The King Mob and I
Okay, it’s been over a week now since I met one of my heroes and idols Grant Morrison at a book signing in L.A. and I think I’ve finally processed it enough to write about it. For those who don’t know who that is; Grant Morrison is in my opinion the most prolific and greatest writer of all time. You can argue about that if you want and trust me many people have tried. You can claim that Alan Moore’s Watchmen, or Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, makes them the greatest comic book writers, and if you only judged on sales then you’d still be wrong because Morrison’s Arkham Asylum has outsold both of those and remains in the New York Times top 100, 20 years after it was published. You can argue that Grant Morrison is more of a fringe writer and that his stories are too confusing and all over the board. To that I would just look at you like you were stupid and pat you on your empty head. My love of Grant Morrison does not stem from his work on DC’s 52, or Final Crisis, it does not come from reading his All-Star Superman (the greatest Superman story ever told), or his six years on Batman (the best six years the 70+ year old character has ever had), no; my love for Grant Morrison comes from the work he is arguably most known for-The Invisibles.
The Invisibles was a seven year creator owned (published under DC’s Vertigo imprint), odyssey that chronicles the journey of the next Buddha from boyhood to adulthood, with a band of anarchist/ontological terrorist fighting the ultimate good fight in the war between Order and Chaos. It is also a giant magickal sigil that affected everyone who truly read it and the man who wrote it. It affected me profoundly when I first picked up the seven page preview back in 1993. In 1994 when the book came out I lost my mother to Cancer, and began my long journey through drug abuse, punk rock culture, and in 1996 I formed an Invisible cell of my own. I had gotten into LSD pretty heavily, selling it and taking it almost daily. I was going to punk shows, and straight from there to raves throughout the Southeast. I gathered a wild eclectic band of young freaks and geeks with whom I turned onto the book. We read each issue over and over religiously. Devouring every word he wrote.
After a particularly long week of ingesting acid we decided it would be a great idea to construct a bomb. We were hapless armatures who thought we knew more than we did because we had read the Anarchist cook book. We weren’t completely out of it, we knew that what we constructed was not actually capable of exploding but it looked real, and we wanted to use it. After a short deliberation we picked a place-Hanes Mall-the largest mall between Maryland and Atlanta. We had resented the structure for various personal infractions, but more or less because we felt like it was drain on our area’s burgeoning youth culture. It was the thing that sucked the soul out of the city and when the mall closed at 10 the entire town shut down. It had to be taught a lesson. With haste we devised a plan and set our convincing fake inside a bathroom to await discovery. To quicken the pace I placed a call into the police and the local news station.
After some sloppiness on our part we were ratted out by one of our own, and captured four days later. My cell was comprised of kids each under 18 years old so they were given one year probation, while I was the ripe old age of 19 so I received a Federal Felony. I got 3 years probation plus six months on house arrest and another six in a half-way house. I continued to devour acid and drink like a fish, until I racked up four violations and a healthy rap sheet. After my forth probation violation I received an additional 8 months this time in a Federal Penitentiary on the side of a mountain in Ohio. There the series came winding down to its end and my journey as well transformed into so much more than I had ever dreamed. Once free I began this awesome track across the United States, first to Atlanta, then to New York, back to Atlanta. From there I moved to St. Louis, Oakland, and finally ended up here in San Francisco, where the King Mob character from the book had an ex girlfriend that he called once when he thought he was dying.
Throughout the book I felt I was intertwined in the story, from early on the discoveries of Jack Frost within the 2D paged became my discoveries in real life. I fought the law, danced into the night with drag queens, and fell into a world of ancient magick and mysticism that has followed me every day since. There are many people in my life that I credit with making me the man I have become; Ian McCaye from Minor Threat/Fugazi, Jeff Joyce my mentor when I was first entering the world of punk rock, my mother, my grandmother, and Grant Morrison. I had met all my heroes and idols, except for Grant up until July 28th. When I met him a cycle of supplication has ended. I felt after I shook his hand and told him my story that I was now free. Whatever happens from here on out is up to me. The Invisible’s has been over for 11 years now. It was time I stepped out of its shadow and began to cast one of my own.
I had no idea when I left SF for LA on Jun 1st that I was going to be able to actually see my hero in person. I had heard that he had a place in LA and split his time between there and Glasgow (Scotland). So I preformed one of the rituals I learned from the letters pages of The Invisibles. A process called sigil magick, were you write down a request from the universe and remove the consonants leaving only the vowels. You then take the vowels and arrange them into an almost unrecognizable pattern forming a singular symbol from the letters. You then fixate on the sigil and most masturbate upon it to give it some kind of sex magick power. I have done that, but I have found when I really want something I consume it. So instead of jerking off on the piece of paper I crumpled it up and ate it. When I arrived in Los Angeles I went to see an old friend of mine who runs a theatre in the back of a comic shop. After hugging and getting over the initial excitement seeing each other after some time, she informed me that Grant would be in the store promoting a book of his. The spell had worked; I lied on the floor briefly in disbelief.
I had nearly the entire two months I was there to wait. I idled the time away sightseeing and meeting people, having adventures and sitting quietly in my rented room wondering what it was I was going to say to the man who had shaped so much of my life. I debating on whether or not to give him some of my writings, or show him some of my sketches, I thought about if I should tell him about my cell, or just mention that I had a letter published in the back of The Invisibles back in 1996. I agonized over these decisions like one would agonize over whether or not to shoot someone. I weighed the pros and cons and tried my best to see ever possible outcome. In the end when the moment came I decided to simple tell him my story and thank him for what he had done. It was beyond words. I fretted and worried the entire evening. Through his interview by My Chemical Romances Gerard Way, thought he Q & A period and the entire time I milled around with the other store employees who had become my friends over the two months, awaiting my turn to speak with the Master.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of nervousness and elation that being around him brought to me. To me he is more than just a comic book creator, or writer. He is more than just a guy who wrote some kick ass book, this is a man who for all intents and purposes wrote my personal bible. He gave me visions that would rival and Christian hallucinations and set me on this course to living out my ultimate dreams. Now I know it doesn’t look like it, I am 33 and yet to be published. I have spent so many years wallowing in alcohol and self-doubt. I had taken myself up and down the highways of America in search of the awakening of my own Buddha-hood. I’ve found a lot of things on my journey, but I have yet to transform into a being of pure light and reach Parinirvana. But I can now say that I’ve met Grant Morrison.