Heavy.com: 18 Days is part of a history just as huge as the continuity of X-Men and Superman, and when you worked on those characters you threw a lot of concepts out because they didn’t really work. When did you feel you had to be reverent and when did you feel you could throw things out?
Grant Morrison: Obviously you have to be reverent to one of the great books of human culture. I went into it and I thought I’ve got a limited amount of time to tell an awesome, immense story so what I chose to do was focus on the battle which is a seventh of the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is the entire history of several generations of a family, but what I chose to do was to focus on this battle which to me sums up everything. At the heart of the battle you have the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna and the spiritual side of Hinduism and all world philosophies in there as well. I built it around that, that right in the middle of it all there’s this revelation and from the revelation you’re proceeding into the mythological battle and then beyond the mythological battle there’s these flawed human beings. We’re going to explore how each of them got there in ironic flashbacks that will counterpoint with their deaths or certain decisions they’d make that would be suddenly really ironic and painful when you saw what brought them to it. I was aware of how you can condense it and focus on what’s going to work as a movie or animation which honestly is twelve super archers firing millions of laser arrows into the air! We wanted all that stuff so we fit it around the battle and it gave us the structure of 18 Days.
Heavy.com: Were you inspired by any of the old MTV Liquid TV shorts?
Grant Morrison: I didn’t think about it. Now that you mention it yeah, that’s cool stuff, but I wasn’t really thinking of that. It was really just how you work within the format and they said they want to do it as a sequence of short animations. The idea of how the hell you package this whole object into tiny slices making it modular and making it work.
Heavy.com: What’s your preferred format for 18 Days? (Heavy note – The series was originally pitched as a series of webisodes)
Grant Morrison: As far as I know the book is coming out and then then I assume it’s going around studios because it’s a lot easier to sell with the book so we’ll see what happens. I want to see it done as a huge Lord of the Rings three movies live action thing, I think that would be the best thing to do, a 3D CGI graphics extravaganza. Now we’ve got a chance and with the illustrations I think it might be a sell. After things like Avatar and Alice and Wonderland people want to see crazy sh*t on the screen.
Heavy.com: You said it would take ten whole movies to do the Mahabharata…
Grant Morrison: Yeah, it would take ten movies! You could do the 18 Days in one movie, but it would be really good to get three and do a big, big epic.
Heavy.com: Is this a continuing universe? Will you return to it?
Grant Morrison: It’s hard in the sense that of the hundred million combatants, I think only five survive and they don’t survive for long. There’s elements I added to make it work as a movie because I didn’t want to do something everyone’s absolutely familiar with [and] parts of that could be a sequel. I think what you want to do is the ultimate, epic battle with this thing and that’s it and it’s the end and it’s really final and powerful and and says everything about the human condition.
Heavy.com: Instead of all those Mighty Thor comics edging towards Ragnarok, to just do Ragnarok and that’s it, that’s the story?
Grant Morrison: To actually do it and put it on screen, because the way the Mahabharata tells it, and the way it plays out and the way everyone meets their end and finally meets their fate, it’s just great, the twists and the turns and the character stuff is just great.
Heavy.com: Will we see you working with Liquid again?
Grant Morrison: I don’t know, it’s hard to say. If we come up with another project along these lines, yeah, certainly. We haven’t talked about it yet, because getting this off the ground [has] been such a big project that’s taken up most of the time and most of our dealings together. But yeah, I really like those guys, we’ve been friends for a while now so I’m obviously open to something.
18 Days is released in August, published by Dynamite Entertainment in partnership with Liquid Comics.