This ground-breaking series, which ran between 1994 and 2000, was a literate and complex narrative that firmly established Grant Morrison as one of the most interesting and thought-provoking writers working in comics. It featured numerous artists, including Steve Yeowell, Sean Phillips, Chris Weston, John Ridgway, Phil Jimenez, Philip Bond, and Frank Quitely. Th e series ran for 59 issues, which were divided over three volumes, and has been reprinted in seven collected editions. The story concerns a band of anarchist terrorists, known as the Invisibles, who are fi ghting against the forces of order and conformity using magic and time travel, as the world hurtles towards the apocalypse. Th is is portrayed as the intersection of our universe with a fictional reality, one of Morrison’s recurring themes, with fi ction being viewed as a kind of magical working which has the ability to unleash previously untapped potential.
Influences on The Invisibles include H. P. Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley, William S. Burroughs, Jorge Luis Borges, Alan Moore, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, The X-Files, and conspiracy theories, as well as Morrison’s own earlier work, Zenith. The story begins with the rescue and recruitment of Dane McGowan (otherwise known as Jack Frost), a foul-mouthed youth from Liverpool, England, who may be on his way to being the new Buddha, a Messiah of the Age to come. When Dane is incarcerated for criminal damage and assault he fi nds himself facing indoctrination and torture by followers of the Outer Church who are attempting to enslave humanity.
Dane is liberated by a cell of “Invisibles,” which consists of King Mob, an occult assassin and a surrogate for Morrison himself; Ragged Robin, a girl from the future who reads a book called Th e Invisibles and comes back in time to make it a reality; Lord Fanny, a Brazilian transvestite shaman; and Boy, a female expert in martial arts. Freed from the Outer Church, Dane encounters a being called Barbelith, an entity that appears to Invisibles as they look beyond the veil we call “reality,” telling them to “wake up” and to “remember.” Dane apparently escapes both the Outer Church and the Invisibles and experiences homelessness on the streets of London. Here he is initiated into the Invisible College by Tom O’Bedlam, who, posing as an elderly homeless man, shows him how to unlock his potential.