Halo Premiere + Comics Legend Grant Morrison | Crooked Media
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March 25, 2022
X-Ray Vision
Halo Premiere + Comics Legend Grant Morrison

In This Episode

On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight fight the Covenant! In the Airlock (3:45), Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeeep) into the world of video game adaptations, including recapping and discussing the new Halo series on Paramount+, and the games they’ve been playing (well all know Jason’s only playing one game right now). In the Hive Mind (52:55), X-Ray Vision is thrilled to welcome comics writing legend Grant Morrison to the show to explore their time on Batman, X-Men, their origin story with comics, as well as their thoughts on writing comics vs. TV and the creative process. In Nerd Out (1:47:30) a listener pitches us on Final Fantasy 4 Free Enterprise and in the Endgame (1:49:53), Jason and Rosie pick their top three video game adaptations.


Tune in every Friday and don’t forget to Hulk Smash the Follow button!


Nerd Out Submission Instructions!

Send a short pitch and 2-3 minute voice memo recording to xray@crooked.com that answers the following questions: 1) How did you get into/discover your ‘Nerd Out?’ (2) Why should we get into it too? (3) What’s coming soon in this world that we can look forward to or where can we find it?


Follow Jason: twitter.com/netw3rk

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Rosie’s IG, website, author archive, & Letterboxd.

Oliver’s IG


The Listener’s Guide for all things X-Ray Vision!

Halo: The Fall of Reach – Written by Eric Nylund, published 2001, and serves as a prelude to the first Halo game. Available here.


Batman: Arkham Asylum (aka A Serious House on Serious Earth) – Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Dave McKean. Grant wants a critical reappraisal of their iconic comic, what do you think?


Jan Švankmajer – Grant cited this pioneering Czech filmmaker and avant garde artist, especially his work with stop-motion and puppetry, as one of the principal inspirations for Arkham Asylum. Among Svankmajer’s best known works are Conspirators of Pleasure and Alice.


Animal Man – The Grant Morrison run began in 1988 with penciller Chas Truog and covers by Brian Bolland and ran until issue #26. This is the series where Morrison first popularly explored concepts that have defined their work since: questioning the nature of reality, writing so-called ‘metafiction,’ and more.


Hyperobjects – As defined by Timothy Morton: “Hyperobjects are objects which have a vitality to them but you can’t touch them, like race or class, or climate change. Their effects may be experienced even if they cannot be necessarily touched.”

Steve de Souza’s interview in the Guardian about filming Street Fighter with a “coked out of his mind” Jean-Claude Van Damme.






Jason Concepcion: Warning this podcast contains spoilers for the first episode of the new Halo series on Paramount Plus, Elden Ring kind of not really Shadow of the Colossus, which is a game that is almost 20 years old now but is well worth your time if you can play it. Injustice and possibly more video games, you have been warned.


Jason Concepcion: Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion, and welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we dive deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. On today’s action packed episode in the airlock, we will recap the first episode of Paramount Plus’ adaptation of the Halo video game series, Halo, and discuss which video games we’re currently playing. I’m playing only one, and it’s taking over my life, and I need help. Help me. Continuing our coverage of The Batman, we’re joined in the Hive Mind by the legendary comics writer Grant Morrison discuss their iconic career. In Nerd Out. A audience member tells us about Final Fantasy for free enterprise and in the endgame, we rank our top three video game adaptations. To do all of that, joining us today is writer, comics encyclopedia, brilliant creator Rosie Knight. Rosie, how are you?


Rosie Knight: I’m good. How are you?


Jason Concepcion: I’m doing well. What’s going on? What’s happening? What’s happening with you?


Rosie Knight: What’s happening with the world?


Jason Concepcion: Well, let’s talk about it. We’ve been teasing it.


Rosie Knight: Oh yes, yes, yes.


Jason Concepcion: So let’s just talk about it here. We’ve been teasing it. But let’s talk about your comics project, which you can now safely announce.


Rosie Knight: I can now talk about it.


Jason Concepcion: So I would love it if you’d announce it.


Rosie Knight: OK, so if you’ve read any of my stuff, you have me on the show. You’ll know that I love Godzilla. Godzilla is one of my absolute favorite things. And me and this absolutely brilliant artist called Oliver Ono, who you might actually already follow on Instagram because he’s very popular. We are doing a Godzilla comic,.


Jason Concepcion: Fuck yeah.


Rosie Knight: And it is called Godzilla Rivals 2 vs. Bachir, which is a very long name, but it’s a really cool mash up comic. We’re allowed to announce it now that finishing up final work on the cover, and it is a 40 page one shot and it is really, really cool. It’s set in the British seaside because I’m from London and and that was somewhere that Oliver actually spent a lot of time as a kid, too, so we’re just really excited about it. It’s basically like Studio Ghibli meets Godzilla with a lot of kaiju fighting action. So, yeah, and


Jason Concepcion: Available when?


Rosie Knight: OK, so it looks like if you read comics or you have started a pull list because us, you will know that comics are listed many months before they come out. So it should be around July, the beginning-ish of July, we hope. And as soon as it is really available and we have a link where you can order it and stuff, I’ll make sure that we put it in the show notes and people can have a look. And hopefully we’ll talk about it more because Oliver’s art is like, so incredible and definitely just go follow him on Instagram Oliver Ono, and it’s just so exciting, and I’m really happy that this is the first place I’ve gotten to talk about it. So thank you for asking.


Jason Concepcion: It really does look great. Well, that is fantastic, and we’re going to have to have ya’ll on to discuss your work. Now, let us step into and out of the airlock to discuss Halo.


Jason Concepcion: Ohhhhhhhhhhh a bom bom bom bom, Halo! OK, folks. Paramount Plus’s adaptation of Halo, it’s been long awaited for a man. I remember Rosie back in like Halo 3 days. Halo 3 had an absolutely incredible promotional campaign that was like these really grounded action vignettes of Master Chief in his apocalyptic war against the Covenant Alien Races, and it was really, really cool. And it was around that time that people were like, Oh, Halo movie, it’s going to happen. Who will it be? Will it be Spielberg? Will it be Neill Blomkamp of District 9 so who will be And it has been. We’ve been waiting for it, waiting for it, waiting for it. I had forgotten about it. I stopped playing Halo. I started playing Halo again, I stopped again and then I started again. And now here we are. The year is 2022, and the Halo television series has now aired on Paramount Plus will have aired by the time you are listening to this, and we are going to recap now episode one of the Halo series titled Contact written by Steven Kane and Kyle Killen. The year is twenty five fifty two and first of all, congrats to the human race for making it that far. I didn’t think it was. I didn’t. I didn’t think you were going to get there. To be honest with you, sitting here in in 2022, I’m not 100 percent convinced that you’re going to get there. But in this fictional world, you got there and I’m and I’m kind of proud of you, even though you still be colonizing. But that’s OK.


Rosie Knight: You know it’s human nature, and that’s why they call it science fiction baby, it’s fictional.


Jason Concepcion: So the year is 2552. We are on the planet Madrigal, which is part of a unified Earth government territory. It is a colony of human colonists, went out into various far flung planets of the galaxy where they were then mined for resources or what have you, and they would send that back to the Central Earth government. And over time, the colonists have been like, Hey, we’re being exploited by you, Central Earth government. And that is the state of affairs today. Madrigal is a planet rich in exploitable resources populated by a diverse body of very restive human colonists. The UEGs relationship with its outer colonies is very bad is for anyone who read the first Halo Novelizations by Eric Niland. You you’ll understand where where we’re coming from with that. When the colonies act up, when they insurrect, when they rebel against the UEG, the UEG sends in the Space Marines, the UNSC. United Nations Security something something I forgot what it was. Marines and the newly kind of newly created elite force of specially trained and equipped warriors known as the Spartans. They are widely feared throughout the colonies, and they are a subject of much propaganda by the UEG. So Quan Ah is a colonist, she and her friends are exploring the landscape of Madrigal, where the various plants are, are rich with heavy hydrogen, which is very useful, apparently as an energy source and also for drugs. Quan sees something strange in the woods. She follows it. She sees an alien ship near a cave where there’s clearly some sort of mining activity taking place. Quan is like, OK, let’s return to the outpost. We have to tell everybody what’s happening, and her friends are kind of like, Oh, you no, let’s not do that, which is crazy. Like why


Rosie Knight: Why would they do?


Jason Concepcion: Guys, there’s an alien ship here. I think we need to go back. And then in that moment, they are attacked by the covenant who are we’re going to find this out over the course of the series. So minor spoiler. But this is like available information if you’ve ever played a halo game, which is probably likely. The Covenant is an alliance of alien races who have bound together for religious reasons, and they are extremely adept and militaristic and they have plasma weaponry and you don’t want to fuck with them. Quan sends up a flare, warns the outpost the colonists, including Quan’s father, swing into action. They arm themselves with like this was crazy with like assault weapons like from the twenty first / twenty second, like 300 year old guns, which I get it. If you’re the UEG, you probably don’t want your colonists having like really good weapons, but they


Rosie Knight: they are out gunned in a unbelievable fashion


Jason Concepcion: unbelievable. They just have like antiques out here. So they had all the guns and all that stuff. It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter because the elites are like seven feet tall, incredibly strong. They have energy shields that just turn back the bullets with ease, and they are armed with plasma weaponry that just melt people. They easily brush the colonials aside, and just as the colonials are being completely wiped out, the UNSC and four Spartans Soren, Riz, Kai, and the master chief John 117 arrive and they are bad ass, so they managed to check the attack. And it’s it’s another victory for the Spartans, minus the fact that every single colonial has been massacred except for Quan.


Rosie Knight: I mean so many people.


Jason Concepcion: So so it’s kind of like it’s a it’s a you win some, you lose some. But listen, the the the colony has been defended and the Spartans set off to find out where the landing site is, they discover the same caves that Quan had found. And inside that cave, there is some sort of alien artifact that the covenant we’re trying to extract chief touches it. The device activates with this green light, sending out these interesting lines and patterns and suddenly inside chief’s mind. Something unlocks and these long buried memories start emerging. And he sees like snippets of, like some other planet, a dog like some kind of crashed ship and then chief snaps out of it. A cloaked elite sprints out of the cave, knocking down Quan, who has already been through so much today and now Quan’s knocked unconscious by a fleeing elite. The Elite Escapes chief is like, Hey, take this alien drop ship back to fleet command so they can look into it. I am going to go after the elite to see where he went, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get that artifact back and that’s what we’re doing. And the Spartans are like, Are you sure that’s kind of like, not procedure. He’s like, Don’t worry about it. I’m the master chief. I order you to do this. On reach, which is an important united government world’s 10 and a half light years from Earth. It’s the home of UNSC Fleet Command. We meet Dr. Catherine Halsey, who is a brilliant super genius behind the Spartan project and other secret programs of which we will soon learn about. And if you have read the Halo novelizations or played a Halo game, you probably can figure out where this is going. She sees something in the way that the artifact reacts to the master chief she’s watching, like the security footage of this. That interests her. Admiral Paragoski arrives at Halsey’s lab and she is like the big muckety muck at Fleet Command, and she arrives and she’s like, Listen. Security Council might just cut your funding because of this Madrigal debacle. Like, it doesn’t look great. Yes, the Spartans defeated the Covenant, but like all the colonials are dead and Halsey’s like forget about the colonials. We don’t care , we literally don’t want to talk about them any more. Let’s talk about this artifact that we that we found on Madrigal, and we learn through this conversation that the UEG’s been fighting the covenant for a long time. But apparently most colonials don’t really, they think that covenant is like a myth. And also, after all these years, the UEG has no idea what the covenant want. They have no idea what they want. So maybe this artifact will tell them what they want is the first time they’ve got any kind of indication that the covenant wants something so they know that they have to get this artifact, Halsey tells Paragoski that, listen, the artifact needs to come to my lab. It should not go to the lab of Dr. Miranda Keys, a rising figure in the UNSC. And spoiler alert, kind of. Well, not really. They say it in the episode, so I’ll just tell you. Dr. Halsey’s daughter. On her way out Paragoski tells Halsey to get rid of that, and that turns out to be some kind of clone. Some kind of clone, probably for the Cortana project, but perhaps like trying to restart the Spartan project. What do you think that could be?


