From one of the most acclaimed and profound writers in the world of comics comes a thrilling and provocative exploration of humankind's great modern myth: the superhero.
The first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics #1 in 1938, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and timeless: Superman, a caped god for the modern age. In a matter of years, the skies of the imaginary world were filled with strange mutants, aliens, and vigilantes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the X-Men - the list of names is as familiar as our own. In less than a century, they've gone from not existing at all to being everywhere we look: on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and dreams. But what are they trying to tell us?
For Grant Morrison, arguably the greatest of contemporary chroniclers of the superworld, these heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero - why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are... and what we may yet become.
"Grant Morrison is one of the great comics writers of all time. I wish I didn't have to compete with someone as good as him."
©2011 Grant Morrison (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Morrison is ideally suited to the task of chronicling the glorious rise, fall, rise, fall and rise again of comic-book superheroes.... [T]his is as thorough an account of the superhero phenomenon as readers are likely to find, filled with unexpected insights and savvy pop-psych analysis - not to mention the author’s accounts of his own drug-fueled trips to higher planes of existence, which add a colorful element.... [T]hose who dare enter will find the prose equivalent of a Morrison superhero tale: part perplexing, part weird, fully engrossing." (Kirkus)
"When Mr. Morrison puts care into his close readings, his prose can soar: a philosophical passage in which he breaks ranks with writers he considers to be 'missionaries who attempted to impose their own values and preconceptions on cultures they considered inferior,' and identifies himself with anthropologists who 'surrendered themselves to foreign cultures' and 'weren’t afraid to go native or look foolish,' is among the book’s most engrossing sections." (The New York Times)
“With a languid and pontificating tone, John Lee narrates Morrison’s long reflection on the history of comic books…From the birth of Superman to the contemporary comic book landscape, Morrison identifies some of the key moments within the world of comics and identifies how the publishers, mainstream culture, and historical events changed the way people think about comics today. Lee’s British accent and cool attitude work in unison to create an image of Morrison that resonates with his public personality.” (AudioFile)
Third Smartest Man In The World
I know guys who know a lot about comics. I know a lot about comics. But Grant Morrison may be the alpha geek.
Going back to the beginning of superhero time and working forward to the present day - the guy gets into the nitty gritty of the books, the heroes, the creators, the socio-political environment.
It's as if he has actually read and can effortlessly recall every issue of every superhero funny book ever published.
I've been wishing for this book to be written and am blown away by the way that Morrison grounds the book in his personal relationship to the form - and also links it to the cosmic forces that shaped the medium.
I am blown away by this work - but it may not be for everyone. If you can't visualize the difference between the styles of Jack Kirby and Neal Adams then you may need to start elsewhere.
Make no mistake, this book is an autobiography. The fun part is this book reads almost exactly like the comic books Morrison writes: long, adjective-heavy sentences that are meant to describe and enliven a static scene, this time his written words. You get the sense early on, and he never lets up, that Morrison is writing a philosophical history book with the prose techniques that have made him the successful comic book writer he is. Sadly, it can at times weigh the book down with long periods of prose that say little or advance the "story" to the point where I'd forgotten what the book was about. And then I realized that Morrison was telling the story of comic book history by telling us his own story. His slow creative climb into the business, the influences of drugs, music, fashion and British trends on his life and his career. This isn't a book about Superheroes, this is a book about Grant Morrison's life with superheroes. So, if you're a fan of Morrison and his work, pick it up and make it a favorite. If you're looking for an in-depth history and analysis of superheroes and comic book history, you might want to look elsewhere.
Drama teacher and Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan
Grant Morrison starts by analyzing comics from the beginnings of Action and Detective Comics to his (and other's) modern comics. In the meantime, you get to hear Grant Morrison's childhood, his coming of age antics, and his interesting theories on culture and society. Not a book for everyone, but definitely one that a comic fan would be interested in. I found myself bookmarking and making lists of comics that Morrison had written or found noteworthy so I could peruse my local comic shop for some gems that I had lately missed.
As a general history of comic books this is a great book and definitely reccomended. It is a great listen for comic geeks and those of a more literary mindset who want some literary criticism and cultural history of comics. However at times it is greatly hindered by Grant Morrison's biographical information. I admit Grant Morrison is a major player in the development of comics especially the modern era (so it is kind of like John Lassetar giving a history of animation). But he goes into some rather non-constructive autobiographical information like story about his alien abduction and there is also segements where he spends too much time talking about his own projects (and his online critics) that he could have used to discuss other topics. But as a whole there is way more to like in this book especially the more philosophical elements about gods and evolution.
