Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is one of the most forward-thinking, inventive creators in the funnybook business, and he’s pushing the envelope even further with 18 Days, a unique look at the series bible and production materials of his movie pitch retelling the most important tale of Indian mythology, the Mahabharata. Dig this exclusive interview and the visionary art of Mukesh Singh.
Heavy.com: You’re doing 18 Days with Liquid and Dynamite, which was a surprising announcement as you’ve been exclusive with DC Comics since 2004. How did this come about?
Grant Morrison: Well, I’m still exclusive to DC. The reason we were able to do this is because it’s not a comic book. I’m DC for all the comic book work that I do, but fortunately for us this was a completely different kind of project. Way, way back we talked about doing this animated version of what became 18 days which is a retelling of the Indian Mahabharata story. It began with the notion of bringing that back to life as an animation so it was never a comic project. It’s out of DC’s perimeters so we were able to do it in this form. What you’re seeing in the book is a compilation of the scripts we did and a bunch of the amazing illustrations that Mukesh Singh did.
Heavy.com: It’s still in development as an animated project?
Grant Morrison: That’s how it started. I don’t know exactly where they are with that now. We just wanted to showcase the material because mainly the illustrations were so great. I’m not going to talk up my part of it, although it is pretty god damn good! The illustrations are amazing and the production stuff that was done was just so beautiful we wanted to get it out in some form. Hopefully when some producers see the book they’ll realise the potential a little bit more.
Heavy.com: It’s spectacular stuff. 18 Days is designed as a franchise – will you be working on any of the videogame or multimedia spinoffs? (Heavy note – Morrison submitted scripts and concepts for Battlestar Galactica and Predator: Concrete Jungle, as well as trying to get his own Citizen Death concept off the ground)
Grant Morrison: If we can get it off the ground I’d like to think we could ‘cos it is such a great story and it’s got a whole bunch of great characters. I don’t know how much I could write because I’ve got a whole bunch of other projects but certainly I’d be looking to be involved in every aspect of developing it because we’ve taken a different approach to it. In the past, the story’s been told as a historical battle but this one’s a lot more fantastical, science fictional. I’d definitely want to keep [myself] involved in that as much as I could.
Heavy.com: It’s not the first time you’ve had a series bible published (Morrison’s New X-Men pitch was published in trade with the series and joint pitches that would influence All Star Superman – Superman 2000 – have leaked on line) but this time your excitement and energy level seems to have gone up ten times…
Grant Morrison: It’s good to know! (laughs)
Heavy.com: Is this a dream project for you?
Grant Morrison: I really got into it. It’s a lot of big reading because the original book is thousands of pages long, it’s one of the biggest epics in human history. I really struggled with it for a while but once I kind of got into it and understood the structure and It’s a very different structure from the way in the west we make up stories. It’s quite a different sound and getting into that was just the best thing about it. Hopefully that’s the enthusiasm and energy you get. It was like discovering how to play a whole new musical instrument. Suddenly, it got really exciting for me when I figured out how all the stories worked together and got a sense of scale for it.