Rosie Knight: Yeah, I definitely think. And the thing is, it looks like it could be a clone of Dr. Halsey. So there’s definitely.


Jason Concepcion: Younger Halsey.


Rosie Knight: Younger Halsey. So there’s some kind of strange thing here. It could be something more intimate about trying to cure a sickness that’s often like a sci fi thing. You need to replace yourself so your work can go on, or I think most likely because of the show and how much they’re going to. It seems like they’re leaning into the like conflicted nature of master chief and the kind of realities of the Spartan program. I think it’s like going to be a spinoff or a continuation of the Spartan program.


Jason Concepcion: We then go, shockingly, I must say, to high chairty another another location from the video games somewhere in uncharted space. This is the Covenant High Command mega base. The size of a planet looks like a gigantic jellyfish. A covenant prophet who is prophets are part of the Alien Alliance, and they are basically the leadership class in the Covenant is discussing with a human woman named Makee they don’t actually say her name in this. But. From IMDb, this is cheating, but M-a-k-e-e , so I’m going to say Makee?


Rosie Knight: I think that’s right. This this scene, I just need to say. This. We’ll talk more about the general show and like the opening really sets this kind of unexpected tone, but it fits into what kind of what I expected from a halo show. Lots of action. Like really great. Great creature work. But this scene is so prequel Star Wars. It’s so amidala and it’s so deep, hard, bureaucratic sci fi, and I wasn’t really expecting to get that.


Jason Concepcion: This was the scene that surprised me as well.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: So it apparently Makee, again, they haven’t said her name yet. So I hope thats correct. Is a human that apparently was kidnaped by the covenant and raised in their ways. So Makee apparently predicted where the artifact would be, and she was right about that, but not that the Spartans would arrive and foil the plans to snatch it. So the prophet is being very, very like snickedy with Makee and in fact, downright derisive towards her. More interestingly, we know that the Covenant has a nickname for Master Chief. They call him a demon. Makee would like to speak to the cloaked covenant warrior who escaped the cave and witnessed the entire incident and saw that the artifact reacted to master chief with it, which the Covenant find very interesting. The prophet then mocks Makee for reading apparently human literature. In an attempt to know the mind of humanity on Master Chief’s Condor, Quan wakes up en route to reach. She finds the master chief staring at the artifact. He’s just obsessed with this fucking thing.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, he wants to know about that flashback like he’s. This is the conflict


Jason Concepcion: What was that?


Rosie Knight: Wasn’t he just always master chief? Who is this dog? Like, why?


Jason Concepcion: Where did it?


Rosie Knight: Where did he come from? You know, and that’s that’s obviously going to be the major seed. And I kind of think the they’re not about Makee reading like human literature hints that there’s going to be some kind of conflict there. That’s relative of this idea of the covenant and the humans and some kind of important


Jason Concepcion: I smell a romance. I smell a romance across nations


Rosie Knight: Seems like two people who might not know where they come from, who’ve been adopted by strange classes.


Jason Concepcion: I know I love it. Miranda Keys holograms in to talk to Quan and can. She’s like, Hey, listen, I’m really, really sorry that your dad and everyone you ever knew has been massacred by the covenant


Rosie Knight: In front of your eyes. Brutally


Jason Concepcion: That was really tough, but. If you were to, like, get on the 26th century TikTok and be like, Hey, hey, y’all, you know what was really cool? The Spartans. They came and defended us. And yes, I’m the only survivor, but they did a great job and they are here to protect us. If you would go on, you know, do a media tour and just help us sell how what a great job the Spartans are doing for the colonials. That would really be a help and Quan’s, like, no, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to sell out like that. She says that if she were to record such a video, she would just say, Hey, you know what? The Spartans slaughtered everybody. What about that? That’s what they did. And if you don’t want me to do that, here are my demands. Free Madrigal from UEG control and Miranda Keys is like, Well, that went badly and hangs up. We go back to reach where Halsey is studying Master Chief’s vitals. Everything. Here’s you know how you use your iPhone or your device gives you. Now, hopefully gives you the option to like, opt out of all your information being sold to various places. The the the Mulnier armor does not have you can’t know everything. Everything gets sent to UNSC Fleet Command and Halsey is studying Master Chief’s vitals, and she notices that Whoa, this artifact really did something to chief like his biology is different somehow, and she notices that curiously, Master Chief has not mentioned that he’s feeling weird or anything. So that’s a note of concern. She speaks with him, asks him about it. He says, Listen, I touch the object and I saw stuff. I saw visions of like, maybe my childhood, I saw a dog. And it’s clear that Master Chief is very troubled by this. On Reach Dr. Keys talks with her dad, captain Jacob Keys. I’m just going to call Captain Jacob about Miranda’s unsuccessful attempt at diplomacy, at diplomacy, with Quan.


Rosie Knight: It was bad. Like,.


Jason Concepcion: It was not good.


Rosie Knight: It was badly timed. It was like, Hey, sorry, your friends died. But could you just like, do some cool propaganda for us, even though we’ve been messing up your lives for like years


Jason Concepcion: go straight to camera, just like if you could do just a video, something vertical and just go straight to camera about how cool we are


Rosie Knight: make some content about this massacre.


Jason Concepcion: Meanwhile, while her dad is talking to her about this, they’re like dissecting covenant bodies around her, which is like not the setting to have this conversation anyway. Keys is frustrated that Halsey is stymieing her career at every turn, and here we learn that to make things even weirder, that’s her mom. So, OK, thats an issue.


Rosie Knight: Shocking.


Jason Concepcion: And then at the end of this conversation, Captain Jacob, her dad again just very casually drops the news that, Hey, we’re going to disappear Quan. What? Yeah, we’re going to liquidate her. What? Yeah, we’re going to assassinate her. What? Yeah, we’re going to X. We’re going to fucking kill her. Because the story, whatever story she has, we don’t want that to get out. It’s much easier if all the colonists from Madrigal die. And Dr. Keys is absolutely fucking shocked at this. It’s like Honey, how long you been working at the UNSC? It’s what we do.


Rosie Knight: You know what it’s it’s the moment when you realize that they’re not going to shy away from the reality, which is they are the bad guys like they are,


Jason Concepcion: Which I love. That’s the thing. I the the books go there as well. The colonials are restive as well. They have certain demands. The UNSC acts completely ruthlessly towards them. The Spartan program was in fact created and deployed against human beings, if more often than not. And I’m glad that they went there.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: It’s cool that they went there with.


Rosie Knight: I think it’s really interesting and we’ll get to kind of the tone and the vibe. But like, I think it’s really interesting to take what to a lot of people who haven’t necessarily deeply played the games or who haven’t read the books, which I’m so going to have to do now, like I’m going to need that. I think I read the first one, but I think I need to go back and read them because I feel like this is must be taking so much inspiration because there’s so much depth to this first episode. But I think it’s really cool that they essentially took something that a lot of people just know as kind of like a shoot ’em up, kind of like fast paced shit. And I like, here’s like a Star Trek level in-depth exploration of this world that you’ve never seen. And let’s talk about what it means to be colonists and let us talk about what these government agencies will do to survive.


Jason Concepcion: I really love and am fascinated by the fact that they took a military shooter and made a show that is very critical of militarism, so that is really interesting to me.


Rosie Knight: Exactly. I think that’s so interesting.


Jason Concepcion: So it’s going to keep me watching at this point, so on the back on Master Chief’s Ship Quan is eating as master chief sits there like a weirdo watching, he attempts a little humor and she’s like, Do you want something to eat? He’s like yea, I eat nuts and bolts and stuff, which is very funny. She’s like, You ever take off your helmet, you know, Mandalorian style. And he’s says like The Mandalorian. No, that’s that is the way. Yes, that’s a different show. But still, I it’s got all my, you know, UI and all the interface stuff in there


Rosie Knight: This is very Mandalorian-ish as well. Like there’s so much Star Wars in this show. But yeah, I know


Jason Concepcion: And then Quan is like, Hey, we met. You remember that? And he’s like, No. When was that? And she was like, So bunch of colonists had got together to talk about, like what the UEG was doing and how oppressive they were being. And someone called in a bomb threat and then the UNSC marine, a marine force, plus the Spartans responded, and they wiped everybody out, including my mom. What do you think about that? And Master Chief is like, Oh, I remember that. Yeah, the orders were to kill the leader. But then in the middle of it, the orders changed and it was to kill everyone who is there. And by the way, that is, I might be remembering this wrong. It’s been a number of years since I read reached the first book in the Halo series, but that is like the opening action scene of Eric Nylund’s Halo Reach, if I recall correctly. Anyway, Master Chief and the rest of the Spartans, to paraphrase him, were basically just following orders, thats all


Rosie Knight: And we all know where that’s happened before and how well it goes


Jason Concepcion: Right. And just as he is getting done, telling her this, an order comes across his visor that says Liquidate Quan.


Rosie Knight: Mm hmm.


Rosie Knight: Ugh Oh, and he’s like, Hey, what was your name again? He does a double look. He like does a He does a like a quick double check, and he’s like you’re Quan right. And she’s like yup. He’s like, OK, on reach. Alarm is growing because it’s clear that Master Chief is acting super weird rather than kill Quan immediately. He has killed the video feed from his ship, which is again quite alarming to UNSC. headquarters. Halsey tells Paragoski that and captain Jacob that she thinks that Master Chief is accessing old memories, which Paragoski is like, Oh shit, like do we want our ultimate weapon suddenly being going off script and being like, Hey, where did I come from? What have you done? No, we don’t want that. And Halsey’s like, This is exactly why we need the Cortana system to help keep them under control and Paragoski’s like. Here you go again, pitching the Cortana system in the middle of it of an emergency, stop cloning and stop talking about Cortana, and she orders Halsey to get master chief under control. The UNSC cuts the oxygen level on master chief’s ship, which is on autopilot. So the idea is they just fall asleep and the ship lands and then we can figure it out. The ship arrives in reach space, but chief is tough, and he can somehow, just like brute force himself through oxygen deficiency and he like wakes up and tweaks the atmosphere, controls on the ship. And now everybody’s able to breathe. Paragoski orders, a full military response to meet the chief when he lands. But Halsey very, very, very, very mischievously supersedes the order directly to the Spartan squad. She tells the Spartans, Hey, new orders for you guys, protect master chief. No matter what, whoever is trying to harm him doesn’t matter. You protect chief. And they’re like, Does that mean like UNSC marines? And Halsey’s like figure it out genius.


Like ugh what do you think?


And they’re like, What are you see? Yeah, what do you think? Back on the ship, Quandt pulls a battle rifle on chief. My favorite weapon from the Halo video game series, as I’m sure I’m not alone in that. And Chief is like, Listen, I like it. I like the moxie. But that thing’s not even going to scratch me. I’m like under an energy shield. Under that is like multiple layers of titanium. Under that is some other fucking futuristic shit. There’s no way you can even hurt me with that, so stop it. Then he takes off his helmet and he’s like, This is my face. You may have recognized me from season two of the wire on the docks with rice


Rosie Knight: also sbu in a very terrifying way.


Jason Concepcion: My name is Pablo Schreiber. You’ve seen me in other stuff.


Rosie Knight: American gods.


Jason Concepcion: Right heres American gods. Here’s the deal. The UNSC wants to kill you, and I’m trying to protect you now. Do you want to put that three burst into my face, or do you want to live? And Quan’s like, Ooh, I want to live. OK, so first thing’s first, we need to disconnect, disconnect the the AI control of the ship and Quan does that by shooting it. So Master Chief then takes off, but then the UNSC cannons knock the condor out of the sky. The ship is surrounded by marines and Spartans. They’re about to break into the ship, but then master chief, here he goes again. He’s just obsessed with this artifact. He can’t stop thinking about it. He looks at it on the ground and he touches it and more memories come to the fore. Now he sees people’s faces, different things, snippets of rooms and more stuff, and the artifact releases a pulse and fleet command loses power. But interestingly, the condor gets powered up and master chief snaps out of it. He says, Buckle up, we’re out of here, folks, and they fly away.


