Surprisingly, the most exciting thing to be released this month in the comics world isn’t the next installment of Marvel’s Fear Itself, or DCs Flashpoint, or issue 2 of the new Hellboy miniseries The Fury. In fact, the most exciting release isn’t a comic at all. What I’m excited about, above all else, is Grant Morrison’s new book Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville can Teach Us About Being Human (leave it to Grant to come up with a whirligig of a title).
From what’s been said so far, I understand it’s to be a book about the history of superhero comics and how they relate to modern life, brought to us by Grant Morrison. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of him, he’s one of the biggest names in comics right now. He writes stories usually of a paranormal or paranoid bent and within his comics there’s no shortage of weird new-age philosophies, or occult symbols, or conspiracy theories.
As far as comics writers go, my favorites would have to be Morrison, Alan Moore, Jeff Smith, Neil Gaiman, and Mike Mignola, but unlike them, Morrison manages to turn out a quality product in a timely manner (whereas Moore takes his sweet time, Smith publishes 4 times a year, Neil Gaiman almost never does comics anymore, and Mignola’s got so many things going on it’s hard to say when he’ll complete anything). Moreover, Morrison is a guy who believes in superhero comics. He’s not interested in destroying our images of superheroes, but always willing to take them in new directions. So who better than him to write a book about superheroes?
My hope is that his book will help people see superhero books as more than disposable glossy stories. I’m hoping people will finally see them as art. Over the years, indie books have been praised and praised, like Will Eisner’s work, Persepolis, and Maus for example, but superhero books continue to be called kid books although they’re read by adults (for more on this, read my post about defining comics). What’s great about Supergods is that it won’t appeal just to intellectuals or just to fans, but to both.
I honestly don’t see how Grant Morrison can be so productive. I write short posts on two blogs daily and I’m already starting to feel fatigued. Morrison though has written hundreds of comics (some of the standouts include All-Star Superman, his run on Batman and Robin, and his run on the JLA reboot years ago). He’s currently writing Batman Incorporated. He recently finished with a mini-series titled Joe the Barbarian. Soon he’s going to do another mini-series of Sea Guy. How does he find time to write a book too? Morrison’s stories rarely seem dashed off, so I think it’s a safe bet Supergods will be a good read.
It comes out on July 19th. To read more about it on Amazon, click here.