August 14, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #345: The Writer

So, a writer at DC did something once that ended up with said writer going on a Suicide Squad mission...

The last few entries have been about various Suicide Squad characters, ones that were in the movie and their comic book counterpart.  Some of them may not have had much of a backstory before since they were basically gimmick-based characters or they had few if any actual appearances.

However, I think even the most innovative writer and director might have trouble adding the character sometimes called the Writer to any live action movie, and there’s a simple reason for that:  that character is actually a real person.  Sort of.

See, the Writer is also, well, Grant Morrison.  Morrison, while working on Animal Man, one of the ongoing series that made them a household name (as far as any comic book writer is a household name), played around a bit with the idea that Buddy “Animal Man” Baker was a fictional comic book character who learned he was, well, a fictional comic book character.  Baker encountered some yellow-colored aliens, the same ones who gave Buddy his powers, and these guys were conscious of how they were fictional characters.  Buddy, over time, saw his family die violent deaths, fought a villainous Superman by attacking him from the space between panels, got swept into limbo where all of DC’s forgotten characters somehow end up, and eventually found his way to the real world where he met his writer, Grant Morrison.

That was Morrison’s final issue, and what followed was a conversation during which they demonstrated complete control over Buddy, talked about their commitment to animal rights particularly after the death of a beloved pet, and finally returned Buddy to his family, alive and well like nothing happened.  It was as much a meditation on fiction and Morrison’s newfound (at the time) commitment to animal rights, their thoughts on writing, and the like.  It’s actually a theme running through a lot of Morrison’s work, something they may even believe themselves.  In point of fact, Morrison has claimed these ideas were central to later projects like Final Crisis and Multiversity where the ultimate adversary was implied to be the blank page before anyone drew anything on it.

If anything, the one thing about that story I didn’t care for was Morrison taking a moment to encourage the reader to join P.E.T.A.

Well, that’s all well and good.  What does that have to do with the Suicide Squad?

Simply put, DC writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale decided that, if Morrison appeared in a DC book, that made them a DC character, and they could then join the Suicide Squad as the Writer, a character who could alter reality by writing up a scenario on a portable word processor.

The Writer had exactly one mission in Suicide Squad #58, a War of the Gods crossover.  And…they were killed when they developed a badly timed case of writer’s block.


Now, Morrison has written characters like themselves into their own books, most notable Seven Soldiers, but there’s some nasty logic to the Suicide Squad appearance.

But, since they are a real person, then they aren’t likely to appear in a movie unless played by themselves.

Point is, if James Gunn makes another, keep an eye out for this guy.
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