Rosie Knight: Hyperspeed.


Jason Concepcion: And we’re off into episode two. So Rosie, your thoughts on episode one of Halo?


Rosie Knight: It was very different than I thought it was going to be.


Jason Concepcion: Same.


Rosie Knight: And the more I think of it, I actually think that’s like a good thing. I think it I think it’s really hard to adapt something that is so much about the players experience, which is, you know, the problem with every video game, but specifically a game like this where you are in the space and while the mind and and also like how much of the narrative people know of Halo is to do with how much they commit to it. So for some people that they don’t. And I actually thought that was really interesting and weird and slow burning and also as well, like the production value was really great.


Jason Concepcion: I agree it this.


Rosie Knight: It looks so good


Jason Concepcion: So I’m watching. We’re watching it on screeners. OK, so episode one of the screener that we get gave us the first two I’ve only seen the first one is it’s clear that the VFX are are not quite all the way polished, but it still looks incredible like the the practical effects explosions, the battle scenes, the elites themselves like. There’s just some like minor textural stuff that I’m it’s clear that you’re going to fill in, but like reach looks incredible.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: High charity looks incredible. Like all the stuff looks amazing,


Rosie Knight: something that I think is really cool. That I enjoyed a lot about this, I think, was something I didn’t really get from the trailers. I think a lot of stuff that came out Halo, you know, a lot of the movies, a lot of the stuff that came out in this era was very like orange. It had that color grading of, you know, war and sand and barren and the green of marsh and stuff. But this there’s so many we get that classic opening, like the opening is kind of very Star Wars Star Trekkie where you really get the feeling of the colonists before you see them being massacred, sadly. But I I just thought they actually did such a good job of showing all these different worlds and spaces, and they all looked so different and were so visually easy to follow that even though when you’re describing it, it’s like, then they’re there and they’re there. But you know, from the cinematography, from the production design, you immediately know where you are once you’ve been there one time.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, I completely agree. And I and again, like, I’m a big fan of Starship Troopers. Me too. I love it. Is a like a satire of militarism that and fascism that is so finely tuned that I think probably the majority of people who watch that movie are just this is a great just action movie


Rosie Knight: when it came out


Jason Concepcion: like I will think nothing deeper of it. yeah


Rosie Knight: You know, I have a name, I have a nameplate necklace like people get of their names of mine, says Verhoeven. Because I love Paul Verhoeven so much. And when that movie came out, people hated it. People were like, This is military fascist propaganda, which is what the book it’s based on was. But actually, it’s such a searing, fucking brilliant, brutal satire, and every time you watch it, it still feels absolutely relevant. And I definitely I definitely like that this this is not as funny. Starship Troopers is like, hilarious. But I love that this has that same intention of examining the idea of like a militarized action show and what it means to be a militarized force. I think it’s it’s a really interesting and unexpected.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, I love that. I love that too. And it’s kind of got this Iron Giant feel to it of we’ve lost control of our weapons. You know, our we’ve made this ultimate weapon high tech. It is our last hope to like, turn back the tide of whatever, whatever, whatever. And yes, we are suspending space, civil liberties and oppressing our colonies.


Rosie Knight: But we have to do it.


Jason Concepcion: And we have fight this fight, but we have to do it. But then to lose control of the weapon because the weapon is like, is this? Is this the right way to be doing? Yes, is. I love story. Me too. And so I’m on the hook.


Rosie Knight: I also think that you some one of the moments that you said that’s like, I think is actually really smart in retrospect is like how Master Chief can wake up when they turned on the oxygen levels. It’s like, don’t be surprised. You literally built him to be like immortal in infallible like. And now what happens when that thing that you created to destroy other people to destroy this a you know how many you know we’re talking about video games like, what about, you know, I’m not saying this is the route that this is going to go, but I love the implication of like that. Kind of did you ever play at PlayStation one game shadow of the Colossus.


Jason Concepcion: Oh my god.


Rosie Knight: Right, so the whole time?


Jason Concepcion: First of all.


Rosie Knight: Yeah.


Jason Concepcion: Yes.


Rosie Knight: Of course, I knew it


Jason Concepcion: Shadow of the colossus. For those of you who don’t know is a game by one of the great artours of video games Fumito Ueda. And it is about a person who rides around this beautiful, like fantastical landscape and is that person’s mission is to like, kill these massive, very gentle, beasts. But like the thing that


Rosie Knight: But we think the thing that you’re meant to think because you’re it’s a monster because you’re playing a video game, right? It’s a monster and you are the person you’ve got to kill them. And you realize at the end that you are the bad guy you are not a hero


Jason Concepcion: You are the bad, you’re killing these these gentle giants that are just like chilling in fields


Rosie Knight: and are like part of the the natural order of things they’re these beautiful and that is like one of the most visceral versions of that story that I think of so often. And I definitely feel like there’s something interesting in what they’re seeding here, where it’s like Master Chief recontextualizing the people that he’s meant to be killing and realizing that there’s a humanity to everyone. And and that’s really, I mean, obviously, Pablo Schreiber, he’s he’s doing the master chief thing. It looks incredible. The suit is like, absolutely perfect.


Jason Concepcion: Perfect.


Rosie Knight: But Yaron Har, who plays Quan Ha, I think that’s the that’s the human heart of the show. And I think I agree, even though, you know, the whole family got fridged and the whole community. I think that it’s very smart to do that kind of man. It’s like, you know, it’s the buddy, it’s the buddy, unexpected team up. It’s the the the revolutionary and the military man. It’s it’s a little bit Mandalorian ish, but you know, there’s no child. It’s just like it’s hidden fortress. It’s the two people who team up. It’s a hero’s journey. And and Yaron Ha was so good, like when she was,.


Jason Concepcion: She’s great. she’s great.


Rosie Knight: Doing this the Quan Ha did this like when she does the the speech to the doctor and she say, she’s like, You know, I’m just going to tell them that you did it and she’s so unhinged and angry and you’re just like, Yeah, I wouldn’t even blame you. Like, they had bad propaganda and you have yours. So I think that this added an unexpectedly kind of human element that I wasn’t. I don’t think that that would have been the story that got told if this show’d gotten made ten years ago.


Jason Concepcion: Same here. I was not I 100 percent was not expecting them to take this angle on it. And so that is the thing that will keep me watching because I’m really fascinated by it, but I’m glad you brought up shadow of the colossus. Let’s talk about some of our favorite video games. I just want to say about Shadow of the Colossus, one of the reasons why I think Ueda is brilliant, and that game in particular is brilliant, is that so one of the mechanics of that game is you have to climb these massive colossi, right and then kill them and killing them involves like following this like pattern of of button prompts like a circle,.


Rosie Knight: yeah , almost like a rhythm game.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, it’ll be like circle triangle, triangle circle, triangle triangle. And it’ll be that these these strings of patterns for minutes and minutes and minutes. And you’re like, Why am I doing this? Why is this so hard? What like, why is this boss fight like this? The reason it’s like that is the game is making you complicit in the murder of these colossi.


Rosie Knight: constantly and for a long time. Like even as you’re there and you’re thinking, why is it taking so long? Why do I have to press all these buttons? You don’t stop doing it right. You just do it because its what the game is telling you to do. It’s what you were ordered to do. You? Oh, it’s a monster. I have to kill it. That’s the nature of video games.


Jason Concepcion: Yes, and that creates this really, really like unique, emotional feeling of it’s one of the saddest games I’ve ever played in my life.


Rosie Knight: yeah. When you have the realization,


Jason Concepcion: yeah, of what is happening?


Rosie Knight: Yes. That’s the power I think of those video video games rather than film and TV. And obviously, we love film and TV so much. And, you know, I had nothing better than sitting in a cinema room feeling like you’re immersed in that world. But in video games, you become complicit, you take the actions and you make the choices. It’s the ultimate pick your own ending story.


Jason Concepcion: What are you playing anything right now?


Rosie Knight: OK, so I yeah, I do have like a next gen system that I do intend to get Elden ring on, but they.


Jason Concepcion: I can’t wait for you to play it.


Rosie Knight: Yeah .I’m so excited for it, and I know it’s going to be really hard like I any, any mission based game, but allows you to kind of roam and do your own thing. I am the roaming and doing my own thing person. I literally.


Jason Concepcion: Good news. There’s so.


Rosie Knight: Yeah. I will never finish the game. I still haven’t fully completed Breath of the Wild simply because all I do is go and cook. I just I’m very far and I could finish it if I want, but I just play it, and every time I’m like, I could do this last boss or I could just like I could just go and cook some food and like, you know, ride a deer. And I love that notion of it. But I have not yet done it for two reasons that I love my switch. I’m like the number one Nintendo Switch fan


Jason Concepcion: Big big switch fan as well


Rosie Knight: I love it. And there were two games. There’s a game called Olly Olly Wild, which is a skateboarding platformer that is just so addictive, and the art style is really beautiful. It’s absolutely inspired by Pendleton Ward and Adventure Time, and it has the most incredible. You could just spend like three hours just modding your character because it’s got so many different unbelievable options. You can have all different kinds of looks and and skin tones and hairstyles and tattoos. And then it’s basically like a really simple but really, really tricky game where you can play it kind of like Tony Hawk, where you can get a number of points, but you’ve always got to finish the course. So that and then I was like, OK, well, I’ve played that a lot and I love indie games. I’ll always go back to it, and I was like, I’ll get Elden Ring. And then if you have the Switch Online expansion pack, which obviously I got for Animal Crossing because I love Animal Crossing,.


Jason Concepcion: I’m a big fan of Animal Crossing as well.


Rosie Knight: They just uploaded, I think, like, well, they uploaded two new sets of Mario Kart courses that have absolutely new for Mario Kart eight, which is eight new eight new tracks.


Jason Concepcion: I am well aware.


Rosie Knight: So that’s it. That’s just my life. I labsolutely.


Jason Concepcion: I love Mario Kart.


Rosie Knight: love it. I love Mario Kart. And I was like, Why won’t they make a new Mario Kart? But now I’m like, Oh, because they can just keep making new tracks for this, and I will happily take those new tracks, those free new tracks. I know for you. It’s only about one game.


Jason Concepcion: So tell me, Well, right now I’m playing so much Elden Ring. I am. I’ve not been a big Demon’s Souls bloodborne person, which is the the from soft, the publisher. Those are their previous games and the kind of games that were created under the stewardship and direction of hit Ithaca Miyazaki, who’s also directed the whole series. So this game is like in the lineage of those games, but veteran souls born players will tell you that this is the easiest version. I don’t know about that. It is still like early game is so hard. It’s so hard, rosey. It’s like everything can fucking kill you. Little animals are beating your ass and. Here’s the thing, so this game is extremely popular in a city, great, what do I love everyone I love? What do I love about it? I love that. It’s like Breath of the Wild. There is a feeling of the thrill of exploration, of just finding new dungeons, new corners of the map, new places, beautiful places. And really, that’s how to progress in the game. Because the very first thing that happens in the game is you come out of the tutorial like catacombs and you were presented with this huge knight on a steed that you can’t beat. You can’t beat them. Maybe if you’re a veteran souls born player, maybe you can beat them. But like 100 percent, you can’t fight this thing. And so you’re only your only option is to go off and explore. And through that exploration, you can level up. And eventually be able to fight these various bosses. So it’s that kind of feeling of. What else is there to explore? I’m like, I don’t know how many hours I’m into this game, but there has I mean, there’s still a whole section of the map that I have on, like


Rosie Knight: you were saying in Austin, you were on lake level 77 or something and it was still so hard like you hadn’t gotten past the hard part.