Grant Morrison's Supergods is all that the summary describes and more. Unfortunately that is not always good. Being a Superhero/Comics fan I have read a lot of Morrison's work and I find it at best hit and miss. He has done some of the truly brilliant, seminal superhero stories but he has also written a lot of self-indulgent mediocrity. This book isn't entirely that, but parts of it are ultimately unneccessary. When I read the description I did not expect an autobiographical work but a history nd commentary on comics superheroes. Of course I figured on Morrison talking about himself since he has been so long in the field and has been a powerful influence on it, but there are whole chapters here devoted to his inner growth and inner demons that I did not expect nor was particularly interested in. This does not mean that the book is bad: it does deliver on its promised subject, but it has shortcomings. First of all there is the overly lyrical, arabesque language. Especially from the mouth of the narrator, who rfeads most every passage with a hint of sarcasm, it comes across as presumptuous. Also Morrison's insights are a bit miopic and self-serving. He duels entirely too long on his own work and ignores quality comics done by others. He postulates a theory of cycles of violent, materialistic "punk" comics and esoteric, pacifist "hippie" comics and gives plenty of examples that support his theory but ignores examples that don't. He dismisses important, influential creators because they do not fit into his ideas or because he simply does not like them. An example being "Hellboy" a comic that has been quite popular and influential and does not fit his cycles and is not mentioned at all. One can argue that Hellboy is not a superhero comic but then, the author spends several chapters talking about his own "Invisibles" which is even less so. The book works best, in my opinion, when Morrison is talking about the comics before his time as a professional; and later on when he concentrates on the product of others as well as himself. It is also interesting to hear him talk about events behind the scenes in the major comic companies because it goes directly to the influences for some of the comics stories that have appeared throughout the years. It does not work when he spends chapter after chapter prattling on about his drug addled vacations accross the world or his dubious achievements as a "Chaos Magician". All in all not a bad book and for any die-hard fan of Morrison, highly recommended. He takes you on something of a rollercoaster ride through the life of a famous Comics writer and the way is which his work formed. But for those of you looking for a scholarly account of the history of superheroes think on this: Early on in the book, the author mentions another book: "The Ten Cent Plague" by David Hajdu: A simpler prose book that very effectively describes the Golden Age of Comics and how culture and history influenced them. A book with far less personal commentary. Would that Grant Morrison had taken pointers from non-comics celebrity Hajdu.
You should know that this is 50% impassioned history of the superhero in popular culture (primarily comic books) and 50% autobiography. Grant Morrison is often self-congratulatory and sometimes too kind to his friends in the industry, but the writing is always entertaining and engrossing. There were many times I found myself disagreeing with Morrison's assessment about certain writers and artists, but this never interfered with my enjoyment. I often wished I had a notebook with me while listening so that I could jot down the names of obscure writer artist teams that I want to read.
Morrison is certainly an expert in the field, a well respected comic book writer and fan from childhood. He also brings a completely unique and compelling viewpoint to this book. There are times when he gets side tracked by his weird drug-induced new-age quasi-religious experiences, but the writing is strong enough that even these passages are engaging.
John Lee's performance is professional and engaging. He gives this book the same level of energy and showmanship he brings to fiction, even switching into appropriate (and utterly believable) accents when reading direct quotes.
A great read for a fan of comics and superheroes, but I'm not sure it offers much of value to the non-fan.
I love how the author (a favorite comic book author of mine) intertwines the history of comic books with his own narrative, which reinforces the author's take on how fictional characters manifest themselves in our reality. A real head trip that provides a solid foundation for anyone interested in the history of this medium, as well as a trippy journey into psychedelia and choas magick. The performance was 5 star, but the author has such a wonderful voice, I would have like to hear him perform his own book. The Scottish brogue is obtrusive at first, but subsides into more of a generic UK accent as the book goes on. I'm assuming this decision was made to reassure fans of the writer that the performer is Scottish, but relinquishes so that it does not become distracting.
Beautifully written. Elevates it's subject to intellectual and spiritual heights that allow the reader an unembarrasing exploration. Inspired me to try my own hand at magick.
Goodn, solid Grant Morrison writing. More of available an autobiography/memoir than I expected, but the details of Morrison's life on comics are as interesting as his more general historical insights.
