01/07/2012. Contributed by Aidan Fortune
pub: Random House. 446 page hardback. Price: £18.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-224-08996-8.
check out websites: www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/9780224089968
Part-history of comics, part-autobiography, Grant Morrison's 'Supergods' is a whistle-stop tour through the medium and the impact it had on his life.
Starting in 1938 with the creation of Superman, the book takes us all the way through the Comic Book Code to the rise of the independents in the late nineties and it's an excellent summary of how comics have evolved over eighty years. It moves at a rapid pace, covering the main details that some readers may know already but still offers an interesting take on them.
Interspersed through this history lesson, is Morrison's own tale. He chronicles growing up in Scotland in the sixties with a left-wing father and long-suffering mother and how he retreated into the world of comics.
He recalls his beginnings in the industry, working at the legendary British comic '2000AD' to get his name out there and then landing work at DC Comics. While there he earned a reputation for revitalising titles such as 'Animal Man' and 'Doom Patrol', taking them in bold, new directions and breaking the fourth wall between the writer and reader.
Tired of working on other people's creations, Morrison decides to make his mark on the industry with titles such as 'The Invisibles' and 'The Filth', published under DC's Vertigo label. He then returned to the mainstream with the beautiful 'All-Star Superman' series and a fantastic run on 'Batman' all the way up to the recent DC Universe reboot.
At times, Morrison comes across as refreshingly honest, at other times slightly arrogant, especially during his 'Invisibles' phase where he maintains that he became the lead character and when he wrote all manner of beautiful women into the storylines, they would appear in the real world. If only this power truly existed. Of course, not being there, I can't possibly say for sure that this didn't actually happen and it wasn't a drug-induced trip.
'Supergods' is an interesting insight into one of the finest comic writers alive today and what makes him tick. If you enjoy the characters he created and the titles he worked on, then this is a must-read and if you don't, it's a unique opportunity to take a step into the writer's studio and learn about the comics industry.
If only he didn't make writing amazing comics look so ludicrously easy. It's disheartening to the rest of us out there.
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