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CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – Grant Morrison and Brain Trauma

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today, based on a suggestion from reader GreyDog, we examine five instances when Grant Morrison had a character either suffer brain trauma or be threatened by brain trauma…


From JLA: Earth 2, when the bad guy of the story, Brainiac, reveals himself, the Justice League and the Crime Syndicate team-up to stop him…

From JLA #37, Prometheus threatens Batman…

From New X-Men #150, Magneto does a bad thing…

From Batman #681, Doctor Hurt has a nasty end in mind for Batman…

From Batman and Robin #15, Doctor Hurt is at it again…

If you have suggestions for future installments, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!


Oof! Those Earth 2 pages remind me why I used to hate Quitely’s art so very, very much. It’s all terrific layout and compositions, and terrible human figures…

No, say, various punishments for Cliff Steele’s brains in Doom Patrol?

Since he was ALL brain, I figure he’d be a bit too easy.

Wow Morrison’s quite obsessed. I mean, I love threats of inflicting brain trauma as much as the next guy, but still XD

You could add Rock of Ages and how the “JLA” defeated Darkseid and in a stretch, how the Cuckoos “manipulated” their Sh’iar spy boyfriend in New X-Men…..and Batman’s revenge on Prometheus….

Between that and Futurama, I will never look at Stephen Hawking the same way w/o chuckling….

Travis Pelkie

July 28, 2011 at 2:34 am

Yeah, Daryll brought up Batman’s revenge on Prometheus, which was WAY awesome.

There’s another Morrison pattern I’m thinking of, so maybe I’ll send a quick email.

And if anyone’s interested in the Morrison doc Talking with Gods, it’s apparently free on the Hulu. For US citizens. So too bad for Tom Fitzpatrick! (I kid, I kid.)

id like to see how many times chris bachalo sneeks a turtle into his drawings or joe quesada snuck in a cat.

AS, in my original e-mail to Brian, I mentioned the Doom Patrol’s fight with the Brotherhood of Dada when Cliff’s brain tank was ruptured.

Daryll B., awesome catch on the Rock of Ages storyline. I completely forgot about the Atom’s lobotomizing of Darkseid. That scene is even more intense than what Ultraman does to Brainiac. Brian, is there any way to include it?

There is also the instance in Batman R.I.P., where Nightwing is captured by Scorpiana and strapped to a table so Le Bossu can perform a lobotomy on him.

I was reminded of that old JLA issue with Green Arrow and Atom lobotomizing Darkseid just yesterday, funny to see this here so soon after. What reminded me of that stunt was an episode of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (this week’s obsession for me) where Hawkeye and Ant-Man do a similar arrow-riding stunt. Just not into a demigod’s brain!

To say nothing of Cliff Steele and Martha Johansson.

@yo go re

His figures? I understand the people who don’t like his faces, but his figures? Those things have mass and momentum and sculptural finesse out the nose.

I used to hate Quitely’s art, just because of those huge, ugly, blocky faces that all looked the same. I couldn’t understand how other people could like it.

I always love the sounds Morrison makes his characters say when they are struggling. “Muuuuuiii” “Jgg” “Naaaa” “Naaananan!”

All the Batman family have personal tics. Batman’s “Hh”, Dick Grayson’s “Hn”, Damian’s “Tt”, even Evil-Batman Prometheus up there has a “Hih”

How about Garth Ennis and fat people falling from the sky? And Mark Waid and has a reusued a lot of plots too…

This reminds me of Adam Warren’s love of the word “decerebrate” (“lacking a brain” or “remove the brain from” depending on whether it’s used as an adjective or a verb). I remember reading the Marvel Mangaverse Fantastic Four book and seeing Reed Richards use that word (beating up on himself for not realizing something sooner, I believe) and thinking “oh, I didn’t know Adam Warren wrote this” and checking the credits to find out that, yup, he did.

I’d suggest that as a topic for this column but I don’t know how easy it would be to track down specific issues without reading all of his output. I’m sure he used it in one of his Dirty Pair series (one of the pair uses it as an insult), and in his run on Gen-13 run (a telepath threatens to do it to one of the guys). I’m pretty sure he’s used in Empowered at least once, but I forget the context.

Mike Loughlin

July 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I don’t remember if the damage done to Mr. Miracle during the life-trap sequence in Seven Soldiers resulted in brain damage, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t.

@ M Loughlin
No brain damage but that WAS one of the most unsettling beat downs in comic book history.

Whose art is that on the Batman panels?

Tony Daniel on the first one, Frazer Irving on the second.

The thing that surprised me the most from the Earth-2 panels was Superman’s language – “ultrastellar abortion”? Yikes – that sure sounds a lot harsher than I would expect from him.

That’s Ultraman, the evil version of Superman (hence the harsher language).

You didn’t include one of my favourites: in Final Crisis, when Dan Turpin is possessed by Darkseid and beating information out of the Mad Hatter, and he says something like, “You want to get brain damage from a toilet seat? How’s that going to look when they make the movie of your life?”

[…] Morrison has improved quite a bit since the New 52 Batman Inc has started. He hasn’t even threatened brain damage yet. […]

Oh, so now Robin’s all hip ‘n’ atheist ‘n’ shit, huh? Don’t believe in souls? Tell it to Zauriel.

Oh, and in all the years I’ve been reading Batman books I have seen Batman smell, I have seen the Joker get away, and I have even seen the Batmobile lose a wheel, but I have never seen Robin lay an egg. Until that last panel.

Come to think of it, didn’t Aquaman threaten (and maybe even did) one of the White Martians in the first JLA story with some psychic brain attack?

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