One of my favorite Gray Morrow projects has long been the 1989 Marvel graphic novel, THE DREAMWALKER. It was a one-off project featuring a creator(s)-owned character and while it was clearly setting up a series, the character never appeared again.
THE DREAMWALKER is in essence both an illustrated, old-fashioned pulp story and at the s
ame time a TV movie. It was one of the first comics projects from actor Bill Mumy (and if you don't know who he is, go to another blog right now.) and, in fact, was
co-written with fellow performer and lifelong comics fan Miguel Ferrer. The copyright on the book is to the two wriyers and to Morrow which probably explains why Dreamwalker has (thankfully) never teamed up with Wolverine.
The story itself, though, is written almost as if it were a screenplay for a pilot film, introducing the characters, then the plot and then setting up where later episodes would go. Basically, it's the story of a deep undercover agent who--to put it in terms modern fans will understand--gets a burn notice. He survives by blackmailng his old boss and agreeing to retire but
then his father is killed instead, apparently by gangsters. After that, our hero learns that his father had been a masked mystery man fighting crime many years earlier. He then decides to become that same character, the Dreamwalker, and seek revenge. In the end, he succeeds only to en
d up himself blackmailed by his old boss into continuing to help the Agency...only now as the Dreamwalker.
Adding to the TV movie feel of the whole piece is Morrow's visual "cinematography," with many panels having creative panel designs. Another factor is that Morrow has peopled his cast with TV star lookalikes--for example, Jackie Gleason is the Big Bad with Bruce Lee as his sidekick, and writer Miguel's dad, distinguished and controversial actor Jose Ferrer, is the head of the Agency.
Bill Mumy was kind enough to speak with me briefly about THE DREAMWALKER and Gray Morrow recently. When I told him how much I enjoyed it and that I felt Gray had been the perfect choice to illustrate it, Bill said, "Thanks for the kind words regarding Dreamwalker. I agree Gray Morrow was the perfect choice. He was chosen by Jim Shooter. Yes, Miguel and Gray and I all met and discussed the project together. Gray was a real weapons expert and was into the espionage aspect of the story. I had really wanted to tell a "Golden Age" type tale and he incorporated that part into the artwork beautifully. Nice guy. We only met once. He and Jim both preferred to work on the project the "Marvel" way, meaning Miguel and I plotted the book out and then scripted it from Gray's painted pages. I felt he paced it really well and we were both very happy with it. It was intended to be a "Zorro meets James Bond" type homage..."