Comic book creator Alan Grant died on July 21, and his loss shook the entire arena. While not as big of a name as some other recent losses, he was extremely influential in the comic book industry. Grant, 73, was instrumental in the rise of Alan Moore in the industry, as he answered a letter from a young Moore and encouraged him to follow his dreams.
As for Grant’s legacy as a writer, he played a strong role in it Batman comics for many years and even went as far as to create several of the Caped Crusader’s more iconic villains, including Victor Zsasz and Jeremiah Arkham. Add in his work on Judge Dredd and other works both inside and outside DC, and Grant has a long list of must-read books for comic book fans of all ages.
Batman: Legacy was a multi-issue Alan Grant series that took place after the timeframe of Knightfall. That was the series where Bane broke Batman’s back and took him out of the fight for a long time. In LegacyGrant had Batman and Bane battle again, but things were different here.
When Bane fell in Knightfall, it wasn’t at the hands of Bruce Wayne. That happened here in Legacy. This comic book was one of the inspirations of The Dark Knight Trilogy and showed how Batman finally was able to come to terms with his defeat and gain a modicum of revenge at the same time.
Lobo, Volume 1
Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen created Lobo, the intergalactic bounty hunter in 1983, but it was Alan Grant who really brought him to life when he penned the antihero’s solo comic book series. Teaming with Giffen, Grant wrote 60 issues of Lobo‘s first comic book series.
Grant was responsible for some of the most bizarre stories that made Lobo such a fan favorite. This includes the saga where 200 of his kids tried to kill him, and even a tale where the Easter Bunny hired Lobo to kill Santa Claus.
Judge Dredd: The Apocalypse War
Like many British comic book authors, Alan Grant got his big break by writing Judge Dredd comics. The best of his storylines while working on this series was “The Apocalypse War.” In this run, citizens of Mega-City declare war on each other, all a prelude to East Meg One launching a nuclear attack.
These Grant stories are considered the best of the best in Judge Dredd comics and really tie into the themes of law and order, with the judges fighting threats from outside their own city’s walls.
Batman: The Last Arkham
Batman: The Last Arkham was part of Alan Grant’s Batman: Shadow of the Bat comic book series, and they were actually the first four issues that launched it. While the entire saga was critically acclaimed, it was this introduction that stood out as the best story told in Shadow of the Bat.
Grant created Jeremiah Arkham, and this story showed how he destroyed Arkham Asylum after inheriting it from his uncle, Amadeus Arkham. Batman suspected Victor Zsasz (in his first DC appearance) of murders and staged his own imprisonment in Arkham to prove Zsasz found a way out of the asylum to commit the killings while keeping an alibi.
The Legion of Super Heroes was a team of young superheroes in the future that was formed with a time-traveling Superboy. However, these characters ended up becoming popular in their own right, and this all led to a 1980s series by Alan Grant called LEGION
LEGION spun off of a crossover event called Invasion! where aliens from different planets ended up as prisoners. Vril Dox led a prison escape and then formed LEGION out of some of the escaping prisoners. What Grant did here was have one of the prisoners, Durlan, go to the future and help form the Legion of Super Heroes, making it a true piece of DC history.
JLA: Riddle Of The Beast
Alan Grant also worked on JLA comics. JLA: Riddle of the Beast was a DC Elseworlds comic that Alan Grant wrote with a variety of different artists working on each chapter of the book. This is a very different book, with Robin living in a world without stars and an evil coming that could destroy what was left of this world.
The story features versions of Doomsday, Riddler, Zatanna, Bane, Jason Blood, Martian Manhunter, and more. Imagine DC superheroes in a world like The Lord of the Rings, and that is essentially the concept that Grant presented here.
Alan Grant brought Etrigan the Demon to life in his own series in 1990, and it was the best content the character had seen since Jack Kirby brought him to life in 1972. Grant wrote the book for over three years and helped create a new tone for the demonic antihero.
While writers like Alan Moore made him serious and dark, Grant took him back to his more over-the-top characteristics and implemented some bitingly funny dark humor and ridiculous wordplay in Etrigan’s dialogue. This is the series that all Etrigan fans need to read.
Batman: The Mud Pack
Alan Grant wrote his Clayface series, Batman: The Mud Pack, in 1989, along with his artist partner, Norm Breyfogle. This series came out around the same time as Tim Burton’s movie, and it was the big one Detective Comics storyline of that summer, running for four issues.
This isn’t just Batman vs. Clayface. It is Batman against all the Clayfaces, from the original Basil Karlo to the two men who followed in his footsteps, Matt Hagan and Preston Payne, to Sondra Fuller’s Lady Clay. The concept was Batman vs monsters, and it delivered on every level.
While Alan Grant made his name on some very big titles, including Batman and Judge Dreddhe also had some lesser-known creations. Strontium Dog is the best of them. Grant began writing the series in 1980 with John Wagner, and was the series’ solo writer from 1988 to 1990.
The main character here was a mutant named Johnny Alpha, who was a bounty hunter with telepathic abilities and some high-tech weapons. He lived in a world after a nuclear war, but it was as different from Judge Dredd if anyone could get.
DC Extended Universe fans with Ratcatcher 2 in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. However, what many fans might not know is that Alan Grant invented the original Ratcatcher character in his run on Batman in the 1980s. Ratcatcher debuted in Detective Comics #585 by Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle.
He was a literal rat catcher for Gotham City’s sanitation department who had a bad temper and didn’t mind killing people who insulted him. It was a two-issue storyline, but it was exactly what Grant fans loved about his writing, taking a ridiculous villain on paper and turning him into a legend.
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