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Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero [Hardcover]

Grant Morrison
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
Price: £14.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Jun 2011

Supergods is your opportunity to join one of the great figures of modern comics on a mind-bending journey into the world of the superheroes.

In 1938, the first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics #1, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and profoundly familiar: 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, Captain Marvel, 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 why?

For Grant Morrison, possibly the greatest of contemporary superhero storytellers, these heroes are not simply characters but powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: through them, we tell the story of ourselves. In this exhilarating book, Morrison draws on history, art, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this alternate universe to provide the first true chronicle of the superhero - why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (30 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022408996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089968
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Grant Morrison is one of comics' greatest innovators. His long list of credits includes 'Batman:Arkham Asylum', 'JLA', 'Seven Soldiers', 'Animal Man', 'Doom Patrol', 'The Invisibles' and 'The Filth'. He is currently writing 'Batman' and 'All-Star Superman'.

Product Description


"It offers the same switchback exhilaration as Morrison's comic books" (Sunday Herald)

"The author shows a deft turn of phrase while appraising his fellow creators...Supergods proves an entertaining introduction to newcomers" (Metro)

Book Description

The mind-bending history of superheroes by comics legend Grant Morrison.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Things don't have to be real to be true" 26 Mar 2012
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
One of the most interesting and best comics writers, Grant Morrison, has produced a chronicle of comics from their inception in the late 30s to the present day, along the way talking about superheroes and their effect on our culture as well as providing a look into his own turbulent life from quiet teen to superstar writer. "Supergods" is throughout a fascinating look at this wondrous creation, the superhero.

For me, a huge fan of comics and superhero comics, the book was great fun to look at the inauspicious beginnings of the genre, the creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel and Bob Kane and the oft forgotten Bill Finger, through its various incarnations through the years. Morrison goes through the book chronologically and devotes the first chapter to an extensive look at the front covers of "Action Comics #1" and "Detective Comics #27", the first appearances of Superman and Batman respectively, setting the tone of the book as an in-depth look at Morrison's two favourite characters in comics.

He divides the evolution of comics into different "ages" from the Golden Age, Silver Age, Dark Age, and Renaissance Age (which we're currently in), and I won't go into detail as to every age but suffice it to say for those who believe Morrison wasn't detailed enough, I found him more than adequately explaining the relevant heroes and writers of the time in the context of the era and its effect down the line on future writers, innovators and characters.

Morrison could quite easily have written a memoir of his own life in this book but chooses to occasionally throw in tidbits of his autobiography amidst the intricate pontificating upon superheroes.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll be frank from the off - I was a Grant Morrison fanboy way back in his early Doom Patrol and Animal Man days, although he lost me for a while with the Invisibles, so I wouldn't claim to be impartial. But the reason I loved his comics is the same reason this prose book is so damn good. He's genuinely passionate, smart as whip, and comes at things from odd angles.

It's a blend of a historical and sociological examination of the early days of comics taking this through to the current era (and there are some gems in there - the fact that Wonder Woman's creator also invented the polygraph is one of those things that is so perfect - when you consider her lariat of truth, that even if Morrison has made it up, it ought to be true), with his own beginnings as a consumer and creator, to some mind-expanding bits of how he opened his consciousness and go his ideas pouring out. He can approach comics and the writing of them with a critical eye as to their limitations, but also an eye on the huge potential and wonder that can be found in their pages if you get the right combination of passion, ideas, talent and an artistic take.

You may well not believe him when he talks about writing sequences in the Invisibles as part of a magical construct to make good things happen to him in his real life, you may or may not believe that he himself believes it, but the fact that he even thinks about it and shares this with the reader is fascinating. Who else is writing that sort of stuff these days? I want my creators of superhero fiction to believe that magic exists.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Supergods" Ain't in the Details 18 July 2011
By Roochak
Part critical history of comics, part memoir of the writing trade, part mashup of fringe science, pop psychology, and this month's secrets-of-marketing-trends business bestseller, this entertaining, inchoate mess of a book purports to be an essay on superheroes and their significance to us. Of course, significance is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to pop culture, and while experience and common sense may tell us that the detective, the spy, the soldier, and the gangster are fictional archetypes with genuinely universal appeal, the superhero remains, like jazz, an American phenomenon that, in other countries, comes across either as an imitation of the American product, or as something based on such specifically regional imaginative archetypes as to fall outside the "superhero" label altogether. (Harry Potter, anyone?)

Why is the superhero an American rather than a global phenomenon? Morrison doesn't really have an answer for that, but the fun of this story -- and any mythology is all about stories that should've happened -- lies in the telling. Morrison sees the cyclical rise and fall of the superhero comic as a recursive process of imaginative evolution, and devises a four-part structure (like FINNEGANS WAKE) to contain and illustrate the theme. "The Golden Age" and "The Silver Age" are funny and critically astute assessments of the subject, although newspaper comic strips and pulp fiction are simply omitted from the discussion, which leaves out the Spirit, the Phantom, Doc Savage, and the Shadow. This may be only because the author didn't grow up with these characters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book, reakly readable even if you aren't a comics geek
Published 1 month ago by MR D P MATTHEWS
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
I'm a fan of Grant Morrison's work, and this book was fantastic. Morrison clearly has knowledge of the comic book industry, and shares his thoughts in an interesting and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Batty
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening...
I really enjoyed significant parts of this book, particularly the history aspects of the format and the fascinating way the styles of stories shifted over time... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rob Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This
Part Comic Book history, part Autobiography, part self help book.

An inspiring read, that really opened my eyes to a world of things.
Published 5 months ago by Pryder
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular (if a little weird) read!
Really enjoyed this book. A mix of memoir and analysis, Morrison is an absolute genius and rightly deserves his spot as one of the most seminal comic writers out there. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Josh
2.0 out of 5 stars Half a good book.
The first half of Supergods was a reasonably entertaining account of the history of the superhero, with enough interesting anecdotes and tangents to keep me reading all through the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ursine Ultra
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking revelations from the dawn of time...
Grant Morrison in big shiny populist mode, rather than weirdo obscurro occultnik mode. A very nice mix of personal memoir, comics history and how the two relate in Morrison's work. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dawn Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
From the opening paragraph of Grant Morrisons personal history of the superhero I knew I had to buy this book, very well written with interesting insights into Grant's particular... Read more
Published 17 months ago by keir
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
Who cares who are you anyway ? Well I am a 51 year old shrink who learnt to read at about 4 years before starting school so I could understand Spiderman and Fantastic Four Comics. Read more
Published 24 months ago by knocked out 73 just woke up
2.0 out of 5 stars SuperSelfPromotion!!
I bought this book in the mistaken belief it would be a history of the comic book industry; its genesis, relevance and future. Sadly not. Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2012 by M. R. Cox
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