In the following article, we will explain why you should read Animal Man by Grant Morrison. The author left aside the style of the Comics of the 80’s, returning to the psychedelia of the 60’s.
It is also very emblematic, since it proclaims the rights of animals, as well as several things that will drive you crazy like adopting the powers of animals and many other things. We highly recommend you to take a look at it, you will really love it, Keep Reading!
The reasons why you should read Animal Man by Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison, one of the most important screenwriters of recent times, was in charge of reinterpreting several comics such as the Doom Patrol, the X-Men or Batman himself.
One of his most personal works is Animal Man (1988-1990), where he deployed all his imagination to create unique stories. If you haven’t read it yet, here we will tell you the reasons why you have to take a look at this magnificent series.
Breaking the fourth wall
In 1987, DC called in several British writers, to revive some forgotten superheroes from the publisher’s catalog. Morrison, on a train from Glasgow to London, comes up with the idea of developing the almost unknown character Animal Man, from the Strange Adventures pages of the 1960s.
He radicalizes and redefines the character of Buddy Baker (Animal Man’s name) as we know him today, an unemployed superhero with a traditional family who fights for animal rights.
After publishing the original idea (a 4-chapter miniseries), the publisher asked him to continue the series on a regular basis.
That’s when Morrison, empty of ideas, decides to take a new direction that surprised the comic world, against the gloomy tendencies of the 80’s comics, Morrison takes an experimental and psychedelic path, following the line of the 60’s comics.
The author brings in artists such as Brendan McCarthy, John Broome, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Dennis Potter, among others.
The concept of the writer consumed in his own creation.
The editors, at first, did not look favorably on the idea, but as the series progressed, Buddy Baker’s experimental stories became natural.
Grant, begins to gain prominence in the story, generating existential problems to his own creations, the characters, little by little, become aware that they are manipulated by a scriptwriter.
In one of the most memorable scenes, and Morrison’s favorite, Buddy turns around, looks off the page directly into the reader’s eyes, and says ‘I can really see you’ in a historic vignette.
Who isn’t entertained by a comic where a superhero can absorb the abilities of animals near him?
Buddy Baker, after an encounter with a spaceship, can fly if there is a bird nearby and can swim if surrounded by fish, on one occasion, Buddy joins the European Justice League, travels to Paris, and faces the Time Commander, a villain who turns back time.
German tanks, cavemen, the writer Sartre and even a dinosaur appear on the streets of the city. Yes, Buddy also acquired the strength of that dinosaur, of course.
What if there are no animals around, for example in a desert? You’re not looking, Buddy tells us and, taking the abilities of ants, he starts running at 120km per hour.
This particular character, he always finds something that works for him. Even when his arm is torn off and he is about to bleed to death, his powers are activated and he detects worms meters underground and his arm regenerates! So, it’s safe to say, there is no funnier superhero.
Strong social content
During the course of the Comic, important progressive ideas related to animal rights are conveyed. The superhero sees a ruthless world, where animals are used for experiments, indiscriminate hunting is a source of amusement and entire livestock are annihilated just to weaken enemies militarily.
We can read comics, narrated from the perspective of dolphins or coyotes in which we feel their suffering in our own flesh.
Logically, this is not something Morrison did innocently. According to the author himself, he deliberately set out to use Animal Man as a way of expressing his indignation at the treatment of animals.
Morrison explains that before making the comic, he had seen the 1981 documentary The Animals Film. Not coincidentally, this film also investigates the human uses of animals, denounces industrial agriculture, scientific experimentation on animals, and the uses of animals for clothing, recreation and as pets.
After being shocked by the images in the film, which also describes the international animal rights movement, Morrison decided to become a vegetarian.
Together with his mother, he fed dozens of stray cats, and even, in those years he had his first real and painful grief when he lost his beloved little cat (something that appears in an issue of Animal Man).
When you read Animal Man you can find all these feelings and attitudes.
A nostalgic comic
When you finish reading this article and get around to reading Animal Man, you will encounter garish colors and attitudes that may sound ridiculous and funny.
Morrison loves superheroes, and it’s something you can tell a mile away, however, at the time he was writing Animal Man, the writer couldn’t find superhero stories that interested him.
For the author, in the 80s, superheroes began to have reductionist and miserable stories, forgetting everything that made those comics he enjoyed in his childhood positive.
He loved the absurd situations and aspects traditionally found in superhero comics. Aware of this nostalgic situation, Morrison developed characters very similar to those he had read when he was young.
Starting from a mindset that comics exist primarily for young people, he created a quirky, bright, imaginative and fantastic comic book.
Morrison, in this way, would contribute to empowering the brains of children and teenagers.
If you still have any doubts, you should know that the covers of Animal Man were made by the brilliant Brian Bolland. They will leave you amazed, as well as the antics of the Baker family or the bad Glaswegian words that Morrison makes come out of the mouths of some of his characters.
We hope that you are already looking for your nearest comic book store to know in depth the fantastic story of Buddy Baker. You can’t miss it, we highly recommend it.
We hope you enjoyed it. See you next time!