What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and the X-Men—the list of names as familiar as our own. They are on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and in our dreams. But what are they trying to tell us? For Grant Morrison, one of the most acclaimed writers in the world of comics, these heroes are powerful archetypes who reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, archetypes, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of our great modern myth: the superhero.
Now with a new Afterword.
A Scottish playwright and comic book writer, Morrison (Arkham Asylum) traces the rise of superheroes from the 1940s golden age to the comics industry of today. This excellent survey of pop deity origins begins with "the ur-god and his dark twin," Superman and Batman. As Morrison sees it, "archetyped, pop-mythic tales of superpowered heroes and villains" soared into our collective imaginations in an explosive fashion. Superman, "the personification of a thrusting industrial tomorrow," had a primal impact. Soon there was a pantheon of gods and figures from legend and myth: Hawkman ("an avatar of hawk-headed Horus"), the Flash ("the Greek god Hermes") and Captain Marvel, whose magic word, "Shazam," was an acronym: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury. When writers brought the superhero gods down to Earth and gritty real life (as in Watchmen), Morrison went back to basics: "I decided I would plant my flag in the world of dreams, automatic writing, visions and magic." The second half of this engrossing book covers his own comics career while also probing his personal psyche. Morrison is a skilled word magician, seeking creativity in a cosmological dimension.
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An excellent look at superheroes as told by a master.
Your Comic Book Siddhartha!
As comic books and super heroes have gone increasingly main stream, or more accurately, from shunned outsider low culture to lowest common denominator pop culture, books about comics and super heroes have proliferated as well. Why should you read this one? Because it's by Grant Effing Morrison, you git! Morrison has been one of the most successful and innovative comic book writers of the last 2 decades, but what makes this book so much fun is that Morrison is also so much more--a jet-setting rock star, experimental drug user, chaos magician, alien communicator, all in the service of reminding all of us that we created super heroes to remind ourselves of the limitless potential we possess. This book is the Buddha's journey of enlightenment through the lens of Superman's and Batman's epic, cosmic struggles against evil, demonic and destructive forces. More than any other writer on the subject, Morrison's wonderfully paisley prose and own personal story illuminate the 70-year history of the super hero as a western version of Hindu and Buddhist spirituality, where exciting tales of gods, heroes and demons bring the receptive participant closer to the truth that all of that divine energy and potentiality comes from inside him and connects him with the fabric of a universe even more remarkable than the most out-there propositions of theoretical physics. Most enjoyable to me is Morrison's explication of how multi-faceted our heroes have been, just as their classical antecedents were. Batman can be grim avenger, jocular uncle, psychedelic psychonaut, pop art performance artist, and unhinged anarchist, all in a few decades. Morrison's overflowing imagination and boundless enthusiasm, and colorful personal experiences, combine for a personal and universal story of comic heroes and his life with them. Like Superman, if Grant didn't exist, we would have to invent him.
Great look at the history of comics.
This was great. Now all those titles Morreson's writes make sence.