Jason Concepcion: I’ll tell you right now, I’m level right now, 98, and I’m still getting my ass kicked. It’s it’s interesting because there’s this whole discourse has come up around this game. Part of what makes these games so difficult is there is there is how to play them is very opaque. All these features and tips and tricks that you really rely on the community to tell you. There’s all these secret buffs and secret debuffs that you can get by, like hugging NPCs and different things and different ways to like. Make your stuff your ear. You’re like weaponry and your and your power set like work better, but that’s not explained to you. Yeah. And so this is a real feature of these kind of games. And also, like players can leave little messages Phoenix games here. Look here, there’s like a secret passage here, and sometimes those are fakes. So what’s been interesting is there is this whole discourse. Some publishers, some of the people, the devs that worked on another game that got released that is also very good that I’m not going to talk about. But they’re in America were like, You know, why do people like this? Why is it so we like taking shots at this game? Kind of like it? Edit. Not directly, but at a weird angle being like, Oh, it’s this huge landscape, but it’s so empty and like, the UI is not good, like you don’t. It doesn’t tell you all the stuff on that screen, and I agree with that to an extent. But the thing this game does, and this is a hallmark of the kind of not to like. Not to bundle all Japanese game devs together, OK, but like similar to Shadow of the Colossus, there’s a thing that Elden Ring does that is kind of like this. Where they use the mechanics to kind of like enhance a philosophy and the philosophy is from my perspective. Ask the other people playing how to play.


Rosie Knight: Yes, I it’s


Jason Concepcion: so that’s what the philosophy is. Don’t ask us, ask the other players, create this community and through that you will discover how to play and I. And whereas the more western style is, here’s everything you need, right? And also like if you need more stuff, you need to be better at it. Here’s what you can do microchip’s.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, you can pay,


Jason Concepcion: you can pay. They give you this Elden ring gives you everything you need.


Rosie Knight: You just need to know.


Jason Concepcion: You need to ask other people I love and I think and there’s something really. It sounds hokey, but there’s something I think really cool about that I touch and let me I want to. I want to shout out this creator hold on a second because I forgot what his name is like. I’ve been watching videos by, I’m not going to pronounce this right, but I’m just going to say the creator’s name on YouTube is Vati Vidya. So it’s Vaitai vide Y.A.. And this person, like, has a ton of content like dealing with Bloodborne with Demon’s Souls and now Elden Ring. And this person creates truly beautiful content that, like, really enhances the mythology and the wonderful, like magic feeling of exploring the game and. The fact that that Elden Ring, the creator of Elden Rings, that the the FromSoftware, the publisher and Bandai Namco like the fact that like they are empowering other creators to create this stuff around it, they are saying, Hey, go and seek out these people because they will help you play the game, I think is really cool, and it’s part of what I find so magical about this game.


Rosie Knight: I also think like it actually takes from people might not remember this because we’re both kind of old and like gaming has changed a lot, but like it’s like the old days like we have, it is like we have to communicate with each other to get cheat codes, to get extra lives. You had to have the friend who knew what the cheat code was for the specific, really weird niche you get. And you always have that one friend or you know, you would you’d have the one friend or you’d all chip in to buy the giant game guide, you know, and then you’d know all the different genes or whatever. And I kind of love that. Yeah, I didn’t really know that was such an active part of Triple-A games until Death Stranding, where they were literally allowing people to build new objects. And I just I love it’s like what we talk about with comics all the time. I love the conversation between creators and fans and fans and fans. And that’s actually what keeps this stuff alive. So to me, that just I love that that’s an aspect of the game because I actually think that’s the joy of it is that’s why we do this podcast. That’s why we love the people who listen to ask why the people want to listen to it is because it’s just people talking about stuff they love. And if you can, and it’s even better if that is a reward based like if you if you’re like, I’m talking to you about this. And guess what? Now you can, you know, not die for 10 minutes longer because because I learned something. What do you know and you can, like, share that. I actually think that’s really cool. I love that aspect,


Jason Concepcion: and it’s a beautiful game. Like, if you like the rest of the world, then you will enjoy this game just when you get frustrated. Just explore. That would be my one little hint. Yeah. OK, now now for the slightly bummer part of this conversation, which people people have been asking, Hey, are you going to play Hogwarts legacy? You’re going to play it. What do you think about it? How does it look and listen? I’ve watched all the videos. I have watched the videos, and there’s some more recent ones of the more finished build. It looks great. It looks Triple-A. The magic system looks really cool. That said, yeah, Rosie, I don’t know how you feel. I’ll say how I feel. I just because of Jake’s history of transphobia, semi recent you can’t even call


Rosie Knight: history has introduced


Jason Concepcion: her. She’s been doing this for now for several years now. I just I can’t give her any more money. That’s me. That’s it’s really that simple. Like, I’ve given her a lot of money. I’ve I have been part of a community of fans that loves these stories, but I just can’t in good conscience get any more money. And I’ve got like a lot of games that I could do that I could easily play whatever other people want to do. That is their business. But I don’t. I just feel like I can’t.


Rosie Knight: I know I totally agree with you. It’s it’s it’s a it’s a huge disappointment. I think for lots of people. Yeah, like it’s it’s one of those things that we are both people who not only have we like loved Harry Potter and the level of amazing communities, but like, that’s part of why we get to do this because we Yegi Jason’s got his one on ones back that like the this is part of why we get to do this for our job, which is amazing, is because that was something that we spoke about or we talked about or we kind of shared with people, you know, but I’m the same icon. I don’t get any. Now, not only ethically do I not want to support, but I don’t get any love out of it. I can’t ignore, I can’t separate.


Jason Concepcion: It’s really hard and I can’t.


Rosie Knight: I couldn’t. It’s active. It’s harmful, especially in the wake of the kind of transphobic laws and anti LGBTQ AA plus laws that are going across that is having a massive platform and spreading that kind of hatred.


Jason Concepcion: And it just the amount of violence that that community


Rosie Knight: faces and it creates more higher


Jason Concepcion: rate of violent death. Yeah. Like it’s just it’s actually not in any way.


Rosie Knight: No, I couldn’t. I couldn’t,


Jason Concepcion: you know, give her more money.


Rosie Knight: And there is plenty of, like you said, there’s magical, amazing games, especially, I think like this switch for me really changed my life and I’ve never really been a PC gamer. So so the switch has changed my life because now there’s all these incredible indie games made by queer creators, made by trans creators, and you can just access them on the switch. The Switch has incredible sales like I got Spirit Farrow, which is easily one of my favorite games of all time. Great game. Unbelievable. I got it in a switch sale. It’s a beautiful game about death and grieving, and it’s kind of this incredible platformer and it has the most unbelievable explorations of love and different kinds of love and different kinds of people, and it is just so wonderful. And to me, I’m like, I love Triple-A gaming, and it’s so exciting. And I’ve gotten much better, I have terrible hand-eye coordination than I suck at video games when I was a kid,.


Jason Concepcion:  I’ve lost my step.


Rosie Knight: Now, you know, I’m doing better. So you know what? I’m lucky I’m an adult. I get to make my own decisions. That’s not something either of us are going to decide to support.


Jason Concepcion: Before we move on, have you played Celeste?


Rosie Knight: Yes, Celeste, I actually. Yeah. Yeah. Celeste, I almost got to write something very cool about that game at a project that never happened, but that’s another a brilliant game about mental health depression.


Jason Concepcion: One of, I think, one of the most profound statements about mental health in a popular format. Ever unbelievable video game, Celeste, which is anything and extremely hard but rewarding in its hardness platformer with, I think, one of the one of the great like original soundtracks in a video game ever is really cool, like electro indie soundtrack by Lena Raine, if you have a switch. And I think it’s available actually in the in the in the game stores of most major consoles. Celeste, great story. Beautifully told wonderful art. Great music. Try it out! Next up, let’s talk. What do you say? We talked to the great, the legendary Grant Morrison.


Rosie Knight: I mean, is there anything better


Jason Concepcion: now is that let’s do it.




Jason Concepcion: Welcome to the Hive Mind, where we explore a topic in greater depth with the help of an expert guest today, folks. Let’s get right to it. The Legendary, the legendary. The iconic, incredibly influential. Grant Morrison


Rosie Knight: Grant. It’s so good to see you and thank you so much for coming. It’s just,.


Jason Concepcion: Yes.


Rosie Knight: So wonderful.


Grant Morrison: Oh, you’re welcome. I see. I see this. I see. This camera movement is pretty cool. Sorry,Rosie, sorry go on.


Rosie Knight: It’s a it’s a free wheeling conversation. So, yeah, the moving camera is important part of it.


Grant Morrison: That definitely adds to that spinning Hitchcockian.


Rosie Knight: It’s our fourth guest. I mean, it’s our second guest or four of us. But yeah, something we talk about a lot on here because we like love comics like I make comics Jason’s a writer. We we love reading them. What is kind of your comic book origin? What was the thing that made you love comics?


Grant Morrison: I just thought I was a little kid in the 60s on comics were always about. I was lucky enough that my my mother was into science fiction, so she was a huge fan of sort of science fiction paperbacks and all those kind of 50s, 60s, all really cool stuff. So I had that around the house. I was very into the imagery, so I didn’t particularly like the books, but comics were there as well, and it was my uncle, Billy. To me, it was the same guy who got me into the occult later, but he had this huge family and cats, dogs and rabbits and stuff, and they had comic books about all this all the time. So it was it was. The Flash was the one that always remember. I mean, the first comic I remember from when I was like three years old was I was actually a Marvel man or British thing. You know, the window and mood eventually became very common. But it was the very early stuff we make Anglo Marvel and I remember that it was it was. Marvel might be Spiderman chosen, and it was just this. My know this in my story. I love that. You know what is it ties his donkey to this kind of like hitching post. And then in the morning, all the snow was melted and the donkeys hanging off the spider, the local people came asleep. And it was all these weird, these weird Baron Munchausen stories, but with Marvel mind involved in it so that that was the one that stuck in my mind. And the idea of the costume, the Superman, you know, seemed kind of intriguing. But it was. It was the flash for me, really. I found these ones when I was starting to get a bit more a bit older as a kid like six or seven and the Flash comics just really fascinated me. They were just so wild and psychedelic and colorful, and I just loved the idea that you could move at super speed. And of course, if you move that super speed, you would wear that costume, you know, and it was like the best that just the best costume in comics, the best boots ever invented, you know? So I kind of esthetically I loved the flash. I looked at the rounded buttocks of the flash and run those muscles, you know, and just the slickness of the whole thing. And so that was it. And from there it was kind of I remember things when Legion of Super-Heroes and stuff, but it wasn’t until I was 12 years old and I was in hospital for an appendix operation. And my aunt, you know, who was Billy’s wave, brought me in to comics and that was I became poops about it, and I just kind of got me through that whole hospital experience and I was just so into it. I remember it was Action Comics Super Boy, and I shouldn’t really say that for me. So. So that was my of. And then I became just the classic fanboy. You know, every every store and guys go meet my my friends with sort of get together and we just do these like super like like 40 mile walks in order to find every comic store in the vicinity because we didn’t have dedicated stores back. So you would have to go to every local newsagent or, you know, whatever drugstore or whatever you call it. And they all had different comics because the distribution was so sporty. We just we just kind of go wherever came in on the ships. So you would find all kinds of different versions of that once comic books. And it was really it was kind of exciting. You know, you walk for miles and come home with this call. And sometimes it would be really boring. And sometimes you just get some of the best comics ever. So that that was that for me. You know, once once I was a teenager got really into the whole collecting and sewing boyish kind of aspect of it. And then just came the notion of I always wanted to write a lot drawing. So wouldn’t it be great to do comic books and kind of trying to pursue that? And fortunately, I was young at the time that the invasion happened and the American editors were coming here to kind of find people to do their work. So I was in the right place at the right time to do something that I love to do.


Jason Concepcion: When I think about the comics that you write, there is often a. A self-referential quality, a quality of of these are created by a comics reader who understands the character and is in some way commenting on the image of the character through the story. Was that always something you were going forward? That just kind of happened organically as you were embarking on your writing career?


