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Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human Paperback – June 26, 2012
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“Seventy years of superhero history with erudite analysis and autobiography thrown in—an account of what it’s like to plunge your brain into these fictional universes for decades, refusing to come up for air.”—Rolling Stone
“Morrison writes with such flair, humor and insight that Supergods may be the season’s most winning exploration of pop culture and the creative process.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A personal and erudite history of the medium by one of its most intelligent and articulate practitioners . . . Morrison lays out the history of comics with infectious passion and amusement.”—Financial Times
“A blast, a pure hit of hero worship and deep understanding of comics as mind expansion . . . It’s hard not to be swept up in [Morrison’s] vision.”—Austin American-Statesman
“The perfect textbook for fanboys and the mainstream alike.”—USA Today
Top Customer Reviews
Morrison begins his book, fittingly, with an examination of what made Superman and Batman iconic when they first appeared. For me, this was fascinating, recognizing that the Superman I knew had started not just as an archetypal hero of strength with bold colors of the daytime, but a symbol of the strength of the individual and middle-American farmers against industry and big business during the Great Depression. On the other end of the spectrum was Batman, a big-city, wealthy hero in the dark of night, whose intellect was his only power. Batman was tested by a series of villains inspired by psychiatric disorders, whom he would physically beat into submission.
From there, the author broadens his scope to track the development of the industry as it is influenced by political and cultural changes such as McCarthyism, heroes from the age of science inspired by Kennedy's presidency, the rise of psychedelia and the drug culture, the gritty vigilantism of the 70s and 80s, the events and repercussions of 9/11, and expansion into the film industry.Read more ›
And like Morrison, I'm tired and bored with the dystopian, snarling pretenders in tights who masquerade as superheroes these days. I'm no Pollyanna or prude afraid of the dark - I've spent a fair share of my career writing about dark worlds present and future - but there's still that kid in me who grew up believing in Stan Lee's admonition that "with great power comes great responsibility." Too many superheroes have mistaken their shirking of responsibility for a punk rebellion against authority.
The contrasts between the Green Lantern and Captain America movies highlight this problem. Hal Jordan allows himself to be convinced - all too easily - that he doesn't deserve the ring he's been given by a dying hero. His acceptance of his role finally comes rather perfunctorily, as a necessity for the final act, rather than from any real desire to live up to his destiny. Not so with Steve Rogers, who is untiring in his efforts to shoulder more responsibility than his weak frame can handle.
Morrison thinks superheroes are archetypes of aspiration, untiring and, in the end, always undefeated. His book chronicles the pop culture history of this archetype in many of its manifestations, not just in comics but also in similar trends in music and fashion. I've read many of the comics he calls upon as exemplars, and I loved reading another author's heartfelt and deeply illuminating appreciation of these works.
Heartfelt is the key word for this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't normally write reviews but I'll just say this book was awesome. If you're just getting into comics this is a great thing to have. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Tanner Madison
An excellent, thorough review of the history of comic-book heroes, of Grant Morrison's life and career, and the deeper meanings of our love of superheros. Read morePublished 1 month ago by The Cat-Tribe
Couldn't finish it. He made a lot of unsubstantiated assertions for the first third of the book and then started talking about himself.. it only went down hill from there.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very well written book. It is coherent, humorous and concise.Published 9 months ago by Adriano Moro
Always loved Grant Morrison
He gets superheroes like nobody else does
Grant Morrison occupies the psychedelic, crazy slice of comics. He literally casts spells to aid Batman and X-Men comics. Read morePublished 9 months ago by buttsatan
Grant Morrison is quite the character. I always knew this. It wasn't until reading this book that I think he is actually a character in the story of some higher dimensional being.Published 12 months ago by Nikki Bright