Supergods by Grant Morrison

Oct 16, 2012

Grant Morrison is something of a divisive figure in the world of comics. Some people love him, while others can't stand him, finding him pretentious and deliberately obtuse. I'm one of the people who think he's brilliant. I love his comics, especially when he writes superheroes, so I jumped on Supergods as soon as it came out.

Supergods is part overview of the history of superheroes, focusing mostly on the two big comics companies, DC and Marvel, and part autobiography/memoir. Morrison gives a broad history of superheroes, interjecting his own opinions on various trends, characters and stories, while also talking about his own life and where he intersected with superheroes. It becomes a very personal history, sarcastic and funny, emotional and moving.  Morrison talks openly about his insecurities, his failures, his triumphs, his dreams and—perhaps most interesting—his experiments in chaos magic. Yes, he talks about spells he's cast, rituals he's performed, and "beings" (spirits? gods? aliens?) he's interacted with.

And it all seems to fit together. For all of his "detached British snark" and "trippy cosmic weirdo" vibes, Morrison is, more than anything, a hopeful, starry-eyed dreamer. "Before we made the atomic bomb, we had to dream it up," he says. "So why not dream of better things? Why not dream of magical, strong, brave, colorfully-dressed heroes who fight to make the world a better place?" As far as I'm concerned, it's a great dream, and Morrison does a good job of promoting that dream.

If you're a long-time fan of superhero comics and/or interested in alternative views of art and reality, Supergods is well worth your time.

Reviewed by Josh N.
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