I drive one hour both ways, Monday thru Thursday for my day job. I know it’s not the worst possible commute and it’s no “up hill both ways in the snow” (which I did as a kid, no joke). But it’s a long drive to be sitting in the car, by yourself, unable to text because of the safe-driver laws (ultimately they make sense). So, early in what is now two years that I’ve been doing the commute, I discovered Audible.com. Normally, I listen to sci-fi and fantasy novels like Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle (which is amazing – 3rd part pending) and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (you know, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). But sometimes, I actually read something non-fiction, something about what I do and read. Most recently, that was Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition] by Grant Morrison.
Supergods is a whirling descriptive history of comic books intertwined with Morrison’s own development from youth to uber-successful comic writer and creator. Ultimately, it serves as a wonderful commercial for the history of comic books as well as Morrison’s own fight to work in the industry that from very early in his life, he seemed destined for – or at least that’s how he wrote it. But don’t most of us believe that we should be doing exactly what we love? The book is very Fear and Loathing in Comic Books and even talks about his own actual trips on mushrooms and other various recreational drugs. Morrison delivers himself as a comic book shaman with visions to deliver.
Like any good book with a story to tell, I fell into it. I was enamored to hear Morrison’s disdain and dislike or at least relatively negative talk about the industry and luminaries like Alan Moore. In some ways, he said what I wanted/needed to hear and often, he made me question my own anger toward the cannon of the comic book industry. Morrison talked an awful lot about about being punk, something dear if not near to my heart. It was nice to read something that often challenged what seems like the masses’ preconceived notions of the comic book industry gods but it was also nice to have someone challenge my own third-eye, outsider-inside beliefs about the industry. And if you’re a Grant Morrison true-believer, I’m sure this book does a lot to explain his various meanderings in comic book writing.