Grant Morrison: I guess it happened as I got into it, but for me, it’s honestly it’s a literalism that will eventually be revealed is something that we have ADHD or something. But I know it is just a super literal approach to which I thought was was useful to me was to do just think was the actual artifact. What is the what is the exchange going on between me and the writer of A is very different from books or from cinema, on television or cinema. You can kind of the director tells you what to do. You know, you’re taken first to a movie. It’s it’s a 50 minute drama and you of have to see went for it. You know, it’s possible to stop and start, but not in the way with Cormac is super integrated. You know, the experience of the writers now does bring tears to tail you holding it on the pages. You can go backwards and forwards. You can. If you’ve stuck in a bit of the story, you can go back and really steer an image. Yeah, in a way that you don’t do with any other former. So for me, that became the interesting thing is the actual the physicality in the actual reality of what is Superman? Superman is a collection of thousands of thousands of pages that, when assembled, creates this concept of a character. And even without characters, personalities changed radically and the few years he’s been around, I think everyone still agrees with something about it that we all understand to be Superman. And it’s not just the scene, it’s not just the costume or the colors. There’s an essential Katie Long some ads I created over all that time, so I became fascinated with that. Not in the way that I think some of my peers would be interested in telling stories. But what it was really in the Marvel Universe actually existed for six one six. I was over there somewhere, whereas to me it was inevitable was right here you can hold it. You could collect all those books and have the entire Marvel Universe and a room if you wanted. And that was the new Marvel Universe. It was physical. Instruction was tangible. And it developed through decades and it took like hundreds or potentially thousands of people who would give up their time and the creativity to sustain this, this hyper object. So for me, that one issue became a fascinating thing, and it was to take it super literally into the end thing was what am I doing here? I’m not necessarily telling stories the way I’m telling stories. The stories also have to take into account the fact that the characters exist as these bizarre forms that have left me and went with, you know, Scott Snyder that was, you know, Frank Miller. It’s like they’re bigger than us and important we are they bigger than us? So the stories also then had to kind of address that. And I think that’s what you see in my work that people call meta fiction. But I think it’s meta fiction is a much more concretized attempt to grapple with the object and the way the characters express themselves through these specific objects and how we relate to them. And, you know, it’s a lot going on that we take for granted, just just reading comics, you know, and the exchange of information in the way we allow people into heads who may have very different politics of ideas, but we just haven’t seen them. Still, as you can see, that became a huge field of interesting of exploration for me was just that relationship, and it meant that they were real because I couldn’t deal with my then want it. Just really fantastic stories of what would it be like if you lived in New York and Spider-Man was there doesn’t mean is meaningless because I’m never going to go to New York. Spider-Man’s name, it’s utterly meaningless. Well, as a concept that we have created internally in, say, the universe, the simulations of Spider-Man has played this immense, you know, over decades and is adapt to this continuity in order to constantly seem fresh and going well. How is that as the organism? And then that was that was that so I mean, long answer, like so convoluted, but that’s how I came off. It was trying to actually have a relationship with it that was very real and treated the the characters as real as treated the ideas and as having a longevity that was beyond human. And so what did that make them, you know, put them almost in the realm of of gods sort of ideas about lasted generations and grew into the hundreds of thousands of years? And that was that’s always been my kind of point of contact. I wanted to explore.


Rosie Knight: Yeah, I I remember I once did like a comics writing class with Mike Carey, and he talked about the X-Men in that way. Where? He basically said this is if somebody found every single issue of the X-Men, they would think this was like the Iliad. They would think this was this huge human story that had been going on for So what was it like for you as a fan and a cartoonist and a writer? When you started, when you had that realization that you were adding to that mythology and you were kind of part of that ongoing puzzle, how did that feel?


Grant Morrison: Well, it felt very interesting, to say the least, you know, and it’s amazing. I was able I was young, I was twenty seven. I think that stuff in an animal month and that was my first attempt at school. That’s when I really know you can see those first few issues in me to do what was a traditional kind of superhero. Yeah, deconstruction of the day, you know, saying, no, no, no, no. Well, what if he was really, you know, it would be a bit like this? And I lost all interest in that very quickly. So I guess, you know, it’s not I mean, I’m not trying to be rude to anyone and people have exposed.


Rosie Knight: No, no. It’s just your own taste.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah. It’s very clear from the run


Grant Morrison: You know? Absolutely. But people have explored, you know, what would it be like to be what psychologically, what would be like? And honestly, my own feeling this way? That seems like dilettante relevant questions because they wouldn’t be formally existence here. So what do they do? What’s the function here? Typekit, you know, so that’s what I was kind of with with Animal Man. I began to explore that and it was quite primitive. Then, you know, sent in a little drawing of myself. And, you know, the artist didn’t quite understand the clothes I was wearing so I can wear these Cossack chemicals and in the first pages, email and on my chair doing this kind, of course, at Russian dance, it’s amazing. So but this was this was this little thing I said in there and that was what I later came to call a fiction suit. And it was the idea of, OK, these characters exist, but I can create a representation of myself and actually talk to them. I’m actually going to have dialogs and even the way they’ll respond, they’ll be briefing animals once. But I’m trying to give it that much autonomy in my head. I’m thinking, OK, if this guy is real, I’ve spent 25 years establishing a personality, got families into this kind of music. It’s this kind of quote with his answer to this question Be so tiny. Give him as much autonomy is okay to think, thinking, okay, I’ll just accept. But he’s mad at me that I’m going to see if he’s if he questions what I’ve got to say or be with that. And again, trying to always give the characters the dignity of not only lasting me or, you know, I was twenty seven when I was younger than him. No, no, no. His age anyway left me the bastard. It’s like, I’m going to make them. So what am I talking to there? What is the scale of the creature? The entity takes place through the pages. So again, I keep bringing it back to the esoteric, but that’s that’s what I was going with. And all mine was quite a simplistic way of doing. That was like sending a little drawing of yourself and talk to the characters and make them understand that you’re aware of your spatial, geometrical dimensional relationship to them, but that you’re not necessarily traveling, privileging yourself in relation to them and see what happens. You don’t see what happens, have an animal that I can see you. And I think that moment is so powerful because it’s real. It’s a real moment. He I wrote him to really see that comic book. So that actually happened to that character. He had that moment and that that’s what makes him who he is.


Jason Concepcion: You started with an old man in 88. So this is post Crisis on Infinite Earths kind of a reset for DC. And and it was in retrospect a pretty audacious choice and a character who I think everybody would agree was, you know, kind of like a minor character in the firmament of DC. And then you do this really original kind of mind bending reflection on a character that not a lot of people had thought about. What was it that made you decide, OK? A. Man, that’s that’s the character I want to explore right now at this stage of my career.


Grant Morrison: No, I mean, I always thought it was the obscurity I think of Animal Man was the number one thing. And as I see the Borg at the time was to take up characters who weren’t necessarily DC’s a-list, and they were kind of throwing them. You know, Alan Moon had a very big success, like making Swamp Thing work in a completely new way. And so you when Neil Gaiman came in and he had been Kirby Sandman, those Sandman, you know, they kind of realizing that we knew we were talking about it. So but as I say, the book was very much that. Can you take a character from our catalog that just hasn’t worked for maybe 20 or 50 years? And do you see any potential in that? So I knew that was I knew that’s the way they were coming to it. And I always had this fascination with an animal mind, I just I I love animals. The big thing about animals since I was a kid and here was this character who could do this, and it seemed a very unique power that a lot of other cases and it was really specific. It was easy to understand, but you hadn’t really made a big splash. And I also loved it because he started as a my greatest adventure story. So it wasn’t even a superhero story. Just it just this dude took out one day and get some animal powers. So I hope that as we grow into them, a lot more to me. So you can you can imagine the movie about, you know, that he just puts on a costume. So going into it was just, yeah, I’ve got an idea about that. And I don’t think, you know, Karen Burton or Jeannette Campbell have even have the name animal man in the last 20 years. You know, it’s like when Neil walked in with Black, Black or Gideon, they said, look like our kids. So I think in a lot of ways they didn’t know what kind of characters they had, and as long as they had no interest pitch, then at the time they did it. The desire for novelty was such that we didn’t get the opportunity to do these things. So, yeah, I just I pitched them on that and I didn’t have that. The so-called meta fictional aspect of that theme, but also the secondary thing I loved was the animal rights thing. And again, but again, it was part of the old thinking because Swamp Thing was very much an equal comic, you know, and I love that aspect of it. So I thought, Well, let’s do this specifically because, you know, I’m an Animal Liberation Front supporter back in the days before it was illegal. And, you know, I’m Sabatier stuff the whole thing. So I thought, here’s my chance to be on with Swamp Thing. You know this thing, but I’ll talk specifically about animal rights and all this stuff. I’m kind of involved. And so that was the secondary big thing was Animal Man. And as I say, it was only when I got tissue five and I thought, Oh, I just don’t want to do this eco swamp thing, kenner poetic and stuff. So what can I do? And that became like, Let’s just do it. You know what? I thought people, people will hate this. If you put yourself in the comic Big Lie, I hate that they’re going to just you spoil the magic, you know? I just knew that was that’s what I wanted to talk about, and I thought one I’m I’m talking about is the actual reality of this. Yeah, DC Universe. And I think ultimately people will find that interesting.


Rosie Knight: And I mean, they did. And that’s become the the the author. And in the books, the death of the author, sometimes physically on the page, has become such a comic book trope now. So you really you. And obviously, like, I love that animal man kind of this. These pictures gave everyone this freedom to do this while kind of esoteric stuff. But then like a year later, you you were like doing Batman with Arkham Asylum. So like, what was it like to go from this one of the you talk about the kind of godly nature of the immortals of comics, these kind of new mythology? What was it like from basically getting to introduce a generation of people to animal man to taking on someone who’s one of these three kind of icons of DC comics and comics in general?


Grant Morrison: Yeah. Well, it became at the same time because when I went down to visit DC, when I got there, they invited to come and fetch some stuff on the day that they kind of signed everyone. So I went down and it was Animal Man was the way I kind of come up with our in history. And because I thought about this animal man was very swiftly created out of just is what I meant to you. I was to just write about Arkham Asylum had been in my head for years and been posted an hour to talk to over with Per se, a good friend of mine and guys go do this thing or just obsessively into psychology and symbolism. So we went through this whole kind of process long before that of what would you do this book the Batman story? And when Wayne, who’s probably my biggest influence and comics, I’d done a who’s who in DC A. about Arkham Asylum. And he just had to invent this stuff from whole cloth. So he talks about, you know, Ahmadis. Arkham is the founder. The guy committed suicide or I didn’t commit suicide, not kills one of his patients after the stock market collapse. But it’s just a line that says after painting his wife and child mortality, then he commits suicide because of the stock market collapse. And I said, Well, let’s take it as surely finding your wife and child, but may he try and take it this serious even responded to it. But but that one line was just like, You tell that story that seems uncertain, and I think I’m very dark. And quite recently, I’m going to write a big piece of it again because I think it’s been very misunderstood over the years. But I think the whole story of the days of Fan is really insistent. I think that’s what gives it the real gothic undercurrent.


Jason Concepcion: In what way do you think people have misunderstood?


Grant Morrison: I think they misunderstood that from the very big. They didn’t understand that what we were trying to do was like a European, like one of those young spying, my puppet movies were as animated. Something really kind would cart like, you know, like like Nosferatu, like what’s his name? But you know, the vampire guy like, I’m forgetting the names, but it was not. Not dance to the movie. Yeah. I’m not great, Bernard. So that’s what we were looking at in German Expressionism. And we thought because I was, I was going to the cinema law to see kind of weird like, you know, with my own DeRay ends meshes of the afternoon, and I’m also pursuing cultural stuff, which we loved as well, and fade into Batman. And we thought, Can we do about man? That’s like a title card that can explore the town council that we took the idea of the title, which was Trump 18. And it’s a it’s about trial and initiation. It’s an illusion and intoxication and madness. So we couldn’t answer what we do. It’s almost like a tank of folded with Bob and Glenn in the Giannis through the older, the symbolism of that tarot card and plug in the villains. Mm hmm. And so what? I think people, people after things like killing joke and after thought maybe they were looking for another big cinematic keynote? Mm hmm. American Batman. And we did, and we did this Yoruba. But it was also it was because they said to me what the new Batman is is don’t mention the city. And he said, this is the new way we’re looking at and this is the ground addressee we saw. So let’s let’s talk about that. But for me, it was always this was this was a dream that Bruce Wayne the times every week. Maybe. And he would wake up from this. It was like Alice in Wonderland, and it’s stock took like Alice in Wonderland is to Alice’s cattle courts. And so the whole idea was to do something. It was much more kind of left dreamy or, you know, poetic or as it was then. But but, you know, I mean, it was like we wanted to do a utile puppet theater tag so it can invest in the Batman. And I think it was constantly compared to things that were much more cinematic, much more Hollywood, much more blockbuster versions of Batman, which Ingram sells what we have in all of these books. But it wasn’t what we were doing, and I’ve not really seen it. Critiqued and in that, you know, I’ve never seen critiqued as what’s it like compared to what’s like the great Bobby taking from the ancient Mayan here, what is it? You know, it’s like it’s always critiqued in the ways that it’s not like killing joke adult me. You know,


Rosie Knight: The curse of releasing a book between a 86 and 99


Grant Morrison: people is weird because it’s the biggest selling gothic novel ever. I mean, I still get massive royalties from that one book, which was published 30 years ago. But there was always even in DC, a reluctance to admit to its success and still is rarely talked about in those terms, which I kind of find fascinating. So I got tenure. It’s an interesting one to me. I think it should be looked at from a different angle. Maybe because of doing is knew that a lot of great criticism over the years.


