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Grant Morrison‘s 26-issue run on Animal Man remains legendary, and for good reason. Morrison ran with the logical implication of a man with animal powers: concern for animal rights, vegetarianism, and the consequences of radical action. Many will also remember Morrison’s run for breaking down the “fourth wall;” that is, giving the characters an awareness of their fictitiousness that leads to conversing with the audience.

Although a somewhat radical departure for comic books – especially considering Animal Man becomes aware of the audience on a peyote trip – the idea was not entirely new. By 1988, we’d seen it in TV (Moonlighting) and movies (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.) But we suspect Grant Morrison actually got the idea from the 1953 Daffy Duck cartoon “Duck Amuck.”

Morrison set the stage for his “Duck Amuck” version of superhero comics in issue #5, “The Coyote Gospel.” A familiar coyote takes center stage, with horrendously back-firing coyote results.

Collector’s Guide:
– From Animal Man #5; DC Comics, 1988.
– Reprinted in Animal Man TPB #1, 1990.
Grant Morrison, story. Chas Truog and Doug Hazelwood, art. Cover by Brian Bolland.