Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Supergods by Grant Morrison

A history of comic book heroes by one of the most important figures in the industry over the past few decades.  Grant Morrison (bald, Scottish, good looking - snap) isn't a writer I know very well, apart from Arkham Asylum which I found totally impenetrable as a teenager, but he's a man who knows and loves his superheroes.  He's also a great writer, making this a blast to read - a lot more entertaining than the history of Marvel I read recently.

Highlights include his textual analysis of the very first Action Comics cover featuring the first appearance of Superman, and a hilarious rundown of the very early Batman B-movies (“Seven actors have played Batman on the big screen, and if you can name all seven without reading any further, your youth has been wasted.”)  He also gives a very personal but pretty comprehensive account of how superheroes and comics have developed over the years, and he argues convincingly about their vital place in our cultural lives - giving us something to aim towards.

Some of it didn't really work for me, and I won't be alone.  I'm sure his druggy trip in Kathmandu was life-changing for him, but no-one wants to hear that stuff - especially not at such length.  Much of his work does seem to hinge on this kind of thing - he's one of these Chaos Magic guys, and despite his rivalry with Alan Moore it seems like they're both in to the same kind of nonsense.  I'm sure they'd both hate that...

As the long hiatus in blogging would suggest, I finished this a couple of months back, so apologies for not remembering much else of use.  It's a really good read, very good on superheroes, bit too much mumbo jumbo for my tastes.  I'll try and rattle out a few more half remembered books soon until I'm up to speed. 

P.S. I've posted a picture of the US edition with this review.  The British one I read had a cover so bad it made me gag a little every time I picked it up.

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