Overview

Grant Morrison's 18 Days

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Grant Morrison's 18 Days

Credits

  • Words: Grant Morrison
  • Art: Mukesh Singh
  • Story Title: Book One
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $24.99
  • Release Date: Aug 25, 2010

With the release of Grant Morrison's 18 Days, audiences will experience something that has only been hinted at in interviews—a glimpse at Morrison's creative process.  Reviewing 18 Days is difficult and not for the usual reasons associated with Morrison's other works.  While it is challenging, innovative, and intriguing like most of his stories, the real test here for readers is making the connections between script pages and a final product that has yet to be released. 

Usually reserved for a "deluxe edition" as a special feature, Dynamite Entertainment along with Liquid Comics and Perspective Studios have taken Morrison's story bible, character descriptions, authorial commentaries and suggestions, and the scripts for the first three episodes and presented them in a prestigious hardcover format.  Without reference to a finished product, this is a risky venture for certain, but Dynamite, Liquid, Perspective, and Morrison should be praised for asking more from the reading public with this book and as a result, fans and even some detractors of Morrison's work will be impressed by the sheer level of detail and scope in this project. 

Grant Morrison's 18 Days, Art by Mukesh Singh, Used by permission of Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics

Following a short, honorary introduction by Deepak Chopra, readers are immediately cast into the inner workings of Morrison's mind and there is little time to take pause and reorient oneself.  Yet, this feeling of being thrown deep into the creative waters is not disorienting as Morrison's skills as a craftsman and storyteller are vividly apparent from the inception.  Adding to this comfort in unfamiliar territory are the stellar visualizations and designs by Mukesh Singh.  Unlike the patterns or formulas of sequential art that normally allow for a natural progression between word and image, Singh's illustrations alongside Morrison's text recall the author's single-issue experiment in alternative story formats from Batman #663 where the pictures accompanied a largely prose narrative. 

If the story itself was not epic enough, Singh's images are massive as they blend the classic and the mythological with the futuristic and the scientific.  Described as "techno-Vedic" by Morrison, Singh's contributions to the book and, presumably, to the look and atmosphere of the final version, cannot be overestimated.  From the rough sketches and the polished character designs, to the intricately beautiful battle sequences and landscapes, readers also benefit from Singh's own creative notes on interpreting and adapting Morrison's script.

Grant Morrison's 18 Days, Art by Mukesh Singh, Used by permission of Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics

After reviewing many of Morrison's comics or original graphic novels, it's hard to judge the merits and strengths of 18 Days as a script solely because there is little comparison to what it will eventually become.  As such, 18 Days is a book of process and development.  However, the conceptual notes and descriptions provide an insight that even the occasional Morrison-scribed introduction or afterword to a collected hardcover or trade paperback cannot hope to replicate.  Additionally, the story itself is striking as Morrison adapts the sacred Indian Mahabharata text into a vision that few if any authors could pull off so successfully.  Furthermore, while some audiences might experience some disconnect between the script pages and having to reference the extensive cast of characters constantly to keep story elements focused, the narrative itself is largely seamless as Morrison's directorial comments and signposts almost become a voiceover themselves, guiding the reader forward through this vast epic.  At times, the experience is almost like having Morrison right there reading to you and telling you the story himself because the pages progress and flow so smoothly.

Grant Morrison's 18 Days, Script by Grant Morrison, Art by Mukesh Singh, Used by permission of Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics

As the structure of 18 Days prohibits a conventional review, it's good that Grant Morrison has always been a writer who defies convention.  Readers can witness this for themselves when Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics release Grant Morrison's 18 Days next week on August 25.

 All art images by Mukesh Singh.  Script by Grant Morrison.  Used by permission of Liquid Comics and Dynamite Entertainment.

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