Grant Morrison really wants to save the world.

It’s a hard concept to understand at first. The man behind such bewildering narratives? And he has my best interests in mind?

Hardly, the skeptics say and the naysayers hype. He’s only interested in stringing together enough words for a treasure trove of artists (commissioned due to a knowingly late artist accepting monthly responsibilities and being late) to interpret into something resembling a story.


And didn’t he write that story about how evil won?

yes, he did.

Although, as he would tell it, it really was the day evil won at DCU, where little to no communication happened between an entire staff of writers sculpting a universe-wide event.

And, according to his newest book Supergods (really revealing collection of comic books as treasure trove of psychological fauna that manages to be both somewhat comprehensive of controversial and radical superheroics while laying Grant Morrison’s style bare in incredibly readable prose punctuated by lucid and concise autobiography),

*ahem, that was, according to his newest book Supergods, he wrote that to send off a signal of solar radiation. You see, every eleven years (and actual science backs this up), the polar charging of the sun’s energy switches from positive to negative, essentially switching the constitution of the product humanity consumes the most often (and least knowingly). Our bodies gain nutrients from sunlight, and the charge of it drastically shifts every eleven years. Regardless of the dichotomous terms  used, (Morrison chooses “punk” and “hip”), we begin to see the world differently, and accept more of the other when we turn to the “hip”, forming communities that the punks later stray from. Song lengths get longer, epics encompass more, mediums are more fluid, etc.

It actually makes a little bit of sense, at least looking at pop culture’s acceptance of the new and innovative. Jazz didn’t really get into full gear until white money paid clubs to host jazz musicians, something that happened right after a solar cycle switch, in 1922  (also the year the last truce finally sweeping away the great war’s combat off of the Earth happened then). In the thirties, recordings finally became cheap and available, making jazz singles much more widely distributed among record shops. It took white money (and the end of world war two during another solar cycle’s shift back to “punk” in 1933 and then back to “hip” in 1944) and production of the music to really make it explode in the mid 40’s, tho. The next time the cycles switched back, 1967, Sly and the Family Stone, the first intterracial rock band, blew minds and became superstars. 1988 saw more than double the prior year’s amount of white people buy hip hop records. Independent hip hop would thrive until the early 2000s saw the rise of crunk and its subsequent eclipse of the poetic. To mark the occasion, Black Star would record their first (and only complete) album in 1999, right before another solar cycle, and would triumphantly announce their second in 2011 (when the solar cycle switches back). And so rap would remain an image, instead of exploration, of the solipsistic and excessive. That is, until the internet opened up and allowed a million of artists to spring up able to share their work faster than any public could reasonably consume it.

Another thing happened before the internet gave so many unimpressive stages to the world.

The last time a solar shift happened was in 2010, right before FInal Crisis’ ending. The New DC 52 arose out of its poorly edited, overeagerly synchronized epics. No, now DC would start small, and earn its shared universes through two-title-at-a-time crossovers (which is working spectacularly in Animal Man and Swamp Thing and O.M.A.C. with Frankenstein, Agents of S.H.A.D.E.).

All of which is to say that DC learned their lesson from that mess.

Mostly, that they began to trust Grant Morrison’s guiding of their universe, which springs out of a communal liberation of the individual from the constraining oligarchy of vast editorial connections.

Looking back at other times Grant Morrison has written comics where the world is saved from a vast and abstract apocalypse (oh, wait, that’s almost every one!), I’ve looked at Swamp Thing, where he remains an ego-less advisor to Mark Millar, and now we have the ability to see a concurrently published comic that wears its Morrisonian flag, proudly.

I read Flex Mentallo, an altruistic hallucination determined to change your life.


Notice the caption “YOU! BUY THIS COMIC NOW OR THE EARTH IS DOOMED!!”. Never have I found a comic with more reviews saying exactly what the publishers are saying. Its amazon review thread reads almost as an altar of sermons preaching first the comics (“nice, fun stuff that has aged quite well”, to its creators, the medium itself). Not bad for a comic whose every sliver mention on a blog used to send tingles up my spine.

It’s like the promise of this old Flash cover (remarked upon in Morrison’s Supergods):


Except, in a very real way, if people stopped buying the Flex Mentallo comic, and didn’t blog about it incessantly, DC wouldn’t have sat through the complex (and very boring) legal trouble that they did (and which the new york times concisely, and accessibly, summarizes here). We can make it worth it, guys!

And now it’s being reprinted, and its cover looks like this:

Finally through with the uninteresting (and very narratologically necessary) legal trouble that is best left as a relic of a world too close minded to understand. The thing is, Flex Mentallo is the “man of muscle mystery” that Atlas made one scrawny man into. This is an ad that ran through almost every marvel and DC comic in the 70s, which Morrison voraciously read (and which, of course, this four issue vertigo mini series references):


the ads didn’t stop there, though. In less iconic poses we had other solicitations to superheroism:


as well as my personal favorite between these two:

Yea, advertisers thought that kids wanted to become superheroes, and judging by the amount of ads that run through my comic collection, Flex Mentallo may have the most appearances of any superhero in my comic collection.

All of which made it very difficult to reprint these comics, seeing as how DC didn’t own the character, even though they gave Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely the rights to him.

Regardless, that’s all sorted out like laundry folded in your dresser drawer.

I’ll unfold it soon.

stay tuned.

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