Trey's Reviews > Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
by Grant Morrison
I started out thinking this was going to be a fantastic book. The well-reasoned critical discussion of comics history (for example, I had never thought to do an in-depth artistic analysis of the Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 covers) and its relation to the contemporary culture that influenced it is terrific for many chapters. Everything was going smoothly... until Grant Morrison was born.
Once Morrison reaches an era where he can access his own memories, he immediately inserts himself into the story (as he famously did during his run on Animal Man). The book becomes comics history as autobiography, relying too heavily on the books Morrison read and liked, the work he did, and the work his friends created. Once Morrison starts telling us about his experiences with psychedelic drugs, the book delves into the questions of philosophy alluded to in the subtitle (What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human). At this point, the book becomes a weird hodgepodge of sociology, history, and Eastern philosophy. Though not exactly what I expected, Supergods is still well worth reading.
I could almost forgive Morrison for the merely half-brilliant book if he hadn't been so loose with his description of the multimedia rundown of Superman's end-of-the-century escapades. He claims the mulleted version of Superman "hung on grimly until 2000," but Clark actually got a haircut in time for his wedding in 1996. (He also carelessly says Superman Returns came out in 2007, not 2006.) It might seem like I'm nitpicking, but it's a detail like that that makes me wonder if there are any other typos or misrememberings I'm not picking up on. I'm not claiming this to be true, but I'd believe that Morrison would rely on his vast knowledge of comics for facts and dates instead of rigorous fact checking. Though he is clearly grateful for the opportunity to be in the comics business, it's fairly evident that his healthy ego is the lens through which the entirety of comicdom is viewed. I wonder if Morrison felt this was really the only way to tell his life's story, by showing early comics to be his ancestors in a de facto family tree, and his ideas, comics, and predictions as his descendants. Morrison has woven himself into the fabric of comics, the medium that birthed him, as the ultimate product of the masters and the driving force of change and predictor of future trends from the '80s onward.