Wednesday, 16 May 2012

An Open Letter to Mr Grant Morrison

Dear Mr Morrison,

Long time listener, first time caller.

I have been a huge fan of your work since your days on 2000ad. Zenith remains one of the seminal and most inspiration comic book works of my lifetime, and you continue to amaze and entertain me with the sheer volume and breadth of your ideas - seeming to throw away more created realities in a single panel than most creators manage in lifetime.

It has long been my ambition to consider myself a peer of yours, to create comics which are held in the same esteem as your own works, or to at least bring the same levels of entertainment, wonderment and enjoyment to my own readers as you do to yours.

Two years ago, with the help of the wonderful team of Jonathan Rector, Heather Breckel, Bernie Lee, Dan Smith, Karl Altstaetter, and more - as well as some amazingly generous Kickstarter backers - I started to shape and form one of my own ideas into something which I would hope make this ambition come true.

It was an idea that had been seeded many decades ago, probably around the time that I was reading about Masterman's body housing terrible and many-angled ancient gods. It was an idea - originally called Heroics - which would ask the question "why superheroes?". What is the appeal of these demi-gods? These fantastical and often absurd characters who, despite the odds often being stacked against them, often meeting their makers on countless occasions, and often having the grubby minds of less-heroic creators mess with their masks - who always seem to defeat the bad guys, win the day, save the world.

It started with a young boy, late for school, in the rain, granted powers by a magical lightening bolt. It later became a track and field star, running in a race when his body and mind reached some incredible peak and powers exploded through him.

By the time I started mapping out the series the name had changed (Heroics became The Hero Code), the characters changed (in some form or another), but the idea remained the same - super heroes should be good guys, and they should go up against something terrible, but never waiver, never blink, give everything to defeat the terrible.

I believe in transmorphic resonance, in a shared idea space and dreamscape - see my earlier post about The Occultist. I once wrote a story about a hard light hologram - information and energy conjoined in our reality - who went up against a computer hacker who was the chosen one. It ended with them fighting in a subway tunnel. It wasn't very good, I was 14 when I wrote it, but it still had some good ideas in it, which, when I saw The Matrix, I thought "oh, so they did work!".

I also wrote a story about a man granted incredible powers, but yet remained a kind of nobody. He was called Mr Nobody. When I read your Doom Patrol and saw the character Mr Nobody in those pages I thought "oh cool, so it was a good name!".

The idea behind the Hero Code (spoiler alert!) is that a group of people went exploring in the spaces between reality - somewhere they should not have gone. Whilst there, they awoke something terrible. Something which should not be here, in our reality. They fled, but the thing followed. They created realities in an attempt to trick the terrible thing, to keep it off of their sent, but the thing grew bigger, stronger, and consumed the created realities with unquenchable hunger. They created more worlds, watched more realities fall... and then something amazing happened. One of the realities started to create it's own realities. And so on, and so on.

One of those realities is the world of The Hero Code - a kind of idea of what heroism is. A parable passed down, a word of mouth idea of what a superhero should be. Slowly that reality starts to grow, starts to develop beyond the idea, it starts to defeat the negativity. And so the heroes grow. Will they be ready to face the terrible thing when it comes? Well, you'll have to buy the series to find out! (Issue one is now available from the store, see above link!).

While reading your recent Action Comics issue 9, I was struck with how some of the ideas therein touched upon the ideas of The Hero Code. I was particularly struck with the mention of Optiman - my own Superman analogy.

Once again I find myself thinking "Oh cool, maybe I'm on to something!"

Basically - I think you'll like The Hero Code. I think there are a lot of ideas therein from a shared space - be it a source of inspiration, or just an ideaspace which we've both passed through - and I think you'll dig it.

Thank you again for all the great stories!


Jamie Gambell
Los Angeles, 2012

PS - if you're ever in LA and want to grab a coffee, I'd love that.

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