Grant Morrison is one of the greatest writers of our age—comics or otherwise (check out their book Supergods, a non-fiction book about the importance of superheroes). They’ve pushed the boundaries of superhero comics like no other writer we have. From their wild Kid Eternity to their new, fresh take on Green Lantern, when Morrison writes a book, you know it’ll be interesting. But now they’re also pushing the industry forward in representation. Why? Because this week, Grant Morrison came out as Non-Binary. So, why is this so important?
Grant Morrison Coming Out as Non-Binary Represents a Shift in the Comic Industry
(Image: Green Lantern Season One Vol 2: The Day the Stars Fell, DC Comics)
Just the other day, we reported that the new Flash would be genderfluid (which is not the same as non-binary, regardless of how many media outlets think the two terms are interchangeable!). We’ve also spotlighted books like The Bride Was a Boy, a transgender love story/memoir. But for the comics world, Grant Morrison is a titan, so coming out as non-binary is a big deal. It would be like Peter Jackson or George Lucas, or Christopher Nolan coming out as genderqueer. Morrison is a pillar in graphic literature.
In fact, Grant Morrison comics are non-binary themselves. They aren’t flat out criticisms of the superhero genre, like most of Alan Moore’s work. Nor are they straight up celebrations of superheroes, like Peter David. Their work is neither, and both, and somewhere in-between. The very fact that they now felt able to come out shows how the industry is changing. And in a roundabout way, Grant Morrison paved the way for Morrison to come out as non-binary.
Morrison Paved the Way for Vita Ayala, Who Paved the Way for Morrison
(Image: New X-Men by Grant Morrison: Ultimate Collection Book One, Marvel Comics)
Morrison’s work, one way or another, has inspired countless comic book writers and artists, especially queer creators. Their work always has queer aspects. Sometimes, they are right out there, and sometimes very subtle. Especially works like Doom Patrol and New X-Men. As we said before, their work is a bit transcendent—and that work led to writers like Vita Ayala. Ayala is a fast-rising star in comics. They are taking over New Mutants after X of Swords, and they’re working at DC on some of their Future State comics. Ayala, and many other writers in the industry, are openly genderqueer. Writers like Ayala set the stage for Grant Morrison to come out as non-binary.
Their own work, their own style, and the way they’ve inspired non-cisgender writers, changed the industry (even if slowly) for him to come out. They built the door, and genderqueer creators held it open for him to walk through. Because the world is changing. Or, as Morrison says in their interview with Mondo:
Terms like ‘genderqueer’ and ‘non-binary’ only came into vogue in the mid-90s. So kids like me had very limited ways of describing our attraction to drag and sexual ambiguity. Nowadays there’s this whole new vocabulary, allowing kids to figure out exactly where they sit on the ‘color wheel’ of gender and sexuality, so I think it’s OK to lose a few contentious words when you are creating new ones that offer a more finely-grained approach to experience.
Featured image by pinguino k via Flickr
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.