Talking with Gods, a stylized documentary featuring the life and career of recluse comic book writing icon Grant Morrison, was screened at Orlando, Florida’s A Comic Shop to an intimate audience followed by a Q & A session with Director Patrick Meaney. The documentary itself is rather entertaining as it focuses on the character of a man who has made a name for himself being a larger than life character, sometimes writing himself into the pages of his own stories. In turn Morrison has attempted to live his stories outside of the comics he writes as well. (Sound confusing? You’ll have to see this movie and read his Invisibles comics to fully appreciate the levels in which the writer immerses himself into the worlds he creates.) Contributions and commentary by other industry heavy-weights such as Warren Ellis, Geoff Johns, Matt Fraction and many many more detail what makes Morrison so unique and gives viewers insight into his mastery of the medium. His belief in magic and having been abducted by aliens also provide some unexpected color to the movie. But when listening to Morrison, and others who know him, talk about these events there’s a certain practicality that allows for a degree of unexpected acceptance. No one thinks the guy is crazy or hallucinating or on any type of narcotic, his perception is just different than most eveyone else’s. Not his perception of reality, mind you, just the way he sees and chooses to interpret things from the mundane to the monumental. It’s likely how he is the go-to guy for counter culture commentary.
Meaney conceived of the idea to create the documentary chronicalling Morrison’s rise to obscure stardom while writing a book on the scribe’s Invisibles series title Our Sentence is Up: Seeing Grant Morrison’s Invisibles. Meaney began recording the lengthy interviews (in beautiful high definition) and realized there was a bigger story to tell. After outlining the project to Grant and his wife, Kristan Morrison, the writer jumped on board.
Morrison is one of those writers who many either love or hate…more love him while few have feelings of indifference toward his work. It’s just that evokotive. I myself am not an acolyte of Morrison even though his JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel is one of the best graphic novels of the decade…possibly any decade. What’s impressive about the man is the sheer volume of “out there” ideas he conceives from moment to moment. Ideas that, without a doubt, have made Morrison a truly unique being put on this planet to put them to paper. So despite my personal taste, there is no denying his genius and generous contribution to the comics medium, pop culture and impact upon the consciousness of those who read his stories. In regard to those influences, the movie alludes to the strong similaries between his Invisibles opus and the Matrix. (NOTE: Many of the same correlations have been made to Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan and the Matrix. It’s probably safe to say the Wachowski Brothers (the directors of the Matrix trilogy) used motifs found in both as well as other comics and Eastern pop culure with a dash of biblical mythos as inspiration.)
The Q & A revealed that Meaney is currently in production on a documentary of similar flavor centering on another comic book writer who also has a talent for high concept and creative work, Warren Ellis.
The documentary was completed in September of this year and has recieved critical acclaim from Variety, Ain’t It Cool News, and within the circles of those who appreciate comics and pop culture. There is a case to be made for some of the reviews claiming this movie may not have much appeal to non-comic book or non-Morrison fans but, cinematically speaking, Talking with Gods blows any biography one would find on A&E or the Biography channel out of the water. It’s beautiful to look at, the eighty minutes of stories keep your attention throughout, and there’s just this air of coolness that exudes for the duration.
The movie was watched in A Comic Shop’s latest edition, the Geek Easy. This geek lounge, with wall to wall LCD screens, was a great setting for the viewing. It is a unique nerd pub giving members access to playing video games, reading graphic novels, hanging out with like minded people, exclusive events and, yes, having a few drinkings. It was bring your own beverage for this event but store owners sometimes provide free beer when the geek count is more substantial such as a midnight release party or curbside concert.
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