Grant Morrison - Supergods at 2011 Edinburgh Book Festival
Tracing the flashy history of superheroes
This article is from 2011.
If anyone knows what makes a great superhero, it’s Grant Morrison. Having written for both Marvel and DC, the Glaswegian has made valuable contributions to the popular mythology of Batman, Superman and Fantastic Four. In Supergods, he traces his own obsession with the comics world and interprets the various twists and turns individual characters and writers have made ever since Clark Kent was spotted lifting up a car amid a fleeing crowd on the cover of the very first Action Comics in 1938.
‘Though many of the best ones tend to have a big back-story going on, a lot of them don’t need it,’ says Morrison. ‘If you look back to the early Zorro film, which influenced Batman, he just turns up and starts kicking ass. That kind of approach only came in later when adults started to ask dumb questions about motivation. A superhero does need to have a good silhouette, though.’
There’s no doubt in Morrison’s mind who is number one. ‘I love the old Flash comics, with these bizarre, trippy stories which really influenced me as a kid. He just looked the best and represented the coolest stuff, all flashy and lightning bolts and speed and energy and coffee. He was a true hero of modernity.’
20 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8).