Comics specifically seem to be quite magical to me—in the sense that they are directly drawn onto paper. They relate back to the very first drawings that people did on cave walls, and people believe now that those things were meant to be magical, that by drawing and creating a model of the bison, you could affect what happened to the real bison. Your hunt would be more successful the next day. So the idea of drawing and creating representations is the very first notion that we had of magic, that you could make an image of something and affect the image and, in turn, affect the reality of the thing. Like sympathetic magic, when you make, for instance, a little doll of someone and then stab it, they will experience something. So that idea of representation, I think, is the first magical idea, and comics is still very close to that.
The thing I love about comics is the actual guy sitting there—with pens and tools and drawing all this stuff in a little room. Actually working on the paper directly with pencils. There’s something really quite strange about that, I feel.
PWCW:“Strange” in that it carries some particular qualities?
GM: “Strange” in the sense that I think there’s so much concentration that goes into the point of those pencils and that line that it’s a magical act. It’s a Zen thing to sit and actually create a comic book. It’s very hands-on. I think it’s got a magical element to it, anyway, and so, for me, it became a way to do voodoo, using… Well, I could create things in the comics that would have affects in my own real life. I found that it would work.
PWCW: You were ill at one point [during the writing of The Invisibles].
GM: Yeah, that was just one of the things. This character thought that his face had been eaten away, then three months later my face actually gets a hole eaten in it! I’m in the hospital dying in almost the same way the character was dying. So then I figured, “Okay, well, let’s give him a good time!” [chuckles] As soon as I got out of the hospital, I started writing the character with a great sex life, and suddenly my own life took off. I really began to feel I was on to something.
Ik ben het met Morrison eens dat wat striptekenaars doen lijkt op magie: ze tekenen een reeks plaatjes en als je die plaatjes leest komt er een verhaal tot leven in je hoofd. Een reeks stilstaande beelden breng je met je eigen geest in beweging. Als de personages je aanspreken leven ze door in je hoofd lang nadat je het boek gesloten hebt. Dat is een van de zaken die ik aantrekkelijk vind aan strips.
Wat Morrisons idee dat het schrijven van verhalen leidt tot het veranderen van de werkelijkheid betreft, ben ik meer sceptisch, maar ik wil dat zeker in de toekomst uitproberen.