wanted to do one of those Narnia-style worlds in a wardrobe-type stories but I didn't want to do it until I had the energy and time to do it. It's about a little kid who has diabetes, which makes you hallucinate if you don't take your medicines. And something happens to him in his home. The Hollywood pitch is "Home Alone" meets "Lord of the Rings."
No fooling, the first issue of the three-issue miniseries "Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye" is set to be released April 1 from Vertigo.