Nameless Untitled Masterpiece
WEverything and nothing, according to Grant Morrison. Stuck on what to call his new Image series with his old Batman Incorporated foil Chris Burnham, the Glasgow comics legend realised that his problem was actually a solution.
“It had no name, therefore Nameless it became,” he says. “Nameless is, of course, a much- loved word among horror writers who often invoke nameless rites and nameless ones, so it brought that hint of Lovecraft that we were looking for and it inspired a great hook for our lead character and what happens to him.”
Admitting that he “genuinely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who’s feeling emotionally or psychologically vulnerable,” the six- parter could be Morrison’s bleakest work yet. Centring around a mission to save the Earth from an approaching asteroid, it embarks on a similar but far darker journey to Interstellar. “In Nameless, what’s out there waiting for us is nothing less than pure evil and undying hate,” explains Morrison. “Cosmic rays and wormholes are the least of our characters’ worries.”
In Morrison’s words, the key phrase is ‘ nothing is real’. “In the third issue, the comic we think we’re reading begins to change into something quite different,” he teases. “There are sci- fi and thriller elements but everything ’s used in the service of unease and dread. I’d say it’s more of a horror comic than anything else, touching on all the various aspects of the genre from apocalyptic, supernatural, occult stuff to squicky gross- out scenes, existential soul- freezing nihilism and quasi- religious, sweat- inducing visions of hell and judgement.”
Compared to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, Morrison claims that his mysterious protagonist is closer in spirit to James McAvoy’s misanthropic policeman in Filth. “Part of the driving force of the series involves setting up a character type and situation that you think you’re familiar with – a scuzzy Constantine occult hero facing an Armageddon- style scenario – but then dismantling that first impression in various cruel and horrific ways,” he says. “He’s also the first Scottish lead in a comic I’ve written since Captain Clyde in 1981!”
Nameless’s creator- owned status also allowed Burnham – known for his experimental layouts – to really cut loose. “Where Batman Incorporated was fairly down to earth, this goes to a much more squirmy, psychedelic place,” says Morrison. “It’s also uncensored, so we’re showcasing the phantasmagoric side of what
Chris can do.”
You’d guess that they might be scowling under those helmets.