Why Now Is The Best Time To Adapt Grant Morrison’s DCU

by Tito W. James

There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding the appointment of James Gunn as CEO at DC Studios and the return of Henry Cavill as Superman. That coupled with sequels to both Joker and The Batman spell good news for DC films and fans who have (putting it lightly) been through a lot. We’re entering a new decade and have the potential to introduce these beloved characters to a new generation. 

During the height of the DCEU vs MCU rivalry, the debate that often came up was that DC films were too dark and Marvel’s films were much more fun. While I preferred the DC films that took the characters seriously — I am tired of the notion that “good quality” is equated to being “realistic.”

Grant Morrison is one of the most celebrated writers of DC Cannon and their unique meta-textual and metaphysical stories appear to be unadaptable at first. However, I believe that James Gunn’s ability to mix splatter humor, heart, creativity, and genuine love for the characters could make him the perfect person to either direct or produce a Grant Morrison-inspired DCU story. There were already parts of All Star Superman quoted in Man of Steel, and HBOs Doom Patrol has garnered positive critical and fan response.

Grant Morrison’s vision for the DCU was in stark contrast to Frank Miller and Allen Moore’s “darker and grittier” interpretations of classic characters. Comic books are in a different place, artistically, politically and spiritually. Grant Morrison’s comics are imaginative, diverse, unpredictable, multi-tonal, violent, funny, and mind-bending. Their psychedelic sensibilities and New Age philosophy have become eternally tied to the DCU and are part of its creative DNA. Adapting some of Grant’s best works could be the psychedelic shock to the system that pop-culture needs.

The DCU is full of colorful, unbridled imagination and yet most non-comic book readers still perceive DC characters as conservative 1950s icons. There are so many inventive and untapped concepts: Batman Incorporated, Damien Wayne as Robin and then as Batman 666, Multiversity, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, and Animal Man. If anyone could make concepts like Bat-mite and Bat-cow work it would be James Gunn! 

Grant Morrison managed to change readers’ perception about the meaning of superheroes, revitalizing classic characters while being true to their absurd origins. Grant’s writing is a masterclass on how to modernize 80-year-old characters and make them relevant to a contemporary audience. As with anything, this blog is just wishful thinking. But in Grant Morrison’s case, I’m willing to believe in magic and hope this wish comes true.

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