My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book is a wealth of information and insight on the industry that even includes suggested further reading and a thorough indexing. The book inspired many interesting discussion points for my book club, but while I appreciate Grant Morrison’s passion for comics, Grant Morrison’s passion for Grant Morrison and his industry biases were quite clear.
This was a difficult read, mainly because of the writing itself. It is clearly written by someone used to having his words quickly translated into images. Without the images here, he was overcompensating and it began to seem as though he fell in love with all the words on his screen, reviewing each sentence, adding some more adjectives, then duplicating each sentence and switching in some synonyms.
Occasionally, his descriptions were aided by comic covers or pages. I would likely have less issue with the writing had this been written into a coffee table format book that included more images.
It is important to note that most of the images that did appear were from DC Comics, the company and characters which dominate the book, making it clear who’s side Morrison is on.
The book is subtitled, “What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human,” which is addressed initially, mostly through Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, but this focus is eventually lost, with the second half of the book focusing instead on Grant Morrison. It turns out, this is actually an autobiography (and blatant promotion of past and upcoming works) that, as a friend noted, probably didn’t have enough to make a full book, so add the comic history… To his credit, Morrison did manage to make it through over 100 pages before pointing out how successful Arkham Asylum was and remains, but by the second half of the book, entire chapters are dedicated to his works and his trials and tribulations with Marvel and a clear bitterness towards Image (though his description of Image characters, artistry and books is apt).
He did manage to speak with initial kindness towards Marvel and its earlier creations, with a surprisingly pithy description of the X-Men. Later, when he goes into his time on New X-Men, he at least shows some level of humility in terms of the criticism his storylines received.