Jason Concepcion: It’s interesting that that story has a lot of obviously a lot of deep symbolic elements, multilayered elements as kind of like psychological gothic horror feel to it. How was that received at the time? And just to piggyback off what you were saying? It’s interesting that you felt like, Oh, this story was out of step with the kind of like cinematic intent at the time. And yet a lot of that stuff has now found its way into cinema in two Batman movies into the Dark Night into into the latest Batman movie. A lot of that kind of tone and symbolic, referential nature.


Grant Morrison: Yeah, I think definitely in a lot of those filmmakers grew up without becoming. Mm hmm. And I think I mean, honestly, initially, I imagined it as a very super focused thing I’ve talked about before. I imagine someone not not actually Brian Bourne, Bugatti Leach or someone in that in all who would super draw every detail like Dave Gibbons.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah.


Grant Morrison: So I kind of imagined that this hypersensitive like super heavy heavy is in your face. Mm hmm. And. When it came out and people, people were very there was the reaction was it was quite negative, I think, from generally from within the comic book community and not so much. But I mean, honestly, what they’re making there and looking back is that that’s exactly the way the book should be. And this is why it’s why filmmakers still love that. Because of what they’ve said. It’s like he just took it to a level that I think, you know, anyone who’s ever bought line comes in, and that’s the one that’s beyond all the other stuff. That’s the we had one last point of view. It was really good too, though, when you see, you know, and I think honestly, that all that Stephen, and that’s why I’ve gone back and I’ve been studying again. I’m loving it again because I was so anti that the negative virtue was so strong. Really, it was like, Oh, no, honestly, not only do me, folks.


Rosie Knight: Yeah. When I worked in a comic book shop in London and that was one of our perennial, you’ve got to read this. And so and it was horror comics people and it was film people and it was superhero people.


Grant Morrison: But anything motivated visually. I think it really brings in the directors always well thought, like all my all the time.


Jason Concepcion: Its like storyboarding.


Rosie Knight: Yeah


Grant Morrison: but it’s not because it’s so internalized that and see Batman say it’s not like, Well, what if he was, you know? Yeah, it was real.


Rosie Knight: yea but if he wasn’t real


Grant Morrison: part of this was Bruce Wayne’s dream, and we have to do is have him going to sleep at one end and waking up day. And it’s like, you know, what is this really tell that story? It was all a dream, but here’s the story that is a stage play. It would work is like that. And that’s why I think it draws like, you know, Jaws filmmakers, particularly DeRay, because you always hear them. That’s the fever. But that’s the honestly, that’s the even at Steve’s staging, he was just like, that’s like getting the best that I could hope for because my vision for it was too small.


Rosie Knight: Yeah. And something that’s kind of, I guess, something that I find really interesting about that. I think I would. I’m so excited that you want to write about it more because now we have an accessibility to stuff like Frank. My, you know, the Jabberwocky is just on. Yeah, it’s just on YouTube. And a lot of people, I think they haven’t seen that stuff. They haven’t read of destiny before. They hadn’t.


Grant Morrison: But also, it’s stuff they would love to. I mean, I think all that, all that stuff is like, you know, people envision them and movies, they’re going to love this white man stuff. It was just it was avant garde in the 80s and the 90s. But right now, I think it’s like people’s imaginations have been brought in by all kinds of television shows and films. Everyone’s been woken up to science fiction and fantasy and horror. So I think things like that that once were completely insider kind of stuff would easily fit and Typekit shouldn’t, you know, mass Alice and all that stuff. It’s it’s amazing.


Rosie Knight: Yeah. Also, I mean, you can watch if you have a library card, you can watch the cabinet of Dr. Caligari for free, you know, on the on the streaming services and stuff. So I think it would be really cool to I mean, that book, like you said, it’s like the most successful these like graphic novel episodes people can read.


Grant Morrison: It would be like, yeah, crazy. And I feel weird because I’ve always been defensive about an app stores. I’ve decided I’m open to it. So I’m, you know, I’m not going to be defensive anymore.


Rosie Knight: I’d love to see people get to recontextualize it with that knowledge and those kind of touchpoints.


Grant Morrison: I mean, who knows? Who knows if they will, but I think they should look at it that way. In public theater. It’s like it’s not comics, it’s not. It’s like afterwards, like, you know, it’s it’s those influences where what made Arkham Asylum and I’ve I’ve never seen it kind of started in those terms. I’ve always seen it compared to films or something else that that was not not influenced by


Jason Concepcion: about a year ago. Tim Seeley, the artist Tim Seeley, he shared a panel from your run on Batman. I think it’s Batman 66 six and it’s Damian and around Damian are these text bubbles that are the television news like that? He is listening? Yeah, and it’s like temperatures. Temperatures rose for a record breaking 120 third day quarantine restrictions. Many remain, but  the epidemic, which claimed more than 18 million lives, will soon be under control, say Chinese health authorities. And this is 2007. And it’s interesting because when people talk about your work, they often talk about this kind of. Far flung, almost predictive quality. And at the same time, I think if you look back, you’re just drawing very logical, rational lines from things that were happening at the time. How do you feel about that stuff now?


Grant Morrison: That’s just whether that simply seems simply the way it works, you know? Yeah. You know, I, as I’ve always said when I talk about my, you know, one part of magic back in the days of the Pharaohs, you would be considered magic if you’d want to hold the NATO works and What A Day and season’s work. And you know, sometimes that fertilizes of owing. Sometimes it’s dry to the feet. All your knowledge is magic. Because he’s not so on these scales is not started those particular patterns. There’s just or not this is the case, and here’s the part, and here’s where it’s obviously going to play. Head has played there before in history, and this is likely to play out again because these things tend to strike all in the same ways, and this is what it’s likely to be like in 10 years time. So it’s not hard. But like I said, magic sometimes looks like magic to people in the same way, the way it looks, whether it looks like we’re hoping they move, but the way it’s going to be an early. And yet they can tell you to the minute with the Geismer Per se at 12 here. Oh wow, the closest per se. So it’s just it’s just observation, you know, and seeing where the stands are going to play. And that’s why I’m very concerned I went for miles from NATO is number one nuclear target. Thank God. Yeah, I’m in. I’m in the red zone, the actual red, but whatever thing is obliterated, so. Yes, thank you.


Rosie Knight: Twenty twenty two. It’s fun, it’s fun. Yeah, it’s kind of, I guess, like in the in the something that I feel like kind of combines that predictive nature and that kind of that more esoteric, but also links into like talking about how you originally imagined Arcam as this super detailed, hyper detailed thing. Let’s talk about X-Men cause new X-Men. You know, Frank’s work on there. That is a book that I feel like it ended up predicting a lot and ended up shaping how the X-Men existed for decades on the screen and comics. What was it like for you? You take your DC Batman like that. You done that pillar. What was it like for you to take on the X-Men who have this? Again, that is a mythological amount of. Space to play with and stories to add to what was your kind of approach there and how did New X-Men come to be?


Grant Morrison: Well, there it is, the jokes are that called off, and they said, you want to do Spider-Man, the X-Men and I guess. Well, actually,


Jason Concepcion: yeah,


Grant Morrison: but like Spider-Man, but I just have no connection. Never had any clue. Sarkozys do nothing of the Spider-Man movies, but I had nothing for Spider-Man, but I liked him boots like ensemble. So, you know, different characters kind of clashing with one another. So I say, Don’t do it, man. And then thinking about it was just, well, what can we do with it? I hate that kind of that, the classic thing and I thought it was time, and it seemed like time again, it’s the nostalgia, the poignancy of the past, you know, in the 2000, you know, everyone thought, we’re really doing it. Here has been 10 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Well, globalization Sandy Girard was not a bad one. Know there was this sense like there was a potentially 21st century to come and then everything really changed, and it’s just more and more present. But the X-Men was kind of coming after The Invisibles and The Invisible City. And I began to see the different strains that were that utopian vision might not be in Lancz, maybe the 60s, but you were taking all of and of course, everything was wonderful. So there was that sense of what? Where’s it going to go next? But what I did want to to see was I really saw the rise of geek cultural so that it was going to be superhero films and it’s going to be a retreat into almost infantilizing culture would back off from the future because the future was suddenly scary. It was. We don’t want to go there anymore and say, Oh no, it is dystopian. There used to be stopped. No, it’s it’s The Walking Dead. And even The Walking Dead wasn’t really that scene, but that’s not as much. These are my two polarities, you know? And at that time, it was like, always, let’s not face the future. Let’s talk about the past that you get in music, recycle them and recycle them and children’s comics in the 60s with internet, the blockbusters. So it was a doodle, and I thought, Well, that’s the idea of the geek culture. Then the approach of the underground culture go. So all of us, a little tentative, suddenly get exposed to the light, you know, instead of Playboy Bunny. Suddenly it’s the same girls it was. The alternative was sexed up and sold now. And so that was unknowingly. But I thought, I have to kind of reflect the fact and in a way that means we we poison them, we colonized them, but we never knew what to do with what we’d done, you know? But yeah, you know what is true? They said they they watch our movies, they watch their characters. That’s so we won. But we kind of they would keep their and BA-2 and also they kind of messed up. But X-Men was a, well, what if they won because I was fed up with the persecution? Therefore, I thought, Well, if humanity finds out tomorrow that we have an extension to an installment, so you guys are like a cancer that since NATO just shut me down. And the reason Hormel City did exist is in order to carry this forward in the same way that you before from Neanderthals or whatever, you have to defend yourself. And it became, I thought, what has this potential there? Because then you can create the idea of mutant culture and the notion like the idea of humans fighting mutants. I thought it seems a bit like punching down a few mutants that are just a persecuted minority. But I thought, what if they become like that common for you? They are your children. They they are the future, all the things you believe that will be overturned by these beautiful young freaks. And so it was kind of like I say, it was me talking. It was happening at the time, but it was like towards the suddenly you find that you are all it because to me, that’s the reality of doing all that. It’s like most other people coming. Move on. Hmm. And so rather than the X-Men being like that on the summons, the Sentinels, it’s well worth it. Well, that would really make the war intensify and gives it more drama. You know, it’s like humans are reacting to potential extinction, but we can imagine the nice mutants will probably say, Okay, we saved you. So you have this great drama and that that was it. So I thought although I always admired my Pfizer age man was just the whole clear on John Boehner. Yeah. When I was a kid. So, you know, that was the one that was just see how he was hitting every note, and it was very progressive for the fame. So I was looking back at that and I thought all in in the way that the Justice League was the kind of mythology it was like folk tales of watching the life of the X-Men is soap opera. You know, it was always about soap opera, so I thought I was good at evil twins. It’s happen. It’s good to have the Joan Collins bench as I have, you know, I was just all I felt it like dynasty or dynasty. Kind of. That was what it was supposed to be. Soap operas, good constant wage, foreign affairs and white screaming matches during the affair. Yeah. So that that was where it came from. I just built on that. And then the weirdness of kind of almost predicting what the 911 that we had an issue like that was not sweet, but you can. You can feel it or you can see in you the weather, you can feel it comin. So there was that and then it was kind of became this post-9 11. You know, here’s here’s the future how you going to deal with it?


