25 July 2014

Supergods by Grant Morrison

I picked up Supergods expecting a philosophical and historical examination of superhero comics, and it definitely delivered that, but it also turned out to be very much a memoir of the author, Grant Morrison.

Morrison is well-known in comics circles for his writing, with stints on various DC and Marvel properties including Batman, Superman, X-Men, and more.  Morrison is definitely an interesting character, which is what makes the book work so well: he has lived a very interesting life.  He talks quite candidly about his travels, his experiments with drugs in his youth, his occult experiences, and all sorts of fascinating tales that have bled into his writing.

Where the book seems to falter a bit is in its more historical segments.  Morrison has a hard time stepping back and removing himself from telling the story of superhero comics, from the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics up to the present (at least, 2011/2012 - don’t remember which).  At times, he focuses too much on those comics that had a particular impact on him, and seems to ignore other comics that might have been just as important culturally but were beneath his notice due to taste.

That’s not necessarily bad, or unfair; it’s just the way it is, and perhaps it was inevitable given the two conflicting aims of the book.

The book had some parts that were a little dry, but it also had some parts that really sucked me in.  All in all, enjoyable.