Grant Morrison’s the Filth (2002 – 2003)

a limited series of 13 issues

morrison_thefilth_covI read and loved We3 when I first started giving comics serious attention. Since then, everything I’ve read from Grant Morrison has failed to meet that standard, or say anything appealing at all.

That, or I might sincerely dislike him as a person. His books have increasingly left me playing spot-the-influence — it’s either Moore or Gaiman if we’re talking comics, otherwise it’s verbatim Robert Anton Wilson every time. He ticks all the boxes on the literary comics-writer checklist. He’s transgressive to be transgressive. He breaks the fourth wall to break the fourth wall. He steals from Lovecraft because, honestly, who doesn’t? Everyone sounds like Grant Morrison — identifiable only by catchphrases: one will say ‘dude’ a lot, another ‘fuck’ every sentence, a third ‘honey,’ &c. — and half the heroes are Mary Sues. Deep essays on Freudian psychology are dropped as if Freud wasn’t discredited 40 years earlier. He’s classically-pretentious in playing the teacher-writer, but gets all his facts wrong and misquotes all his words of wisdom — this is made worse in that half the dialogue are the characters (i.e., Grant Morrison) lecturing to each other and the reader about how the world works. He breaks new ground with an LGBT cast by having them all be walking 2-dimensional stereotypes who were abused into sexual deviancy — but no worries, their deviancy is, like, totally hip and Zen. He even makes his introduction to a Transmetropolitan volume more about him and his wonderful influence rather than the comic he was introducing. And now I’m doing it, as well.

It’s hard to write about a Grant Morrison series without talking about Grant Morrison the writer. His name has, by this point, turned into a product by itself and for itself.

morrison_thefilth_art
Cutting-edge satire.

The Filth is more of that. It drags society through a red-tinged, big-boob’d pile of garbage to point out that consumerism is bad. That’s it. 13 issues of overcooked text accompanying surreal pictures of senseless gore and animal abuse and porn-gone-wrong and lots of phallic purple imagery to say the same childish, ignorant thing all the Chuck Palahniuks of the world have been saying for 30 years.

2 / 10

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