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, it’s very interesting. Our impact, something you said because I find it fascinating. I think most many creators, many storytellers would think, OK, we’ll start our characters at this kind of low level and then, you know, in fits and starts, let’s get them to finish somewhere higher. And you said something very interesting tapping into the kind of feeling at the time late 90s, early 2000s, pre-9 11, the idea that Western capitalism is one we. Russians are done. Communism is done.


Grant Morrison: Yeah. The end of history. Francis Fukuyama.


Jason Concepcion: The end of history, right? And so you plug into all of that and say, OK, the mutants in one, they’re actually like gods that walk the earth to celebrities. They look beautiful. They’re extremely powerful. They’re incredibly rich. They won. And then you weren’t.


Grant Morrison: Even the only ones are beautiful, you know, and the lose the thing.


Jason Concepcion: And then you find the drama through this. And what comes after the victory was, was that how did you pitch that to Marvel or was it just and and what was their reaction to that when you said, I want to do it where they win? Well, you know, Joe, I want to do it where they win


Grant Morrison: now, even as everyone was fine with it because they just wanted to shake that thing off. And it was, you know, I had to hide the whole proposal and from beginning to end, it changed a little bit, but not much. Then the whole zone review was right there. You know, you can read that is there, but they were famous and it was only afterwards. We suddenly always make them a beleaguered minority. Again, I just thought, Well, you know, and then that Scarlet Witch, Wanda, my wife is there because remember, this is the vision you think to this basic plastic monstrosity is the version I saw. And then she just like weight again, which was a weird per se what you can do. And that’s what happens if you’re living in the fictional universe of the reality. Unless someone could just say no more mutants and all that of potential disappears


Rosie Knight: as a creator. Because I mean, I like how you’re like you. You accept that that’s how it is, how you have such a great philosophical, kind of esoteric way of looking at these stories. But how does it feel to you when you see that kind of thing happen? Like, is it part and parcel? Is it two sides of the sword of you being able to create something incredible as someone else can take it away? But how does it feel for you as the person who birthed those ideas along with your artistic collaborators to kind of see them changed or erased?


Grant Morrison: It’s honestly, it’s disappointing, as you might imagine, and Op-Ed the same time, it’s it’s part and parcel of the compact is made. Yeah, we have there’s tons of us making this. Well, you know, and so so it’s slightly definitely into I. And it’s not, you know, I don’t look at things that I’ve done. Other people do versions of myself. I don’t get anything cooler. I’m sure they do exactly the same because it’s all it’s all interpretation. So you have to remember that it’s just it’s like, I go, like, I had Batman, you know, with with that, Grayson was when Alfred says it’s just a rule you got to play, you know, in the X-Men, you take on the role for a few years and you hope that your version of your portrayal of that is remembered fondly. But there will be other details that seem to to, you know, to kind of contradict, like the difference between Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and, you know.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, yeah.


Grant Morrison: Well, boy, what’s his name? I forgot to call


Rosie Knight: Jared Leto


Grant Morrison: No Tim as well with all of them. So they’re all. They’re all very different. And I think you just have to in long running superhero universes and continuity, you have to understand everyone’s got take in some of the takes. You go, Oh no, you don’t. We don’t get it. You haven’t read that book. You don’t understand that that game meant that when he said that, what she meant when she was writing. So you kind of disgusted. I tend not to read them afterwards because it is a bit like, you know, it’s like, you know, it’s a seeing someone else can review. Yes, you love it. It’s like, you’re going, I’ll kill them. I wish you guys all the best, but


Rosie Knight: you kind of actually lean into something that we’ve been talking about a lot there, which is like, we are living in unprecedented time as people who grew up with this stuff who it wasn’t or it was on the fringe. It was radical, it was subversive. And now we’re living in a world where all these corporations are talking about multiverses, different versions of the same character that. Yeah, you know, and what what how does that feel to you to be living in this space where people can imagine the things that you’ve been seeing in the way that you understood as these different? Characters living alongside each other, and it’s kind of like, what’s it like to see that become real in this kind of modern day space?


Grant Morrison: Well, it’s not so much, it’s become viewers. I think what we’ve seen is it’s become commodified in a way before it was seen as as non-core modifiable. But we made the multiverse modifiable to everyone wants one. I can’t help but kind of think that and I’ve always talked about the multiverse. It’s like, well, corporations would love this because it’s like, you know, it’s like orange coffee. Cake is cake. It’s like coconut cake. They love to take a basic idea and then just smear across a spectrum of possibilities is quite limited. And so they love the notion of the multiverse. As seniors, I’m sure quite a limited potential, but you can have, you know, here’s your read Superman’s the of my New Zealand as the Hysteria he is, you know, cook for his. They love versions of things to sell you the same rubbish over and over again. So I think the multiverse definitely appeals both higher and higher sense than the idea of the notion of the multiverse is becoming accepted. Because I always think when a concept starts to become accepted, the walls of reality becomes then. And that concept maybe actually starts speaking to the possibilities for it being real. Maybe start to be noticed. The next thing I think we’ll use telescopes have discovered a weird dark matter fluctuation that suggests that caused by the universe. And that’s all we can do. And I think the fact that people are getting into it means of something common is in motion of this. This absolute fragmenting into all possibilities, which I think could be, you know, might be there in a few categories when we expand into every possibility someone


Jason Concepcion: wanted to link back to something you mentioned earlier in the interview. You use the word hyper object to describe this kind of like vast catalog of of comic stories both metaphysical and physical. Hyper object is the word that was invented by the environmental philosopher Tim Morton to kind of describe


Grant Morrison: the plastic


Jason Concepcion: yeah, the process


Grant Morrison: plastic is a hyper object. Whether it’s a hyper object. Yeah, tell him water is a hyper object.


Jason Concepcion: Yeah, I wonder if you could just unpack the idea of the hyper object and what what it means to you vis-a-vis comics.


Grant Morrison: The hyper object, as it’s it’s an object, a physical object that’s so widely distributed it’s hard to see it in its entirety. So we don’t necessarily recognize the fact that it’s a singular thing, right? So I can actually the entirety of the history of life as that, you know, but we’re talking in terms of comics, the DC Universe is a hyper object is distributed across decades. It’s been added to by multiple voices and multiple generations, but it still holds that same basic shape. So you could call it keeps the saying it was only so much you can push it before it’s the Marvel Universe or before it says it’s Archie. And also it’s a hyper object, basically. And then that same stuff fosters great is distributed so widely that it’s hard to see as a singular thing.


Rosie Knight: I could just talk about this kind of conceptual stuff all day.


Grant Morrison: yea me too,


Rosie Knight: I’m like, OK, so how? I just wonder how you feel like I love the way that you talk about, like interacting with comics and that comes through with your work in this kind of fictional space. How do you feel like? Do you feel like that power of those conversations and the reality of comics still exists in the space where we have all these different movies? And and there’s sort of that expands the idea of them as hyper objects like do you feel like even if there’s a commodification and as a as a very core aspect to it, do you feel like there’s a way that it’s actually expanding people’s understanding or people’s access to these kind of stories and thoughts?


Grant Morrison: Yeah, absolutely. I think and that’s that’s what we’re seeing there, Larry, in the sense that if you can set to Avengers Endgame, then you’ve been asked to consider by beings from another world in the same way, if all you have been asked to consider the potential customers could, somehow they can contain energy of scale and substance that could alter the universe that people have been asked to accept really weird things, you know, I do, and it was all. But then the junior kids actually survived the impact and that comes through now 20. You know, it’s so yeah, I’m a house. I see. I think the boundaries of imagination have been pushed much weight on and not just by. A Marvel movie spot, bye bye. Everything thing that people are consuming way across Netflix shows and aliens vampires is as gods. It’s demons with monsters is that there is more demand for Lancz. I mean, is this we aware of anything, though? There is a niche for it as we wait to see Seventies to cinema, but there’s a lot of stuff that was once the province of comics and of geeks and of all, you know, of people who aren’t enjoying the material is there’s we wait and there is much more mainstream. So I do think that people’s imaginative or envelopes have been stretched in all but still they are still fed a limited diet of particular things. But it’s it’s way more than than back in the day when people with the show was so sure that aliens movie on the horizon is about something that the people wouldn’t even have those conversations now. They would just watch you if it was true and it was, you know, you could binge it.


Jason Concepcion: So much of the texture of your work and the way people respond to it is that kind of referential predictive of almost this feeling of prophecy within the story of a world of, you know, drawing these lines to a world that seems like it could exist sometime in the future. And oftentimes that seems dark or somewhat twisted or almost dystopian. And then I think of your work of last hour Superman, which is so optimistic. What what do you what is Grant Morrison optimistic about in 2020?


Grant Morrison: Well, actually


Jason Concepcion: what do got a Grant? We need something right now


Grant Morrison: That’s the one thats the one. No, just honestly, you see people in hell, you know i’m watching on TV every night. Still, there’s still fighting. They’re still standing out for wherever you stand out for quite some. Some turn within us to resist tyranny and monstrosity. But in and all sense, this is hard to get optimistic and the more optimistic, the more people through things in your face to prove that you shouldn’t be optimistic. So I’m very glad that they’ve been at me. Honestly, I’ve always been optimistic. Even living for Maelstrom number one Target should work with me because I just I thought I was like. Maybe it’s just me, but about what they what will be the best and most triumphant about the fight that we keep in the story because we know it’s true and when are we going to just it? Why would I want to tell you that story? And I know there’s lots of other stories, but fundamentally, the other stories don’t surface very well moving forward. So what’s the forward momentum and the fact that so I mean, to me, I think that’s that kind of duty affection and whether I can depart from people saying that they should show what life is like going on. As long as you can be disillusioned, you know, comics will break your heart kit and all of that. That’s true, but that’s not the truth, because even within that, I notice that we always we always look for something to keep going. You know, we always we always feel magic. Nihilism is the only magic because at the bottom, we always find meaning. We even find meaning and nothingness to our desire to find meaning continues to make it positive, if that makes sense. And we always eat no matter what you do. If people who love what you bring them down, they will look for, meaning we will keep finding a reason to tell us the way you keep finding something in it. And I think that ultimately, if we could, just we could just expand out if we could hold onto that little fleeting Promethean moment and expand that we can make meaning. And magic is just making meaning. It’s just a way of in that way, you know, we can do that when you find out with it why the way that person Pfizer and killed on the void when our animal lives, why don’t you? And that’s that’s all. I’ll go off and Lancz or, you know, I’m just I’m just the person just thinking about it.


Jason Concepcion: Well, hopefully that’s enough. Grant Morrison, thank you so much for joining us.


Grant Morrison: No, thanks, that was good I enjoyed the conversation,


Jason Concepcion: and it was wonderful.


Rosie Knight: Thank you so much.


Jason Concepcion: Thanks for joining us, Grant. Up next, nerd out.




Folks, we’re in the endgame now, and today we are ranking our top three video game adaptations and why we love them. Rosie, are you ready?


Rosie Knight: I am definitely ready.


Jason Concepcion: OK, you want to go first?


Rosie Knight: Yes, my first pick is yeah. Most people have probably never seen this movie, but you should go and watch it. Streaming on every free streaming service is double dragon.


Jason Concepcion: I love Double Dragon video game. I love double dragging them. Yes, OK, but fun.


