A couple weeks ago, I picked up Grant Morrison’s Supergods.
Those not familiar with the body of Grant Morrison’s work, in picking up their first Morrison book, are most likely subject to a wild ride of a narrative that investigates the intertwinedness of Morrison’s theory on metafiction and the interactions between hyperdimensions, the relationships between 2D, 3D, and the hypothetical 4D. Whether you like it or not.
Too much to take in?
Yeah, that can be Morrison for you. He introduced himself to Animal Man within the comic, telling the hero that he is the one that played the puppet strings, that he is responsible for the deaths of those around him.
Animal Man: Why?
Morrison: For Drama.
(Note: Yes, I realise this is essentially paraphrased, but the gist is there.)
In The Invisibles he admitted that it was magic he was doing, using literature as a form a magic, to help influence his own life.
But anyway, I was familiar enough with Morrison’s work to know what to expect, I’ve heard him enough times in Podcasts and documentaries that I can bring up his voice in my head without a hitch.
When I heard that Grant Morrison had released a book called Supergods, and in visiting my local geek store, saw that they already had it in stock, I squealed and bought it right away. I admit, there are times where I don’t care for much for Morrison’s work (though I can’t remember off the top of my head, I do remember I stopped reading Animal Man and The Invisibles for some reason), the ideas that he brings to the table are out there, and half his work can be either what do you mean, it wasn’t made on drugs? or this is your premise on drugs.
I’ve still not finished reading the book, but thus far it has actually surprised me and got me thinking.
Supergods, I thought, would be a discussion on exactly what the subtitle suggested: An examination of the human condition… of sorts. I was expecting something along the lines of how reading Superman makes us more human, or how Superman was more human than the rest of us, how Green Lantern was an examination of our own conflicting emotions and how our wants and desires and based on our own will power to create.
In starting to read it, I was pleasantly surprised that he ended up going in a chronological order – starting with the birth of Superman.
(edit: at this point I had taken a holiday and during that time managed to actually finish the book while on the plane)
Birth in that, his creation as a comics entity, his birth as an idea.
Grants view on Superhero world is that WE are the Gods of the second dimension. We are its creators, their Zeus, their Supreme Higher Power. We are its God of Science, who had directed the course of their evolution and metavolution.
We are the puppeteers of the Gods within their world, and like all scripture where a god would descend upon the mortal plane, like Zeus coming down to impregnate mortal women, like the Christian God sending his Son to teach and to lead, one of the many Gods of the second dimension (both named and forgotten) Grant Morrison descended upon the second realm. He had christened this his fictionsuit, allowing him to interact directly with the entities in his book. He would write himself into the story, and allow the characters to voice back at him.
Ever had that feeling where you’re writing a story, intending for it to go one way… but as you write it, it sometimes feels like the characters have something else in mind? Morrison touched upon this, in writing The Invisibles. He mentioned that he intended the story to go one way but he suddenly felt that it was if his creations suddenly exhibited free will and as he wrote, they were rebelling against his decisions and that it didn’t feel right for him to shove them into personalities that weren’t theirs. I recall an old journal entry I did way back when where I mentioned something along the lines of letting the characters write the stories themselves.
I think it takes a certain gift to allow that thing to happen, where your creations start exhibiting their own form of free will.
Thats why we can’t all be Gods.