By Todd Matthy
Love him or hate him, Grant Morrison can always start a conversation. As one of the most successful writers in comic books, Grant Morrison’s body of work boasts legendary runs on New X-Men, JLA, All Star Superman, We3, and Arkham Asylum: A Strange House on Strange Earth. (Which I adapted into a play. Yes, shameless plug) While others like The Invisibles, The Filth, and Final Crisis have been called incomprehensible. One way or another people have an opinion of him. So when I found out his writing a book about super heroes and philosophy, I was curious.
“Super Gods” by Grant Morrison is part history book and part autobiography. Morrison talks about the history of super heroes, what they say about the culture that created them, what ancient myths they recall, and reasons why they continue to endure. An interesting read, especially if you’re fascinated by the history of super heroes but ultimately information you can find elsewhere. What makes the book really interesting is how these characters affected Morrison as a youth in Glasgow during the Cold War. To Grant Morrison everything begins as an idea. Growing up in the shadow of the Cold War the biggest ideas were nuclear bombs. Then he discovered Superman who in his words could “eat nuclear bombs for breakfast.” To Grant Morrison, DC’s Multiverse is more “real” then the Marvel Universe because we are apart of it (we are Earth-Prime after all). Morrison then goes into depth about his adventures in the comic book industry. You learn how he broke in, what DC objected to in “Arkham Asylum,” his conflicts with former Marvel President Bill Jemas over his plans for “New X-Men,” and how started modeling his life on his character, King Mob from “The Invisibles.” Oh yeah, there’s also that incident in Katmandu where he was contacted by aliens from the Fifth Dimension. Whether it was an actual experience or a Hash trip, it’s an interesting read.
I wish I had “Super Gods” when I was doing my college thesis. Grant Morrison’s thoughts about Superman, his character, and his evolution would’ve really enhanced the paper. Oh well. “Super Gods” is definitely a book worth checking out, whether you’re a Morrison fan or not. One way or another you’ll have something to talk about which is all it needs to be a success.