Contented Reader

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Grant Morrison

Spiegel & Grau

It was the early 1980s, and I was an introverted kid, the oldest of a dozen or so kids spending after-school and summer hours at the modest house of the babysitter, Mrs. Moody, a woman of whom I have very fond memories. She had a television, on which we were permitted to watch ‘Scooby-doo’ every day, but other than that, we were expected to play, and to amuse ourselves.  We were encouraged to play outside.

At Mrs. Moody’s house, there was a big, round, red plush chair.  It sat right next to a small built-in bookcase where Mrs. Moody’s son’s comic book collection sat.  It was a fairly modest collection, as comic book collections go.  There were thirty, maybe forty at most, comic books.  I read them over and over again.  I can’t remember any of them quite well enough to go looking for them, but I’m certain that if I encounter one of them again, I’ll recognize it immediately.  The collection had lots of Superman comics, and also some horror comics which I read with fascinated disgust, and which my mother probably wouldn’t have approved of.  Some of my happiest childhood hours were spend tucked into that red chair’s embrace with my head in a comic book.

But I didn’t become a ‘comic book enthusiast.’  I never bought a comic book.  I just read that same pile.  I don’t think it ever even occurred to me that comic books were something that people bought; I don’t remember ever noticing one for sale.

After college, I had a day job substitute teaching and a night job at Books-a-Million.  I got a thirty-minute supper break at the bookstore, and every night, I would enjoy my supper and read a comic book borrowed from the rack from which we sold them.  Mostly X-Men.  Reading one title every day, I could keep up with what was happening in the universe of the X-Men.  I don’t think I could manage the trick now, or afford to keep up with it.

Where was I?

Oh, right.  I just finished reading Supergods.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, and I wasn’t even sure how much I cared.  But I got enthralled by the opening chapters, on the mythic nature of the earliest superheroes, Superman and Batman.  And then it turned out to be a surprisingly comprehensive history of superhero comics, from the earliest origins through to the most recent movies.  I enjoyed the book most when it discussed the history of comics before Grant Morrison himself became part of the field; his memories of his own involvement didn’t work as well for me, and although I understood what he was saying about the ways that his involvement in occult ‘chaos magic’ has been useful to him as a writer, it still made me uncomfortable when a good history book turned suddenly psychedelic.  Reading this book made me want to go to the comic book store right now and buy some Superman.

I have a car and some money.  I guess there’s no real reason I shouldn’t do that.


Written by Contented Reader

August 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

Posted in Reviews


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