Culture Magazine

Book Review – Supergods by Grant Morrison

By Manofyesterday


Supergods is a work of non-fiction by successful comics writer Grant Morrison. It’s mostly an overview of the development of comics and their ties to mythology and spiritual truths, but it’s also partly an autobiography as Morrison talks about his own journey from a small town in Scotland to writing some of the biggest selling comics in the world.

This books goes into so much depth about comics is really quite astounding. It offers a comprehensives history and analysis of comics over the past 70 or so years, getting so detailed as to analysing individual panels in early comics. Morrison’s passion for superheroes and their place in the world gives the book an enthralling tone and it’s easy to get caught up in his worship of the medium and the characters it has given us. To him comic books aren’t simply a form of entertainment but a way to bridge the gap between the worlds of reality and fiction, to blur them until we can gaze past the veil of truth and look back onto a mirror of beautiful lies.

This is a virtue in most places, but at some points I did find myself raising my eyebrows and feeling that he did go a bit too in-depth, and sees reading and writing comics as a revalatory experience, when I think it loses sight of the consumer aspect of the business. This is especially apparent when he starts talking about his transcendent experiences in different levels of consciousness and for this mere mortal I felt like saying ‘put the pen down and go out for some fresh air’. Perhaps that is ignorant of me, but at points the book does get swept up in hyperbole.

But it’s never boring, and I liked the autobiographical parts as much as the overview of the history of comic books. I’d quite enjoy a follow-up to the book that looks at the explosion of movies, for this book was written prior to the release of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger as well as the proliferation of tv shows like Arrow and The Flash. I’d love to see what he thinks of how comics have transformed into big blockbusters while bringing with them the intricate continuity that comes with an inter-connected universe.

For fans of comics I think this is a must buy because it goes into so much depth about the history that it’s a good companion piece to other works such as Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, and for fans of Grant Morrison in particular it gives a good look at the process of writing comic books and what it took to achieve his place in the pantheon of comic book writers.

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