-After the last words of the masterful John Lee's narration disappeared into the closing soundtrack, I couldn't help but think of Rod Taylor as H.G. Wells in "The Time Machine", and how he must have felt after his first "Trip" - or Timothy Leary, for that matter! Exhausted, invigorated, infused with hope like you'd find at the bottom of Pandora ' s Box...and WONDER - Grant Morrison had allowed me to feel every bit of what it felt like the first time I visited the offices of Marvel and DC Comics in Manhattan for the first time, as a young art student. Truly "A Great Work", SUPERGODS taught me how to drink deep of the wellspring of the imagination that Mr. Morrison and his creative ilk have given to the world. Glorious!
Watching Grant Morrison evolution through and then upon comic book pulp culture is a fascinating insight into a unique mind. It's like watching a foodie, become a food critic, then chef, then food guru. It's a process of first consumption, then introspection then expression. If you want one of the industry's greatest minds to take you through the history of comics and how it affected him, then then is the book for you.
This is both history, autobiography and behind the scenes of every one of Morrison's significant projects.
I love John Lee from Peter Hamilton's Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. His narrative here is beautifully recorded and executed. His performer's desire and skill welcomly peeks through illustrating the myriad quotes in the book.
Morrison's comics can be very hit or miss, but this is incredibly consistent. It's funny, hauntingly self-aware, witty and incredibly insightful. If you want the answer to "where do you get your ideas", then Morrison has definitely laid his answers on the table here.
I know the "magic" section can be out there for some people. I dealt with it in the same way I translate all religious or spiritual jargon. I see it as semantics by which you ingest inspiration and then manifest your will and energy into your life.
"Part biography, part comic book history."
I knew of Grant Morrisons work on Batman and Superman but really was not sure what this book would be like. I am pleased I bought it as it is an insight into the writer, the history of comics and recent superhero cinema but above all its a philosophers view. Sounds pretentious - well its not supposed too. I have now revisited Grant Morrisons comics and graphic novels and also a number of films which the author discuses in some depth and details how the genre has developed. Didn't like Unbreakable first time round - after reading this book and seeing the film again I realise its a bit of a gem.
I would challenge any reader, comic collector/reader or not, not to enjoy this book. I would ay it will enlighten you but mostly it will make you think, At the end, you may just doubt that there are no such things as super heroes.
I liked it. Grant Morrison is great writer. Ok I wasn't too impressed with the writings of a drug induced coma half way through but that too help in the way the writer shows his passion and eagerness to get right to the core of superhero worship.
I still gave this book 5 stars as if there is a similar book out there, I have never see it. And I am sure there isn't going to be one which is so inspirational
"A must for comic fans"
Superb. Part autobiography, part superhero deconstruction. Great writing and decent narration (although, as an American, he does struggle with some of the British references, making Govan sound like somewhere in Middle Earth and rebranding boyband Bros as Bro's).
Narration niggles aside, this is wonderful, inspiring stuff, as Morrison (creator or several seminal milestones in modern comics history) revels in his deep knowledge and infectious passion for the superhero genre.
His own life history merges and mingles with the evolution of the comics artfor, as art and life cross over and over until the boundaries between reality and imagination become beautifully blurred.
"Part biography/part superhero history"
Potted superhero history
This is a factual book rather than fiction but I particularly found the descriptions on how certain visual aspects of comic books were created interesting, it made me think of stories that I'd read in the past in a whole new light.
I haven't listened to any other John Lee narration but I thought his tone suited the book really well.
No, I found it good to dip in and out of.
"superhero history/theory with a sprinkle of Grant"
A very interesting listen if you're interested in superhero history, our relationship with fiction, and a bit of a look behind the curtain during the latter half of the previously mentioned history.
it helps if you like Morrison's work, and the audiobook is made somewhat comical by having a fairly posh/bbc English voice reading the words of a foul mouthed Scottish writer.
Morrison's insights are interesting and quite often convincing, there's some quite interesting details of the medium's history, and his autobiographical elements aren't entirely intrusive and often equally of interest.
Once it settled, this history / memoir / celebration / call-to-arms was enthralling. Interesting, funny, moving, and genuinely inspirational. Reawakened my love of Grant Morrison. Unsure of the voice reading at first, it was masterfully executed. Writing and reading very Hunter S Thompson in places, if you like that sort of thing, which I do.
"Great mix of History and personal biography"
I really would have loved if Morriosn had read this himself but I suspect his Scottish accent would ahve been difficult for many people. John Lee does a fine job anyway.
The best way to describe this books is that it is the history of comics through the eyes and experiences of the author (who is a very well known and accomplished comic writer) rather than an objective outside view. I'm a fan of Morrison so this isn't an issue for me, but it may be for those with no interst in Morrison's life, particularly the more esoteric magick sections. Personally, the biography passages where my favourite parts.
Great book, well read.
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