Rosie Knight: One of the best, most fun and accessible video games that also spawned like every great video game like that, like there are so many brilliant walk along, beat em ups and I love them. But yeah, the movie is so good. It stars Mark Dacascos, who I love and will literally watch in any movie. He’s also in the incredible crying Freeman adaptation, which is a great manga adaptation. Alyssa Milano is Annette Scott Wolf is the is the brother of Marvel to Kashaka in hilarious fashion, and it’s like it’s one of the funnest things because now it’s 2022. But the movies from the 90s and it’s set in 2007 when, like an earthquake has destroyed Los Angeles and everyone’s like a post-apocalyptic punk and Alyssa Milano has the sickest look she’s maybe ever had in our whole career. And it is just like, it’s so hokey, but this 90s era of video games I actually love, it’s so much fun. They weren’t afraid to do weird stuff. This has like this has cool this. This does what the Street Fighter movie doesn’t, which is there’s actually like leans into the supernatural of it all, which I think is really, really fun. And and yeah, this is just this is like a great movie. Also, apparently, the story was by Paul Dini, which is just, y’know, like, unexpected for the anti Batman animated series creator. Like one of our fans, we talk about him a lot. So, yeah, it’s just it’s this is a bunch of fun. This is like one of those things where I’m like, Just go watch it and you will have fun. If you think it sucks and it’s badly made, you will still have fun watching it. But you might find it’s like a it’s like a solid B-movie gem.


Jason Concepcion: Hmm. I like it. My first pick will be Injustice the the comic series and the animated comic movie streaming now on HBO Max, which is an adaptation of the hit video game of the same name. Yep, which is a beat him up, fight them up, a video game based around the idea that Superman just flips out because he’s been spoiler alert, tricked into killing Slane, and he goes nuts and the heroes of Earth kind of like split along certain lines and they have to stop them. It’s for a comic adapted from a video game.


Rosie Knight: Unbelievably good. Like everyone’s good.


Jason Concepcion: Like, it shouldn’t be good.


Rosie Knight: But that ran felt like shout out to Tom Taylor, who was the writer who was given the unenviable task and suddenly made that one of the biggest comics in the world. Like the depth that this the adaptation, the video games grace. I love NetherRealm, I love Mortal Kombat, so I love the the fighting styles that they use to injustice, and I love the evil characters, but like to then turn that into a legitimately engaging deep story and not just adapt it to comics, but also adapt it to a movie, an animated movie that’s just that’s powerful.


Jason Concepcion: What is your next?


Rosie Knight: OK, so my next one, I actually. So I’m going to stick or I’m going to go all 90s just for I love it because otherwise it’s hard for me because I actually like a lot of a lot of video game adaptations, even though I would argue that hasn’t been like a truly magnificent, like five star.


Jason Concepcion: I agree with you


Rosie Knight: but I actually love a lot of them, so my next one is going to be St Pfizer I. This one goes above double dragon only slightly. Also 1994, directed by Steven D’Souza, I I really love this movie. I rewatch it all the time. It’s so funny. It’s really silly. It doesn’t lean enough into the supernatural. I think there’s a it’s, you know, Jean-Claude Van Damme for some, the carrot. They always do this with the characters they choose to be the main characters. You’re like, Why would you do this like kind of writer? And first of all, the guy they cost is can. That is like one of my most annoying. I’m still annoyed about that costing, you know, 20 years later. But like Kanemaru, a comedy that comedy relief in this movie, it makes no sense. Like, why would they? Nothing about it makes any sense, but it is like, so fun. Raul Julia plays and bison, and he is just unbelievable. And he he chews up all the scenery, and he did the movie because people were like, Why would you do this movie? It was so trash. And he did it because his kids loved street fire and he wanted to do something his kids would love, and he has this like on real line. Where she says to him why it’s him and John Lee and and she says she’s asking him if he remembers when he killed her family and he’s like, You know, the day I graced your village was, you know, that was the most important day of your life. But to me, it was just a Thursday or something, and it’s so good and and it’s so fun. And you know, Kylie Minogue isn’t. Also, there’s like a wow. Yeah. Kylie Minogue is in it as Cami. I think so. It is like


Jason Concepcion: what was I? It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen the movie. I forgot what was the excuse for the split the Jean-Claude Van Damme split in this? When. When did he do the split?


Rosie Knight: Oh, I mean, it happens more than once. And also there’s there’s like a really famous and hilarious interview that’s been doing the rounds recently with, Oh yeah, and Ming-Na Wen plays Chan Lee, which is like, unbelievable casting. Great. Oh yeah, it’s Damian Chapa who plays Ken. Like, why did they do that? But Byron Mann plays right, and he’s wonderful. But there’s a really famous interview that’s going around at the moment virally again with Steven D’Souza, the director, where he talks about how, like Jean-Claude was just like coked out of his mind the whole time. And when you watch the movie like, you can see it. And one of my favorite this movie is not in my top three, right? Street fire is Street Fighter. A legend of Chun-Li is not, but I will say that movie has an unbelievable bathroom fight scene and a very famous, cocaine fueled performance by Chris Klein, so he continues the legend. But yeah, Street Fire 1984 another movie that you have a lot of love.


Jason Concepcion: I am going to pick for my second pick. A recent release, Arcane Netflix’s Arcane, which is the adaptation of law from legal legend. Now, this is very interesting in the sense that I’ve never played legal legends yet. I don’t know the law at all. I don’t usually like the move in a video game adaptation, right? As they always give you that scene. That is a wink at like the way the game is. So, for instance, in the episode one of Halo, when Master Chief touches down on Madrigal and starts slugging away against the Covenant, there’s a moment where like you go into his visor and you see the first person view of him aiming his gun the whole thing. And if that happens in arcane, I have no idea. I don’t know. I just know that it was great and I really enjoyed it. I thought the art was amazing. The characters were really great. I just really, really liked it. It looked almost too real at times.


Rosie Knight: But that’s that’s a show that I think not only is it like a stunning show. I’ve never played League of Legends either, and it’s awesome, but it’s like the rare adaptation. This is probably actually one of those five star we’re talking about. A video game adaptation light not only pushes the boundaries of what a video game adaptation can be, but also the format of animation. Like you said, like when you’re watching it, you spend so much of the time going, how did they do that? Is it right to go? Is it to die? Is it CGI? They used so many formats. It feels like it feels a bit like the first time you see Spider-Verse completely agree.


Jason Concepcion: It’s like that. There’s like this hard, almost like hard edged, like cel shading kind of look and different line weights. and,


Jason Concepcion: yeah it’s like, it’s just really, really cool. I love it. What’s your next pick?


Rosie Knight: Well, I’m absolutely, really happy that you went for like legit quality ones because I’m really going for that. This is the triple bill of 90s Classic. So my first one and I do legitimately love this movie is Mortal Kombat, which came out in 1995. Directed by Paul Anderson, who would obviously go on to do Paul W.S. Anderson would obviously go on to do like a lot of video game adaptations, but this is my favorite. I love this Mortal Kombat movie. It’s campy is how it’s OK, and he’s like, so enjoyable. And I think that, like robbing showers. Liu Kang is like one of the all time best casting seat, and the martial arts are actually really good. It doesn’t. It doesn’t do well. It’s a PG 13. Isn’t that always the way? So you don’t get that brutal, bloody ness of the video games, which Mortal Kombat is probably my favorite video game of all time. So, but there’s just something about this movie that I love. The soundtrack is full of unbelievable bangers like it’s so good and it has every great character you know it has. Oh yeah, Carrie Harry Kitagawa as chanson, and that’s such popular casting that they actually bought him back for one of the video games recently because it was, like, so iconic. And and I also, I would say I also did enjoy. I think this is this was on Netflix, but I think it’s on HBO Max now, and I did enjoy the new Mortal Kombat if you want a more R-rated one. Also, another great Lu casting there. And yeah, I just I love Mortal Kombat, and this movie is like probably one of my most rewatched movies because it’s just so much fun. What’s your number one?


Jason Concepcion: Oh God. So this is a cheat, and I don’t care. I’m going to do it. And with a caveat of this movie came out. 1984, so it might be problematic now, and I haven’t seen it since I was for a long time, I’ve seen it since I was a kid, but as a kid I loved it. So if it’s problematic now, apologies. All apologies. The Last Starfighter from 1984. Now here’s the thing about The Last Starfighter. It’s not really a video game adaptation. It’s about it’s a story about a kid. It’s a story about an alien, a genocidal alien war where the very, very, very Hail Mary. Last option of this dying up against the wall alien civilization that’s about to be wiped out is to create a video game and send it to, I guess, like all the inhabited planets of the galaxy, but in particular, Earth. And that video game will like search for talented fighter pilots. And if they are good enough, if they beat the game, that means they are skilled enough and they will then be picked up by a starfighter like this unique very, very last high tech super top secret starfighter, the last hope of this alien civilization to defeat the enemies. And it was it was like, it’s super fun. Like, you know, as a kid, it was like any kind of story that was like, actually like, if you get good enough at video games, it’s actually really good, like it’s actually beneficial for your life. Dave, what about you? How about if you save not even just your world, but the galaxy, other planets? I was like, I’m all the way. And so the last starfighter I’m I’m I thought about The Last Starfighter, like a couple of weeks ago because it seemed like one of those properties that I’m like, Oh, they haven’t rebooted this yet. Like, they haven’t figured out a way to make this ten episodes of a TV show, or they haven’t figured out how to just, like, make the movie again and release it on Disney Plus. Wow, I’m really surprised at that. So The Last Starfighter, I don’t know if it’s problematic. Again, it came out in 1984. It might be, and I’m sorry, but the Last Starfighter, that’s going to be it because I just love it. It’s


Rosie Knight: I’m going to do. I want to do a special mention then because my other one, if we were doing it like movies, it would be Tron. That’s like, I love it. I love the original Tron. That was such a revolutionary movie for me. So shout out to Tron. Love that weird old movie.


Jason Concepcion: That’s it for the end game. Let us know what you think and use #XRVendgame to give us your pick. Huge thanks to Grant Morrison. Rosie, thanks again for joining us. It’s been a delight. Anything to plug? Plug it again. Plug the comic book again. Yes, I


Rosie Knight: am writing a Godzilla comic with Oliver Ono, the incredible artist who is doing the inks and the colors and the pencils and everything. I’m sure it will be amazing, and I will shout them out when I find out their name. That is my plug. You can find me Rosie Marx on Instagram. Also on Letterbox where you can see all the bad movies that I watched. I watched a lot of bad movies in the hotel at Austin, so that was that,.


Jason Concepcion: What’d you watch?


Rosie Knight: Oh my god, they they showed Die Hard or no Live Free or Die Hard. They showed itve like five times in 24 hrs


Jason Concepcion: of the olaphant one.


Rosie Knight: And that was actually quite fun. And Justin Long and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who I love, who’s also in another great video game from video game movie Scott Pilgrim. I also watched that Peter Jackson King Kong movie on the morning when I was packing, and that is a wild movie, and that is that that’s very problematic and it’s from like the zeros.


Jason Concepcion: Let me just say the opening of that movie, you’re like, Can we do this? Like is this ok?


Rosie Knight: Oh, it happens a lot in that movie. I was like, Wow, I’m I’m like, I’m surprised they haven’t edited this shit out yet, but.


Jason Concepcion: yeah I was like, Is this OK?


Rosie Knight: Yeah, that is wild. But Adrien Brody give him some more romantic leads. The other thing I plug it’s not me, but it is our co-host superstar Cody Ziegler. He has a new comic coming out, Spider Punk #1 by Cody Ziegler. It’s out April 6th. That’s amazing. He Teams up with this brilliant artist called Justin Mason. This unbelievable colorist Jim Charalampidiste, who is just add so much vibrancy and Travis Lanham is the letterer and those letters like. That’s probably the best use of lettering I’ve seen in a comic for a long time. So just good, good stuff that’s going to be a big one.


Jason Concepcion: Well, folks, if you want to learn more about what we explore in each episode, check out our listeners guide to all things X-ray vision in the show notes or on our website. Catch the next episode. This is legit. No April Fool’s on April 1st and again, send your nerd out submissions to Xray@Crooked.com. Also, check out our videos on the uncultured YouTube channel. Last week, Rosie did a really, really unbelievable and incredible and well worth your time VIDEO on the impact of Lynn Varley and Richmond Lewis two women that helped create the unique visual style of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns and Batman Year one, and don’t forget five star ratings wherever you get your podcasts rate us with the five star ratings on Apple Podcasts, on wherever it is. X-ray vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. It is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Caroline Reston and Carlton Gillespie are our consulting producers and our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulis. Thank you to Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you next time!